"crystal night" [on 9/10 November 1938]
[6.16. JDC after Reichskristallnacht - disorder
of Jewish organizations]
One has to know: The "US" government is not hindering the
racist industry leaders of the "USA" to support the Hitler
regime after Reichskristallnacht with industrial machinery
and machinery components. At the end Henry Ford gets the
highest order from the Hitler regime in 1943. It's
absolutely not clear why the powerful Jewish organizations
never have brought this destructive collaboration between
"USA" and the Third Reich to the public].
[Since 10 Nov 1938: Fund
raising effort for the Jews in the Reich - collaboration
with United Palestine Appeal - Henry Ittleson]
Obviously, reliance on outside support became much more
important after the November pogrom than before. And it
was clear that JDC would have to take on a major share of
the additional burden.
The need for a large-scale fund-raising efforts in the
U.S. made itself felt throughout 1938 and reached a climax
in November. From below, from the grass roots, there came
a demand for the unification of the two main fund-raising
efforts: that of JDC and the United Palestine Appeal. The
person mainly responsible for bringing the two groups
together was Henry Ittleson, a highly influential member
of what has loosely been termed the German (p.254)
Jewish aristocracy of the American East Coast. Under
Ittleson's energetic leadership, a meeting took place on
November 23 of JDC, UPA, and the Council of Jewish
Federations and Welfare Funds (CJFWF). A combined drive
for $ 20 million was decided upon.
The reasons that prompted JDC to agree to a united drive
were given by James N. Rosenberg: JDC, he said, "must
recognize the powerful desire throughout the country to
avoid competing campaigns"; in New York City, joint
campaigns had already been adopted by a number of
professional groups, and separate fund raising was harmful
"from the American point of view" -
(End note 80: Executive Committee, 11/28/38 [28 November
he probably meant that separate efforts in the face of the
German threat were somehow unpatriotic.
[Dec 1938: United Jewish
Appeal set up - fund raising with UPA and National
The United Jewish Appeal was finally set up in December,
and JDC very definitely played the leading part in it. It
was to get almost 50 % of the funds collected, the rest
being shared mainly by UPA [United Palestine Appeal] and
the National Coordinating Committee, the agency for
absorbing and settling new immigrants in the U.S., which
was very closely linked to JDC.
JDC was, in effect, pushed into the new agreement. Its
experience with the UJA [UPA?] of 1934/5 had not been
happy, and memories of it were still very fresh. Zionists
had then been collecting only for Palestine, JDC Executive
Committee members argued, but they still had expected JDC
to contribute to Palestine directly or indirectly through
the support of Palestine-centered organizations in Europe
and the payment of the emigrées' transportation to
In 1938/9, the increase in the level of Nazi persecutions
and the growing misery in Eastern Europe could have
absorbed JDC funds many times over. "At no time has the
Budget and Scope Committee (of JDC) during these years of
cumulative tragedy been authorized to adopt a budget
bearing any close relation to the amounts deemed necessary
even for the minimum requirements", complained Edwin I.
Goldwasser, JDC's treasurer, in late October 1938.
(End note 81: Executive Committee file, Budget and Scope
Committee 10/31/38 [31 October 1938])
The upbuilding of Palestine was all very well, but Jews in
Europe were starving and persecuted - and they, JDC felt,
had first claim on whatever funds were available. (p.256)
Jews in the United States, however, were beginning to
think differently. They saw that the Jews of Europe were
not the only ones endangered; their own position and that
of the U.S. might well be in jeopardy. This obviously was
no time for interorganizational rivalry. Also, it was much
more convenient (and also more profitable from the fund
raiser's point of view) - to campaign once yearly for all
overseas needs. There was clear pressure from below, for
which the CJFWF was the mouthpiece.
[Quarrel JDC - ORT]
There still remained the problem, minor but vexatious, of
the separate fund-raising efforts of smaller groups that
might compete with the larger campaign. The struggle over
this question with ORT was becoming a ritual. In early
1938 a public statement was prepared attacking ORT for its
separate fund-raising plans, and showing that 67 % of its
budget in 1937 - $ 130,000 - had really come from JDC.
