Prague (Aug. 22)
The entire body of Jewish people throughout the world was urged to make Zionism its concern and to seek to end the Jewish problem by making Palestine “a land of fulfillment instead of a land of promise” as Nahum Sokolow, venerable Zionist leader and president of the World Zionist Organization, opened the eighteenth World Zionist Congress here last night.
Five thousand delegates and guests crowded into Lucerno Hall for the opening of the Congress. Other thousands were massed before the entrance to the hall, unable to gain admission.
Dominating the platform was a large picture of Dr. Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism, and the Zionist and Czechsolvakian colors were intertwined throughout the hall. An empty chair, draped in black, was conspicuously placed at Dr. Sokolow’s right hand, in testimony to Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff and the entire assemblage rose for a moment of silence when Dr. Sokolow made first mention of the slain young Zionist leader.
Seated on the platform with the members of the Zionist Executive were personal representatives of President Masaryk, of the League of Nations, France, Great Britain, Poland and other nations.
DECLARES CONGRESS OPEN
A hush fell over the hall when, at exactly eight thirty o’clock, Dr. Sokolow knocked three times with his gavel and declared the congress officially open.
This was followed by the singing of “Hallelujah” by a choir composed of German-Jewish singers who formerly sang in the Berlin and provincial operas.
Dr. Leo Motzkin, chairman of the Actions Committee, led the committee to their seats on the platform and received an ovation. Then David Ben-Gurion, Palestine labor leader, led the Laborite fraction to their places and received a lengthy ovation. Vladimir Jabotinsky, leader of the Revisionist fraction, was warmly cheered by the crowd outside as he made his way to the hall. The assembly rose to its feet for a warm greeting to Dr. Sokolow and the diplomatic representatives as they filed into their places.
Dr. Sokolow began his address in Hebrew and continued in French and Hebrew. After several parts of his speech, particularly those dealing with the German situation, he immediately translated his remarks into English, exclaiming at one time, “Germany of Goethe, Schiller and Lessing, where are you now?”
DENIES HATE OF GERMANY
With the thought of the German-Jewish tragedy uppermost in the minds of the 332 delegates and the thousands of spectators assembled in Lucerno Hall, Dr. Sokolow denied any hatred of Germany.
“Indeed, we are not enemies of Germany. We are friends of Germany and admirers of her culture. We would not arouse the nations one against the other, we desire peace. But when it is a question of our existence and our honor, we must lift our voice. We cannot overcome this tragedy by discouragement and self-abasement, nor by agitation and passionate speeches. In this fatal time of trouble we must lose faith neither in humanity nor in ourselves. We do not wish to add fuel to the flames but we demand truth and peace. The Jewish question, in all its terrible nakedness, must by this tribunal be set before the world and before Israel.”
Continuing his address, Dr. Sokolow declared, “We are assembling now in a time of need and suffering. All the tragedy of the two thousand-year Diaspora (dispersion) has been unveiled before our shocked eyes. Anti-Semitism has lately struck at the heart of that part of our nation now in the Diaspora. The foundations of emancipation have been shaken and uprooted as by an earthquake. The whole facade of our civilization is crashing. Dangerous, inflammable matter has been stored up. It is dangerous to speak, but it is much more so to keep silent.”
In a voice which echoed deep feeling, the venerable Zionist leader poited out that “we stand before the ruins of Jewish emancipation in one of the world’s greatest states. A structure at which generations have labored has suddenly been swept away by a storm.”
HERZL FORESAW DISASTER
Theodor Herzl, founder of the