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We Believe in Jewish Future: Keynote of Speeches at Reunion Meeting of Berlin Jewish Community: Peac

June 20, 1932
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

We believe in the Jewish future, Herr Heinrich Stern, the President of the Federation of Liberal Jews in Germany and of the Representative Assembly of the Berlin Jewish Community, said in summing up the feeling of the gathering, when he closed the meeting of the Representative Assembly of the Berlin Jewish Community held here last night under his chairmanship, at which the differences between the two principal parties, the Liberals and the Zionists, which recently threatened to disrupt the Berlin Jewish Community were finally composed, and the Community again presented a united front.

I speak to-day not as the spokesman of my fraction, Herr Heinrich Stern said, but of all the fractions. We are all proud of this meeting. We are again a united Community. We Jews will see to it that our hope does not perish. No one has the right to sing a funeral song yet. Our faith in the endurance and indestructability of our Community is unshakeable. We must give our children the strength to endure and emerge from this period of danger and distress. We believe in the Jewish future.


Dr. Walter Breslauer, the Administrative Director of the Community, in presenting the Budget, whichestimates for 10,281,312 Marks, a reduction of about two million Marks against last year, said that the task of those who had drawn up the budget had been to consider how with reduced funds they could keep the work of the Community going. Their problem was to reduce activities, but not achievements. To raise the funds for this budget was a question that had given them a great deal of anxiety. They were faced with serious dangers, and any moment something might happen that would upset all their calculations and make their budget figures futile. So that it was impossible to speak of the budget as something definite and assured.

If they wanted to do all the things that were essential at a time like this, they could do it only by imposing an impossible load of taxation on their members who were terribly hard hit by the economic crisis. The only thing they could do was to economic as far as possible, without actually cutting down achievements. The officials and employees of the Community had made heavy sacrifices, in accepting salary reductions, to enable them to balance the budget.

The synagogues and temples would be maintained to the full, he went on. In these days of distress, people were turning to the Houses of God for consolation. The attendance at the Berlin synagogues in 1932 had increased by 15 to 20 per cent. in comparison with 1931.

The Community’s school system and neligious education, the learned institutions, libraries and art collections, would all be maintained.

Dr. Breslauer appealed to the members to contribute to the welfare work. The Community had provided 100,000 meals, he said, and in the winter it had sent 30,000 cwts. of coal and 45,000 loavos to the homes of needy families.

Dr. Bruno Voyda, the Chairman of the Budget Commission, pointed out that despite the difficult times, the Berlin Jewish Community paid 40,000 Marks annually to the Prussian Federation of Jewish Communities to maintain the small Jewish Communities which were struggling hard to exist.

It is impossible in the present fever curve of the German fatherland, Dr. Voyda said, going on to speak as the spokesman of the Liberal Party, to make any prognosis. Nevertheless, they/must not fall into pessimism, but should have confidence in their own powers. Everything around them was collapsing, but nothing could shake their feeling that they were part of the German nation. We feel ourselves bound up with Germanism, physically and mentally, Dr. Voyda said, and we believe that in the end truth and reason will win.


Dr. Alfred Klee, the Chairman of the Fraction of the Jewish People’s Party, said that this budget was presented at a time such as they had never yet experienced in the Berlin Community. It needed a great deal of idealism to believe that the dangers that threatened them would not develop into a catastrophe for Judaism. If there was one idea that could still keep them alive, it was the belief in the eternity of Israel, and of Eretz Israel.

For months past, Dr. Klee went on, we sat in this assembly, feeling that everything that we said was beating against deaf ears, and finally we took the serious step of walking out from this assembly. Thanks to the initiative of the Chairman, Herr Heinrich Stern, we have come back to common work. The Heholuz question has been settled, and for those young people who want a Jewish school, the doors to the school stand open.

Other communities, like those of Frankfurt and Breslau had decided to demand heavier sacrifices from their members, Dr. Klee said, by increasing the quota of taxation, and he thought that the Berlin Community might have also ventured to increase the tax quota up to 1½ per cent. That would not have been impossible to bear, and it would have made it possible for them to do a great many things which at present were forced into the background.

At a time like this, more than at any other time, Dr. Klee said, they had to maintain everything that was Jewish. They had to protect their children from the Red assimilation, which was leading the Jewish youth out of the Jewish world and was animating them with a feeling of animosity to Judaism.

Dr. Klee urged that the Community ought to do more for that section of Berlin Jewry that was most hard hit, economically and politically, the Jews who had come from the East of Europe.

The 200,000 Jews of Berlin are a reservoir of strength, Dr. Klee said, and we must see to it that they are active in the fight for our State rights, and our economic existence.

The Prussian Federation of Jewish Communities must endeavour inside the coming Federation of Jewish Communities of the German Republic, he went on, to obtain equal rights for the East European Jews. We say to the Jews of Hessen and of Saxony, in whose Communities the East European Jews have no rights, that the granting of equal rights within our own community is the prerequisite of equal rights in external affairs. We are all the children of those who stood at Mount Sinai, Dr. Klee cried.

Herr Wilhelm Graetz said that at a time like this the talk about East and West Jews must stop, and only the word “Jew” remain. Their community knew no distinctions in this respect, he said.

Dr. Alfred Berger said that the Community ought to take action to put a stop to the unjustified arrests of East European Jews that were being made in Berlin daily. East European Jews were being stopped in the streets, and if they happened not to have their passport with them they were threatened with penalties and deportation.

Dr. Kurt Fleischer, the leader of the Liberal fraction, who said that he welcomed the restored unity between the Parties, replied to Dr. Klee’s demand for an increase of the Community dues, that the members could not possibly pay any more.

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