Dr. Cyrus Adler of Philadelphia was unanimously elected president to succeed the late Louis Marshall, Judge Irving Lehman of New York and Julius Rosenwald of Chicago were elected vice-presidents, and Colonel Isaac M. Ullman of New Haven, treasurer, at the 23rd annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee, which was held last Sunday in New York City, with Dr. Adler, vice-president, in the chair. The nominating committee recommended also that Judge Horace Stern of Philadelphia should be elected chairman of the Executive Committee.
In its annual report, after paying tributes of respect to Louis Marshall, Felix Fuld, and other members who had passed away since its last annual meeting, the Executive Committee told briefly of the matters, domestic and foreign, which it had had under consideration during the past year. Under domestic matters were included immigration, religious and racial intolerance, Jewish fraternities at universities, calendar reform, statistical work, American Jewish Year Book, and negotiations with the American Jewish Congress.
Under immigration, the Committee report stated that what it believed was a great step forward was the bill enacted March 2, 1929, which legalized the admission of aliens who had arrived in the country before June 3, 1921, and who were not able to produce proof of legal admission. The report expressed regret that the repeal of the National Origins Provision of the Immigration Law. which had been so strongly urged by President Hoover, had not been effected by Congress.
As to religious and racial intolerance, the report stated that very few instances of this in the United States were brought to the attention of the Committee. Under this head, it referred to the action which had been taken by Mr. Marshall in connection with the production of the Freiburg Passion Play; to the address of a New York real estate dealer who had referred in a derogatory manner to the growing interests of persons of foreign extraction in the real estate business and the tendency of some of them to change their names, to which Mr. Marshall had vigorously replied; to the correspondence between Mr. Marshall and Rev. Dr. Alfred William Anthony regarding the good-will movement and the question of conversion of Jews; and to several other matters of like character. The report also calls attention to the change of policy of the authorities of Brown University in connection with fraternities, under which it will be possible for national or international fraternities, having no racial or sectarian restrictions, to establish chapters at the university "even if in fact the majority of the members of such fraternity are of one race or creed."
In connection with calendar reform, the report explained how the blank day feature in the proposed reform of the calendar, by destroying the existing and immemorially fixed periodicity of the Jewish Sabbath by causing it to fall on different days from year to year, would cause great hardships to Jews who observe the Sabbath, and might eventually result in the virtual destruction of that institution. In order to combat the proposed introduction of a blank day, the Committee joined a number of other organizations in establishing the League for Safeguarding the Fixity of the Sabbath.
The work of the Statistical Department of the Committee was concerned, during the past year, chiefly with tab- (Continued on Page 7)
The report of the Executive Committee told of negotiations which had taken place with the American Jewish Congress, following the adoption by the latter body of a resolution recommending the appointment of a committee to arrange for an early conference of representatives of the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress "to the end that sorely needed unity of action with respect to Jewish problems may be affected, and present and potential causes of discord in Jewish life be thus averted." Such a conference was to have taken place early in the fall of this year, but owing to the death of Mr. Marshall, it has not yet been possible to arrange it.
In the foreign field, the Committee devoted attention chiefly to the following matters: to the situation of the Jews of the Yemen, southern Arabia; to the condition of Russian Jewish refugees in Constantinople; to the movement in Norway which culminated in the passage of a law prohibiting the practice of schechita, the Jewish method of slaughter; to the movement to bring about changes in the procedure of the Council of the League of Nations in handling the complaints of minorities in European countries of the infraction of the rights guaranteed to them by international treaties; and to the recent outbreaks in Palestine. Regarding the last subject, after referring to the Committee’s correspondence with the Department of State, the report says that, as these disorders are now the subject of inquiry by a British commission, the Committee would not discuss the causes which led to them.
When it was reported, last February, that the rights of minorities were to receive a great deal of attention at the then forthcoming meeting of the Council of the League of Nations, Mr. Marshall communicated with representatives on the Council, placing before them suggestions previously made by him to the Secretariat of the League of Nations, as well as influential statesmen, which Mr. Marshall believed would greatly improve the procedure and make the guaranty of the League of Nations of the rights of minorities more effective.
In connection with the anti-schechita movement in Norway, the report of the Committee explains that, whereas it had been possible in previous years, when efforts to pass an anti-schechita law through the Parliament had been made, for the Committee, acting in conjunction with other organizations, to prevent this from happening, this was not possible during the past year because the groups hostile to schechita, anxious to prevent any such intervention, had made use of such facilities as were afforded by the parliamentary procedure, to rush the bill through the Norwegian Parliament.
