Mr. Ira M. Younker, President of the Jewish Social Service Association and co-chairman of the Greater New York Drive of the United Jewish Appeal, tried to dramatize the tragic plight of German Jewry by saying in substance that the Jews of Germany are under a moral obligation not to have children while Hitler is in power. Mr. Younker, in explaining his remarks as published in a metropolitan newspaper, declared in a statement to the Jewish Daily Bulletin:
“I certainly do not advocate Jewish race suicide. My own feeling is, however, that if I lived in Germany I would certainly not wish to bring into this world children who would have to face as terrible a future as confronts them in Nazi Germany today…. Only by thus sharply dramatizing the state of these children can we in America be made to realize the full extent of the horror for Jews under Hitlerism.”
Mr. Younker has rendered a distinct disservice to the United Jewish Campaign by injecting a highly controversial issue into the relief drive. This is an unwise and rather harmful dramatization of the sorrows of the Jews of Germany. The majority of American Jewry will disagree with Mr. Younker’s suggestion of Jewish race suicide in Germany, however well-intentioned his dramatized suggestion may be.
As for the German Jews, they are in the desperate position of not even being able to complain of their sufferings and their humiliation. We do not know exactly whether they approve of the methods employed by the various factions of American Jewry in combatting Hitlerism and denouncing the Nazi outrages perpetrated upon the German Jews. The German Jews dare not speak. Some of them have even been compelled to minimize the anti-Jewish atrocities in Germany and to ask that no vigorous protests be made by the Jews of other lands.
But as the Jewish tragedy in Germany is not merely a German Jewish tragedy, for the Hitlerist anti-Jewish menace is reaching far beyond the borders of Germany, the Jews of other lands and particularly the Jews of America realize that Hitlerism must be combatted vigorously, regardless of whether or not the German Jews approve such a defensive measure. When the Jews of Russia were pogrommed, the Jews of America did not ask the Russian Jews whether they should raise their voice in a mighty protest. The Russian Jews, oppressed by the Tsar, also had to maintain silence. They, too, had to fear ###est their complaints abroad might intensify the Tsar’s anti-Jewish policy of vengeance. Nevertheless the Jews of other lands did their duty. And right-thinking people, regardless of race or creed, expressed their indignation at the anti-Jewish outrages.
If the German Jews cannot speak at this time about their own tragedy, they are certainly entitled to all the relief they need in their present crisis, to all the relief that the more fortunate portions of the Jewish people can give them now. They are not in need of such advice as is offered them by Mr. Younker, one of the co-chairmen of the Greater New York Campaign. The German Jews are intelligent enough to know for themselves whether they should bring forth children “who would have to face as terrible a future as confronts them in Nazi German today.”
Besides, this pessimistic, defeatist attitude is hardly justifiable. Dreadful as is the plight of German Jewry today, German Jewry is sure to survive Hitlerism.
German Jewry today needs help, relief, not advice.