Berlin (Apr. 19)
Do not allow your community to be disrupted: was the slogan at a mass meeting held here under the auspices of the Religious Centre Party, addressed by Professor M. Sobernheim, President of the Party, Dr. Alfred Wiener, leader of the Centre Party in the Berlin Jewish Community, and Professor Georg Bernhard, former editor-in-chief of the “Vossische Zeitung” and ex-President of the International Federation of Journalists.
The President of the Berlin Jewish Community, Dr. Wilhelm Kleemann (Liberal), Dr. Max Kollenscher, one of the leaders of the Zicnist People’s Party in the Community, and several member of the Representative Assembly of the Community belonging to various parties were present at the meeting.
The small Jewish communities throughout the country are in danger of being wiped out by anti-Jewish hostility, Dr. Wiener said. In the big cities, unemployment is rising by leaps and bounds, and Jewish workers are being ejected from factories, workshops and offices. In Jewish homes there is growing anxiety on account of the future of their children.
The material and spiritual distress of German Jewry is such that it is criminal at such a time to engage in partisan conflict among ourselves. It has got to stop.
We must be tolerant towards those of our community who hold strong convictions; and try to understand their point of view.
A good deal of the trouble is due to the antiquated procedure in our community, Dr. Wiener said. If men like Dr. Alfred Klee, on the one side, and Dr. Kurt Fleischer, on the other side, would only get together, they would be able to arrive at an understanding and come to an arrangement. Unfortunately, the leaders seemed to be slaves to their parties.
The conflict had arisen over a number of questions, he said-a Chair at the Febrew University, a subsidy for the Beholuz Organisation, and the Jewish schools. The position of the Centre Party on these questions, he said, is that while giving full recognition to the convictions of the People’s Party on the one side, and of the Liberals on the other, it was still possible to find a middle way. The great thing was to be tolerant of a point of view which was not their own, and he was hopeful that if they did that they would all be able to continue to work together.
Dr. Georg Bernhard said that as a former Berlin City Councillor, an ex-Deputy of the Reichstag, and a member of the German Federal Government Economic Council, he was well acquainted with Parliamentary forms and procedure, but Jewish work could not be conducted in that way. People who thought that when they did not get their way in certain things, they had to leave the community, and establish one of their own must be made to understand that things could not be done like that. The Jewish community was the place where the representatives of all Jews had to get together in order to do the work of the Jewish community, and the leaders had to realise that all currents in Jewish life had to be represented, and had to be dealt with in a spirit of tact and understanding, and that no one should be pushed out of the way.
He could understand people being opposed to the idea d# having separate Jewish schools, but he thought that they had to understand also that the Jewish schools were a necessity to certain sections of Jews, especially to the East European Jews. There were some children who would do their best in the
general schools, and others who would find themselves lost there and would develop an inferiority complex, which might have very deplorable consequences.
And however far removed one might be from the Palestine idea, he said, he could not possibly understand anyone allowing a breach to occur in the Community on the question of whether they should support the Heholuz, which was training Jews to work on the land in Palestine, while they were assisting the land settlement of Jews in other countries. They had to straighten matters out between themselves. The great thing about Jews was that they could adjust themselves to outer conditions, so why should they not be able to do that also in regard to their own internal affairs?
The following resolution moved by Professor Dr. Sobernheim, was unanimously adopted by the meeting:
We men and women assembled at this meeting of the Religious Centre Party for Peace and Unity in the Jewish Community call upon all members of the Berlin Jewish Community to work in the direction of making it impossible for the regrettable occurrences which took place at the last meeting of the Representative Assembly to be repeated. At a time when hostility to Jews and Judaism is growing on all sides, when large numbers of Jewish families are condemned to permanent unemployment and terrible economic distress, such occurrences are a menace. We demand emphatically that the unity of the Berlin Jewish community must be upheld, and that all parties must work together in peace. The primary basis of the Jewish community is the welfare of all its members, and party interests must be subordinated to that, without anyone’s religious or other convictions having to suffer thereby.