Vienna (Jul. 31)
Another 600 Jewish refugees from Rumania reached Vienna today, bringing the total number of Rumanian Jewish DP’s in this city to 7,500. A number of them were taken to the Rothschild Hospital which has a maximum capacity of 1,000, but which now houses 3,000, sleeping on floors, in the court-yards and garden.
Earlier this week, some of the refugees broke down doors, smashed windows and assaulted a number of the center’s administrative officials in protest against the intolerable conditions. Officials of the American Military Government, together with representatives of Jewish relief organizations, have been trying to improve the difficult position of the refugees, but to date no practical solution of their problem has been found.
The Joint Distribution Committee, in the meantime, has formally notified the Austrian Government that, except for the matter of feeding, it can assume no further responsibility for the Jewish refugees here. In a note, officials of the relief organization stressed the sanitary danger, increasing hourly, of this refugee concentration.
At the same time, Jewish circles here express sharp dissatisfaction over the British refusal, thus far without explanation, to turn over to them several empty barracks in the British zone in Vienna, commodious enough, they protest, to house several thousand of the refugees. They complain also that “racial German” refugees are promptly placed in camps by the British but no such aid is given the Jews. In addition, these Jewish community leaders here express fears that the Rumanian Jews will be forcibly repatriated.
The leaders are seeking to quiet the excited mass of refugees, but there is openly expressed alarm that street disorders may occur at any moment. The Austrian Government, which for its part complains that it is too poor to feed refugees who refuse employment, thus far has taken no police measures to relieve the increasingly tense situation.
AUSTRIAN GOVT. CHARGED WITH DENYING FOOD AND WORK TO DISPLACED JEWS
Serious charges have been lodged against the Austrian Government by Jewish quarters here concerning both the employment and feeding of Jewish DP’s.
While “racial Germans,” fleeing from Yugoslavia and from other nations to the East, receive jobs and food-ration cards, these quarters protest, the food supply for the Jewish DP’s here is provided solely by the J.D.C.
Dr. Oskar Helmer, the Minister of the Interior, protests for his part that since July 1, which marked the end of UNRRA operations, the support of all DP’s in Austria has been demanded of the Vienna Government. He complains that Austria is far too poor to support persons who do not work. Other Austrian officials told this correspondent that Jewish DP’s regard Austria merely as a temporary refuge on their way to Palestine and, they say, healthy DP’s refuse to work. At the same time, however, it is conceded that most Austrian peasants are unwilling to take on Jewish DP’s as farm workers.
Spokesman for relief groups complain, at the same time, that the Russian authorities do not permit the passage of Jews from the United States zone to Vienna for purposes of undergoing operations and obtaining hospital treatment. They add the requests to send Jews, in need of special care, to the British zone through the Russian sector have not been answered by the Soviet occupation officials.