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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 6. The Beginning of the End [whole chapter]
[A.] Austria

[6.1. Austrian structures of Jewry 1919-1938 - 185,246 counted Jews in 1938]

The annexation (Anschluss) of Austria on March 13, 1938, places 185,246 Jews, a large majority of them in Vienna, in German hands.

(End note 1: Herbert Rosenkranz: The Anschluss and the Tragedy of Austrian Jewry, 1938-1945; In: Josef Frankel (editor): The Jews of Austria; London 1967, p.486)

[Supplement: From the 13 March 1938 on the Hitler regime calls Germany "Greater Germany" ("Grossdeutschland"). This is an important fact in the inner Nazi propaganda. The NS occupation counted some 150,000 more persons as Jews (1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 Jews etc. (p.228), so the NS occupation counted some 335,246 persons as Jews in Austria].

[Structure of Austrian Jewry: 80 % of the newspapers are Jewish etc.]

Austrian Jewry was poorer than its German counterpart and less well organized. Large numbers of Austrian Jews were dependent on charity, and JDC had had to support relief operations and loan kassas there before 1938. The concentration of Jews in certain branches of the economy was very marked: 90 % of the advertising industry was Jewish, as were 85 % of the people in the furniture business; 80 % of the radio, newspaper, and shoe industries was Jewish. More important - because more obvious - 51.6 % of the doctors and dentists and 62 % of the lawyers in Vienna were Jews.

(End note 2: Ibid [Herbert Rosenkranz: The Anschluss and the Tragedy of Austrian Jewry, 1938-1945; In: Josef Frankel (editor): The Jews of Austria; London 1967], p.480)

[Since decades the concentration of 80 % of the newspapers in Jewish hands is provoking a big anger in the Austrian population, and it's a pity that Jewish tactics have not changed this since 1900].

This occupational concentration made the Jews both conspicuous and vulnerable. Austrian anti-Semitism was nothing new. At the beginning of the century, Vienna's burgomaster, Karl Lueger, had risen to power on the crest of anti-Semitism; the young Hitler had developed his hatred of Jews in the slums of Vienna during that period.

[Important supplement about history of Austrian anti-Semitism and Hitler:

There was a harsh anti-Semitism in Austria even before: Since the worldwide breakdown of the stock markets in 1873 when the Jews were generally blamed to speculate with all nations a popular anti-Semitism was coming up. And add to this the Austrian government helped the Jewish Austrian banks, but did not help the Austrian population out of the depths, and above all not to the Austrian farmers. By this the national movement under Schoenerer came out with a harsh anti-Semitism which did not see that also many Jews were suffering by the worldwide stock exchange breakdown. In these  times Hitler went to school and anti-Semitism was put into his soul by the Austrian school system. Then, it was Lueger who was working with a moderate anti-Semitism. He eliminated the slums in Vienna and installed new structures of industrialization. But add to this, Hitler saw the breakdown of democracy in 1896 by giving equal rights to the Czechs and to the Poles in the old fashioned monarchy. By this the German Austrians got into a minority by vote in the parliament and the monarchy could not be governed regularly any more. Hitler's fault was that he was not going abroad to see how democracy functioned in other countries, e.g. in Germany or in Switzerland. Right in these times many East European Jews came to Vienna which were very strange for the population, did not wash often etc. and this provoked also the anti-Semitism.

Since 1871 (since the German victory against France) German Austrian nationalism was strong: The German Austrians wanted the accession with Germany since 1871 but the emperor in Vienna blocked because otherwise the emperor in Vienna would have been a second class emperor against the emperor in Berlin. So the emperor in Vienna was holding his connections with France for a balance of power in Europe which provoked a hatred in the German Austrian population against France, too. Add to this there were the Slavs (Czechs and Croats and Serbs) who wanted to destroy Austria by installing a population bridge between the Balkan and Czechoslovakia. The culmination point was that the emperor in Vienna let come in Czech and Balkan police on horses into German Austrian regions to put down German national demonstrations for a union with Germany.

By all these faults in the policy over decades and by his own inabilities Hitler's soul was poisoned, and also a big part of the Austrian population never got rid of these negative feelings against Jewish banks, against the emperor and against democracy. Hitler wanted to paint, was not taken as a pupil two times in Vienna, got to Munich and got into the German army as an Austrian in 1914.

Since 1919 since the Versailles treaty against Germany (with robbery of Eastern Prussia and French-Polish manipulations at Versailles) there was also a mass movement against democracy  in Germany (France and Britain robbed all colonies from Germany). And the St-Germain treaty against Austria gave a lot of German Austrian territories to Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia against any law of nations. By this the new Austrian government did not want to reorganize the economy for this new mini state. There was a big unemployment until 1926, and the feelings of the Austrians and the Germans were tight together and at the same time France prohibited a succession of Germany and Mini-Austria in the Versailles treaty and in the St-Germain treaty. So national socialism had a wide ground to spread as a force against criminal France democracy and - add to this - against Lenin Communism which was financed by "American" Jewish banks (Schiff). The church supported national socialism at the end against Communism, and most Communist leaders were Jews and in this majority they were a target for any national propaganda.

Add to this the racist economy leaders in "USA" under Roosevelt supported Nazi Germany with technique and wanted Hitler would smash Communism. So Communism and Hitlerism were financed by "US" banks to destroy Europe and Jewry was between these forces. Jewry did not see this and declared "USA" - the destructor of Europe - as safe haven. By this Europe was smashed right. These are facts and not a "theory"...].

[Split Jewry in Austria between Zionists and left wing]

Viennese Jewry was split into many factions (there were 88 religious congregations and 356 secular organizations in Vienna at the time of the Anschluss)

(End note 3: Ibid. [Herbert Rosenkranz: The Anschluss and the Tragedy of Austrian Jewry, 1938-1945; In: Josef Frankel (editor): The Jews of Austria; London 1967], p.481)

and the official community organization (p.223)

- the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (IKG) [Israelite cult community] - suffered from considerable internal strife. Two main groups contended for leadership:

-- the Union, a liberal group with strong assimilationist tendencies in many ways similar to the German Jewish CV [Central-Verein, engl. Central Union];
-- and the Zionists, themselves split into a large number of factions.

[1934: Socialists are eliminated by the Dollfuss government]

Prior to 1934 a third significant group had been the socialists, Jewish members of the strong Austrian Marxist party. The defeat of Austrian socialism, in the February 1934 fighting in Vienna, at the hands of the Austrian proto-Fascist clerical party under Dollfuss endangered the Jews, because by and large Jewish sympathies were with the socialists; eleven out of the 30 arrested socialist leaders were Jews. But two IKG leaders were sent abroad by the government to show the world that no anti-Semitic measures were being planned.

[1934-1937: After stock exchange collapse 1929: Economic misery for Jews in Austria]
While the political danger receded, economic misery increased. In 1935 JDC sent $ 20,000 to keep soup kitchens going for the impoverished Jewish proletariat. In 1934 a quarter of Vienna's Jews were on relief. the situation did not improve in 1936/7; in 1937, 35.5 % of the Jewish working population were unemployed.

(End note 4:
-- 14-51, report, 2/7/34 [7 February 1934];
--  8-18, report, 2/28/34 [28 February 1934], and other material in that file
-- see also R62)

[1934: Installation of Jewish IKG council in Vienna]

After the 1934 events the IKG Council was composed of 20 Zionists (16 middle class and four socialist-Zionists) and 15 Union representatives. At the time of the Anschluss, the leader of IKG was a Zionist, Dr. Desider Friedmann, and another Zionist, Dr. Josef Löwenherz, was becoming increasingly important.

Despite the popularity of the last chancellor of independent Austria, Kurt von Schuschnigg, the Anschluss was welcomed by almost all Austrians.

[Schuschnigg was not popular and 99 % of the German Austrian population wanted the accession because it was wanted since 1871. By this the population throw flowers to the soldiers. But Austrians did not know what means a National Socialist Germany and regretted the accession bitterly already after three months when NS administration implemented a new Nazi administration with new borders of provinces etc. in Austria].

[6.2. Accession (Anschluss) 12 March 1938: Anti-Semitic riots - Palestine office and Zentralstelle (Central office)]

[1938: Accession (Anschluss) and anti-Semitism under the German NS administration]

Cardinal Innitzer's advice to all Catholics in this Catholic country to vote for the Anschluss in the plebiscite arranged by the Nazis to legalize their seizure of the country, the Nazi promise to ex-socialists that they would be given the positions that Jews held, and the further Nazi promise to end unemployment - all this helped cement Austro-German unity.

From the very start, Nazi anti-Jewish policies in Austria were much more radical than those in Germany

[because of the frustration of the crash in 1873 and the feeling to be German but not to belong to Germany].

Within a matter of a (p.224)

few months Austria developed a process of Jewish humiliation, discrimination, and expropriation that had taken five years to develop in Germany

[by the new NS administration which was imported from Germany and implemented over the Austrians].

[1938: NS Robbery of Jewish property]

However, in many areas the Austrian Nazis went far beyond what had been inflicted upon German Jews up to then. Immediately following the Anschluss, "spontaneous" anti-Semitic outrages by the population were encouraged by Nazi stormtroopers. Jews were beaten in public, forced to clean streets under especially humiliating circumstances, and driven out of their apartments.

The expropriation of the property of the owners of 26,236 Jewish establishments in Austria started in May and June 1938. By November, 20 to 30 % of Jewish capital, valued at about 100 million German marks, was in Nazi hands.

[Incompetent Nazi bosses bring down the companies]

Old-time Nazis became the new Nazi-nominated managers of the Jewish shops; most of them were uneducated people, and many were members of the Austrian underworld. They had no notion of business methods and speedily brought the firms to ruin.

[18 March 1938: Installation of Gestapo in Vienna - IKG dissolved]

On March 18 [1938] the Gestapo opened a branch in Vienna (Staatspolizeistelle, [State police office]). On that day IKG was officially closed and its leaders arrested. A fine of 300,000 shillings ($ 40,000) was levied upon the Jews - an amount equivalent to the sum donated to the Schuschnigg government to support it against Germany prior to the Anschluss.

[March 1938: Eichmann and Palestine office under Rothenberg set up in Vienna]

In March too Adolf Eichmann arrived on the scene; he was responsible to the SD (SS security police [Sicherheitsdienst]) leader of the Danube area on matters pertaining to Jews. He nominated the head of the Palestine office (the Vienna branch of the immigration department of the Jewish Agency), Dr. Alois Rothenberg, to be in charge of Palestine emigration affairs. His main aim was the emigration of Jews, by any and all means, with the greatest possible speed.

[10 Feb 1938: SS propaganda for emigration of Austrian Jews]

The policy of forced emigration had been openly advocated by the SS prior to the Anschluss; this seems to have been in line with Hitler's own thinking.

On February 10, 1938, the SS journal, Das Schwarze Korps [The black corps], published an article entitled "Where Should We Put the Jews?" (Wohin mit den Juden?). The present rate of emigration, argued the Nazi paper, was not enough.

[Jews in Germany are not protesting against expulsion of Jews in Austria - perspective Madagascar]

The Jews who remained in Germany were not anxious to have their brethren, (p.225)

"the parasites",

(End note 5: For the significance of the term "parasite" as applied to the Jews by the Nazis, see: Alexander Bein: The Jewish Parasite; In: Leo Baeck Yearbook; London 1964, 9:3-40)

leave their present homes. Only the forced settlement of the Jews in a country to which they would be directed could solve the question - a hint at the Madagascar plans then being publicized by the Polish government.

(End note 6: Julius Streicher, the notorious anti-Semite, published a lead article entitled "Madagaskar" in the January 1938 (no. 1) issue of his Der Stürmer, together with a cartoon of a Jew being driven from the world under the caption "DAS ENDE" (The End)

[26 April 1938: Völkischer Beobachter states all Jews have to leave Germany by 1942]

After the Anschluss, the leading Nazi daily in Germany, Der Völkische Beobachter [The folkish observer], wrote on April 26, 1938, that all Jews must be eliminated from Germany by 1942.

[Austria now also is Germany, and Austrians are Germans. It was projected later to settle all the rest of the Middle European Jews in Eastern Europe after a successful Russia campaign, but this never was successful.
In: Chiari: Alltag hinter der Front, Droste 1998].

[1937: Inner German deportation of 100s of Jews to Allenstein and Schneidemühl and torture]

According to one source, a small experiment in forced emigration was carried out in eastern and western Prussia in 1937, in the areas of Allenstein (Olsztyn) and Schneidemühl (Pil). The victims, a few 100 people in all, were harassed constantly supervised, robbed of their possessions, and driven to despair. The result was a panic exodus.

(End note 7: 38-Germany, reports, 1937-1944, report for October 1937)

[3 May 1938: Reopening of IKG - 20,000 applications for emigration permits]
After the period of partly organized bestiality, Eichmann allowed the reopening of IKG on May 3, 1938. In a very short time, 20,000 heads of families applied for emigration permits. This must have represented at least 40-50,000 individuals.

[Gestapo puts 1,600 Jews into concentration camps]
To further the desire for emigration, the Gestapo arrested about 1,600 Jews and sent them to the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald during the first three months of Nazi rule. Many of these were wealthy Jews.

(End note 8:
-- Ibid. [38-Germany, reports, 1937-1944, report for October 1937)]
-- Nathan Katz report of 8/25/38, where he says that there were 1,700-1,800 such victims. Rosenkranz (op. cit., [The Anschluss; In: Josef Frankel (editor): The Jews of Austria], p.488) says the victims mentioned were prominent Jews who had been blacklisted and arrested within two days; they were sent to Dachau on May 30. It seems that Katz was referring to the same group. As to the figure of 20,000 emigration applications, a report of 8/31/45 [31 August 1945] (Saly Mayer files 16), apparently written by Löwenherz, puts them at 40,000 by 5/20/38 [20 May 1938];
-- Rosenkranz [Rosenkranz, Herbert: The Anschluss and the Tragedy of Austrian Jewry, 1938-1945; In: Josef Frankel: The Jews of Austria; London 1967], p.491)

[26 August 1938: Installation of a Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration (Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung)]

Finally, in August, Löwenherz himself suggested to Eichmann that a central institution be established where the Jews could get all the necessary papers to enable them to leave the country. This was the genesis of Eichmann's famous Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung, the Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration, which made  him a paradigm of German efficiency in Jewish matters.

Set up on August 26, the Zentralstelle henceforth took care of emigration procedures. Its method of operation was simple: by the time the Jew had gone through its procedures, he was left with no property except his ticket out of the country. All his possessions had been "taken care of" with German thoroughness (part of them, incidentally, went to IKG so that the many poor people who had no property could leave Austria). Also, IKG paid for its many activities, mainly relief and vocational retraining, from the emigrants' money). (p.226)

[In Eastern Europe for the Yiddish Jews there is NO such a Zentralstelle. The German Jews should emigrate to Palestine, the Yiddish not. There must be a big manipulation of all this].

[Paralyzed "American" Jewry in New York - JDC money for soup Jewish kitchens in Austria]

The immediate reaction of the JDC central office in New York to the Austrian disaster was consternation and paralysis. Baerwald wrote to Jonah B. Wise a few days after the Anschluss that at a meeting with leaders of the American Jewish Committee "everybody reluctantly agreed that nothing much can be done (in) connection U(with the) Austrian situation".

(End note 9: 8-21, Baerwald to Wise, 3/16/38 [16 March 1938])

Kahn, on the other hand, had no hesitation regarding the need for action. Rosen volunteered to go to Vienna, and when he came back to Paris on March 23 he reported having spent several 1,000 dollars for soup kitchens through friendly officials at the American mission. Of course much more was needed. In the absence, at first, of an officially active IKG, he demanded American government intervention. Baerwald was not so sure; he thought that "the best way for us to proceed is to cool down and to wait for any new developments which may come out of Washington".

(End note 10: Ibid. [8-21], Baerwald letters, 4/6/38 [6 April 1938] and 4/19/38 [19 April 1938])

However, nothing much materialized from that quarter.

In the meantime, Jews were starving and desperate.

[Jews in Burgenland driven out of their homes]

What aroused public opinion, non-Jewish as well as Jewish, was the plight of the Jews from six small towns in the Austrian province of Burgenland, who were evicted from their homes; some of them found temporary refuge on a boat on the Danube [with emigration by Istanbul to Palestine]. Neither of the neighboring countries was willing to receive these unfortunates; action was taken against them "as though against the Black Plague".

(End note 11:
-- Executive Committee, file, Budget and Scope Committee, 8/18/38;
-- Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], p.205)

[Visits from JDC representatives in Vienna]

Meanwhile, JDC's New York office was hoping that a nonsectarian committee could be formed to deal with the situation.

(End note 12: 8-21, Baerwald to Wise,  3/16/38 [16 March 1938])

When nothing came of it, the decision was taken to step in with as much money as JDC had on hand. Apart from this decision in principle, JDC tried very hard to find an American Jew of some standing who would represent it in Vienna. Further, it did not intend to send dollars into Austria if that could possibly be avoided.

A number of prominent personalities were sent to Vienna during the first months of the Anschluss: Joseph A. Rosen, Alexander A. Landesco, Alfred Jaretzki, Jr., David J. Schweitzer of the Paris (p.227)

office and others. Through them, JDC not only kept in touch with the situation, but was able to contact Nazi agents and try to influence their actions. The driblets of aid that these American Jews were able to bring with them and distribute, largely through the friendliness of Leland Morris, the U.S. consul general, were quite inadequate.

(End note 13: R11, C.M. Levy, report on a trip to Vienna, 12/1/38-12/8/38 [1 December 1938-8 December 1938])

[11 June 1938: Council for German Jewry asks for order in emigration proceedings in Austria]

On June 11 the Council for German Jewry in London (theoretically representing JDC as well) intervened with the German Embassy in Britain to ask for the introduction of order into emigration proceedings.

(End note 14:

[June 1938: JDC money for Austrian Jews]

IKG, reopened on May 3, was desperately trying to cope with the disastrous situation. By that time JDC was clear about its obligation to support Kahn's policy of maximum aid. In June JDC appropriated a sum of $ 250,000 for Austria. The sum of $ 431,438 was actually expended in Austria by the end of the year, however, or 10 % of the total JDC spending for that year.

(End not 15: JDC's total expenditure in 1938 came to $ 4,112,979)

[6.3. NS Austria: At least 150,000 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 Jews  etc. - at least 335,246 persons counted as Jews under NS rule]

[Emigration by IKG - at least 150,000 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 Jews - 30,000 emigrate by summer 1939]

Emigration through IKG was slow in starting. From the first days of Nazi rule a parallel emigration office operated under the auspices of Frank van Gheel-Gildemeester, son of a Dutch court chaplain, whose actual intentions and connections with the Germans have not quite been cleared up to this day. His main concern was with the so-called non-Aryans, that is, converted Jews or descendants of Jews who fell under the definition of a Jew by Nazi standards. There were at least 150,000 of these in Austria, and Gildemeester claims that 30,000 had emigrated by the summer of 1939.

(End note 16: Germany-"G", institutions and organizations)

[By this the number there are 185,246 plus at least 150,000 are at least 335,246 people defined as Jews. For East European Jews there is no Zentralstelle to emigrate...].

JDC had to give up its attempt to establish an American Jew as

Table 16: Persons Fed in Vienna in 1938
No. fed

Also, 7,000 food packages were
sent to people in their homes.
(End note 17: Sources:
-- Fortnightly Digest, 24/25 and
-- R28, 1938 report.
The relief problem in Austria had some troublesome implications. In "old" Germany the government was at that time still supporting Jewish relief to the extent of about 600,000-700,000 marks monthly. In Austria, JDC and other foreign organizations were expected to foot the bill. If they did, the Germans might demand that they do it in Germany as well; if they did not, the Jewish poor would starve and be deported to concentration camps as "asocial elements". The upshot, of course, was that JDC paid).


its representative in Vienna.

[6.4. "US" Jewish organizations can only watch]

["US" Jewish organizations have to accept the emigration wave in Austria - JDC money for emigration]

Apart from other considerations, the U.S. government was disinclined to sanction such a move. Löwenherz, who soon became the guiding spirit of IKG, was not trusted by JDC; at the end of 1938 Morris C. Troper, who succeeded Kahn as European director of JDC, called him a "Gestapo agent."

(End note 18: Germany-ICA, Troper memo, 12/26/38 [26 December 1938])

[This seems to be the right trace: Gestapo "organized" emigration to Palestine of German and Austrian Jews for the Holy Land by Haavarah and Zentralstelle and the Zionists are satisfied, and the liberal Jews can only watch, and the Yiddish Jews have no chance].

Yet there was no alternative, and IKG had to be supported. Of the JDC contribution, 60 % went to emigration. This was not done, however, through a direct contribution of American dollars to the German treasury. The procedure was to pay for the prospective emigrant's tickets and other expenses outside the Reich; in return, money paid by the emigrant to IKG was utilized to cover that institution's expenses. It is true that this cost the Germans nothing - or, as Heydrich put it, Jewish emigration was effected "without any payment by the German side, not even in the form of 'additional exports.' "

(End note 19: Helmuth Krausnick: Judenverfolgung; In: Martin Broszat et alia: Die Anatomie des SS-Staates; Olten und Freiburg 1965, 2:341)

[It's even more extreme: NS occupation robbed the Jews and the Jewish organizations are financing also their emigration trip].

But Germany did not acquire any foreign currency through this method - and Jewish property was in the Nazis' hands in any case. JDC visitors were treated well by the Gestapo, and the Nazi agents they met became "rather amiable young fellows" when discussing financial arrangements; but the message that they welcomed "our cooperation in getting the Jews out of Austria as quickly as possible", and that emigration "was proceeding at much too slow a rate" was very definite and unmistakable.

(End note 20: CON-48, Jaretzki report, 7/3/38 [3 July 1938])

[B. Switzerland's measures against the emigration wave in early 1938]

[6.5. The first emigration waves from Austria and Italy: Switzerland hands the Jews over to the Nazis]

Many Jews did not, or could not, wait for any emigration arrangements made by IKG. IN the first panic thousands fled Austria, often pushed across the border by Nazis, mainly by SA and SS units. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, countries sharing a common border with Austria, closed their frontiers. Although illegal crossings were particularly dangerous, a small but unknown number of Jews managed to get across. On the other hand, it was relatively easy to get into Italy and Switzerland. Travelers with Austrian passports did not need a visa. During the first few weeks after the Anschluss, over 3,000 refugees, mostly Jewish, crossed the Swiss border.

