World Conference, in Private Sessions, Studies Plans for German Refugee Relief
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World Conference, in Private Sessions, Studies Plans for German Refugee Relief

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Commissions studying various aspects of the German-Jewish relief problem before the world conference for the relief of German Jewry continued their deliberations in executive sessions today at Woburn House. The conference, which opened yesterday, had been called to study means of coordinating and furthering relief efforts in behalf of German Jews and to formulate a comprehensive plan of action.

Its hundred participants, from practically every country in Europe and from the United States, represent forty-five of the most important Jewish organizations. Neville Laski, co-chairman of the Joint Foreign Committee and president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, presided at the opening session, which was public.

The conference had before it today two major plans of action. One of these, proposed by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, noted Zionist leader and head of the Zionist campaign for the relief of German Jews by settlement in Palestine, provides for concentration of activities on settlement of refugees in Palestine. The other, proposed by the Allocations Committee of the British Central Relief Fund, provides for a central world allocations committee, which would determine the allocation of funds for various activities, and calls for the opening of other countries, not excluding the United States, for Jewish immigration.

Following prayer by Chief Rabbi J. H. Hertz, Mr. Laski yesterday in his opening address, describing the composition of the conference, said the assembly was “unique in its character and was brought about by misfortune likewise unique in the modern history of the Jewish people.”


A variety of views of what should be the aims of the conference were disclosed in the opening session, revealing the desire of many of the delegations for action by the conference along many different lines. Mr. Laski in his speech, however, showed a determination for the conference to adhere solely to the relief aspects of the German situation. He revealed the intention of the conference to establish the closest cooperation with the League of Nations High Commissioner for refugees (James G. McDonald, of New York).

Analyzing the situation confronting the conference, Mr. Laski estimated the present total of German-Jewish refugees at 65,000. This number, he said, includes 3,500 professional men, 22,000 businessmen, and 7,500 manual laborers. Total funds raised so far throughout the world for relief, he said, amount to 525,000 pounds.

Many organizations which petitioned to be admitted to the conference were not allowed to send delegates he declared, since they were not identified with activities in behalf of the German Jews.

The conference was urged to deal “with the present Jewish crisis with dignity, fortitude and determination” by Dr. Weizmann who, with Dr Selig Brodetsky and Harry Sacher, British Zionist leaders, represents the Jewish Agency for Palestine at the conference.

“In the course of the last seven months it became clear that unless concentrated action were organized it would be impossible to deal with the problem which is growing daily,” Dr. Weizmann declared. Referring to the disorders in Palestine, he deplored the fact that Palestine’s progress and development “are rudely interrupted by demonstrations not having justification in the internal life of Palestine. If anything, the Palestine government erred on the side of moderation in its immigration policy,” Dr. Weizmann declared, describing the prosperity of the Arabs as a result of Jewish immigration into Palestine.


D’Avigdor Goldsmid, chairman of the Allocations Committee of the British Central Relief Fund, indicated the details of the committee’s plan, revealing publicly the intention to create a central world allocations committee.

“The problem is so great that it is essential to pool all resources as well as energies and brains in order to solve it,” Mr. Goldsmid pointed out.

That the conference will consider only the question of relief and will exclude from consideration general Jewish problems and political work was deplored by Leo Motzkin, chairman of the Committee of Jewish Delegations. He was pessimistic over the outcome of the conference since it would not take these aspects of the situation into consideration. He was particularly concerned that the conference would not take up the question of the anti-Nazi boycott.

That American Jews will accept their share of responsibility in the work of relief was promised by Lewis L. Strauss of New York. Mr. Strauss, with Morris D. Waldman, represents the American Jewish Committee.

“We in America, though far removed from the scene, feel the same deep sympathy and our sense of justice is outraged,” he declared. “We are not motivated by rage or hatred toward the German people, millions of whom are appalled at the realization of the role in history to which a handful of misanthropic leaders have compelled them, and though we meet to deal with the Jewish aspect of this unhappy situation, made necessary by particular discrimination against German Jews, but more darkly as the crisis in the advance of civilization towards free speech, free press, freedom to worship and the conception that for all mankind there is the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“Whatever may be our participation,” Mr. Strauss concluded, “we in America, thankful for the blessings of liberty in which we live, stand ready to accept our responsibility and, with God’s help, to discharge it.”

That Hitlerism which brought a prosperous German Jewry to a point where a conference was necessary to consider relief for it, is a challenge to the civil status of Jews throughout the world, was the view expressed by Dr. S. Margoshes, New York editor, and one of the

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