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Red-nazi Border in Poland Closed

October 31, 1939
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Soviet Government, it was learned here today, has closed its frontier with Nazi Poland both to incoming and outgoing persons. The Germans, at the same time, are not permitting Jews to enter Nazi-ruled Polish territory but are allowing them to leave after confiscating their property.

The Soviet measure is considered a severe blow to tens of thousands of Jews in the Nazi region who looked upon escape to Russia as their last hope. It hits especially hard separated families where the husbands were evacuated during the hostilities while wives and children were left behind on the German side.

It is reported here that negotiations to solve the problem will be initiated between Russia and Germany since a considerable number of non-Jews are prepared to return to their homes in Nazi Poland.

Vocational readjustment of the Jews in large Jewish communities in Soviet Poland is now an important problem. Cities such as Lwow, Przemysl, Tarnapol, Czortkow, Brody, Kilomyhia, Rovno, Luck, Duno, Kowel, Pinsk, Brestlitovsk, Baranovicz, Lida, Grodno and Bialystok all have large Jewish populations and are faced with this problem.

Pending readjustment, immediate relief is essential for Jewish merchants, small traders, craftsmen, small house and land owners, who are now without livelihoods.

Another serious problem is the huge number, estimated at 500,000 to 1,000,000, of refugees who escaped from the Nazi areas and are now crowding the larger cities. The refugees are sheltered in railway stations, schools, synagogues and public buildings. Some sleep on stairways and even in the streets. Adaptation of these refugees to new conditions will take months.

Meanwhile, thousands of homeless and destitute refugees are still wandering along the main railway lines in all directions, moving from place to place with their sole remaining property in bags carried on their shoulders. Headed for Lwow, Rowno, Brest-Litovsk, Bialystok and other large centers in Soviet Poland, they are trying to find missing relatives who vanished during the bombings and the chaos of evacuation.

It may take months and even years before the situation of the refugees in the Soviet Polish areas is regulated. In the first place, immense capital is needed for the task. Secondly, the problem is complicated by the attitude of the Soviet authorities in western White Russia and the West Ukraine, who declare that the Soviet Union is rich enough to handle the task itself and does not want foreign assistance.

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