Michael Schapp, president of Bloomingdale’s and of the New York Retail Dry Goods Association, has accepted the chairmanship of the Businessmen’s Council of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, Nathan Straus, Jr., chairman of the greater New York division of the American Palestine Campaign; announced yesterday. Under Mr. Schaap’s leadership, New York’s foremost business executives will be organized in active support of the $2,000,000 national emergency campaign for the settlement of German Jews in Palestine.
In accepting the chairmanship of the Businessmen’s Council, which marks his entrance into activities in behalf of Palestine, Mr. Schaap said that he had affiliated himself with the Jewish Agency because he believed that Palestine offered the most practical immediate solution to the German Jewish problem.
“I am convinced that without Palestine the tragic plight of the Jews of Germany cannot be effectively alleviated,” Mr. Schaap declared. “The Jews who have been reduced to the status of economic and political outcasts by the Hitlerite regime are seeking an avenue of escape from oppression and intolerance. Europe, harrassed by economic and political unrest, can offer a haven to only a small number of refugees, whereas Palestine whose economic equilibrium, I understand, has not been disturbed by the economic crisis can absorb thousands of German Jewish families, and give them every opportunity for rehabilitating their broken lives. Palestine can give employment to a large number of German Jews and integrate them permanently in its economic, social and cultural structure.
IMMEDIATE ACTION NECESSARY
“The emergency that has resulted from the wholesale oppression of the Jews of Germany demands the unified and immediate action of American Jewry. While every effort must be made to relieve the suffering of the Jews who will not be able to emigrate from Germany, we must at the same time exert every effort in behalf of the emergency campaign for the settlement of German Jews in Palestine. For where other countries may at best in these times offer a temporary shelter, Palestine extends to German Jews a permanent refuge with the open door to a new life of peace and tranquillity.”
Mr. Schaap started his career as a lawyer, and entered the business field at the age of forty-three. At thirteen, he had already completed the required studies for college entrance, but being too young to meet the age requirement, he entered a law office, attending law school in the evening. He was admitted to the bar at the age of twenty-one. In 1912 Mr. Schaap joined Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party and was elected to the State Assembly on the Progressive ticket, serving in 1913 and 1914 as the Progressive leader of the Assembly. His career as a legislator was marked by the introduction of what were then considered radical measures, but which have long since been made part of the New York statutes. Mr. Schaap introduced a minimum wage law, and fought for the eight-hour day in industry and workmen’s compensation laws.
Several years later Mr. Schaap decided to leave law and politics for business. On March 12, 1917, he joined L. Bamberger & Co.. in New Jersey as director of personnel, rising to the position of vice-president and general manager. He became president and managing director of Bloomingdale’s in 1929.
Discussing the activities of the Businessmen’s Council of the Jewish Agency, Mr. Schaap said that it would meet soon to take definite measures to cooperate in the drive. The names of other business leaders who will compose the council will be announced shortly, he declared.
SCHOOL TERM BEGINS
Examinations for the new school term of the Hebrew Institute of University Heights will take place during the first week in February. Rabbi S. G. Kramer is rabbi of the Institute.