London (May. 18)
The great fact for which the Federation stood was to him as real to-day as it was when they started the work 15 years ago, and that was human Jewish brotherhood in helping their poor brethren who were in dire need, the Chief Rabbi, Dr. J. H. Hertz, said speaking yesterday at the Annual Conference of the Federation, of Jewish Relief organization. Their aim was to be Jews and to come to the rescue of their brethren who required their help.
The situation in Eastern Europe did not seem to improve so quickly as they hoped during the last ten years, the Haham Dr. Gaster said, During that period, the Federation had helped countless thousands of cases, but they were not a charity; they had not created beggars, because the Jew was never a born beggar. What the Federation had done was simply to put a staff into the hands of those whose strength had failed, and had supported, covered, and protected these tens of thousands in time of cold, famine, distress, and illness. Could anyone imagine what would have been the fate of the millions of declassed Jews if the Federation had not come forward, and had given the Jews of Great Britain an opportunity of doing their duty, Not long ago, they might have read in the newspapers that Â£ 10,000 had been spent to rescue one man lost in the ice-fields of Greenland. What had the Federation done with Â£10,000? They had rescued not one, but one hundred thousand people.
TO-DAY JEWS OF WESTERN COUNTRIES ARE GIVERS SAYS PROFESSOR EINSTEIN WHO KNOWS IF TO-MORROW THEY WILL NOT HAVE TO RECEIVE HELP FROM JEWS OF EASTERN EUROPE
We Jews of the Western Countries of Europe must never forget that we Jews are all parties to one State, joined in misfortune for the last thousand years, Professor Einstein said in a message which he sent to the Conference from Oxford. We must remain true to that consciousness of unity if the Jewish people is to remain a healthy one. To-day the Jews of the Western Countries are the givers; who knows if to-morrow they shall not be the recipients of help from our brethren of the Eastern Countries? Only if we realise our mutual responsibility shall we be able to fulfil the historical mission which rests upon our old common traditions.
I earnestly hope the Conference will succed in its endeavours to raise funds to relieve the acute distress of the Jewish population in Eastern Europe, the Marquess of Reading wrote. The purpose of the Conference should make appeal to all who are interested in alleviating human suffering and misery and especially to the Jewish community, to whom the opportunity is thus given of showing their practical sympathy with the Jews of Eastern Europe.
The Jews of Great Britain are second to none in their desire to aid the Jews in other lands, the Home Secretary, Mr. J. R. Clynes, wrote, and I wish your labours every success.
English Jewry has always been honourably distinguished by the care which it has taken of the poor of its own community, Sir Austen Chamberlain, former Foreign Minister, wrote and it is in keeping with this benevolent practice that it should extend its help to the less fortunate Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. I am sure that your appeal will meet with a generous response and that the money collected will be well applied.
Sir John Simon, Viscount Cecil, Lord Erleigh, Sir W. Phene Neal, the Lord Mayor of London, Professor S. Alexander, O.M., Mrs. Israel Zangwill, the Chofetz Chaim, Mr. Claude G. Montefiore, Mr. Nahum Sokolov, Mr. Jacob Rosenheim, the President of the Agudath Israel World Organisation, Baron Alfred de Gunzbourg, Dr. Eder, President of the English Zionist Federation, Dr. Selig Brodetsky, Advocate Sliosberg, Chief Rabbi Schorr of Warsaw, Rabbi Baeck of Berlin, Grand Rabbi Levi of France, Deputy Gruenbaum, Deputy Rabbi Thon, the President of the Club of Jewish Deputies in Poland, and hundreds of other Rabbis and social workers sent messages to the Conference.
Reports on the situation in Russia and Poland were presented by Mr. S. Koldovsky, who recently returned from a mission on behalf of the Federation in Russia, by Mr. Lazar Kahan, the editor of the Yiddish daily “Unzer Express” in Warsaw, and Rabbi Tobias Hurwitz, one of the leaders of the Agudath Israel in Poland.
Owing to the economic crises prevailing in the British colonies, where they had usually collected very large sums of money, very little had been collected in the last few years, Mr. Machower said in presenting the financial report. Never-theless, the total receipts of the period May 1929 – December 1930 amounted to Â£17,031. Grants were made to 116 congregations and institutions in Russia, Poland, and other parts of Eastern Europe. In Russia the money was used for food kitchens, hospitals, training schools for artisans, homes for the aged, etc., and in Poland it was spent mainly on Loan Societies.
Speaking on the present position of the relief work in Russia, he said that the Soviet authorities insisted on the whole of the money granted by the Federation for Russia being spent in helping the starving children in the Jewish colonies. The Executive could not agree to that because the monies were collected for the relief of the Jews in the towns and townships. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the plight of the children in the colonies, it was decided that 25 per cent. of the Â£20,000 to be allocated for Russia in accordance with the agreement should be spent for relief in the colonies and the balance for reconstructive relief in the towns and townlets. He hoped that they would come to some terms with the Russian Government. In the meantime. they would continue their work as hitherto.
After Mr. M. Grossman had replied to the discussion which followed, a number of resolutions were adopted by the Conference, including one which approves the negotiations of the Federation with the Soviet authorities for the extension of relief activities, and authorises the Executive to continue their endeavours to come to a definite working arrangement with the Russian Government for the further benefit of the declassed Jews, authorising the Executive at the same time to make such alterations and amendments in the Agreement with the Soviet authorities as may be found necessary or desirable.