NEW YORK (Nov. 29)
Declaring that Jewish organizations are following the proceedings of the Ecumenical Council, now taking place in Rome, with “great attention,” Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, told Jewish leaders here today that he hoped that the Catholic Church would take a clear position in condemning racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance in all forms. He spoke at a meeting of the American Section of the World Jewish Congress.
“In view of the great influence the Catholic Church wields in many parts of the world, particularly in the field of education, such a pronouncement would be of great significance, especially in view of the resurgence of anti-Semitic movements in countries where the Church carries great weight,” he declared.
Such a position taken by the Church would certainly be deeply appreciated not only by the Jewish people but by all elements in the world “which believe in the peaceful coexistence of the different religions and national and cultural groups.” Dr. Goldmann added that in view of “certain actions already taken by the Pope, Jewish public opinion looks forward with a certain amount of hope and confidence to the final decisions of the Ecumenical Council in this respect.”
The WJC leader reported that there was no fundamental change in the situation of Russian Jewry which is denied “many facilities, both religiously and culturally, and especially with regard to possible contact with world Jewry.” But he felt that the leadership of the Soviet Union was “beginning to become aware of the existence of this problem, and that is the first condition to any hope for a change for the better.”
He said that the main problem facing Soviet Jewry was not the physical, political or economic life of the individual Jew, but the difficulty for the Jews, recognized as a national and religious minority, to maintain their Jewish identity and remain part of the Jewish people.
URGES JEWS TO BE ALERT AGAINST RESURGENT ANTI-SEMITISM
Dr. Goldmann called on Jews all over the world to mobilize in a fight against resurgent anti-Semitism. Although warning against over-estimating the immediate danger of recent anti-Semitic attacks, he said that the fast-moving and unstable situation in many parts of the world was fertile soil for anti-Semitic tendencies.
“Anti-Semitism today is more than ever internationally organized, and the various local movements are in close contact with each other,” he said. The international character of the neo-Nazi movement demanded action, by an organized, worldwide counter movement replacing isolated reaction in individual countries, he emphasized.
Reporting on his negotiations with West Germany on supplementary laws concerning restitution and indemnification, Dr. Goldmann said that after lengthy talks and delays, a draft for the new legislation was finally being prepared. There was reason to hope that the Federal Government and the various German states, which are responsible for this legislation, “will realize that the unprecedented action of restitution and indemnification which Germany has undertaken, must continue in a generous spirit, and that those victims of Nazi persecution, who have either received no, or insufficient, compensation, must be provided for by the new legislation,” he added.