Berlin (Jan. 11)
Russian Jews living in Germany and native-born German Jews met together to-day on terms of fraternisation to honour Judge Jacob Teitel, the President of the Federation of Russian Jews in Germany, on the occasion of his 80th. birthday, and at the same time to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Federation of Russian Jews in Germany, of which he is the founder.
In the absence through illness, of Professor Simeon Dubnov, the great Jewish historian, Dr. Leo Bramson, the President of the World Federation O.R.T., was in the Chair, and speeches eulogising Judge Teitel and his work were delivered by Herr Georg Kareski, President of the Berlin Jewish Community, Dr. Alfred Klee, Vice-President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Prussia, Dr. Julius Brodnitz, President of the Central Union of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith, who spoke glowingly of the way in which Western Jewry was enriched by the added stream of virile Russian Jewry, Dr. Bernhard Kahn, European Director of the Joint Distribution Committee, who praised Judge Teitel’s philanthropic work and read out a message of congratulation to Judge Teitel which he had received from Mr. Felix M. Warburg, the Chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee of America, and many others.
Judge Teitel, who was in London a few months ago, undertaking the journey in spite of his advanced age, in the interests of his Organisation, was in Czarist days the only Judge in Russia who had remained an observant Jew. Till 1912, he was a member of the District Court at Baratov, holding for 30 years his position as as only Jewish-Judge in Russia. In 1912 he resigned on the pressure of the antisemitic Minister of Justice Schtscheglowitow, but in recognition of his zeal in office, he was appointed a Councillor of State with the title of Excellency, and was given a high pension.
He was always very active in social and charitable work, even at the time he held his judicial office, and his home at Saratov was a centre for progressive intellectuals, being frequented by men like Maxim Gorki and Lenin. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Judge Teitel settled in Berlin, placing himself at the head of the Federation of Russian, Jews in Germany. His memoirs, which he published in 1921, contain introductions by Maxim Gorki and by Professor Dubnov.
The Federation of Russian Jews in Germany, which was founded by Judge Teitel, has grown, chiefly through his work to be the largest refugee organisation in the world. The great majority of the members are people who in Old Russia were well-to-do, intellectuals, professional people, lawyers, authors, scholars, merchants, engineers, etc. Herr Arnold Zweig, the famous novelist, who wrote “The Case of Sergeant Grischa”, speaking some time ago at a reception arranged in the interests of the Federation, said: “Each one of us would be in the same helpless position as they if we were suddenly turned out of our country and found ourselves living in a strange land. We have never before had in Berlin such a large number of refugees, more than 80,000, he added, and it is a remarkable tribute to their self-aid activity and the ability of Judge Teitel, that their Federation has achieved such remarkable results”.
The Federation, which is represented in the Refugees’ Committee of the League of Nations, maintains a workshop where the women are taught dressmaking; it grants loans without charging interest to small traders; it gives subventions to students; it provides for the children of refugees, for whom it is establishing an orphanage and a holiday-colony; it maintains classes for teaching foreign languages, shorthand, and other commercial subjects; it provides means for emigrants to proceed to settle in other countries; it makes grants of money, food and clothing to old people and to disabled persons; and it provides free legal and medical aid.