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Hungary Bars Passage of Jewish Emigre Groups to Stop Refugee Smuggling

June 5, 1940
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Hungarian Government, it was learned today, has just passed a decree prohibiting group migration of Jews from or through Hungarian territory or waters. The purpose of the new law, which is acclaimed by the local Jewish community, is to put a stop to smuggling of Jewish refugees down the Danube to the Black Sea, where they are being dumped without resources and without possibility of further emigration.

The Greek Government passed a similar law against refugee smuggling several weeks ago and other Balkan countries are expected soon to follow suit.

Since the start of the war, when it became next to impossible for Jewish refugees to obtain transit visas from Balkan countries, certain shipping organizations have been demanding fantastic sums from Jews in Slovakia and the Protectorate in return for promises to smuggle them into Palestine.

These clandestine shipping agents, many of whom are understood to be Greek subjects, took thousands of Jews down the Danube on barges and steamboats and barges and then dumped them in Bulgarian or Yugoslav ports without funds and without visas, instead of carrying them to Palestine as promised.

This illegal traffic in human contraband has done untold damage to the Jewish cause in the Balkans, to say nothing of the suffering it caused the individual refugees who have been the victims of the racket.

The Yugoslav Government a few days ago ordered the return of several hundred Jewish refugees to Slovakia. They were discovered on board a steamer tied up in a lower Danube port and were interned when the leader of the group was unable to prove that they had visas.

Another group of refugees numbering almost 1,000 is stranded in the Yugoslav port of Kladovo, where its members are suffering great privations. The Yugoslav author- ities have detained them in a concentration camp pending their return to Slovakia and the Protectorate, but to date the Slovakian Government has refused to readmit them. What disposition will ultimately be made of these unfortunates is not yet known but it is certain they will not be allowed to proceed to Palestine as they expected.

Another group of refugees from the protectorate is interned in Bratislava, Slovakia. They arrived there two months ago after paying for passage down the Danube to a certain Black Sea port. But their passage never materialized and they were detained by the Slovakian police. They are living under the most difficult conditions, since the Slovakian Government provides them with very little food and the once wealthy Jewish community of Bratislava is now so impoverished that it cannot afford to give them any assistance.

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