VIENNA (Nov. 25)
More than 1,300 Hungarian Jewish refugees have already been registered at Jewish communal and welfare agencies in Austria and more are continuing to pour in daily, Charles H. Jordan, director general of the Joint Distribution Committee, announced at a press conference here.
This continuing emergency has forced the JDC to alter its planning and prepare for a long-term program of direct relief and assistance to the Hungarian Jews, he emphasized Mr. Jordan reported that new Jewish refugees were registering in Austria at the rate of 150 a day.
When the situation first broke two weeks ago, the JDC official continued, it was considered an emergency to last a limited number of days. But instead of diminishing, the problem has grown. The small Austrian Jewish community, which rapidly mobilized its forces to deal with the refugee problem, is not capable of keeping up with the expanding situation.
Mr. Jordan revealed that he was returning to the JDC’s European headquarters in Paris and then proceeding to New York to report to the JDC annual meeting this week. He will explain and detail developments here and outline the long-range needs at the conference.
At the moment, Mr. Jordan told the press conference, the Austrian Jewish community continues to carry on with the work of registering, feeding, clothing and sheltering the refugees. The JDC supplies the funds–the meager capabilities of the community have been exhausted. The JDC is cooperating with the Jewish Agency to arrange facilities for those refugees who wish to give Israel and with the United Hias Service for those who desire to emigrate to other countries.
There remains the problem of a substantial number of refugees who would rather remain in Austria for the time being, in the hope of eventually returning to home and family in Hungary. 1. the interim, they must be supported. The JDC has set up offices to handle Jewish refugees reaching the Austrian cities of Salzburg and Linz.
The majority of the Jewish refugees arriving in recent days come from Budapest site of the largest Jewish community in Hungary. It currently takes about four days to make the journey to safety in Austria, chiefly because Soviet troops have destroyed bridges leading over waterways en route to the border. In their round about route the refugees traverse frozen marshes and small streams, arriving without any worldly goods except the clothes on their backs.
A. L. Easterman and Dr. S. Roth, representatives of the World Jewish Congress, currently in Vienna in connection with the Hungarian situation announced that they had established that during the upheaval in Budapest and other cities neither side was responsible for anti-Semitic incidents. This, they said, was fully borne out in the testimony of the many Hungarian Jewish refugees interviewed.