Philadelphia (Oct. 18)
A detailed review of the present situation of the Jews in the various countries in Europe was presented to-day to the delegates of the American Jewish Congress now in session here by the Administrative Committee of the Congress. The report includes also statistics on discriminations against Jews in employment and in colleges in the United States.
The situation of the Jews in Germany is a source of special anxiety to the American Jewish Congress which is on the watch to safeguard Jewish interests wherever possible, the report states.
In Poland, it proceeds, a ray of hope is seen in the fact that the Polish Parliament has passed the bill abolishing the Czaristic restrictions against the Jews. Unfortunately, however, little else has been done by the ‘Government to alleviate the deplorable conditions in which the three million Jews in Poland find themselves. The Jews in Poland, according to the report, are still faced with starvation and their position has become so desperate that the number of suicides among them is constantly increasing and has already reached appalling proportions.
While the anti-Jewish restrictions of the old regime have been legally abolished, the report continues, it is still open to question whether the law will actually be put into force. Reports received by the American Jewish Congress indicate the continuation of discrimination and the systematic elimination of Jews from the economic life of the country; over-taxation, which forces the Jews to pay 40 per cent. of the total amount of taxation, although they represent only 11 per cent. of the population; increased monopolies which exclude Jews from their operations; State protectionism applied to non-Jewish enterprises, thus cutting down Jewish production at the root; Sunday blue laws, aimed directly at the Jewish observance of the Sabbath, and other devices and contrivances that contribute to make life unendurable to the Jews of the country.
The American Jewish Congress finds, the report pursues, that in Roumania the activities against the Jewish population continue unabated and perhaps with even greater intensity, although the methods resorted to are more secretive. The Roumanian authorities have not suppressed the venomous antisemitic agitation with any degree of effectiveness.
RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN SOVIET RUSSIA CONTINUES BUT SOME RELENTMENT DURING PAST YEAR SEEN IN THIS RESPECT: BUT PERSECUTION OF ZIONISM CONTINUES: NO ABATEMENT IN BITTER DETERMINATION OF COMMUNISTS TO DESTROY EVERY TRACE OF ZIONIST IDEA IN SOVIET UNION
In Soviet Russia, the Jewish situation during the past year seemed to have undergone some measure of improvement, the report declared. Though religious persecution in Soviet Russia continues, it says, there was nevertheless some relentment in this respect during the past year. The persecution of Zionism, however, continues. Confidential reports which the American Jewish Congress received from various sources indicate that there has been no abatement in the bitter determination of the Communists to destroy every trace of the Zionist idea in the Soviet Union.
The American Jewish Congress continues to keep in close touch also with the Palestine situation, it was reported to the delegates, and the Congress is ready at all times to employ its influence to uphold the inalienable rights to Palestine as the Jewish National Home.
Describing the recent antisemitic manifestations in Mexico the report enumerates the measures taken by Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Mr. Bernard G. Richards on behalf of the Congress to combat the strong foothold which antisemitism had obtained in Mexico in the spring of 1931.
JEWISH STUDENTS SUBJECTED TO HUMILIATING EXPERIENCES IN AMERICA: JEWISH CANDIDATES WITH HIGH COLLEGE RECORDS SHUT OUT FROM MEDICAL SCHOOLS: MANY HAVE HAD TO CROSS OCEAN TO COMPLETE STUDIES
Anti-Jewish discrimination was noticed in employment and in colleges in the United States, the report states. During the past year numerous communications were received by the Congress regarding the humiliating experiences to which Jewish students were subjected because of the prevalence of anti-Jewish discrimination in the manifold phases of academic life in the United States. Unusually difficult has been the position of Jewish candidates for admission to medical schools. Jewish young men who achieved high records in their collegiate work found themselves shut out when they applied for admission to medical schools.
Very often students could not gain entrance into the medical college of the universities in which they had pursued their undergraduate work. As a result, these young men, disillusioned and highly offended, have had to turn to institutions at a great distance from their homes. In recent years many have had to cross the ocean to find an opportunity to prepare themselves for their chosen vocation, despite the fact that they had attained excellent pre-medical records.
