NEW YORK (Jan. 12)
Anti-Jewish agitation in the United States perceptibly declined and “stuck a new low of disrepute during the past year,” the American Jewish Committee reported today at its 35th annual meeting, held at the Hotel Astor with delegates from all parts of the country in attendance.
The Committee elected Sol M. Stroock president in succession to the late Dr. Cyrus Adler, who held the post from 1920 until his death last April and to whom a special tribute was paid at the meeting by Morris Waldman, secretary of the Committee.
The Committee also elected the following officers: Chief Justice Irving Lehman and Judge Abram I. Elkus, honorary vice-presidents; Carl Austrian and Lessing J. Rosenwald, vice-presidents; Samuel D. Leidesdorf, treasurer; and Louis E. Kirstein, chairman of the board, a newly created post. The following were elected to the executive committee: David Sulzberger, Harold K. Guinzburg and Walter N. Rothschild, all of New York, and Milton W. King of Washington, D.C. Re-elected to the executive committee were: George Z. Medalie, Frederick M. Warburg, Mr. Leidesdorf, Solomon Loewenstein, William Weiss, Fred Butzel, James Davis, Mr. Kirstein and Fred Lazarus Jr.
Read by Judge Horace S. Stern of Philadelphia, the report noted that anti-Jewish agitation had always remained “an underworld movement, disapproved and condemned by all decent Americans.” Declaring the agitation had reached a “new low of disrepute” in 1940, the report asserted that “there was a perceptible falling off of interest among those sections of the population which had formerly listened to the mouthings or read the scribblings of mischief-making rabble-rousers and misguided fanatics.”
The report reviewed the tragic plight of Jews in various parts of the world, declaring that in all Nazi-dominated countries with the exception of Rumania, where “the Jews have always been a pawn in the game of foreign and domestic politics,” adoption of Nazi anti-Jewish policies constituted “a measure taken unwillingly in the hope of appeasing the aggressor.” “Even in Rumania,” the report added, “these measures were neither desired nor approved by the population as a whole.”
Appeasement of “the German war monster” was stated by the report to be similarly back of anti-Jewish legislation and policies by the Vichy Government in France, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.
The report pointed out that the populations of the conquered countries were losing their susceptibility to Nazi propaganda as the full effect of Nazi domination began to make itself felt. Rising anti-German sentiment was noted in France, the Netherlands, Poland, Norway, Bohemia-Moravia, Denmark and Belgium.
Reviewing the disastrous effects of the war upon 5,000,000 Jews living in the subjugated or vassal states, the report also pointed to the difficulties confronting the 600,000 Jews in the Baltic States and that part of Rumanian taken over by Soviet Russia.
“Jews are suffering from the extension to these seized territories of the Soviet anti-religious policy,” the report said. “As a consequence of the Communist hostility to religion, Jewish religious, community and religio-cultural activities are undergoing rapid liquidation. Many Jews are suffering economically because of suspected opposition to Communism or former anti-Communist activities.”
In a section on Palestine, the report noted that the fear of the Holy Land becoming part of the theater of war operations had not materialized, so that Palestine remained a refuge for Jews from the European war zones although the British Government’s refusal to admit refugees from enemy lands had temporarily reduced its possibilities as a haven. The report expressed gratification at the “marked improvement in Arab-Jewish relations” under the stimulus of the “common emergency of war.”
Dr. Morris R. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of City College, reported on the results of the research project initiated by the Committee shortly after outbreak of the war to study the problems of post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation of European Jews.
Jacob Landau, managing director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Overseas News Agency, who has just returned from a trip to South America, reviewed the extent of Nazi penetration of that continent and the problems created for Jewish communities there and for the United States. Flagrant anti-Semitic activities, he said, were being promoted by Nazi agents in South America as the entering wedge for a Nazi attack against America in the southern continent.