BEGINNING THE MURDER OF THE FIFTH COLUMNIST
By LESLIE FO
THE SATURDAY EVENING POST
T IME was when picking a car in the lowestprice field didn't carry much of a thrill.
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THE SATURDAY EVENING POST
wrought-iron staircase that looked like a prop in a stage set of a de-luxe duplex penthouse on Park Avenue. It opened up beside a passage leading from the corridor to a room obviously used for informal entertaining. Through the door to my left I could hear voices, and I started to go in. Then I glanced up the stairs.
Sylvia Peele was coming down-and that was a little like a stage set too. She was lovely, with a short-sleeved frock of pale pinkish-brown chiffon that billowed like a cloud of smoke from a tightfitting bodice, and she looked her usual vague and open-eyed and expressionless self at first, so that, again like a stage play, I got the impression that when she spoke I'd begin to know what everything was all about.
"Oh," she said. She came down a few steps and said "Oh," again. She needn't have added, "I didn't know you were coming," but she did. "How are you?"
She was looking at me blankly still, but at the same time with an odd kind of almost professional
The suet btitler stood a moment, and then, leavstairs and disappeared about his business.
Sylvia came on down. "What are you here for, do you suppose?" she inquired coolly.
" I've wondered myself,." I said.
"I'll bet I can guess. Where's Colonel Primrose, and his iron cross? "
" I don't think Sergeant Buck's as much of a cross as Colonel Primrose pretends," I said, though why, after all I've put up with at the hands of that man, with his odd obsession that I'm trying to marry his colonel, I should have leaped so instantly to his defense is beyond me. "Anyway, they're taking their ease at Virginia Beach, or somewhere."
"I'll bet," Sylvia said. "Like a G-man playing around night clubs-just for the fun of it. But you don't have to tell me if you don't want to. When are you and the colonel middle-aisling it, by the way?"
""Wat are you seared of now? You're too old to fight."
1 don't know why that's an expression that makes me see a mild shade of red, but it is.
"The point has never come up, dear," I said. "So far as I know, you and Sergeant Buck are the only people it's ever occ rred to. And I'm quite sure Mrs. Sherwood hasn't ever heard about it."
Sylvia smiled faintly. "That's not quite what I meant," she said. "Well, I'm just trying to decide whether I've got a frightful headache right now, or wait till just before dessert. They say she has a wonderful cook."
"Why?" I asked.
"Take a look. I haven't seen so many people I don't like in one place for a long, long time."
I went up beside her. A mirror on the wall reflected another mirror over the fireplace inside. I saw a number of people in there, some of whom I knew.
"There's Pete Hamilton," I said. "I should think that would decide you."
She made an odd little sound as if something had caught her off her guard and hurt her.
"What's the matter?" I demanded. "I thought you and Pete were practically middle-aisling it, as you so wittily put it."
Pete Hamilton was in the process of dropping a whole canap6 into his mouth to keep it from disintegrating down his shirt front.
" I don't mean Pete," Sylvia said. He's just a virus that's got into my bloodstream. Not even sulphanilamide will get him out."
I'd always seen her crisp and soigne, and rather hard, as a matter of fact, but just now her voice was as soft as the smoky folds of her chiffon skirt. And a little hopeless as she added, "I wish I'd fallen in love with somebody else. Every time I go to a party I think 'Well, maybe tonight- '
She shrugged her shoulders and laughed. "It's the rest of them, dear. Every time I see Larry Villiers I think of jellied eels. If I didn't have to eat once a day I'd give up my job. I'm getting fed up with people who say, 'My dear, your column is marvelous-it's even better than Shall We Join the Ladies?' And look at old Corliss Marshall. He's like Dorothy Thompson the day she said she had to remind herself she wasn't God. Now he knows all about South America too. If there was just one place he didn't know all about. And don't look now, darling, (Continued on Page 105)
4~ Samae/ 2441
S X O'CLOCK on the morning of last October
twenty-second. In a half dozen Rhineland cities Nazi secret police covered their assignments, routing thousands from their sleep. Families were given half an hour to pack what belongings they could carry. Then they were herded into sealed trains and shipped into Southern France.
Ten thousand Jews were forcibly evacuated that October week from Baden and the Palatinate. To most persons it seemed just another outburst of Nazi anti-Semitism and probably has long been forgotten. Actually it was the opening of a bitter war by refugee -a technique of warfare which the Nazis have been systematically waging for months.
The Germans always have sought to exploit the plight of their own victims. Ransoms extorted for the release of refugees helped build the machine for Hitler's blitzkrieg. Today, in Nazi hands, the men, women and children made homeless by Hitler's persecutions and conquests have become a new weapon in the total war. They have been put to a variety of military uses-to fighting the blockade, softening up the Balkans, fomenting revolt among the Arabs, and undermining United States' influence in South America.
Disguised as refugees, Nazi agents have penetrated all over the world, as spies, fifth columnists, propagandists or secret commercial agents. The refugee, too, was one of the more decisive factors in the crucial behind-the-scenes duel fought last winter between Marshal P6tain and Hitler over French-Nazi "collaboration."
Famine has been the great specter haunting Europe, and famine has been the great motivating force behind this refugee war. Early last fall, reports began coming into Washington that the Nazis were planning to relieve food shortages by expelling all or most of the Jews of nonmilitary age from Greater Germany. They were to be dumped where the democracies -meaning the United States-would have to feed them. A quarter of a million, perhaps half a million, persons might be affected.
To State Department officials, the uprooting of these 10,000 Rhineland Jews last October seemed the beginning of this push. Confidential dispatches describing the forced migration confirmed these fears. Persons of military age were not taken-today, in Germany, more than 50,000 Jews serve in labor battalions-but all others were, whether aged or sick. The Quakers, who are administering relief in Southern France, report that one sixth were more than seventy and several were centenarians.
Clearly, what the Nazis were doing was moving mouths from out of reach of the shrinking German larder, and at the same time creating a situation in France which would work on American feelings.
A few weeks later, the Vichy government sent us a formal diplomatic note proposing that the United States take the lead in sponsoring a mass transfer of refugees from Europe to the Americas, particularly of these Rhineland Jews. The proposal was rejected. In its reply, made public, the State Department cited several pages of diplomatically phrased reasons. The real reason, though, was the fear that if we took these 10,000 refugees, greater expulsions would follow, as an army sweeps in after its advance guard. Intensive German pressure had been exerted on France to send us the note. Vichy, it was felt, was playing the pawn, wringing our sympathies, in a Nazi scheme to force open this hemisphere for a great dumping of people whom Hitler did not want to feed.
The Gestapo Scheme
T HE first thrust repulsed, in January the Gestapo
determined on a more ingenious move. For $485 in United States currency, put up in New York, the Nazis proposed to transport any Jew of nonmilitary status to Lisbon, where he or she could board ship for American ports. Schedules were drawn up for from two to five trains a week between Aachen and Lisbon. Each train was to carry 500 persons, the cars sealed to prevent escape en route. The United
Below-Aq refugee in Sosua, Dominica. where the first "test tube experiment" ment is being conducted, under ideal
THE SATURDAY EVENING POST 13
States Lines was asked to undertake a Lisbon-New York run. The Nazis offered to guarantee 750 passengers every fortnight. The line would get $200 a Passenger. Since the rail fare costs little more than Fifty dollars, Germany would net more than $200
profit per refugee. Jews not only in Germany but in all Nazi-occupied countries were to be included in
Exporting Empty Stomachs
IN PREWAR years, whenever a pogrom exodus
was brewing, it would always be prefaced by ominous "preparations" which would terrorize Jews into sending frantic letters to friends and relatives abroad-in effect, ransom notes-pleading to be got out of Germany. This January, in Antwerp and
Flanders, virtually the entire Jewish populationabout 40,000 persons-was thrust into concentration camps. That same week Arthur Seyss-Inquart, who was Austria's Quisling and now is Reich commissar for Holland, ordered all Dutch Jews to register. From Poland came news that Jews in Cracow had been warned to be ready to leave on fortyeight hours' notice.
For refuge in Poland, the Nazis demanded
$750 lbsegelt-literally, let-go money" -in dollars, for the journey to Berlin; another $485 to Lisbon.
How much money actually was expected to be
raised in this human export drive is a Gestapo secret. The Nazis did let it be known that they were
prepared to release as many as 450,000 persons if visas were available, which would have netted them more than $100,000,000, not including the property of the refugees.,
As if anticipating State Department opposition, the Gestapo started the first of its sealed trains rolling into Lisbon without waiting for the completion of arrangements. From the Nazi viewpoint, whatever happened, Germany couldn't lose. Each person got rid of was one mouth less and a couple of hundred dollars more in the Nazi war treasury. Even if the scheme was blocked, as it was almost certain to be, some trainloads would get through. Wherever these refugees were unloaded, penniless and desperate, they would feed Nazi agitation. Their sufferings would swell the pressures for easing the blockade and for evacuating greater numbers of refugees from Europe, while the problems they created could be exploited in anti-Semitic propaganda. That, in essence, can be described as the Nazi strategy of refugee war: to get rid of those they do not want to feed, squeeze as much as possible from them in the process, and dump them where they will do the most harm.
Few have become aware of this refugee war because it has been fought in such undercover fashion. Newspapers have told of nearly 100,000 French ousted from Lorraine, of thousands of Jews shifted from Vienna and Luxembourg, of refugee ships appearing off Palestine-one sinking with 200 fatalities, another, the Patria, blowing up in Haifa harbor. But these headlines have thrown little light on
Nazi motives. The Gestapo high command, directing war by refugee, has issued no official communiqu6s. Censorship over Europe leaves thousands of refugees spurlos versenkt. For months about 28,000 Poles, Czechs, Austrians and Germans who tried to escape from France have lain in Spanish dungeons without an inkling of their fate reaching
the outside world.
In recent weeks I have studied more than 1000
reports and letters from abroad, many of them diplomatic and confidential. I have talked to persons at the State Department, foreign embassies, the various refugee-aid groups and returned travelers.
