“Throughout the year the process of disintegration which affected the smaller provincial communities in 1933 was continued. The country towns and villages have been deserted by the younger generations, who have either emigrated or sought to find new means of existence in the larger towns. Among the smaller Jewish communities several instances have been reported where there were no children of school age, and many more where there was a wholly disproportionate number of people of middle age or of advanced years. The Central Committee for Welfare and Reconstruction has continued to make strenuous efforts to grapple with immense difficulties. Further employment for the Jewish youth which remains in Germany depends largely on the continued existence of small Jewish shop-keepers and tradesmen. Accordingly, a system of loan banks has been organized in order to lend support to the small employers of labor whose economic existence is imperilled.
“Efforts have also been made to provide fresh Jewish schools both for the sake of the pupils and also in order to absorb a certain number of Jewish teachers who have been dismissed from their employment in the State schools,” the report continues.
“By the creation of the Kulturbund some attempt has been made to provide the Jewish community with theatrical performances, lectures and concerts, of which they have been deprived. The Kulturbund’s activities also provide some opportunity for employment to Jewish performers who are prevented from appearing at any German theatre or concert hall. All these efforts meet continually with hindrances created by local party of government officials.”
Discussing the problem of settling the remainder of the 70,000 refugees from Nazi Germany, the report points out that “world-wide economic depression and unemployment have been responsible for the reluctance of most countries to admit refugees for permanent settlement, and for the poor financial support from all but the Jewish communities to the work of the High Commission. Though much has been done,” it declares, “the time has, unfortunately, not yet come to desist from further endeavors. Indeed, the reunion of the Saar with Germany raises a further problem of refugees that may add to the already heavy obligations which the Jews in this and other countries have been called upon to bear.”
THE NEW POLISH LAWS
No improvement in the economic situation of Polish Jewry was reported and legislative action had the tendency to aggravate the plight of Polish Jewry, the committee reports, especially in regard to Jewish traders and artisans.
“Politically,” it states, “the rise of a new anti-Semitic National Radical Party, with aims modelled on the Nazi program, created a fresh danger to the community. Its violent methods, which did not stop short of physical attack, led after a time to its suppression by the government. The powerful Democratic Party still maintains its anti-Semitic policy unchecked to any material extent by the government; restrictive action by the government is, however, hoped for, in spite of the growing accord between Germany and Poland.
THE DANZIG SITUATION
“In Danzig, the Jews are subjected to conditions only slightly better than those in Germany. Although they have de jure equality of rights, the all-powerful influence of the Nazi party and a preponderently Nazi Senate has made the lot of the 8,000 Jewish inhabitants very difficult to bear, harassed as they are by the unscrupulous propaganda of the Nazi press and secret boycott methods.”
The Board’s Palestine committee report describes the need during 1934 for adequate immigration schedules to assist the further balanced development of the country and expectations raised that the government would relax its restricted estimates of absorptive capacity. Schedules granted, however, it declares, were “disappointing.” A supplementary grant of 1,200 certificates made in the latter part of the year did not materially improve the situation.
“There were, however, indications that the government was showing increasing understanding of the real importance underlying Jewish effort in Palestine,” the report declares.
It also reports conferences on the subject of missionary activities in Palestine and the possibility of constructive measures for minimizing their effects on Jewish children.
The Board’s administration report reveals an increase in the number of organizations represented on the Board. On March 1, 1935, there were 347 Deputies representing eighty-nine London synagogues, 126 provincial congregations, nine colonial congregations and fifteen institutions.
Other reports of committees included in the annual report describe many activities of the Board in the regulation and direction of Jewish communal life in general in England.