Joint Distribution Committee Opens German Relief Drive with Contributions of $250,000
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Joint Distribution Committee Opens German Relief Drive with Contributions of $250,000

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The campaign to raise $1,000,000 in New York City for the relief of German Jews, initiated by the Joint Distribution Committee, was in full swing yesterday, following the official opening of the drive, at a dinner given at the Hotel Commodore, Wednesday evening. Governor Herbert H. Lehman, guest of honor and principal speaker of the evening, took the lead in urging the Jews of New York to support the drive to help the Jews of Germany, suffering from persecution by the Nazi regime in Germany.

Dudley D. Sicher, chairman of the New York campaign committee, announced at the dinner, that $250,000 of the New York quota had already been raised.

Harry F. Guggenheim, former ambassador to Cuba, presided at the dinner. Included among the speakers who joined in Governor Lehman’s plea for support were James G. McDonald, chairman of the Foreign Policy Association; Rabbi Jonah B. Wise, national chairman of the campaign; Paul Baerwald, chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, and Hendrik Willem Van Loon, noted author.

Felix M. Warburg, honorary chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, was unable to attend the dinner but sent a letter urging support of the drive. Messages of support were also received from F. Trubee Davison, and Senators Copeland and Wagner.


“Anti-Semitic persecution practiced by Christians in the name of Christianity, is a non-Jewish problem,” Mr. McDonald said. “It is a challenge to civilized man.” He added that the “obligation to be generous in the relief of those sufferers is not merely upon the Jews who are more fortunately situated, as in America; the obligation rests, it seems to me, just as heavily upon American non-Jews.” Such aid, he said, “would hearten a great people in the knowledge that they are not alone in their hour of battle for freedom and equality of rights.”

Before introducing Governor Lehman, Mr. Guggenheim said: “The unfortunate conflict that is taking place in Germany can have but one result. For it is a battle of bigotry against reason, of the darkness of a night against the light of the ages, of savagery against culture. It will end as all such chapters in history have ended. We condone in a spirit of leniency the atrocities of a Nero, the depredations of an Attila, the cruelty of a Torquemada, as a part of the barbarity of the times in which they lived but how will history record the reversion to barbarism of Hitler, the Nazi, in a day in which France produced a Briand, England a MacDonald, and India a Ghandi.”

Governor Lehman reviewed the work of the Joint Distribution Committee, of which he has been an officer since its inception, and declared that “its sole purpose has always been to relieve suffering humanity wherever the need was greatest.” Discussing the present emergency which made this campaign essential, the Governor said:


“The world is shocked at the iniquitous and unprecedented official discrimination invoked by the German government against those of our faith and race.

“For countless generations Germans of the Jewish faith have lived and worked, fought and died, for their country. As was their duty and privilege, they gave to their country their sole allegiance, their devotion; their very lives. They loved Germany; they had deep pride in its achievements, its national culture, in its history, in their work and in their native places. In every activity, in every walk of life, loyal citizens of the Jewish faith contributed to the upbuilding of what has been a great nation. In science and literature, in music and art, in business and industry, and in every form of spiritual, moral and intellectual activity, they gained and held an honored place. In peace they contributed to Germany’s well-being; in war they laid down their lives for Germany’s greatness. They could not do otherwise as good Jews. Their spiritual tradition, their deepest aspirations, permitted no other course, because their faith, hallowed by the traditions of countless centuries, is based on good citizenship.

“Suddenly, almost without warning, by official and national edict, all the Jews of Germany—six hundred thousand people—were singled out for destruction, economically, socially and politically. They have been harried and driven out of their positions, in business, in public life, in industry and commerce, and in the professions.


“There has been no secrecy, no equivocation, on the part of the German government. Hundreds of thousands of men and women in all walks of life have been ruthlessly and without pity deprived of their means of livelihood, and of the primary rights of citizenship. Loyalty, patriotism, service, have counted for naught; doctors, lawyers, civil servants, university professors and other teachers, scientists, musicians, industrial workers, have been driven from their positions and have been denied the right to work at their vocations. Even the right to an education is now being denied to many of the Jewish children and youth, regardless of their qualifications.

“The German people have always striven for the principles of civil and religious liberty. I am certain that they will do so again, and will refuse to continue to be deluded by falsehood and misrepresentation. And I am certain, too, that the millions of American citizens of Germanic stock, to whom the principle of liberty has been almost a passion, will again unitedly accept and act upon the truths for which they have always stood. But we, until right and justice and tolerance have triumphed, have a sacred duty to perform. We cannot permit our coreligionists, who are beaten down for no other reason than to satisfy the ambitions of a few political leaders, to suffer needlessly and endlessly when we have the means at least in

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