Washington (Feb. 24)
The United Jewish Appeal today launched its $100,000,000 nation-wide drive, the largest single Jewish drive in history, at a national meeting here of over 350 Jewish leaders, with the announcement of initial gifts of $1,000,000 by the family of the late Julius Rosenwald, of $500,000 by the family of the late Felix Warburg, and of $250,000 by Edmund I. Kaufmann of Washington.
Speeches by Bernard Baruch, former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthan, Jr., and Director General Herbert H. Lehman of UNRRA emphasized the obligation of American Jews to contribute generously to relieve the suffering of the surviving Jews of Europe and expand the possibilities for their resettlement in Palestine.
Declaring that there can be no peace and happiness in the world until a place has been found for all displaced people of every religion and race, Mr. Baruch told the assembled Jewish leaders: “Relieve the physical suffering of these tens of thousands of Jews and you will relieve the world of one of its most pressing problems, and humanity of a bitter self-reproach.
“That is your obligation and privilege,” he declared, “and equally important is your obligation to help all other war-injured peoples who need assistance. Of all the unhappy and unfortunate peoples of the world, the worst off is the pitiful remnant left of the Jews of Europe. They were chosen by the Nazis for extermination – not merely by death but by torments hitherto unthought-of of. Added to their physical suffering is their mental anguish, for they have become the unwanted – driven from place to place – welcomed nowhere.”
The homeless and displaced Jews of Europe “do not want to go back to the countries they left, because there, robbery, riot and even murder stalk the land,” he said. Mr. Baruch stressed that “constant fear presses them to move on somewhere – somehow – anywhere away from the persecutions existing even now.” Homelessness, he asserted, is the problem of the great numbers of other displaced peoples – Catholics, Protestants, all faiths and nationalities – who fear to return to the homes they once loved.
“Public opinion cannot be bought, but it can be deserved,” Baruch said. “A people who are eyed suspiciously must live so as to be the more deserving – not by cringing, not by hand washing, not by appeasement, for these have already failed, but by keeping our heads up and our shoulders back, ready to help and to lead in those causes that build mankind. And too, we must be in the front in protecting our beloved America against its outside enemies, as well as those within. Our system is worth fighting for. It is the new ark of the covenant of human liberties and human dignities.”
Maintaining that personal initiative and private charity go hand in hand, Baruch commented: “Abolish private charity and the state takes over, in a grim, organized, statistical way and we shall be robbed of the joy that lies in giving and the deep satisfaction of rescuing the afflicted.”
MORGENTHAU SAYS ONLY U.S. JEWS CAN FURNISH NECESSARY AID
Mr. Morgenthau emphasized “the desperate need” back of the UJA and said that “we here in the United States are the only ones who can give the money necessary.” Citing the handicap under which the JDC and Jewish Agency for Palestine operate, Morgenthau said they “started the year ten million dollars in the hole. I think that is to their credit, because they had the courage to carry on and do the work which was so desperately needed.”
Palestine “seems to me to be the only place that most of the homeless Jews of Europe want to go to,” he said. Twice the minimum of $51,000,000 needed for Palestine could be used, he said. “Jews are dying like flies every day due to the Nazi curse. Let me assure you the need is desperate. I am confident we will rise to the occasion.”
Mr. Morgenthau supported the proposal of Judge Simon H. Rifkind, adviser on Jewish affairs to General Joseph McNarney in Germany, that the Anglo-American Inquiry Committee issue an interim report recommending immediate admittance into Palestine of 100,000 Jews, as previously requested by President Truman.
LEHMAN SAYS 1946 WILL BE DECISIVE OF JEWS OF EUROPE
Former Governor Lehman declared that the UJA appeal was unprecedented, “but I can assure you that the needs are as unprecedented as that goal.” He said 1946 will be decisive for Europe and the Jews of Europe, and emphasized the “challenge” to Jews in America “to give to the survivors the means to live and become again self-supporting and self-respecting citizens.
“More than half the Jews of Europe require basic relief in the form of goods, clothing, medical aid and shelter,” he said. “Many more need tools, machines, capital to become again self-supporting.” He stressed that the 150,000 remaining children of the pre-war 1,200,000 must be helped. Pointing out that “devastation and ruin that is Europe today is unparalleled,” Mr. Lehman stressed that “UNRRA does not operate in European countries where a large percentage of the surviving Jews now reside.” UNRRA does not operate in former enemy countries, he explained, and said that UNRRA resources are limited and inadequate to cope with the tremendous needs.
Conditions in displaced persons camps in Germany and Austria, he said, have been considerably improved recently by the army and UNRRA, but the camps are no “substitute for home.” He stressed the far greater complexity of the rehabilitation program facing the JDC now, as contrasted with the period after World War I. The 240,000 Jews in France, Belgium and Holland, the “paying countries” where UNRRA does not operate, he said, “will undoubtedly take root again and become an integral part of the economy of their country as before the war, but they require help to do so.
“The needs of the Jews in Eastern Europe, particularly Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria, are overwhelming,” he emphasized. “In these three countries some 600,000 Jews live. Hundreds of thousands are in dire need and thus far it has been the JDC alone that has brought them a medium of aid.” He declared that the vast majority of the 100,000 to 150,000 displaced Jews in Germany and Austria want to go to Palestine, “where they can live in security and peace.” Stating that he did not know what the recommendation of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry would be, he hazarded the guess that “Palestine will continue to absorb large numbers of Jews in the future.”
