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U.S. Learns of Worsening Condition of Jews in France,
Including Thousands of Children

(December 30, 1943)

On December 30, 1943, Howard Travers, Chief of the State Department Visa Division, wrote to Moses Leavitt, Secretary of the Joint Distribution Committee, to inform him the condition of Jews in France is getting “progressively worse.” He reports more than 5,000 people were deported from Nice and hundreds of families from Marseille, Nimes, and Perpigan [Perpignan] were sent to Drancy. French militia, he added, were collaborating with German police in Toulouse.

Travers learned on December 9 that private families have received 6,000 children and said it was “urgently necessary to save additional 1,500 newly abandoned children, placing them with families.” He says there is a need to obtain visas for several thousand children hidden in France or Switzerland. He concludes that the State Department will do anything in can to help rescue the Jews and help the children.

Leavitt contacted the Treasury Department the next day seeking funds to facilitate their rescue efforts.