Jewish Conditions Abroad Reviewed at Meeting Attended by Prominent Leaders; Recession of Prejudice Wave Seen as Trend Toward Better Times for Jews in Europe; Committee Lauded for Helping Improve Jewish Conditions in Roumania; Rosenwald and Cyrus Adler Re-elected Vice-Presidents; Ford Orders Fritsch to Stop Distribution of ‘International Jew’
The twenty-first annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee was held Sunday at the Hotel Astor, with Louis Marshall, president, in the chair. Over 50 members of the Committee from various parts of the country were present at the two sessions which took the entire day.
Louis Marshall was re-elected president of the Committee, Dr. Cyrus Adler and Julius Rosenwald, vice-presidents, and Isaac M. Ullman, treasurer.
The report of the Executive Committee which Mr. Marshall read to the meeting, dealt with the steps which had been taken during the past year to counteract anti-Jewish propaganda in various countries of the world.
Correspondence had been had with Mrs. Augusta E. Stetson, owner of the radio broadcasting station WHAP, protesting against anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic announcements and readings made from that station. Mr. Marshall declared that after this correspondence the attacks against the Jews ceased, while those against the Catholics were not abated.
In discussing the apology and retraction made by Mr. Ford, the report said the Committee believes “that while Mr. Ford’s step will go a long way toward counteracting the evil done by the dissemination of the libels which had been published in the Dearborn Independent and collected in pamphle form, yet there is no doubt that anti-Jewish propagandists will use much of this voluminous material from time to time, and to this extent the harm done is irreparable.
The Committee is now engaged in cooperating with the Bureau of Census in securing information regarding the number of existing Jewish religious organizations and special funds for this purpose are being raised.
The Report of the Committee also dealt with the condition of Jews in various countries of Europe and stated that during the past year there were several events of a disagreeable nature affecting Jews in some countries.
The Committee believes that these are merely temporary setbacks and that the trend toward better times noted in previous years has not stopped. Special attention was given to student outbreaks in Roumania last spring. Mr. Marshall read correspondence between him and M. George Cretziano, Roumanian Minister at Washington.
Solomon Sufrin, a delegate of the Union of Roumanian Jews of the United States, declared that Mr. Marshall’s correspondence with the Minister of last year, with Monsieur Titelescu, head of the Roumanian Debt Funding Commission, was directly instrumental in bringing about the recent change in governments in Roumania. The change was made, said Mr. Sufrin, upon the direct request of the late King Ferdinand who insisted that M. Titelescu be made a member of the government. M. Titelescu hesitated declaring that he could not accept the offer unless he was given assurances that the new government would not tolerate further anti-Jewish excesses.
In connection with Palestine, Mr. Marshall stated that the experts who had been appointed last spring to investigate economic and social conditions are expected soon to complete their report and on the basis of their findings, the investigating commission which consists of Alfred Mond of England, Oscar Wassermann, vce-president of the Deutschebank of Berlin, Felix M. Warburg and Doctor Lee K. Frankel of New York, will render a report which will be the basis of future work in Palestine.
DEALS WITH IMMIGRATION PROBLEM
The report read by Mr. Marshall touched upon the condition of the Jewish communities in various European countries and dealt with the immigration problem in the United States.
“At the annual meeting last year, your Executive Committee called attention to the fact that there was then pending in both Houses of Congress a bill, the purpose of which was to afford relief to those lawfully admitted aliens whose wives and minor children are still abroad, being unable to join them owing to the restrictions established under the quota law of 1924,” the report stated. “The bill referred to had been introduced in the Senate by the Honorable James W. Wadsworth of New York and in the House of Representatives by the Honorable Nathan D. Perlman of the same state. It provided for the admission outside of the quota of the wives and minor children of aliens legally admitted as permanent residents to the United States prior to July 1, 1924, who have declared their intention to become citizens. Thanks to Senator Wadsworth’s persistence in the face of what appeared to be certain failure, it was adopted by the Senate as an amendment to a bill which had already passed the House and was likely to pass the Senate. The main bill, however, failed of passage in the Senate and did not therefore come up in the House.
“It is not unlikely that this matter will be brought up for consideration again in the Seventieth Congress which will open its sessions in December. There are not a few individuals as well as civic organizations which feel, as your Committee has felt all along, that the quota law is causing unmerited hardship to aliens who were admitted prior to its going into effect and to the members of their families who are still abroad.
“Those who oppose this measure come entirely from the ranks of immigration restrictionists who advocate even more drastically restrictive measures and have set their faces against any proposal, no matter how logical or humane, which would have the effect of increasing even temporarily, the number of persons who are admitted to the United States. They argue that these aliens ought to have made themselves familiar with the law and should have known that they would find it difficult to have their relatives join them. The Commissioner of Immigration, the Honorable Harry E. Hull, in a recent statement to the press, expressed the same view, saying that much of the fault for the separation of families may be lodged with the immigrants themselves, that they know the law, and ‘yet they leave their wives and families to come here on the gamble that they will be able to slip in the next monthly quota.’ This argument may be considered to be valid insofar as those immigrants are concerned who were admitted after the passage of the Immigration Law of 1924; but those who came earlier, under a less restricted quota, cannot be expected to have been endowed with prophetic foresight and should not be penalized for having been ignorant of the fact that a more stringent law was to be passed in the future.
