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Jews in France Seek Unity; Leaders of Dissolved Jewish Body Arrested in Paris

September 21, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A representative of the recently-formed United Representation of French Jews arrived here today from Lyon to meet with Jewish leaders in Paris in order that a clear picture of the Jewish situation throughout France may be obtained.

Leaders of the Union Generale de Juifs de France, which was established during the German occupation as a central Jewish body, are under arrest charged with being collaborationists. A Jewish Unity Committee headed by A. Alpert, president of the World Ort organization, is now acting as the representative Jewish body in the French capital, while in southern France the Jews are represented by the United Representation in Lyon which is working in cooperation with the Jewish Consistoire. These groups are expected to form a single body to be called the Committee Reunis de Juifs de France.

With hundreds of Jews arriving in Paris daily from hiding places in various sections of France, it was estimated by Jewish leaders here that there are at present about 180,000 Jews in the southern part of France and about 40,000 in Paris. These leaders believe that at least 150,000 Jews are lost. Of then approximately 120,000 Jews were deported and the remainder perished on French soil.

The Jewish Unity Committee, which was established in Paris immediately after the liberation of the city, is new in contact with the central French authorities negotiating for funds to carry on relief activities including eleven soup kitchens established for needy Jews. The committee refused to take over funds left by the dissolved Union Generale de Juifs de France, explaining that it considers these funds ‘stelen Jewish money” since they came from confiscated Jewish property. All the committee asks from the authorities is a loan to carry on its activities. It is certain that the loan will be repaid later from funds received from the Joint Distribution Committee.

For the time being the committee has sufficient funds to carry on until the end of this month. But Jews in Paris will be in need of relief for many months to come. Thousands of them are broken in health and in spirit, and although Jews have had all rights restored, it will be a long time before they will get back their confiscated possessions since the machinery for restoration of property is very complicated and has not yet begun to operate.

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