The Committee had cooperated with other organizations in preventing the summary expulsion, last February, of 1,500 Russian refugees in Constantinople, of whom 800 were Jews. The situation of the Jews of the Yemen, which had been brought to the attention of the Committee by the articles in the Hebrew press in Palestine, was thoroughly investigated by the Executive Committee, which was anxious to alleviate the sufferings of this isolated Jewish community, which is being subjected to almost unbelievable suppression and degradation. After conferring with foreign Jewish organizations which have the same interests at heart, the Committee came to the conclusion that for the time being, at least, existing conditions are, unfortunately, unfavorable for initiating any steps for securing intervention with the Government of the Yemen in the interests of the Jewish population.
The Committee’s report concludes with a review of the condition of Jews in foreign countries. Special stress is laid upon the widespread anti-Semitic movement in Germany, which is fostered by the so-called National Socialist Party and the Fascisti under the leadership of Hugenberg and Hitler. The Committee’s survey also found anti-Semitism deeply rooted in Austria, whereas in Czecho-Slovakia it is not a serious menace. In referring to Roumania, the survey, after describing the change of government, goes on to say:
"It would be a grave error to assume that the change of government in Roumania has been accompanied by any considerable decrease in anti-Semitism. The anti-Semitic party, under the leadership of the notorious Cuza, has changed neither its views nor its program. Reliable observers, who have recently investigated the condition of the Jews of the country, declare that anti-Semitism is widespread, that its sinister influence is keenly felt by Jews in all walks of life, and that, here and there, discrimination is reflected in the action of local government officials. It appears, however, that the central government is desirous of maintaining order; that, wherever possible, it has taken measures to prevent anti-Jewish persecution; and that when attacks against, or unjust treatment of, Jews have been brought to its attention, the government has taken measures to punish those convicted of such offenses and to hold local officials responsible for failure to exercise necessary precautions."
The report speaks in commendatory terms of the firmness of the Polish authorities in suppressing the anti-Jewish riots which took place in Lember, last June, and which were instigated by a rumor that Jewish high school girls had mocked a Catholic procession.
The unhappy economic lot of the Jews of Poland and Lithuania and the continued anti-Semitism in Russia, as well as the constructive work being done in that country to improve the condition of the declassed Jews by helping them to engage in agriculture and industry, are also described in the Committee’s survey of the condition of the Jews in foreign countries, which closes with a discussion of recent events and progress of Palestine. In referring to the success of the movement begun in 1924 by Dr. Weizmann and Louis Marshall, to bring about the enlargement of the Jewish Agency so that it would include representatives of non-Zionist elements in the various countries, the Committee recalled that Mr. Marshall’s efforts in this direction were in harmony with the position taken by the American Jewish Committee at a special meeting held in 1918, when it adopted a resolution favoring cooperation "with those who, prompted by religious or historic associations, shall seek to establish in Palestine a center for Judaism, for the stimulation of our faith, for the pursuit and development of literature, science and art in a Jewish environment, and for the rehabilitation of the land."
In the course of discussion on the report of the Executive Committee, Bennett E. Sicgelstein, president of the United Roumanian Jews of America, one of the organizations affiliated with the Committee, read the following telegram regarding recent anti-Jewish outbreaks in Roumania, which he had received from Jacob Rosenthal, Counsellor of the Roumanian Legation:
"With further reference to our conversation and the communications which in this connection I have made to His Excellency, Mr. Davila, Roumanian Minister, I just received the following statement: ‘Please advise Siegelstein that I have requested the government to make supplementary inquiry in order to establish responsibilities in Putna excesses.
"Would like Roumanian Jews of America to have confidence that those happenings will not remain without sanction and that in spite of great difficulties the government has to contend with Roumanian Premier will know how to deal with the situation in such a way that similar incidents shall not be repeated in future. Am expecting any moment cable communication regarding latest decisions of the government and can assure you that one may count without reservation on the government solicitude and my own per (Continued on Page 8)
sonal support’." The telegram is signed "Davila, Roumanian Minister."
Mr. Siegelstein stated further that he had received, on the morning of the meeting, a telephone message from the Roumanian Legation at Washington to the effect that Premier Maniu had cabled the Legation to assure the Jews of America that all responsible for the recent attacks will be adequately punished, that everything possible is being done to prevent a recurrence, and that those who instigated it, including Cuza and his aides, will be kept under surveillance.
