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Between the Lines

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The annual convention of the Federation of Polish Jews has authorized its Executive to start an independent campaign in America to raise funds for Polish Jewry.

Despite all the misery now being experienced by the Jews in Poland and despite the sincere desire of every Jew in this country to help them, it would hardly be practical for the Federation of Polish Jews actually to start a campaign of its own. Such a campaign was started in England recently and although it was backed by all groups in British Jewry, it turned out to be a flat failure.


The Federation of Polish Jews in America cannot afford to speculate as to whether a special campaign in America for Polish Jews would be a success. Before starting such a campaign, the Federation must make sure that it will have at least some measure of success. Otherwise, not only will the Federation be discredited but also those who may agree to assist in the campaign.

It must not be forgotten that the special campaign started in England for Polish Jewry was backed by such personalities as Chief Rabbi Hertz, Neville Laski, Leonard Montefiore, Nahum Sokolow and others. If, notwithstanding all this backing the campaign in England is already considered a failure, one must be extremely optimistic to expect that such a campaign in America will have a different result.


The proper thing for the Federation of Polish Jews to do is to exercise more pressure upon the Joint Distribution Committee to increase its assistance to the Jews of Poland. The Joint Distribution Committee, with its apparatus and its traditions could do more for the Jews of Poland than any other organization, if it would only assign more funds for this specific work.

That the leaders of the Joint Distribution Committee are fully aware of the plight of Polish Jewry is apparent from the report submitted last week by Dr. Bernhard Kahn to the Executive of the J.D.C. in New York. It is one of the most illuminating reports on Poland that I have ever read. It gives a graphic picture of all aspects of the situation there as well as of its causes. It is an expert analysis on the present day plight of Polish Jewry.


The fact that Dr. Bernhard Kahn found it necessary to make a special study in Poland before coming to the United States is the best evidence that the Joint Distribution Committee has no intention of neglecting Polish Jewry. It is only a question of how much influence the leaders of the Federation of Polish Jews in America can exercise on the Joint Distribution Committee to obtain the maximum relief possible.

The Joint Distribution Committee at present has on its hands plenty of obligations. It has to worry about the Jews in Germany, the German-Jewish refugees outside of Germany. The Jewish situation in Rumania also presents a problem to the Joint Distribution Committee. But with all this, the leaders of the J.D.C. seem to realize that their greatest problem today is that of securing more relief for Polish Jews.

There is no doubt that if the J.D.C. were to shift certain obligations to its Zionist partners in the present campaign—if it were to leave it to the Zionists to finance the Hachsharah and the Hechalutz in Germany, and to pay the fares for German Jews proceeding to Palestine—more funds would be left for Polish Jewry. It is on this point that the leaders of the Polish Federation ought to insist. A separate relief campaign by the Federation will only serve to stir false hopes among the Jews in Poland since it is certain to end in a fiasco in this country.

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