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Jews Absent As Minorities Parley Opens in Geneva

Expressing his regret at the absence of Jews from the congress, Dr. Josip Wilfan, president of the National Minorities Congress today opened the annual session of that body here.

Negotiations for the eventual return of the Jewish delegation are continuing, he said, emphasizing that the congress is willing to include also the Jewish group of Germany.

“The Jewish groups, however,” he said, “must promise to adhere to the statutes of the Congress, which do not admit discussion of the special position of groups in individual countries.”

Dr. E. Besednjak, addressing the Congress, deplored “the unwillingness of German Jews to be considered as a national minority.”

“Despite everything,” he said, “German Jews insist that they be treated as ‘Germans of the Mosaic religion.’ German Jews, however, should be regarded as a separate nationality, with all the consequences to be derived therefrom.”

The Jewish delegation to the National Minorities Congress, headed by the late Dr. Leo Motzkin, withdrew from the congress at its meeting in 1933, declaring that it could not attend unless it was understood in advance that there would be unrestricted discussion of the German-Jewish situation. It also demanded that the congress condemn the deprivation of rights of the Jews in Germany.

This the congress refused to do. The congress, however, listened to a declaration made by German minorities, in which they justified the anti-Jewish measures in Germany.

Attempts have been made several times to win the Jews back to the congress, but to no avail.

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