American Jewish Committee Votes to Seek Reparations from Germany
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American Jewish Committee Votes to Seek Reparations from Germany

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The American Jewish Committee, at its annual meeting today, adopted a resolution endorsing the decision of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to reach a settlement on these claims. However, the resolution emphasized that "no financial settlement can redress or atone for the unspeakable horrors the Nazis perpetrated upon the Jews."

"German moral responsibility," the resolution declared, "is not subject to ‘negotiation.’ The fundamental issue concerning Germany is not a financial settlement of material claims but the very political and social character of that country and its relations with the rest of the world."

Jacob Blaustein was re-elected president of the American Jewish Committee for a fourth term by 500 delegates from all parts of the country who attended the three-day meeting. In his presidential address last night he reviewed the efforts made by the organization on behalf of Israel and emphasized that while the Committee has no objection to Israel’s granting a special status to the Jewish Agency for work in Israel, it would strongly object to the granting of any diplomatic status to the Agency.


Mr. Blaustein called upon the assembled delegates to cement Jewish life in the United States and to help develop a strong Jewish community in this country. He said that "American strength, unity and prestige among the peoples of other nations are being endangered by the increasing fear and intolerance of new and different ideas."

Assailing extremist views of such shocking incidents as the Cicero riots and the Miami bombings, he declared that "we must take a realistic perspective on these incidents. The people who declare that these outbreaks signify nothing but isolated and bigoted irruptions of local feeling on the part of a tiny segment of the American people are as unrealistic as those who argue, with unwarranted pessimism, that they signify a trend towards chronic social violence in America.

"The truth is that these incidents are grave because they constitute surface indications of a danger involving not merely a small group of hate-inflamed people but the latent prejudice of a greater number of American men, women, and children. The threat such incidents and such attitudes pose to American unity and security can hardly be over-emphasized," Mr. Blaustein observed.

The American people themselves are making tremendous advances in strengthening and expanding their civil rights, despite the bottling up of major legislative attempts in various Congressional committees, Irving M. Engel, chairman of the American Jewish Committee’s executive committee, reported at the meeting.

Dr. John Slawson, executive vice-president of the organization, speaking of the importance of voluntary organizations known as community relations agencies, said that there are at present in the United States approximately 300 such community relations organizations, coping with problems which in their aggravated forms result in situations such as those in Cicero, III., and Florida. "No small measure of the effectiveness of their work derives from its voluntary nature; the freedom of these agencies to develop their resources and tools in the light of their own beliefs and convictions, unstultified by any fixed systems, " he asserted.

"Recently, there has come forth from a number of sources a call for co-ordination–for bringing the organizations together to work together in common cause," he continued. "This is all to the good, providing it is done on a voluntary basis, for their effectiveness is truly rooted in their ability to see the problem whole and to handle it with a blending of many skills."

Prof. Herman A. Gray, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the American Jewish Committee, told the delegates today that the signal failure of the United Nations to adopt a human rights covenant is a bitter blow to the hopes of the people of the world, who have put their faith in the U.N. "The failure to adopt a human rights covenant," he declared, "is the more grievous in view of the promising beginnings which the U.N. made in the field of human rights more than three years ago when it adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Zachariah Shuster, director of the Committee’s headquarters in Paris, surveying the European scene, said that if German democracy is to be furthered at this crucial period, the diverse and scattered democratic groups in Germany "must be consolidated into a central movement whose primary aim would be the promotion of the democratic spirit among the German people."

The American Jewish Committee will increase substantially its co-operation with the Jewish communities of Latin American countries, " to help them develop their spiritual and cultural life," Dr. Simon Segal, director of the A.J.C.’s Foreign Affairs Department, reported. Dr. Segal just returned from a six-week tour of Latin America.

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