Says Political, Economic Conditions Contribute to Distress of Jewry Abroad
Menu JTA Search

Says Political, Economic Conditions Contribute to Distress of Jewry Abroad

Download PDF for this date

Political and economic conditions are contributory causes to the status of the Jews in Germany, Roumania, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia which is distressing, declared David Schweitzer, assistant director of the European activities of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency yesterday.

Mr. Schweitzer arrived in New York last week together with Dr. Joseph Rosen, head of the agricultural work of the Agrojoint in Soviet Russia.

Describing the situation in Germany, Mr. Schweitzer said the Jewish position there is not enviable but it would not be correct to say that a pogrom atmosphere prevails as yet.

He pointed out that the remedy for the situation of the Jews in various countries cannot be supplied easily and emphasized that the condition of the Jews must be viewed as part of general political and economic conditions.

“Not a day passes in Germany without clashes and bloodshed; not a day passes without the sacrifice of dead and wounded, to the political cause,” Mr. Schweitzer said. “In this atmosphere, where passions rule, coupled with severe economic distress, add to it six millions of unemployed, no one has it easy, least of all the Jewish population, which only not so long ago occupied a comfortable, if not an enviable position there. But not in the sporadic anti-Jewish outbreaks and not in the threatening contemplated laws of disowning and disfranchising lies the danger of the Jewish population. Sensational reports coming from there have given rise to an impression that a pogrom atmosphere prevails. Viewed at closer range that is not quite so. In this bitter political struggle involving millions of the German people, the anti-Semitism is only a pawn in the game. There is much more at stake for the German masses, Jews as well, depending upon the outcome of this struggle. This must be borne in mind, at any rate, in judging the situation in Germany as a whole.”

Continuing he asserted: “Likewise does an unhappy political situation affect the fate of an even larger Jewish population in Roumania. Here too it is not purely a Jewish question, though the anti-Semitic movement at times takes the ugly form of excesses, destruction, student riots; it is above all the outcome of an internal political disorganization, with gears out of control as often as leaders change. This country is too on the brink of a political change, which will not pass without its effect on the fate of the Jewish population.

“Not so tense is the political situation in the neighboring country of Poland. For the last several years it remains unchanged; it is stagnant for the present. But the country has been in the grip of a gradually accentuated economic crisis, resulting in ever increased distress among its Jewish population, due to the peculiar economic structure of the Jew on the one hand, and to the political-economic tendencies of the government on the other; such as monopolization of certain industries, the keeping of the doors closed to Jews in government offices and government enterprises, withdrawal of concessions, etc. It is hoped, however, that with a general improvement of conditions the plight of the Jewish population would lessen too, although the process of readjustment, as well as that of regaining of lost positions will be a slow one.

“In Lithuania the Jewish population, counting close to two hundred thousand souls, escaped the disastrous effects of political or economic strife, which cannot be said, however, of the Jewish population in the neighboring country. Latvia, which too, until recently a veritable oasis, finds itself today in the grip of an economic crisis. Unchanged except for the worse is the plight of the Jews in Subkarpathia, where virtually hunger stalks among the Jewish population. The picture is not a happy one. There is no one remedy for this temporary or permanent distress. But it is the duty of Jewry as a whole, and everyone in particular, not to lose sight of this distress caused by political or economic conditions, or both,” Mr. Schweitzer stated.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund