Refugees: a World Problem

Courtesy Reuters

AS I write this article the news from Europe is distressing in the extreme. Hitler is in Vienna. Central Europe is in turmoil, as every small state of the Danubian Basin feels the increasing pressure of Nazidom. Great Britain, and, following her leadership, France, are considering whether -- and if so how -- to protect Czechoslovakia, and whether -- and if so how -- to save even a modified League of Nations. The Soviet system seems in a state of serious disintegration. The war in Spain continues, to what final dénouement we cannot yet foresee. But one thing is certain: these chaotic situations cannot fail to add to a problem which is already a world headache -- the problem of dispossessed racial and political minorities.

If one side or the other wins the Spanish civil war there will immediately be a forced emigration of political refugees. Every indication from Spain, too, is that both sides are beginning to wish to rid themselves of foreigners, and not all of them can return to the places from which they came. In Germany, more and more Jews are being deprived of the means to continue living in the homes they have had for centuries, while the situation of many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, is, to say the least, precarious. Austria has lost her struggle for independence. The victory of the Nazis there creates a vast new problem of refugees -- of Jews, of partisans of Dollfuss and Schuschnigg, of still surviving liberals, of proponents of a Hapsburg restoration, and probably also of Catholics. Rumania is experimenting with anti-Semitic laws; the Jewish question in Poland has been acute for some years.

In the Danubian Basin alone -- in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Hungary and Jugoslavia -- live some two million Jews. There are over three million more in Poland. And these figures do not include Christian converts, or men, women and children of part Jewish blood who under the German Nuremberg laws are assigned

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