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Goering’s Warning Sends Thousands to U.s., British Consulates in Rush for Visas

March 29, 1938
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Thousands of Jews today again thronged american and British consulates seeking to flee from Austria, after field marshal Hermann Goering’s warning on saturday that Vienna would “speedily but mercilessly” be made German.

The fact that the Nazi regime has suspended all emigration of Jews until after the plebiscite on april 10 to ratify Austro-German Anshluss did not deter the Jews, who formed long queues in front of the consulates beginning with early morning.

The British consulate general admitted the would-be emigrants in groups of a hundred, giving out applications for visas and information on requirements for settlement in all parts of the British empire. In the last four days 6,000 applications have been received for emigration to Australia alone.

Neither the British nor the United States consulates were able to answer inquiries on future immigration prospects, since they had not yet been informed by their governments on policies to be put into effect.

Vienna’s 160,000 Jews are ill-informed on secretary of State Cordell hull’s proposals for facilitation of emigration from Germany and Austria. The Jews are hoping desperately that it will open to them new roads to peace in a new land.

The State department’s statement was almost completely ignored by the press here, and reports about it were traveling all over the community by word of mouth. (The statement, issued in Washington last thursday, summed up the United States government’s proposal to European and american governments for establishment of an international committee to facilitate emigration.)

Chief Rabbi Israel Taglight attempted, without success, to see the Nazi Minister for cultural affairs. He was told by a subordinate: “Things will quiet down after a while.”

According to an order of the Nazi party, mail received by all large Jewish firms must be opened by an “Aryan” employee before it can be read by the proprietor. The authorities have ruled that the order applies to both local and foreign mail.

Dr. Desider Friedmann, president of the Austrian Zionist organization, who was arrested in the early days of Austria’s Nazi regime, has been transferred from the Rassauerlaende police prison to the criminal courts jail, which is believed to indicate his early release.

Meanwhile, arrests of prominent Jews continued. Dr. E. Loebl, former editor-in-chief of the Neues Wener Tagblatt, was seized. Other arrests reported included members of the international PEN Club.

Long lines formed before Jewish soup-kitchens, including scores of non-Jews. The kitchens are not serving meat, since no kosher meat is obtainable, the Shochtim (kosher meat slaughterers) having been driven out of the slaughter yards a week ago.

Hope was felt by some Jewish leaders that at least a portion of the Vienna Jewish community’s welfare funds, which have been blocked since the advent of the Nazi regime, would be released this week. Some quarters further hoped that Jewish organizations would be able to resume salary payments to their lower-paid employees.

It was understood that the Austrian Zionist organization today presented to the authorities a program of future activities, but to what extent the program will be approved and how soon the sections approved will be placed into effect is not known.

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