Jewish Delegation Presents Claims Against Germany to State Dept
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Jewish Delegation Presents Claims Against Germany to State Dept

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A delegation of American Jewish leaders today visited Under Secretary of State James E. Webb and informed him that the Jewish communities of the free world were united in demanding that Germany make practical amends for the staggering material losses inflicted upon Jewry by the Hitler regime.

Presenting a declaration to this effect signed by 20 major Jewish organizations of seven countries, including seven American central bodies, which sponsored a two-day Conference on Jewish Claims Against Germany in New York last month, the delegation told Mr. Webb that “no indemnity, however large, can make good the destruction of human life” wrought by the Nazis.

At the same time it was stated on behalf of the delegation that “every elementary principle of justice and human decency requires that the German people shall, at the least, restore the plundered Jewish property, indemnify the victims of persecution, their heirs and successors, and pay for the rehabilitation of the survivors.

“In this connection,” it was added, “the statement made by the Chancellor of the Federal German Government last September 27, acknowledging that the unspeakable crimes committed during the Nazi regime impose on the German people the obligation to make amends, will be judged by the speed and extent of its implementation.”

The delegation, comprising American members of the executive committee of the Conference on Jewish Claims Against Germany, consisted of the following: Col. Bernard Bernstein of B’nai B’rith; Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Jewish Agency; Dr. Israel Goldstein, chairman of the executive of the Western Hemisphere, World Jewish Congress; Adolph Held, president of the Jewish Labor Committee; Dr. Irving Miller, president of the American Jewish Congress; Seymour Rubin, Washington representative of the American Jewish Committee; Michael G. Tress, president of the American section of the Agudath Israel World Organization. Benjamin Ferencz, director general of the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization, accompanied the delegation.


Presenting to Mr. Webb the declaration of the Conference on Jewish Claims Against Germany, the delegation declared: “On the night of Nov. 9, 1938, almost 13 years ago to the day, the Hitler regime launched the first of the great pogroms a against the Jews. Within 24 hours, the Germans killed hundreds of innocent people, arrested tens of thousands more, put nearly 250 synagogues to the torch and smashed and looted thousands of Jewish-owned stores, homes and factories.

“The German government which instigated and directed the pogrom brought it to a close by ordering the victims to pay for the damage done and then imposing upon them a punitive fine totaling more than one billion marks. The world now knows that this was only a foretaste of what was in store for the millions of Jews who fell under the Nazi blight. There is no way that the Germans can expiate for the agony they inflicted upon the men, women and children, tortured or put to death by every inhuman device. But the Germans can and must yield the profits of their crimes and pay for the cost of rehabilitating those who managed to survive.

“The Conference on Jewish Claims Against Germany, representing the overwhelming majority of organized Jewry in the free world, endorses the claim which the Israel Government has already entered against Germany based on the rehabilitation in Israel of victims of Nazi persecution. We demand from Germany also the satisfaction of all other Jewish claims against her, including claims for restitution and indemnification by individuals, successor organizations and others, and for rehabilitation of the Jewish victims of Nazi inhumanity.

“We respectfully invite the attention of the State Department to the fact that these claims are a logical continuation of the restitution and indemnification programs which the United States Government has wholeheartedly supported in the past. Based as they are upon the highest moral considerations, they must assuredly win the support of all democratic governments and peoples everywhere.”

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