NEW YORK (Jan. 1)
Allocation of $250,000 for assistance to Christian refugees, half to be distributed by the Pope as a memorial to the late Pius XI in recognition of his “magnificent struggle” against racialism, was announced today by the United Jewish Appeal for Refugees and Overseas Needs.
The other half of the sum, assigned from funds raised in 1939 to meet the needs of Jewish relief and reconstruction agencies, will be contributed to Protestant agencies through Dr. George A. Buttrick, president of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America.
Pointing out that the problem of the refugees was by no means a Jewish one but that it affected members of all faiths, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver and Rabbi Jonah B. Wise, national chairmen of the U.J.A., declared in a statement that those responsible for the allocation of the funds for Jewish agencies felt that a portion of them should be reserved for distribution through Christian agencies to help victims of persecution without regard to race or religion.
The $125,000 fund for Catholics will be presented to Pope Pius XII through Bishop Bernard J. Sheil of Chicago. In a letter to Bishop Sheil, the U.J.A. chairmen said that the Jewish people would never forget “the magnificent struggle” by Pope Pius XI “to combat the ungodly doctrine of racialism which strikes at the very roots of the religious faith of civilized men.”
“They will always remember,” the letter continued, “his unflagging efforts to vindicate the divine doctrine of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man which alone can bring peace on earth.”
In communicating to Dr. Buttrick the decision of the U.J.A., the chairmen declared it was felt “appropriate and fitting that a fund of $125,000 should be put at the disposal of the Protestant Churches of America as an acknowledgment on our part of the sympathy and support of the leaders of the Protestant Churches for all victims of religious and racial persecution.”
Accepting the gift on behalf of the Pope, Bishop Sheil stated that in honoring the memory of Pius XI the Jews were paying tribute to a man who “denounced racial intolerance and hatred as contrary to the laws of God, to the dictates of right reason and to the welfare of civilization.” While the Jewish people have suffered more perhaps than any other people from the actions of a “malign racialism,” Bishop Sheil observed that the “painful problems growing out of this in human, ungodly fanaticism are by no means exclusively Jewish problems.” These problems, he added, are of profound and vital concern to Catholics, Protestants and to men of good will everywhere.
Acknowledging the gift to the Protestant churches, Dr. Buttrick said that the “one sufficient answer to cruelty is a resolute compassion.” “Your gift,” he added, “is a clear taken of good will. In its lighted imagination it will kindle many other lights across our present darkness until a new day shall break.” Expressing the hope that the U.J.A.’s generous action would encourage men and women of every faith to make “prompt and compassionate provision for refugees of every faith,” Dr. Buttrick declared that the refugee problem was “a primary American task and opportunity, in which you are giving splendid leadership.” He added that the fact that the funds raised by the U.J.A. were inadequate to meet the needs of Jewish refugee relief organizations, made “your kindness to us a double kindness.