200 Egyptian Jews Flee from Egypt on Planes to Switzerland

The first planeloads of 200 Egyptian Jewish refugees arrived here today, less than 24 hours after President Nasser’s move to intern or exile 50,000 Egyptian Jews. The Jews had been stripped of their homes and all possessions before being shipped out of the country.

The refugees reported that all their belongings had been seized and said that “many Jews had been arrested and flung into concentration camps.” They said an internment center had been set up in the building of the French Lycee (high school) in Cairo. There are many aged and sick people and pregnant women among the internees, the refugees added. “They have been given 48 hours to get out.”

The refugees appealed to the International Red Cross, whose headquarters are located in Geneva, to “intervene immediately to save lives. A delay will be costly in terms of human suffering.”

Without exception, the refugees refused to permit their identification by newsmen “for fear of reprisals against our families.” The refugees expressed the opinion that Nasser intends to expel all Jews from Egypt and cited the deportation of Jews of Italian and Greek nationality despite protests from the Italian and Greek consulates. The refugees who arrived here today had been granted only transit visas. Many of them will find homes in Israel.

The World Jewish Congress pledged today that it would “fight this act, reminiscent of Hitler” which seeks to expel stateless Jews and “starve and kick out the remainder.” Dr. Gerhardt Riegner, European director of the WJC, who voiced the pledge, asked whether the “conscience of the world will react to this latest act of barbarism.” He spoke of the possible need to organize a “giant rescue action.”

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