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Patterson Calls for Continued U.S. Unity at American Jewish Committee Meeting

February 4, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Declaring that Jews “are well represented in every military cometary where American fighting men have been laid to post after their last battle,” Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson said today in an address to the 39th annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee: “We achieved unity in war. We must maintain unity now. Tolerance is its foundation.”

Describing his recent visit to the military cometary in Luxembourg where Gen. George Patton lied buried, Mr. Patterson said; “General Patton lies peacefully among comrades who worshipped a universal God in their separate ways. Among the rows upon rows of simple, white crosses, I noticed the familiar Star of David, the symbol of the Jewish faith. You were well represented among those 8,000 deed in the American cometary in Luxembourg. You are well represented in every military cometary where Ameri- can fighting men have been laid to rest after their last battle. There they rest, equal in death as they were equal in our American life and equal in their devotion to their country’s cause.

“Your efforts toward a better world have been described as a counter-offensive to bigotry,” Mr. Patterson told the 500 delegates attending the conference, which was held at the Hotel Waldorf Astoria. “They, in fact, are more than a counter-offensive. They are a direct campaign for the eternal principles of our country. Tolerance is the basis of our national unity. Tolerance is the foundation stone of our military structure. Tolerance is vital to our Army’s success in battle.”

O. John Rogge, special assistant to the United States Attorney General, who served as prosecutor at the recent sedition trial, which is aluted to be resumed shortly, warned the meeting that fascism in America is not dead, but has been reborn under the name of nationalism.

“International fascism,” he added, “though defeated in battle, is not dead. Fascism is not dead in England nor is it dead in the United States. It has merely been hibernating for the ‘duration.’ No, fascism is not dead in the United States. It is simply reconverting.”


Stressing that we must “be on the alert to keep the pre-war fomenters of religious and racial hatred from becoming active again,” John Slawson, executive vice-president of the Committee, pointed out that the forces of democracy have “held the line” during the past year and that there has been no rise in group friction in the United States.

Discussing the need for unity of action in fighting subversive forces, Dr. Slavson said that there is one group that has as yet done perhaps less than others in movements to strengthen and preserve democracy and to fight aggressive and weakening influences in the American body structure. I refer,” he continued, “to the industrialists and leaders of big business. It would appear that they, as well as the other economic and social groups in our American society, should come forth and assume leadership in the struggle for presentation of our democratic way of life, if for no other reason, than purely on the basis of enlightened self-interest.”

Jacob Blaustein, chairman of the Committee’s executive committee, in his annual report, emphasized that “it is our job to alert the public at large to the threat of anti-Semitism to American institutions. It is also necessary to impress the fact that anti-Semitism is a direct threat to the self-interest of the Individual members of the various class groups that make up our population.”

Reporting on the overseas activities of the American Jewish Committee, Mr. Blaustein pointed out that “the diabolical plan of the Nazis to completely exterminate the Jews of Europe was almost carried out” and interested the “request of the American Jewish Committee that Great Britain permit large immigration to Palestine by the issuance of 100,000 emergency visas.” Mr. Blaustein also reported that during the year twenty-eight local chapters of the American Jewish Committee were established in the most important communities of the country.

David Sher, chairman of the administrative committee, in discussing the plight of Jewry throughout the world, voices strong objections to the concept of a “Jewish problem.” He said: “The forces which operate against Jews, against their normal life, are the same forces confronting the world, and these problems are not the problems of Jews alone, but the problems of all civilization.”

Former Supreme Court Justice Joseph M. Proskauer, president of the American Jewish Committee, who was unable to attend the meeting, sent a message expressing hope that the United States would continue as a land “that is democratic in life and action as it is in constitution,” and that in other parts of the world there would be created a new life, in which Jews, as all others, might abide in peace and in honor.

The immediate removal to Palestine, under the auspices of UNRRA, of the Jewish population now interned in camps in Germany was advocated at a dinner session last night by Dr. Isador Lubin, former associate member of the United States Reparation Commission. Discussing the reason why a considerable number of occupation troops think Germany had some justification for going to war and that Hitler served his country constructively up to 1939, Dr. Lubin said it was because United States Army officials failed to orient the soldiers ideologically.

Judge Proskauer was re-elected president of the Committee for a fourth term. Two new honorary vice-presidents were elected: former Governor Herbert H. Lehman and Honorable George Z. Medalic, associate justice of the New York State Court of Appeals. Hon. Abram I. Elkus was also renamed an honorary vice-president. Other officers elected were; Mr. Blaustein, chairman, executive committee; Alan M. Stroock, vice-chairman, executive committee; Mr. Sher, chairman, administrative committee; Judge Jacob J. Kaplan of Boston, Judge Edward Lazansky of Brooklyn, Fred Lazarus, Jr., of Cincinnati, Judge M.C. Sloss of San Francisco, Judge Horace Stern of Philadelphia, and Henry Wineman of Detroit, vice-presidents; Nathen M. Ohrbach, treasurer; Albert H. Lieberman, Philadelphia, associate treasurer; Victor S. Riesenfeld, secretary; and Dr. Slavson, executive vice-president.

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