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Israel Jacobson Freed by Hungarian Police; Reaches Vienna; Reports Mistreatment

December 29, 1949
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel Jacobson, director of the Joint Distribution Committee office in Hungary who was held incommunicado for nearly two weeks, arrived here today after being released last night by the Hungarian authorities. He was ordered to leave Hungary immediately following his release. Hungarian authorities explained that Mr. Jacobson was being expelled for “abusing the privileges given to foreigners in Hungary” and for “acting against the interests of the state.”

Upon his arrival here, Mr. Jacobson issued a statement to the press desorbing how he was treated in prison and declaring that the Hungarian security police suggested to him in the course of their questioning that the 1,500 J.D.C. employees engaged in aiding Jews in 130 communities in Hungary represent “an espionage net.”

The J.D.C. official disclosed in his statement that he was kept for 12 days in the Andrassi prison in Budapest. Throughout the 12 days the lights in his prison cell were constantly turned on. He was permitted only four hours sleep daily. He was ordered to undress completely and every article of clothing he wore, from his shoes to his necktie, was searched. During the first week of his incarceration his was subjected to a series of questionings which lasted all day. The main charges against him, he said, were that he conducted espionage activities and that he maintained contact with the American legation in Budapest.

One of the charges against him was also the allegation that he helped Hungarian Jews to leave the country, Mr. Jacobson stated. He was questioned about all persons listed in his appointment book. He repeatedly denied any intelligence activity, he said, and told the security police that the J.D.C. is engaged in feeding Hungarian Jews and in spending millions of dollars to aid them.

During each day of his arrest, he was compelled to sign about 50 pages filled with explanations with regard to persons with whom he was associated and about trips he had made. Only during the last days of his imprisonment was he permitted longer hours of sleep, he said. After spending 12 days in prison he was told by the security police that his presence in Hungary was no longer desired and he was ordered to leave the country. Six agents accompanied him to the Austrian border, he reported.

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