VIENNA (Mar. 23)
Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky disclosed today that one of the reasons the Jewish Agency-run transit camp for Soviet Jewish emigres at Schoenau was closed down in 1973 was the fact that emigrants staying there had no choice of where to resettle. Every Jew who emigrates via Austria has the right to decide where he wants to go. Kreisky said at a press conference on his return from a visit to the United States.
The Schoenau camp was closed after Arab terrorists took several Jews hostage on a train from the Soviet Union and demanded that the camp be shut down. The Austrian authorities complied on the grounds of security and since then Jewish emigres are housed in transit camps under Austrian supervision.
Kreisky said that “It has happened that in some months about 40 percent of Soviet emigrants decided not to go to Israel but to settle somewhere else.” He said that while that may make many Israeli circles unhappy, “every emigrant who passes Austria is granted asylum here and can decide for himself where he wants to resettle. Austria insists that every emigrant must have the right to decide where he wants to go.” While in the U.S., Kreisky referred to rumors of a USSR-Israel secret agreement to curb the number of emigrating Jews. He said here, however, that he had no firm evidence confirming the rumors.