The situation of the Jews in Germany is by far the most important development in Jewish life in Europe in recent years and has had important repercussions in other Jewish communities, said Dr. Maurice J. Karpf, president of the international conference of Jewish Social Workers, in a statement made yesterday to a representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Dr. Karpf, who is the director of the Graduate School for Jewish Social Work, recently returned from an extended tour of Europe which took him to Holland, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, France and England. He studied Jewish community organization in these countries and sought materials for a book on the history of Jewish social work which he is writing.
Dr. Karpf attended the international conference of Social workers held in Frankfurt-am-Main in July, and the sessions of the International Conference of Jewish Social Workers, which was attended by one hundred delegates over which he presided.
The situation of the Jews in Germany far overshadows developments in other countries, declared Dr. Karpf, basing his viewpoint on confidential reports presented at the Jewish social workers conference.
For the first time a Jew has been named to the General Executive Committee of the International Conference of Social Workers, Dr. Karpf revealed. Dr. Bernhard Kahn, European director of the activities of the Joint Distribution Committee, has been so honored and his selection is a source of gratification to the Jews of Germany, Dr. Karpf stated.
The Jewish social workers, he indicated, will hold an international conference within two years, probably in connection with their third International Conference of Social Work scheduled for 1934 in London. In the interim, a series of committees will be organized in Jewish communities throughout the world for the purpose of exchanging information and facilitating the work of Jewish social agencies throughout the world, Dr. Karpf said.
The conference plans the publication of a directory of Jewish social service agencies in various countries.
Discussing the situation in Germany during his stay there, Dr. Karpf stated the situation was very tense and everywhere one noted fear of what the morrow would bring for the Jews. Many Jews, he was informed, he said, have secured their passports, in order to be prepared to leave the country should the necessity arise.
On the whole, however, the Jews of Germany are meeting their problems with hope, courage and fortitude and their willingness to face these problems without outside interference is to be admired.
The situation of the Jews is particularly bad in the provinces where the Jews are literally afraid to appear in the streets after dark and where the economic boycott is almost complete.
He was impressed, he said, with the fact that the Jewish youth feels itself hopeless, does not know where to turn for career and livelihood. A number of wealthy Jewish families are questioning the advisability of sending their children to college, since the professions are greatly overcrowded, and are sending their children into business and factories.
The adverse situation has had some positive results, according to Dr. Karpf, in that it has brought about a revival of interest on the part of German Jewish youth in the Jewish religion and awakened in some quarters previously not sympathetic, an interest in Palestine.
Dr. Karpf also attended the sessions of the Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency and the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University.
He said that in his opinion the decision of the Actions Committee of the Zionist Organization in releasing the Zionist members of the Agency from voting in the budget en bloc after a protest from the non-Zionist members present at the meeting, was one of the most important developments at the meeting of the Agency.
While the demand of the non-Zionists that the Zionist members be free to vote as individuals with the threat that otherwise they, the non-Zionists, would refuse to vote on the budget provided some tense moment fraught with danger to the Agency, the final result is of the utmost importance to the upbuilding of the Agency. It provides a basis for cooperation and mutual confidence which bloc voting has hitherto made impossible. He stated that he felt that both groups were important to the upbuilding of Palestine, that neither group could do it alone and that anything which hindered a co-working relationship must be looked upon as an obstacle to the development of Palestineâ€”the aim of both Zionists and non-Zionists alike.
Questioned regarding the reported working agreement reached between Dr. Chaim Weizmann, former head of the World Zionist Organization, and Dr. Judah L. Magnes, chancellor of the Hebrew University, who have not been on friendly terms, Dr. Karpf refused to comment.