NEW YORK (May. 10)
The prediction that “the totality of European Jewry, apart from Soviet Jewry, may be reduced from five or six million before the war, to two or three million, if not less, after the war,” was made here today by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, member of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, addressing the evening session of the extraordinary Zionist conference at the Biltmore Hotel here, which is being attended by more than 550 American delegates and by 67 Zionist leaders from foreign countries now in the United States, including many from Nazi-occupied European countries.
“Soviet Jewry itself,” Dr. Goldmann said, “has been reduced greatly by the slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of Jews in German-occupied territories, and these territories happen to comprise nearly all the large Jewish centers in Soviet Russia. Fortunately, hundreds of thousands of Jews from Poland, Rumania and the Baltic states have escaped into Soviet Russia. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to conclude that Soviet Russian Jewry, formerly 3,300,000 has not also been greatly reduced.
“The Jews who will survive in Europe,” Dr Goldmann continued, “will be a community of physically ruined people, large sections of them fit only for hospitals or homes for the aged and infirm. With all the miraculous moral courage of many of these Jews, there are limits to physical endurance which no moral heroism can abolish. This picture of a Central and Eastern European Jewry reduced to a few millions, of whom a large part are physically broken, must be faced as one of the probabilities of the Jews in the post-war world.”
NO STRONG ZIONIST EFFORT POSSIBLE WITHOUT RUSSIAN JEWRY
Pointing out that all this will affect the Zionist movement and the Jewish aspirations for Palestine, Dr. Goldmann recommended that efforts be made to bring Russian Jewry “into the life of the Jewish people” and that the Zionist movement should undertake to strengthen the bonds among all Jewish communities for mutual cooperation, so that there should be no “Jewish isolationism” with regard to the question of a Jewish Palestine.
“With the reduced number of Jews after the war and with all the antagonistic tendencies which we will have to overcome, the bringing back of Soviet-Russian Jewry into the life of the Jewish people, will become more essential than ever,” Dr. Goldmann emphasized. “I do not think it is impossible, because Soviet Russia will undergo changes, as will all other parts of the world. The isolation of Soviet Russia after a democratic victory will no longer be necessary. No effort or sacrifice should be spared to bring Russian Jewry back into the fold, because European Jewry, as I see it after the war, with Soviet Jewry eliminated as it now is, will not be able to serve as a strong basis for a renewed and strengthened Zionist effort. It will also be essential for us to do everything we can to strengthen the bonds among Jewish communities after the war, because of the numerical and physical weakness of European Jewry and the assimilationist tendencies, which may become stronger in the post-war period than they are even today.”
Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the Jewish National Fund, land-purchasing agency in Palestine, deplored the failure of the Jewish people to recognize the political importance of land purchase. “Had we had the vision and resources,” he said, “to bring into the possession of the Jewish people greater land areas in all parts of the country, it would not have been easy to exclude any part of Palestine from the frontiers of the contemplated Jewish Commonwealth.”
Robert Szold, treasurer of the Zionist Organization of America, cautioned against any commitments by the Zionist movement “that would in any way be the basis of whittling down Jewish rights to Palestine, which were acknowledged by the nations of the world after the last war.”