Reports on the Jewish situation in Soviet Russia were also delivered by Dr. Margoshes, editor of the New York Yiddish daily “Day”, and by Rabbi Samuel Wohl, who have both recently returned from Russia. Dr. Max Raisih spoke on the position of the Jews in Germany, and other addresses were delivered by Mr. Leo Wolfson, President of the Federation of Roumanian Jews in America, ex-Congressman Nathan D. Perlman, Mr. Abraham Goldberg, Dr. J. Tenenbaum, and Mr. Z. Tygel, Director of the Federation of Polish Jews in America.
JEWISH WORLD CONGRESS URGED BY DR. STEPHEN WISE AND OTHER CONGRESS LEADERS: REFUSE TO BELIEVE HE SAYS THAT WE MAY NEVER SUMMON REPRESENTATIVES OF WORLD JEWRY TOGETHER FOR ACTION WITH REGARD TO COMMON PROBLEMS BECAUSE OF DANGER OF ALLEGATIONS BEING MADE LIKE THOSE IN PROTOCOLS OF ELDERS OF ZION
A Jewish World Congress is the only adequate forum for the discussion of the problems of the Jews in the various countries in which they reside, was the burden of addresses delivered to the Congress by Rabbi Dr. Stephen S. Wise, the Honorary President of the Congress, Mr. Bernard S. Deutsch, the President, and Mr. Bernard G. Richards, the Executive Director, who urged all Jewish groups engaged in similar activity to join with the Congress in its plans for a word Congress.
It may seem wise to postpone for a year or two or even longer the convening of a conference preliminary to the calling of the World Jewish Congress, Dr. Wise said. I merely ask that whatever decision be reached shall be dictated by courage and not by timidity, by the wisdom of hopefulness, and not by the unwisdom of that chronic and incurable fearfulness which more than all else is the besetting for of Jewish life in many lands. I refuse to believe that we may never summon the representatives of world Jewry together for wise and considered action with respect to their common problems, because of the danger of allegations being made such as those that are to be found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Mr. Deutsch appealed to “all other organisations working along the same lines to join with us and to become part of us so that the same democratic spirit may find truth and more thoughtful expression and thereby avoid the lamentable duplication of Jewish allevication which so often occurs”.
Mr. Richards, in the course of his plea for a Jewish World Congress, dealt also with the difficulties created by the economic crisis in America. The efforts of the Congress in reformulating its policy to include an active programme devoted to affairs in American Jewish life had been interrupted by the economic upheavel, he said.
The serious economic depression has not only prevented an expansion of the Congress programme, he said, but has imposed a difficult struggle to maintain the organisation and to carry on the work already in hand.
It would be rather discouraging, he concluded, to have to say that after these years we have to begin all over again to attempt to build a Jewish life, to establish a genuinely organised community in every city, and on that foundation to reshape and enlarge our Congress. But a cheerful optimistic view does not prove very wholesome in the end.
AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS ABOLISHES POST OF EXECUTIVE SECRETARY HELD BY BERNARD RICHARDS FOR FIFTEEN YEARS
The position of Executive Secretary of the American Jewish Congress as an elective office, which has been held by Mr. Bernard G. Richards for fifteen years, has been abolished by the Congress at its present session.
To effect this change, an amendment to the Constitution was proposed by former Congressman Nathan D. Perlman. An objection to the summary action of the Convention was raised by Mr. Jacob Hoffman of Philadelphia, who described Mr. Richard’s outstanding contributions to the work of the Congress. Ex-Congressman Perlman thereupon explained that his resolution was presented on the wish of Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Mr. Hoffman’s objections were overruled.
In Europe, it was reported to the delegates, the Congress continued to co-operate with the Council for the Rights of Jewish Minorities and the Joint Foreign Committee of the Board of Jewish Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association.