Cleveland (Feb. 17)
The American Jewish Conference, which opened its third session here today, to decide, among other things, on the question of whether it is to remain a temporary body or should become a permanent organization representing American Jews on questions concerning Jewish rights in Europe and in Palestine, will in all probability retain its present temporary status for at least another year.
A resolution to this effect has been presented to the general committee of the conference and is expected to be approved with some modifications by all groups affiliated with the conference. The resolution provides:
“1. That the Interim Committee should continue and intensify the work of the American Jewish Conference, within the purposes defined in the Pittsburgh Proposal.
“2. That the Interim Committee shall call a fourth session of the conference at such time and place as it deems advisable, but not later than fifteen months from now.
“3. The Interim Committee is directed to explore the possibility of establishing a permanent, democratic, representative Jewish body, through agreement as to the nature and the scope of such an organization with the existing national agencies and representative community organizations, and, subject to such agreement, to propose ways and means for bringing such a body into existence.”
MONSKY CALLS FOR JEWISH UNITY TO MEET VAST REHABILITATION TASKS
Henry Monsky, the co-chairman of the Interim Committee, in his opening address, called for Jewish unity. He pointed out that the new world order offers hope for the Jews. He called for “selfless consecration by the American Jewish community to the single objective of serving the cause of Israel as the command of the hour. This we can if we remain united in purpose and effort,” he stated.
Reviewing the activities of the American Jewish Conference, Mr. Monsky reported that the organization, and its representatives, “actively participated in a number of epoch-making events, and that participation, and the results obtained, give cause for profound gratification.” He stressed the work of the Conference delegation at the United Nations organizing session at San Francisco, and the testimony given at the Washington hearings of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine.
“The manifold activities in the areas of rehabilitation, rescue, establishment of a united Jewish front, representation at governmental and inter-governmental conferences and committees, war crimes, reparations, and other matters,” Mr. Monsky said, “were responsible for and resulted in definite actions of a beneficial character to our people. In a number of instances, actions which, except for the activities of the Conference, might not have ensued.”
Estimating the material losses of the Jewish people through Hitler’s domination of Europe at not less than $8,000,000,000, Louis Lipsky, another co-chairman of the Interim Committee, told the conference that the decisions of the Allied Reparations Committee–during its meeting in Paris–with regard to Jewish claims are unsatisfactory.
“According to the latest decision,” he said, “the Jewish victims are to be considered citizens of an ‘anonymous state’, to which is to be allotted the non-monetary gold found by the Allied forces in Germany, and, in addition, the sum of $25,000,000 and those assets in neutral countries of Nazi victims who have since died and left no heirs. The fund thus to be made available, however, is to be administered by the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, which is to carry out the purposes of the fund through private and public field organizations. The fund is to be used, moreover, not for the compensation of the original victims, but to further the rehabilitation or resettlement of the beneficiaries.
“In view of the enormous losses suffered by the Jewish people, and the need for large sums to assure the rehabilitation of the survivors, it is clear,” Mr. Lipsky added, “that the amount of reparations provided by the Paris agreement is inadequate; and especially unsatisfactory is the decision to have whatever funds are placed in this trust administered by the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees.”
He revealed that during the course of discussions with members of the Reparations Committee, representatives of the American Jewish Conference suggested the establishment of a trust instrument or agency for the representation of Jewish claims, and the administration of funds recovered. They asked that a Jewish Reconstruction Trust be established along the lines of the Jewish Colonization Association, or the Jewish Colonial Trust, he reported.
GOLDSTEIN URGES CONTINUATION OF CONFERENCE “UNTIL SUCCESSOR IS BORN”
Dr. Israel Goldstein, the third co-chairman of the Interim Committee, appealed for the continuation of the conference “until its successor will be born.” He emphasized that the situation of the Jews in Europe remains precarious, and that the question of Palestine demands constant vigilance on the part of American Jews. Pointing out that the hopes of the displaced Jews in the camps in Germany, which he visited, hang upon the Jews of the United States, Dr. Goldstein said:
“If the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry, and the governments which appointed them do less than see to it that the camps are dissolved before the Fall of this year, and their inmates settled where they will no longer be displaced persons either in name or in fact, then this committee and the governments which sponsored it will earn nothing but contempt,” Dr. Goldstein said. “If the President of the United State does not see to it by every pressure at his command that every displaced person who expresses a preference for Palestine, gets to Palestine, then he will cancel the right to be known as a humanitarian president.” He stressed that even when the camps for displaced Jews are liquidated, there will still be the problem of the Jews in Rumania, Hungary, Poland and other lands, who want to emigrate to Palestine.
Dr. Maurice N. Eisendrath, executive director of the United American Hebrew Congregations, speaking at the opening session, appealed for exploration of the possibilities of building a democratically constituted, all inclusive, American-Jewish body that would speak authoritatively for the Jews of the United States. “We will fail to fulfill our high destiny as members of the largest and strongest Jewry in the world, if, upon the dissolution of this conference, we permit anarchy and chaos to reign again in American history.”
The Conference was welcomed this morning by Ezra Shapire, president of the Cleveland Jewish Community Council. It will continue through Tuesday.