The information gathered leaves no doubt that refugee happenings in recent months have been part of a calculated strategy- "war"~ is the only word to describe it. Though my authorities cannot be quoted, I can say every statement in this article has been checked against official sources. None rests alone on the authority of an organization
soliciting funds for refugees.
The reports I have seen can be compared to the
scattered pages of the script of a play. Not all of the script is here. Some parts lie in the minds of the Nazis. Nor is the play finished. But enough pages are on hand to trace the plot and the tragic
sweep of its action.
In the heart of Europe, Hitler is hammering into
mold a racially pure Greater Germany, extending from Alsace-Lorraine deep into Western Poland.
This Greater Germany is to be the hub of Hitler's New Order. Here will dwell the German master race, while at the spokes of the wheel will live the other European peoples, as inferiors. This blueprint for the New Order is the line of battle along which
the threat of famine is being fought.
Greater Germany drains the richest food resources of the Continent, while the other peoples
subsist on what is left.
Twentieth-Century Slave Trade
W I THIN this Greater Germany, however, are
easily 500,000 French, more than 350,000
Jews, several million Poles. Hitler is determined to purge most of them. They are to be replaced by the millions of racial Germans who scattered about Europe in the last seven centuries and are now being repatriated. Already nearly 500,000 have been repatriated. As their numbers increase, food becomes scarcer and the expulsion of those whom
Hitler does not want is intensified.
That is the plot. The rest of the play concerns
itself with where *and how these people are being driven. Heinrich Himmler is generalissimo of this campaign and he is making it militarily profitable.
In Palestine, the Gestapo has striven to fan the
always latent Arab-Jewish-British conflict, to provoke the Arabs against the Jews and the Jews against the British. Fearful of Arab riots, the British have been trying to restrict the number of Jews coming into the Holy Land. The White Paper of 1939 permits 15,000 annually for five years. This quota system has failed completely. From April, 1939, to September, 1940, according to the British,
12,700 entered legally, nearly 17,000 illegally.
Before the war, much of this smuggling was carried on by extremist Zionist groups-Jews have refused to recognize the White Paper. Now, with Europe under Nazi dominance, most smuggling expeditions are organized by the Gestapo, using piratical sea captains, greedy for the enormous profits of the trade. A single voyage may net between $50,000 and $100,000.
The Hamburg-American Line in Germany
openly advertises "ille gale Auswanderung"l-illegal emigration-to Palestine. The lures of advertising circulars are backed by the Gestapo fear campaign. When passengers are needed, Jews are rounded up-and threatened with the concentration camp unless they leave Germany.
"Whre~ can we go?" they plead.
"Palestine," replies the Gestapo.
(Continued on Page 88)
washing Palestine. These refugees mutinied, cast ptain and crew adrift, beached the "S. S. Parita,"' dl reached Tel Aiviv in lifeboats, in this fashion.
THE SATURDAY EVENING POST
on the property, the park had been sliding downhill into disreputable beauty. Beside the great gate, too rotted to close, stood the house of Samuel Biggers, the caretaker. He was a goodnatured man who, for a couple of dollars, and e often for nothing at all, would let an outfit bed down while laying over between racing dates. None of the hundred stables was in good repair, the track was overgrown, and its rail more down than up, but the horses could be worked on sod, the grass inside the oval was belly-high and there was such peace as only sherry-glass elms, domed maples and a spreading beech can bring to the soul of man and beast.
With Windsor, the scene of the Fourth of July battle for cash and honor, only a few miles and four days away, the harness-horse fraternity had been drifting into the park like pigeons to their cote. Bill Davis, the horseshoer, would have -none of the tumble-down blacksmith shop. He had set up his tent and portable forge under the great beech, and at this sunset hour when the nags were munching grain and man's stew was still in the pot, he was holding court, as is the custom of his trade the world over. Owners, trainers, drivers and swipes were lounging around; everybody from Mr. Biggers and his twelve-year-old daughter to Crocodile Ben, a darky with the widest mouth in Christendom.
Bill Davis sat on a nail keg with a -newspaper spread across his knees. "Well, folks," he said, "I see here how Old Man Pap Biggo Trumpet won a first for hisself down to Hanover yistidday."A
"Will that Monarch the Bum never die?" murmured a jealous trainer.
"If he'd won it with the Bum," said Bill, "that wouldn't be news. It says here how he done it with a brown filly named Molly Q. by Happy Frolic out of Nancy Frank."
"What line is that?" scoffed the trainer. "Bingen, I'll bet. So old Monarch the Bum is dead at last."
"No, sir, he ain't," said Bill, "because it N says here how he took third money in the same race."
He wrapped the reins on yhs forearms
1Vqeo4" q~ew Ca~~w
MONARCH BOOM, named after prosperity
the way mothers name their babies after the current President, was foaled late in the bumper year of 1928. The rules of the ancient Trotting and Pacing Association decree that every colt becomes a yearling on the first of January next following the day of his birth, consequently the Monarch, classed as a two-year-old at the age of fifteen months, got off to a bad start. This fact seems to have depressed him throughout his long career. He is still very much alive, thank God, but he has always been a melancholy horse, big, awkward, lanky in the legs, short in the barrel and with a hammer head a shade too heavy for his longish neck. However, fortune smiled on him wanly in two ways: he was a plugger by nature, and at the calendar age of five he drifted into the possession of Biggo Trumpet.
