Weizmann Set for 6-week Speaking Tour; Stresses U.S. Jewry’s Refugee-aid Role
Menu JTA Search

Weizmann Set for 6-week Speaking Tour; Stresses U.S. Jewry’s Refugee-aid Role

Download PDF for this date

Dr. Chaim Weizmann, who arrived here on the Rex on Friday evening with a message stressing American Jewry’s responsibility to provide opportunities for immigration of tens of thousands of refugees into Palestine, planned today a program of speeches to major Jewish communities throughout the country.

Dr. Weizmann will address a rally at Mecca Temple on Tuesday night and a dinner of the American Friends of the Hebrew University on Wednesday, and is then expected to open a tour of six weeks or more which will begin with an address in Detroit on Jan. 27 or 28 at the General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds.

On his arrival, delayed by inability to obtain trans-Atlantic airplane passage from Lisbon, the Zionist leader was greeted by a delegation including Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Dr. Israel Goldstein, Judge Morris Rothenberg, Sholem Asch, Dr. Kurt Blumenfeld, and Dr. Georg Landauer. Hundreds thronged the pier, and some rushed forward to kiss his hand.

In a statement issued on shipboard Dr. Weizmann said:

“The cruel havoc wrought in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews in Poland constitutes one of the major human tragedies of the present conflict. Large sections of the European population come within the category of war sufferers, but for the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe there has been added to the hardships and devastation of war, the onslaught of a merciless anti-Semitism which has immeasurably aggravated the plight of large numbers of defenseless men, women and children.

“My mission to the United States at this time has for its chief purpose the enlistment of American Jewry’s united support for the continued development of Palestine as a haven for tens of thousands of Jews who have been uprooted and driven from their homes by the overwhelming wave of destruction now sweeping over Central Europe. The tragedy of these Jews, faced in large part with the alternatives of expulsion or extinction, is heightened by the fact that no new doors have been opened to the homeless and no new territories have been found to receive them. For nearly all of them, hope is concentrated on the possibility of finding anchorage and new opportunity in Palestine, which in its turn is prepared to meet the task of providing new homes for many thousands of refugees, if adequate resources are made available for a comprehensive program of immigration and settlement.

“While Palestine’s economy has felt the repercussions of the war in Europe, our colonization and immigration activities continue undiminished and thousands of Jews have arrived on our shores since the outbreak of hostilities. In the past year Palestine absorbed more than 30,000 Jews from Germany, Poland, Austria, Czecho-Slovakia and other lands. This brought to a total of 225,000 the number of Jews who have found a permanent home in Palestine since 1933.

“This large influx of refugees is being absorbed by the systematic development of agriculture and industry and the constantly broadening economic possibilities of the country. This, together with an extension of the frontier of Jewish settlement to outlying districts of the country, hitherto derelict, has materially increased the absorptive capacity of Palestine.

“There is room in Palestine for the immediate absorption of many tens of thousands of Jews who must emigrate overseas to rebuild their lives. But the war which has so greatly added to the problem of Jewish homelessness, has at the same time compelled a number of Jewish communities to withdraw from active participation in a program of Jewish refugee settlement. So much greater, inevitably, becomes the responsibility which will devolve upon the Jews of the United States in 1940. It is my earnest hope that American Jewry, which has supported Palestine rebuilding with understanding and sympathy in the past, will recognize the unparalleled opportunities for a solution of the Jewish problem which lie in the further reconstruction of the Jewish homeland.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund