A.d.l. Refuses to Permit Delivery of Speech on Germany by Assistant High Commissioner
Menu JTA Search

A.d.l. Refuses to Permit Delivery of Speech on Germany by Assistant High Commissioner

Download PDF for this date

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith which is holding its annual meeting here today refused to permit the delivery of an address on Germany by Benjamin J. Buttenwisser, Assistant U.S. High Commissioner for Germany on the grounds that his speech was “apologia for the limited job that has been done to denazify Germany, and gives aid and encouragement” to “vicious elements in the new German nationalism.”

Mr. Buttenwieser flew from Germany to this country specially to deliver the speech. In a statement, the A.D.L. explained that after reading an advance copy of the speech–which it only received Friday–the 35-member national commission of the A.D.L. decided to refuse the organization’s platform for the delivery of the speech. The A.D.L. statement reads:

“In the opinion of the officers of the Anti-Defamation League–an opinion based upon continued fact-gathering and study of Western Germany–the speech revealed content and proposals which can only be interpreted as an effort to justify the readmission of former Nazis to positions of importance in the economic, political and educational life in Germany.

“The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith declares it wholeheartedly supports Mr. Buttenwieser’s stated thesis that we must help develop a democratic, anti-totalitarian Germany that will cooperate in maintaining peace and will be accepted back into, rather than remain an outcast from, the family of nations of the West.’ We further agree completely with him that the major means toward accomplishing the objective is ‘first, to promote the growth of democracy; second, to prevent the revival of Nazism; and third, to safeguard against the growth of Communism.’ However, the general tenor of the speech, whose keynote is that ‘Nazism in Germany…has been destroyed, never to rise again,’ is apologia for the limited job that has been done to denazify Germany and gives aid and encouragement to those vicious elements in the “new German nationalism” which Mr. Buttenwieser himself admits are re-emerging today.

“Under these circumstances, the anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith feels that such a message from Mr. Buttenwieser at this time will render a major disservice to the cause of true denazification and democratization of Germany. The Anti-Defamation League, whose work in strengthening the fabric of American democracy has been a matter of public record for 37 years, cannot permit itself to be used for such a purpose, lest it be construed as an endorsement of such views. It would be a stultification of the efforts to strengthen those democratic elements within Germany–now more than ever in need of American support–who alone can make Germany an effective ally of the West.

“The Anti-Defamation League endorse the resolution introduced by eight U.S. Senators and eleven Congressmen calling for a Presidential Commission to investigate the status of the denazification program. Only by an impartial and fresh appraisal of what has been done and what remains to be done can our government plan the steps yet to be taken to eradicate Nazism, frustrate Communism, and to build a democratic Germany.”

After being advised by the A.D.L. that he would not be permitted to address the convention, Mr. Buttenwieser called a press conference at which he distributed copies of his address. After announcing the A.D.L.’s decision, he declared; “I stand by my speech.”

Justice Meier Steinbrink was unanimously reelected to his fourth successive term as national chairman of the A.D.L. yesterday. Benjamin R. Epstein was renamed secretary and national director.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund