American Jewry is thinking about the Jews of Germany; is trying to help the German Jews in every possible way; is raising funds to organize relief for the German Jewish exiles abroad.
But American Jewry is neglecting one of its best opportunities to help German Jews in the most constructive way. It neglects the opportunity of arranging a German-Jewish migration into the United States.
At the annual convention of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, held last Sunday in New York, it was reported by Sol Polakoff, the chairman, that 5,000 Jewish aliens entered the United States from January to July of this year, and that fifty per cent, of them were Jewish refugees from Germany.
SENTIMENTS IN WASHINGTON
Those who are acquainted with the sentiments prevailing in Washington know that there are larger possibilities for German-Jewish immigration into the United States than the admittance of only 5,200 Jews in six months. They know that the Labor Department would have no objection if the entire immigration quota set for Germany,â€”27,000 a year,â€”were to be utilized chiefly by German-Jewish refugees.
In the American consulates in Germany I was told that so far an average of only 100 visas a month has been issued to German Jews desiring to proceed to the United States. These visas were granted without any difficulty. It was very seldom that a Jewish applicant had his visa refused.
Under the existing liberal sentiments of the State Department in Washington the Jews could, however, have received an average of 1,500 American visas a month instead of the 100. Ten thousand German Jewsâ€”and not 2,500 onlyâ€”could have entered the United States as quota immigrants within the six months reported on by Mr. Polakoff, if larger activities were developed by the existing Jewish organizations and especially by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
WHAT HIAS SHOULD DO
An advisory office established by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in Berlin, in Hamburg and in the other large German centers could facilitate a much larger Jewish immigration from Germany into the United States than into Palestine. Such an office could work hand in hand with the American Joint Distribution Committee office in Berlin and with the American consulates in Germany and would be in a position to do a let of good work. Especially since the German government permits every Jewish emigrant going to the United States to take out of the country with him $5,000 cash, despite the existing exchange regulations.
The campaign which the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society has resolved to proclaim now in order to stimulate more interest in its work is, therefore, something which deserves the fullest support. Through the existing immigration laws into the United States are stringent, this Jewish immigration society, nevertheless, now has a wider field for its immigration activities than ever before.
The work of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society must now become one of the central points of interest in Jewish life America.