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American Jewish Leaders Address Huge Reception for Jewish Delegation from Russia

July 9, 1943
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The hope that Jews in Russia will be given an opportunity to cooperate with the Jews of other countries in the building of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth was expressed here today by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, Sholem Asch and other prominent American Jews addressing a huge open air reception at the Polo Grounds here, attended by thousands of Jews, in honor of the Jewish Cultural Delegation from the U.S.S.R., composed of Prof. Solomon Mikhoels and Itzik Feffer.

“In your country, as in our own, our brother Jews must be free to be builders and rebuilders of Eretz Israel, the Jewish Commonwealth, not merely the land of Palestine,” Rabbi Wise said. He emphasized that “some men warn against fawning on the Soviet Union who never failed to fawn upon Czarist Russia,” and declared that “had England, the United States and France heeded the Soviet insistence upon collect, security, Hitler and Musselini, and later Japan, could not have made their savage assault upon mankind and freedom.”


Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the administrative committee of the World Jewish Congress, addressing the gathering said that the first visit of two representatives of Russian Jewry to the United States was an event of deep significance not only for American Jewry but for the whole Jewish people. It is of the greatest importance to World Jewry, he declared, to have the great Jewish community of Soviet Russia re-integrated into the life and the affairs of the Jewish people. “During this war we have lost most of the Jewish community of Eastern Europe and therefore the Russian Jewish community, which is the second largest Jewish community in the world, will have to play an important role in shaping the future of the Jewish people,” he stressed.

“No part of the Jewish people has understood better the necessity for strengthening the contacts and breaking through the walls which separated Russian Jewry from world Jewry than has the Yishuv in Palestine,” Dr. Goldmann continued. He expressed the hope that the Russian Jewish delegates will stay in Palestine for a while on their return. On behalf of the World Zionist Executive he assured them of a hearty welcome. “Russian Jewry has played a decisive role in the upbuilding of Jewish Palestine and there is no reason why Soviet Russia as a Government and Soviet Russian Jewry with its great constructive abilities should not make a definite contribution to the solution of the Jewish problem through a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine,” he concluded.

Sholem Asch emphasized that American Jews expect the Jews in Russia to help bear the responsibility for the Jews of the world. He expressed the hope that the Russian Government will secure a homeland for the Jews after the war.


Prof. Albert Einstein sent a message expressing regret that he could not appear personally at the gathering, and emphasizing that “at this grave time, when so many of our people have fallen victim to the murderous last of Germany, it is of peculiar importance to preserve and cherish the solidarity of the Jewish people. Such solidarity can only further the cooperation and the mutual understanding of the Russian and the American people.”

Henry Monsky, president of the B’nai B’rith, in a statement read by Maurice Bisgyer, B’nai B’rith secretary, said that “we should emulate the Russians in the standards which they set up of equal treatment of races and of people.” The Jews in America, he said, are grateful to the Russian army who shared their food and supplies with refugee Jews as well as others who came their way. “We have aided and shall continue to aid the Soviet Union materially by medical supplies, clothing, food and other essentials of war-relief,” he stated. “I take pride in the fact that 600,000 Jews are serving in the Soviet Army and countless others are braving danger in the guerrilla units which attack the Germans behind the lines.”

James N. Rosenberg, chairman of Agro-Joint, declared that American Jews pray “that the world will perceive that in Russia’s treatment of all minorities, including Jews, lies the key both to Russia’s unflinching heroism and unity and to a tranquil world when our evil enemies unconditionally surrender.” Other speakers included Mrs. David de Sola Pool, president of Hadassah; Herman Hoffman, grand master of Independent Order Brith Abraham; Alex F. Stanton, grand master of the Independent Order Brith Sholem; Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein, president of the Board of Ministers of New York. B. Z. Goldberg, chairman of the Committee of Jewish Writers and Artists, presided.

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