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Poland Not to Press Emigration Plan, Dr. Kahn Declares

December 2, 1936
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Bernhard Kahn, European director of the Joint Distribution Committee, said today there was no indication that Poland would press its “ill-advised scheme” for emigration of 80,000 Jews annually.

In an interview at the J.D.C. offices he said that while it was understandable that an overpopulated and poverty-stricken country would be on the lookout for emigration possibilities, “to single out Jews for such emigration is a discrimination against the law-abiding Jewish citizens which we did not think possible in Poland.”

Dr. Kahn, who is visiting here to confer with Jewish leaders on plans for alleviating the plight of 6,000,000 Jews in Eastern and Central Europe, described in detail increasing hardships for Jews in several European countries.

He warned that unless extended aid from American is forthcoming,” the entire structure of self-help agencies which the J.D.C. has built up in Poland and the Eastern countries over a period of many years will collapse.”

Describing anti-Semitic propaganda, the boycott and laws through which Jews lose possibility of livelihood in Poland, he declared that “the poverty among the 3,500,000 Jews in Poland is so extreme that one can truly state that 1,000,000 are doomed to starve.”

“In spite of the attitude of the Polish Government in attempting to force the Jews to emigrate, we are convinced that it will not oppose those activities of ours which are intended to strengthen the economic position of the Jews in Poland,” Dr. Kahn said.

In Germany, he said, the plight of the Jews is intensified because they have now used up all the savings they had. Jewish unemployed may lose the few chances they still have left for re-employment because of the prohibition of private employment exchanges, effective Jan. 1, he asserted.

As a result, the impulse to emigrate is stronger and 1936 shows the largest organized emigration since 1933, he continued, with 10,000 having left Germany this year, plus 4,000 or 5,000 repatriated to Eastern countries of origin.

Describing the situation of the refugees as critical, Dr. Kahn said a juridical arrangement adopted by the Geneva inter-governmental conference last July had ameliorated the legal situation of many, but the definition of refugees was narrow, excluding many groups, among them most of the 100,000 Jews of foreign birth now in the Reich.

Another conference is planned within a few months, he said, which will seek to aid refugees economically and to extend to other groups of exiles the juridical benefits obtained for those classed as refugees. “Whether the refugees can be adapted to and absorbed in the economic life of the countries in which they are resident will largely depend on the favorable decision of this new proposed conference,” he said.

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