“The rebirth of Palestine is one of the great accomplishments of modern times,” he asserted. “It is important to stress that the United Palestine Appeal requires funds not for the Jews in Palestine, but for the many new arrivals whose health must be built up, for whom land must be purchased for settlement, for whom economic bases must be created.”
The UNRRA head praised the “splendid record” of the National Refugee Service, especially in “swiftly and smoothly” integrating immigrants into American life. “The directive of President Truman to utilize all the visas under the immigration law will mean a larger flow of immigrants to this country,” he said. “The experience that the National Refugee Service has accumulated in dealing with tens of thousands of new comers will enable it to continue its splendid record of service.
“The job of integrating the immigrants into the American scene swiftly and smoothly is vital from every point of view, and particularly from our own point of view as American Jews. I am confident that the NRS will get the support that it requires.”
UJA CAMPAIGN IS “CHALLENGE TO MURDER,” SAYS SWOPE
Herbert Bayard Swope, keynoted the afternoon session, at which he presided, by terming the meeting “a challenge to murder.” “Today, regardless of whether we be rich or poor, right or left, Zionist or anti-Zionist, we stand united on our concept of duty, and that is to bring succor to those pitiful few who have survived in the destruction of Europe,” he said.
“I feel that the struggle that the Jew has made to live has the support of, and the complete devotion, of all men who believe that the world is intended to be better,” he continued. “Hitler, bringing murder and torture to the job of extermination, has not quite succeeded in this task, but wholly in a task he did not think he had undertaken, and that is unification of the Jew.”
Declaring that “the Jew who has survived for six thousand years has a place today as great as at the moment of our origin,” Swope lauded the “ethical responsibility” of the Jews in caring for their people. “This is a meeting of consecration. It is a record, I think, in all efforts at charity. The Jew is intensely proud of the fact that through his entire existence he has always taken care of his own. That is a measure of his ethical responsibility.”
The conference was officially opened by Mr. Kaufmann, who was named national chairman for initial gifts. “All of us are deeply aware of the solemnity and determination with which the Jews of America have pledged themselves to raise the $100,000,000,” he said. “All of us are deeply cognizant of the tremendous needs of the agencies which compose the UJA – the JDC, the UPA and the National Refugee Service.”
Edward M.M. Warburg, chairman of the JDC and of the Greater New York UJA, which is seeking to raise $35,000,000 as its share of the national quota, presided at the morning session. Announcing his family gift, Warburg expressed his “confident expectation that throughout the land there will be an outpouring of generosity on the part of men and women of goodwill.”
William Rosenwald, one of the national chairmen of the UJA, stated that the refugee assistance and adjustment program of the National Refugee Service must be greatly expended in 1946 in line with President Truman’s recent directive facilitating the admission to this country under existing immigration quotas of war refugees and orphans from Europe. Rosenwald lauded the NRS for its “smooth integration” of approximately 250,000 refugees into the American community since the rise of Hitlerism. The NRS, he declared, has helped to promote a liberal immigration policy by its effective and systematic adjustment of newcomers to the United States.
Declaring that “the significant role which Palestine plays in the entire drama of our homeless people of devastated Europe,” can no longer be questioned. Charles J. Rosenbloom of Pittsburgh, national chairman of the UPA, said that “whatever moral and political supports American Jewry may be able to render, the financial assistance required is of utmost importance. He said the minimum needs required by the agencies of the United Palestine Appeal are $51,759,000, of which Jews of America are asked to contribute $43,872,000 through the UJA campaign. He pointed out that over 350,000 Jewish men and women and children have found haven in Palestine since 1938 with the aid of the UPA.
Paul Baerwald, honorary chairmen of the UJA, told the Jewish leaders that “your labor, generosity and vision are the tools with which we hope to reconstruct the shattered structure of European Jewry. He said the minimum budget for the JDC for 1946 had been fixed at $58,350,000 and that over $13,000,000 of this amount had been appropriated during the first quarter of the year to meet the desperate needs abroad.
Rabbi Jonah B. Wise of New York, national chairman of the UJA, declared that the Jews of the United States were confronted with the greatest challenge in their history and only through an unprecedented effort could they assure the survival of the remnants of European Jewry.
Predicting that 1946 “will most certainly be by far the most prosperous peace-time year” in the history of the United States, Robert R. Nathan, former deputy director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion,” declared it inconceivable that the American people “will smugly and complacently accept this abundant prosperity without sharing some of its benefits with those who are in much less fortunate circumstances.”
Recalling his visit to Palestine a year ago to survey the economic potentialities of the country, Nathan re-emphasized the conclusions of his survey of “the tremendous need for capital, if Palestine is to grow and prosper and absorb large numbers of homeless people.” He declared his survey had demonstrated that Palestine could absorb from approximately 600,000 to 1,100,000 Jewish immigrants in the next decade.
“The economic development of Palestine to date has been truly phenomenal,” he continued. “That development can be continued, but it will need support and external backing. The successes of the UJA this year will, in great measure, not only provide material assistance toward expanding the absorptive capacity of Palestine, but will also give hope to hundreds of thousands of homeless people.”
(Additional details of the UJA meeting will be published in tomorrow’s JTA Bulletin).