Ilya Ehrenburg Reports on Conditions of Jews in Southeastern and Central Europe
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Ilya Ehrenburg Reports on Conditions of Jews in Southeastern and Central Europe

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Bulgaria, of all the fascist and Nazi-occupied states, was a “happy cases” for Jews, Ilya Ehrenburg, noted Jewish Soviet war correspondent, told a meeting of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee here, following his return from a visit to southeastern and central European countries.

Depicting the tragedy of the Jews in occupied countries, Ehrenburg declared that “notwithstanding the criminal policy of the fascist government of Bulgaria,” the Bulgarian people fought against anti-Semitism and fascism. He also lauded the fight of the Bulgarian Jews against the Germans, pointing out that although the Jews in that country totalled less than one percent of the population, they made up 2.5 percent of the partisan forces. He related many examples of the present Government’s fight against any manifestation of hostile attitude toward the Jews.

In Albania Ehrenburg stated, the local population was so ingenious in hiding the Jews from the Nazis, that German newspapers commented that Albania was “lucky” in not having any Jews.

The fate of Hungarian and Yugoslav Jews was particularly bitter he asserted, noting that in the former country most of the Jews in the small towns were wiped out completely, while in Yugoslavia they had to contend with both the Germans and the local Slovakia fascist movement.

“Even now there are still traces of fascism in Slovakia,” Ehrenburg reported, pointing out that in Czechoslovakia, the Jews suffered first and most heavily under the German occupation. He declared that in Bohemia, “hardly 6,000 of the 100,000 Jews” survived the Nazi regime, while in Slovakia “less than one-third of the 70,000 Jews” were still alive.

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