Between that time and the racing season of 1940 he became known on every minor trotting circuit in the country as Monarch the Bum, and this is how it happened. Mr. Trumpet, who was made out of whipcord and wire as to body, clothes and mind, looked tall and wasn't, looked meek and wasn't, looked dumb and had a brain as quick as a weasel's jaws. His specialty was either finding soft spots or making them and, owing to his genius, the ungainly stallion went around reaping in small stakes as steadily as a combine bags wheat. Since Biggo was
owner, manager, trainer and driver of his one-horse string, expenses could be pared to the bone, and as a result the Bum established the record set forth below.
For seven years he supported Mr. and Mrs. Trumpet and their two sons; the elder of whom, Charles, he put through college and law school. At the advanced age of ten he provided a handsome funeral for Mrs. Trumpet and enabled Biggo to employ a permanent swipe-a swipe being a groom, handler, horse nurse or handy man. Incidentally, the Monarch paid for a powerful roadster of so ancient a vintage it had a dickey instead of a rumble. Also he raked in the price for the contraption it towed-a box stall on wheels so awesome it had to be seen to be believed. In addition, he was the source of Biggo's safety wad-forty-five dollars tucked into a grimy empty ointment jar and never used except to make a night jump away from disaster. Finally-and this must have been a bitter pill for the old warrior-he supplied the cash for the purchase of his destined successor, a saucy young filly registered as Molly Q.
On the last day in June of the year that made the Monarch a twelve-year-old, Beech Tree Park was drowsy with well-being, pleasant odors and ruin. Time was when it had been the scene of many a historic meet, but ever since the banks had foreclosed
IL U TA EDBY MATT CLARK
THE SATURDAY EVENING POST
ATTENTION 326,200drivers, 24 earsofageor
younger, were involved in autoS mobile accidents in 1939. What PN U were the reasons? How can these
PARENTS youthful accidents be reduced?
Next case called:
He's in trouble.
He has had an accident-in your car. He has violated the law.., he has received a summons . he's waiting his turn to come before the court. Could he have avoided it? Can he keep it from happening again? Could you have helped him?
When you come right down to it, is it really your son's responsibility-or yours?
Maybe the boy was going a little fast.
But has he ever heard his dad brag about beating Ed Smith's record time from home to country club?
Maybe he did try to beat the light.
But has he ever been in the front seat with you when you "slipped through on the yellow"?
Maybe he didn't stop for a "stop sign." But how many times has he seen you just shift gears and keep right on going?
You can teach your son the fundamentals of good driving and the facts to know about automobiles. You can tell him about driving
hazards and how-to avoid them. You can have a "man-to-man" talk with him about sportsmanship on the road.
But-unless you practice these driving principles yourself-your son will never really learn them.
Isn't that reason enough to do a good teaching job now-and start setting that good example?
If you do, neither you nor your son may ever need to see the inside of a courtroom when the judge says-"Call the next case!" Join the "Not Over 50" Club-more than 300,000 members pledged to drive safely and sanely. Free membership with certificate and car emblem. Write for application.
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THE SATURDAY EVENING POS Ta chT,14
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If transportation expenses cannot be extorted from friends abroad, the Gestapo sees to it that the Jewish communities within Germany tax themselves to raise the necessary emigration costs. Ordinarily, the strictest verbotens apply to money being taken out of Germany. For ille gale Auswanderung the Gestapo is ever ready to arrange the transfer of funds. Visas and exit permits appear magically. The German Danube Steamship Company hauls the refugees down the Danube to Rumanian ports, where they are loaded into ships for Palestine.
Whenever a refugee ship appears off the Holy Land, German and Italian radio stations tom-tom broadcasts in Arabic accusing the British and Jews of plotting to smuggle in enough Jews to outnumber the Arabs. 'These broadcasts promise the Arabs independence and incite them to rise and drive out the Jews.
Whatever the British do is to the Nazi advantage. If no action is taken, the British risk an Arab revolt. Any restrictive measures adopted seem callous and inhuman to Jews all over the world. Conditions on board these ships are calculated to rake Jewish sympathies raw.
Only the worst craft are usedvermin-infested freighters, discarded cattle boats, leaky tankers. Accounts of their voyages read like tales of the old slave trade. Often when a boat that is already overloaded is about to sail, the Gestapo will force another 200 or 300 refugees on board. The makeshift bunks in the unventilated cargo holds are loaded with human cargo three tiers high, with barely enough room for a person to turn. On the S. S. Atlantic, caught recently off the island of Cyprus, 1875 passengers were jammed so thickly that there was "standing room alone on deck." "Indescribably shocking," was how the Cyprus medical director described the ship, ablutions or laundry impossible . cooking and sanitary facilities inadequate . passengers emaciated and suffering from exposure." The Atlantic is typical.
Ordinarily, the voyage from Europe to Palestine takes a few days. Many
(Continued from Page 86)
never had a deficit, nor owed anyone a thin dime, nor had an angel. Therefore, I said to myself, "Perry, now's the time to shake these women, leave culture before the family go to the poorhouse, and get back on that client before you lose him."
