Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Pledge to Restore Jewish Freedom in Europe Voiced by British Leader

October 2, 1940
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A message from Arthur Greenwood, British Minister Without Portfolio, stressing the restoration of Jewish “freedom and equality” in Europe following a British victory was made public here today by the Rev. Maurice L. Perlzweig, head of the European headquarters of the World Jewish Congress, as Britain’s first public declaration on the Jewish question since the outbreak of the war.

Dr. Perlzweig, who arrived last night from London via Montreal, said at a press conference in the Hotel Astor that he had brought the letter for presentation to the Congress executive committee. Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the executive committee said the statement “in a sense has wider and farther-reaching implications than the Balfour Declaration.”

Dr. Perlzweig also made public assurances from Gen. Charles de Gaulle, head of the Free France movement, regarding restoration of Jewish rights in France. He quoted de Gaulle as writing: ” I am profoundly convinced that when France shall have recovered her liberty, in that way assuring the free play of all her traditional democratic institutions, every French citizen, irrespective of religion, will enjoy a just equality of rights.”

Greenwood’s message follows: “Your visit to the United States to consult with your colleagues of the Executive of the World Jewish Congress gives me an opportunity of sending through you a message of encouragement and warm good wishes.

“The tragic fate of the Jewish victims of Nazi tyranny has, as you know, filled us with a deep emotion. The speeches of responsible British statesmen in Parliament and at the League of Nations during the past seven years have reflected the horror with which the people of this country have viewed the Nazi relapse into barbarism. The British Government sought again and again to secure some amelioration of the lot of persecuted Jewry both in Germany itself and in the countries which were infected by the Nazi doctrine of racial hatred.

“Today the same sinister power which has trampled on its own defenseless minorities, and by fraud and force has temporarily robbed many small peoples of their independence, has challenged the last stronghold of liberty in Europe. When we have achieved victory, as we assuredly shall, the nations will have the opportunity of establishing a new world order based on the ideals of justice and peace. In such a world it is our confident hope that the conscience of civilized humanity would demand that the wrongs suffered by the Jewish people in so many countries should be righted.

“In the rebuilding of civilized society after the war there should, and will, be a real opportunity for Jews everywhere to make a distinctive and constructive contribution; and all men of good will must assuredly hope that in the new Europe the Jewish people, in whatever country they may live, will have freedom and full equality before the law with every other citizen.”

Recommended from JTA