VIENNA (Oct. 28)
Because authorative quarters foresee a dangerous situation developing for the Jews in Austria, due to the tense European atmosphere, the emigration of Jewish refugees from Austria to Israel will be speeded up in the next few weeks it was predicted here today. This acceleration will be undertaken by the various Jewish agencies working in Austria.
Leaders of the former underground railroad to Palestine recently met “somewhere in Europe” and agreed that the situation on the continent was so potentially dangerous for the surviving Jews that it was imperative for them to resume operations. These “extra-legal” operations are substantially more expensive than “legal” means of transportation of Jews to Israel, but because of the growing tension, and its concomitant threat to the Jews, there was unanimity among the former underground leaders that their machinery must be put back into operation.
Another factor affecting the proposed resumption of the underground railroad is the conviction among officials of Jewish organizations in Vienna that the planned “legal” transportation program of Jews from southeastern Europe to Israel will not be carried out according to schedule, due to a variety of difficulties.
A total of 2,800 Jewish refugees have left Austria since Aug. 15 while another 700 are expected to depart next week for Italian ports from where they will proceed to Israel. Jewish authorities are planning to use six air transports, accommodating 50 passengers each to bring the refugees to the Italian ports. With the return to the underground railroad operation, however, it is expected here that the proposed “legal” transport of 5,000 Jews out of Austria before the year’s and will be easily fulfilled, if not considerably surpassed, and that at least 7,000 Jews, of the 12,000 remaining in DP camps in this country, will have arrived in Israel by April of next year.
The balance of 5,000 — mostly elderly or ailing refugees — are planning to emigrate elsewhere. A Canadian DP team, meanwhile, is screening a total of 100 families at Salzburg, whose heads are expert tailors and who will soon leave for the Dominion.