WASHINGTON (Sep. 9)
The United States Commission on Civil Rights reported today to President Eisenhower that discrimination in housing in America is based not only on color but that a pattern of anti-Jewish prejudice exists in practically the entire country.
“That the universal human phenomenon of ancient, unreasoning prejudice is involved, and not necessarily prejudice based on color, is shown by the continuing discrimination against Jews, ” said the commission.
The report said that today Jews can, in most cases, get housing that is “equivalent in quality” to that of other whites. But testimony was presented to the commission that “in practically every large city in the United States and in its suburbs there is discrimination against Jews in housing.”
In New York City, over a third of the 200 cooperative apartment houses we re said to exclude Jews. The Westchester suburb of Bronxville was described as having achieved the status that “Hitler called ‘Judenrein–free of Jews. ” In the nation’s capital, there are said to be 14 areas in the District of Columbia and its environs from which Jews are excluded
It was clear from the report that the worst victim of housing bias was the citizen of the Negro race. Jews were unable to buy or rent in some neighborhoods but were able to find comfortable and reasonably-priced housing elsewhere. The report termed housing “the one commodity in the American market that is not freely available on equal terms to everyone who can afford to pay.”
JEWISH RIGHTS AFFECTED ONLY IN HOUSING FIELD
The report declared that “through its studies of three particular aspects of civil rights-voting, education, and housing–the commission has come to see the organic nature of the problem as a whole. The problem is one of securing the full rights of citizenship to those Americans who are being denied in any degree that vital recognition of human dignity, the equal protection of the laws.
It pointed out that “to a large extent this is now a racial problem. In the past there was widespread denial of equal opportunity and equal justice by reason of religion or national origin. Some discrimination against Jews remains, particularly in housing, and some recent immigrants undoubtedly still have to overcome prejudice. But with a single exception the only denials of the right to vote that have come to the attention of the commission are by reason of race or color. This is also clearly the issue in public education. In housing, too, it is primarily non-whites who lack equal opportunity.”