NEW YORK (May. 27)
The Government of Poland was praised today by Dr. Nahum Goldmann for its “efforts in helping the small Jewish communities in Poland to maintain Jewish life” as compared with the suppression of Jewish religious and cultural life in the Soviet Union. Speaking at a press conference here, Dr. Goldmann said:
“At the invitation of the Polish governmental committee in charge of erecting monuments in the Nazi annihilation camps in Poland, I attended the dedication of a memorial to the martyred Jews who died at Treblinka. The Polish Government is doing a very impressive job in erecting memorials in most of the former annihilation camps. I am happy to say that this is being done with great artistic understanding, and at considerable expense. I feel that public opinion, both Jewish and non-Jewish, is not fully aware of this work. I feel there should be a wider understanding of what is being done and an appreciation of what the Polish Government and people are doing. We should also do everything possible to assist in their efforts to memorialize the victims of Nazism in Poland.
“It is, of course, tragic to observe the small Jewish community of some 30, 000 souls in Poland, the survivors of the more than three and a half million Jews who lived in Poland before the advent of World War II and the Nazi holocaust. I was most impressed by the efforts that the Polish Government is making in helping the small Jewish communities in Poland to maintain Jewish life. This is done through the financing of the Yiddish theatre, Yiddish papers, Yiddish publishing companies and maintaining full-day Jewish schools.
“This policy of the Polish Government is the more extraordinary and highly significant when compared with the situation in Russia where not only no help is given to such Jewish cultural activities, but no facilities are even offered in Russia to the Jews to maintain Jewish life by their own efforts.”
CRITICIZES GERMAN GOVERNMENT FOR OBSTACLES ON INDEMNIFICATION
Dr. Goldmann also reported on his recent talks in Bonn with top German Government officials on the matter of two supplementary laws on restitution and indemnification which are now before Parliament. “These negotiations, which are to right existing wrongs, for some victims of Nazism who have not yet received restitution, are proceeding slowly and with great difficulties,” he declared, “This new policy of austerity, pursued by the German Government, is an obstacle in obtaining a satisfactory minimum for those groups of victims of Nazi persecution who are either not covered by the actual legislation enacted in the past, or to whom payments have to be increased.
“I am still hopeful that satisfactory agreements between the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the German Government will be reached,” he stated. “It would be a great pity if after 12 years of having reached understanding on most of the problems of restitution that there should have developed in this last stage a serious difference of opinion and a conflict between the Jewish organizations and the German Government because of fiscal considerations which, within the framework of the entire picture, are financially not too significant.
“I hope that Chancellor Erhard and his Government will understand what has always been the basis of Dr. Adenauer’s approach to this problem, that restitution and indemnification to Nazi victims is primarily a moral obligation which overrides rigid fiscal considerations.” Dr. Goldmann expects to be in Germany in June at which time he will confer further with Chancellor Erhard and other German government officials.
STRESSES AMERICAN ZIONISTS OWE THEIR POLITICAL LOYALTY TO U.S.
Dr. Goldmann, in discussing the recent letter from Undersecretary of State Phillips Talbot to the American Council for Judaism, said: “No American Zionist owes any political or legal loyalty to Israel. As an American, his only political loyalty is to the United States. Although it is inconceivable to me that any such situation might develop, if ever there arose a difference between the U. S. and Israel, the American Jew would owe his loyalty to the U.S. The American Zionist loyalty to Israel is spiritual and cultural. It is the same loyalty that an Irish American might have for Ireland and Irish culture.”
Calling Secretary Talbot a fine man, Dr. Goldmann expressed “regret” that Secretary Talbot wrote his letter to the American Council for Judaism. “What he said is legally correct. The ‘Jewish people’ is a moral concept, not a legal one. But the State Department, in my opinion, should have taken the point of view that such a discussion was none of its business and not have given the Council for Judaism the opportunity to distort its views.”
Discussing Arab League propaganda in South America, Dr. Goldmann said it is an undeniable fact, particularly in Argentina and Chile. He said: “The alliance of the Arab League propagandists with native anti-Semitic groups poses a serious problem that is potentially dangerous, although at the moment there is no immediate danger for the Jews of those countries.”
Noting that there are 500, 000 Arabs in the Argentine, he said that “the Argentine Jews and Arabs have historically gotten on well, and that many of the Argentine Arabs are being seriously embarrassed by the activities of the Arab League propagandists.”