840.48 Refugees/1–2545: Telegram

The Ambassador in Turkey (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State

130. From Katzki21 to Pehle, War Refugee Board. Ankara’s No. 7.22 The following statistics, one year after the creation of the War Refugee Board, relating to rescue and emigration activities from the Balkans via Turkey to Palestine for the calendar year 1944, will be of interest to the Board. The total number of persons who passed in transit through Turkey proceeding to Palestine excluding 282 people from Holland exchanged for German nationals in July is 6527. Of this number 1392 came from Bulgaria, 163 from Hungary, 4433 from Rumania and 539 from Greece.

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It should be noted, however, that persons included under Rumania comprise not only Rumanian nationals but a large proportion of Polish, Slovakian, Ruthenian and Hungarian refugees who succeeded in escaping to Rumania.

The total of 6527 includes 1737 children and youths up to the age of 18 years. Approximately 1,000 were orphans repatriated from Transnistria. An additional 327 accompanied their parents and the balance comprises children emigrating without parents.

All the refugees from Greece escaped by sea. Ten groups arrived by sea from Constanza using vessels of Bulgarian registry 5 times and Turk vessels 5 times. An 11th group from Constanza was lost with the sinking of the Mefkura. Other refugees from Bulgaria and Rumania arrived by railroad.

Thus far in January 628 additional persons from Rumania (the Stara-Zagora detainees) have passed through Turkey proceeding to Palestine.

The success of this rescue work, as you previously have been informed, is attributable to the breaking of the bottle-neck into Turkey as a result of the efforts of Ambassador Steinhardt and the WRB.


  1. Herbert Katzki, War Refugee Board Representative in Turkey.
  2. Dated January 3, 1945, not printed.