Lehman, Testifying on Behalf of All Jewish Organizations, Asks Admission of DP’s to U.s
Menu JTA Search

Lehman, Testifying on Behalf of All Jewish Organizations, Asks Admission of DP’s to U.s

Download PDF for this date

Emphasizing that he was speaking "for virtually all Jewish agencies in the United States engaged in philanthropic and communal activities," Herbert H. Lehman today pleaded before the House Sub-Committee on Immigration and Naturalization for passage of the Stratton Bill, which provides for the admission of 100,000 displaced persons to the United States annually for a period of four years.

The former New York Governor and UNRRA head appeared on behalf of the National Community Relations Advisory Council and its constituent organizations, which include the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith, Jewish labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans, Union of American Hebrew Congregations and a number of communities throughout the country. He emphasized that the American Jewish Congress, the major Zionist groups, the HIAS, the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds with its more than 260 local Jewish communal organizations, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the American Council for Judaism and the National Council of Jewish Women all support the bill.

Pointing out that during the last fifteen years our immigration quota has never been filled, Governor Lehman urged "prompt action" to transfer displaced persons from their camps to permanent homes in the United States and other countries. He asserted that the world looks to the United States for leadership in meeting this problem, and urged the Congress to be mindful of the fact that "our years of greatest immigration have been our years of greatest national prosperity."


Reviewing the position of the displaced Jews, Lehman declared that even if many of them wanted to go home, for the most part there are no homes to which they could return. They have a special and unique claim on the sympathy and the charity of mankind, because they are of a people which made the costliest, percentagewise the greatest, sacrifices in the war of civilization against Nazi barbarism, he said.

"As it happens," he continued, "the Jewish displaced persons are of a very young age group. More than seventy per cent of them fall in the adaptable ages between 18 and 44 and can, therefore, easily adjust themselves to conditions in a new country. That they are a vigorous element is proved by the fact that they have been able to survive the worst massacre and the most savage persecution in all history. Many of them are accomplished artisans, mechanics and professional workers."

The fear that admission of DP’s will result in taking jobs from Americans was not well-founded, Lehman argued, stressing that "this fact has been recognized by leading labor organizations of the country, which are endorsing the present bill." He also pointed out that there is no possibility that any of these prospective immigrants would become a public charge, since relatives, friends and organized groups of diverse religious faiths have seen to it that none of those admitted thus far have become a charge on any American community.

In questioning Lehman, Rep. Frank Fellows of Maine, chairman of the sub-committee, brought up previous testimony by former Senator Gillette that passage of the Stratton Bill would not solve the overall Jewish question which is inextricably interwoven with Palestine. Lehman replied that obviously "the entire Jewish problem will not be disposed of because of passage of this bill, but it will go a long way in alleviating a most urgent situation," even though admission of Jews into Palestine is also "a most important factor."

Lt. Col. Jerry M. Sage, chief of the field contact section of U.S. Army headquarters in Europe, urged admission of a "substantial number" of DP’s. He highly praised the character and willingness to work of the DP’s. (See page 6.)

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