(End note 21: Ludwig, op. cit. [Ludwig, Carl: Die Flüchtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart. Bericht an den Bundesrat [The refugee policy of Switzerland since 1933 to the present]; Zurich, no date [1957], p.75

The Jews who were fleeing had to pay much for the people smugglers. Only rich Jews could afford this arbitrary flight. The smugglers (Austrian and Swiss people) made a good profit with smuggling these refugees, mainly Jewish, but also socialist and others].

[Swiss governments appeals for visas because of danger of more anti-Semitism]

Swiss reaction to the flow of refugees was swift. On March 26 [1938] the federal Justice and Police Department asked the government (p.229)

(Bundesrat) to decree that holders of Austrian passports must have entry visas. "We have to defend ourselves with all our strength, even with a measure of callousness (Rücksichtslosigkeit) against the influx of foreign Jews, especially from the east, if we wish to avoid creating justified ground for an anti-Semitic movement unworthy of our country."

(End note 22: Ibid [Ludwig, Carl: Die Flüchtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart. Bericht an den Bundesrat [The refugee policy of Switzerland since 1933 to the present]; Zurich, no date [1957], p.76)

[The Swiss visa fight against Austrian Jews]

The defense "with all our strength" against refugees fleeing for their lives was eminently successful: on March 28 the Bundesrat decreed that visas were necessary for holders of Austrian passports. On April 8 a circular from the federal police administration informed cantonal police departments that unless there were very weighty reasons for refugees to stay, they had to be told to leave the country at the earliest possible moment. However, these stricter regulations were of no avail,

[Since middle of May 1938: Swiss and German government move Jews back and forth]
and from about the middle of May 1938 groups of Jews would be brought to the Swiss border, stripped of all their possessions, kept in Nazi jails at the border, and then sent across into Swiss territory at night. A return into Austria meant the immediate threat of concentration-camp treatment.

The Swiss police chief, Dr. Heinrich Rothmund, earnestly requested the German government to put an end to these deportations into Switzerland, "which needs these Jews just as little as Germany does."

(End note 23: Ibid. [Ludwig, Carl: Die Flüchtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart. Bericht an den Bundesrat [The refugee policy of Switzerland since 1933 to the present]; Zurich, no date [1957], p.82, footnote 1; Ludwig says (p.83) that there were 3-4,000 Austrian Jewish immigrants in Switzerland before April 1).

[Since April 1 1938: 2,000 more Jewish refugees and illegal refugees come to Switzerland - wealthy refugees - Swiss consulate]
After April 1 there seems to have been an influx of another 2,000 refugees who came without visas, plus an additional number of illegals. In addition, there were wealthy refugees, who received official permits to enter the country. In fact, the Swiss consulate in Vienna seems to have been more liberal in granting entry permits than was warranted by the instructions it received from the Swiss government.

[Since 1938: Anti-Semitic propaganda in Italy provokes some 3,000 Jewish refugees entering into Switzerland]

A similar influx of Austrian refugees into Western Europe - France, Holland, Luxembourg, and Belgium - created similar reactions there. From Italy, where racist propaganda began under German influence in 1938, desperate refugees were trying to get into Switzerland; apparently some 3,000 succeeded in doing so.

(End note 24: Ibid. [Ludwig, Carl: Die Flüchtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart. Bericht an den Bundesrat [The refugee policy of Switzerland since 1933 to the present]; Zurich, no date [1957], p.84)

[Summer 1938: Swiss government hands over Jewish refugees to the Nazis]

But as the summer approached all countries in the West began closing their doors to these refugees, and Switzerland began to return to Germany the refugees caught crossing her border illegally. (p.230)

[C.] Evian [conference in summer 1938]

[Supplement: The reasons of anti-Semitism are not discussed
Also at this moment the industrial leaders of Roosevelt's "USA" are delivering and working for Hitler's Third Reich, and at the same time "US" Jewish banks are financing Communism.

The Pope with it's Bible which says that the Jews had murdered Jesus is the main cause for anti-Semitism. This would have been the main problem to discuss. But the Pope is not at the Evian conference, and the problem of anti-Semitism in the Bible and the existence of Jesus is not solved until now.

So, the Evian conference is discussing only the effects of anti-Semitism and plans to dislocate Jews. The Conference is not discussing the real reasons for anti-Semitism and to make conclusions for all which could have saved many lives..]

[6.6. Preparation meeting for Evian Conference on 22 March 1938]

[22 March 1938: Preparation meeting: "President" Roosevelt invited 33 governments]

On March 22, 1938, President Roosevelt

[who gives to his industry bosses the approval to support NS Germany's industry against Communism and the "American" banks are financing Communism at the same time]

invited 33 governments to a conference in Europe that was to deal with refugees from Germany and Austria. In his book While Six Million Died, Arthur D. Morse traces the origin of this conference to Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, who suggested in a memorandum that an American initiative on the international level would counteract liberal pressure about the restrictive quota system.

The international body that would presumably be set up would take on the responsibility for finding places of settlement for the refugees other than the U.S.

(End note 25: Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], pp. 203-4

This memorandum seems to have represented the thinking of the State Department and its chief officials.

Another political reason behind the president's move was probably the anti-isolationist policy it implied. The fate of the refugees was used as a means to other ends rather than as a problem that had to be solved. The fact that until well into June the State Department proved incapable of expressing what it wanted to achieve at the conference indicated that there was little intention to do something tangible for the refugees.

(End note 26:
-- Wyman, op. cit., [Wyman, David S.: Paper Walls; Amherst, Mass., 1968], p.44
-- Michael Mashberg: America and the Refugee Crisis; M.A. thesis; City University of New York, 1970)

[Myron C. Taylor: "USA" will not change their quota]

Myron C. Taylor, former chairman of U.S. Steel and a Roman Catholic, was appointed as Roosevelt's representative and given the task of convening and chairing the conference. His appointment was probably intended to demonstrate real American interest in the refugees. at the same time, however, the president made it clear that the U.S. quota system would not be changed; also, all expenditures for emigration and settlement would have to be borne by private agencies. The task of the American government was to exert pressure on Germany to permit the refugees to leave and to influence countries of immigration to receive them.

[East European Yiddish speaking Jews are not considered!]

["USA" conditions after Austria accession (Anschluss)]

Two steps were taken in April to supplement the American initiative.

-- First, the administration declared that the Austrian quota would be added to the German quota, and the resulting quota of 27,370, it was hinted, would be filled to a much greater extent than heretofore.
-- Second, it was made clear that the U.S. government believed that the solution to the problem lay in requesting (p.231)

the Germans to allow Jews to bring some of their property with them when they left Germany. If Jews came with money, they had a good chance of being accepted; if they came without funds, all doors would be closed.

[Creation of an Advisory Committee on Political Refugees]

Having made his invitation public - in the end South Africa, Iceland, El Salvador, and Italy refused to participate, thus reducing the number of the countries involved to 29 - Roosevelt created an Advisory Committee on Political Refugees. There was marked anxiety not to make it appear that Jewish refugees were involved at all. Indeed, the very word "Jew" was considered to be somehow unmentionable;

[The term "political refugees"]

"political refugees" was the official terminology, despite the obvious fact that the overwhelming majority of the refugees were in fact Jews.

[Only one European Jew is in the Advisory Committee: Wise, a Zionist - JDC has no representation there]

The first meeting of the Advisory Committee was held on April 13 under Roosevelt's chairmanship. Eleven non-Jews and three Jews (Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Bernard M. Baruch, and Stephen S. Wise) participated. Baruch and Morgenthau, of course, belonged to the immediate political family of the president, so that the only political invitee was Wise, head of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, and the acknowledged leader of American Zionism. Naturally, this was a blow to the leadership of the American Jewish Committee and JDC, who made some bitter comments about Wise's membership on the new committee.

[Baruch against higher "US" quotas - suspicion of coordination between Baruch and Roosevelt]

Welles had prepared the president against any move to liberalize American immigration policy, but at the meeting one of the Jews, Baruch, went a step further: he was the only one among the participants who opposed the president's initiative. He wondered whether  "it would be wise for our government to encourage the idea that more refugees should come here." The fact that this had been preceded by a private visit by Baruch to Roosevelt on the same day would seem to indicate that this "opposition" was prearranged.

(End note 27: 9-44, memorandum on White House conference on refugees, 4/13/38 [13 April 1938]; see also: Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], p.204

[Roosevelt denies any financial help for Jewish emigration! - and Jewish organizations make no protest]

Roosevelt explained that private agencies would have to pay for all emigration and settlement expenses, because any government appropriation would have to be passed by Congress, and that was not very likely. (p.232)

McDonald was elected chairman of the new committee, and it was he who proposed that Paul Baerwald be invited to join. The president's letter of invitation to the JDC chairman went out on April 18. In the meantime, the JDC leadership had agreed, at a meeting with American Jewish Committee officers late in March, that large-scale settlement projects were the order of the day.

(End note 28: 8-21, meeting of 3/28/38 [28 March 1938])

In all matters concerning refugees it was preferable that non-Jews take the lead, in order to avoid anti-Semitic feelings. JDC accepted the government's policy - no questions were asked, no requests were made, no hint of any criticism of the government's attitude was heard. Nothing was said regarding the government's decision to put the burden of expenses on "nongovernmental sources".

(End note 29: Executive Committee, 4/20/38 [20 April 1938])

[6.7. Evian Conference in July 1938 - Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR) set up]

[Many countries don't want the Jewish problem - farmers for South America possible - other countries follow the "USA" and do not rise their quotas]

At the conference itself, held at Evian, France, between July 6 and July 15, 1938, two main ideas seem to have been in the minds of Taylor and George L. Warren, his executive secretary and chief aide:

-- to try to get countries of immigration to make liberal immigration declarations,
-- and to establish international machinery (directed mainly by the U.S.) that would enter into negotiations with Germany.

There were difficulties on both points, however. The statements of the various representatives were discouraging and often tinged with anti-Semitism.

For example, the Australian representative declared that "as we have no real racial problem we are not desirous of importing one". Latin American delegates were very restrained - a few countries, like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru, offered some prospect for the immigration of agricultural workers or farmers. All made a special point of declaring that no merchants or intellectuals would be allowed in.

Nowhere was special legislation to allow immigration being contemplated, and of course in this matter the U.S. example was being followed.

[GB representative states: Palestine closed - possible emigration to East Africa possible]

Britain's representative, Lord Winterton, declared that Palestine was temporarily closed to large-scale immigration until a political solution was found. However, he declared, there were prospects for settling refugees in Kenya and other parts of East Africa.

(End note 30: The official protocols of the Evian Conference are kept in 9-28. Winterton said, 7/15/38 [15 July 1938], on Palestine: "Il est apparu indispensable, non pas sans doute l'interrompre l'immigration juive - ce qui n'a jamais été envisagé - mais de l'assujettir à certaines restrictions d'un caractère purement temporaire et exceptionnel, ayant pour but de maintenir, dans les limites raisonnables, la population dans les rapports numériques actuel, en attendant une décision définitive ... relativement à l'avenir politique du pays" -
[Translation: "It seems to be indispensable, no, without any doubt to interrupt the Jewish immigration - what never had been in project - but to subject to certain restrictions of an absolute temporary and exceptional character, for a definitive decision ... relatively for the political future of the country"]
a clear foreshadowing of the British move away from the partition proposal of 1937 toward the 1939 White Paper on Palestine. See
-- Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], pp. 212-13;
-- Wyman, op. cit. [Wyman, David S.: Paper Walls; Amherst, Mass., 1968], pp. 49-50, and
-- Mashberg, op. cit. [Mashberg, Michael: America and the Refugee Crisis; M.A. thesis; City University of New York, 1970])

This declaration was "an unexpected and welcome gesture."

(End note 31: 9-27, Brotman to Laski, no date [July 1938?])

Britain (p.233)

itself, Winterton said, was not a country of immigration. Yet the people of the United Kingdom were ready to play their part within the narrow limits feasible, given the high degree of industrialization and the large number of unemployed in Britain.

[European representatives state the Jews have to go overseas - little countries only want to be temporary havens]

European countries emphasized the necessity for emigration overseas, but Holland and Denmark stressed their relatively liberal policies as transit countries. Speaking for Switzerland, which had refused to play host to the conference, the police chief, Dr. Rothmund, insisted that his country could only be a temporary stopover en route to other places.

(End note 32: See note 30 above and: Ludwig, op. cit. [Ludwig, Carl: Die Flüchtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart. Bericht an den Bundesrat [The refugee policy of Switzerland since 1933 to the present]; Zurich, no date [1957], p. 84, footnote 1)

["US" delegate Taylor states that the machinery of emigration has to begin]

Taylor himself had no illusions regarding the prospect of getting public governmental declarations welcoming refugees. Although insisting in his opening speech that governments must act promptly on the refugee question, he also said that probably no more "could be expected than that the conference should put into motion the machinery and correlate it with existing machinery that will, in the long run, contribute to a practical amelioration of the condition."

(End note 33: 9-28, and Wyman, op. cit. [Wyman, David S.: Paper Walls; Amherst, Mass., 1968], pp. 49-50)

[Jewish Refugees with special education are accepted in some countries - prepare the refugees]

The declarations, while far from satisfactory, were not quite as negative as press criticism at the time and historical accounts since then would have us believe. While we have seen that some countries of potential refuge refused to consider immigration, others were willing to accept people under certain conditions. It was therefore a matter of providing refugees with sufficient means to make their immigration to those countries attractive to the governments concerned.

(End note 34: 9-28, Brotman memo, 7/16/38 [16 July 1938]; According to Brotman, who represented the British Board of Deputies, representatives of governments were apt to be more liberal privately than int public speeches).

This was by no means easy to achieve.

[GB and France want the Jewish refugee discussion only in the League of Nations]

Britain and France were reluctant to have the refugee question taken out of the League of Nations, where their influence was paramount.

[Malcolm appeals for government funds for emigration - large emigration does not seem to be possible]

Sir Neil Malcolm, the League of Nations high commissioner for refugees, displeased the Americans by stating that government funds were needed and that private organizations could not possibly bear the burden. He also spoke his mind regarding the attitude of the governments and declared that "large-scale immigration and settlement ... presently appear impossible".

(End note 35: New York Times, 7/9/38 [9 July 1938])

Warren termed his speech "not helpful".

(End note 36: CON-2, Warren to Chamberlain, 7/9/38 [9 July 1938])

[Plan for an Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR)]

In the end, however, the British and French agreed to the setting up of an Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR), which (p.234)

would be located in London; presumably ICR would swallow up the League committee under Malcolm.

[Polish and Romanian Jewish problems are not discussed at Evian conference!]

These were not the only problems raised at Evian. Poland and Romania tried to have the conference deal with the emigration of their Jewish populations, but the delegations from Britain and France very energetically rejected all such attempts. The discussions were limited to the subject of persons - termed "involuntary emigrants" - who might be forced out of Germany and Austria in the future and those who had already left but had found no satisfactory place of permanent residence (their number was estimated at 30,000).

Only in the long run was it proposed to deal with larger aspects of the question, thus including the emigration problem of East European Jewry.

[So, all European Yiddish Jews are excluded from discussion...]

The delegations of German and Austrian Jews, prodded by the Gestapo to make clear to the conferees the necessity of finding havens quickly, made a considerable impression.

(End note 37: For a fictionalized but essentially true account, see: Hans Habe: The Mission; New York 1966)

[Speeches from the Jewish organizations of the "free countries" - chaos and no collaboration]

The Jewish organizations from the free countries, about 21 of them, presented a spectacle of disunity and confusion. The Liaison Committee, under Norman Bentwich, drew up a statement, but the individual groups would not forgo their right to make separate appearances; as a result a large number of speeches were made, more or less repeating each other.

(End note 38: See note 31 above [End note 31: 9-27, Brotman to Laski, no date [July 1938?]; Brotman added that Winterton's secretary was "doing her best to tell Lord Winterton that all Jews are not like those at the conference." The remark reveals the Briton's anti-Semitic instincts and the British Jew's feeling of inferiority rather than the failings of the Jewish organizations).

Jonah B. Wise represented JDC at Evian, and his presentation on July 14 was really a summary of what JDC had achieved up to that time. He emphasized that JDC's resources were limited and based on voluntary contributions, and that it was necessary that the emigrants be able to take out some of their own capital.

["USA" and JDC want to press GB to reopen Palestine for Jewish mass immigration]

In official American eyes the role of JDC was quite important. Prior to Evian, JDC leaders had been invited to an informal meeting with Warren, Prof. Joseph P. Chamberlain, and James G. McDonald, where stress was laid on the pressure that would be brought to bear on Britain to get her to open her possessions to refugee settlement. The point was made that if the British hold back, "they may hurt their present relationship with our government".

(End note 39: 9-27, informal meeting, 6/3/38 [3 June 1938])

[Arabs and Palestinians are not asked...]

[WJC Goldmann is plain-talking]

It must be stressed that only the World Jewish Congress, represented (p.235)

by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, disregarded the appeals for moderation.

-- It [WJC] sharply attacked German practices,
-- demanded that the Jewish problem be viewed as a whole,
-- said that Jews fleeing from Eastern Europe should also be helped,
-- and insisted that uncultivated areas be set aside for Jewish settlement.
-- Also, WJC thought that government financing was indispensable because private agencies would not be able to support the emigration by themselves.

[The Evian results: In fact no big result - ICR is set up under director Rublee]

JDC was not displeased with the outcome of Evian. In a telephone conversation with Baerwald on July 14, McDonald declared that he was "satisfied they accomplished everything that could be expected under the circumstances."

(End note 40: Ibid. [9-27, informal meeting], McDonald to Baerwald (telephone), 7/14/38 [14 July 1938])

Baerwald agreed. It must be remembered that JDC was privy to Taiylor's intentions at the conference to have the U.S. set up ICR, whose task it should be, as Taylor constantly reiterated, to negotiate with the Germans. JDC was sympathetic to this line of thought. Its Paris secretary, Nathan Katz, was asked to prepare for and take part in the discussions at the first ICR meeting in London on August 3, 1938. Taylor's statement on that occasion had been prepared "in Paris with the cooperation of Dr. Kahn and myself", as Katz wrote.

(End note 41: Ibid. [9-27, informal meeting], Katz to Baerwald, 8/9/38 [9 August 1938])

Typically, the number of people who would have to be dealt with by ICR in Germany was put at 660,000; this included all persecuted "non-Aryans" and other gentiles, so that the Jewish aspect could be toned down as much as possible.

A small administrative budget, to be paid to ICR by the governments, was agreed to after some haggling, and George Rublee, an American lawyer, was elected director - in fact, prospective negotiator with Germany. An assistant director, Robert Pell, was loaned from the State Department, indicating that these proceedings were considered to be of some importance for American diplomacy.

(End note 42:
-- Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], pp. 218-19;
-- Wyman, op. cit. [Wyman, David S.: Paper Walls; Amherst, Mass., 1968], pp. 51-52)

JDC leadership tended to regard the very fact of American and international involvement in the refugee problem as a great step forward. Kahn wrote about "the message of the Evian Conference, the significance of a great gathering which solemnly affirmed the initial responsibility of humanity in the solution of the problems of the refugees." (p.236)

(End note 43: Executive Committee, Kahn to Budget and Scope Committee, 9/18/38 [18 September 1938])

As a result of the Evian Conference most governments adopted a "wait and see" attitude. (p.239)

[D.] The refugees

[6.8. France 1938 against Jewish refugees - prison and concentration camps]

The immediate results of the conference amounted to nothing. In France, the Austrian disaster evoked a harsh reaction on the part of the government.

[1937: 7,000 German Jewish refugees in France - 2,500 of them needy]
There were not many refugees in France to start with: at the end of 1937 about 7,000 German Jews lived in France, of whom 2,500 had to be supported.

(End note 44: R28, fortnightly digest, 10/15/37 [15 October 1937])

[There are also Jewish refugees from other countries in France, sometimes for more than 10 years].

[2 March 1938: France: Law for farming for Jewish refugees in project - no realization]

But in early 1938, even before the Anschluss, French policy hardened. This was the period of the final collapse of the Popular Front movement and the rise of conservative forces. On March 2 there was a French government proposal to settle 10,000 refugees as agricultural laborers. Those who refused to be settled in this manner would be expelled. The Consistoire Centrale, the main religious authority of French Jewry, agreed in principle that Jews who disobeyed the government's orders should not stay in France.

To avoid disaster, Kahn for JDC and Baron Robert de Rothschild for French Jewry suggested that a sum of 3 mio. francs be set aside for this project. The whole question was aired at a March 27, 1938, meeting of all Jewish organizations, French and non-French, working in France. At that meeting and again in April, the scheme was enlarged to a 20 mio. franc project; the intent was to settle 12-15,000 refugees on French lands. Nothing came of it. In the end the French government decided that it did not want to have refugee Jews settle on French soil.

[End of March 1938: France: Proposal by Serre that Jews have to collect money for returning the Jewish refugees to NS Germany - no majority in the parliament]

However, at the  March meeting, two weeks after the Anschluss [end of March], a much more dangerous French demand was made known: Philippe Serre, French undersecretary of state for immigration, demanded that the Jews in France collect money for the government, to cover the expense of forcible repatriation of refugees to Germany. Marc Jarblum, a Zionist and the leader of the Fédération des Sociétés Juives, the main organization of East European Jews in France, had told Serre that no Jewish support should be expected for such a proposal. Kahn for JDC and Edouard Oungre for HICEM had given similar answers. But the chairman of the (p.237)

meeting, Prof. William Oualid of the Consistoire, demurred: it was "unwise to give a point-blank refusal"; he proposed that the Jews participate in the cost of repatriation when it was impossible "to obtain a favorable solution". Let it be said to the credit of that particular meeting that Oualid's suggestion failed to get majority approval.

(End note 45: R62, meeting in Paris of 3/27/38 [27 March 1938])

[2 May 1938: France: Government decree to define Jewish refugees as criminals - 1 month prison - then 6 months prison]

As the refugees from Austria began to pour in, French reaction stiffened even further. On May 2, 1938, the government decreed that all refugees who could not move to other countries and could not get permission to stay in France would henceforth be treated as criminals. Judges were instructed to hand down sentences of one month's imprisonment to such refugees. If after that month the person concerned still could not find another country of refuge within a week of his release from prison, he was to be put in jail for another six months. Children of such "recalcitrant" parents were to be placed in charitable homes.

