American Jewish Committee Reports on Anti-semitic Bias in Housing
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American Jewish Committee Reports on Anti-semitic Bias in Housing

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Discrimination against Jews still exists in middle and high priced housing in New York, Irving M. Engel, president of the American Jewish Committee, reported at the three-day executive board meeting of the organization. “Jewish families are excluded from over one-third of the desirable cooperative apartment houses in Manhattan,” he said.

Mr. Engel charged that exclusion of Jews from these cooperatives in Manhattan is a carry-over of discriminatory policies which barred Jews from rentals in private housing. Following conversion of these buildings to cooperatives, Jews are barred from buying apartments in them. He said that most of these dwellings are located “in a distinct geographical area.”

The AJC president revealed that complex stock transactions are used to keep Jewish families from these cooperatives. With regard to the suburbs, Mr. Engel said that there are several areas in the suburbs of New York City where restrictions against minority group home ownership prevail, despite the 1948 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court making unenforceable restrictive covenants based on race or religion. To circumvent this ruling various methods have been devised to maintain restrictive practices, he reported. “The situation in New York City was typical of a dangerous trend now showing itself in many metropolitan areas in the United States,” he declared.


At an earlier session of the executive board meeting it was reported that distribution of hate and racist literature had reached a “new post-war height in 1958.” The report was made on the basis of the three-year study conducted by the Committee. Jewish communities were advised “to avoid giving free publicity for bigots through any public denunciation of unknown individuals” engaged in spreading hate literature, “not to dignify their charges with detailed factual and logical arguments.”

The leaders of the American Jewish Committee also heard a report on how the United Arab Republic is running an “underground railway” from Germany to “import” fugitive, convicted war criminals and Nazi agitators for high propaganda and military positions in Egypt and Syria. “UAR foreign agents working on German soil in close collaboration with German Nazi sympathizers have recently engineered the escape and transmission of leading Nazi propagandists and criminals,” the report stated. “At least nine ranking Nazis have turned up already as military and propaganda officials in the United Arab Republic.

The AJC board sent a cable to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, stressing the West German government’s resistance to the growth of Nazism and anti-Semitism and urging the German leader to devote his special attention “to the investigation, exposure and eradication of UAR subversive interference with the authority and public order of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

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