Jews and non-Jews, including some of the most distinguished leaders of the nation, joined in honoring Samuel Untermyer, leader of the boycott movement against Germany, at the dinner tendered him at the Hotel Astor, Sunday evening. The dinner, which was attended by 1,500 people, climaxed the national boycott conference held during the day at the Hotel Astor. At the conference two hundred and fifty business leaders, professional men and civic workers from various cities in the country, voted to raise a fund of $500,000 with which to organize and prosecute the boycott on a nation wide scale.
At the same time that the distinguished speakers at the dinner who included George Gordon Battle, toastmaster; James W. Gerard, former Ambassador to Germany; Bainbridge Colby, former Secretary of State; General John V. Clinnin of Chicago; Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, and former Governor Alfred E. Smith, paid tribute to Mr. Untermyer as a great lawyer, an unselfish public servant and a valiant champion of the oppressed, they unanimously denounced the Hitlerite regime in Germany.
In his response to the many speeches in his praise Mr. Untermyer excoriated the German regime and declared that Hitlerism was a threat not only to the Jews but to all the civilized world as well. He appealed to Jews and non-Jews to join in the boycott movement against Hitlerism which he said was the only weapon available against the Nazis.
Governor Smith’s speech brought forth a tremendous ovation.
“No nation can live under ridicule,” he said. “They can stand criticism, they can meet it, and they can answer it, but it is impossible for them to survive any length of time under ridicule.
“The Jews can stand persecution,” he went on, “but civilization can’t stand it. And above everything else, Germany can’t stand it.”
In his speech, which was broadcast over a national hookup, Mr. Untermyer declared, “A once proud and cultivated people have been converted to a den of savage beasts of prey, confessedly bent upon the starvation and extermination of their own citizens.”
He derided as a ridiculous charlatanism the Hitler thesis of racial purity and declared that in the history of the world, since the time of Nero, no nation had ever had such a government as now exists in Germany. He characterized the persecution of the German Jews as being obviously sadistic in purpose and quoted letters and declarations by Nazi leaders to prove his point.
ACCUSES HITLER OF DISTORTION
Mr. Untermyer accused Chancellor Hitler of twisting a phrase of the historian, Theodor Mommsen, calling the Jews “a ferment of decomposition” to make it appear as a condemnation of the Jews, when the full quotation shows that the historian really meant to praise the Jews.
He recited with scorn the Hitlerite creed which would make drudges of the German women and deprive them of the freedom they have had and reduce them to household slaves and playthings.
Mr. Untermyer declared that the boycott was succeeding beyond his hopes and urged all Americans, Jews and non-Jews alike, to fight against Hitlerism.
“It is in the spirit of humanity and in the holy cause of civilization that we ask and expect of you that you will do your share,” he said.
Others on the speakers’ dais included Mayor O’Brien, Norman Thomas, J. David Stern, publisher of the Philadelphia Record; Charles C. Lockwood, and Senator Royal S. Copeland.
Earlier in the day, the national boycott conference, under the chairmanship of Mr. Untermyer, now the president of the Jewish League for the Defence of Jewish Rights, emphasized that the boycott was in retaliation for the persecution of religious, racial and political minorities in Germany.
The conference adopted resolutions to prosecute the boycott with all possible vigor. It was made clear that the boycott was not directed at the German people, but solely against the Nazi regime.
All organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish, were invited to cooperate “to the end that a united front may be established and maintained and a single plan of strategy made possible.”
A national executive committee of 100 was chosen to direct the movement and an administrative committee of 15 to have direct charge of all the work was also elected. The administrative committee consists of: Dr. B. Dubovsky, New York; Elias Ginsburg, New York; J. Chaikin, New York; J. George Fredman, New Jersey; Louis Meyers, New York; Mrs. Mark Harris, New York; J. David Stern, Philadelphia; Max Silverstein, New York; Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, Cleveland, and Max M. Korshak, Chicago.