On October 12, 1938, further instructions were issued to the effect that Austrian refugees in particular should be sent back. They were given four days in which to leave France, and if they did not do so, they were subject to imprisonment for many months.

(End note 46: R47, Comité pour la Défense des Israélites en Europe Centrale et Orientale, 3/24/39 [24 March 1939])

[March 1938: France: Polish Jewish refugees are deprived of citizenship]

These draconian measures hit not only refugees from Germany and Austria [which was Germany now], but also Polish Jews who were deprived of their citizenship by a Polish decree of March 1938.

(End note 47: See below in the text, p. 243)

These people, some of whom had been living in France for ten years or more, were now suddenly subject to arrest and imprisonment because a country, which the younger ones among them had not even seen, had withdrawn its technical protection from them.

[12 Nov 1938: France: Jail sentence is changed into concentration camp sentence]

Finally, on November 12 an amendment to the earlier decrees was published, and the imprisonment was changed into forced residence. Of course, judges were free to assign refugees to closed camps rather than some village or town. Jewish refugees began to be interned in French concentration camps even prior to the Nazi onslaught on France; this internment ultimately contributed to a significant degree to the mass murder of Jews in France by the Germans. (p.238)

[JDC with European seat in France]

JDC did not have much choice in France; this was the seat of its European office, and Kahn had to support the refugees to the best of JDC's limited ability.

[June-Oct 1938: German Jewish refugees in France: Rising Figures - JDC funds - HICEM looking for other countries - hopes on ICR for an agreement with the Third Reich]

The numbers were growing throughout 1938, but in the summer and autumn they were still manageable. In early 1938 there were 10,000 refugees in France; this was to increase to 25,000 in December.

JDC spent $ 130,884 in France in that year, most of it through different French Jewish organizations in support of various aspects of refugee work; it also spent money through HICEM, which was trying to find places of settlement for the refugees. This was no easy task, because as a result of the Evian Conference most governments adopted a "wait and see" attitude. "Many countries are said to have closed their doors in the expectation that through the establishment of the Winterton-Rublee committee, refugees from Germany might bring some money with them."

(End note 48: Morris D. Waldman: Nor by Power; New York, 1955, p. 82, quoting a report to the American Jewish Committee, 11/6/38 [6 November 1938])

This, of course, was preferable to an influx of destitute refugees. JDC leaders saw that they had to do everything in their power to enable the newly established ICR reach an agreement with the Germans.

[6.9. England 1938: Press protests against Jewish refugees]

[1938: GB: Protests in the press against Jewish refugees]

The situation in France tended to repeat itself in other countries. Britain experienced a wave of antirefugee protest in some of its most vocal newspapers. The London Times and the Manchester Guardian had voiced satisfaction with the outcome of Evian.

(End note 49: Andrew Sharf: The British Press and Jews under Nazi Rule; Oxford 1964, p. 171)

But there was no necessary contradiction between that and a basically negative attitude to Jewish immigration into Britain. Jews had to find a haven and should be helped to find one - but not in England. "Dreadful, dreadful are the afflictions of Jewish people", cried the Daily Express on September 2, 1938, in an article which emphasized that there was no room for them in Britain. The Evening News went even further on July 13: "Money we will provide, if need be, but the law of self-preservation demands that the word ENTER be removed from the gate."

(End note 50: Ibid. [Andrew Sharf: The British Press and Jews under Nazi Rule; Oxford 1964], p.168

[6.10. Switzerland 1938: Camps for Jewish refugees - handover to the Reich - and money questions]

[1938: Switzerland: 6 camps for German Jewish penniless refugees]

In Switzerland, too, the influx of refugees from Austria caused a sharp reaction. Despite the measures taken in March and April, Jews continued to cross the Swiss border. VSIA cared for those (p.239)

that managed to do so and in 1938 erected six camps housing 877 penniless refugees.

(End note 51: Saly Mayer files (SM), VSIA-2)

[July-15 August 1938: About 2,300 coming German Jewish refugees]

Throughout July and during the first half of August [1938] about 2,300 Jewish refugees managed to cross the border illegally.

[with the help of smugglers who were paid well by the Jewish refugees].

[15 Aug 1938: Berlin announces all Austrians will be Germans on 1 Jan 1939 - Swiss government looks for action against Austrian German Jewish refugees]

Since March, Austrian passport holders had had to obtain Swiss visas of entry to get to Switzerland, but a German decree of August 15 announced that as of January 1, 1939, all Austrian passports would be changed into German ones; and German passport holders could enter Switzerland without a visa. The Swiss government therefore took a series of measures against the refugee influx.

[10 August 1938: Switzerland shuts down the frontier for German Jewish refugees - handing over to Germans is avoided if concentration camp would be followed]

On August 10 a police circular to border police stations established a policy of refusal of entry to refugees.

On the same date the Swiss chief of police submitted a report to his government; in it he stated that refugees who said they would be interned in a concentration camp if they were returned to Germany would not be handed over to the Germans.

The problem was what to do with the illegals already in the country. He thought they should be expelled to Germany, but he did not dare to take this step because it might "arouse a tremendous outcry against Switzerland in all civilized countries."

(End note 52: Ludwig, op. cit. Ludwig, Carl: Die Flüchtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart. Bericht an den Bundesrat [The refugee policy of Switzerland since 1933 to the present]; Zurich, no date [1957], pp. 86-87)

[But the civilized countries were NOT civilized but all were preparing war in Europe against Soviet Union].

[17 August 1938: Switzerland: Police officials conference - concentration camp threat does not count any more]

A conference of police officials on August 17 confirmed this policy, which was then approved by the Swiss government on the August 19.

(End note 53: Ibid. [Ludwig, Carl: Die Flüchtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart. Bericht an den Bundesrat [The refugee policy of Switzerland since 1933 to the present]; Zurich, no date [1957]], p. 90)

This latter decision, however, went even further: henceforth there was to be no refugee immigration from Austria at all, thus presumably eliminating all exceptions regarding persons threatened with concentration camps.

The position of Swiss Jewry in all this was quite difficult. At a general meeting of VSIA [Verein Schweizerischer Israelitischer Armenpflegen [Confederation of Swiss Israelite poor care] it was noted that while the situation of the refugees was tragic, Swiss political and economic interests should not be ignored.

[Big parts of the upper class of Switzerland had studied mostly in Germany and was very anti-Semitic, supported Nazi homes in Switzerland, and whole Switzerland depended on German coal for heating in winter].

[Feb 1938: Rumours that SIG would not want Jewish refugees]

At the same time, however, the head of SIG, Saly Mayer, very energetically denied rumors regarding supposed communications from the heads of the Swiss Jewish community to the government, to the effect that Swiss Jewry objected to the further entry of refugees into the country. "The law of 'love thy neighbor' is still the guideline for our actions, and we must try to achieve as much as is possible for our brethren who are in trouble."

(End note 54: Saly Mayer's declaration at SIG in February 1938, SM, VSIA-2)

[But the left Yiddish Jews are not wanted at all].

This was said, however, a month before the Anschluss. After that event the situation changed. The economic burden brought on by the sudden influx of thousands of refugees could not be sustained by the tiny Swiss Jewish community. While some of the immigrants went on to other destinations, and others had money at their disposal and did not become a burden to the community,

[Oct 1938: Switzerland: 2,400 Jewish refugees in poor care]
about 2,400 had to be supported by October 1938.

(End note 55: Ibid. [Saly Mayer's declaration at SIG in February 1938, SM, VSIA-2])

SIG stated that it was not capable, technically and financially, of supporting a further influx.

(End note 56: This was repeatedly stated in appeals to JDC from March 1938 on.

[19 August 1938: Switzerland closes the borders - VSIA warns IKG to send no refugee any more]

On the same day that the Swiss government made its decision to close its borders, August 19 [1938], VSIA cabled IKG in Vienna warning it not to send any more illegal refugees (all refugees were illegals, because no Austrian Jew could get a legal entry permit into Switzerland unless he was in transit to another country or had plenty of money in Switzerland).

(End note 57: SM, VSIA-2)

In other words, Swiss Jewry felt that it had to yield to Swiss official pressure and play a part in the official antirefugee policy.

[End 1938: 10-12,000 German Jewish refugees in Switzerland - the police partly hands them over to the NS German side]

By the end of 1938 there were 10-12,000 Jewish refugees who could not get beyond Switzerland. Tragedies on the borders became the order of the day; refugees physically resisted expulsion into German hands. But of course such resistance was of no avail.

(End note 58: Ibid. [SM, VSIA-2])

[JDC money questions about Jewish refugees in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium and Czechoslovakia]

In its despair Swiss Jewry, through Saly Mayer, turned to JDC. In a cable on August 25 [1938] Kahn reported to JDC that Swiss Jews needed 1 million Swiss francs, but that only one-third of the sum could be raised locally. The reaction of New York was that local resources should be tapped first, because JDC's income was not geared to such large-scale emergencies. Then, New York told Kahn, ICR should be approached. "We have constantly in mind that settling such refugee difficulties quickly will encourage pushing many others over frontiers."

But Kahn had a different view. He announced to his head office that he had given emergency support not only in Switzerland, but in Luxembourg, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia. Baerwald thought that these appropriations were "staggering", and objected. Khan reacted sharply: on August 26 he explained in a curt cable that it was imperative to preserve the goodwill of Jewish and non-Jewish (p.241)

institutions. "(The) entire record (of) JDC activities constitutes (a) precedent supporting such appropriations." He had given the money to the Swiss "to avoid (a) debacle." Baerwald had no wish to quarrel with his European director. In any case, he realized that JDC would have no choice but to support the Europeans as much as possible.

On August 28 [1938] he assured Kahn that he fully realized "appropriations unavoidable". He added: "Please do not worry. Nothing will be done against your judgment."

(End note 59:
-- 9-40, Baerwald to Kahn; and:
-- Administration Committee files (AC), 8/24/38 [24 August 1938])

Indeed, unless they decided to change the director in Europe, JDC in New York had no choice but to confirm the judgment of its Paris office. The increasing force of the crisis in Europe, however, did lead the New York leadership to weigh the possibility of a change in its European personnel.

[JDC Kahn's decision for financing of Jewish refugees in Switzerland: Figures]

As far as Switzerland was concerned, Kahn's action turned the country's Jewish aid committee, VSIA, into one of Europe's main recipient of funds. For its six refugee camps and its support of refugees outside the camps, JDC paid a total of $ 66,000 in 1938. Total JDC expenditures in Switzerland amounted to $ 72,000, which included small sums given to vocational training institutions as well. These sums fell short of Swiss demands - Saly Mayer wanted a monthly allocation of $ 57,600, but in the last two months of 1938 JDC allocations to Switzerland were running at a monthly rate of $ 20,000, which was only a little less than what was being spent in Austria itself.

The dollars were converted into Swiss francs at the most favorable rated, and SIG reported that they got 415,449 Swiss francs as a result, or about 33.8 % of the Swiss Jewish community's total income of 1,820,457 Swiss francs.

(End note 60: SM, VSIA-2)

Switzerland and France were by no means the only trouble spots in the summer of 1938.

[6.11. Anti-Jewish laws in Luxembourg, Italy, and Holland 1938]

[May 1938: Luxembourg expelling 52 Austrian Jewish refugees - JDC help for 200 new Jewish refugees]
In tiny Luxembourg 52 Austrian Jews were expelled by the authorities in May [1938].

JDC in Paris intervened with the Luxembourg government - a very rare thing for JDC to do - and asked it to prevent further expulsions. Luxembourg thereupon allowed 200 refugees to enter, with the understanding that JDC would send aid and the refugees would ultimately be moved to other places.

The Jewish community in that country (p. 242)

numbered only 200 taxpayers, and the aid committee, Esra, was at the end of its resources by August [1938]. When JDC could not sent enough money, Esra told the government that it could no longer cope with the Austrian influx, and asked for government restrictions on immigration, without, however, excessive severity. Political refugees, it said, should be treated "more humanely".

(End note 61: 9-38, for all the material on Luxembourg quoted in the text).

[17 Aug 1938: Luxembourg closes the border - police drives refugees back to NS Germany - illegal refugees are handed over to Belgium and France]

Probably as a result of this step, Luxembourg closed its borders on August 17.

But illegal entry continued [with payed smugglers]. The police used to drive the refugees back into Germany, while those who managed to enter the country were sent over the borders into Belgium and France.

[Since end of August 1938: JDC finances Esra - Luxembourg takes 1,000 Jewish refugees]

In late August JDC undertook to help Esra maintain housing and feeding facilities for refugees. This took care of poor refugees; the Luxembourg government than allowed 1,000 people of means to enter the country in late 1938.

[7 Sep 1938: Italy: Law against citizenship of Jews who are staying since 1919]

Similar problems arose in other European countries. An Italian decree of September 7, 1938, translated the growing racist propaganda - instigated by the Germans and their supporters among Italy's Fascists - into harsh practice. All Jews who had become Italian citizens since 1919 had their citizenship revoked by a stroke of a pen. All foreign Jews who had entered the country since 1919 were supposed to leave Italy within six months.

[1938: Holland: Figures - strict border controls]
In Holland the borders were officially closed; 11,000 Jewish refugees had become absorbed in the country's economy, but 2,000 were either on relief or preparing for emigration, or both. Throughout 1938 the government gave permission to about 2,000 additional Jews - mostly parents of youngsters already working in Holland - to enter the country legally. However, all further attempts to enter Holland were frustrated by strict border controls.

[6.12. German-Polish action against Jews in 1938: Camp at Zbaszyn]

[25 March 1938: Poland declares all passports not valuable from Jewish Poles since 5 years abroad]
On March 25, 1938, the Polish Sejm passed a law according to which any Polish citizen who had not visited Poland for five consecutive years could be deprived of his citizenship, unless he passport was specifically renewed. The original aim of this ruling was (p.243)

to prevent Polish Jews in Vienna from entering Poland after the German occupation of Austria on March 13, 1938.

[15 June: Poland: Announcement that Polish Jews from Vienna will be put into concentration camp]
On June 15 the Polish Telegraphic Agency reported that those Polish Jews from Vienna who had nevertheless succeeded in crossing the Polish border would be put into the Polish concentration camp of Bereza Kartuska.

[1933: NS Germany: 98,747 Jews of foreign nationality - 56,480 Polish Jews]
Among the approximately 500,000 Jews in Germany in 1933 [official counting without 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 Jews], there were 98,747 Jews of foreign nationality. Of these, 56,480 were Polish Jews.

(End note 62: S. Adler-Rudel: Ostjuden in Deutschland; Tübingen 1959, p. 166)

[Oct 1938: Denationalization of 56,480 Polish Jews in NS Germany]
Frantic attempts by many of these Jews to avoid being declared stateless were of no avail; their denationalization was to take effect at the end of October 1938.

The Nazi government, bent on getting rid of as many Jews as possible, saw the Polish step as a menace to their own anti-Jewish policy. If they did nothing, they might later not be able to expel these Jews into Poland because the Poles would then argue that they were no longer Polish citizens.

One of the main planks of the original Nazi party program in 1920 had been to rid Germany of foreigners, and first and foremost this applied to Jews. Ideologically, therefore, there was every reason for the Nazis to prevent the continuation of Polish Jewish residence in Germany.

[But it seems NS government tolerated the Polish Jews until 1938].

[6 Oct 1938: Poland announces renewal for passports limit for 29 October]
On October 6 [1938] the Polish government decreed that those who did not have their passport renewed by October 29 would lose their Polish citizenship.

[26 Oct 1938: NS Foreign Office requests Gestapo send back Polish Jews from Germany]

On October 26 the German Foreign Office requested the Gestapo to evict as many Polish Jews as possible from Germany.

(End note 63:
-- Ibid. [S. Adler-Rudel: Ostjuden in Deutschland; Tübingen 1959], p.153
-- Raphael Mahler: Ringelblum's Letters from and about Zbaszyn (Hebrew): Yalkut Moreshet 2 (May 1964: 14 ff.)

[27 / 28 Oct 1938: Reich: 17,000 Polish Jews are deported back to Poland]

The Gestapo obliged with its customary promptness and brutality, and on the night of October 27/8, some 17,000 Polish Jews in Germany were rounded up, some of them in their nightclothes. Many were beaten. They were put on special trains and sent to the Polish border. There some of them were forced by the Germans to cross the border illegally; most, however, were simply shunted across the frontier in railway carriages.

Some of the refugees still had families or other connections in Poland and were able to resettle with some measure of ease. Others were less fortunate. People who had left Poland dozens of years before, or had never been to Poland at all but had inherited their (p.244)

[Nov 1938: 12,800 Jewish homeless deportees from NS Germany in Poland - Zbaszyn open air prison for some 5,500 Polish Jews from NS Germany - figures]

Polish citizenship from their parents, found no place to stay. By early November the JDC office counted 12,800 homeless refugees all over the country. There were small groups of these refugees in the main Jewish centers such as Lodz, Warsaw, and Cracow. Local refugee committees sprang up in these places to look after the people as best they could.

The worst spot, however, was a tiny hamlet of some 4,000 inhabitants, Zbaszyn, on the main railroad between Frankfurt on the Oder and Poznan, which was situated on the Polish side of the border with Germany. At the crossing the Germans expelled some 9,300 men, women, and children; nearly 4,000 managed to get away into Poland within the first 48 hours.

The Poles were unwilling to let the rest, some 5,500, into Poland and forced them to remain in the village. It presented a terrible sight. Since the number of refugees was larger than the total population of the village, they had to be housed in stables, pigsties, and other temporary shelters.

November is a very cold month in Poland, and after the first few days there were problems concerning bedding, heating, warm food, sanitation, and medical attention. The refugees themselves were completely helpless, for the Polish government would not allow any of them to leave Zbaszyn for the interior.

[Zbaszyn became an open air prison for them].

[Polish Jewry about the Polish Jews from Germany - help actions by JDC and others - Ringelblum's help]

Polish Jewry, however, reacted fairly swiftly. On November 4 an aid committee was set up in Warsaw, which collected large amounts of money locally. By July 1939 over 3.5 mio. zloty had been collected, of which JDC contributed 20 %.

(End note 64: Germany-refugees in Poland, report: the Activity of the General Aid Committee for Jewish Refugees from Germany in Poland, 11/1/38-7/1/39 [1 November 1938-1 July 1939]. the total collection was 3,543,299 zloty, of which JDC contributed 721,149, and other foreign sources, 539,725).

This was besides aid in kind, which during this period amounted to over 1 million zloty more.

The struggle over the Zbaszyn refugees had an importance that transcended mere financial considerations. JDC in Poland found itself pursuing a policy quite different from the one it had practiced throughout the 1930s. Giterman and the famous historian Emanuel Ringelblum, who was a JDC employee, rushed to Zbaszyn immediately on receipt of the news of the refugees' arrival. With local aid, they organized the first help.

Throughout the months of (p.245)

November and December, JDC personnel directly supervised the aid activities at Zbaszyn. The usual roles seemed to be reversed: usually, JDC allocated money and the local committees did the actual work; in this case, the local Warsaw committee provided the bulk of the funds, and JDC personnel did the actual work of organizing and supervising the aid.

At first Giterman's policy at Zbaszyn was not to erect more permanent structures for the refugees, since this might encourage the Polish government to regard Zbaszyn as a permanent refugee camp.

(End note 65: 29-Germany, Polish deportations, Zbaszyn, report by Giterman, November 1938)

However, this policy of trying to pressure the Polish government into doing something penalized the refugees rather than the government, which refused even to provide food.

[December 1938: Cold winter in Zbaszyn - aid organized by JDC Ringelblum]

In early December intense cold set in, and there was no choice but to order adequate bedding and food and to construct appropriate shelters.

After the first ten days Giterman left and Ringelblum, with a devoted staff of about ten people, stayed on. In the name of JDC he organized food distribution, heating, first aid, distribution of clothes (collected from all over Poland), emigration advice, and similar essential activities. He also saw to it that there was a library, that the schooling of children was organized, that a Talmud Torah for Orthodox children was set up, that concerts and lectures were held.

Apparently he even collected historical material on the expulsion of Polish Jews from Germany; unfortunately this material has not reached us.

[End 1938: 5,200 Polish Jews from NS Germany in Zbaszyn]
Despite repeated interventions by the Warsaw committee the Poles let very few of the refugees enter the country, and by the end of the year there were still 5,200 refugees at Zbaszyn.

[Finance quarrels about Zbaszyn open air prison]

An aspect of the Zbaszyn crisis was the growing tension between the Polish Jewish committee and JDC. Giterman stated JDC's position in a cable he sent on December 21: "We giving contribution only when approached by local organizations after their funds becoming exhausted." In the U.S., meanwhile, JDC fund raising naturally became geared to the new situation and much money was collected for aid for refugees in Poland. In early 1939 the Warsaw refugee committee complained that only 15 % of the funds so (p.246) far had been spent by foreign organizations, including JDC, while all the rest had come from the impoverished Polish Jewish community.

In New York, Alexander Kahn, chairman of JDC's Polish Committee, was worried. He stated: "Our position is untenable, when we seek and receive substantial contributions here for assistance to German deportees and negligible sums are expended in the face of such dire need."

(End note 66: Ibid. [29-Germany, Polish deportations, Zbaszyn, report by Giterman, November 1938], quoted by Hyman to Paris JDC, 1/20/39 [20 January 1939])

[1939: More money for Zbaszyn]
Possibly as a result of repeated interventions by the New York office, JDC expenditure for Zbaszyn increased in 1939.

[Early June 1939: 4,000 Polish Jewish refugees at Zbaszyn]
By early June [1939] there were still 4,000 Jews at Zbaszyn, and about $ 40,000 monthly was needed there. However, JDC in Poland was careful; it was not completely convinced of the correctness of the Warsaw committee's statistics, and besides, additional issues had arisen in the meantime to complicate the problem considerably.

[Poland's action plans against Germany]
The Polish government was extremely unhappy about the whole situation. Trying to pay the Germans back in their own coin, it threatened to expel German citizens from Poland, especially German Jewish refugees who had arrived from Germany in previous years. In this tragic situation, where the mutual animosity of two anti-Semitic states was typically and brutally expressed by the maltreatment of each other's Jews,

[24 Jan 1939: Agreement for no further expulsion - temporary stay for the expelled in Germany to arrange their affairs]

a way out was found (at least temporarily) when both countries agreed on January 24, 1939, that no further expulsion would take place, and that the Jewish expellees would be granted limited rights to visit Germany to wind up their affairs there or to arrange for final emigration to other countries.

