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30,000 Jewish Refugees in France Urgently in Need of Relief

July 12, 1940
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Thirty thousand Jewish refugees in France are in urgent need of food and clothing, this correspondent was informed today from Toulouse. Ten thousand of the refugees are concentrated in unoccupied France between Pau and Toulouse, while 20,000 others are in the occupied cities of Bordeaux, Bayonne, Biarritz and Dax.

Especially precarious is the position of released Austrian and German internees, who are without shelter forces in France and who were prevented by their Polish officers from embarking on British ships which evacuated the Polish army to England.

The position of other categories of Jewish refugees was described to this correspondent as “painful.” The majority are without shelter and are sleeping in parks. Thousands are besieging the offices of the temporary relief committee in Toul-ouse, begging for one-time grants of not more than 50 francs. The committee, however, which is headed by a few Jewish leaders from Paris who are themselves refugees , is without funds.

Among those begging for aid are Jewish intellectuals , including writers, journalists and painters. Among then are such men as David Einhorn, poet and correspondent of the Jewish Daily Forward of New York, and Ben Adir, an editor of the General Jewish Encyclopedia recently published in Paris. All are penniless and have cabled to the Jewish Writers’ Club of New York for aid.

Among the refugees facing starvation are 300 children in boy scout camps formerly supported by the Joint Distribution Committee. They are now subsisting on one meal a day consisting of a fatless and meatless vegetable soup and bread, supplied by money collected by the local police. The children have not tasted meat for three weeks. Efforts to place them with peasant families have failed.

Relief for these children and other refugees in the unoccupied area is possible through American agencies. In occupied France, however, the problem is becoming the same as in Poland, since the German Red Cross reportedly is insisting on monopolizing all relief work. This has already resulted in serious differences between the German agency and the International Red Cross, with the American Red Cross also involved.

The Toulouse advices emphasize that emigration from both the occupied and un-occupied areas of France is virtually non-existent, since sailings on the Mediterranean have been discontinued and Spain flatly refuses even transit visas.

Meanwhile, British ships which have been refusing to evacuate non-Britons are giving passage to Palestinians, taking even those whose passports expired long ago.

No news from Paris is reaching Toulouse. Chief Rabbi Issaye Schwartz of France has arrived at Toulouse.

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