Inter-denominational Committee Formed to Purge Anti-semitic Statements from Textbooks
Menu JTA Search

Inter-denominational Committee Formed to Purge Anti-semitic Statements from Textbooks

Download PDF for this date

Religious leaders of all denominations, ministers, educators and writers, met last night at the Waldorf Astoria to raise their voices against the unprecedented scope of Hitler’s war of extermination against the Jews and to enlist in a nation-wide campaign of education to eradicate anti-Semitism in this country.

John Hammond, Jr., chairman and trustee of the National Committee of Protestant Associates who issued the call for the conference, announced the formation of a Textbook Commission to Eliminate Anti-Semitic Statements from American Textbooks. The Commission will shortly launch a million dollar advertising campaign in the leading newspapers of the country to bring to public attention the evil in implanting anti-Semitism in the minds of children through the study of textbooks containing anti-Semitic statements.

A declaration of principles and purposes of the Textbook Commission was sub-mitted by Kenneth Leslie, editor of The Protestant, to the Conference and was unanimously adopted. The declaration in part says: “The war which engulfs our world differs from all other wars in the fact that anti-Semitism has been from its beginning a motivating power and has continued throughout its entire course as one of its integral elements. We may pause to deduce from this fact a significant tribute to the Jewish element in the Jewish-Christian tradition. For the haters of a free world hate supremely the Jews, and they have attacked first the Jews in order that, having destroyed the vanguard, they may then strike deeply into the main body of democratic life.

“It is not the purpose of the Textbook Commission to enter into the realm of theological disputation, but to speak a word of counsel to those responsible in any way for the injection of suggestive and provocative statements in books used for the teaching of democratic youth. A democracy which permits any group of its people to be educated in hatred against any other group puts itself in serious danger. The very heart and soul of democracy is the love of its people for one another. This love is, in the words of Father James Tompkins, the cement which holds together the stones of the political structure. Without this love the building falls.”

Among the religious leaders endorsing the conference was the Most Rev. John T. McNicholas, Archbishop of Cincinnati, who wired that he “is cordially in sympathy with the objectives of Textbook Commission which will eliminate anti-Semitic and anti-religious and anti-racial statements from American textbooks.”

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