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Reich Jewish Leaders, Expecting Arrest, Pick Women Substitutes; Forced Labor Planned

September 7, 1939
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Anxiety over the fate of Jewish leaders in Germany mounted tonight.

Indirect but reliable information from Berlin via telephone through Stockholm to Holland indicated the most dramatic preparations in Jewish circles during the weekend for an impending catastrophe. Anticipating impressments to forced labor, imprisonment or a worse fate, the leaders of German Jewish organizations, including the Berlin Jewish Community, the Reichsvertretung and the Palestine Office, arranged for women to replace them as executives as soon as the men “disappeared.” Cora Berliner and Hannah Kaminski were appointed to direct the Reichsvertretung and Recha Freyer the Palestine Office.

Through reliable non-Jewish channels in Berlin, it was learned by telephone via Stockholm, that the Nazi authorities have ordered the Reichsvereinigung, recently created all embracing Jewish organization in Germany, immediately to submit a list of all able-bodied Jewish men from 18 to 55 years of age for impressments to forced labor. The authorities warned that they were willing to extend relative leniency in controlling this “Arbeit Einsatz” (government service) if the Jews would “fully cooperate,” otherwise drastic steps, the nature of which was not explained, would be taken.

It was also learned via Stockholm that the heads of the Youth Aliyah (Palestine immigration) movement in Berlin had been informed that the Government was still willing to permit emigration of Jewish children to Holland, Denmark and Sweden. The Government warned, however, that the greatest haste was necessary, intimating that a rapid change in the situation was impending.

The seriousness of the situation in Berlin was confirmed also by the fact that the Netherland authorities have strongly warned Netherland Jewish leaders to refrain from attempting to visit Germany.

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