Poppendorf Camp,Germany (Sep. 11)
The 4,400 Exodus refugees confined in this camp and at nearby Am Stau today voiced their determination to defy any British efforts to separate them.
At a mass meeting at Am Stau today, more than 1,400 refugees who were taken off the Empire Rival pledged themselves to stay together until they reach Palestine. At Poppendorf the leaders of the refugees, as well as persons questioned at random, stressed that it was vital that steps be taken to prevent their being separated. One spokesman said: “We have gone through so much together that we feel like one family. Political parties have almost been forgotten, so that we can act as a single unit.”
All of them were agreed that the British will attempt to break them up into small groups, and by distributing them to various camps, free themselves of any financial responsibilities, at the same time demoralizing the refugees so that their determination to return to Palestine will be weakened.
Possible disturbances were averted today when the British moved all of the 62 leaders arrested during the disembarkation on Tuesday to Poppendorf from the Hamburg dock area, where they had been held under heavy military guard. All were promised by the authorities that they would not suffer any reprisals.
Mordecai Rosman, 30-year-old Polish Jew, whom the British have sought to portray as the agitator who caused all the violence on the Runnymede Park, scoffed at the charges that his “fanaticism” caused the passengers on the ship to resist. “That excuse is pure Downing Street propaganda,” he said, “aimed at persuading the world that we Jews wouldn’t really want to go to Palestine, were it not for a few zealots.” Small, wiry Rosman waved aside questions concerning his personal battle with the British troops, which resulted in his being brought off the Runnymede Park bloody and unconscious. He reluctantly displayed a heavily bandaged knee, a badly twisted elbow and several scalp wounds.
DEPORTEES CONTINUE TO SABOTAGE EFFORTS TO SCREEN THEM; REJECT IRO AID
The refugees at this camp and nearby Am Stau were continuing today to sabotage British efforts to screen them, and were also refusing to submit to voluntary screening by representatives of the International Refugee Organization.
IRO aides said that as of this afternoon none of the deportees had appeared for screening, which is mandatory if they wish to receive aid from the organization. British officers in charge of the compulsory screening report that most of the Jews claim that Palestine is their home and give biblical and Palestinian names. One officer admitted that the registration was “in a bit of a mess.”
Meanwhile, Jewish organizations continued to stay away from the camps. However, Kurt Levin, head of the Jewish Agency activities in the British zone, was scheduled to visit the camps today to determine what the people want. Some medical aid will probably be sent in tomorrow.