Huge Open-air Demonstration in New York Demands Rescue of Jews from Europe
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Huge Open-air Demonstration in New York Demands Rescue of Jews from Europe

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Tens of thousands of Jews and non-Jews crowded Madison Square Park today at an open-air mass-demonstration in behalf of the Jews of Hungary and other parts of Nazi Europe sponsored by the 64 affiliated agencies of the American Jewish Conference with the cooperation of the American Jewish Committee and other national organizations.

Speakers at the demonstration included Assistant U. S. Attorney General Norman M. Littell, who is secretary of the National Committee Against Persecution of Jews; Dr. Stephen S.Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress and co-chairman of the American Jewish Conference; Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president of the American Jewish Committee; Henry Monsky, president of B’nai B’rith and co-chairman of the American Jewish Conference; Adolph Held, president of the Jewish Labor Committee, and many other noted Jewish and Christian leaders.

The huge mass-meeting in which Jews from all walks of life participated adopted a declaration stating that it is not yet too late “to save thousands upon thousands” of Jews for the day of liberation. The meeting appealed in the first instance to President Roosevelt and the Government of the United States, and through them to the United Nations and to the neutral states, to employ the following measures of rescue “without further delay.”

1) By means of warnings, broadcasts and all other forms of communication, the Hungarian Government and people should be made to realize that they will not be allowed to escape full responsibility for the crimes now being committed on their territory; and that they themselves must make every possible effort to halt the death march and protect the Jews under their control.

2) In the light of Admiral Horthy’s recent offer to the International Red Cross to release all Jewish children under ten who can obtain foreign visas, as well as adults with Palestine visas, we urge the United Nations to adopt immediately all measures leading to the evacuation of these people.

3) The protection of the United States and the other United Nations should be formally and openly extended to the helpless victims of Nazi persecution within the occupied territories.

4) Appropriate measures should be taken to induce the Axis government to equalize the status of Jews in Nazi-occupied territories, who are deprived of freedom of movement, with that of prisoners of war, military or civilian, in accordance with the Geneva Convention of 1929.

5) Since Palestine is the nearest country of refuge for Jews in the Balkan countries, its doors should be fully opened to them by the Mandatory power, and Turkey, which is the most available country of transit, should be induced to open its frontiers.

6) The United States and the other United Nations should declare that all territories under their administration are open to all Jews who can be rescued and the neutral nations shall likewise declare that they will facilitate the transit of these people to the aforementioned territories.

7) Since starvation continues to be one of Hitler’s most effective weapons of destruction, all means should be taken by the United Nations, consistent with the war effort, to bring food and medicaments to the endangered Jews under the auspices of the International Red Cross.

8) All measures should be taken by the military authorities, with the help of the underground forces, to destroy the implements, facilities, and places where the Nazis have carried out their mass executions.

“We solemnly declare that every hour of delay in implementing these measures increases the agony and suffering of those Jews who are still under Azis domination and adds new thousands to the death toll,” the declaration said. “We cannot remain silent. We demand and confidently expect that the United States and the other United Nations will move swiftly to rescue those who can still be saved, and punish the guilty for their inhuman crimes.”


A message from President Roosevelt, addressed to Dr. Stephen S. Wise, was read at the demonstration. “Please express to those gathered at the meeting to protest the deportations and cruelties visited upon the remaining Jewish community of Europe my feelings of abhorrence of these desperate acts of the enemy. I repeat to all concerned my earlier warning that those who participate in these acts of savagery shall not go unpunished,” the President’s message said.

Mr. Littell pointed out that the meeting was called not only to consider the fate of the 400,000 surviving Jews in Hungary. “Hungary is only one of the satellite and conquered powers,” he said. “What has transpired in respect to the balance of about 1,000,000 Jews in pre-war Hungary merely repeats what has occurred in other satellite and conquered countries from the Aegean to the Baltic Sea.”

