A p###re of Jewish women, in the smallest hamlets as well as in the large cities of England and Ireland, banding together to raise their share of the funds for the settlement of German-Jewish refr### was drawn by Mrs. I. M. Sieff, chairman of the Woman’s Committee for German Jewish women and children and president of the Women’s Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, when she was interviewed in Jerusalem.
Mrs. Sieff, who has had her finger on the pulse of fund-raising in England since the beginning of the Hitler exodus, arrived in this country with her husband. She has visited several of the Palestine projects into which she has put so much energy in the British Isles, although the welcome accorded her by old friends and the attending of conferences in connection with WIZO work have curtailed her touring program. Before leaving she plans to visit Ben Shemen and some of the colonies in the Emek.
Response to pleas for money in England was very generous, Mrs. Sieff said, pointing out that there are only 300,000 Jews in the United Kingdom.
Although there was some difficulty in organizing quickly and efficiently the committee which collected the quota of Â£25,000, the huge sum was raised after prolonged effort. Almost every shilling came from the pocketbooks of women, she said.
Mrs. Sieff asserted that human interest “lurks behind” the cold figure of the Â£25,000. Included in it were the sums of Â£10 which the more or less well-to-do paid to attend a single luncheon in London, as well as the hard-earned pennies of small-town folk in other parts of England and Ireland, who attended more modestly priced luncheons, bazaars, card parties and other functions to aid Jewish women and children from Germany.
There will be increased difficulty in raising this year’s quota, Mrs. Sieff fears. The drive began as long ago as last October.
NO SETTLEMENT IN ISLES
While the mechanical work of organizing committees did not have to be repeated, she said, the sharp reaction to the German situation has subsided and it will be necessary to appeal to the intellectual rather than to the emotional generosity of the donors.
The settlement of German children in large numbers, Mrs. Sieff said, has not been attempted nor encouraged in England. Since there are no communal settlements to rely upon, German children must be placed in private homes or institutions.
This system of rehabilitation cannot be as satisfactory as in Palestine where, through the communal settlement, the child becomes part of a group and is eventually drawn into the warp of the country.
FARM DESERTION DISTURBS
When Mrs. Sieff visits the Emek colonies she may recognize some young friends. Last September Mrs. Sieff, while in Germany, saw several groups of children just prior to their departure for Palestine.
She is disturbed by the report that there is a tendency for young women to desert the agricultural settlements for the cities, but she is gratified by the progress being made in the WIZO centers at Nahalal and Ness Ziona. She feels that by intensive and intelligent guidance Jewish young women can be bound to the soil.