The disclosure of the action of the New York Art Commission, which refused permission to the Federation of Polish Jews to erect the Haym Salomon monument in Madison Sq. Park, placing on the organization the burden of proof as to whether Haym Salomon was worthy of the monument, is widely commented upon by the Yiddish press in New York City.
In an editorial entitled “A New Investigation is Needed,” the “Jewish Morning Journal” observes:
“Nothing will be accomplished if the allegation is made that the members of the New York Art Commission were intluenced in their decision by an anti-Jewish prejudice. Although prejudice is indeed bad, it is almost impossible to be entirely free from it. Prejudice must be taken into account when a decision is sought. The proper way is not to formulate charges against people whose opinion is not free from such sentiments, but to prove that they are wrong.
“Erroneous opinions which have been accepted and have become deeply rooted are being taken into account in practical life. It would be a doubtful honor for us if the monument were erected in a public place in New York and caused discussion, doubts, and perhaps even insults. The Jews would derive less satisfaction from that than they do now on account of the unfavorable opinion of the members of the Art Commission or of historians.
“Is there no legal proof of the “claim” of Haym Salomon’s heirs that the American Revolution or its leaders remained indebted to Salomon for a great sum of money? All that we know is that the claim was never recognized by a court or by Congress. There are other justified clauns which are not recognized, and it is the task of the claimants to prove that their claims are justified. This is, in our opinion, the task which rests upon the Jews of America or, to be more precise, upon those Jews who have undertaken to erect the monument.
“A new thorough legal investigation, as is the procedure in a real trial, must now be made. We have among us prominent lawyers who are interested in Jewish history and in the prestige of the Jewish name. It is their duty to make out a case if possible. The press of the country will eagerly publish the results. The proofs available must be collected and an effort must be made to find new substantiated evidence. But this requires labor and time. It has now become a matter of necessity however, to submit an unquestionable proof, for others and for ourselves. Let there be no one who could doubt that Haym Salomon deserves the recognition which the Jews are willing to confer upon his memory.”
A similar attitude is taken by the “Day”.
“It is true that there are no historic documents to show how much Salomon has loaned to the Government during the Revolution. However, so much is known: that his financial assistance was considerable, in the sense that it had saved the American Government, and eo ipso, American independence. In other words, Haym Salomon has by his deed helped to lay the foundation of this great and powerful Republic, which is known as the United States of America-an example to the entire world of the success of democracy and self-government. As such he deserves at least so much recognition that a monument of him should be placed in the heart of the greatest Jewish city in the world.
“The final decision cannot, under any circumstances, remain with the New York Art Commission. If it is a question for historians, let it be decided by recognized and competent historians. An art commission is not obliged to know history, and it has no right to decide on matters pertaining to history. That is what the honor of Haym Salomon and the prestige of the Jewish name demands.”
The action of the New York Art Commission is directly traceable to anti-Jewish prejudice, is the opinion of the “Jewish Daily News,” Orthodox organ.
“Under normal circumstances Haym Salomon would have been placed among the heroes of the American Revolution among the great patriots of American liberty, for can there be a greater patriotism than offering one’s possessions for the beloved adopted Fatherland? However, Salomon has received no recognition. Just as the money which he gave for America was not returned when his heirs demanded repayment and committees were appointed and reported favorably, nothing resulted. When a plan was broached in Congress in 1893 to issue a Haym Salomon medal again nothing resulted. No money and no honor for the Jew who helped the American Revolution.
“Of what use is it that James Madison wrote about Salomon? Of what use is it that Morris wrote about him, when there are ‘historians’ who do not want to have the Jew on America’s role of honor? It is an old story which is always new. It is the story of the Jews to who they are unwilling to give the credit due him. The Art Commission follows the old trodden path.”
The New York Alumnae Association of Alpha Epsilon Phi has made a study of the social service field in New York City with a view to recommending a charity program for the organization to adopt, and has voted to affiliate with the Emanuel Sisterhood of Personal Service of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, according to an announcement by Mrs. Martha K. Friedman, chairman of the New York Charity Project of the sorority.
“After a thorough investigation by the Project Committee,” Mrs. Friedman explained “it was decided to affiliate with the Emanuel Sisterhood, and we already have contracted to build a bungalow for twelve children at Camp Emanuel, Long Branch, New Jersey. Henceforth philanthropic endeavors will be devoted to raising money to maintain the children who use our bungalow. As each child is allowed two weeks’ vacation, we shall finance sixty children’s vacations next year.”