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The Daily News Letter Max Warburg on the Hilfsverein

July 2, 1935
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An Admonition to the Jews of Germany to forget Zionist and non-Zionist differences and hold steadfast to the concept of constructive collaboration was sounded by Herr Max Warburg, acting head of the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden at the annual meeting of the organization.

Describing the new tasks confronting the Hilfsverein, Herr Warburg pleaded that it be not left for the writer of history to record that those called upon today to lead failed to understand the signs of the times.

“The task before the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden,” he declared, “is expressed in the maxim taken from the Jewish religion: ‘Love they neighbor as thyself.’ The term, ‘neighbor,’ even if the Hilfsverin has a special task, knows no bounds, and this teaching has to be fulfilled quite irrespective of how the outside world conceives this love of your neighbor, for God created all men in His image.

“The Hilfsverin in the past assisted mainly the Jews abroad in the terrible pogrom times. Now it has become primarily our task to help those who out of spiritual or material need are compelled to leave Germany. The Hilfsverin is working in Germany in harmony with the Palestine Emigration Office, insofar as the Palestine Office attends to all those who want to emigrate to Palestine, while the Hilfsverin deals with those Jewish emigrants who wish to seek a new future in other parts of the world.

“The cooperation of Zionists and non-Zionists in the task before the German Jews to help those who emigrate should be described as exemplary,” he declared. “Even if we have separated our spheres of work, insofar as the countries of destination are concerned, there still is very much work done in common, in relation to the training of the emigrants. The cooperation of the Hilfsverin and the Palestine Office clearly show how in this case inside Germany the Agency idea can be, by harmonious working association, transformed into practice. It is in this regard our principal object to avoid errors of direction in the emigration process, to permit emigration only when it has been made evident that the emigrant will really find opportunities of employment in his new home.

“In very many cases this question is closely linked with the previous training of the emigrant. A great deal of very important and very difficult work has been done in this field and is still being done, mainly with the adjusting cooperation of the Reichsvertretung der deutschen Juden, and many other organizations which have in this time of need of German Jews come together in harmonious collaboration.

“We must always think of the purpose of this constructive collaboration, so that we should not lose ourselves in antitheses about the various conceptions on the question: Zionist or non-Zionist. This I must openly say, and I believe that I express thereby much of what German Jews are saying no matter in which camp they may be.

“What I feel hardest among the many hardships which have broken over us in these last few years, is that even such a time of the hardest trial has not united the German Jews as it obviously should in one single task, in one single idea: How can we best help our co-sufferers?

“We are experiencing on a smaller scale the same thing which leads to the breaking up of Parliamentary systems, the fact that the leaders of groups in standing firm by their dogmas lose sight of the aim. There are among us here as in those other places leaders at work who, dazzled by their past popularity cannot abandon rhetorical, momentary successes.

“Let us guard against the objective writer of history having one day to record with astonishment that those who in this most difficult time were called to lead, to show the way, failed to understand the signs of the times and could not see the wood for the trees.

“We all want to hope that there will be fulfilled the grave task that lies in Palestine upon all Jews— Zionists and non-Zionists—to lead the diverse elements who find themselves now in Palestine unitedly to one high task of life, filled with Jewish ethics, to allow no exaggerations in the economic sphere, and to see that the immigrants should devote themselves more to agricultural work and less to work in the towns. This is positive, constructive work. Zionists and non-Zionists must together help the emigrants to prepare themselves spiritually and to be trained adequately on the technical side.

“If the foundation stone is not laid properly now for a structure which is to last for centuries, there will be a very great danger of failure. It must be our ambition that those who emigrate from Germany to Palestine should take with them the proper mental attitude. We must have the courage to draw away from such elements who come to Palestine only to seek ruthlessly their own advantage and who see the soil that is sacred to us all only an object of speculation.

“Just as important as the question of emigration to Palestine,” Herr Warburg went on, “is the question of directing the stream of emigration to other parts of the world, for Palestine cannot absorb all Jewish emigrants, even if the number of Jews which it took in the past year was much larger than anyone expected.

“To this must be added the fact that not all German Jews who emigrate are adapted for settlement in Palestine. The Hilfsverein has

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