(End note 82: R12, draft of public statement, 3/3/38 [3
In the end, as always, more moderate counsels prevailed.
The prepared statement was not issued, ORT received
another allocation, and the threat of separate fund
raising was removed.
[Release of internees
with the condition of a fast emigration]
In the wake of the November pogroms, a wave of panic
emigration swept Germany and Austria. Internees in
concentration camps would be released if they undertook to
leave Germany within a specified, and very short, time. If
they did not, they were threatened with rearrest, which
often meant death. The Austrian example was followed;
"police and party authorities insist that the practices
which worked successfully in Vienna in forcing Jews out of
the country should likewise be applied in Berlin and
throughout the country."
(End note 83: Hyman at Executive Committee, 3/22/39 [22
organizations - almost no emigration after
Reichskristallnacht / crystal night]
The many thousands now leaving the Reich had to be
supported, as well as those staying behind. During the
first weeks after the pogrom, emigration was partly
stalled as a result of the disorganization of Jewish
institutions in Germany.
[Hilfsverein cannot pay
his depths at steamship companies any more]
A case in point was the large debt that the Hilfsverein
[Help corporation], which dealt with emigration to
countries other than Palestine, had run up with steamship
companies (about 55,000 marks); now it could not repay
this money because of the large-scale confiscations of
Jewish property and the billion-mark fine.
(End note 84: R11, report on a visit to Germany, William
Bein, 12/6/38 [6 December 1938])
By the middle of December it was estimated that one-third
of the Jewish male working population was still in the
concentration camps; the process of release had only just
(End note 85: R55, 12/14/38-12/15/38 [14 December 1938-15
December 1938], meeting in Paris)
[Support for Jewish
schools and trainees in vocational retraining]
German government subsidies to Jewish welfare and
schooling were stopped. Most of the 20,000 Jewish children
of school age had to turn to the 140 Jewish schools. These
were now dependent upon Jewish support only.
(End note 86: RV report for 1938. In May 1938 there were
68 public and 72 private Jewish schools. In these private
schools there were 9,844 pupils. An additional 10,156
pupils went to German or Jewish public schools. In July
1939 there were still 16,350 Jewish children in the age
group six to 14 in "old" Germany. I am indebted to my
colleague Dr. Yosef Walk for these details).
Support was also required for 4,000 trainees in vocational
retraining institutions in Germany and as many as 24,000
in Austria. Some of these groups especially the more
serious ones that were preparing for agricultural pursuits
in South America or Palestine, had been brutally hit by
Nevertheless, it was thought that vocational retraining
increased the chances for emigration, and there were long
waiting lists for these institutions.
Generally speaking, the German Jewish organizations and
their Austrian counterparts were laboring under a terrific
[Concentration process -
small Jewish communities dissolve - financial help -
The process of concentration in large cities was
proceeding apace, and the small communities were
disbanding. In its 1939 report, the Reichsvereinigung
(successor to RV) reported that in Prussia it had
previously had 743 communities and that now 109 had
disbanded, 572 were in the process of dissolution, and 62
were still operating.
(End note 87: 28-3, 1939 Arbeitsbericht).
This meant additional financial burdens, diminished
incomes, and more suffering and heartbreak. The numbers of
those requiring immediate help in Germany and Austria was
constantly increasing, as can be seen from Table 17.
To deal with all these problems there was RV - the
Reichsvertretung, founded, as we have seen, in 1933 as a
result of Jewish initiative. It appears that the Germans
were slowly working toward
|Table 17: Persons
Fed Daily in Public Kitchens in 1939 [in
Germany and Austria]
|(End note 88: Sources:
-- Executive Committee, 4/19/39 [19 April 1939];
5/22/39 [22 May 1939];
The Jewish population of Austria was about
one-third of that in Germany. The figures above
show how much further the pauperization had gone
in Austria than in Germany.
the abolition of this last vestige of independence.