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Jews in Poland Hope for Mercy Food Shipments from America to Alleviate Starvation

August 11, 1942
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The eyes of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland are now more than ever before turned to America and England, hoping that food will be sent to them in the same manner as it is being sent to the starving population in Nazi-held Greece, it was indicated in an appeal received here today from Jewish leaders in Poland.

The appeal reveals that this Autumn Jews in the ghettos may face even greater starvation than hitherto. Dissatisfied with the prospects for this year’s crop in Poland, the Nazi authorities there have threatened to further reduce the meager food rations for Jews and Poles. At the same time they also proclaimed a state of emergency under which the death sentence will be imposed upon anyone violating the food regulations.

The state of emergency, issued by the Nazis throughout Poland on August 1, will remain in power for four months, according to an official announcement. Any Jew or Pole caught securing rationed food above the amount allowed him on his ration card will be considered to be “depriving” the German armed forces of food. Polish peasants not surrendering their full crop to the German authorities will similarly be executed under the provisions of the state of emergency.


Despite the strict censorship imposed by the Nazi authorities in Poland on all outgoing mail, letters reaching here from the Warsaw, Cracow and other ghettos describe with remarkable frankness the dire food situation among the Jews there. The laxity of the Nazi censors is explained by the fact that the Nazi authorities do not object to passing “starvation letters” in order to encourage Jews abroad to send food packages to their relatives in the ghettos.

A check made by interested Jewish organizations establishes that while not all food packages sent from Switzerland, Portugal and Sweden to Jews in Poland are being delivered by the Nazi authorities, a large proportion of them reach the people to whom the parcels are addressed. This is particularly true with regard to food packages sent from neutral countries during the last six months. The articles in these packages, however, are limited mostly to canned goods and do not exceed one pound in total weight.

The appeal reaching here today from the Jews in Poland for an organized effort on the part of American and British Jews to secure “mercy” food shipments for the starving people in the ghettos also reveals that religious feelings are stronger among the Jews in the ghettos. The synagogues in Warsaw are crowded as never before and Tisha B’Ab this year was observed with a religious fervour equalling only the observance of Yom Kippur, the appeal states.

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