Vienna (Jul. 22)
The number of Rumanian Jewish refugees who have been (##)looding Austria increased by 3,000 during the last three weeks, and there are now (##),400 living in three camps in the Vienna area. The Rothschild hospital, with (##),400 people living in its 800-bed quarters, has refugees living in the stone (##)ellars, corridors and on the stairs.
One pregnant woman with four children was seen lying on the cold floor while hospital attendants desperately sought space for her. Lisa Rinsler, well-known humanian singer, and her actor husband, Burach, were observed sleeping in the hospital garden without any protection.
Among the refugees are 50 one-year-old babies and many old people who are completely exhausted and have hardly any clothing. Often these people have been traveling for many weeks from the Moldau district and Bucharest, and arrived at the hospital infested with body lice and physically broken down.
They say they wish to emigrate to Palestine. Conceding that there are no actual pogroms in Rumania, they insist that anti-Semitism is increasing daily and that many former Iron Guards, many of whom, they say, have found refuge with Communist authorities, still continue their anti-Semitic actions despite the government’s attempts to check them. These refugees also point to hunger and inflation in humania which added to their already heavy burden.
The Joint Distribution Committee is doing its utmost to aid these people but it cannot possibly meet all their needs. Most of the refugees are poor workingmen, but wealthy Jews are also fleeing Rumania because of their fear of communism.
Bronislav Teichholz, president of the International Committee for Refugees, has appealed to the Displaced Persons section of the U.S. Army in Austria to lift the prohibition against the admission of new DP’s into the regular refugee camps, but the request has been denied on the basis of strict orders from Washington to uphold the ban. Appeals for assistance have also been made to the International Refugee Organization and the Austrian Government. The Ministry of Interior here has replied that it has set aside for the use of the JDC a new building to house the refugees.
Jewish groups, however, fear that this will not suffice since, according to reports reaching here, many thousands more of the Rumanian refugees are expected to arrive in the near future.
A representative of the Ministry of Interior has been sent to the IRO conferences in Switzerland where it is expected he will report privately to the delegates on the refugee situation in this country.