Wernersville, Pa. (Jun. 8)
Anti-Semitism is still rife in some parts of Europe and the position of the surviving remnants of European Jewry is moving rapidly toward a crisis, Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, former commander of the U.S. forces in Germany, declared today at an emergency conference of the United Jewish Appeal. Gen. McNarney’s speech ws read by Chaplain Herbert Friedman, who formerly served on the general’s staff, because he was grounded in New York by bad weather.
Gen. McNarney expressed the hope that the U.N. “will achieve a just solution to the problem of Palestine”so that the wishes of the majority of the 250,000 Jews in the DP camps to emigrate there may be fulfilled. After reviewing the barely tolerable lot of the DP’s and the approaching conclusion of UNRRA activities, McNarney called on Amerian Jewry to take up some of the “slack” which will result from the J.R.O. is inability to furnish as much assistance ad did UNRRA and the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees.
Presenting a picture of the I.R.O’s resources, he pointed out that it had available a budget of only $150,000,000 “to cover the needs of more than a million DP’s all over the world. The staff of the I.R.O. will number approximately 700 at the peak for the world. Compare this with the far larger sums which were available to UNRRA and to the staff of 5,000 in Germany alone which UNRRA commanded. Remember,too, that the I.R.O. will incorporate the activities of the Intergovernmental Committee for Refugees. This adds up to a very drastically reduced program of aid for the DP’s in Germany,”he said. “It means that a much greater responsibility will be placed on private agencies like the Joint Distribution Committee.”
ARMY WILL MAINTAIN ITS AID DESPITE INCREASED DIFFICULTIES
Dwelling upon the role of the U.S. Army in assisting the Jews in Germany and Austria, he stated: “Army funds that can be used to help the DP’s are not inexhaustible. Growing difficulties stand in the way of utilizing supplies which up to now have been taken from the German economy for assistance to DP’s. I do not mean to say that the American Army intends to stop trying in every way possible to do what it can. On the contrary, we shall redouble our efforts to find ways and means of carying on this desperately needed assistance. But we cannot do it alone.”
He also pointed out that the caloric ration was recently reduced by some ten percent, bringing it down to “barely a subsistence level.”Surplus Army and captured enemy equipment from which clothes were furnished, housekeeping and work equipment and medical supplies are practically exhausted, he reported. “All these are elementary needs. They must be maintained on at least their present level, ” Gen. McNarney asserted, adding, “if they are not, I think you know what is almost certain to happen, especially when the victims, through no fault of their own, have lived through years of horror and suffering, have seen their loved ones tortured and cremated, have seen their hopes for a new life after the war dasshed to earth again and again.”
In the face of this threatened breakdown of the already minimum aid furnished the DP’s, American Jewry must redouble its efforts, he declared. “The problem calls ? Jewish statesmanship–American Jewish statesmanship, for you are the only Jewish community capable of action on the required scale. Through your campaign for 70,000,000 you must take up as much as possble of the slack that will result from the reductions in aid I have already forecast,”he stated. “You may not be able to place entirely the help that will be missing, but you can keep your brothers in a state of at least tolerable living.”
$115,000,000 RAISED TO DATE, MORGENTHAN REPORTS; LAST YEAR’S TOTAL EXCEEDED
Reporting to the opening session of the emergency session, Henry Morgenthau ?., chairman of the U.J.A. campaign, told the 300 assembled Jewish leaders that the organization had raised $115,000,000 to date–exceeding last year’s total by $10,000,000. This figure represents the “largest sum ever raised by any voluntary organization in the world in peace time,”Morgenthau said, adding: “American Jews with the cooperation and encouragement of their Christian neighbors have extended themselves to the “point of sacrifies’ in meeting responsibilities neglected by intergovernmental forces.”
He pointed out, however, that the $115,000,000 achieved to date falls short of expectations. On the basis of the $170,000,000 goal for 1947, the campaign should have reached $127,000,000 by now, he said. He deplored the sharp reduction of the United Nations relief program with the liquidation of UNRRA, June 30.
Dr. Joseph Schwartz, European director of the JBC, who arrived in the United States Friday from Paris to report on overseas condition, warned the conference that Europe’s Jews, particularly the 250,000 DP’s in Central Europe, are facing the “most critical period since liberation more than two years ago”as a result of UNRRA’s liquidation, the refusal of the American Army to feed and shelter refugees fleeing to the American zones of Germany and Austria and crop failures in many parts of the continent. He urged American Jews to sustain the morale of the Jewish DP’s as they wait for the United Nations commission’s decision on Palestine, by providing through the U.J.A. adequate relief and a reconstruction program.
Eliezer Kaplan, treasurer of the Jewish Agency, reported that the overwhelming majority of Palestine Jews are “most vigorously opposed to terrorism, which they feel as doing as much injury to the cause of the redemotion of Palestine as the punitive measures undertaken by the British Government.”Pointing out that 12,000 homeless European Jews entered Palestine in the first five months of 1947, kaplan predicted that the coming months will see “larger and larger numbers of Jewish refugees reaching Palestine regardless of governmental restrictions and hardships and dangers involved in making last voyage in search of peace and freedom.”
DELEGATES CALL FOR RENEWED EFFORT; HAIL SUPPORT OF NON-JEWS
In response to the critical situatin outlined by McNarney, Morgenthau and various experts from Europe and Palestine, the delegates adopted a resolution calling for renewed effort to assure attainment of the $170,000,000 goal. Another resolution asserted that Jewish communities throughout the country were encouraged by the formation of 300 local Christian committees and a national Christian Committee for the U.J.A. as “strengthening the bonds between Americans of all faiths.”President Truman, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, and other government and military leaders were praised for their sympathetic support of the U.J.A. campaign.
Edward M.M. Warburg, chairman of Greater New York United Jewish Appeal, announced that to meet the emergency situation 11,000 volunteer workers have been summoned to launch an intensive effort to raise $65,000,000 for the New York drive.