So I quit, and the women released me from my arduous task. They knew they had already milked me dry, and were casting about for someone else-another sucker. They found one. Bully Farr, a popular merchant operating the Piggly Wiggly stores here; he doesn't know what wiggling he will do before art aind these women cut him loose.
He has taken over and I am sure he has my blessing although he did pull a fast one on me. After he had taken my place, he came to my office one morning and said, "Jim, I have taken 'your place, but you have got to serve as general counsel of the festival."
Having had such a siege of artists and desiring to turn an honest penny, I said, "All right, Bully, but I have stopped putting out free work, and anything I do will have to be on a fee basis." To which Farr replied, Good
of these boats remain at sea for months. One was afloat for weeks with an epidemic of meningitis; on the S. S. Preslo plague broke out. The Pentcho, with 500 German and Czech refugees, wandered for five months until it foundered wearily off the Dodecanese Islands. How many of these ships have sunk without a trace no one can say. The Rim, with 400 on board, burned at sea. Last December the Salvator, a decrepit, sixty-ton sailing vessel with an auxiliary motor, was crippled by a gale in the Sea of Marmara and hurled on the rocks. Two hundred of its 380 passengers were drowned.
When the ships arrive outside territorial waters the refugees are transferred at night to tiny schooners, launches or rowboats. These boats may drift for ten to fifteen hours, some swamping. Refugees who do make shore often arrive so weak they must be carried from the boats.
One official cable I saw told briefly of 218 refugees being found one morning on a desolate beach. Later I ran across a report which filled in somenot all-of the details. Their ship had carried 460 persons. When it hove into sight of Palestine, the captain ordered the passengers on deck, announcing that only those who could pay would be landed. These 218 gave up everything of value and were jPut off. Nothing has been heard here of what happened to the others.
The horrors of these voyages are matched only by the desperation of the refugees. The captain of the Les Perlos, his food stores low, turned back toward Rumania. That night the younger of the 400 passengers overpowered the crew and swung the ship back toward Palestine. When a British patrol intercepted the vessel, those on board had been four days with no food but bread and a daily cup of water. On ~ the Parita, the 700 refugees mutinied, cast the captain and crew adrift, and then ran the ship onto the beach at Tel Aviv.
IUntil recently, British policy was to intern the illegal immigrants and deduct their numbers from future quotas. But last fall the smuggling, which had fallen off, revived abruptly. From
WAR BY REFUE
(Continued from Page 13)
March 29o 1941
night, Jim, you haven't gone artistic, have you?"
This brought me to my senses, and I
am now serving as their lawyer without Aq fee. My only advice to Farr was: "Be ready to quit at any time; remember
-that no two musicians ever agree on anything; therefore, you are as apt to be right as they are; a real artist is always right, never wrong-they can't help it; and don't make the mistake of trying to convince them that they are wrong-you are just wasting your breath; never let anyone bluff you and be sure to lay off opera; the most important thing about symphonies is the number of minutes it takes to play 'em~-hold out for the short and noisy ones, every move we made was opposed, usually by musicians- don't ask me why, for I don't know and neither do they, don't think anything is impossible and stick to the women-they have the vision, faith and determination; furthermore, don't feel chesty because you have been selected as general chairman-they got you for the same reason they hooked me -first, you are a sucker, and second, you are tone deaf. That is the type they want."
THE SATURDAY EVENING POST
ports in Nazi-controlled Rumania poured a fleet of ships. At one time k4eight vessels bearing about 6000 ref ugees were en route. Britain stiffened.
More than 1900 refugees, who were
caught on two ships, were put aboard the steamer Patria, to be deported to the British isle of Mauritius. While the Patria was lying in Haifa harbor awaiting sailing orders an explosion buckled the ship. For weeks after, bodies were being dragged from the wreck. By mid-January, 150 had been found. Another 103 refugees still were
The explosion produced indignation
among Jews everywhere-in Palestine, England and the United States. So great were the repercussions that the Patria survivors were allowed to remain. But two Sundays later another group of 1584 illegal immigrants were put on two ships and deported. The Patria incident had provoked a oneday general strike. These second deportations brought a two-day strike in
Jewish resentment has grown so
that the British Colonial Office, fearful of alienating support for Britain' s war effort in the United States, has been considering some concessions. Real peace on the Palestinian refugee front, however, seems remote. The recent Iron Guard pogroms in Rumania are expected to send out a fresh stream of refugee ships. About 1200 Jews are known to have escaped from Rumania, with the help of the British consulate, on boats bound for Mauritius. Other ships are probably, even now, wandering the Mediterranean.
In every group the British have discovered Nazi agents disguised as ref ugees. Thirty-four of the Patria survivors were interned as Gestapo spies.
