800.4016 DP/1–1046: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State

top secret

79. Reference Dept’s 1137, December 26, 7 p.m. my 1074 of November 22, 2 p.m. and my 1343 of December 28, 2 p.m. pertaining to infiltration of Polish Jews into Berlin.23

Matter discussed in Kommandatura and Soviet member stated that as obviously migrant Jews could not reach Berlin without crossing Soviet zone, Soviet authorities propose establishing camp at Prenzlau for subject persons found in Soviet sector. Camp was to be unguarded and a temporary haven only as Jews subsequently were to be allowed to settle any place in Soviet zone desired. This was believed temporary and partial solution to problem as migrants first appeared at Jewish areas in Soviet sector. Latter housed approximately 2000 Jews.

When Soviets appeared with trucks on morning of January 7 to transfer Jews to Prenzlau [Gemeinde], shelters were found deserted. On same morning pregnant Polish Jewish women admitted to camp in US sector refused to accept transportation to take them to Soviet sector to join husbands in transfer to Prenzlau, stating their husbands were not in Soviet sector.

Approximately 400 Jews who had been in Soviet sector were discovered on January 9 at self-established camp in US sector. Later same day delegation from this group received appointment with Colonel F. L. Howley, Director, Office of Military Govt, Berlin, and deputy to General Barker, US representative on Kommandatura, to present petition. Delegation “demanded” (to use Colonel Howley’s word) food, clothing, and fuel. Delegation insisted that none of Polish migrant Jews wanted to or would move east. Howley believes nucleus in US sector will attract majority of those formerly in Soviet sector and perhaps many of 2700 accommodated in French sector. At present it is estimated about 6000 Polish Jews are in Berlin.

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While recognizing current phase of problem is Kommandatura’s responsibility, Howley argues that ultimately it will be a Control Council matter. On that basis he approached General Clay24 on afternoon of January 9 to ascertain Allied Control authority policy in order that he might adjust his actions accordingly. He was advised by General Clay to provide for these migrants in US sector but on a temporary basis only, using military supplies if necessary.

Repeated to Warsaw respectively as Dept’s 362, my 88 and 121.

  1. None printed; for documentation on the migration of Polish Jews into Germany, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, pp. 1224 ff. Telegram 1137 requested specific information concerning alleged acts of persecution from Polish Jews who had emigrated. Telegram 1074 estimated that roughly 200 Jews were entering Berlin daily from the East and stated that since approximately November 1, 90 percent were Polish Jews. It also reported the suspicion of some officials in the U.S. zone that the westward flow of Polish Jews was a planned movement. Telegram 1343 stated that approximately 4000 Polish Jews had arrived in Berlin. Most of them had fled fearing persecution in Poland and did not intend to return, expressing a preference to migrate to Palestine, the United States, South America, France, and England. Evidence from interviews seemed to indicate that the movement was organized. (840.48 Refugees/12–2645; 840.48 Refugees/11–2245; 800.4016 DP/12–2845)
  2. Lt. Gen. Lucius D. Clay, Deputy Military Governor, U.S. Zone of Occupation in Germany; U.S. member, Coordinating Committee, Allied Control Council for Germany; Director, Office of Military Government of the United States for Germany (OMGUS).