Backer’s Address Marks Opening of Jewish Relief Campaign in Montreal
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Backer’s Address Marks Opening of Jewish Relief Campaign in Montreal

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Attracting the largest gathering which any opening campaign of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies here has ever seen, George Backer, President of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, last night graphically described conditions in war-scarred Europe, giving an eye-witness account of the battle of Britain which he observed on his recent visit to London.

Mr. Backer spoke before several hundred leading members of the Jewish community gathered in the Montefiore Club at a dinner marking the launching of a drive for $310,000 in a combined appeal for the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the Jewish General Hospital and the United Jewish Refuges and War Relief Agency. The dinner was tendered by Samuel and Allan Bronfman, honorary chairman and campaign chairman, respectively, of the Combined Jewish Appeal.

Mr. Backer brought cheers from all leaders assembled when he told them that “Britain will never lose this war.” He recalled a time eight years ago when only great liberals saw that the persecution of the Jews was only a guidepost to Hitler’s future conduct. “The world felt some sympathy, but no danger,” he declared. “Tonight we sit amid a world in ruins. We are engaged in a life-and-death straggle to live as we see fit to live.”

In London he asked Lord Beaverbrook if there was any chance of the British people suing for peace. The fighting Canadian replied: “They will have to kill five million of us first. Them maybe they’ll find a government here which will bow to them.”

With the British it has become a question of victory or death, said Mr. Backer. There can be no compromise. “I know that on our side is the hope of the future, and you and I, with our own special abilities and talents, must give all we have. So that, when the final result is attained, we will be able to assure our children a way of living in real hope, dignity, and happiness.”

Allan Bronfman, campaign chairman, delivered an address on behalf of this year’s combined appeal, which opens Wednesday. Samuel Bronfman, honorary campaign chairman, who introduced Mr. Backer, declared that this year’s joint campaign of the Federation of Jewish Philantrhopies, Jewish General Hospital, and the United Jewish Refugee and War Relief Agencies under one banner – Combined Jewish Appeal – was a great step forward in the history of the community. “It demonstrates our unity and a great response to the appeal will confirm it,” he said.

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