A picture of a happy, prosperous, untroubled and politically stable Jewish community in Jugoslavia that is in startling contrast with the picture of other Jewish communities, in Europe, was presented yesterday by Captain Manfred Sternberg and his wife, Lilly, here on a commercial mission for the Jugoslavian government.
The captain, who is the head of the Jugoslavian syndicate embracing all producers of alcoholic beverages in his country, has been here since June 29, in an endeavor to place these products in the American markets. Captain Sternberg, who lives in Zagreb, is a member of the Jugoslav Jewish family that has been domiciled there for hundreds of years. He has been extremely active in the flourishing Zionist movement in that country and has been honored by his government by an appointment to the board of directors of the Jugoslav Chamber of Commerce.
After having made a tour of the United States which included visits to Chicago, Detroit, Washington and Philadelphia, the captain and his wife will sail for their home July 27 on the liner Majestic.
Impressed by what he has seen of American industry, the captain is returning to Jugoslavia an enthusiast for American industrial methods which he hopes to introduce in his own country.
The Jewish community in New York and in other centers which he visited also made a deep impression on the Jugoslav official. “After having witnessed the tragic position of many European Jewish communities, I can only say that it was with deep pleasure and appreciation that we observed the flourishing Jewish communities in the United States,” Captain Sternberg declared. “I can only compare it to the position of the Jews in my own countries and that position could not be bettered.”
There are approximately 70,000 Jews in Jugoslavia, Captain Sternberg said, divided into the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities. The Jugoslav Jews are engaged primarily in commerce and industry, but are also represented in all the liberal professions and among all types of workers. Thus many of the officials of the regime are Jewish, while the personal physician of King Alexander is a Jew.
According to the captain the Jews of his country are in a favorable economic position, enjoying the widest political, economic and social freedom. Indigency among the Jews is rare, he declared, adding that only in South Serbia, near Salonica, are the Jews poverty stricken.
Jewish institutions in Jugoslavia are in a flourishing state, Captain Sternberg said, and include synagogues, Hebrew schools, Maccabi clubs, technical schools as well as the usual Zionist institutions such as the Jewish National Fund, the Jewish Foundation Fund and others.
Captain Sternberg told of a recent visit of Dr. Nahum Sokolow and M. M. Ussishkin to Jugoslavia in the interests of the Zionist movement and their pleasure at finding a powerful Zionist organization in the country.
Recently, Captain Sternberg said, there has been an influx of German Jewish refugees into Jugoslavia. The refugees were made welcome, many of the professionals obtained posts, while the Jugoslav Jews organized a relief committee, which has succeeded in placing many young German Jews on farms all over the country, where they are preparing themselves to go to Palestine.