Page 1, 10th May 1946

10th May 1946
Page 1
Page 1, 10th May 1946 — The Three Western Allies Should Absorb Europe's Displaced Persons

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Locations: Essen, Berlin, Yalta, Teheran


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The Three Western Allies Should Absorb Europe's Displaced Persons


By a Staff Reporter

Mr. Richard Stokes, M.P., who has recently returned from a visit to Germany, Where he went specially to look into the plight of displaced persons and expellees, told me something about his own personal solution to this problem, based on what he saw and heard in the various camps. Not only did he see the people already installed in camps, but watched the arrival of fresh expellees from what he calls the " New Poland," Mr. Stokes said : " In the course of my trip I visited altogether eight camps, five of whioh were for displaced

persons. There was one for Ukranians, one for Baits, two for Poles, and one was a mixed camp. T have come back with the impression that the only thing to be done is for the British, American and French to got together and between them absorb into their own-populations the half million (some put it at much more) displaced persons who do not intend to return to their own countries.

" The Ukranians, for instamse, could go to Canada, where there is already a big settlement of their people; the

Poles to Australia have discussed this with competent Australians who asSured me the Commonwealth would welcome them); the Batts could settle in France —they are mostly Catholics and a decent and peace-loving folk; and the Yugoslays, most of whom cannot possibly go hack home, could emigrate to South America. Brazil, as you know, has promised to take Migrants.

" There are," Mr. Stokes went on, " three ways of dealing with the displaced persons problem:

" (1) You can force them back to their own countries. but that is unthinkable. (2) You can leave them in Germany. but that would only mean sowing the seeds of another war sooner or later. The very fact that ?ander the treachery of Teheran and Yalta we have agreed to the forced expulsion of some 14 millions from a thinly-populated area into an already over-populated one which can scarcely sustain itself, is wrong in itself. The displaced persons would only form the rump of MIS Overpopulated and ruined area. (11 There Is my way, which Is to ignore the Russians who always say they have no displaced persons problem. And they have not. because they send those they don'twant to Siberia! Russia doesn't consult us so why should we consult them?

IT WAS yrriFtli,

About the daily arrivals of fresh deportees, Mr. Stokes said : "I saw people comigg in from ale Russian zone and Poland—thousands of them, come every day. It was pitiful. They had been anything from five days to a fortnight on the way and they were underfed, ill-clothed, and were imme diately deloused on arrival. There were no young men among them. In one transit camp, housing several thousands, there have not been 8 per cent. fit men under the age of 50 since the expulsions started. I was stold on undisputable authority that the young men were being kept in Russia and Poland for slave purposes."

Many of the women arriving with their families will. however, still be separated from their r&nfolk, who are prisoners of war in Britain and the United States. " We have absolutely no right to retain these men," Mr. Stokes said. " It is a direct contravention of the Geneva Convention. We should let all the German prisoners of war go back and .hele to rebuild their shattered country and bring some hope to their women and children.

" I went to a German prisoner of war camp which receives the inen corning back from Russia. I believe I was the first British M.P. to do so. These tamps heed about 10,000. Practically no officers come back. I spoke to two who had been sent back—one had galloping consumption and the other had one leg. They told me that the officers arc kept back to act as gangers in the work gangs in the mines and forests, and that not 15 per cent. of the 60,000 were likely to rettun alive.


A party of nurses—about 20 of them —had come back from Rostoce all suffering from V.D. which they had contracted at the bands of the Russians. They had recently been sent across the Russian zone west of Berlin on their way to the British zone, hut had been stopped On some pretext at the western frontier by the Russians, taken out into the forest and raped again and then sent back to Berlin.

After visiting the camps, Mr. Stokes spent two days in the Ruhr. " The dytruction is terrible A million workers' houses have been destroyed. In Essen the population of 20,000 tout of an original 400,000) is living in holes under the ground. The plight of the children is shocking. I stopped and talked to many of them and I did not see one who was not suffering from some kind of skin ailment, They get no green vegetables and practically no fats. They live on a nominal diet of 1,000 calories, but as a quarter of it is supposed to be potatoes. of which

there are none, they axe down to e Beisen ration, " But, of course, the children in the countryside like Westphalia are all right. •They are well-fed, and bonny, and full of go. What a. terrible contrast am these children of the industrial Ruhr. I followed one little girl of seven who was carrying a small basin of water through a path in the rubble down into an underground hole where a woman and five children under the age of ten were living. There were no sanitary airangemepts of any kind. No water. Netter! g. The fa thee was suffering front a chest disease. This woman had been bombed out three times.. No convenience of any kind except the rubble heaps outside."

NO CONSTRUCTIVE POLICY Summing up the whole position of °cc:TIE:J. . trouble urbleanis we have no co* structive policy. The Russians have, which is to establish Communism there. Rut we are not even building up the Trade Unions. It's no use selecting parties to support—Social or Christian Democrats. , To back either of these toed/fealty would be to damn them. paiVertis el sw.,,,tid strengthen the Trade Unions and let the Germans evolve their own So far as attempts on tne part of the Russians to help the food situation are concerned, Mr. Stakes was informed that the potatoes in the ..Russian zone around Berlin have all been lifted to make schnappes for the troops, and all the sugar has been sent back to Russia. The sugar factories in. Thuringia have been dismantled.

"The most important thing of all is to recognise, as most of the responsible people I spoke to in Germany do recognise, that the Potsdam plan, based on the iniquitous Morgenthau scheme of pa.storaiisatinn, which was signed by Winston Churchill at Quebec, is quite unwotkable. The sooner it is scrapped and a constructive start made the better."

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