Hundreds of other refugees are being held on suspicion. Detection of fake refugees is made difficult by the fact that before entering Palestine illegal immigrants destroy their identification papers. Also, according to an unofficial report, in Prague the Gestapo operates a special school where Nazis are taught to act as Jews. They learn to speak Yiddish, to read Hebrew, to pray. They are supposed to submit to
Similar refugee-ship incidents, not
so horrifying but staged with equal deliberateness, have been provoked in the Western Hemisphere, the second great refugee battle-front. Here the ultimate target has been the United States. You will remember how, in the spring of 1939, the liner St. Louis, carrying more than 900 refugees, steamed into Havana harbor, but was not permitted to dock: how, for a week, the ship hovered offshore with a vigilante committee of passengers patrolling its decks to prevent suicidesthere were two attempts-and how, finally, the St. Louis turned back to Europe, where those on board were
grudgingly given haven.
This is the hitherto-untold story
behind those headlines: A racket had been flourishing in the Cuban Office of Immigration in the sale of landing permits. They brought $160 a head, and the take ran between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Determined to smash the racket, President Laredo Bru shook up the bureau, canceling all outstanding permits. Luis Clasing, the agent for the Hamburg-American Line, was called in and warned that no passengers with voided permits would be permitted to disembark. Clasing is a
German who came to Cuba in 1914, went back to Germany when the first World War broke out, and returned to Havana in 1921. Despite Bru's warning, the line went ahead with the sailing. One added precaution was taken: passengers were required to buy round-trip tickets.
Several weeks before the St. Louis' arrival, fourteen Nazi agents arrived in Cuba. They began an anti-Semitic campaign. Three Cuban newspapers which had been advocates of General Franco during the Spanish civil war joined with them. The Havana Post, its publisher informed an American diplomat, rejected an offer of $150 a week to print a pro-Nazi column.
Day after day, while negotiations were going on between American groups and the Cuban government to permit the St. Louis passengers to stay, the campaign of anti-Semitism grew in violence. As popular sentiment seemed to become more aroused, the government jacked up its demands, until finally negotiations broke down.
South fimerican Pros and Cons
Again, as in Palestine, the Nazis accomplish their purpose whether these refugees are admitted or not. The appearance of these refugees offshore is enough to start the drums of racial hatred beating. If they are offered sanctuary, or if they are turned away, it is only after Nazi agents provocateurs have had an opportunity to inflame public opinion.
With the Atlantic blockaded, only a rare refugee ship reaches this hemisphere's shores, although recently a number of Japanese ships have appeared with refugees who find the visas they purchased in Germany worthless, and now must go from country to country begging admittance.
More than 100,000 of Hitler's victims have found havens in Latin American countries and, naturally, they have presented problems. Ref ugees tend to concentrate in cities. Many are small storekeepers who open shops competing with natives. They introduce new foreign ways. In one semitropical country a musical-comedy crisis was stirred among army officers by refugee women walking about in fur coats-a new sight. The wives and women friends of the officers demanded fur coats too. The crisis was solved by raising the officers' pay.
Against such irritations can be balanced the fact that none of the refugees has been permitted to become a public charge. Those in need are cared for by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which has borne the brunt of refugee assistance all over the world. Chile, which once had to import most of its medical supplies, now manufactures more of its own, thanks to refugees. New chemical industries have been established in Colombia and the Argentine; a chinaware factory in Ecuador; textile mills in Brazil.
Axis propagandists naturally have fanned the flames of antirefugee campaigns. They spread the doctrines of those extremist groups which are pro-Fascist and anti-American. Attempts are made to oust liberal members of government. In Chile, a year ago last December, the arrival of a refugee ship touched off anti-Semitic demonstrations which sought to precipitate a cabinet crisis. In Brazil, anti-Semitism, or Nazi sympathy, has progressed so far that an American businessman was not permitted to
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THE SATURDAY EVENING POSTMac2914
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visit the country until he could prove he was not Jewish.
Fear of feeding these propaganda fires is one of the chief reasons for the State Department's opposition to Nazi efforts to dump masses of refugees into this hemisphere. Another dread is lest German agents slip in as refugees. There is good reason for this fear.
Ordinarily, refugees leaving Europe have been stripped of most of their property. In recent months a suspiciously large number have appeared with considerable sums. One brought nearly $50,000 in cash and quantities of rare tapestries, paintings and jewelry. Through such refugees, it is suspected, the Nazis transfer funds abroad to pay for propaganda or for goods needed in Germany.
In the Dominican Republic a refugee who boasted of having spent several months in a concentration camp set up a trading firm. Several of his checks were traced to a German consul and to firms blacklisted by the British as blockade runners. Many of the refugees who found havens in Belgium and Holland turned out to be fifth columnists when Hitler invaded the Low Countries. Last June, fearful that it could happen here, the Latin American Division of the State Department began applying pressure on Caribbean and Central American governments to bar virtually all refugees.
Because of the few who have turned out to be spies, thousands of innocent refugees have suffered. Last summer, in France, men and women living in daily terror of being seized by the Gestapo found themselves unable to convince American consuls that they were not Nazi agents. Weeks and months passed before many could obtain American visas; only, by then, to find escape from France cut off.