CITES COOLIDGE’S OPINION
“President Coolidge had in his message to Congress in December 1925 declared with regard to the immigration situation that it should ‘be carefully surveyed, in order to ascertain whether it is working a needless hardship upon our own inhabitants. He went on to say: ‘If it deprives them of the comfort and society of those bound to them by close family ties, such modifications should be adopted as will afford relief …. we should not be forgetful of the obligations of a common humanity.’ In his message last December, the President again referred to this subject, pointing out that the purpose of restriction of immigration was to confer economic benefits upon the United States, but that ‘it ought not to cause a needless separation of families and dependents from their natural source of support, contrary to the dictates of humanity.”
“Your Committee fervently hopes that the incoming Congress will heed the advice of President Coolidge and that an amendment to the law may be passed which shall remedy this obvious injustice.
“But little effort was made at the last session of the Sixty-ninth Congress to push through the proposals for the compulsory registration of immigrants and for a more drastic deportation law. In his annual report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1926, the Honorable James J. Davis, Secretary of Labor, did not as in previous years again recommend the passage of a registration act. Instead, he suggested that registration be made voluntary and its record be a basis for certificate of arrival for use in naturalization proceedings for the issuance of a form to re-enter should such be required. A bill somewhat along these lines was introduced in the House of Representatives.”
The report concerning conditions in Europe, expressing the conviction that the disagreeable events of the past year were merely temporary setbacks and that a trend toward better times is visible, declared:
REVIEWS CONDITIONS DURING YEAR
“In Palestine, there was a severe unemployment crisis which is still continuing; in Russia there has been an increase of anti-Semitism not among the masses, but among the communist factory workers; in Poland the economic stagnation was disheartening although there are definite indications of improving conditions; in Roumania there were outbreaks of violence against Jews; in Germany and in Austria, there were manifestations of bigotry and intolerance. At the same time, these untoward events were not regarded with apathy by the enlightened public opinion of the various countries involved, and we may feel confident that there will be a recurrence of few, if any, of these unfortunate incidents and that with the improvement of economic conditions, the life of the Jewish people will become more tolerable.
“In Norway, the bill for the prohibition of Shechitah. the Jewish method of slaughtering animals for food, which had been introduced in the Norwegian Diet last year, and was the subject of correspondence last year between your President and the Secretary of State, was re-introduced during the past spring. The matter was the subject of resolutions adopted by two of the organizations represented in this Committee, the United Synagogue of America and the Rabbinical Assembly of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Following the transmission of these resolutions to the Norwegian government, through its Minister at Washington, and similar action by organizations abroad, it appears that the proposal was either withdrawn or allowed to lapse.”
Satisfaction was expressed at the meeting with the apparent change for the better of Jewish conditions in Roumania since the recently concluded agreement between the Bratianu government and the Union of Roumanian Jews, of which Dr. William Filderman is the leader. Solomon Sufrin. former president of the Union of Roumanian Jews in the United States, lauded the work of the American Jewish Committee in conjunction with other agencies and particularly the statesmanship of Louis Marshall in paying the way for the new favorable situation.
Speaking of conditions in Russia the report declared that “in Russia, anti-Semitism is spreading among the workers. The communist press frequently refers to the matter and urges the Soviet government to embark upon a campaign against it. Lunacharsky, People’s Commissar for Education, delivered a public address on the subject, and a public debate on it was staged by the Communists in Moscow. Bucharin, members of the Executive of the Party, placed much of the blame for the spread of the plague on so-called Jewish jokes.”
The members who attended the meeting included: Dr. Judah L. Magnes, of Jerusalem; Judge Julian W. Mack, Chicago: Dr. Cyrus Adler, Morris Rosenbaum. Victor Rosewater, Judge Horace Stern, of Philadelphia; Frederic William Wile, Washington; Judge Eli Frank, Baltimore; Isidore Wise, Hartford; Colonel Isaac M. Ulkman, New Haven; Nestor Dreyfus, New London; Dr. Milton J. Rosenau. Boston: Henry Lasker, Springfield; Edward M. Chase, Manchester: Moses F. Aufsesser, Albany; Eugene Warner. Buffalo. Herman Wile, Buffalo; Henry M. Stern, Rochester; Felix Fuld. Miss Sarah Kussy, Frederick Jay. Newark; William Newcorn. Plain-field; Dr. B. S. Pollak, Secaucus; Ben Altheimer. Herman Bernstein. Nathan Bijur. Dadid M. Bressler. Dr. Samuel Buchler. Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo. Elias A. Cohen, Harry Fischel. William Fischman. Leon Kamaiky. Max J. Kohler. Jacob Kohn. Judge Irving Lehman. William Lieberman. Louis Marshall. Alexander Marx. Jacob Massel. Edgar J. Nathan. Albert Rosenblatt, Bernard Semel. Dr. Jos. Silverman. Mrs. Estelle M. Sternberger. Lewis L. Stranss. Solomon Sufrin. Cyrus L Sulzberger. Israel Unterberg. Ludwig Vogelstein. and Felix M. Warburg. of New York City.
Congratulations on his forthcoming release were cabled to Oscar Slater by William A. Goodhart. Baltimore Lawyer, who played “Dr. Watson” to the “Sherlock Holmes” of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in the episodes leading to Slater’s vindication.
Mr. Godhart was counsel for Slater in the extradition hearings against Slater in New York. It was after the trial in Scotland that the lawyer joined Sir Arthur in the case.
If you are pleased with the Bulletin tell your friends to subscribe.