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War Department Says U.S. Zone in Germany Remains Open to Fleeing Polish Jews

January 13, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The War Department today told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that its policy with regard to Jewish refugees from Poland who flee to the American zone in Germany is not to close the borders to such migrants.

Emphasis was placed by a Department spokesman on the difficulties arising from an unexpected influx of Polish-Jewish refugees into the American zone, but unusual stress was given to the sympathetic understanding and approach of American officials charged with this problem.

The assurances by the War Department were given in comment on a cable received by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from Berlin yesterday, which said that U.S. military authorities in the American sector of the city had ordered the registration of Polish-Jewish pregnant women, as well as women with young children, who have been admitted to a camp in the U.S. zone in Berlin, in accordance with an order providing that Jewish women whose husbands are still in the Russian zone of the city should be returned to the Russian sector.


The spokesman said that an order to move refugees from the American sector in Berlin to the Russian sector came in the form of an agreement of the Berlin Kommandatura. It was decided that because there was such a great number of refugees in the American zone that had gone over from the Russian sector, that the Russian would seek these out and care for them in a special shelter camp, he stated. The plans for this special camp were set up, but when the word got around that these people were to be reunited in the Russian sector of Berlin, the refugees apparently assumed that they were to be sent somewhere and they “evaporated.” This means, the spokesman said, that the United States must get them back in the camp so they can be cared for. “But,” he added, “they won’t force anybody to go unless they want to go.”

(The New York Post, in a cable from Berlin, reports that there are about 300 pregnant Jewish women and nursing mothers in the camp in the American zone in Berlin. About 700 more Polish Jews have reached the U.S. zone from the Russian zone in Berlin during the last few days. “Washington has still to answer the urgent requests for guidance which have been going forward since November,” Kendall Foss, the correspondent of the New York Post, said in his cable. “Until word comes from home, no one here will take the responsibility for chapping the wife to the permanent camps in the American zone.”

(Victor Bernstein, correspondent of PM in Germany, cabled yesterday that “in a sudden reversal of policy,” American military authorities have now decided to prevent the further movement of Polish Jews into the U.S. zone and arrested five Jews with the aid of German border police.”)

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