[6.13. Poland: Emigration committees for the Jews in 1938 - no places to emigrate]

[Nov 1938: Poland: Set up of the Jewish Emigration and Colonization Committee - and a committee of Friends to Promote Jewish Emigration to Madagascar]
However, the Poles had learned their lesson effectively. If Germany managed to get rid of her Jews by Gestapo methods, Poland could follow in her footsteps. In early November the government forced the acknowledged head of the Jewish community in Poland, Rabbi Moshe Schorr, to set up the Jewish Emigration and Colonization Committee. The Poles gave this organization the task of collecting 3 mio. zloty and convincing Jewish organizations abroad to do everything in their power to get large numbers of Polish Jews to emigrate. By and large the Zionists boycotted this (p.247)

committee; but their leaders, Henryk Rosmarin, Ansselm Reiss, and Moshe Kleinbaum, were told point-blank that the government no longer considered Palestine as the only emigration goal for Jews from Poland. "If the price paid to Germany for brutalities against the Jews will be taking out the Jews from that country, nothing remains for Poland but to use similar methods with regard to stimulating Jewish emigration from Poland."

(End note 67: R10, report by Troper and Smoler, 12/2/38 [2 December 1938])

In line with this approach, and in order to increase the pressure on the Jews, the Polish government also set up a non-Jewish committee of Friends to Promote Jewish Emigration to Madagascar.

The main task of the members of the Jewish committee, aside from collecting money, was to travel abroad and conduct negotiations about the emigration of as many Jews as possible. Within a month, by December 1938, one-third of the required sum of 3 mio. zloty had been collected from wealthy Jewish individuals in Poland.

[JDC can only watch the Polish action for emigration committees]
The new JDC European chairman, Morris C. Troper, saw no possibility of opposing the new Polish attitude. On December 20, 1938, he wrote to Hyman that if the Polish emigration pressure was inevitable, then the committee should at least be in the hands of people amenable to JDC.

(End note 68: 44-3).

[Competition in fund raising for Polish Jews between AFPJ, WJC and JDC]

Schorr and Rosmarin were connected with the American Federation of Polish Jews [AFPJ] and the World Jewish Congress. WJC's concept of the unity of the Jewish people all over the world and its endeavor to set up political machinery to represent world Jewry ran counter to JDC's rejection of Jewish nationalism. Also, WJC and AFPJ were trying to collect money in America for Europe's Jews, in competition with JDC. Schorr and Rosmarin were therefore unacceptable, and Troper suggested that three industrialists respected by JDC should be invited to the U.S., one of whom was Karol Sachs, a very wealthy Jewish industrialist from Lodz.

The New York office, as well as the Warsaw JDC office, were not eager to enter into the whole problem of emigration from Poland, at least not under such blatant Polish pressure. There was, it is true, a slow but decisive change of JDC opinion on emigration generally. Polish anti-Semitism seemed less marked in early 1939, (p.248)

and it was believed that the Poles had to "throw something to the wolves."

(End note 69: 44-21, Committee on Poland and East Europe, 2/8/39 [8 February 1939])

Adler thought it was very easy to tell people not to emigrate when one was a Jew in America. "But if they are legislated out of existence, our only chance is emigration."

(End note 70: 44-29; Adler to Hyman, 2/9/39 [9 February 1939])

[The emigration organizations cannot find countries for emigration of the 3 mio. Polish Jews - U.S. quota 6,000 per year]

The problem was, of course, where to go and how to prepare effectively for emigration. In Poland itself the stress on vocational retraining for occupations that might be useful in applying for entry in to overseas countries was nothing new. A report from Galicia in March 1939 stressed that "nowhere are we allowed to grow roots and we are forced to consider our children and youths as future export merchandise. We must try to deliver first quality."

(End note 71: 14-39; report from Galicia)

Yet in the 1939 world, not even first quality was sufficient. Palestine was almost closed. The Polish quota for the U.S. was about 6,000 annually. South American countries were reluctant to accept Jews. The world was unwilling to help the three million Polish Jews.

[1939: Idea of George Backer that Jews should buy a colony]
In this desperate situation desperate remedies were thought  of, even in such level-headed circles as those at the JDC offices in New York. George Backer, who was very active with both JDC and the American Jewish Committee, was suggesting to the Poles that they buy a colony, presumably in Africa, where the Jews might settle. The Polish ambassador, he reported, responded enthusiastically.

(End note 72: 44-21, Committee on Poland and East Europe, 2/8/39 [8 February 1939])

[Jan 1939: Schorr in London - JDC work in Poland should not put into danger - JDC does not want to see Schorr - Schorr warns in London from the absolute discrimination of the Jews]

In the meantime, at the end of January 1939, Rabbi Schorr and others left for London. If they were to come to the U.S., the situation might become difficult for JDC. JDC could not offer any places for emigration, nor could it pay for such a huge enterprise even if there were places to go to. A campaign for emigration might endanger the small-scale but vitally important work that JDC was doing in Poland. No emigration would ensue, and masses of Polish Jews who were now receiving some help through JDC would find themselves abandoned.

JDC therefore decided that a visit by the delegation from Poland had to be avoided.

In February 1939 Troper reported to Hyman that he had prevented the visit and that the delegation was discussing its problems in London instead. There, apparently, the delegation reported that the Poles had (p.249)

threatened anti-Jewish legislation if no emigration was forthcoming. This legislation would include "revision" of citizenship and the elimination of Jews from the economic and cultural life of Poland.

(End note 73: 44-29; Troper to Hyman, 2/14/39 [14 February 1939]; 44-4, memo on Poland, 5/1/39 [1 May 1939])

There was not much JDC could do to help.

[E.] JDC in 1938/9

[6.14. Internal change of structures within the Joint Distribution Committee 1938/1939]

[20 Sep 1937: Death of Felix M. Warburg - successor Paul Baerwald]

The dramatic developments in Europe caused an internal upheaval in JDC's setup. This reorganization had already started during the last months of Felix M. Warburg's life. When the founder and honorary chairman of JDC died on September 20, 1937, his death was a tremendous blow to the organization, because there were few persons in American Jewish life who could match his humanitarianism, his personal concern with aiding stricken Jews all over the world, and his prestige in the Jewish and non-Jewish world.

Paul Baerwald, his close associate in JDC work, became the head of the organization in fact as well as in name. (Years before his death, Warburg had officially ceased active work for JDC, becoming honorary chairman - but in reality he remained the arbiter of the organization's fortunes).

[Since 1936/7: Growing JDC needs new structures - Administration Committee set up]

In 1936/7 JDC grew into a large organization, and the old way of running things no longer seemed adequate.

In June 1937 a nucleus of the Executive Committee, called the Administration Committee, was formed to run the day-to-day affairs of JDC. It was composed of those laymen most concerned with its work: James N. Rosenberg, George Backer, Alexander Kahn, Morris C. Troper, Jonah B. Wise, William Rosenwald, Herbert J. Seligman, Mrs. Harriet B. Goldstein, David M. Bressler, and a few others.

[Weekly meetings of the representation persons Hyman and Baerwald]

The JDC office was represented by Hyman, and of course Paul Baerwald almost always participated. Meetings were sporadic at first, but soon weekly meetings became the rule.

[1938-1939: JDC Structure reforms: Steering Committee set up - Budget and Scope Committee]

By the middle of 1939 even the new committee had become too unwieldy, and a small steering committee, composed of 15 members, began to emerge. More and more, the Executive Committee's meetings became formal occasions, with the real decision-making transferred to the smaller bodies. (p.250)

In late 1938 and early 1939 committees of laymen were formed to deal with policy decisions on separate areas, whether geographical or other. Cultural, religious, and educational matters had been the province of a special committee ever since the inception of JDC. There was also the Budget and Scope Committee, which dealt with financial planning.

[JDC: Fund raising committee - committee on refugee countries - Latin America committee - Poland and Eastern Europe committee]

Other committees dealt with fund raising, allocations, and other matters. In 1938 the need arose to coordinate activities in different parts of the globe. A committee on refugee countries was therefore formed under Edward M.M. Warburg, Felix M. Warburg's son, who was to take his father's place in the leadership of the organization. Another committee under Alfred Jaretzki, Jr., was formed to deal with Latin America; a committee for Poland and Eastern Europe, under Alexander Kahn, had been in existence for some time.

[1937: European Council of JDC set up]

A similar process began at the European and of JDC's operations. As early as January 1937 Baerwald began admonishing Kahn that he should be in constant consultation with his chief accountant and representative on the Reconstruction Foundation, David J. Schweitzer, and with Joseph A. Rosen. A European Council of JDC was then formed, of which Kahn became chairman and Nathan Katz secretary.

(End note 74: 44-3, Baerwald to Kahn, 1/28/37 [28 January 1937])

[April 1938: Replacement of Kahn because of age and citizenship - successor Troper]

The truth of the matter was that Kahn was getting old; in early 1938 Troper visited the Paris office and reported that Kahn did not seem to be able to manage the whole scope of JDC's affairs; other thought differently.

In April 1938 the demand that Kahn be replaced was voiced at an Executive Committee meeting. The main reason advanced seemed logical enough: Kahn was not an American and could not move about in German-occupied countries. JDC had to plan ahead for the eventuality of a German takeover in Czechoslovakia, and an American Jew who knew the American background of JDC would now be the right person to represent the organization in Europe. When Kahn was informed of the decision, he did not object. He moved to New York, became an American citizen, and spent the rest of his extremely active life as a member of the JDC office.

(End note 75:
-- Executive Committee, 4/20/38 [20 April 1938];
-- and confidential information given this author).

This is perhaps the place to evaluate the contribution of Dr. (p.251)

Bernhard Kahn to Jewish history in the interwar period. For most of the period between the wars, Kahn was the arbiter of many Jewish economic endeavors in the field of reconstruction and relief. Behind his cold and remote exterior there was a warm heart and an immensely fertile mind. None of his peers, certainly none of his successors in JDC or elsewhere, could equal his knowledge of Judaism, Zionism, economics, history, social work, philosophy, art - or indeed his achievements and interest in a dozen or more fields. His departure in 1938 was, one suspects, inevitable; but with him disappeared one of the great figures of Jewish life - as man whose name rarely if ever appeared on the pages of the press, and whose preoccupation with practical matters never allowed him to devote his time to creative scholarship.

His successor as chairman of JDC's European Council was Morris C. Troper, until then the head of a firm of accountants who had been responsible for checking JDC's accounts. In many ways Troper was Kahn's opposite. A simple man with simple tastes, an efficient administrator, ebullient, he was quite unlike Kahn, the aesthete and polyglot. Troper had a warm heart and - again, unlike Kahn - could express himself publicly much more effectively than the shy German Jew with his foreign accent. The difference lay, among other things, in Kahn's knowing Europe, and that was his strength; Troper's strength lay in his knowledge of America and American Jewry.

In autumns of 1938 Troper went to Europe to take over responsibilities from his predecessor.

[F.] The "night of crystal" [on 9/10 November 1938]

[6.15. Night of fire, glass pieces and robbery]

[7 Nov 1938: The official culprit Herszel Grynszpan]

On November 7, 1938, Herszel Grynszpan, a young Polish Jew whose parents had been deported from Germany to Zbaszyn, fatally wounded Ernst vom Rath, third secretary of the German Embassy in Paris. The occasion provided the Nazis - actually Goebbels - with an excuse to do what had been planned for a long time: organize a large-scale pogrom.

[9/10 Nov 1938: Almost all Synagogues burning - Jewish sops robbed - 91 persons killed - 35,000 in cc]

On November 9 and 10 almost all synagogues in Germany and Austria were destroyed, windows of (p.252)

Jewish shops were smashed, goods stolen, large numbers of Jewish homes demolished, men and women beaten, and about 91 persons killed. A wave of arrests swept through Germany; 35,000 Jews were estimated to have been shipped to the concentration camps of Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen.

(End note 76: Broszat et alia, op. cit. [Broszat, Martin et alia: Die Anatomie des SS-Staates [Anatomy of the SS state]; Olten und Freiburg 1965], 2:94-95. According to Broszat, there were about 10,000 Jewish internees in each of the main camps at Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen. In his report (see note 78 below) Troper mentions an identical number of internees. Estimates by other sources are much higher, and are most probably incorrect).

The course of this pogrom, cynically known as the "Night of Crystal" (Reichskristallnacht), is too well-known to be dwelt upon here.

(End note 77: E.g.,
-- Brosza et al., op. cit. [Broszat, Martin et alia: Die Anatomie des SS-Staates [Anatomy of the SS state]; Olten und Freiburg 1965], 2:333 ff.;
-- Gerald Reitlinger: The Final Solution; London 1968
-- Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968];
-- and other sources.
Morse, by the way, is quite mistaken regarding the origins of the pogroms; he seems to think that they were organized by the SS, whereas in fact the SS "only" supervised security and arrested the victims; as a matter of fact, the whole affair was organized by Goebbels and the Nazi party. Cf. also Hilberg, op. cit. [Hilberg, Raul: The Destruction of European Jews; Chicago 1961], pp. 23 ff.; he puts the figure of the arrested at 20,000; but his sources are very doubtful (affidavit of an SS officer in 1946 and a statement by Heydrich in a discussion with Göring). The figure quoted in the text is based on a report by Dr. Best in December 1938).

[2 Nov 1938: SS appeals to exclude German Jewry from official life]

It so happened, however, that Troper, on his way through Europe with some of the JDC staff, was in Berlin at the time. His report emphasized those aspects that had a specific importance from JDC's point of view, but it also dealt with some of the larger aspects. Some of the facts brought out later by historical research were already contained in it.

Troper mentioned the fact that the SS paper, Das Schwarze Korps [The Black Corps], had demanded on November 2 that Jews be excluded completely from German life. Ghettoization and confiscation of property were also hinted at, as was forced labor for unemployed Jews.

[Since mid Sep 1938: Anti-Jewish disorders]

Anti-Jewish disorders had been taking place since mid-September.

[Beginning Oct 1938: Special barracks prepared in the cc for coming "night of crystal"]

Troper also knew that special barracks had been prepared in several concentration camps to house those who would ultimately be arrested.

As a result of the pogrom in November, the "basis of existence of German Jewry has been wiped out."

(End note 78: CON-2, Troper report, 11/30/38 [30 November 1938])

[Arrests and Jewish JDC institutions closed down - arbitrary murder]
RV and all the central Jewish institutions, except for the Hilfsverein and the Jewish Cultural League, were closed. Most of the central personalities of German Jewry except for Leo Baeck were among those arrested.

In the provinces, many of the public institutions in which JDC had a special interest were destroyed: at Königsberg it was the orphanage, at Karlsruhe the children's home, at Mannheim the old age home, and so on.

At Bornsdorf training center the Nazis shot and killed a boy who could not explain why there were 38 persons present instead of the 40 who were registered there.

[Arrests of Jews who had prepared emigration]
Often, Troper reported, the pogrom turned against those who were about to emigrate, as in Stuttgart, where all those who had invitations to see the U.S. consul for their visas were arrested.

[Goebbels is said to be the instigator of the pogrom - the SS does not want the pogrom]

The reasons for the pogrom seem to have been the desire to (p.253)

radicalize the treatment of Jews and force their emigration while robbing them of their property; at the same time, Goebbels, the main instigator of the event, wanted to involve the masses of the German people in the Nazi party's anti-Semitic policy. His success is in doubt: not only was there little enthusiasm outside party and SA circles, but there was an active rivalry with the SS; in the end Goebbels lost out. The SS was opposed to the wild  "popular" character of the pogrom. It preferred a more orderly, quiet reign of terror, such as became evident after the pogrom.

[The indemnity of 1 billion marks and more]

One of the results of the pogrom was Göring's decision, at a famous meeting on November 12 with representatives of different groups in the Nazi party and the government, that the Jews should pay an "indemnity" of 1 billion marks to the government. On top of that, they would have to pay the government any sums that were paid to them by insurance companies. In the end, the payment by the Jews came close to 1.25 billion marks.

[Since 1 Jan 1939: Aryanizations and new prohibitions of profession for Jews in the Third Reich]

A series of measures designed to eliminate the Jews from German economic life followed. By January 1, 1939, the only gainful occupation a Jew could follow in the Reich was as employee of a Jewish institution. Jewish businesses and industrial enterprises were forcibly transferred into German hands ("aryanized"). Doctors, lawyers, businessmen, workers, employees - they were all forbidden to practice their occupations; doctors and dentists were even denied their professional titles and were allowed to treat only Jewish patients.

(End note 79:
-- Broszat et alia, op. cit. [Broszat, Martin et alia: Die Anatomie des SS-Staates [Anatomy of the SS state]; Olten und Freiburg 1965], p. 335; Also:
-- RGB (Reichsgesetzblatt), Verordnung zur Ausschaltung der Juden aus dem deutschen Wirtschaftsleben, 11/12/38 [12 November 1938])

[Supplement: Bribes by aryanizations
The Aryanizations are a special chapter: The NS regime could not only give big Jewish possessions to their captains of industry, but also foreign industrialists of the neighbor countries were given ex-Jewish possessions for ridiculous prices, e.g. for Swiss bosses. This "collaboration" was a big part of the base for the anti-Jewish policy in whole Europe].

[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 1938])

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 Coordinating Committee]

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 Palestine.

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 March 1938])

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 March 1939])

[Disorganized Jewish 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 begun.

(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 the pogrom.

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 strain.

[Concentration process - small Jewish communities dissolve - financial help - public kitchens]

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];
-- 9-19
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.

[6.17. Reichsvereinigung (RVE) set up - support for "non-Aryans"]

[Since 10 Nov 1938: Prohibition for Reichsvertretung RV - Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (RVE) in project]

The November pogrom was a good occasion, from their point of view, to break with the past. Immediately after the pogrom the Nazis decided not to allow RV to be reconstituted. However, there were divided counsels among them as to the precise form of organization that should be forced on the Jews.

In January, Göring still thought that the Jewish central organization should be an adjunct to the new central emigration bureau that he had in mind. But other ideas prevailed, and

[17 Feb 1939:
on February 17, 1939, the Jewish newssheet, Jüdisches Nachrichtenblatt [Jewish Newspaper] the only Jewish "paper" that the Nazis allowed to appear, announced that a new central organization of German Jewry would be set up, the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (RVE) [Reich's Federation of the Jews in Germany], whose members would be nominated by the Gestapo.

[4 July 1939: Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland set up (RVE)]

However, it was not until July 4, 1939, that the official announcement establishing the new RVE came out. This was largely owing to internal squabbling between German ministries.

[April 1939: Berlin Jewish leader Stahl applies for leadership of projected RVE at the Gestapo]

But the crisis also brought forth some ugly squabbles between the Berlin community, led by the conservative liberal Heinrich Stahl, and the old leadership of RV. Things were brought to a head in April, when Stahl went to the Gestapo to ask for its help in asserting his pretensions to leadership of the Jewish community. The Gestapo apparently did not intervene directly, but

[RVE structures - JDC supports the Baeck-Hirsch-Lilienthal group]
in the new RVE, Stahl was made copresident with Rabbi Leo Baeck.

(End note 89: Shaul Esh: The Establishment of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland and Its Activities (Hebrew); In: Yad Vashem Studies; Jerusalem 1968, 7:19-38)

JDC was informed of what was going on in Germany; it could only deplore internal differences at such critical times. It was not aware, of course, of the intrigues of the Stahl group, but whenever the Baeck-Hirsch-Lilienthal group of leaders required it, JDC supported (p.258)

Table 18: JDC Expenditures in Germany and Austria in 1938 and 1939 (in $)
Total JDC expenditures
In Germany
In Austria

(End note 90: Sources:
-- R12
-- R21
the figures do not always tally. For Germany, for instance, a brochure entitled: Aid to Jews Overseas (R9), gives the figure of $ 981,200).

them to the best of its ability. It must be remembered that people like Baerwald, Kahn, and Max M. Warburg (Felix's brother, who finally emigrated to the U.S. in 1938) knew the German Jewish leadership intimately and had confidence in the group that had founded and led RV since 1933. Indeed, Max Warburg had been the initiator of RV, had taken a decisive part in setting up its leadership, and had been to a great extent the arbiter of its policies.

In light of this grim situation - and also, it must be added, as a result of increased income - JDC was able to increase its financial support for German Jews. A part of that support came through the Quakers, who, as always in times of stress, cooperated closely with JDC.

[Special support for "non-Aryans"]

In February 1939 JDC voted a sum of $ 100,000 to be spent by the American Friends Service Committee, "provided that no publicity whatsoever should be given to this grant, and with the provision that there should be taken into account the reluctance on the part of the contributors to JDC to have American dollars go into Germany."

(End note 91:
-- AC [Administration Committee files], 2/2/39 [2 February 1939];
-- Germany-AFSC [Quaker American Friends Service Committee], 2/9/39 [9 February 1939])

The Friends were inclined to spend this money to help "non-Aryans", that is, people not connected with the official Jewish community but considered to be Jews by the Nazis. Through perhaps overcareful management only $ 26,908 of this money was spent before war broke out in September [1939].

[G.] Emigration and flight

[6.18. Jewish Emigration figures for Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and Danzig  1938-1939]

Total Jewish emigration from Germany, Austria, and the Czech lands (Bohemia and Moravia) after October 1938 is not easy to reconstruct. The figures given in Table 19 probably do not include many "non-Aryans", who should really be included. But they may serve as an estimate based on material in JDC files.

Large-scale emigration started immediately after the November pogrom; the figures were staggering compared with those for earlier emigration. This time JDC had no hesitations - its leader had learned the lesson of the previous years, as had the leadership of HIAS and HICEM, the two emigrating organizations supported (p.259)

Table 19: Estimate of Jewish Emigration in 1938 and 1939
From Germany
From Austria
From Bohemia and Moravia
From Danzig
Total for year

* Various JDC sources estimated that out of the 20,000, 5,000 were German and Austrian refugees.
(End note 92: Sources:
-- R21, 1939 draft report;
-- R54, Troper letter, 5/16/39 [16 May 1939] (he puts emigration from "old" Germany in 1938 at 34,369);
-- R10, newsletter, 6/15/39 [15 June 1939];
-- R12)

by JDC. There were few illusions left. At a meeting of some of the wealthy contributors to JDC at the end of 1938, James G. McDonald said that "to many people in Europe to crush a Jews is no more unworthy or reprehensible than to step on vermin and crush the life out of such creatures. The war that the Nazis are waging is not a war against the Jews of Germany, but against all Jews, whose influence must be obliterated and who themselves should either be exterminated or driven out of all civilized lands."

