Workmen’s Circle Pays Tribute to Walter Reuther, Air Crash Victim; Was Friend of Israel

More than 1,200 representatives from trade unions and labor fraternal organizations attending the 70th Jubilee convention of the Workmen’s Circle this weekend paid tribute to Walter Reuther, president of the United automobile Workers Union and Mrs. Walter Reuther who were killed Saturday night In a plane crash in Michigan. Mr. Reuther, one of America’s most prominent labor leaders, was a member of the Workmen’s Circle and a long-standing friend of the State of Israel, In one of his last public actions, the president of the almost two million-member union helped draft a resolution that was adopted by the 22nd convention of the UAW in Atlantic City last month which urged the Big Four to “use their separate and combined influence to bring all parties to the Middle East conflict to the conference table to settle the political issues.” Mr. Reuther viewed Israel as an “oasis in a troubled and turbulent area of the world.”

The delegates to the convention adopted unanimously a resolution appealing to the government of the Soviet Union to stop its anti-Jewish campaign, to grant Soviet Jews the same religious and cultural rights other national minorities enjoy and to grant Jews the right to emigrate if they so desire. The resolution, which was sent to Secretary of State William P. Rogers and United Nations Secretary General U Thant, also appealed “to men of good will everywhere, to the United Nations, and to the American government to speak out against these violations by the USSR of the UN Covenant on Human Rights.” The convention also adopted a resolution supporting Israel and Its diplomatic efforts to secure peace in the Middle East.

William Stern, administration director of the Workmen’s Circle, called for the creation of a permanent independent Jewish cultural organization as a link between Jewish communities all over the world, “especially in the face of the threats to Jews behind the Iron Curtain and in Arab countries.” The convention called on the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and similar groups throughout the country to place their priorities and funds at the disposal of Jewish cultural efforts to head off “the forces of assimilation alienating large segments of our youth from its Jewish roots and which endangers the heal they creative life of American Jewry.” Israel Breslow, a vice-president of the ILGWU and outgoing president of the Workmen’s Circle disclosed here that a file of names of 11 former Nazi officials holding important posts in the regime of President Nasser of Egypt would soon be handed over to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He cited the list as evidence that there had been “a renaissance of the Hitler-Soviet pact in the Middle East,” The list had previously been assembled and reported by the Labor Friends of Israel in London, Bernard Backer, 51, of New York, was elected as the new president of the Workmen’s Circle, succeeding Mr. Breslow. Mr. Backer serves on the Board of Directors of the United HIAS Service and the National Administration Committee of the Jewish Labor Committee.

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