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Gen. Donovan Warns Legacy of Anti-semitism Left by Nazis May Destroy Jews in Europe

March 26, 1946
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The poison of anti-Semitism “which the Nazis employed as a major weapon in the war against democracy” now bars the way for the rehabilitation of the surviving Jews in Europe and makes imperative their emigration to other lands, chiefly Palestine, Major General William J. Donovan, former chief of the office of Strategic Services, declared here yesterday, addressing a conference of 600 Jewish leaders gathered to open the $100,000,000 drive of the United Jewish Appeal in the Midwest area.

“Room must be made somewhere for the disinherited Jews, No amount of political talk will solve the problem,” General Donovan said. “Hitler is dead but his legacy of hate might yet destroy the surviving Jews of Europe if all do not rise to our obligation. It is our duty in the family of nations to make provision for the remnant of Jewry.” General Donovan called upon all Americans to respond generously to the $100,000,000 United Jewish Appeal.

Demanding that “politics give way to humanity” and calling upon the nations of the world to find an immediate solution to the problem of the survivors of Nazi destruction, Gen. Donovan said that the oppressed of other peoples will readily admit that the Jews were the worst sufferers of Nazism and agree that “their relief should be given first attention.” The millions of Jews “who died in the concentration camps are as much casualties of war as those who died on the field of battle,” he pointed at.


Expressing the hope that President Truman’s directive for the facilitation of immigration to the United States to the full extent of the quota to help alleviate the light of the displaced persons would serve as an example that should encourage other nations to provide a haven for the oppressed, General Donovan emphasized that the urgency of the Jewish situation in Europe demanded the “immediate opening of the doors of Palestine.”

He said that the “feeling of insecurity on the part of the Jews in many parts of Europe is real” and should be understood by statesmen, because the Nazis engaged in an intensive program to make anti-Semitism popular among their subject peoples.

Speaking bluntly of the Jewish position in Europe as he has seen it, General Donovan said: “It is clearly impossible for the Jews to remain in Europe. Anti-Semitism in too strong. Defeat and demoralization have intensified it. The Jews know all that laws and enactments will not correct it. They must move. And international nation is a moral obligation of our civilization to enable them to do so.”

He declared that “statesmen cannot postpone decisions While people suffer” and Palestine “is ready to receive the remnants of the persecuted and the unwanted.” Asserting that the problem is a pressing one, he said that at least 100,000 Jews in Germany and Austria are ready to go and want to go to Palestine, and pointed out that the immigration of 100,000 Jews or more cannot unbalance the present proportions of the population in Palestine in view of the fact that the Arabs now number 1,200,000 mile the Jews number 600,000.


General Donovan revealed how Jewish parachutists from Palestine were dropped over the Balkans during the war and helped save the lives of American aviators who had been shot down by enemy planes. “There were no braver parachutists behind enemy lines than the Jews who were dropped from Palestine into the Balkans,” he said.

“The secret intelligence and sabotage operations against the common enemy are part of the larger pattern of allegiance to the great democracies,” he stated. “Today the Jewish community in Palestine remains steadfast by every instinct to the common heritage of American freedom.”

Senator Claude Pepper of Florida, addressing the conference, demanded that the governments of the world keep faith with the six million Jews massacred by the Nazis. “Why cannot we now, at long last, at the end of a road littered with the blood and bones of millions upon millions of Jewish people, settle and solve the problem of safety and sanctuary for these fellow human beings?” Senator Pepper asked. Criticizing those powers which “have broken their promise again of the promised land” with the assertion that Palestine could not absorb any more Jews, Mr. Pepper, who visited Palestine last Fall, said: “I have seen with my own eyes that this is not so.”


Reporting on his discussion with Winston Churchill on the subject of Palestine before the war time Prime Minister of Britain left the United States last week, Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, president of the Zionist Organization of America, told the conference that Mr. Churchill favored unlimited Jewish immigration into Palestine up to the full absorptive capacity of the country.

The conference unanimously adopted a resolution calling upon all Jewish committees throughout the Midwest area to place the problem of the survival of European Jewry at the forefront of their responsibilities end to subordinate all other activities to the campaign of the nationwide $100,000,000 campaign of the United Jewish Appeal.

In addition to Major General Donovan, Senator Pepper and Dr. Silver, the other speakers included Dr. Imrich Rosenberg of Prague, member of the Czechoslovak Government; Dr. Joseph C. Bymen of New York, executive vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee; Maurice Gusman, chairman of the Jewish Welfare Fund of Akron; Ben M. Dreyer, president of the Jewish Welfare Fund of Canton; Sydney N. Weitz, chairman of the Central Budget Committee of the Jewish Welfare Federation of Cleveland, and others.

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