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More Security for Jews in Poland, Rumania, Hungary is Asked at Anglo-american Inquiry

February 1, 1946
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Sir Herbert Emerson, chairman of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, testifying today before the Anglo-American inquiry committee, warned against the danger of great mass migrations of Jews from Poland, Rumania and Hungary unless conditions in those countries improve and more security is provided for the Jewish populations.

Also testifying today were Sir Ronald Storrs, former governor of Jerusalem, who declared he was against partitioning of Palestine. Chief Rabbi Leo Baeck of Germany, and representatives of the World Jewish Congress.

Sir Herbert said that even if conditions in Poland improve, a large number of Jews there will still seek to emigrate to Palestine. Asked whether the movement of Jews from Poland is organized or spontaneous, the head of the Intergovernmental Committee replied: “I haven’t sufficient information for a definite answer, however I think it is a mixture of both. I believe that the movement has now decreased, but I expect that it will be greater after the winter is over, when travel becomes easier.” Replying to questions, he estimated that about seventy-five percent of all the surviving Jews there “are sitting on their suit cases” ready to emigrate from the country.


Sir Herbert told the committee that anti-Semitism in Poland has been stimulated by the fear of many Poles who took possession of Jewish property during the Nazi regime that they may be forced to return this property to the Jewish owners or their hairs. He suggested therefore, the establishment of a restitution fund made up of unclaimed effects of murdered Jews in Europe. He also urged reparations instead of restitution of property.

Discussing the situation in Hungary, Sir Herbert said that up to now there has been little movement of Jews from Hungary and that Jews are returning there from camps in Germany.

He expressed the belief that about 10,000 German and Austrian Jews intend to emigrates to Palestine, adding that as far as he knew no attempts had been made to influence these people to choose Palestine. With regard to Italy, the refugee official testified that the Italian Government has offered to give citizenship to Jewish refugees, but of the estimated 20,000 displaced Jews there, only less than 100 accepted the offer.

Sir Ronald declared that once the “fear” of a Jewish state has vanished the Arabs and the Jews will get along together. Assorting that Britain had already created a national home for the Jews and thereby fulfilled her obligations to them, he said that partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, was “absolutely no solution,” and was completely “unsound” and “impracticable.”


William Phillips, American member of the committee, and one-time U.S. Under-Secretary of State, observed that partition was now worth considering because of the “bitterness between the two peoples.” Storrs insisted that disorder in Palestine increased with the increase in Jewish immigration, and decreased as immigration fell off.

Rabbi Baeck made the point that “we must not be confused by terms such as ‘Jewish State’ or ‘Jewish majority.’ The Jewish State,” he added, “is not one of nar- row nationalistic sovereignty, but is a significant human task, a moral task; every state is part of the great world community, every nationality is a treasure house of humanity.” He stressed, in relation to a “Jewish majority,” that it was a Jewish tradition that legislation be “based on the poor and the weak.”

Samuel Silverman, Laborite M.P., Dr. H. Barou, and Alex Easterman, testifying on behalf of the World Jewish Congress, declared that the future of the Jewish people was “greatly imperiled” by any further dispersal of the Jewish survivors. The only hope for a revival of Jewish culture and life, they stated, “lies in the establishment of a self-governing homeland.”


Two missionaries, Miss M.C. Warburton and J. G. Matthews, told the committee that the Jewish education system in Palestine is far superior to the Government schools. At the same time Miss Warburton alleged that “a Hitler youth movement” exists in some of the schools, operated by “extreme Zionists,” while Matthews claimed that political propaganda is being taught in some of the Jewish schools. “Some young Jews are trained to be terrorists,” be declared, but admitted that this is “second-hand information.”

Norman Goodall, testifying on behalf of the Joint Committee for Religious Liberties, stated that certain devout Jews would prefer to emigrate from Palestine. He also emphasized that a large element of Jewish refugees do not want to go to Palestine. “I see no political solution, save the framework of the present delicate balance,” he declared.

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