New York (Oct. 1)
After canvassing the ministries of European countries, discussing the situation with Pope Plus XII, and securing maximum cooperation from the American Commanding Generals in the European Theatre, Rabbi Philip Bernstein, adviser on Jewish Affairs to General Joseph T. McNarney and General Mark Clark, declared tonight at a reception in his honor at the Hotel Biltmore, that there is no hope of resettlement for the overwhelming majority of Jewish displaced persons except in Palestine. He also pleaded for the acceptance of another 50,000 to 100,000 displaced Jews into the United States.
The reception, where Rabbi Bernstein made his first public statement since his return to the United States last week, was sponsored by the American Jewish Conference, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Jewish Agency for Palestine and World Jewish Congress. These five major organizations have the chief Jewish responsibility for taking care of the needs and problems of the Jewish displaced persons in Europe. Dr. Stephen S. Wise presided.
“I met with the Prime Minister of Poland who quite genuinely, in my opinion, proclaimed his government’s good will toward the Jews and its opposition to anti-Semitism,” said Rabbi Bernstein. “However, particularly since the Kielce pogrom, the Polish Government felt it had no right to insist that the Jews remain in Poland.”
Resettlement possibilities in France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Italy for the displaced Jews have been investigated and temporary arrangements have been concluded with some of these countries, Rabbi Bernstein stated. “My heart is heavy,” he continued, however, “as I report that not a single one of the governments with which I dealt in Europe has been prepared to offer more than temporary shelter to these Jews.”
High tribute was paid by Rabbi Bernstein to President Truman, the State Department and the War Department for the “sympathetic, humanitarian attitude towards the Jewish displaced persons.” He emphasized that “under their direct responsibility, the borders of the United States zone in Germany and the United States zone in Austria have remained open to those of our people fleeing from persecution in eastern Europe. Their policies have been humanely and effectively implemented by the Commanding Generals of Germany and Austria, General Joseph T. McNarney and General Mark Clark.”
Referring to the relationships between the Jewish displaced persons and American GI’s, Rabbi Bernstein said: “The top policies are excellent. The problems arise in the field. There is undoubtedly a subtle, unhealthy German influence which is probably growing.”