About 250,000 refugees are trapped in unoccupied France, the third and most crucial front in this refugee war. Between 85,000 and 100,000 are Spanish Loyalists-what is left of the 400,000 who streamed across the frontier after Franco's victory. The others went back to Spain either voluntarily or, as thousands last summer, under compulsion. The Gestapo is known to have turned over to Franco 432 Loyalist leaders by mid-October; among them Luis Companys, former president of Catalonia, who was executed.
Besides the Spaniard-, there are in excess of 50,000 Jewish refugees and about 150,000 Czechs, Poles, Austrians and Germans; also some Dutch and Belgians who were unwilling to be repatriated. About 60,000 of these refugees are believed to be in camps. Virtually all the others are either under police surveillance -they must report once a week-or under house arrest. Some refugees are being hidden away by the French people.
Flight from France has been clipped by the Gestapo. During the summer, refugees were able to move rather freely. At some parts of the Spanish border they could just walk across. British soldiers, escaping from France, were being interned by the Spaniards. But then, through a .bit of double dealing, they were released to the British embassy in Madrid. Germany got wind of this, and early in October moved its Gestapo into the Spanish Ministry of the Interior. They forbade transit visas for men of military age. They barred all Jews. Today every application to cross Spain must be approved by the Gestapo.
About 14,000 refugees managed to get through to Lisbon during the summer. Evidence of the difficulties in traversing Spain since are the 28,000 men and women flung into Spanish prisons. Many have been there all fall and winter. In most cases, no word of their arrests has been allowed to get out. Like Edmond Dant~s, they have been thrust away to be forgotten. They have had little or no medical care and, with all Spain under meager rations, hardly enough food to keep alive. Their plight is to be relieved a bit by the recent Red Cross shipment to Spain.
Within France as well, the Gestapo tightened the prison bars. During October a commission headed by a Gestapo agent named Kundt took a census of all refugee camps. Aryan Germans and Austrians, Communists included, were offered a last chance to repent their pasts and return to the new Reich. Many took it. Of 186 Austrians in one camp, only five stayed. At Vernet a group of 270 Communists debated for three days and three nights before voting to go back.
Those who spurned return to the Vaterland, along with thousands of Poles and Czechs, were put down on the Kundt list as political prisoners. Vichy was forbidden to grant exit permits to any persons on this list without specific Gestapo permission. Under the armistice, France is obligated to give up all political prisoners. Wholesale arrests would have saddled the Gestapo with the care of these ref ugees. By forbidding them exit permits, escape was prevented, yet Vichy had to feed them.
Into the vast prison that all France had become, the Gestapo then proceeded to dump nearly 150,000 persons. Besides the 10,000 Rhineland Jews, 30,000 Alsatians are known to have been expelled, along with nearly 100,000 residents of Lorraine.
Late in December, families still were being uprooted from the two provinces. At one time during midNovember these evacuations were being forced at the rate of 5000 to 7000 a day, until Marshal P~tain protested. That protest was the first break between Hitler and the Verdun hero over what "collaboration"' meant.
France's food resources had already been skimmed by her conqueror.
Dumping these 150,000 was like looting her food stocks a second time. In aggravating France's food needs, the Nazis were seeking to create a situation horrifying enough to arouse American sympathies, so the blockade might be relaxed or the Americas opened to a wholesale transfer of refugees. But in doing so, the Nazis unwittingly made Vichy more dependent upon American assistance. Only the United States could relieve France's famine pinch, and the price of such help, the State Department made it clear, was stiffened resistance against Hitler's demands for the French fleet and naval bases.
The Mada~gascar Plan
Early in January, Britain agreed to allow one Red Cross ship through the blockade to France. Toward the end of the month, when tension between P6tamn and Hitler was growing daily, the United States Government agreed to a bold scheme for shifting refugees from France. It was hoped that 25,000, many of them Spanish Loyalists bound for Mexico, could be moved by midspring. A new route of escape was to be opened. Instead of running the Gestapo gantlet through Spain, refugees would cross to North Africa, to Casablanca, from there to Lisbon, where American ships would pick them up. France was prepared to give exit permits to all persons approved for American visas, even to those on the Kundt list. In other words, Vichy was risking violating the terms of the armistice.
At this writing, the fate of this plan is uncertain, depending on developments in the constantly shifting struggle between Vichy and Berlin. Laval's return to power might kill the scheme. In its stead, the transporting of great numbers of refugees to the French island of Madagascar might be attempted. In his conversations with Hitler last fall, Laval is reliably reported to have agreed to turn Madagascar into a "new Jewish homeland," where, ultimately, all of Central Europe's 4,000,000 Jews might be settled. This new Madagascar was to be governed by a joint French-German board, with representation granted any foreign government co-operating. This provision is to bait American capital. The catch in the scheme is that
(Continued on Page 92)
Sanctuary. Part of the beautiful 76,000-acre seashore tract which Dominican Dictator Trujillo gave the refugees.
March 29, Z 94Z
THE SATURDAY EVENING POST
Y Otea V uy Breach -a'
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(Continued from Page 90)
eminent geographers such as Dr. Isaiah Bowman, president of Johns Hopkins University, feel that Madagascar can support a colony of a few thousands only.
