The persecution of the Jews of Roumania was one of the chief topics of discussion at the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the American Jewish Committee held on Sunday at the Hotel McAlpin, New York. Louis Marshall, the President, was in the chair and 65 representatives from various parts of the country were in attendance. Besides taking up the condition of the Jews in various countries, the Committee also discussed the United States Immigration and Naturalization laws and went on record as favoring legislation, now pending in Congress, for the admission of the wives and minor children of aliens now in this country who have taken out their first papers.
Mr. Marshall read a memorandum which he presented last December to Nicholas Titelescu, head of the Roumanian Debt Funding Commission then in this country, calling attention to the virulent anti-Semitic movement going on in Roumania and which the government apparently is making no attempt to suppress. “We find that, for several years past,” wrote Mr. Marshall, “there has been an open, notorious and continuous demonstration of animosity against the Jews, with the accompamment of an attack upon their religion in the form of gross libels, of assaults upon their person, and destruction of their property, and of agitation looking to their deprivation of fundamental rights, including that of securing education and of earning a livelihood. These acts have not been sporadic, but they have been systematic. They have been fortified by publications in the press, by addresses made at public meetings, by pamphlets and cartoons of the most shameful character, by which it is attempted to stimulate hatred, bitter animosity and prejudice, and to attack the honor of those of the Jewish faith by falsely ascribing to them every imaginable iniquity, Men, women and children have been waylaid on the streets, they have been attacked in their homes and in their places of business. The windows of their houses have been smashed, and the sanctity of their domiciles has been invaded. They have been bludgeoned while engaged in their lawful pursuits. They have been ejected from public conveyances by force and at the risk of their lives. Their houses of worship have been sacked on the days which they hold sacred.”
Nobody has been prosecuted for these crimes, the memorandum goes on to state. No protection has been afforded to the Jews who have been placed in peril of their lives and who are daily subject to a repitition of the violent attacks that have been made upon them. Mr. Solomon Sufrin of New York, who attended the meetings as a representative of the Union of Roumanian Jews of America, gave an account of a number of cases of ill-treatment of Jews which came under his notice during a recent visit to Roumania. He told of a riot which took place recently when Professor Cuza, leader of the anti-Semitic movement arrived in Bucharest, in which fifteen Jews were mercilessly beaten two of them fatally. He told of one case in which Jewish young women were thrown from moving railway trains when they rejected the offensive advances of Roumanian students, and of a Jewish veteran of the World War who was thrown from a moving train and who lost both of his legs as a result.
Attention was called by Judge Julian W. Mack to the fact that not only Jews but also Baptists, Unitarians and Catholics were oppressed in Roumania, although these other sects were not persecuted as cruelly or as extensively as are the Jews.
The political outlook is much brighter in Poland. says the Committee’s report. The present cabinet shows every desire to treat the Jews and other minorities justly and impartially. Unfortunately, at the present moment political conditions there are in a state of flux and the attendant uncertainty can not bode good for the business life of the country. In Russia only one-third of the Jewish population of 3,000,000 have any truly dependable sources of livelihood. These comprise about 850,000 who are dependent on members of trade unions and another 150,000 engaged in agriculture. This condition explains the drift back to the land which began about three years ago and which the American Jewish community is endeavoring to support through the Joint Distribution Committee The report pointed out that the recent assassination of Simon Petlura. former Ukrainian leader, by a Jew in Paris is likely to create difficulties for Jews in the Ukraine, among the people of which Petlura was and is held in great honor. “The Ukrainians are being irritated.” says the report, “by the attempts which are being made to prove that Petlura was not only officially but also personally responsible, for pogroms, and by the attitude of some of the Jewish newspapers in various countries, including the United States, which have held the act of the assassin to be that of a national hero. This attitude is not only harmful but it is also incorrect. It is a grave error and an injustice to anticipate the decision of the French court as to the extent of Petlura’s responsibility for the massacres. Secondly while we can understand how a man who constantly broods over human wrongs and crimes and whose relatives were pogrom victims was driven to such a desperate, and yet futile act, there is no excuse for making him a national Jewish hero and justifying murder committed as private punishment for alleged wrongs, or for the Jewish people to assume the responsibility for his deed. We trust that agitation along these false lines will cease before it is too late. His defense must be sought in the field of mental irresponsibility and not in that justification.”
The report also touched on the question of the rights of racial, linguistic and religious minorities incorporated into the various peace treaties, and the attempts of the Jews of Turkey to renounce their status as a minority.
The following officers were elected: President, Louis Marshall; Vice-Presidents. Dr. Cyrus Adler of Philadelphia and Julius Rosenwald of Chicago; Treasurer, Colonel Isaac M. Ullman of New Haven.
Those present included Dr. Cyrus Adler, Martin O. Levy, Morris Rosenbaum, Victor Rosewater and Judge Horace Stern of Philadelphia; Milton M. Adler, Frederick Jay, Felix Fuld and Lewis Straus of Newark; Judge Jacob Asher of Worcester; Moses F. Aufsesser of Albany; James H. Becker and Judge Julian W. Mack of Chicago; David A. Brown of Detroit; Edward M. Chase of Manchester; A. J. Dimond of East Orange; Eli Frank and S.B. Sonneborn of Baltimore; Isaac W. Frank and A. J. Sunstein of Pittsburgh; Henry Lasker of Springfield, Mass,; Judge David A. Lourie, Dr. Milton J. Rosenau of Boston; William Newcorn of Plainfield; Dr. B. S. Pollak of Jersey City; Archibald Silverman of Providence; Isador Sobel of Erie, Pa.; C. D. Spivak of Denver; Isidore Wise of Hartford; H. A. Wolf of Oman; Isaac Allen, Ben Altheimer, Herman Bernstein. Samuel Bettelheim, Judge Nathan Bijur, David M. Bressler, Max Eckman, Dr. H. G. Enelow; Harry Fischel, William Fischman, Dr. Lee K. Frankel, Henry M. Goldfogle, Justice Gustave Hartman, Abraham Herman, M. L. Hollander, Max J. Kohler, Rabbi Jacob Kohn, Judge Irving Lehman, William Lieberman, Solon J. Liebeskind, Louis Marshall, Albert Rosenblatt, Bernard Semel, I. M. Stettenheim, Solomon Sufrin, Cyrus L. Sulzberger and Israel Unterberg of New York City.
The Committee was organized in 1906 to protect the rights of Jews in all parts of the world and to combat discrimination against them.
For the first time in the history of Northampton County, Pa., a Jew will be a candidate for the office of District Attorney. Attorney Israel Krohn, of Easton, Pa., has announced that he will seek the nomination on the Republican ticket. The primaries will be held next May.
Mr. Krohn was president of the Easton Y.M.H.A. for several years.
Three Jewish students at the University of Illinois were presented with scholarship cups by the Hillel Foundation for having maintained a perfect class average during the past year. Casil Friedman, a junior, receives this a perfect grade for the first two years of his university work. Judge Harry M. Fisher of Chicago, delivered the principal address at the presentation.