NEW YORK (Apr. 16)
At no time since the war have anti-Semitic forces appeared less significant in Europe, Neville Laski, vice president of the Anglo-Jewish Association, who is currently visiting the United States, reported to the American Jewish Committee here. He said that there exists in Western Europe “a strong desire” that Jews continue to live there.
“The days when there was talk of the emptying of Europe of its Jews are behind us, he stated. “A total of approximately 1,000,000 Jews are currently living in Western Europe. Of this number, some 450,000 live in Great Britain and 300,000 in France, with the remaining quarter of a million distributed in 16 other countries. The most significant Jewish communities to emerge with a community structure of strength and importance since the war, are those of Great Britain, France, Belgium and Switzerland.” He noted that Spain now has a Jewish community of 3,000.
An encouraging sign in Western Europe, Mr. Laski reported, is the continuous process of integration being carried out by immigrant populations. He cited as an example that a few years ago, only ten percent of the Jews of Belgium possessed citizenship rights; today the figure approaches 50 percent; and in five years it is estimated it will be about 90 percent.
Mr. Laski stated that there are many internal difficulties which are common to many of the European Jewish communities. Among these are lack of manpower, leadership and finance. “Most of the European Jewish communities just do not have the rabbis the educators and the trained social workers which they urgently need, “he said. The problem of training personnel, he reported, is being dealt with in many places. Jewish community centers have been built in Great Britain, Rome, Paris, Lyons, Norway and Brussels.
At Judith Montefiore College, the Sephardic community is training 35 and 40 men from North Africa as rabbis and teachers, Mr. Laski said. Experiments along this line are being made to reach even the most scattered communities. Holland has introduced a system of traveling teachers who tour the provinces so that all Jewish parents can have their children educated, he reported, “The French have introduced a system of Jewish youth chaplains who travel around the country re-invigorating communities which have become dormant since the end of the war. The Italian community has expanded and improved its school system and sponsors annual educational conferences for its teachers.”