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Jewish Agency Leaders Report on Position of Jews in Europe and Needs in Israel

Reports on the situation of Jews in European countries and on the present state of affairs in Israel were given here today at a press conference by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the American section of the Jewish Agency, and Dr. Israel Goldstein, retiring treasurer of the Agency.

Dr. Goldmann emphasized that the restitution law which the American military authorities have promulgated, and a similar one which was put into operation in the British zone recently, are now beginning to bear fruit. Considerable property, he said, is being, and will continue to be, turned over to Jewish successor organizations entitled to take over such property.

“A way will have to be found for utilizing this property, by transfer of goods and similar methods, for the benefit of the DP’s who are leaving Germany,” Dr. Goldmann stated. He stressed the great importance of the general claims law which has been promulgated by the German states in the American zone and which entitles everyone who has suffered from Nazi persecution to financial compensation.

Dr. Goldmann predicted that the problem of the Jewish DP’s in Germany and Austria will be liquidated within a few months. By the end of the year, he said, only a few camps will remain with perhaps 3,000 invalid or otherwise incapacitated persons who must be rehabilitated before they can proceed to Israel. Once the camps are emptied, there will remain between 30,000 and 40,000 Jews in Germany including many aged persons, some who are married to non-Jews, and a number of German Jews and DP’s who are not yet ready to leave Germany, he reported.

MANY THOUSANDS OF JEWS MAY LEAVE POLAND WITHIN NEXT FEW MONTHS

Many thousands of Jews may leave Poland for Israel within the next few months since the Polish Government has decided to allow all Jews to emigrate if they renounce their Polish citizenship, Dr. Goldmann said. However, he emphasized that there is no change in the situation in Hungary and in Rumania whence only a limited emigration is permitted by the government. He added that the Jewish Agency is continuing its efforts to secure larger emigration from these countries.

Dr. Israel Goldstein, speaking on the situation in Israel, said that he believes that no government could survive in Israel which would accept more than 100,000 Arab refugees. “The territory and the resources of Israel are so limited that taking in more Arabs would mean keeping out Jews,” he said.

“The problems of Israel today are not only political but economic,” Dr. Goldstein pointed out. “Israel’s economic difficulties spring mainly from the strain placed upon its economy by the huge immigration. If a year ago the 750,000 citizens of Israel only had to worry about themselves, they would have managed. But Israel cannot bear the additional burden of absorbing in one year an immigration equal to one-third of the existing population. No nation, great or small, has ever undertaken such a burden. There are only 160,000 taxpayers in Israel today, very few of them in upper brackets. It is clear, therefore, that the funds to make possible a large program of immigration absorption must come from other Jews, especially American Jewry, and from international sources of loans and grants.

“I find, however, that Israel’s widely publicized economic difficulties have obscured the constructive achievements of Israel’s first year of statehood,” Dr. Goldstein continued. “About 70,000 are still in the immigrant camps, but 200,000 new immigrants who came to Israel since its establishment May 14, 1948, are no longer in camps but are settled in the cities, towns and agricultural villages.”

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