Germany Extends Permit for “returnees” to Remain in Foehrenwald

The 450 “illegal” returnees from Israel and elsewhere who have been living at the Jewish DP camp at Foehrenwald since last August under an agreement whereby they were required to emigrate from Germany within six months, were this week-end granted a few more months in which to leave or make arrangements for emigration.

The new agreement was worked out at a meeting between representatives of the Joint Distribution Committee, HIAS and Israel purchasing mission, on one side, and representatives of various Bonn Government departments, on the other.

Originally, some 700 “illegal” returnees registered with the German authorities last Summer. Since then about 250 have managed to find new countries of permanent settlement and have left. The remainder include 260 who have already made arrangements for leaving and were granted until July, at the German-Jewish conference. The remaining 190 must either leave by March 15 or be able to show that they have an arrangement for leaving for another country within a few months.

When the 700 registered last summer, the Jewish organizations aiding refugees in Germany were convinced they could find homes for them abroad in six months. However, the arrival of more Jewish refugees without German visas and residence permits, coupled with German arrests of several hundred such “illegals,” forced the organizations to give priority in emigration arrangements to the newest arrivals. The result has been the backlog of the 450.

During this week-end’s conference, the German representatives acknowledged that the JDC and HIAS had made “significant efforts” to help the refugees leave Germany for permanent homes. The majority of the “illegal” returnees–both old and new groups–is composed of people who went to Israel but could not adjust either to climatic or to economic conditions. These people come to Germany because they view it as a springboard for transmigration to countries of the Western Hemisphere.

Dr. Chaim Yachil, deputy head of the Israel purchasing mission, which also has some diplomatic functions, reaffirmed his government’s readiness to accept any of the returnees who desire to be repatriated to Israel. It is understood that in recent months about a dozen persons have taken advantage of this offer.

NEXT STORY