In concluding his talk he added: "If you think that because you live in the United States you are immune, you are very foolish."

(End note 93: 31-Germany, refugees 1939-1942, Hyman to David L. Podell, 3/30/39 [30 March 1939])

Unfortunately what the people who listened to McDonald thought of his remarks is not recorded. But words that today sound like prophecies, yet were totally unacceptable before the events of November, were listened to attentively (if sceptically) afterward.

[6.19. Sudeten accession - harsh anti-Semitism in ex-CSSR territories after the split of the CSSRs]

[Oct 1938: Invasion of German army in the Sudeten territories]

The problem of mass emigration from Germany and Austria was compounded by the addition of yet another victim of Nazi barbarism: Czechoslovakia. In late September 1938 the Western powers had betrayed the Czechs to Hitler at Munich. In early October the German-speaking border lands of Bohemia and Moravia, the so-called Sudeten areas, were occupied by the Germans.

[Supplement: The German occupation was welcomed by the German population which had suffered under Czech rule since 1919, authorized by the French dictation in Versailles and the treaty of St-Germain. Now the German invasion was authorized by the Munich conference and by the English prime minister Chamberlain. The national gold of the CSSR was brought into Nazi hands with English and Swiss help (In: Jean Ziegler: Die Schweiz, das Gold und die Toten)].

[Partition of the CSSR: Hungary and Poland performing occupations - nationalist Slovakia]

Soon afterward the Hungarians took southern Slovakia and southern Subcarpathia, while the Poles occupied an area near Tesín. The democratic character of the Czechoslovak republic was destroyed, Slovakia became autonomous, and nationalist and near-Fascist (p.260)

tendencies increased. "Do not ask us for humanity", officials are reported to have said. "We were not treated with humanity."

(End note 94: R11, November 1938, report by Noel Aronovici on a visit to Czechoslovakia)

[Czech refugees, within about 15,000 Jews - 5-60,000 German Jews in rest CSR - anti-Semitism - emigration projects]

The number of Czech refugees from the occupied Sudeten areas was estimated at between 180,000 and 200,000. Of these, about 15,000 were Jews. In addition, there were 5,000 to 6,000 refugees from Germany and Austria still in the country.

About 2/3 of all these refugees lacked means of subsistence and had to be supported. To find work in the new, smaller Czechoslovakia was a practical impossibility; anti-Semitism was rampant, and Jews were attacked as a foreign, germanizing element (most of them spoke German). Jews themselves were expected to formulate anti-Jewish laws. In colleges and universities Jews either were not admitted or, if already registered, were thrown out under various pretexts. As a result, tremendous efforts were made by Jews - refugees and natives alike - to leave the country.

[27 Jan 1939: CSR government proclamation for emigration of foreign refugees]

On January 27, 1939, the rightist government of Rudolf Beran issued a proclamation demanding a speedy emigration of foreign refugees; it also proclaimed that the government would review the status of those who had acquired citizenship since World War I - a measure expressly directed at the Jews.

[Prague: Jewish central organization set up under Dr. Josef Popper - help for Jewish refugees]

In this chaotic and dangerous situation a central organization of Jewish communities was set up in Prague under the chairmanship of Dr. Josef Popper. In the Czech lands Marie Schmolka headed HICEM, dealing with emigration. The Jewish Social Institute, the chief aid organization, had to care for 1,290 persons immediately. To all other persons, the Czech government gave an allowance of 8 crowns (about 30 cents) a day; those who could not manage were put into camps.

In the Czech lands 118,000 Jews were now crowded; they were threatened with the fate of German Jewry.

(End note 95: Karel Lagus and Josef Polak: Mesto za Mrízemi; Prague 1964, p.334)

Of the 136,000 Jews who had been in Slovakia in 1930, 88,951 remained in 1940; some had emigrated, but the rest had become Hungarian Jews as a result of the 1938 annexations.

(End note 96: Livia Rothkirchen: The Destruction of Slovak Jewry (Hebrew); Jerusalem 1961, pp.9, 14 (English summary, pp. vii, xiv)

In early 1939 a social committee (Zentrales Soziales Fürsorgekomitee) was working in Bratislava under Dr. Robert K. Füredi and Mrs. Gizi Fleischmann, who was to become during the war one of the great (p.261)

heroines of the Jewish tragedy. In January 1939 this committee was supporting a foreign refugee population of 3,064 who had to be fed daily.

(End note 97:
-- 11-2, report, 2/3/39 [3 February 1939];
-- CON-2, report by Marjorie Katz, 2/12/38; and
-- R11, see note 94 above)

[Jews temporarily driven into no-man's-lands - Kosice and other border regions]

One of the main problems arising from the Sudeten crisis was the terrible plight of thousands of Jews who were driven - by Germans, Slovaks, Hungarians, Poles, and even Czechs - into no-man's-land, the small areas between the new borders. Two thousand such unfortunates were driven by the Slovaks into a no-man's-land near Kosice, a town which passed into Hungarian hands. The Hungarians drove most of them back. in the end some 300 refugees, largely stateless and Slovak Jews, spent the Slovak autumn in the open, without shelter, food, or medical aid.

A great deal of money was spent providing them with basic necessities. After many interventions, Slovakia finally accepted most of these refugees.

(End note 98: See note 94 above [R11, November 1938, report by Noel Aronovici on a visit to Czechoslovakia!)

Hundreds more were reported to be in the Austro-Moravian border areas, between the new Sudeten frontier and the Bohemian heartland and on other borders.

(End note 99: 11-4, 10/24/38 [24 October 1938] report)

It is next to impossible to establish the total number, but there could not have been less than 3-4,000 persons. It was not until January 1939, more than three months after Munich, that the last of these people finally found a country that would harbor them, mostly in refugee camps.

(End note 100: Executive Committee, 2/26/39 [26 February 1939]. According to JTA [Jewish Telegraphic Agency], 2,700 Jews were finally taken out from no-man's-land by Hungarian and Slovak authorities (1/23/39 [23 January 1939])

[15 March 1939: NS occupation of rest CSR - JDC with social committees in Prague and Bratislava - emigration projects]

Then final disaster struck. On March 15, 1939, Germany occupied the Czech lands; Slovakia became "independent" under a German protectorate; and Subcarpathia was annexed by Hungary. In Prague, Marie Schmolka was arrested by the Nazis immediately after they entered the city; she was not released until May.

JDC policy in Czechoslovakia was to support the two social committees in Prague and Bratislava. Prior to March, JDC was providing 40 % of the budget of the Prague Social Institute. After March it gave more than 50 %.

(End note 101: 11-2, 6/8/39 [8 June 1939], memo on Czechoslovakia)

Large-scale aid had to be given to Slovakia to support the 2,938 refugees who were completely dependent on outside help.

(End note 102: R59, Troper letter, 6/16/39 [16 June 1939])

In the Czech lands an arrangement similar to that in Germany and Austria was worked out, whereby American dollars would not go into German coffers (p.262)

but would cover the costs of emigration, while the emigrants' money would be used to cover local needs. But in Slovakia the new authorities would not accept these arrangements, and immediate help was essential.

Reluctantly, Troper cabled his head office on June 15, 1939, that a one-time transfer of $ 20,000 to the Slovak National Bank was unavoidable; on the 16, New York cabled agreement.

(End note 103: 11-2, exchange of letters and cables, 6/15/39-7/21/39 [15 June-21 July 1939]

In Prague, JDC support was, as we have seen, indirect, but it ran at a monthly rate of about $ 33,000.

[April 1939-end 1939: Emigration of about 35,000 Jews of CSR]

The main concern of the committees and of JDC was, of course, to aid as many people to emigrate as possible at the greatest speed. Prior to March 15 there was a great deal of competition from Sudeten German opponents of Nazism and from Czechs who wished to leave the country. Nevertheless, by the end of 1939 about 35,000 Jews managed to leave the Czech lands.

This was facilitated by a British government-supported fund, the Lord Mayor's Fund, which had 4 million pounds at its disposal. Despite the fact that the fund was largely used for Czech internal requirements, small amounts were used for Jewish refugee emigration. England was the main destination of the emigrants; representatives of British groups, Quakers and others, did a tremendous job in Prague, sifting and processing applications; the staff of the British Embassy in Prague was also very helpful.

[Flight without visa from the NS CSR - an emigration train without visas]
Nevertheless, there were difficulties. In the panic that the occupation of the country brought, people simply tried to flee without bothering to obtain visas. A train with 160 Jews went across Germany in April, only to be stopped by the Dutch because the emigrants did not have any visas of final destination. The Gestapo declared that if the train was still in Germany by a fixed deadline - April 29 - the refugees would be arrested. It was only through a waving of formalities by the British that these people were saved.

(End note 104: R60, introduction to the March-April 1939 report)

Illegal emigration to Palestine also flourished; other persons crossed the border into Poland as Czech refugees, only to be threatened by the Poles with deportation back into the Gestapo's hands.

(End note 105: 11-5, Smolar report, 6/9/39 [9 June 1939])

The Germans were pressing for Jewish emigration by the (p.263)

same methods that had been so successful elsewhere, and in July 1939 they established in Prague a branch office of the Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration.

[Since March 1939: Again Jews driven into no-man's-lands - help]

After March, too, the tragedies of small groups in no-man's-land were repeated. Germans were expelling Jews from the Czech lands, and on the Polish border the scenes of autumn 1938 took place once again. In all these cases the Prague Social Institute had to intervene to keep the people alive.

(End note 106: 11-5, Troper cable, 6/15/39 [15 June 1939])

When the curtain came down on the unhappy country in September 1939, the fate of Czech Jewry had become identical to that of Germany and Austria.

Where could the Jews of Central Europe have gone? No country was willing to accept panic-stricken Jewish refugees without the necessary and delaying prerequisites of form-filling and careful scrutiny. No country really wanted penniless Jews.

[H. Reactions abroad to the Reichskristallnacht and to the split of CSSR]

[6.20. France's harsh anti-Semitic policy after Reichskristallnacht 1938-1939 with prison and concentration camps]

[France: Central Refugee Committee set up (Comité Central de Réfugiés)]

In France the shock of November produced a much greater readiness among local Jewry to come to the aid of refugees. A new central coordinating committee (Comité Central de Réfugiés) was set up under Robert de Rothschild. They approached the government and demanded the acceptance of 10,000 Jewish children (as in England);

[France: The law against refugees from May 1938 is not abolished]
the committee also asked, in vain, for the abolition of the May 1938 decree against refugees. Although they were not crowned with much success, in these actions French Jewry at last was showing "greater energy and devotion than before".

(End note 107:
-- Hyman at Executive Committee, 3/22/39; see also:
-- Executive Committee, 1/26/39 [26 January 1939])

[France: Jewish Refugees are handed over to Switzerland - and CH hands them over to the Gestapo]

Government reaction was not favorable. Refugees crossing illegally from Germany into Alsace were pushed over the border to Switzerland and then deported to Germany.

OSE, with its three homes for 185 children (there was no money for more homes), was saddled with 100s of refugee children "without their parents or with parents imprisoned for failing to obey expulsion orders. ... Most of them were between the ages of five and ten."

(End note 108: R59, Troper letter, 5/16/39 [16 May 1939])

[End 1939: France: 25,000 Jewish refugees - with 2,000 from CSR]
The number of refugees at the end of 1938 was 25,000, including 2,000 who came from Czechoslovakia in March 1939.

[Help by the Comité d'Assistance aux Réfugiés (CAR)]

The main burden of supporting these desperate people fell to the (p.264)

Comité d'Assistance aux Réfugiés (CAR) - founded in 1936 - under Albert Levy and Robert de Rothschild. In early 1939 it supported 10,378 persons.

[France: Prison up to one year for Jewish refugees - only little vocational training]

Persecution - there is no other word for it - by the French authorities reached new heights; refugees were arrested for periods up to one year, and "many who have undergone this punishment have been expelled."

(End note 109: R46, January 1939 report)

Work permits were almost impossible to get, and vocational retraining did not touch more than a fraction of the people: in January 1939 the Reclassement Professionel, a French Jewish agency, was training 224 persons, and ORT was training 476.

(End note 110: Ibid. [R46, January 1939 report])

In 1939, 13,500 Jews are estimated to have emigrated into France.

(End note 111: R21, draft 1939 report)

[June 1939:
With the growing hostility of the French government to Jewish refugees, there was a meeting in June 1939 between the main agencies dealing with the problem - JDC, the Alliance Israélite Universelle, other French committees, and the World Jewish Congress. The main problem that was discussed was whether to start a public campaign in France to air the issue. The majority of those present, including Troper for JDC, were against such a course; it was still felt that the best way to approach the problem would be through quiet diplomacy. Dr. Goldmann for WJC and Marc Jarblum for the Fédération des Sociétés Juives, who demanded a public campaign, were in the minority.

(End note 112: 15-2, meeting in Paris, 6/4/39 [4 June 1939])

JDC rejected the notion that the issue of Jewish suffering should be aired in public so as to make it a political issue. On the other hand, JDC continued to aid French organizations, and especially CAR, to an ever-increasing degree. France was, after all, the main land of immigration on the European continent. And despite the fact that JDC was highly critical of French Jewry for the small sums being collected in France, it poured as much money as it could into France in order to be of as much help as possible. In 1938, $ 130,884 was spent in France, and in 1939, $ 589,000.

(End note 113:
-- R12;
-- R21, report for 1938 and 1939)

[6.21. Belgium's anti-Semitic threats - but no measures taken]

[Nov 1938: About 13,300 Jewish refugies in Belgium]

Another country of immigration in Europe was Belgium. Prior to November 1938 there were about 13,300 Jewish refugees in the country, of whom some 3,000 in Brussels required help.

(End note 114: R12, 1938 report)

The government declared that all those arriving illegally after August (p.265)

27, 1938, would be expelled. But in actual fact there seem to have been no expulsions. Between November 10 and the end of the year about 3,000 more refugees arrived, all of them illegally. By the end of January 1939 there were 7,500 people who had to be supported - 3,000 in Antwerp and 4,500 in Brussels.

[Belgium: JDC help to the Jewish refugees]

JDC action in Belgium was much more speedy than elsewhere because it was obvious that, of all the West European countries, Belgium  had the relatively poorest community. In December 1938 JDC gave $ 20,000 to meet the rising costs of maintaining the refugees; but this covered about one-sixth of the actual cost, and only $ 20,000 could be raised locally per month. In January, JDC gave $ 20,000. But that was not enough, and Professor Max Gottschalk, head of the Brussels Jewish aid committee, told Troper that he might have to tell the government that his committee could no longer look after the refugees.

[Reduce of the help - undernourishment and tuberculosis]
This insufficient help had to be further reduced, and that at a time when JDC estimated that 95 % of the refugees were undernourished and that tuberculosis was on the increase.

[Since March 1939: Belgium: Flow of refugees - appeal and government's help]

In March [1939] the Belgian government was told that the committee's resources were at an end. At that time there were already 25,000 German, Austrian, and Czech Jewish refugees in the country, of whom 10,000 had to be supported; 400 more were entering the country illegally every week. The government's attitude was hardening, and even legal entrants who overstayed their time faced deportion.

(End note 115: AC [Administration Committee files], Troper report, 3/31/39 [31 March 1939])

However, possibly as a result of Gottschalk's intervention, the government relented to a considerable degree. It increased its budget by 6 mio. Belgian francs (about $ 20,000), which enabled 3,000 refugees to receive a government allowance. Camps were opened to house the newcomers. The principle that Jewish organizations were the only ones responsible for Jewish refugees was, at least in Belgium, overcome.

[Since 15 July 1939: Belgium: Deportation threat to new refugees]
Until July 15, 1939, all those fleeing from Germany were allowed to remain; after that date, they risked expulsion unless they were political refugees.

JDC increased its allocations to $ 40,000 in April, $ 60,000 in (p.266)

August, and $ 80,000 in September. As a result, JDC expenditure rose from a mere $ 106,000 in 1938 to $ 694,000 in 1939.

(End note 116:
-- R21;
-- 30-Germany, refugees in Belgium (Bruxelles);
the figures in these two sources are contradictory; file 30 has a figure of $ 94,000 for JDC expenditures in Belgium in 1938. The discrepancy might possibly derive from the inclusion of JDC's support for the Belgian HICEM in the higher figure).

By the summer of 1939 two-thirds of the refugee expenditure in Belgium was covered by JDC.

[6.22. Holland's police deports Jews without visas to the Reich]

A similar influx of refugees came into Holland. At the end of 1938 Mrs. van Tijn's Committee for Jewish Refugees [CJR] counted 7,000 refugees in Holland, including about 1,800 who had arrived at the end of the year after the November pogrom. Officially, no more people were supposed to come in after November 11, but a 1 million guilder guarantee by CJR prolonged the time limit to December 23.

(End note 117: For Holland, see:
-- Executive Committee, 4/19/39;
-- R46, January 1939 report;
-- 34-Germany, refugees 1935-41, 1938 report.
These are also the sources for the next paragraph in the text. Mrs. van Tijn reports (R52, 3/23/39 [23 March 1939] meeting of refugee committees) that the date of the closure of the Dutch border was December 17. I have not been able to clear up the discrepancy).

After that date the Dutch police became very strict and did not hesitate to deport entrants who were without visas. Nevertheless, the number of Jewish refugees in Holland in early 1939 grew by about 7,000 because quite a number of German Jews had obtained legal entry permits by showing that they had relatives who were already living in the country.

[Three camps for Jewish refugees - Westerbork - JDC help - vocational training]

Refugees continued to pour in through 1939. In order to care both for illegals who had been allowed to stay and for legal entrants who had no means of support, the government set up three camps for 600 persons. One of these camps was at Westerbork, the future deportation center, from which most of Dutch Jews went to their deaths in 1942-44. JDC supported Mrs. van Tijn's committee as it had done in previous years, especially its Wieringen project, where 270 youngsters were receiving agricultural training in 1939, and the other Hechalutz training centers, where another 330 were preparing for Palestine. Most of these young people never saw the country of their destination - many were sent to their deaths in Nazi camps; other were to form the nucleus for one of the Jewish resistance groups in France during the war.

[6.23. Switzerland's policy 1938-1939 - "J" stamp against Jewish refugees since 1 November 1938]

[29 Sep 1938: "J" stamp agreement with the Third Reich]

Switzerland occupied a special place in the events outlined here. The November pogrom was preceded by a German-Swiss agreement on September 29, 1938, regarding the special marking of passports of German Jews with a large red "J".

The accusation was later leveled against the chief of the Swiss alien police, Dr. Heinrich Rothmund, that he had initiated the branding of Jews by this (p.267)

special passport symbol by suggesting the idea to the Nazis. Be that as it may, it is quite clear that the Swiss police chief - and, what is more important, the Swiss government - gladly accepted the regulation that discriminated so blatantly between Jews and non-Jews, because it made it impossible for German Jews to enter Switzerland without a visa; "pure" Germans were, of course, free to enter Switzerland with no formalities. The only German demand to which the Swiss objected - not too strongly, it must be said, but with sufficient vigor to make the Germans abandon the idea - was that Swiss Jews wishing to visit Germany be required to obtain a visa and have their passports marked in some special way.
(End note 118: Ludwig, op. cit. [Ludwig, Carl: Die Flüchtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart. Bericht an den Bundesrat [The refugee policy of Switzerland since 1933 to the present]; Zurich, no date [1957], pp. 94-151)

[1 Nov 1938: "J" stamp practice - 10,000 Jewish refugees in Switzerland - 3,062 with VSIA help]

The new provision, which went into effect in November, prevented large-scale immigration by Jews into Switzerland. In early 1939 there were some 10,000 Jewish refugees in the country, of whom 3,062 were supported by VSIA.

(End note 119: SIG [Swiss Israelite Federate Corporation (Schweizerischer Israelitischer Gemeindebund (SIG)], op. cit., p.35)

The Swiss police, backed by the government, were not content with preventing an influx of German Jews, however; they felt they had to prevent the immigration of persecuted Jews from all other countries in Europe.

[20 Jan 1939: Switzerland: Visa regulations for all immigrants]

After January 20, 1939, therefore, all prospective immigrants into Switzerland were required to obtain visas;

[15 March 1939: Switzerland: Visa regulation for Czech passports]
a similar provision was introduced on March 15 for holders of Czechoslovakian passports.

[Sep 1939: 5,000 Jewish refugees in Switzerland]
As a result of these restrictive measures, the numbers of Jewish refugees decreased, and by the outbreak of war there were about 5,000 Jewish refugees in Switzerland.

(End note 120: Ludwig, op. cit. [Ludwig, Carl: Die Flüchtlingspolitik der Schweiz seit 1933 bis zur Gegenwart. Bericht an den Bundesrat [The refugee policy of Switzerland since 1933 to the present]; Zurich, no date [1957], p.164)

However, 300 children were admitted as a special gesture.

[Help by VSIA]
Despite the seemingly easier situation, the problem of caring for the refugees was very difficult for the Swiss Jewish community, which numbered about 18,000. A total of 810 persons were accommodated in 16 small camps, where they were completely dependent on VSIA help.

(End note 121: VSIA files [Verein Schweizerischer Israelitischer Armenpflegen [Confederation of Swiss Israelite poor care], SM files [Saly Mayer files])

The Swiss were very strict about denying working permits to the refugees. Unless the refugee had money, he had to turn for support to JDC-supported VSIA.

[Organization of emigration by VSIA and HICEM]
VSIA, in cooperation with HICEM, also had to try to help as many Jews as possible to emigrate. This, too, cost money. Total VSIA expenditure for (p.268)

1939 came to 3,688,185 francs, of which JDC contributed over 50 % (over $ 470,000). By September 1939 JDC had sent $ 315,000 to VSIA, at a monthly rate of $ 35,000.

(End note 122: 51-Switzerland, 1944; in a communication to this author dated February 5, 1970, the JDC office gave the sum spent in Switzerland in 1939 as $ 477,000. The difference, $ 7,000, was probably not given to VSIA but to other organizations in Switzerland).

