Vienna (May. 17)
Communication to the Editor
The anti-Semitic propaganda against the alleged cruelty of the schechita, the method of slaughtering animals for food as prescribed by the Jewish religion, found its way into the deliberations of the international congress of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in session here.
Despite the previous announcement that the schechita would not be included in the agenda, it was injected into the discussion by the presentation of a motion picture made in Germany and the “explanations” of German delegates accompanying the film. When the Jewish delegates protested against the falsities and gross misrepresentations contained in the titles, the scenes and the explanations, a condition of near-riot ensued. A special committee of the congress, which is to close its session tomorrow, has been charged with presenting a report on the subject.
The Chief Rabbinate of Vienna has called a press conference for today to explain the position of the Jewish religion in regard to the schechita and to counteract the false propaganda emanating from the anti-Semitic organizations which sought to exploit the platform of the international congress to increase anti-Jewish feeling under the cloak of seeking humane treatment of animals.
The Jews have the choice of war or peace, was the contention of the veterinary doctor Klein of Westphalia and Prof. Mueller of the University of Munich who indulged in an anti-Jewish tirade when they “explained” the motion picture. The Jews will have to change their method of schechita, they declared.
Dr. Feuchtwang representing the Vienna Chief Rabbinate and other Jewish delegates who participated in the discussion protested vigorously against the falsities of the film, declaring that a schochet never slaughters an animal in the manner depicted in the film. The delegates Dr. Basel and Dr. Blaschek from Germany were prevented from speaking by the anti-Semites when they attempted to bring scientisfic facts to the attention of the delegates in reply to the absurd statements of Prof. Mueller, who was applauded by the anti-Semites.
Dr. Feuchtwang attempted to calm the delegates by describing in detail the provisions contained in the Jewish ritual for preventing pain to the animals. He stated that it might be possible that if a method of electric stunning before the schechita be evolved, it might be acceptable provided that the electric stunning does not affect the organs of the animal and it does not infringe upon the provisions of the Jewish religious code. He appealed to the scientists among the delegates to continue experiments along these lines which would enable the rabbis to come nearer the stunning method advocated, if it be proven that they could agree to this method without violence to their religious feeling.
Rabbi Ellguther of Germany read a paper yesterday on the attitude of the Jewish religion toward the prevention of cruelty to animals and explained in detail the numerous provisions contained in Jewish law aiming toward the prevention of pain.
In connection with the proceedings at the Congress the Hakenkreuzler press here developed a strong anti-schechita propaganda.
In your issue of Tuesday, May 14th, in the splendid report of the J. D. C. Conference, held at the Biltmore Hotel last Sunday, you make the following statement in connection with the new plan to organize a joint body “representing all elements of American Jewry”:
“Although a discussion was called for, no debate took place, resolutions being adopted unanimously without a dissenting voice.”
May I ask you to be kind enough to correct this, since, after Mr. Marshall finished reading his resolution, I got up and proposed an amendment to its that the Federations of Landsmanschaften be represented in this body of 150 persons. I explained the reason for this amendment, saying that some of the Landsmanschaften are having campaigns for funds at present, and my amendment, if adopted, would create a united front for the Joint’s new campaign. Supreme Court Judge Proskauer, who presided at that time, decided that my amendment had nothing to do with the original resolution and called for the “aye’s” and “no’s”: and only then was Mr. Marshall’s resolution unanimously adopted.
Thinking you kindly. I am
Delegate to the J. D. C. Conference.
Representing the Federation of Polish Jews. New York. May 15, 1929.
The fact as stated by Mr. Tygel is perfectly correct, except inasmuch as the chairman declared his proposal as not germane to the question then under consideration, it could hardly be termed a debate. The “Bulletin” report that “although a discussion was called for no debate took place” stands. (Ed.)
Herman Bernstein left for his country home in Shefrield. Mass to complete his work. “The Purple Testament”-The Fall of the Russian Empire. “The Purple Testament” will be in two volumes, the first dealing with events on the eve of the Revolution, and the second with events after the Revolution. These volumes will contain the story of the decay of the Romanoff dynasty, beginning with 1905, the consequences of the Russo-Japanese war, the revolutionary movement, the persecution of the Jews, the Russo-American Passport question the World War. the March Revolution, the Lvov-Milukov Rerensky period, the Bolshevist Revolution, the Directorate in Siberia, the Kolchak dictatorship and the Lenin-Trotsky-Stalin dictatorship of the proletariat.