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U.N. Conference on Status of Missing Persons Opens; Jewish Congress Submits Appeal

March 16, 1950
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Twenty-six member states of the United Nations gathered here today to seek a legal method for issuing declarations of death for hundreds of thousands of persons who disappeared during World War II as a result of Nazi mass deportations and persecutious and hostilities.

At today’s opening session, the conference decided to hold a full-dress debate and then proceed to an article-by-article consideration of the draft of an international convention on this subject prepared by Secretary-General Trygve Lie and revised by a special committee of the Economic and Social Council. Dr. Jacob Robinson is the Israel representative at the conference.

The World Jewish Congress submitted a memorandum to the conference urging it to adopt an international convention for the codification of existing national legislation with regard to missing persons, in order to enable thousands of Jewish widows, orphans and heirs, most of whom are survivors of Nazi persecution, to remarry, claim property and settle other legal problems in the absence of legal proof of the death of missing persons.

The memorandum points out that many victims of racial and religious persecution were annihilated en masse in Eastern and Western Europe, and there are no witnesses or proof of the events which caused their death, beyond evidence of their deportation from their last place of residence. In many instances, even such evidence is unavailable because some of the victims had fled the countries of which they were nationals, on the eve of the Nazi invasion, and were deported to gas chambers and slave camps from countries in which they had found temporary asylum, the memorandum points out.

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