[6.24. Italy's policy against Jews 1938-1939 with deprivation of citizenship]

JDC had to intervene in other countries in Europe as well. A steady stream of refugees had been entering Italy. At the end of 1938 there were some 6,000 German and Austrian Jews there, and they were not treated too badly. But as we have already seen a decree of September 7, 1938, issued as a result largely of German influence on the Italian Fascist regime, stated that anyone who had acquired Italian citizenship in recent years would have to leave the country by March 12, 1939. Apart from the six thousand refugees, this also affected 9,000 older immigrants into Italy.

JDC tried its best to influence the Italian government to desist from its declared intentions, and in early February, Troper contacted Myron C. Taylor, who promised to do his best to change the Italian's intentions. Earlier, an influential Anglo-Scots banker, Sir Andrew McFadeyan, a partner of Sigmund Warburg's in London, also promised JDC to use his influence with the Italians.

(End note 123:
-- R10, Troper memo on talk with Myron C. Taylor, 2/15/39 [15 February 1939];
-- R55, report, 1/8/39 [8 January 1939])

[Italy: Jewish Exodus by 12 March - further Jewish exodus]

While it is impossible to say whether all these efforts had any effect, it is clear that by the time the fateful March 12 came, half of the 15,000 Jews had left Italy; between March and September, another 2,500 left. In the end, about 4,000 people stayed behind and were not molested by the authorities. Most of the emigrants went to the Americas, and quite a number went to Nice. Apart from the Jewish organizations, the Friends were again effective in aiding the emigrating Jews (many of whom pretended to be Catholics) get to South American countries.

(End note 124: Rosswell McClelland, interview (H).

[6.25. Smaller havens in Europe for Jews]

On the Continent there was scarcely a country that did not accept some refugees, but the numbers were small and many obstacles were put in their way. In early 1939 there were still about 2,000 refugees in Yugoslavia, although by now many had been expelled. JDC sent small sums of money to aid the Zagreb community, which organized some help (JDC sent $ 4,300).

Sweden took about 2,000 people, and so did Bulgaria.

There were between 16,000 and (p.269)

18,000 refugees in Poland (these were discussed above in connection with the Zbaszyn episode). Norway accepted 2,000. There were 350 in Luxembourg, 600 in Greece, 200 in Finland, 1,000 in Latvia, and so on. Even in Albania there were 150 Jewish refugees from Central Europe. JDC did not - could not - intervene in all these countries. In some, like the Scandinavian countries, there were well-organized communities or reasonable friendly governments. There was no way to transmit money safely to certain places, but wherever it was possible, JDC fulfilled its usual role.

[6.26. England's policy: 63-65,000 Jewish refugees by the end of 1939]

Great Britain was a special case as far as the refugees were concerned. In the wake of the November pogrom, Britain's refugee population grew to 13,500 by January 1939. However, both government and public opinion were under a special kind of moral pressure. To a certain degree the government felt responsible for the Munich settlement and for the events that followed. Then there was Palestine, where since October 1938 it had been clear that a pro-Arab compromise that would put an end to Jewish immigration was planned. In early December the government turned a deaf ear to the demand of the Jewish Agency to allow the immigration of 10,000 children from Germany and Austria to Palestine.

(End note 125: Hansard Parliamentary Debates, House of Lords, vol. 111, no. 13, col. 463, 12/8/38, speech by Lord Dufferin)

But it felt that an alternative should be offered. The alternative was to create a sanctuary for children in the United Kingdom itself. In addition, an arrangement was offered whereby Jewish women could come to Britain to work as domestic servants. Other visas for adults with good recommendations could also be obtained.

[End 1939: 63-65,000 Jewish refugees in Britain]
By the end of 1939 there were between 63,000 and 65,000 refugees in Britain. Of these, 9,354 were children and 15,000 were domestic servants.

(End note 126:
-- R21, 1939 draft report;
-- 12-22, report, 1933-43

This large-scale acceptance of Jewish refugees, while welcomed by a large part of the British public , did not go completely unchallenged.

(End note 127: See, for example: Sunday Pictorial, 1/20/39: Refugees Get Jobs; Britons Get Dole.

But the climate in Britain in early 1939, and especially later, as it became clear that Hitler would not keep the promise he gave at Munich, was no longer unfavorable to the refugees. Many - 7-8,000 - were liberated from concentration camps on the strength of British entry permits.

[Since Nov 1938: Fund raising by the Council for German Jewry - aid to refugees]
The Council for German Jewry started its collection after the (p.270)

November pogrom [1938]. It collected 850,000 pounds up to the outbreak of war. Of this very large sum, 286,000 pounds were allocated for the care of refugees in England; 145,270 pounds were not allocated at the time but were used later, during the war, to support refugees in Britain. The rest went to support work in Palestine, Shanghai and other places.

[Dec 1938 appr.: Baldwin Fund for Refugees set up]
Others were also making financial efforts. Under Earl Baldwin's leadership, the Baldwin Fund for Refugees was founded; it collected 400,000 pounds. It was estimated that 90 % of the contributors to this fund were Jews; 50 % of the money collected went to support the work of the Council for German Jewry.

(End note 128: Joseph L. Cohen: Salvaging German Jewry; London 1939)

A number of smaller Christian committees were coordinated under the leadership of Lord Hailey in the Christian Council for Refugees.

[Change within the Council for German Jewry: Samuel goes - Reading comes]
The Council for German Jewry itself was transformed; in February, Lord Samuel resigned and Lord Reading became chairman. With this change all pretence that the council represented the American organizations, and especially JDC, came to an end. It became officially what it had long been in fact: a purely British institution, which cooperated with JDC but in no sense represented it.

[Camps for Jewish refugees and emigration expectations]
One of the more fruitful ideas advanced at that hectic time by those favoring the entry of Jewish refugees into Britain was to create large camps for adults and children where the refugees could remain until more permanent homes were found for them. Kahn cabled that the idea was in the "meantime (to) erect camps (and) training centers wherever possible for (the) young generation."

(End note 129: 14-60, Kahn cable, 11/14/38 [14 November 1938])

The largest such camp was opened at Richborough (Kitchener Camp). Of course, the acceptance of refugees into Britain was considered largely a temporary measure, and most, if not all, refugees were expected ultimately to emigrate to other countries.

(End note 130: Hyman at Executive Committee, 1/26/39 [26 January 1939])

[Jewish illegal immigration to England by boat - protection of boat people]
During the last months before the outbreak of war, illegal immigration was attempted even into Britain on a small scale. It is symptomatic that British sailors were reported to have facilitated such immigration and that British judges were inclined to recommend that such immigrants not be deported.

(End note 131: 31-Germany, refugees, 1939-42, 2/21/39 [21 February 1939], Adler to Borchardt)

[I. 6.27. JDC saving and working for Jewish Children]

One of the main characteristics of the mass emigration of (p.271)

1938/9, and one intimately connected with Britain, was the emigration of unaccompanied children. JDC had nothing to do with the immigration of adults into Britain, but it played a significant part in the attempts to save as many children as possible from German-occupied lands before the war (and it was to play a similar role during the war itself).

The movement to save the children started in England. Between March 1936 and November 1938, 471 children from Germany, 55 % of them Jewish (many of the rest were probably "non-Aryans"), were brought there and cared for by an Inter-Aid Committee supported by the Council for German Jewry. The Friends and other Christian groups also participated in this committee.

After the November 17, 1938, pogrom, Lord Samuel became chairman  of a subcommittee that was to promote the migration of children. On November 21 a delegation of the Council for German Jewry and the Inter-Aid Committee was received by the home secretary, who promised his support in getting the children into Britain. That same evening he announced his support in the House of Commons. As a result, the Movement for the Care of Children from Germany was organized, which undertook to guarantee that the children would not become public charges and that they would reemigrate before they reached the age of 18 or when their training in Britain was completed.

Two summer camps for youth at Harwich and Lowestoft were used to provide immediate accommodations. In Germany, Austria, and the Czech lands, Jewish organizations and such groups as the Quakers set up procedures to get the children to Britain. JDC had no direct contact with this work in Britain, but through its cooperating committees in Europe it was involved in sending the children to the safety of England.

[149 children brought to the "USA"]
A plea by Mrs. van Tijn to accept large numbers of children into the United States could not be answered affirmatively. The U.S. organization for placing refugee children was limited both by the strictness of the quota laws and by its own limitations. In November 1938 it could take 326 children, but of these, 177 children in (p.272)

Germany already had their affidavits; so that the U.S. could at that point consider the immigration of only 149 children.

By contrast other European countries did follow the British example. Holland accepted 1,850 children, Belgium took 800, France took 700, and Sweden 250. Of this total of close to 13,000 children, 2,336 came from Austria, about 8,000 from Germany, and the rest from Danzig and the Czech lands.

(End note 132:
-- Germany file, movement for the care of children; and:
-- Movement for the Care of Children; first annual report; London, no date, pp. 3-9)

[Over 3/8 of the JDC expenditure for "refugee countries" 1938-1939]
When one looks at the total monetary effort expended by JDC in aiding refugees in the different countries, the figures are quite impressive. In 1938 and especially in 1939 there is something of a quantitative jump as compared with previous years. In 1939 over three-eighths of the JDC expenditures were devoted to what was known in JDC jargon as "the refugee countries".

Table 20: JDC Expenditures in "Refugee Countries"
Total spent (in thousands of $)
*R14, 1935 report gives $ 205,000
**R13, 1936 report gives $ 239,820
***The figures for 1938 and 1939 are appropriations, not expenditures.
(End note 133: Sources:
-- R21, draft report 1939;
9-27, Kahn report, September 1938;
-- refugee countries were France, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, and Czechoslovakia).

[J. Further happenings in Europe 1938-1939]

[6.28.] The Rublee-Schacht episode and the coordinating foundation

[August 1938: Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR) set up]

The Evian Conference took place in July 1938. In August, ICR [Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR), set up at Evian 1938)] held its first meeting, and George Rublee became its director. Then the Sudeten crisis of September 1938 had prevented further progress. The Germans were not eager to negotiate at that time. ICR and the Jewish organizations that placed their hopes in it, on the other hand, assumed that a breakthrough on the emigration front was possible only if negotiations with Germany led to an orderly emigration of Jews from that country, and if emigrants were allowed (p.273)

to take some capital with them and thus make themselves more welcome in the host countries.

[21 Nov 1938: Britain: 11,000 Jewish refugees bring work for 15,000 Britons]

In the debate on refugees in the British House of Commons on November 21, 1938, the home secretary pointedly referred to the fact that the 11,000 refugees from Hitler who had been admitted to Britain had already provided employment for 15,000 Britons. Other countries had similar expectations. The proper way to go about emigration, argued Max M. Warburg, was "to find jobs for German Jews on (a) similar social standard and similar level of living as they had before."

(End note 134: 9-30, 6/26/39 [26 June 1939], Warburg to Hyman)

The problem was, who would pay for it?

[August 1938 appr.: JDC sees clear: Jewish emigrants need to bring some of their money with]

JDC became convinced soon after Evian that emigration "must in the final analysis be financed with funds from German Jews themselves, for which it will be necessary that an international agreement with Reich authorities be reached permitting emigrants to take out some of their money."

(End note 135: George Backer at Executive Committee, 9/29/38 [29 September 1938])

It was for this reason that JDC so wholeheartedly supported Rublee, and as late as December 1938 saw in Evian "some consolation".

(End note 136: James N. Rosenberg at JDC annual meeting, 12/20/38 [20 December 1938])

[August 1938 appr.: JDC sees clear: New settlements in new countries need state money]

The second point, to which JDC became converted as 1938 drew to an end and 1939 began, was even more important. Private means, voluntary organizations - these were well and good, but they would not be able to settle Jews in difficult new countries. Established countries of settlement were closing their doors. If there was to be mass resettlement, government funds would have to be forthcoming.

(End note 137: Executive Committee, 2/13/39 [13 February 1939])

[27 Oct 1938: Rublee plan for Jewish emigration - similar to the later Schacht plan]

In the autumn of 1938 Rublee was cooling his heels in London. In October 27 [1938] he presented his own ideas on how the emigration of German Jews should be organized. It appears that these ideas were influenced by the diplomatic contacts taking place in Berlin between members of the British and American embassies and German authorities, mainly those connected with Göring's office. At any rate, Rublee's proposals were almost identical with those known later as the Schacht plan. It is also likely that German Jews were involved in transmitting the German proposals.

[Rublee plan for Jewish emigration:

A. Trust fund in Germany to set up]

The content of these proposals was that 1.5 billion German marks, or 25 % of the total assets of German Jewry (estimated (p.274)

at 6 billion marks, or $ 2.4 billion), would be set up as a trust fund in Germany. Jews abroad would raise an equivalent sum in foreign currency, which nominally would be a loan to the emigrants. The money abroad would pay for the actual emigration and settlement.

[B. German Jewish emigrants shall take German goods with them and sell abroad for German export]

German emigrants would repay the capital and the interest in the form of German goods that they would take with them and sell abroad, thus in effect increasing German exports. However, this would have to be over and above the "normal" level of German exports (whatever that meant). At any rate, Schacht spoke of "additional exports" in this connection.

[The Rublee plan comes from Fischböck, controlled by Göring, and brought to Schacht]

This plan was apparently conceived by a high Austrian Nazi economic official, Dr. Hand Fischböck, who suggested it to Göring. Göring in turn appears to have brought it to the attention of Hjalmar Schacht, Germany's economic wizard who was at that time the head of the Reichsbank.

[Nov 1938: Schacht in London presents the Schacht plan - Hitler agrees on 2 Jan 1939]

Schacht went to London in November and presented the plan to Winterton and Rublee. Further negotiations were to take place with Fischböck, but Schacht apparently wanted time to present the proposals to Hitler. He appears to have done this on January 2, 1939, and he received Hitler's approval.

(End note 138:
-- Wyman, op. cit. [Wyman, David S.: Paper Walls; Amherst, Mass., 1968], pp. 53-56;
-- Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], pp. 241-48;
-- Raul Hilberg: The Destruction of European Jews; Chicago 1961, p. 97.
All these authors rely mainly on official document publications such as:
-- Foreign Relations of the United States 1938, 1:871-74; 1939, 2:77-87, 102-24, 95-98;
-- Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939, 3rd series; London 1950, 3:675-77; and:
-- Documents on German Foreign Policy, series D, 5:753-767, 780.
Some unpublished State Department material is also quoted. See also: Mashberg, op. cit [Mashberg, Michael: America and the Refugee Crisis; M.A. thesis; City University of New York, 1970])

[Jews and many non-Jews reject the Schacht plan for emigration with exportation of German goods]

Jews almost unanimously rejected the Schacht plan, as did many non-Jews.

[Jan 1939: London: New negotiations about emigration of German Jews - new Schacht plan]

As a result of this opposition, new negotiations were started that January in Berlin. With the help of Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, contact was established with the Germans; then Rublee himself came and talked with Schacht. Ribbentrop objected to these talks, but the Schacht-Göring group overcame that opposition. Schacht's new proposal was much more favorable to the Jews:

[Second Schacht plan details]

[A. No additional exports]
the idea of "additional exports" was dropped,

[B. The trust is for the Jews abroad starting a new life, for transportation and freight expenses]
and the money in the trust fund would simply be used to buy equipment for Jews with which they could hope to start new lives outside Germany. This might boost German exports incidentally, but no foreign currency would accrue to the Reich treasury. Transport and freight expenses would also be covered by these funds, insofar as German vessels or other means of transport were used.

[C. Other expenses are paid by Jewish corporation]
The Jewish corporation that would be set up abroad would pay for all (p.275)

the other expenses. There would be no necessary connection between that corporation and the trust fund, which was to be run by a directorate of three: two Germans and one non-German.

[D. 150,000 working Jews first, then 250,000 dependent Jews - 200,000 older Jews remain]
150,000 Jews of working age would settle abroad, to be followed by 250,000 dependents; 200,000 others would remain behind and be supported out of Jewish capital other than that in the trust fund. The Germans promised that these people would not be molested. For these 200,000, some Jewish businesses might be reopened, and "Jews outside of Germany would not be called upon to support their coreligionists in the Reich".

(End note 139: New York Times, 2/14/39 [14 February 1939])

As soon as the scheme was started, Jews would be released from the concentration camps.

[Negotiations about deported German Jews in Poland]

At the same time, negotiations were opened between Germany and Poland, and the Poles declared themselves willing to take back into Poland 4-5,000 Polish Jews from Germany, if they came with 70 % of their property.

(End note 140: R46, January 1939 reports)

[21 Jan 1939: Schacht dismissed - further negotiations with Helmut Wohlthat]
In the midst of the negotiations, on January 21,  Rublee was informed that Schacht had been dismissed from his post by Hitler, but that an official by the name of Helmut Wohlthat had been nominated by Göring - in his capacity as Germany's economic dictator - to continue the negotiations. In a personal interview on January 23,

(End note 141: Ibid. [R46, January 1939 reports])

Göring assured Rublee that the German government was serious in its intentions to see the negotiations through.

[Different opinions about the second Schacht emigration plan]

Public opinion in Britain and the U.S. was divided on the new plan; so were the Jews. Although the majority of the Zionists remained opposed to the plan despite the improved conditions, personalities like Stephen S. Wise and Louis Lipsky voiced approval. JDC hesitated. Its labor component was very definitely against what became to be known as the Rublee plan. The Jewish Labor Committee had joined with the American Jewish Congress in Supporting the boycott of German goods, and at the JDC leadership meetings, Adolph Held, a leading journalist of the labor wing, voiced opposition to the scheme. The counterpart organization that the Jews were supposed to set up would, Held thought, recognize the right of the German government to expropriate Jewish (p.276)

property and would destroy the boycott.

(End note 142: R55, 3/17/39, Baerwald statement and discussion).

However, it was quite clear that unless some Jewish counterpart to the trust fund was set up, the whole scheme was unworkable. This again raised the whole problem of private organizations arranging for the mass settlement of hundreds of thousands of people with voluntary contributions - and JDC was convinced that this was impossible.

[British Jewish leaders urge for a Coordinating Foundation for Jewish emigration]

At the same time, Jewish leaders in Britain were much less hesitant and were pressing for the establishment of a Coordinating Foundation that would fulfill two main tasks: it would serve as a secretariat in directing emigrants to various places of settlement and it would invest money in settlement projects.

["US" State Department supports the Schacht-Rublee plan]

The Rublee plan had the full support of the American State Department.

[13 February 1939: Rublee resigns - Emerson new director of the ICR]
Rublee himself resigned on February 13, 1939, having - as he thought - accomplished his mission. The directorship of ICR [Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR) (set up at Evian 1938)] was taken over by Sir Herbert Emerson, the League of Nations high commissioner for refugees.

[March 1939: "US" government campaign for the Schacht-Rublee plan to set up the "US"-GB Coordinating Foundation]
Myron C. Taylor was again called to help the U.S. government, and beginning in March a most extraordinary campaign was waged by the president, the State Department, and Taylor, to press American Jewish organizations into accepting the Rublee plan and setting up the Coordinating Foundation together with British Jews.

[28 March and 15 April 1939: Informal meetings about a future Coordinating Foundation - danger that the plan is copied by other governments]

As a result of concerted pressure, a first meeting of Taylor with Lewis L. Strauss, Henry Ittleson, Albert D. Lasker, Harold Linder, and Joseph C. Hyman took place on March 28, 1939. A second "informal meeting of Jews" was held on April 15.

(End note 143: 9-27, 5/4/39 [4 May 1939] memo)

At this meeting in the chambers of Roosevelt's friend Judge Rosenman, the leadership of JDC and the American Jewish Committee, as well as prominent Zionists like Wise and Robert Szold, decided to negotiate with Taylor. An aide-mémoire drawn up as a result of the meeting stated that "we should take no steps that directly or by implication would give recognition by the Jewish community as such to the validity of any expropriation of private property or of the requirement that German citizens who are Jews (sic!) shall be driven into exile. We should particularly refrain from undertaking, as a Jewish group, any step which might tend to induce any other (p.277)

government to follow the German program."

The matter was not just Jewish, and if Taylor insisted on forming an organization to implement the Rublee plan, this should be done "under general and not Jewish auspices." Further, the problem was of such magnitude "as to place it beyond the power of individuals alone to solve, and to make it a subject for the concern and active aid of governments."

Meetings with Taylor followed. Taylor disregarded the Jewish reservations and chose to regard the Jewish attitude as favorable to the creation of the Coordinating Foundation. He agreed with their reservations, he said, and the foundation should be set up forthwith. But to the State Department he reported that there was great reluctance in Jewish circles because of the fear that the Jews with their own hands, might create that ogre of anti-Semitic propaganda called "international Jewry", against which Hitler was rampaging.

[29 April 1939: 41 Jewish leaders agree to the Schacht-Rublee plan]
But the Jews were already relenting. On April 29 41 Jewish leaders met and agreed to Taylor's demands. Nevertheless Roosevelt requested that a Jewish delegation meet with him.

[4 May 1939: Roosevelt urges the Jewish leaders to set up the Coordinating Foundation]

The meeting took place on May 4, with Baerwald, Ittleson, Strauss, Proskauer, Sol Stroock, and Samuel I. Rosenman representing the Jews, and Welles and Moffat representing the State Department. the president urged the Jewish leaders to set up the foundation as quickly as possible.

[30 May 1939: Two Jewish "US" representatives should be sent to London to establish the Coordinating Foundation]

In response, JDC - obviously the Jewish group most immediately concerned - decided on May 30 to send two representatives to London to negotiate with the British regarding the establishment of the foundation. Paul Baerwald and Harold Linder agreed to go on the delicate mission.

(End note 144: Executive Committee, 6/16/39 [16 June 1939])

[6.29. Steamer St. Louis with 930 Jewish refugees comes back to Europe]

[May-June 1939: St. Louis affair: Two "Christian" Catholic Cuban rivals fight for money from the Jewish organizations to admit 907 Jewish refugees - return of the ship St. Louis to Europe]

Into this crisis-ridden atmosphere there burst the St. Louis affair. The story has been told elsewhere

(End note 145: Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], pp. 270 ff.)

and a bare outline will suffice here. The St. Louis, a German ship of the Hamburg America Line, sailing under a very considerate and liberal captain, Gustav Schroeder, left Germany on May 13, 1939, with 930 Jewish emigrants. They were all going to Havana with legal Cuban visas issued by (p.278)

the person responsible for immigration in the Cuban government - except for 22 persons who had decided not to rely solely on the visas and had had them verified in Cuba at additional cost to themselves. By the time the ship reached Cuba, the ordinary visas had been declared invalid. Later, the JDC committee dealing with the affair came to the conclusion that the government of President Bru of Cuba had never intended to permit the refugees to land. The person who had issued the visas, a Colonel Benites, supported the faction of the Cuban chief of staff, Fulgencio Batista, a rival of President Bru's. Bru apparently thought that to refuse permission for the landing would be a good way to fight Batista, who, through Benites, had hoped to collect large bribes from the refugees. It may be that Bru was willing to accept the refugees if JDC paid very large sums not only to the government treasury but also to his private pocket - both factions were asking for about $ 450,000 in addition to the official ransom money of $ 500,000 to the government. JDC was prepared to pay up to $ 500,000 to the Cubans, but since there were no additional handouts of any size. Bru refused to let the refugees land. Apparently the State Department was of no great help either, because it informed the lawyer representing JDC in Cuba, Lawrence Berenson, that the Cubans were merely bluffing and that JDC should not offer them too much.

