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War Reparations Asked by World Jewish Conference; Funds to Be Spent in Palestine

November 30, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A demand that the United Nations arrange for the payment of reparations by the defeated Axis countries to the Jews as a people, in addition to the indemnities which are to be paid to individual Jews, and that these reparations be turned over to a central Jewish body to be spent for the development of a Jewish Palestine, was the center of discussion today at the Reparation’s Commission of the War Emergency Conference, which is meeting here under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress.

The conference divided this morning into seven deliberative bodies, each of which are framing resolutions for adoption at the final session on Friday. The principal committees are discussing the problem of how to punish Germany and its former satellite nations for crimes committed against the Jewish people, and how to secure restitution and indemnification for damages to property and to persons.

Also under consideration today were three separate resolutions with regard to relief and rehabilitation. All three, which were discussed at a closed session of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, which is under the chairmanship of Maro Regalsky of Argentina, agreed with the recommendation that a coordinating body composed of representatives of the Jewish Agency, Joint Distribution Committee, and the World Jewish Congress be established. They differed, however, on what action is to be taken in case the JDC rejects the proposal. It was predicted that a compromise resolution will be adopted by the conference recommending that the World Jewish Congress extend its relief activities in all countries, but, at the same time, make a maximum effort to secure the establishment of a central body. The Commission on Relief and Rehabilitation today adopted a resolution urging the transfer to Palestine, as soon as possible, of all orphaned Jewish children in liberated territory.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Rescue, which is under the chairmanship of A. J. Bennet of Canada, is drafting a resolution, which, among other things, asks the United Nations that Jews interned in concentration camps be considered and treated as war prisoners.


The Rescue Commission also decided to ask that, insofar as conditions permit, an exchange be effected of German civilian internees in Allied countries for Jews interned in Axis countries. It also suggested that application be made to the International Red Cross to extend its present three-month plan to send 100,000 parcels a month to various internment camps for non-Jews and Jews in Nazi-controlled countries. The Red Cross will be asked not only to extend the time limit but to increase the num number of parcels sent.

The following program was announced by the commission as a recommendation to the World Jewish Congress:

1. Continued efforts to effectuate the rescue of all Jews in Hungary through the aid of the Vatican, the Red Cross, and the Governments of Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

2. Efforts to induce the Hungarian Government to treat Jewish nationals the same as those of any other religion or race.

3. Efforts to secure for Jews confined in ghettos or in labor or concentration camps the status of civilian prisoners of war; and secure application of the Geneva Convention Mandate of 1929 to the fullest extent.

4. Preservation by military authorities of the evidence of gas-chambers and other death camps used by the Germans and their satellites to kill Jews.

The Organization Commission, headed by Leo Lowitz of Chicago, adopted a resolution urging that the World Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Conference invite the cooperation of any other Jewish organization prepared to proceed in the furtherance of a common policy of post-war Jewish reconstruction.

“It is contemplated,” the resolution read, “to establish a joint working body by these organizations for the period of peace settlements, designed to coordinate and as far as possible, to combine representation on post-war Jewish needs before international conferences, councils and agencies of the United Nations. The joint working body shall seek to establish a relationship of cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Palestine, with due recognition of the Agency’s special international status. The broad policies of this body, its manner of operation and extent of activities including the creation of new machinery, shall be agreed upon by its constituent organizations at the time of its formulation.”


The Organization Commission also recommended that the World Jewish Congress establish a bureau in Jerusalem, in addition to existing offices in New York, London and Buenos Aires. The establishment of a special bureau in Moscow, as soon as it is practicable, was also urged.

The commission also discussed the suggestion that the Congress establish an individual membership plan similar to the World Zionist Organization, as soon as the Jewish Commonwealth is established, when it is expected that the world Zionist Organization will, of necessity, abolish its systems of individual membership by persons residing in countries outside of Palestine and limit its activities to Palestine.

A resolution urging the proclamation of a permanent national day of mourning for all the Jews of the world, similar to Tisha B’Av, to commemorate the Jews exterminated by the Germans, was introduced today by Eliezer Szoupakewich, a member of the Representation of Polish Jewry in America. In a dramatic speech, last night, Mr. Szcupakewich criticized the world Jewish Congress, charging its leadership with apathy in combatting the mass-murder of polish Jews by the Germans.

“This hall should be draped in black,” he said. “Instead of speeches we should be reading the chapters inscribed in cold blood from the records of the death camps of Maidanek and Tremblinka. We should consider ourselves guilty of the passivity with which we have allowed all the miserable events to occur. We are all criminals and any Jew who returns to Germany will deserve a curse upon his head. Our hands are covered with blood. The blood of our brothers and sisters.”

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, replying to Mr. Szcupakewich’s criticism, charged the Jews of America with failing to give sufficient support to their leaders in the effort to rescue as many Jews as possible from Nazi lands and in their efforts to induce the democracies to take measures to put an end to the Nazi mass-extermination of Jews.

Representatives from Latin American countries, North Africa, Great Britain, Canada and other countries participated today in a meeting arranged by the Jewish National Fund, at which they pledged support for the redemption of more land in Palestine. The meeting was arranged by the J.N.F. in cooperation with the Latin American Department of the Jewish Agency for Palestine.

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