Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

5,000,000 Jews in Path of Nazi Forces Invading Russia

June 23, 1941
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Approximately 5,000,000 Jews are in the direct path of the German armed forces driving into Soviet Russia from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

The largest group, numbering some 3,000,000, are in the Ukraine, primary objective of the Nazi invasion, and the Crimea. The bulk of these are engaged in industrial work, while some 200,000 are settled in the Jewish colonies of the Ukraine and Crimea. Some of these colonies have existed for more than 100 years, some were founded by the Jewish Colonization Association (ICA) and some were created with funds advanced by the American organization AGRO-JOINT.

The second-largest group, numbering some 1,500,000, are in Soviet-occupied Poland. These include thousands who fled from the Nazi-held areas of Poland, where they faced persecution, confinement to ghettos and slow starvation.

Other large groups in the path of the invading Nazi legions include some 350,000 in the Baltic states, approximately 200,000 of whom live in Lithuania, and 200,000 in Bessarabia and northern Bukovina.

In an address announcing the Nazi invasion to the Russian people, Foreign Affairs Commissar Molotoff said that some 200 persons had been killed or wounded in Nazi air raids on the cities of Zhitomir, Kiev, and Kaunas, all cities having large Jewish populations.

The imminent danger threatening the Jewish masses in the Russo-German border districts was stressed by Prof. Selig Brodetsky, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, in presenting the report of the joint Foreign Committee at today’s Board meeting.

Referring to the “further extension of the war in the last few hours,” Brodetsky declared: “Of course it is not for me or anybody speaking in the name of the Board to express an opinion on the great international issues involved, but I am afraid that none of us can forget and, I hope, will forget that….. once again millions of Jews are involved in the route taken by the armies and that millions of Jews are involved in danger over the possibility of being overtaken by the Nazi heel. I can only express the hope that our brethren in the western part of Soviet Russia will escape the danger which seems to threaten them.”

Recommended from JTA