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Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper

A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939

[Holocaust preparations in Europe and resistance without solution of the situation]

The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974

Transcription with subtitles by Michael Palomino (2007)



Chapter 3. Germany: 1933-1938
[3.13. Competition in fund raising between JDC and Zionists - 174,803 Jews emigrated 1933-1937]

[In the "USA" Zionism and JDC are competitors for fund raising]

The problem of Zionism exercised JDC, too, to a considerable extent, though from a different angle. In the United States the Palestine appeals were the direct competitors of JDC in its fund raising efforts. From a practical as well as an ideological point of view, JDC emphasized that Palestine, whatever its undoubted contribution to the solution of the German Jewish problem, could not be the only solution. Hyman, a man inclined to search for the deeper meaning of things and processes, termed Zionism in this context a millennial movement. He scoffed at the idea that nothing should be done until a millennium was reached by the aid of one program or another, because indeed "all other things are merely palliative."

(End note 71: Hyman to Janowsky, 11/24/37 [24 November 1937], R13)

The Zionists thought in terms of a national future and an overall solution, whereas JDC tended to see the immediate practical problems involved in helping persecuted Jews. The Zionists therefore were inclined to minimize avenues of rescue other than Palestine, at least until 1937/8, and often would not seriously consider the possibilities of rescuing Jews by sending them to other countries; while JDC did not see beyond the immediate present and could not tear itself from its cosmopolitan concepts, which perhaps had been valid in the liberal pre-Hitler era but had little validity in the growing catastrophe of European Jewry.

[174,803 emigrants from Germany 1933-1937]

Even practically speaking, from 1933 through 1937, 38,043 out of 174,803 emigrants from Germany had found refuge in Palestine.

This is even more significant when one remembers that those who entered Palestine were settled and absorbed there, whereas the majority of those who remained in Europe were neither settled nor absorbed.

[The Arabs are not asked, and Herzl's booklet from 1896 is always saying legally that Arabs can be driven out like the natives in the "USA"...]

Hyman was very much concerned about the pro-Palestine statements that many of the liberal Jewish leaders in Germany made to the effect that "everything is hopeless in Germany; ... practically all want to go to Palestine." The logical conclusion from this attitude, he said, was that Palestine work and the Palestine program were the only kind of program that the American Jews should support. This was most unfortunate, Hyman stated; surely JDC was entitled to be reinforced by the Jewish leaders in Germany with a plea for aid and support of the institutions that must be maintained inside Germany. This despite the "full acknowledgment (p.136)

of what Palestine has meant to these Jews of Germany."

Hyman thought that a statement should be made by the German Jews that Palestine was not the sole outlet - which of course, factually speaking, it was not.

(End note 72:
-- The statistics are taken from an article by Max Birnbaum in the Jüdisches Gemeindeblatt für die Synagogengemeinden in Preussen und Norddeutschland, 4/4/1938 [4 April 1938].
-- Hyman to Kahn, 10/11/35 [11 October 1935], CON. 2;
-- Hyman explained his position in an article published in the 1937 Proceedings of the National Conference of Jewish Social Welfare in the Jewish Social Service Quarterly (R12). Non-Zionists, he said, see nothing wrong in supporting Communism if this would help millions of Jews to find their feet in a new Russian economy; at the same time they can support "the building up of a great Jewish settlement of refuge and of cultural development in Palestine and yet decline to regard themselves as actually or potentially elements of a Jewish nation with its center in Palestine." While Palestine was capable of absorbing masses of immigrants, they do "deprecate the constant emphasis on Palestine by certain groups", as a Jewish national movement. The major goal of non-Zionists was "the integration of Jews with the life of their lands of birth or adoption.")

[The Hitler regime supports Zionism for emigration to Palestine]

Kahn agreed, but explained that the Nazis supported Zionism because it promised the largest emigration of Jews from Germany; hence German Jewish leaders could not make any public statement about other outlets. Still less could they mention the desire to maintain Jewish institutions in Germany. The Nazis had dissolved one meeting in Germany simply because the speaker had said, "We have to provide for the people who go away and for the Jews who must stay in Germany."

(End note 73: Kahn to Hyman, 11/3/35 [3 November 1935], CON 2)

[There are big lies of the NS regime: The number of visas is not increasing, and at the end Palestine is projected to be occupied by NS armies. Then the Jewish settlers had installed all infrastructure and the NS armies could take them over...]

[Zionism is also looking for other emigration countries than Palestine]

The sharp reduction of emigration into Palestine in 1936 - only 12,929 emigrated there from Germany that year - somewhat changed the Zionist policy. Weizmann, for his part, had never taken a completely exclusive point of view, and many individual Zionists shared his stand: now, the Zionists began to cooperate in the search for outlets other than Palestine. Despite the insistence of Zionists on Palestine for national and historic reasons, the difference between them and the other became smaller. JDC abandoned its doubts about supporting emigration and began to see that maintaining institutions in Germany was only a holding operation. The Zionists outside of Germany in turn began to perceive the importance of maintaining those institutions as long as there were Jews in Germany who needed them. The two main wings in Jewish life drew slowly closer on purely practical grounds as the 1930s progressed and the situation in Germany became more and more difficult.