Expect Measures to Improve Position of Berlin Jews; City Council Charged with Blocking Aid
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Expect Measures to Improve Position of Berlin Jews; City Council Charged with Blocking Aid

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Although no final policy has been laid down as to restoration of confiscated Jewish property, or increased food allowances for Jews in Berlin, it was indicated here today that some steps would soon be taken to improve the position of the several thousand Jews in this capital.

According to reliable non-Jewish sources, however, there appears to be an obstructionist attitude towards Jews within the Berlin magistrate, which is a sort of city council. The magistrate, which acts as a cabinet to the Russian-appointed mayor, Dr. Arthur Werner, seems to be taking the attitude that it has no responsibility for the damage caused by the Nazi regime, whether it affects Jews or others. Communists wield a great deal of influence in the magistrate, but it is difficult to say whether they also are responsible for what these non-Jewish sources described as latent remainders of anti-Semitism.

A Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent, who today interviewed Dr. Werner, representatives of the Jewish community, Father Bucholz, a Catholic priest who is in charge of religious affairs at the magistrate and Major Valentin Lipnicky, who is Marshal Zhukov’s liaison officer to the Berlin administration, in an attempt to obtain some definite information on Jewish matters, received replies which varied on several points. One thing is clear: that so far no written decrees covering Jewish problems have been drawn up.


However, the correspondent learned that a decision to increase food rations for Jews was adopted last week, but it does not seem to have reached the level of the district food offices. Under the new plan, all Jews who were hiding in Berlin until the city was captured and all those who were in concentration camps will be moved up on the food ration scale depending on what work they are doing. At present, only Jews sent to camps for political reasons get special food allowances, while those who were persecuted for racial reasons were treated the same as all other Germans. Only Jews who were sent to camps for criminal or asocial reasons will be denied the increased rations.

When the correspondent pointed out to Major Lipnicky that credits had been granted to Catholic and Protestant churches to enable them to pay salaries and meet current expenses, while the Jewish Hospital had been refused funds, the Soviet officer said that the hospital’s request had never reached him and, probably, was turned down by the magistrate to which the Russian authorities try to give as much freedom of action as possible. He said that he would try to remedy the matter.

Both Major Lipnicky and Dr. Werner said that the city administration, which has taken charge of all Nazi-owned property, is only acting as trustees and that even tually everyone – including, of course, Jews – who can prove ownership will have their homes and apartments restored to them. As far as factories and industries are concerned, however, nothing has been decided as yet.

It was also pointed out that all those returning from concentration camps are being given apartments, although not necessarily their own, since this would involve unnecessary moving.

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