(End note 146: CON-3, 6/27/39, Hyman to Baerwald)

The St. Louis affair put JDC on the horns of a very real dilemma. JDC was painfully aware that if it paid a huge ransom for the 907 Jews with Benites visas (one had committed suicide), who headed back to Europe on the St. Louis on June 6, other Latin American governments would probably learn the lesson and exact equal if not larger sums. The total JDC income was to rise to $ 8.1 mio. in 1939, but ransom monies of $ 1 mio. for 900 refugees would exhaust the JDC treasury in no time. This of course was quite apart from the fact that JDC had never agreed to pay ransom to unscrupulous operators for innocent human beings.

What moved JDC to go against its own better judgment was the tremendous pressure from its contributors, who saw, perhaps (p.279)

rightly, that this was a test case and a symbol and that every effort had to be made to save the passengers. Members of the JDC staff and leading laymen worked literally around the clock to try to find places of refuge for the ship, which was slowly making its way back across the Atlantic to Germany. In the end Troper in Paris contacted Max Gottschalk in Brussels and Mrs. van Tijn in Holland who intervened with their respective governments; in France, Jules Braunschvig went to the French Foreign Ministry to persuade them to accept some of the refugees. All this occurred on June 10.

In the meantime, Paul Baerwald was active in London, where the British government also agreed to accept some of the refugees.

Finally the St. Louis passengers were landed: 181 in Holland, 288 in Britain, 214 in Belgium, and 224 in France.

(End note 147: Agar, op. cit., p. 85, footnote 4)

In all these countries JDC undertook to support the St. Louis refugees. In 1939, $ 500,000 was appropriated for this purpose. JDC was to carry this obligation for a long time, until those who were not deported to Nazi death camps finally found permanent havens.

[6.30. England wants to hand over Palestine in 1949 - Guinea project]

[17 May 1939: British announce to hand over Palestine to the Arabs on 17 May 1949 - 75,000 more Jews in 5 years allowed]

Another element that influenced the discussions regarding the establishment of the Coordinating Foundation was the situation in Palestine.

On May 17, 1939, the British published their White Paper on Palestine, which declared that Britain intended to hand over the Palestinian Jewish minority to the Arabs there within ten years. Another 75,000 Jews would be allowed to enter the country within five years; after that further Jewish immigration would be subject to Arab consent (that is, it would cease). With this, the Zionist experiment was to come to an end.

[17 May 1939: British Guiana project for the Jews]

To counteract this blow, the British government published, on the same day, the

Report of the British Guiana Refugee Commission to the Advisory Committee on Political Refugees Appointed by the President of the United States.

(End note 148: Command Paper 6014; London 1939)

The British had suggested British Guiana as a possible area of Jewish settlement in late 1938, after they had determined to their own satisfaction the course they would pursue in Palestine.

(End note 149: Yehuda Bauer: From Diplomacy to Resistance; Philadelphia 1970, pp. 11, 19-24)

[14 Feb-19 April 1939: Special commission makes trip to British Guiana]

JDC, desperately searching for areas of settlement, had sent Joseph A. Rosen to represent it on a special commission that investigated British Guiana between February 14 (p.280)

and April 19, 1939. Rosen fell ill immediately after his arrival, and his signature on the report does not have any real meaning. Two other members of the commission were British.

[17 May 1939: The commission report about Guiana: 3-5,000 young and sturdy Jews wanted]

The commission [British Guiana Refugee Commission] reported that small areas of settlement might possibly be developed in the more remote parts of the colony, and that a small group of 3-5,000 young and sturdy settlers should be chosen to start an experimental colony. It also said that British Guiana "is not an ideal place for refugees from middle European countries" and that no immediate large-scale settlement was possible; there did exist a potentiality for settlement. In short, the remote tropical colony might be a good dumping ground for European Jews, but a longer period of time and a trial settlement were needed to find out whether people could actually live there.

In light of the country's checkered history in later years, it seems highly doubtful that Jews would have been welcome there at all. Baerwald and others in JDC tried for some time afterward to defend the Guiana venture,

(End note 150: For example, Executive Committee, 5/22/39 [22 May 1939], when Baerwald "deplored the slighting reference to British Guiana" in a letter by Henry Montor to JDC. There were to be other comments of this kind).

until finally the project disappeared from view, as did so many others at the time.

The British, of course, vehemently denied all allegations that their policies in Palestine and Guiana were in any way connected.

[22 June 1939: Meeting on British Guiana: Money for the Coordinating Foundation for Guiana needed]

At a meeting on British Guiana held on June 22, 1939, Malcolm MacDonald, the British colonial secretary, clearly stated that any colonization would require investment of private Jewish money on a very large scale. From his statements it emerges that he thought of the Coordinating Foundation primarily as an organization to get the Guiana project going. He hinted that if no Jewish money was forthcoming, Britain might have to reconsider her whole refugee policy - a very thinly veiled threat of reprisals against refugees trying to enter Britain.

(End note 151: 30-Germany, proposals of settlement in other countries, British Guiana, 6/22/39 [22 June 1939], report of Robert Pell to the secretary of state).

[6.31. Last negotiations on the Coordinating Foundation for Schacht-Rublee plan]

[British Jewish funds limited for Coordinating Foundation - steamer St. Louis Jews need support]

The negotiations in London made another fact clear: it was doubtful if any money at all would be forthcoming from British Jews. The reason was that British Jewry was contributing very large sums to refugee absorption in Britain and elsewhere; American Jewry was richer and larger, and so far had contributed proportionately less than had British Jewry. JDC at first thought that (p.281)

its preliminary contribution to the Coordinating Foundation would be $ 500,000; this was a reasonable sum, if one remembers that the total income in 1939 was $ 8.1 mio. But two weeks later half a million dollars was pledged to the support of the St. Louis refugees, so that one-eighth of JDC's money was now gone. Pressure by President Roosevelt  caused JDC to reconsider its contribution.

[It's president Roosevelt's industry which is rearming the NS army and supporting the Hitler regime: against Communism, and Communism is financed: by "American" banks. The world war is well organized by ... "USA"].

[6 June 1939: JDC gives 1 mio. $ for a Coordinating Foundation]

On June 6 it [JDC] decided on a risky step: it would provide $ 1 mio. and would set up the foundation whether the British participated or not - a complete reversal of JDC's position in March. The lack of realism in these negotiations is perhaps made clearer if one remembers that the foundation , with its $ 1 million in capital, was to serve as a counterpart to the trust fund in Germany with its $ 600 million.

(End note 152: Executive Committee, 6/5/39 [5 June 1939], 6/16/39 [16 June 1939])

At a meeting of the Administration Committee, Rosenberg stated the reason for accepting the additional burden: there should be no uncertainty "as to our readiness to carry through a commitment which in effect was desired by Mr. Taylor and the president."

(End note 153: AC [Administration Committee files], 6/26/39 [26 June 1939])

[17 June 1939: Some Jewish leaders are against participation at the Coordinating Foundation]

In the wake of the June 6 decision, another informal meeting of Jewish leaders was convened on June 17. At this meeting Wise voiced hesitation regarding the step taken by JDC; but only Joseph Tennenbaum of the American Federation of Polish Jews and the American Jewish Congress, a leading proponent of the boycott movement and later to be a historian of the holocaust, voted against the JDC action, on the grounds that the Coordinating Foundation would finance German exports and hinder the anti-German boycott.

(End note 154: Executive Committee, 7/17/39 [17 July 1939]; 9-30, 6/17/39 [17 June 1939] meeting)

In the meantime, Baerwald and later Linder were negotiating with British Jews and non-Jews in London and with Emerson of ICR [Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR) (set up at Evian 1938)]. It soon became apparent to them that they were, in fact, negotiating with the British government. Between June 5 and June 7 Baerwald met Wohlthat, who had come to London ostensibly to attend a conference on whaling.

(End note 155: 9-30, 6/7/39 [7 June 1939] memo (by J.C. Hyman)

Informed of the negotiations in London, Wohlthat expressed the German government's willingness to carry on negotiations with even a purely American foundation, in case the talks between American and British Jews broke (p.282)

down. In such a case, Wohlthat stated that "probably from 5 to 10 % of the Jewish assets in Germany would be turned over to the trust fund there."

(End note 156: Ibid. [9-30, 6/7/39 [7 June 1939] memo (by J.C. Hyman)])

Though we lack the documentary evidence to prove it, it seems that the talks with Wohlthat convinced JDC that this was a project that had to be pursued with the greatest energy. JDC had come full circle.

The basic difference of opinion with British Jews lay in the fact that JDC was unwilling to spend money on settlement schemes that were too expensive to be implemented without governmental help. Also, in New York a delegation from the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee met with JDC leaders on July 13 and demanded that the Coordinating Foundation charter clearly declare that no foreign currency would accrue to the Germans and no additional exports would result from the foundation's operations.

(End note 157:
-- 9-30, 7/15/39 [15 July 1939] cable by Jaretzki and Hyman to Linder. See also:
-- Adolph Held's letter to JDC, 7/12/39 [12 July 1939], in 9-30.
Held thought that "before giving our consent to the Rublee plan, which is but a modified version of the notorious Schacht plan, we should at least try to find an answer to the most burning question of the day: Where will the emigrants, supposedly helped by the Rublee plan, go?")

[19 July 1939: Britain announces to participate settlement projects when others also do]

The British government, possibly at the suggestion of Sir Herbert Emerson, then went a step further. On July 19 the Foreign Office declared in a communique that, contrary to its previous policy, the British government would be prepared to participate in settlement projects, provided other governments were ready to do the same.

(End note 158: 9-30, text of communique by Lord Winterton after a meeting of ICR, 7/19/39 [19 July 1939])

The charter of the Coordinating Foundation made it clear that the new organization would be quite independent of anything that happened in Germany, that it would facilitate emigration and settlement and "provide land services" - whatever that meant - and facilities for emigrants. While it was not expressly stated that it would engage in colonization, this was hinted at broadly.

[19 July 1939: JDC signs the charter for Guiana - 20 July 1939: Published charter on Coordinating Foundation (Schacht-Rublee plan)]
A hesitant JDC signed the charter on July 19. The next day, July 20, it was published.

[1 September 1939: The Coordinating Foundation charter is worthless by war]
Six weeks later, on September 1, it was killed with the first shots fired in World War II.

[Question: Why Roosevelt was that engaged in Jewish dislocation to Guiana?]

One of the perplexing questions that came out of the complicated negotiations in the spring and summer of 1939 is this: Why should the president of the United States have been so insistent that American Jews spend large sums of money to settle Jewish emigrants in as yet undefined and remote places? Why should he have been so concerned that an agreement be reached between American (p.284)

and British Jews? The president's humanitarianism, while not itself in doubt, was always tempered with political astuteness. The Coordinating Foundation, from Roosevelt's point of view, must have had a political purpose, possibly that of gaining international prestige by attempting a settlement of the refugee problem - outside of the U.S., of course.

[Question: Could the German side have been taken earnest for the Coordinating Foundation?]

The second problem is no less vexing, but relatively easier to answer: Did the Germans really intend to implement some such scheme as the [Schacht-]Rublee plan?

It seems quite clear that Hitler was informed in detail of the negotiations with Rublee. Schacht's dismissal in January does not seem to have had any connection with the Rublee plan. True, there was a rivalry between Ribbentrop on one hand and Schacht and Göring on the other. In January a circular letter from Ribbentrop declared that the Jewish emigration problem was for all practical purposes insoluble, and a more radical solution was hinted at.

(End note 159: Documents on German Foreign Policy, series D, 5:927)

But the negotiations proceeded despite Ribbentrop's objections.

(End note 160: Hilberg, loc. cit.)

In his famous instructions to Frick , Nazi minister of the interior, on January 24, Göring expressly included among the members of the planned central bureau of Jewish emigration Helmut Wohlthat, whom he designated as the man responsible for the Rublee plan negotiations.

It appears that the plan became a bone of contention between Göring and the SS. Heydrich, Himmler's chief deputy, declared on February 11 that the implementation of the Rublee plan was by no means certain, so that forced emigration should in the meantime be continued. Hitler himself - as opposed to his henchmen - may have already been thinking in terms of the destruction of the Jews, as evinced in his famous speech to the Reichstag on January 30, 1939, and even more clearly in a talk with the Czech foreign minister, Chvalkovsky, on January 21, where he threatened to eliminate the Jews of Europe. In the meantime, extermination was impractical, and any method of expulsion that produced results was good.

(End note 161: Broszat et alia, op. cit. [Broszat, Martin et alia: Die Anatomie des SS-Staates [Anatomy of the SS state]; Olten und Freiburg 1965], pp. 340-45)

On the whole, it seems that the Nazis took this plan seriously and were willing to consider it as a possible solution to the Jewish question. Meanwhile, this did not prevent them, as long (p.284)

as there was no agreement on emigration, from intensifying their persecutions and driving out people who had no money or visas. But it would be wrong to assume from this behavior that they had scrapped the Rublee plan.

One author expresses regret at the fact that the Coordinating Foundation was set up so late, that valuable time was lost, and "that so little was accomplished in the year before the war began."

(End note 162: Wyman, op. cit. [Wyman, David S.: Paper Walls; Amherst, Mass., 1968], p. 56)

The evidence does not seem to support this conclusion. Voluntary Jewish sources were quite unable to collect the vast sums of money necessary for the foundation's successful operation; areas of settlement were not, in fact, available, and to arrange for settlement in places like the U.S., Australia, South America, or even Palestine would have required time.

Time was certainly not available between January and September 1939. Had the foundation been set up in January, nothing much could have been done before the outbreak of the war.

[End Sep 1939: Poland: "Close to 2 million Polish Jews in the hands of the Nazis"]

At the end of September, with close to two million Polish Jews in the hands of the Nazis, Hitler and the SS turned to other solutions for the Jewish question. The foundation passed into history.

[The anti-Semitic Catholic Polish population supported all measures against the Jews and was willing to help, and even made mass shootings without Nazi order].

German Jewry, it must be added, was very bitter about the negotiations. It felt the whole weight of Heydrich's cold terror directed against itself. The "negotiations of the Evian committee", wrote the Hilfsverein to Lord Samuel on February 10, "have definitely done more harm than good."

(End note 163: 31-Germany, refugees 1939-42, letter to Lord Samuel, 2/10/39 [10 February 1939])

[May 1939: German Jewish representatives in London without result]

In May some representatives of German Jewry were allowed to go to London; they they were expected to come back with some positive replies regarding places of settlement and the setting up of the Coordinating Foundation. They came back with empty hands, having been callously rebuffed by the heads of ICR. Emerson, the ICR director, even refused to give them a letter stating that every effort was being made to help German Jewry."

(End note 164: Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], pp. 248-49)

[K. 6.32.] Illegal Migration [by ship]

[July 1934: Illegal emigration to Palestine: The ship "Velos" tries in vain]

The tragedy of Jewish emigration caused the appearance of what was to become, for a whole decade, a phenomenon identified with (p.285)

the plight of Jews: illegal migration. As early as July 1934 the first illegal immigrant ship to Palestine, the [ship] Velos, made a successful run with 330 Hechalutz trainees from Poland. In September of that year the Velos tried a second time, but the British prevented a landing; the 310 passengers

(End note 165: Yehuda Slutsky: Sefer Toldot Hahaganah; Tel Aviv 1963, 2:528-29. There were 360 passengers, but 50 managed to land without being noticed by the British).

attempted to find a haven "at several ports" but nowhere were they allowed to enter. Finally they returned to Poland and obtained legal permits to enter Palestine. HICEM requested that JDC support the passengers, but Kahn refused. "We could not contribute to this cause as it was a case of illegal smuggling of immigrants to Palestine."

(End note 166: R16, monthly bulletin, nos. 1 and 2, 3/6/35 [6 March 1935])

[Jan 1938: Histadruth illegal immigration - Zionist are against this not to bother Britain]
Efforts to start illegal immigration to Palestine began again in January 1938.

(End note 167: Slutsky, op. cit. [Yehuda Slutsky: Sefer Toldot Hahaganah; Tel Aviv 1963], 2:1036 ff.)

This was done partly by the Histadruth (the Palestine General Jewish Federation of Labor), partly by the Revisionists, the opponents of the official Zionist movement, and partly by private persons and various political groups. The official Zionist bodies were split on the question; some of the American and British Zionists were opposed to illegal efforts, at least as long as there was the slightest hope of an accommodation with Britain.

[Early 1939: Emigration negotiations to Palestine - help for stranded illegal immigrants]

In early 1939 JDC was approached by the different groups engaged in organizing the immigration movement to Palestine. "JDC was ready to put up 5,000 pounds if the Council (for German Jewry) and Simon Marks's group put up a like amount  each and if the Council would share in the responsibility."

(End note 168: Kahn material, file 1939/40, 6/15/39 [15 June 1939])

This meant that JDC would participate only if the whole matter became open, public, and, ipso facto, legal. Naturally, this did not happen, and JDC help was not forthcoming. Troper stated that "we must continue to take the attitude that JDC can take no part in this emigration." The local committees (who were not part of JDC in any case), such as Mrs. van Tijn's group in Holland or Mrs. Schmolka's group in Prague, "can do so if they wish."

(End note 169: R55, Troper letter, 3/2/39 [2 March 1939])

This essentially was JDC's policy right up to the outbreak to the war.

With this position established in principle, there arose a question that could not be easily answered. One could have a set policy, yet not be able to close one's eyes to the misery and the suffering of the people who could not manage to get through to Palestine. JDC (p.286)

was committed to helping people regardless of the politics involved. Moreover, even ICR [Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR) (set up at Evian 1938)], through its British director, Emerson, expressly allowed "giving relief for humanitarian reasons to those who were stranded through the rejection of the transports" while warning the "responsible organizations not to give any direct help to such transports."

(End note 170: 9-27, meeting of ICR directors [Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR) (set up at Evian 1938)] with JDC and HICEM, 7/25/39 [25 July 1939])

[Help for stranded Jews on defect or caught emigration ships in Greece]

Some of the situations that arose were tragic indeed.

In early July 1939 the S.S. Rim caught fire, and its 772 passengers were landed on a Greek island. Other ships, mismanaged by their organizers, ran out of fuel or food, or were caught by the British and had to remain in Greek waters without provisions.

By July 1939, $ 9,000 had been spent by JDC to help feed these people, largely through the good offices of the Athens Jewish community, which administered the relief.

JDC was watching the situation carefully. It received reports and detailed information on boats filled with people trying to save themselves by getting into Palestine; if these efforts failed, JDC might have to step in with food and clothes and blankets, while still maintaining its noninvolvement in the political aspects of the situation.

(End note 171:
-- R10, 5/29/39 [29 May 1939], Kahn note for Baerwald;
-- R55, 5/11/39 [11 May 1939] report;
-- 42-Palestine, emigration to Palestine, 1937-39)

Palestine was by no means the only goal of boats bearing illegal immigrants.

[Illegal emigration to Latin America: Cuba with bribed officials - other countries]

At about the same time that attempts to reach Palestine were being made, refugees without visas were trying to get to the Latin American countries. This movement appears to have started as early as September 1938, when 43 passengers on the S.S. Iberia vainly tried to enter Mexico and were finally allowed to land at Havana.

A similar journey by the S.S. Orinoco in October with 300 passengers ended in the same way. All this of course cost money: Cuban officials had to be bribed. Cuba remained one of the main havens throughout the period, largely because of the venality of its officials.

For various reasons, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, and Bolivia also accepted visaless refugees from time to time.

[Balance March 1939: 23 boats with 1,740 passengers]
A list prepared at JDC offices in March 1939 counted 23 boats with 1,740 passengers who somehow had to be squeezed into Latin America without proper documents.

[Returning emigration ships]
Not all these ships managed to land their human cargo. The S.S. General (p.287)

Martin, for instance, leaving Boulogne with 25 visaless passengers in early February [1939], had to return to Europe with the refugees aboard. The same happened to the 40 passengers on the S.S. Caparcona in late March.

(End note 172: For a list of the ships see
-- 29-Germany: Panic Emigration, 1938-39, 3/30/39 [30 March 1939];
-- Executive Committee, meetings between December 1938 and July 1939;
-- R9, Aid to Jews Overseas (pamphlet); also
-- R56, and
-- AC [Administration Committee files] meetings during this period).

[JDC is financing the bribes - play with visas during the trip]

JDC had to pay a high proportion of the bribes, thinly disguised as landing money or living expenses for the refugees. Often, too, the passengers held forged visas, or the visas were genuine but the receiving country had suddenly invalidated them - as happened with the St. Louis.

To arrange matters, money had to change hands, and JDC simply could not pay those sums.

On March 15 Baerwald sent a cable to Europe asking for a meeting of the main emigrating agencies to consider what should be done. It was, he said, "quite clear (that the) resources (of) private philanthropic bodies (were) strained (to the) utmost ... even (by the) more normal (and) orderly emigration under (the) supervision (of) responsible bureaus."

(End note 173: Cable of 3/15/39 [15 March 1939], quoted in Hyman's report to the Executive Committee, 3/23/39 [23 March 1939])

[Criminal circumstances around the illegal Jewish emigration - and JDC help]

The dumping of refugees was resulting in panic migration and exploitation by unscrupulous steamship agencies, lawyers, and venal officials. Alarming problems were arising: indefinite maintenance of the refugees, huge guarantees that were quite beyond the financial capabilities of private bodies such as JDC, and the specter of a more or less permanent threat of blackmail, endangering the operations of different agencies. Both the steamship companies and the Germans would know that the Jewish organizations might protest but would pay in the end.

