Churchill, Lehman, Wise Score Nazi Annihilation of Jews in Europe

Prime Minister Winston Churchill added his voice to the swelling protests against the merciless annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazi forces of occupation, in a message read last night to the 20,000 persons assembled in Madison Square Garden to assail German atrocities against the civilian populations.

Pointing out that “the Jews were Hitler’s first victims,” the Prime Minister hailed the contributions to the war effort which have been made by Jewish communities all over the world, and particularly stressed the role of Palestine Jews in both war industry and actual combat. He recalled that last October 25 he and President Roosevelt had “expressed the horror felt by all civilized people at Nazi butcheries and terrorism and our resolve to place retribution for these crimes among the major purposes of the war.”

Governor Herbert H. Lehman of New York stated that he brought from the 14,000,000 people of New York State, “regardless of race or creed, a message of sympathy and hope to the Jewish people and to other oppressed peoples who have been the victims of untold sufferings and who are now threatened with calculated annihilation.” Touching on the dangers that face Palestine the Governor declared: “Palestine built up through the courage, sweat and effort of brave pioneer men and women is in danger. The Jewish people of Palestine wish for nothing but the opportunity of standing side by side with their non-Jewish brothers in the fight for freedom and against the brutal despoilers who respect neither God nor man. I do not want to see a Jewish army created. I am confident that the people of Palestine generally went no separate Jewish army. But the thousands of brave, strong, young Jews of Palestine who have built up their land for the benefit of all – Christian, Jew and Mohammedan alike – should be given the opportunity of defending their homes and the products of their bitter toil…They should be permitted to fight side by side with their British and American friends in behalf of our common cause – the defense of democracy, of freedom and of security.”

Reviewing the destruction of Jews throughout Europe, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, who presided at the meeting, said: “Tomorrow will be the eve of Tisha B’ab, the destruction twice or thrice of the holy Temple of Jerusalem. Tonight we meet not only to sorrow over an ancient grief but also over a limitless wrong of our own day, the Nazi threat to destroy the Jewish people. Great as is our sorrow, deep felt as is our grief, we do not mourn the destruction of the Jewish people. The destruction of the Jewish people can never be. Its Temple may be destroyed, its people plundered and stricken and wounded, but the eternal people shall not be destroyed.” Rabbi Wise asked “our great-hearted, liberty-loving fellow-Americans to join with us in solemn condemnation of the infamy of the Axis.” He also urged the British to allow the formation of a Home Guard in Palestine to defend the country against the Axis armies in Egypt.

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge who recently returned from the Middle Eastern front paid tribute to the Jewish volunteers from Palestine and stated that “I like to believe that the day is near when a Jewish army of Palestine will march side by side with the armies of the United Nations in this fight for freedom and for the redemption of mankind.”

Frank Goldman, vice-president of the Supreme Lodge of B’nai B’rith, one of the organizations sponsoring last night’s demonstration, voiced his protests against the “Nazi savagery.” He also disclosed that “the Central Administrative Board of B’nai B’rith yesterday adopted a resolution urging that immediate steps be taken by the proper authorities to enable the Jewish population resident in Palestine to defend themselves against Nazi aggression, and to afford them the opportunity to make a maximum contribution to the United Nations in the achievement of an early victory.”

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