New York (Aug. 28)
“The Jews of Europe are sustained by two factors: the moral and material support they receive from the Jews of America and the hope which hundreds of thousands of them have for eventual settlement in Palestine,” Henry Montor, executive vice-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, told a press conference here today following his return from abroad where he made a survey of conditions of Jewish life in Poland, Germany, Palestine and other countries.
“The frustration which grips the Jews in the centers for displaced persons is tragic indeed,” Montor said, “but the problem of the Jews of Europe is not confined to 100,000 Jewish DP. ‘s. The problem facing the Jews of Poland has even greater urgency, because they face the danger of mass murder.
“What happens in Palestine will be of incalculable importance to the thousands of Jews who need its sanctuary,” he continued. He emphasized that “the Jews in the camps are restless. They insist on coming to Palestine under any conditions. They are fully aware of the difficulties they may expect, in terms of housing and adjustment.” They will constitute a fine element for Palestine. They want to work hard, he added.
“The top officers of the American Army in Germany deserve the highest commendation for the sincerity and helpfulness with which they are handling the Jewish D.P. problem,” he declared. “The United States Army is providing the housing and maintenance in Germany, while UNRRA staff merely furnishes supervision. General McNarney has exhibited a statesmanship and humanity which could well be emulated by other governments, especially the British.”
Despite the delays in the decision with regard to future large-scale immigration into Palestine, the displaced Jews of Germany have not been spiritually undermined or driven to despair, he reported. In the event that mass entry is not immediately possible, plans have already been made by Jewish committees at the D.P. camps, with the co-operation of the J.D.C., for extended programs of education, training and vocational guidance so that they may occupy their “waiting time” with pursuits “that will prepare them for the new life that will lift them out of their present state of hopeless suspension.”
Discussing the situation in Palestine, Montor stressed the fact that notwithstanding the present difficulties, the central and paramount concern of the 625,000 Jews in Palestine is for the continuation of the reconstruction program to provide homes and opportunity for the hundreds of thousands who look to Palestine as their road to rebirth and rehabilitation.
“The representatives of the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Palestine act with a harmony and common planning in their European operations which should be deeply heartening to all American Jews. The J.D.C. is, in most instances, the only ambassador whom large Jewish communities in Europe can call upon for understanding, for guidance, for generous assistance. The Jewish Agency for Palestine, with the full aid of the J.D.C., is doing its utmost to end the uncertainty of European Jewish life through settlement in Palestine,” he concluded.