A call for help for the Jews of Eastern Europe was sent to 150,000 representative Christians throughout the country by the American Christian Fund for Jewish Relief. The call is sponsored by Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, president of the Federal Council of Churches, and Judge Victor J. Dowling, who is serving as joint chairman with the approval of Archbishop Hayes.
As a first step thousands of churches throughout the country observed yesterday as Good Samaritan Day. Christian congregations throughout the country heard sermons depicting the conditions of the Jews in Eastern Europe.
After stating the American Jews are raising $25,000,000 for the relief of one-third of the Jewish population of the world, which is destitute, the call says that American Christians have learned conditions and have organized to aid. The statement by Dr. Cadman and Judge Dowling says:
“American Christians have never realized nor understood the sufferings of the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe. Five million Jews are in desperate distress today–2,225,000 in Russia, 2,225,000 in Poland and 500,000 in Bessarabia, Lithuania and the nearby countries. Men, women and little children are suffering and in misery, they are hungry all the time. Since 1914 ‘The Four Horsemen’ have ridden grimly over half of the Jewish population of the world–War, Pestilence, Famine, and always Death.
“It is no fault of the Jews that these things have happened. Varying philosophies of government, economic collapses, famine, race prejudice have played their part. In the dark days of Czarism in Russia the Jews were not allowed to own land or to till the soil. By law they were forced to become small merchants–the middlemen of the country. The Soviet government overthrew this law but also wiped out the small merchant and the middlemen. The government became responsible for distribution. The Jews were left without means of livelihood–and starved.
“In Poland and other countries the Jew suffers from fierce religious prejudice and unjust laws. Persecutions and pogroms have destroyed his home, his work; and many have been killed. Unjust taxes have been levied upon him. Because of the economic collapse in Poland the Jew was the first to suffer and continues to be the greater sufferer.
“During these twelve long years three million American Jews have faithfully and loyally helped their European brethren. Again and again they have stood between them and death. Pestilence has been met, famine has been defeated.
“In this time $62,000,000 has been given by the Jews of America for relief work among these people. This is in addition to the Jewish gifts to all war and general relief funds and does not include a much vaster sum sent directly to relatives and friends.
“When the great Russian famine raged and Herbert Hoover, with the aid of the American people, saved the Russian people from starvation, Jewish relief served both Jews and Christians. Now Christians share in the benefits of the new cooperative farm work.
“The present situation presents a tragedy worse than during the war because of cumulative conditions, and yet daylight seems ahead. Constantly have the Jews through the Joint Distribution Committee striven to give constructive relief, to get this great racial group back on its feet where it can be self-supporting. Great advances have been made.
“Jews in Poland after great suffering became self-supporting and rejoiced that they were no longer objects of charity, and then came the economic collapse and the Jew, who is the industrial worker of Poland, found himself in a worse state than ever before. To these relief is being given and it is believed that as Poland recovers economic stability, this problem will solve itself. A great migration of Jews in Russia to free lands offered by the government will go a long way toward giving permanent relief.
“God is in this work. The Joint Distribution Committee ministers to the soul as well as to the body.
“Now that we American Christians know the facts and the needs, we must act. We cannot let men, women and little children starve.
“We must realize that American Jews cannot save all of them. Unless Christians help, many will perish.”
The will of Harry Houdini disposing of his estate and his library valued at $500,000 was filed at the Surrogates’ Court.
The library is divided among the Congressional Library at Washington, the American Society for Psychical Research and Mrs. Houdini.
The will, which was executed July 30, 1924, closed with the words “formerly Erich Weiss”–which was Houdini’s original name–after his signature. The will provided for the payment of his debts and funeral expenses and directs that the Machpelah Cemetery Association, Fresh Pond Road, Queens, receive $1,000 for the perpetual care of the lots where he is buried beside his mother. No other member of the family is to be interred there, the will stipulates. A bronze bust of himself, made by Cassidy of Manchester, England, is to be placed at his grave on an exedra erected by the magician.
Houdini provided that his brother, Theodore Weiss Hardeen, was to receive his portion of the estate’s income only on condition that Hardeen’s sons all are confirmed in either the Jewish, Orthodox or the Reform faith within three months of the date of Houdini’s death. Mrs. Houdini was given power to determine whether this condition is fulfilled.