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40 Private Refugee Bodies Form United Front at Evian

July 8, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Delegations of 40 private organizations interested in refugees created a united front here today, as a deputation of prominent Austrian Jews arrived to present to the 32-nation conference the plea of the Austrian Jews for facilitation of emigration.

The 40 delegations, representing Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and non-sectarian organizations, met under the chairmanship of professor Norman Bentwich, of the council for German Jewry, and named a 14-member coordinating committee to unify their activities and arrange the order of their appeals before the subcommittee to be established by the intergovernmental conference.

The Austrian Jews’ delegation comprises Professor Heinrich Neumann, the famous ear specialist; Dr. Josef Loewenherz, president of the Vienna Jewish Community, and Berthold Storfer, a banker. A similar delegation is arriving from Berlin.

The inter-governmental conference devoted the entire morning to examination of delegates’ credentials, and in the afternoon held a public session at which statements were made by a number of government delegates.

The delegation of the World Jewish Congress, in a press statement, expressed gratification with the speeches at the opening session yesterday, particularly with the assertion by American Delegate Myron C. Taylor and British Delegate Lord Winterton that Germany and other emigration countries must permit emigrants to take out capital.

A rising spirit of optimism regarding the conference’s outcome was noticed among delegates following yesterday’s session, based to a large extent on the unanimity among delegates that Germany must be made in some way to permit her emigrants to take with them some of their property. No words were being spared in condemnation of Nazi brutality in dumping refugees on other countries.

All three principal speakers at the opening session were quite frank in expressing the view that any Government persecuting its minorities could not be considered civilized. Although he did not mention them by name, Mr. Taylor left no room for doubt that such countries as Poland, Rumania and Hungary were in his mind when he referred to “millions, actually or potentially, without a country.” In the same vein, Lord Winterton considered it necessary to sound a warning to countries other than Germany which “may believe that a policy of pressure against racial and religious minorities could force other countries to open doors to the victims.”

Mr. Taylor’s address made a deep impression, showing as it did that America was determined really to help the unfortunate victims of persecution, firstly, by admitting more than 27,000 yearly, and, secondly, by suggesting establishment of permanent intergovernmental machinery to handle the problem.

The latter, upon which the result of the entire conference may hinge, thus far is opposed by the British, the scandinavian and other governments which are inclined to be content with the League high commission for refugees. However, there is no doubt in the M ND of most observers here that the proposed machinery will be established.

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