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Jewish Culture Collapsing in Poland, Backer Tells Women’s Parley

“In the thousand years of Jewish residence in Poland, we are witnessing for the first time the complete breakdown of culture,” George Backer, vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, said today at the fifteenth triennial convention of the National Council of Jewish Women.

“In a recent survey made in Warsaw among the young people, a large percentage of illiteracy was found,” Mr. Backer told 500 delegates and guests at the Hotel William Penn. “In the darkest days of Czarist pogroms, the Jewish belief in education never wavered. But today, exhausted, assailed on every side, they have begun to lose their faith in the power of the word.”

Reviewing Jewish persecution in Central and Eastern Europe and declaring “the soul of the Jew is on a rack of hatred more powerful and shattering than Torquemada’s,” Mr. Backer urged the convention to “take the lead in this gigantic struggle for human survival.”

“In lacerated Europe,” he said, “six million Jews are in agony. Not here in Pittsburgh not at the very ends of the earth — will you escape their cry. From your marshalled ranks must come the answer. It has been said that this generation has a rendezvous with destiny. now in America we are shaping the events by which the children of our children are to judge us.”

Other speakers at today’s session, which featured a symposium on service to the foreign born, included Miss Cecilia Razofsky, Mrs. Maurice L. Goldman, and Mrs. Toni Saphra of Johannesburg, founder of the newly organized Union of Jewish Women of South Africa.

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