Right to Live Sought by Berlin Jewish Assembly in Supporting Reich Gov’t
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Right to Live Sought by Berlin Jewish Assembly in Supporting Reich Gov’t

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The differences between the Zionists and the non-Zionists in the Berlin Jewish community were made the subject of a special sitting of its representative assembly, called by the Board for the one purpose of considering a statement from the Board on this matter, the only question on the agenda.

After Herr Heinrich Stern, president of the Assembly, had oppened the meeting, Director Heinrich Stahl, president of the board, read out the Board’s statement, in the course of which it is said:

“The board of the community has asked for the present meeting of the assembly to be called in order to declare its attitude on the matters raised as a result of various attacks launched against it recently by Dr. Moses, based on the assertion that the board has stabbed in the back the Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden, in whose executive it is represented by its own president, and that it has been seeking to overthrow this body. We emphatically repudiate this charge. The board of the Berlin Jewish community wishes the Reichsvertretung to develop an extensive and beneficial activity on behalf of the German Jews, and especially to devote itself to the protection of the rights of the German Jews.

“Of course, the Reichsvertretung cannot be followed unconditionally. Support — and I am sure we are all agreed on this — must depend on the work done by the Reichsvertretung.

“Now I would like to say here what I believe is essential to maintain that attitude of trust and cooperation towards the Reichsvertretung at which we aim.

“We hold that the principal objects of the Reichsvertretung must be the maintenance and reconstruction of German Jewry, securing new livelihoods by changing the occupational strata and the timely training of the youth.

“In spite of all the efforts that the German Jews are under obligation to make and themselves wish to make, it will not be possible to carry on the reconstruction, educational and cultural activities without the aid of funds from the Central Relief Work. For that reason we place particular stress on the need of the negotiations on this matter being conducted with the authorities by people whose personality is a guarantee that their entire interest belongs to the work of reconstruction in Germany.

“This attitude will not in any way, however, prejudice the complete understanding and interest of the board or the community in the relief activities on behalf of those members of our community who seek their future outside the German homeland, particularly those who have identified their future with the construction work in Palestine, or wish to do so.

“Dr. Moses has objected in particular to the fact that two members of the community board have taken a leading part in the newly-started renewal movement of Jewish Germans. It never was intended to be the aim of the community board to surpress any movement within German Jewry. In the same way the Zionist members of the various communal bodies are at this moment enthusiastically engaged in furthering the particular objects of the Zionist Organization, so every other member of these bodies must have the right to work for his particular conception of Jewish life.

“The community board is fully conscious of the responsibility that lies upon it in a time like the present. It does not think of surrendering this responsibility before the proper time arrives. If Dr. Moses wants a change in the administration of the Berlin Jewish community before the end of our term of office, he will find that he has against him the determined resistance of the duly qualified representatives of the community.

“The Board of the community is, as far as lies in its powers, trying to meet the needs of the time and of all the various movements.

“While the work of building up a Jewish school system is in the other Jewish communities still in the preparatory stages, Jews in Berlin have already given schooling facilities to large numbers of children. The applications made by the Hebrew Teaching Institute and the School of the Jewish Youth for funds for providing instruction in New Hebrew have been met readily.

“The economic aid department, whose work has won admiration and appreciation on all sides, has issued a special report. There is an employment exchange, which is successfully combating the want that exists among the Jewish unemployed. The community’s welfare department is being maintained, and has been extended, and the community board is glad to be able to state that it has succeeded in obtaining a considerable amount of collaboration with the winter relief bodies set up by the government.

“In this and in many other directions it will always be possible for the various movements to engage in common work, as they have done hitherto, if onliy there is the necessary good will.

It is certainly not in the interests of Jewry, in these anxious times to destroy our existing unity by disruptive measures. The community board has been entrusted with a specific task which it will not renounce, which is to give courage and stability to the large numbers of those who have been violently pushed out of their normal economic and spiritual course and who desire to build their new future in Germany and nowhere else. The board is doing its utmost to help these people, and it is able to state with satisfaction that it succeeded in implanting new hope and new strength in many who had begun to doubt. The intensification of Jewish knowledge and feeling, and the strengthening of the tie that binds Jews together is certainly something worth aiming at.

“On this point we are all at one, and we can certainly work together for this object, but that alone will not suffice. Beyond this the leaders of the community and every member of the community must have a feeling of confidence that there is going to be a future for the German Jews in Germany, where, loyally adapting themselves to the existing state law and order, they will be able to live their lives on a status of equality, as free men and women. The board of the Berlin Jewish community will not allow itself to swerve from this path, and along these lines it will conduct its activities to the full measure of its Jewish responsibility.”

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