Laval Spurns Pope; 25,000 Jews in Unoccupied France Arrested for Deportation
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Laval Spurns Pope; 25,000 Jews in Unoccupied France Arrested for Deportation

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Ignoring the appeal of the Pope to Pierre Laval to discontinue the deportation of Jews from France to Nazi-held eastern territory, police today continued rounding up Jews in Lyons and in other cities of unoccupied France, according to reliable information reaching diplomatic circles here.

Approximately 25,000 foreign-born Jews have already been arrested in unoccupied France during the last three weeks for deportation to Nazi-occupied countries in eastern Europe. Today’s raid in Lyons added 640 Jews to this total. They were arrested as persons who left Germany since Hitler came to power. The mass-arrests of Jews in Lyons today took place in spite of the severe protest lodged last week with Marshal Petain by the Archbishop of Lyons, Pierre Cardinal Gerlier.

The Paris radio announced today that by the end of this week the arrest of all Jews who entered France since Hitler seized power in Germany in 1933 will have been completed. De Brinon, the representative of the Vichy Government in Paris, was quoted as stating that the “Jewish program” has become a definite part of the policy of the Laval Government, and that neither intervention from the Pope nor anyone else will lead to the modification of this “program.”


The majority of the 25,000 Jews arrested in unoccupied France are being held in camps in Lyons from where they are being deported in cattle trains. Every three days a shipment of men is sent off, usually to occupied Polish Silesia where the Jews are being put to forced labor in coal mines. Their wives and children are left behind and kept in special camps, the report received here today states.

That the Pope is apparently determined to put further pressure upon the Vichy Government was seen here today in a report that Monsignor Carmelo Rosso, representing the Papal Nuncio, again saw Laval yesterday and conferred with him on the increased anti-Jewish persecutions both in occupied and unoccupied France. Simultaneously, the French ambassador to the Vatican, Leon Berard, arrived yesterday in Vichy from Rome and immediately conferred with Marshal Petain concerning the Pope’s appeal.

An English-language broadcast from Berlin today estimated that the number of Jews who succeeded in crossing from France into Switzerland during the last ten days exceeds 300. It predicts that further escapes into Switzerland will be made impossible “because of the measures taken by the authorities in France to prevent the escape of Jews for whom there is no place in Western Europe.”

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