The nomination of Dr. Adler as President of the Committee to succeed Mr. Marshall, was greeted with applause. It was seconded by Mr. Rosenwald, who said:
"You have heard the report of the Nominating Committee. I would like to ask the privilege of seconding the nomination of Dr. Cyrus Adler as President. This is one time when I regret the extreme limits of my inability to say what I would like to say. I think every member here will agree with me that we are extremely fortunate in having Dr. Cyrus Adler to take the helm of this organization at this critical time. He is a man who has been connected with the organization from its inception, and not only has he been tremendously interested in it, but he was the right-hand of our great departed leader. He has served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for many years and you all know how ably he has served. In the great event that took place in Paris when Mr. Marshall, Judge Mack and Dr. Adler and others were in Europe, he represented the American Jewish Committee in the principal work that the American Jewish Committee has ever done. I say that, with due regard for the many good things that the Committee has done. He did one of the greatest services to the Jews of the world in representing this Committee and in helping to have adopted the Minority Treaties which are serving the world so well. Therefore, I take the greatest pleasure in seconding the nomination of Dr. Cyrus Adler."
In accepting the election, Dr. Adler said:
"I am very much moved by the unanimity of your action. I can only think that you have done the regular thing. Mr. Rosenwald’s remarks will not make me think that I did so many of the important things that he said. I only tried to do things in a very modest way. I have no illusion as to my capacity to do anything like what Mr. Marshall did for this Committee, but if I can in any way-in any slight way-carry on this work, I shall be more than grateful. But I do want to say this to you, that I shall not even attempt to do the many things for this Committee that he did. I shall count upon not only the members of the Executive Committee, but every member of the general committee doing a great deal more than they have done in the past. Each one should regard himself as free to furnish to the office of this Committee such information as he thinks we require, and should always feel free to criticize any acts of the Committee or its officers. Moreover, the Executive Committee itself shall agree to do a very considerable part of the work which heretofore fell to the President. I know, probably better than anybody, how many things we allowed Mr. Marshall to do that a good many of us ought to have done ourselves; he was always so ready that we stood aside. Recognizing the great responsibility which you placed upon me, I accept it for a year, feeling sure that I can count upon your undivided support."
The following were elected to membership to fill vacancies or to take the place of members whose terms expired: Milton H. Fies, Birmingham, Ala.; U. M. Simon, Ft. Worth, Texas; Harry Bloch, St. Joseph, Mo.; J. A. Harzfeld, Kansas City; Samuel L. Dinkelspiel, San Francisco, Cal.; M. J. Finkelstein, Los Angeles, Cal.; Max Adler, Max Epstein and Alfred K. Foreman, of Chicago, Ill.; Justin P. Allman, Philadelphia, Pa.; Louis Topkis, Wilmington, Del.: Judge Harry E. Lewis, Dr. Joseph J. Klein, James Marshall. Hugh Grant Straus, of New York City; Edgar J. Kaufman, Pittsburgh; and Oscar L. Weingarten, Newark, N. J. In addition, Henry S. Hendricks and David A. Brown of New York, and Herbert J. Hannoch of Newark, N. J., were elected to membership at large.
The following members were present: Dr. Cyrus Adler, Judge William M. Lewis, Rabbi B. L. Levinthal, Morris Rosenbaum, Victor Rosewater, Judge Horace Stern, of Philadelphia; M. F. Aufsesser, Albany; Louis Bamburger, Newark; James H. Becker, James Davis, Bernard Horwich, and Julius Rosenwald, Chicago; Albert Berney and Judge Eli Frank, Baltimore; Edward M. Chase, Manchester; Nathan Cohn, Nashville; Philip Dimond, Paterson; Nestor Dreyfus, New London; Isaac W. Frank, Pittsburgh; Louis Kirstein. Judge David A. Lourie, A. C. Ratshesky, Dr. Milton J. Rosenau, Felix Vorenberg, all of Boston; Henry Lasker, Springfield; Joseph B. Perskie, Atlantic City; William Newcorn, Plainfield, N. J.: Archibald Silverman, Providence; Henry Stern, Rochester; Benjamin Stolz, Syracuse; Rabbi Joseph L. Fink, Eugene Warner and Herman Wile, Buffalo; Frederic William Wile, Washington, D. C.; Isidore Wise. Hartford; and the following from New York City: Ben Altheimer, Herman Bernstein, Judge Nathan Bijur, David M. Bressler, David A. Brown, Elias A Cohen, Harry Fischel, William. Fischman, Dr. Lee K. Frankel, Dr. Herbert S. Goldstein, Abraham Herman, Max L. Hollander, Henry Ittleson. Max J. Kohler, Rabbi Jacob Kohn, Arthur K. Kuhn, Judge Irving Lehman, William Liebermann, Prof. Alexander Marx, Jacob Massel, Nathan D. Perlman, Albert Rosenblatt, Bernard Semel, Bennet E. Siegelstein, Rabbi Joseph Silverman, Max Silverman, Miss Emily Solis-Cohen, Herman Speier, Mrs. Samuel Spiegel, I. M. Stettenheim, Lewis L. Strauss, Sol M. Stroock, Cyrus L. Sulzberger, Israel Unterberg, Ludwig Vogelstein, and Felix M. Warburg.