Reviewing the Nazi atrocities against Jews, he spoke in detail of the “Jewish extermination camps” established by the Germans where hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed in gas chambers. The Assistant Attorney General emphasized that “certain Junker generals are differing with Hitler now on technical military grounds, because their estates are threatened by the Russian tidal wave in the East,” but not because they disagree with Hitler’s objectives or his determination to slaughter all the Jews. He warned the many thousands of German prison-keepers in Europe that their names and their deeds are known and that the U. S. Government is compiling lists of these war criminals in order to deal with them at the conclusion of the war.


A “bill of indictment” against the Hitler government was presented at the meeting by Judge Proskauer. Among other crimes, Judge Proskauer charged that “Hitler desecrated the shrines of religion with ruthless blasphemy turning monastery and abbey, cathedral and church, synagogue and temple into ashes and rubble under his blasphemous onslaught;” that Hitler has “visited on the Jewish people, without even the faint trace of the shame and humanity of the common hangman, the most unabashed and calculated cruelty since the Jews wept by the waters of Babylon” and that “he has not only sought to destroy merely the religion of the Jews, but religion itself, and to substitute for the sublime cadences of the Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount the raucous dissonances of a hymn of universal hate.”

Judge Proskauer gave thanks to the churchmen of the world — to Pope Pius XII. the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Francis J. Spellman, Presiding Bishop Henry St. George Tucker, and Bishop Francis J. McConnell, who “with scores of others are valiantly enlisting all the forces of Christianity in this holy cause of ameliorating the plight of the sufferers from Hitlerism.” He also praised “the stalwart endeavors of our great Allies.”


Dr. Wise pointed out that American Jewry stands united as never before in its history of three centuries. “Faction and schism have been cancelled in the consuming desire to serve our brothers in Hungary threatened by hurt and crime and death,” he declared. He appealed to Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin “to urge, to warn, to demand” that the Jews in Hungary be left alive.

“It is not the people of Hungary to whom warning and threat should be spoken, but Hitler’s Hungarian Quislings, covetous and murderous,” Rabbi Wise said. “This is their final test and they will be adjudged by their conduct in this hour. Mercy will not be shown to the merciless. To the plain people of Hungary we cry out – Save your proud country from this shame, help the Jews of your land to find refuge, be to them shelter and shield until the day of your liberation, which will be the day of victory for the United Nations.”


The belief that the U. S. Government and its Allies are responsible for the most recent reports that the Hungarian Government will permit no more deportations and will grant visas to Jews, was expressed at the meeting by Henry Monsky.

“Except for Nazi control and artificial stimulation, Hungary and its people would be expected to respond to an appeal based upon the principles of decency and morality,” Mr. Monsky said. “Proof of this appears from the reports of the noble and heroic efforts of so many Hungarians, at the risk of their own lives, to shield, protect, conceal and aid their Jewish neighbors against devastation, confiscation of property, and murder.”


The demand that Jews who are threatened with extinction must be declared temporary citizens of the Allied countries, was voiced at the meeting by Adolph Held, president of the Jewish Labor Committee.

“We cannot fail to admit the painful truth that not everything possible was done for the rescue of our brothers and sisters overseas,” Mr. Held stated. “It is our belief that the United Nations have not performed their duty and obligation to the worst victims of Hitlerism — the Jewish people.

“We believe that tens and hundreds of thousands of Jews are still alive. Jews are still to be found in Hungary, Rumania, and Poland. The Nazis, however, have proclaimed it their mission to slaughter the last remaining Jew before their inevitable defeat. We must rescue the surviving Jews from the clutches of the butchers. The death march must be halted:

“We know that in the Nazi-occupied countries labor people, trade-unionists, and friends of a democratic world order are still alive. To these people we appeal: Defend the surviving Jews, protect their children, save the women and aged. To the Hungarian people and to the Hungarian labor movement we say, Rise up against the murderers, and massacres of hundreds of thousands of Jews still living among you; resist the Nazi beasts:

“We call upon President Roosevelt, our Government, and the governments of the United Nations. Open the doors of your countries for the Nazi victims who may still be saved; provide the necessary transportation facilities so as to accelerate their rescue.”

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