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Conference of European Jewish Leaders Hears Report on Spain

May 7, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A prediction that the Spanish Government would soon follow its recognition of the Madrid Jewish community with similar legal status for the Jews of other Jewish communities in Spain was made here today by Max Mazin, president of the Medrid community.

He made the prediction at the closing session of a two-day meeting of the Standing Conference of European Jewish Community Services. The meeting was attended by representatives of Jewish communities of 13 countries and directors of major Jewish international welfare organizations.

Dr. Astorre Mayer, president of the Milan Jewish Community and chairman of the Conference, announced that Mazin would henceforth be the representative of the Council of Spanish Jewish Communities. The Council is comprised of Jewries of Madrid, Barcelona, Ceuta and Metilla. It will shortly include a community being formed in Malaga.

Dr. Mayer also announced important Conference changes, including the fact that with two new members, the Conference now represents Jewish communities of all western European nations, and Yugoslavia. He noted that the Jewish community of Portugal was officially represented at the Conference through Dr. M.B. Amzalak and that H.M. Kornitzinsky of Oslo, president of the Mosaiske Troessamfund of Norway had announced the intention of Norway’s Jewry to join the Conference.

Mr. Mazin said that the new status of the Jews of Madrid was not expected to lead to any great changes in community life. He reported that for the past ten years, the Jews in Spain had been treated with complete tolerance. He paid tribute to the moral and financial support of the Joint Distribution Committee to the Madrid community, explaining that the synagogue and community center built in Madrid with JDC help was serving as a focal point for revitalizing community life.


Conference delegates also heard reports on recent developments in Jewish communities in Portugal, on heirless property treatment in Sweden and Switzerland and on fundraising, social services and personnel. A special welcome was given to Leo Fischer, the new president of the Copenhagen Jewish community, and to Dr. Lavoslau Kadelburg, the newly elected president of the Federation of Yugoslav Jewish communities, as delegates present for the first time.

Fritz Hollander, head of the Swedish Jewish community, reported the progress of negotiations on heirless property left in Sweden by victims of the Nazis. Noting that a group of Swedish banks had proposed creating of a fund, using the deposits of such victims, to be used for Jewish survivors, he said he hoped that the offer would be backed up by appropriate legislation if that was necessary.

He reported also that efforts were being made to widen the bankers’ proposals to include other agents holding such property. He explained that the feeling in Sweden was that such assets were not “Swedish money” and that therefore it was anticipated that the funds would be made available for Jewish needs. He added that the funds were estimated to total about $500,000 and that these would be turned over for use by international Jewish welfare organizations. He expressed the hope that the Swedish arrangement would set an example for other countries where assets were left on deposit by Jews later murdered by the Nazis.

The Conference accepted with regret the resignation of Murray M. Sidar, community organization consultant for the JDC who served as Conference executive secretary since its creation in 1960 and who had a vital role in the first years of the Conference. The resignation is effective in July. He is returning to the United States after six years of service in Europe.

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