The Zionist Congress differs from any other congress in that it is only half a Parliament. It is also a general meeting of the people. Behind the organization that enables the assemblage to fulfil its double function is a machinery that is never permitted to run down, not even during the two-year intervals between one meeting and the next.
The man who incorporates this machinery within his own person, in the latent periods, has already survived seven Congresses, even though he is still a young man. Fritz Ullmann is his name.
Officially he lives in Carlsbad, but in the intervals between Congresses he is hardly ever at home, since his function as Organization Secretary of the Zionist Organization keeps him going through Europe. The choice of the city in which the Congress is to be held does not depend on him, since it is determined by the Executive, but almost everything else does.
This year he came to Prague only five weeks before the opening of the Congress, since there was much vacillation about the whole affair until that time. At other times he has come two or three months before. Together with Dr. Franz Kahn, Director of the Congress Bureau, the final steps for the establishment and movement of the Jewish Parliament were then inaugurated.
Roughly the work is divided into two parts: cultural and social, which includes the housing problems, both of the visitors and the Congress Bureaus. The Congress itself this year was housed in the House of Representative of Czechoslovakia, a gesture of cooperation on the part of the national government which was mirrored in the cooperation of all the state departments, especially the police. In addition to the government building, with all the conference rooms thrown open to the use of the Congress, another huge structure was rented, which housed the Congress offices before the opening and which continued as the meeting place for fractional delegations and party divisions. In both buildings buffets were established. The Central office also functioned in cooperation with the sub-organizations that held their conferences just before or during the main Congress itself, as for instance the Maccabiade, which brought about 2,000 young people to Prague, from all parts of Europe and Palestine.
This group, as well as the younger Revisionists, cooperated in turn in supplementing the police force in keeping order. Arms linked, they stood in double line around the doors at the opening sessions of the Congress to keep the people without admission cards out. They acted as volunteer messengers and did all kinds of technical work to keep the Congress functioning. Hardly anywhere else was it possible to see brown-shirted Revisionists and blue-shirted Maccabiads arm in arm, but during their hours of service it was so.
The allotment of their labors all came from Dr. Kahn and Dr. Ullman, as well as the difficult decision as to when their willingness to work should be shunted off. Over-use of their enthusiasm woud have been too easy.
The cultural part of the Congress activity is as many-faceted as the other half of the organization. It includes the translation and publication of the leading speechesâ€”translations from almost any imaginable language into almost any other. At the opening session the addresses were in English, French, Czech, Yiddish and Hebrew. Afterward German and the special Congress Deutsch, which is a slightly Germanicized Yiddish, were also used. The publication of the Congress-Zeitung, the newspaper that appears daily during the duration of the Congress, is also under the direction of this department.