Vichy's determination to evacuate refugees, even at the danger of violating the armistice, coinciding with the Nazi scheme to barter these people at $485 a head, indicates that the refugee war is swiftly building up to a climax. Whatever occurs immediately, it seems certain that the refugee war will continue as long as the military war does, perhaps even longer. As Hitler extends his domination over Europe, new centers of refugee disturbances will be stirred. Hitler has been utilizing anti-Semitism to soften up the Balkans. Before German troops entered Hungary or Rumania, he first demanded that anti-Jewish legislation be enacted. When these laws had created a refugee problem, when cities were torn with pogrom riots and the internal economy disrupted, then came the Nazi legions. In Bulgaria, similar legislation was forced late in December. Less than two weeks later Premier Philoff went to Vienna for his health."
Should Hitler drive into the Balkans, a wild flight of refugees is likely to precede him into Greece, into the Mediterranean. A situation may arise like that in France, where the millions of 6vacu~s fleeing the blitzkrieg from Holland and Belgium choked the highways, paralyzing French troop movements.
And as the threat of famine grows more stark and greater numbers of racial Germans are repatriated, the Gestapo can be expected to return repeatedly to its scheme of expelling those whom Hitler does not want and dumping them wherever it suits Nazi strategy-into Palestine, unoccupied France or South America.
The tragedy of the refugee lies in the fact that where once he was merely fleeing Hitler, today he has become a human battle front in the total war, trapped between foe and friend. Whatever hopes exist for rescuing appreciable numbers of these unfortunates boils down to this question: Can an orderly means of moving refugees from Europe be developed in place of the chaotic, trouble-fomenting flights which threaten? Since disorder is to the Nazi interest, the risk is constant that Germany may try to wreck any plan attempted.
The Postwar Problem
About 5000 refugees are coming into the United States monthly under immigration quotas-since 1933 approximately 135,000 have been admitted. One suggestion to increase the number aided has been to establish way stations between Europe and this hemisphere, perhaps a neutral zone in North Africa, perhaps some islands in the Atlantic, where refugees can be brought in limited numbers and be distributed in an orderly manner to the countries which will take them. Such sanctuaries would involve no change in existing immigration laws.
Last fall, Secretary Ickes was all set to throw open the Virgin Islands as a sanctuary, and had the proclamation signed and ready to be promulgated before the State Department was told about it. In the interbureau snarl that developed, the proclamation was shelved. Some objection was raised to using the Virgin Islands, as being too close to our vital Caribbean defenses.
When peace comes, the refugee problem will loom as one of the great tasks of postwar reconstruction. Millions will have been uprooted. Should # Hitler be victorious and the seas be opened to him, refugee dumpings might increase. Those who cannot be restored to their old countries must either be absorbed in some other established economy or be settled in a pioneer economy, some new colonization project. It will be like dealing with a gigantic problem in international unemployment.
Six weeks after Hitler invaded Poland, President Roosevelt voiced the prediction that "when this ghastly war ends there may be not one million but ten million or twenty million who will enter into the refugee problem." Today, in refugee-aid circles, one hears talk of as many as 30,000,000 postwar refugees.
The Sosua Experiment
Roosevelt was addressing the Intergovernmental Committee, formed at the Evian Conference in 1938 by the thirty-three participating governments. He urged the committee not to abandon its work because of the war, but to undertake a bold program of study and experimentation in the resettling of millions on new lands. In the blitzkrieg that followed, though, the Intergovernmental Committee has been virtually forgotten. France collapsed. Britain has been too busy to think of refugees. Myron Taylor, this country's representative, has been ill. That the committee has kept functioning can be credited chiefly to the stubborn patience of Robert T. Pell, an assistant chief of the European Division of the State Department. Pell and the Intergovernmental Committee secretary, Alfred Wagg, 3rd, have been the firm friends of the refugee in official circles. They have cut the red tape in countless individual cases. They largely are responsible for rallying government support behind the Sosua colony in the Dominican Republic, the first of the experiments in resettling millions" that Roosevelt called for.
Nearly 600 persons are already living on the 76,000-acre tract which was donated to the colonists by Generalissimo Trujillo, the oft-damned Dominican dictator. The goal of the colony is 100,000 Jews and non-Jews. Sosua has been designed literally as a test tube. Its climate is semitropical, mellowed by the trade winds, and what is done here may open up other tropical lands for white settlement.
Many South American countries have vast undeveloped areas, rich in soil and minerals, but which they will not throw open, out of fear it will not pay.
Sosua aims at breaking that resistance. The Falk Foundation-Leon Falk, Jr., is a director of the projecthas given $50,000 for an economic study to blueprint means by which the colony can enrich the Dominican economy. The Export-Import Bank has lent the republic more than $3,000,000. One loan for $270,000 is to erect a slaughterhouse at Sosua to be used to build up the island's cattle industry. Westinghouse Electric is permitting the col- ~ onists free use of its process f or tenderizing meat. So pleased is Trujillo with the way the project is shaping up that in January he gave the colonists another 50,000 acres. His original grant had been 26,000 acres. Sosua inspires the hope that a lasting peace for the homeless may yet arise out of the ashes of the refugee war.
THE SATURDAY EVENING POS7
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