British Halt Screening of Exodus Refugees After Jews Refuse to Cooperate
Menu JTA Search

British Halt Screening of Exodus Refugees After Jews Refuse to Cooperate

Download PDF for this date

Screening of the Exodus deportees by British intelligence agents in an effort to determine the status of the individual refugees was halted today for an indefinite period because of the Jews’ absolute refusal to supply the Britons with factual information.

Detailed interrogation, which has been proceeding for about a week, has resulted only in complete confusion and long lists of obviously assumed names and other falsified facts such as where the refugees were born. The British lists abound in names of Hollywood stars, biblical characters, political figures and heroes of fairy tales. Several hundred refugees had been “questioned” before the process was halted.

It was learned that the decision to halt the questioning followed a visit to the camps yesterday by a high ranking British military government official from Berlin. He demanded of the DP’s leaders an explanation for the Jews’ refusal to supply truthful information. With straight faces, the leaders replied that they did not know that the information was false, and if it was false they could not explain it.

Meanwhile, the refugees are complaining bitterly about the small quantities of food which they receive and about the miserable preparation of their rations. Yesterday was the first day that they received fresh meat.

Both camps have elected committees to administer the centers. The Jews are attempting to assume as many of the administrative tasks as possible and plan to ask the British to dismiss the Germans who have been employed at these jobs because they feel that each German is doubling as a British spy. A children’s school and an adult education program have been established, but equipment is needed.

The Jews are still almost unanimous in their desire to remain together and to proceed to Palestine in a single party. Thus far only six persons in Poppendorf have informed an International Refugee Organization screening team that they wish to rejoin relatives in some other DP camp in Germany.

There is a baby being born to a refugee woman almost every day. Yesterday the first funeral service was held for a new-born baby which was buried in the Lubeck Jewish cemetery. A single soldier escorted the child’s father from the Am Stau camp to the cemetery, together with the rabbi who performed the ceremony. When the party of three started from the camp the soldier carried his rifle. The rabbi refused to proceed until the soldier put away his gun.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund