Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Situation of Jews in Unoccupied France is Growing Worse, JDC Reports

August 17, 1942
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The situation of the Jewish population in unoccupied France is growing increasingly worse, it was disclosed here today in an announcement that Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, European chief of the Joint Distribution Committee, had returned to his post in Lisbon from the unoccupied zone, where he consulted with Jewish welfare leaders on new problems which have arisen in connection with the administration of relief.

In making the announcement, Joseph C. Hyman, the JDC’s Executive vice-chairman, said that the recent Vichy decree establishing a Union of Jews in France represented a serious development insofar as rendering aid was concerned. This body, he explained, has been made responsible for all Jewish welfare activities. The Union is composed of two sections, one for the occupied and the other for the unoccupied zone, and each is directed by nine Jews under the supervision of the Department for Jewish Affairs of the Vichy Government.

“The establishment of the Union means,” Mr. Hyman declared, “that all French Jewish organizations are to be liquidated and their funds pooled into a central treasury. Naturally, this has posed certain problems to the Jewish relief organizations whose work the JDC is to a great extent financing.” He pointed out further that Vichy laws providing internment or compulsory labor for Jews who entered France after 1935 if they showed no means of support, the exclusion of large numbers of Jews from numerous professions, and other discriminatory measures, were creating greater and greater hardships for foreign and native Jews alike. In addition, he said, the 10,000 Jews in the internment camps and the 8,000 – 10,000 in labor camps were undergoing extreme privation and constituted a special problem.

Recommended from JTA