Post-war Restoration of Jewish Cultural Life in Europe Discussed; Plan Presented

A plan for the creation of an international commission of Jewish scholars and educators to act as an advisory body to the United Nations on the Jewish aspects of European cultural rehabilitation was outlined here last night by Dr. Theodor H. Gaster, executive secretary of the Conference on Jewish Relations, addressing a meeting of the Conference. The meeting was called for the purpose of discussing measures by which American Jews may help to re-establish Jewish cultural life and institutions in Europe after the war.

The functions of such a commission, Dr. Gaster said, would be fivefold: 1) To advise on the rebuilding of such institutions as have been destroyed and on the restoration of confiscated libraries, museums and similar institutions. 2) To serve as a temporary Board of Trustees to take charge of cultural institutions formerly owned by communities now dispersed. 3) To serve as assessors in the presentation of claims for indemnities in respect of Jewish cultural properties. 4) To assist in the reconstruction of the Jewish school system and in the re-establishment of centers of Jewish higher education, such as seminaries and university courses. 5) To supervise the presentation of Jewish material in textbooks and curricula which may be introduced into European countries by the United Nations in connection with programs of re-education.

Dr. Gaster stated that certain aspects of this program were already engaging the attention of American Jewish scholars, and that proposals of kindred nature had also been advanced in Great Britain. It was hoped, he said, that in time all efforts in this field would be united. At the same time he warned against any notion of merely restoring the pre-war status quo. Jewish cultural life, he said, must disavow parochial isolationism, and be integrated in the patterns of a new Europe. It must be prepared, if necessary, to undergo radical transformation.

Others who addressed the meeting, the second in a monthly series devoted to Jewish problems of the post-war world, were Dr. Bernhard Kahn, who described methods of Jewish cultural rehabilitation after the last war, and Dr. Max Weinreich, director of the Yiddish Scientific Institute, who described the nature and function of European Jewish institutions.

NEXT STORY