NEW YORK (Dec. 1)
Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins was reported today to be studying a plan for creation of a giant international relief corporation to resettle the Jewish youth of European persecution lands and support the aged, as a statement by Henry Ford supporting the United States as a haven for refugees featured the growing movement to aid the oppressed. At the same time, the Joint Distribution Committee announced increased contributions from all over the country as a result of the new persecutions.
The evacuation plan, according to an exclusive New York Times dispatch from Washington, was prepared by a Labor Department official and has not yet been acted upon by Secretary Perkins. It contemplates systematic removal of young Jews from Central and Eastern Europe to available lands after they have received training for agricultural pursuits. The United States and Great Britain would finance the scheme with the cooperation of individuals in many countries. Another part of the plan contemplates the strengthening of the moderate elements in Central Europe so that the Jews who remain will receive minority rights and protection. At the same time anti-Semitism would be treated at its source by putting the active disapproval of the world before the people instead of before their governments.
Negotiations are proceeding on the offer of an unnamed Central American nation to throw open 10,000 square miles of territory for settlement of 25,000 Jewish families, it was disclosed today by Philip Block, executive director of the American ORT Federation. The offer made to the ORT, Mr. Block told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, provides that 40 percent of the families be agriculturists, 40 per cent artisans and 20 per cent professionals. These would be drawn largely from the German Jews, but also from Jews of other European countries trained by the ORT, Mr. Block said.
The prospects for acceptance of the plan look favorable, Mr. Block said, but no final arrangement will be made pending the arrival in New York on Dec. 10 of Dr. David Lvovitch, vice-president of the International ORT Federation, who will assist in making the final arrangement.
Mr. Ford, in a statement authorized at a conference in Detroit yesterday with Rabbi Leo M. Franklin, expressed the opinion that the German people did not sympathize with their rulers in the anti-Jewish policies and promised to do everything possible to give refugees a chance to rebuild their lives in this country.
HENRY FORD’S STATEMENT
The automobile magnate stated: “I believe that the United States cannot fail at this time to maintain its traditional role as a haven for the oppressed. I am convinced not only that this country could absorb many of the victims of oppression who must find a refuge out
“Because of their special adaptability in the fields of production, distribution and agriculture, they would offer to the business of this country a new impetus at a time like this, when it is badly needed. Hundreds of Jewish men now employed in our plants show marked ability and loyalty, and if the turnover among them is sometimes comparatively high, it is indicative of their ambition to improve themselves.
“It is my opinion that the German people, as a whole, are not in sympathy with their rulers in their anti-Jewish policies, which is the work of a few war-makers at the top.
“My acceptance of a medal from the German people does not, as some people seem to think, involve any sympathy on my part with Nazism. Those who have known me for many years realize that anything that breeds hate is repulsive to me.
“I am confident that the time is near when there will be so many jobs available in this country that the entrance of a few thousand Jews, or other emigrants, will be negligible.
“I believe that the return-to-the-land movement is one of the ultimate solutions of our economic problems, and in this movement the Jews of the Old World can play a significant part. I am wholly sympathetic with the movement to give the oppressed Jew an opportunity to rebuild his life in this country and I myself will do everything possible toward that end.”
Intensified persecution abroad has stimulated contributions to fund-raising organizations for overseas Jewish causes, Isidor Coons, campaign director of the Joint Distribution Committee, reported today. All communities conducting campaigns this Fall have reached their goals and some have exceeded them, Mr. Coons said. Campaigns now under way have gotten off to advantageous starts, he added.
Examples cited by Mr. Coons are: the Philadelphia United Jewish Appeal, with a $500,000 goal, has collected over $600,000; Atlantic City, in a campaign for $39,352, not yet completed, has raised $36,128; in Toronto over $200,000 has been raised of the $240,000 quota; Rochester has increased its quota from $73,000 to $100,000, with $60,000 raised in one day; in Cincinnati, the $231,795 quota has been exceeded by $44,105, and a total of close to $300,000 is expected.
The Hadassah national board, announcing a $250,000 emergency campaign to transfer Jewish youths to Palestine, decided to call for a “one-dish dinner” of Hadassah’s 75,000 members on Dec. 21, the 78th birthday of Miss Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah. The estimated $25,000 which is expected thus to be raised will be sent to Miss Szold in Jerusalem as a “birthday present” to maintain and reeducate children arriving in Palestine. The board acted after hearing a report from Mrs. David de Sola Pool, vice-president of Hadassah, who has just returned from the Zionist General Council session in London. She stressed that immediate settlement possibilities offered by Palestine made the country of first-rank importance in any solution of the refugee problem.
The general council of the Northern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution asking President Roosevelt to take the lead in calling an international conference to deal with the refugee problem on a larger scale. Students representing seven up-state colleges, at a conference in Schenectady, adopted a resolution pledging student support for any project to relieve the distress of oppressed groups in Germany.
Many prominent persons have accepted membership in an organization now in formation to defend democracy and the rights of minorities, it was announced in Washington by Matthew Woll, vice-president of the American Federation of Labor. He said that a definite organization and program of work would be announced within the next week. Mr. Woll declared the organization would be a challenge to the destruction of freedom in Germany, would work with other major organizations in the field and would seek membership throughout the United States.