Benes Tells J.t.a. Correspondent Anti-semitism Exists in Slovakia but Not in Bohemia

President Edouard Benes of Czechoslovakia, in an exclusive interview with the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, today admitted that anti-Jewish feelings were still active in Slovakia where five Jews were reported yesterday killed by a mob in the city of Presov, but held the Bohemo-Moravian section of Czechoslovakia is free of it.

President Benes explained the anti-Jewish feelings in Slovakia by the fact that the political, cultural and economic level is not yet as high there as in Bohemia. It must be lifted, he said. One of the most immediately pressing tasks of the common Czechoslovak government is to put Slovak conditions in order, he declared.

“There was anti-Semitism also in Bohemia,” the President stated, “but this was due only to the fact that the Jews in Bohemia were representatives of Germanism in the times when Bohemia was a part of Austria. There was hatred against the Jews only because that Jewish generation appeared willing to be a tool of the Germans. As soon as the Bohemian Jews became Czech citizens, anti-Semitism disappeared.”

SAYS JEWS MUST GO TO PALESTINE OR BECOME ASSIMILATED

Answering the question as to the fate of the Jews in Czechoslovakia as a national minority, Dr. Benes said: “I have always been a friend of Zionism. The establishment of a Jewish Home in Palestine is a necessity for all nations, because anti-Semitism is a regrettable but practically inevitable social phenomenon. It will not vanish till the creation of a Jewish country granting citizenship to all Jewry.

“It would be difficult to repatriate all Jews there, but it could be done soon at least for the European Jews. Those who would not leave for Palestine ought to be assimilated completely to the people of the country they want to live in, or live there as citizens of a foreign state,” he concluded.

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