NEW YORK (Jun. 25)
A citywide interfaith “Rally for Freedom” scheduled to coincide with a projected march by Nazis through the predominantly Jewish suburb of Skokie, 111. today. was held on the steps at the old Customs House in lower Manhattan this afternoon. But it drew a smaller turnout than expected, apparently because the Nazis cancelled their march.
Nevertheless, an enthusiastic crowd, estimated by police at between 500-1000, heard representatives of the State and City governments, spokespersons for Christian as well as Jewish groups and diverse ethnic elements affirm that Nazism will never raise its head in America. Gov. Hugh Carey of New York, Lt. Gov. Mary Ann Krupsak, Deputy Mayor Herman Badillo of New York, and Allard Lowenstein, the U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, were among the principal speakers. Rabbi Baruch Silverstein, president of the New York Board of Rabbis, declared that “Skokie raises the question, don’t we possess legal tools to distinguish between human rights and satanic designs.”He was referring apparently to the prolonged legal battle over the Nazi plans to march in Skokie.
The rally drew contingents representing the New York and New Jersey Council of Churches, the Catholic Interracial Council, the Archdiocese of New York, the National Council of Christians and Jews, the United Irish Societies, the Council of Lebanese Americans and the American Federation of Fighters, Camp Inmates and Nazi Victims. Sings carried indicated groups representing lodges and chapters of the B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Congress in the New York metropolitan area.
The rally began at 1:30 p.m. and ended by 3:15. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of New York, who presided and introduced the speakers, acknowledged that the crowd was smaller than expected when he noted that many persons may have thought the rally was cancelled because the Nazis did not march in Skokie. “The cowards have given up their march but we have not given up our fight,” he said.
The rally was orderly. Two minor incidents occurred. At one point, a man believed to be a member of a pro-Arab group heckled a speaker. A scuffle developed at another point when a woman wrested a sign from a young man which disparaged New York Sen. Jacob Javits for criticizing Israel government policies.
In related developments, Theodore R. Mann, chairman of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) commented on the cancellation of the Nazi march in Skokie. In a statement released here, Mann said “The important lesson of Skokie is that the Jewish survivors of the Nazi death camps found that they were not alone as they were 40 years ago.” In New Haven, Conn., the Community Relations Committee of the New Haven Jewish Federation and the New Haven Board of Rabbis, sponsored a 15 minute silent vigil in support of the principles of democracy and in opposition to Nazi totalitarianism.