The other agencies - HICEM, ICA, the Council for German Jewry - were in the same quandary. There was no real solution as long as the countries of immigration were closed.

[Early 1939: Most of Latin American countries close borders for Jewish emigration]
Partly as a result of this panic emigration, most Latin American countries did in fact close their borders in early 1939. Opinions in JDC were divided.

[JDC: Discussion to help or not]

Alexander Kahn was one of those who declared that JDC simply "had to help them as far as our means can last, because I do not think we will be forgiven if we take the harsh (line of) policy that we will not help. When the next batch of 100 comes we will have to do it anyway." The other view was expressed by Rosenberg, who argued against agreeing to the expulsion of Jews from Europe. If (p.288)

one allowed the Germans to "eliminate" their Jews, the Poles and Romanians were going to follow suit. In the minds of German officials, also "there is a notion that American Jewry can meet all sorts of emergencies." One had to say no to the refugees. "After all we are in a world war and there are times when you have to sacrifice some of your troops. And these unfortunates are some of our troops."

(End note 174: AC [Administration Committee files], 3/15/39 [15 March 1939])

JDC did not follow Rosenberg's counsel. It accepted the policy proposed by Alexander Kahn, but tried to pay as little as possible in bribes; and except in the case of the St. Louis it declined to offer ransom money.

[St. Louis affair: Boats Flandre and Orduna also return to Europe]

During and after the St. Louis affair, illegal immigration into Latin America continued. Besides the St. Louis, two small boats arrived at Havana: the S.S. Flandre, a French boat with 96 refugees, and the S.S. Orduna, a British boat with about 40 people. Like the St. Louis passengers, they were refused permission to land. They too returned to Europe and were accepted by the four countries that had received others.

[American Jewish diplomatic efforts for European Jewish emigration]
JDC had to support the Latin American Jewish communities that were trying to care for the refugees from Europe. In December 1938 it sent a former German Jewish social worker to Latin America to establish contact with the communities there. These contacts bore fruit in early 1939.The Havana Refugee Committee was brought under the influence of the New York National Coordinating Committee, later the National Refugee Service. Other committees received direct aid from JDC and dispensed it according to set rules to those who needed it. In 1939, $ 600,000 was appropriated for this work, which affected about 68,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe.

(End note 175: A detailed list of the countries and the numbers of refugees in each was submitted to the Executive Committee meeting on 7/20/39 [20 July 1939]).

[K.6.33. Jewish emigration from the Reich (Germany and Austria) to Shanghai 1938-1939 - 18,000 by September 1939]

[Jewish emigration to Shanghai without visa needed]

In a world of closed borders and hostile officialdom,

(End note 176: A good example of this in Latin America was the secretary of the government of British Guiana (the proposed Jewish homeland). This worthy man wrote a letter to the British Guiana Information Bureau in New York (see above, note 172, 29-Germany) on December 13, 1938, in response to a request for an entry permit by a Jewish refugee. The refugee was told that anyone who had 50 pounds in his wallet could land. However, there were some small snags: there was no work and no employment; generally speaking, refugees would be well advised not to come. "It would be most inadvisable for your family and you to consider coming here. ... You are strongly advised not to migrate to this colony.")

the Jews of Germany and Austria were ready to clutch at straws. One such straw was Shanghai. In 1937 Shanghai was divided between the international settlement, which was run by the foreign powers (who had, in fact, been ruling the city during the period of the disintegration of the Chinese state), and the Chinese part of the city, which had just been conquered by the Japanese. There was no (p.289)

requirement for an entry visa into the city. IKG [Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (IKG) (Austria)] became aware of this fact in Vienna in the summer of 1938. The problem was to pay the fares to Shanghai, usually by a German or Italian boat; later a rail connection via the USSR into Manchuria and thence to Shanghai would also be attempted. Shanghai became a place of refuge, especially for those people who, threatened with arrest and a concentration camp, could find no other place of emigration.

[Jews in Shanghai in little groups without contact between each other]

The Jewish community in Shanghai was made up of two main elements: a wealthy aristocracy comprised mainly of Iraqi Jews (among them were members of the famous Sassoon and Kaddouri families), and Russian Jews who had come from Manchuria after world War I. Since the rise of Hitler to power, some German Jews had also arrived, mainly members of the professions. The different groups maintained separate social and cultural lives and evinced little mutual sympathy for one another.

The situation of the few German Jewish refugees had attracted the attention of JDC toward the end of 1937. At that time Judge Harry A. Hollzer of Los Angeles, a respected JDC stalwart, drew the attention of JDC to Shanghai - his brother, Joseph Hollzer, who was the head of a Jewish Relief Committee there, had provided him with some distinctly disturbing information. In early 1938 there were some 500 destitute Jews in the city, not all of them German Jews. But in London the Joint Foreign Committee of the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association decided that Shanghai was "not a matter about which any Jewish community outside of Shanghai and Hong Kong need be troubled."

(End note 177: R52, current reports, 10/12/37 [12 October 1937])

[Jews in Shanghai don't want to finance the new Jewish refugees - JDC help]

The truth of the matter was that the rich Jews of Shanghai were able, but not very willing, to look after the few refugees who were then in the city. From London it seemed ridiculous to send money to a place like Shanghai.

JDC could not take this kind of attitude. Not only Hollzer, but also other people turned to JDC. In February 1938 the New York office empowered Kahn to look into the matter, though Shanghai was hardly included in Europe, which was Kahn's proper field of activity.

(End note 178: Executive Committee, 2/24/38 [24 February 1938])

JDC records indicate that during 1938, $ 5,000 was appropriated for refugee work in Shanghai. (p.290)

[Sep 1939: 18,000 European Jewish refugees in Shanghai - JDC help]

After November 1938 people began streaming into the Far Eastern metropolis. By June 1939 there were 10,000 refugees in the city, and by the time war broke out in Europe there were close to 18,000. Most of them found refuge in the Chinese part of the city. Unemployment was the rule rather than the exception, because Europeans could not compete with the Chinese for work. In early February the British, American, and French consuls drew "the attention (of) their governments to (the) refugee situation, particularly to (the) necessity (for) relief funds."

The U.S. government of course turned to JDC. In JDC the opinion was that "as (the) matter came to us from (the) State Department, we must be prepared to be helpful."

(End note 179: R55, cables 1/12/39 [12 January 1939], 2/1/39 [1 February 1939]

The Council for German Jewry in London also provided help in the form of 5,000 pounds; but the main burden fell on JDC, which sent $ 60,000 to Shanghai before September.

Attempts to stop the influx into Shanghai were made by all the responsible bodies dealing with emigration. But the Jewish agencies in Germany and Austria refused to cooperate. In March 1939 the Hilfsverein in Berlin answered with a plea to "trust us when we tell you that we are unable to diminish the emigration from Germany and that the only possibility to prevent our people from going to such places as Shanghai lies in finding some more constructive opportunities for emigration."

(End note 180: R10, 3/19/39 [19 March 1939], Hyman memo to Backer)

Gestapo pressure was definitely more convincing than anything JDC could say.

The paradox of the Shanghai situation - viewed with the benefit of hindsight - lies in the fact that what was in 1938/9 considered the utmost cruelty, namely, forced emigration, turned out to e a blessing in disguise, though the disguise may often have been very heavy indeed. The refugees in Shanghai, the illegal immigrants who were pushed onto boats to Palestine or Latin America by their desperation, often under direct Gestapo pressure - all of them managed to survive the holocaust. The ones who stayed behind did not. Yet among leaders of German Jewry in 1939, who had a clear feeling of approaching doom, it was thought to be more dignified for a Jew to suffer death in Europe than to die of starvation in (p.291)


(End note 181: R47, 3/22 [22 March 1939?], unsigned. "One can also be of the opinion that it would be more worthy of a Jews to go to a martyr's death than to perish miserably in Shanghai. The first choice would be a matter of kiddush hashem, the second merely a failure of Jewish emigration policies" (trans. from German).

The truth is that the people in Shanghai did not die of starvation - in large part thanks to JDC.

[L. 6.34. JDC in war times since 1939 - Poland's Central Committee 1938]

[End Aug 1939: Paris: Unique conference on Jewish emigration - expecting the war]

During the last week in August 1939 a unique conference called by JDC and HICEM took place in Paris. Paralleling the Zionist Congress that was taking place at the same time in Switzerland, the meeting was attended by about 50 Jewish leaders of social agencies throughout Europe. Saly Mayer for Switzerland, Max Gottschalk, Gertrude van Tijn, Isaac Giterman, and many others attended. The general subject was the war, which everybody was expecting. JDC was keeping its bank balances low and was distributing funds to its cooperating committees so that they would have something in hand should the war come. At the last moment the various committees were told that in case of war they could spend money for six months at the same monthly rate as during the first six months of 1939. This was to become standard JDC practice during the war.

But the practical subjects of money and help were not the only things discussed. The people who met in Paris in August 1939 knew that they were facing possible death. Yet they went back to their stations, with heavy hearts but with the clear feeling that they were responsible for others and could not abandon them.

(End note 182:
-- R10, memo of 9/11/39 [11 September 1939];
-- 44-4, Troper to Baerwald, 8/29/39 [29 August 1939])

The End in Poland

[Poland first on the Nazi side - gets on the British side since 31 March 1939 - Poland expects help for emigration of the Jews by the British side]

Perhaps the most difficult of all the tasks that JDC faced in the summer of 1939 was that of maintaining its work in Poland. The situation there had changes somewhat in favor of the Jews when Neville Chamberlain announced Britain's unilateral guarantee to Poland on March 31, 1939. The anti-Jewish pressure by the Polish government had apparently been influenced by Poland's active concurrence in Nazi Germany's foreign policy: she had participated in the rape of Czechoslovakia in 1938, and she had agreed to Germany's anti-Soviet policy. She was led by a group of mediocre colonels who were stifling whatever remained in Poland of her great democratic tradition. (p.292)

In April 1939 Poland very suddenly became an ally of democratic Britain, because the Nazi dictator demanded the annexation of Danzig and was threatening the dismemberment of Poland. Anti-Semitism could therefore no longer be considered a foreign policy asset. Nevertheless, Colonel Beck, the Polish foreign minister, asked the British to help solve the Jewish emigration problem in Poland and Romania.

The careful British answer was given on April 6, 1939.

(End note 183: JTA [Jewish Telegraphic Agency], 4/7/39 [7 April 1939])

In it His Majesty's government declared its readiness to examine with the governments concerned what it termed "particular problems in Poland and Romania which are part of a larger problem." Such an examination was not conducted prior to the outbreak of war. After the war began, it ceased to be necessary.

[Working Jews from Zbaszyn can enter Poland]

The change in atmosphere was felt at Zbaszyn, too. Restriction on the movement of refugees from there into Poland were eased. Groups of people, mainly young persons who could prove that they had work waiting for them, or persons who had a chance to emigrate, were allowed into the country. At the end of May 1939 3,500 refugees remained in Zbaszyn.

[Sep 1939: Zbaszyn is overrun by the Wehrmacht]
At the outbreak of the war, the 2,000 Jews still there were overrun by the Germans advancing into Poland.

[Early June 1939: New deportation of Polish Jews in Germany to the Polish border - and then cc]

As a result of the increasing enmity between Germany and Poland, the Germans tried to repeat the action of October 1938. In early June 1939 they attempted to chase 2,000 Polish Jews over the border at Zbaszyn, but the Poles prevented them. The sufferings of the Polish Jews who were the victims of this act are beyond description.

On June 23, the newspapers reported, hundreds of these unfortunates were shuttled back and forth at the frontier near the town of Rybnik. In the end, some managed to get into Poland. But most of them became victims of Nazi brutality; anyone who could not be expelled was sent to a concentration camp.

[Since spring 1939: Poland's government enforces anti-Semitism with new taxations]

Polish pressure on emigration was coupled with increasingly shameless and open acts of coercion against Jews in political and financial matters. In the spring of 1939 the Polish government (p.293)

asked for a Polish Defense Loan, to be raised "voluntarily" throughout the country. The Jews were forced to participate in the loan in a manner that was far beyond their capacity. By ruthless methods that amounted to capital taxation, Jews were forced to pay 150 mio. of the 400 mio. zloty that were raised throughout the country. This occurred in May 1939. As a result, there was a sharp increase in Jewish business bankruptcies. Jews who refused to pay very large assessments were summarily arrested.

(End note 184: 44-24)

In the summer of 1939 JDC was faced with economic emergencies in Poland that seemed grim indeed.

One of the ways to counteract the dangers facing Polish Jews was to encourage the establishment of effective Jewish bodies in Poland. As we have seen, there were no generally recognized Jewish representative bodies in the country. JDC's aim of helping Jews to help themselves could not be effectively promoted under such conditions. The primary cause for this situation lay in the political competition between the many different ideological trends and movements, and in the seemingly insurmountable differences in approach between them.

[June 1937:
In June 1937 the provisional Representation of Polish Jewry, composed of Zionists and Agudists, was established at the level of the Polish Sejm, but it was short-lived. The World Jewish Congress established a Polish branch in February 1938. But this was formed only of Zionist bodies and was thus ineffective as an overall unifying factor. In any case, JDC would have opposed the WJC branch in Poland, in line with its general philosophy.

JDC therefore embarked on its own schemes to create something resembling a common front of Jewish interests. The first problem was how to hand over major JDC functions in Poland to local groups, thus promoting greater local independence. The subject seems to have been discussed in detail for the first time in July 1938, during a meeting there between Kahn and the heads of the Warsaw office.

In a rather sharp and formal letter on August 11, Kahn declared that now it would have to be decided whether the Free Loan kassas should continue to operate under direct JDC management (p.294)

or be transformed into independent organizations along the lines of CENTOS and TOZ. With most of the constructive work concentrated in the Free Loan kassas, such a transformation would in effect hand over most of the JDC program in Poland to a local body.

The second proposal, also broached in Kahn's letter,

(End note 185: R55. The creation of a Polish Central Committee was apparently discussed with Sachs in talks with Kahn in Warsaw in late 1937 (Sachs's letter to Kahn, 44-3, 9/15/38 [15 September 1938])

was for the establishment of a supervisory economic committee "composed of leading Jewish personalities in commerce, banking, industry, and craftsmanship". This committee would grand subsidies, subject to JDC approval. Kahn wanted this committee to be set up by the end of 1938.

In October 1938 Morris C. Troper took over Kahn's functions in Europe. The new European chairman of JDC visited Poland in November and found himself in full agreement with his predecessor. JDC, he thought, still controlled the Polish Jews "in a manner and to an extent far beyond what might be expected from a foreign organization". He found a "subservience in relationships" between the local organizations and the JDC office, which he thought was harmful.

(End note 186: CON-2, Troper report, 11/30/38 [30 November 1938])

Progress was fairly rapid on the first of the two problems dealt with in Kahn's August 1938 letter. In Poland, CEKABE, which had long been recognized by JDC as the central institution dealing with the Free Loan kassas, was now given the sole responsibility for all matters affecting this most important aspect of JDC work.

Troper could report to Hyman in early March 1939 that the kassas were being handed over and that JDC was reserving for itself a purely supervisory function, justified by the fact that it provided the credits necessary for maintaining and expanding the work.

Membership on the board of CEKABE included Assimilationists and Zionists and, of course, Giterman as the JDC representative.

(End note 187: 44-4, 3/4/39 [4 March 1939])

The problem of handing over most of the JDC functions to a Polish Central Committee was very complicated. JDC conducted these negotiations with a group of industrialists headed by Karol Sachs. It seems, however, that Giterman and his Warsaw colleagues were not very happy about this development. Troper was inclined to attribute this opposition to Giterman's desire to maintain (p.295)

his predominant position as the JDC representative. He also hinted that there was some jealousy within the JDC office over Giterman's position.

(End note 188: 44-4, Troper at the Committee on Poland, 4/11/39 [11 April 1939]: "Some of the men (at the Warsaw office) feel that Giterman's situation is not satisfactory from the JDC point of view.")

But the evidence suggests that Giterman was not in agreement with the idea of going beyond the established political bodies and relying mainly on a group of rich men - whose practical activities up to that time had not been very outstanding and whose ability to unite Polish Jewry behind their leadership was doubtful.

[Central Committee set up: Only one main faction leader within]

The first list of prospective Central Committee members submitted by Sachs in September 1938 was indeed indicative of a trend: not a single leader of the main factions was included except Rabbi Lewin, president of the Agudah.

JDC could not agree to such one-sided proposals. But negotiations continued, and early in 1939 it was clear that the leaders of the Central Financial Institution of the Reconstruction Foundation loan kassas, who were identical with the group of wealthy men around Sachs, had been "charged by us" (as David J. Schweitzer put it somewhat grandiloquently) to form the committee "that will practically take over the functions of our present JDC office in Warsaw."

(End note 189: 44-4, memo by Schweitzer, January 1939)

[Feb 1939: New list without Agudah and Bund representatives]

In February [1939] a new list was submitted by Sachs to the JDC office in Paris. This time the list was much more balanced, though here too about one-half the committee was composed of the Sachs group. The Zionists and even the World Jewish Congress were included, but the Agudah and the Bund were not.

(End note 190: 44-3, Sachs to JDC, Paris, 2/28/39 [28 February 1939])

In addition, the committee was to include representatives of the main JDC-supported organizations in Poland, such as CENTOS, TOZ, CEKABE, and so on.

[Feb 1939: Polish government sets up a Jewish emigration committee - Jews don't trust it]

In the meantime, as we have seen, the Polish government had set up the Jewish emigration committee; on it were some of the people that had been proposed for the Central Committee.

Most of Polish Jewry, especially the Bundists and the Zionists, rejected the emigration committee as a body imposed on the Jews by the government, and the individuals who were on it were suspect in the eyes of the Jewish public.

Since some of them were also candidates for membership on the Central Committee, this added complication held up negotiations. (p.296)

[1938-1939: Bund comes up in anti-Semitic Poland against Zionists]

Another very serious problem arose concerning the participation of the Bund. The Bund, as we have already seen, was gaining strength in Poland in 1938/9. As Alexander Kahn put it: "There was a time when the Zionist group could give money to help people to emigrate to Palestine. They were the angels then." Now there was no possibility of emigrating to Palestine because of the British restrictions. That, in Kahn's view, explained the rise of the Bund, "which politically is the strongest expression of the dissatisfaction of the people."

(End note 191: 44-21, Kahn at the Committee on Poland, 7/7/39 [7 July 1939])

The Bund was opposed on principle to cooperating with a group of Jewish capitalists and Zionist leaders. Yet some of the greatest economic and cultural achievements of Polish Jewry were connected with the Bund, and it could not simply be ignored by JDC. "Whatever work is being done by these (working-class) groups, especially by the Bund, the largest party, be it their extensive school organization, their sanatoriums, their other social and economic activity, it is done well and most efficiently."

(End note 192: 44-4, report Schweitzer, 3/23/39 [23 March 1939])

This opinion was repeatedly supported by Bernhard and Alexander Kahn in New York.

[Polish government wants JDC to cut off relations with the Bund - Bund is said to be communist - Bund is socialist]
On the other hand, the Polish government, which was aware of the negotiations concerning the Central Committee, tried to influence JDC to cut off its relations with the Bund. One of the leaders of JDC, Edwin Goldwasser, had a talk on the subject with the Polish consul general in New York in July 1939. Said Alexander Kahn: "The consul made a statement that there was a strong feeling in Polish circles that JDC in Poland was closely identified with the Bund, which is considered as a Communist organization dominated by the Russian Communist party. It is natural to assume, therefore, that any special support extended by JDC to the Bund as such will not be viewed favorably by the Polish authorities. Of course", Kahn added, "we here know that the Bund is a socialist group and is opposed to Communism."

(End note 193: 44-4, A. Kahn to Troper, 7/11/39 [11 July 1939])

[Polish government wants hindering influence in JDC representatives]
Besides its intervention in New York, the Polish government also tried to influence, and even intimidate, JDC representatives in Poland. Police chiefs and the press attempted to put pressure on (p.297)

persons connected with JDC in Poland to prevent further support of the Bund.

On July 17, 1939, Giterman himself was asked to appear before the political department of the government commissioner of Warsaw. Nothing was said that would violate good taste, but the hints were broad and clearly understood.

(End note 194: 44-4, memo by Giterman, 7/17/39 [17 July 1939])

JDC did not succumb to this pressure. But the Bund was not a very easy organization to deal with. In early June one of its leaders, Mauricy Orzech, visited Troper in Paris and conducted negotiations with him. The Bund had just been victorious in municipal elections in Poland, and Orzech thought, Troper reported, "that the other Jewish political bodies had practically no political influence or representative capacity and would either gradually wane or die out completely."

Not only did the Bund refuse to cooperate with capitalists and Zionists in a Central Committee, but it was clear that since all the other organizations would soon die out anyway, there was no apparent reason why the Bund should make any concessions. Troper had to argue Orzech out of his extraordinary and completely unrealistic position.

Earlier in 1939 a compromise had been reached to the effect that the Bund would not sabotage the actions of a Central Committee established by JDC.

A year after it was established the question of the Bund's cooperation with it would be renegotiated. Now, in June 1939, this arrangement seemed out of date. A new compromise was therefore suggested by Troper whereby the Bund would establish a permanent body whose task it would be to negotiate with the new Central Committee. However, only those activities of the new committee that directly affected the Bund or one of its subsidiary organizations would be discussed. The Bund would not be a part of the committee or concern itself with its overall policies.

Orzech accepted this and returned to Poland to obtain the assent of his organization.

(End note 195: 44-4, Troper to Hyman, 6/10/39 [10 June 1939])

There were indications during the summer of 1939 that the compromise was acceptable to the Bund leadership.

Behind the negotiations with the Bund were negotiations within JDC also. At the Warsaw office Leib Neustadt supported the claims of the Bund. He thought that its establishments and organizations (p.298)

were models of efficiency and that they, rather than their capitalist counterparts, should receive JDC support. In New York the labor representatives were, of course, inclined to support such a position.

[Bund: Money questions]

Indeed, the Bund organizations managed to do a great deal with very little money. By way of comparison, Troper himself had to write of TER, the export subcommittee of the Economic Council (Wirtschaftsrat) supported by JDC, that it is "under the difficulty that they get orders which they cannot fill and they have to do all they can to prevent people from coming from abroad so that they should not be disillusioned. I thought it best to give them some money so that they would have something to show."

(End note 196: R55, Troper report, 3/5/39 [5 March 1939])

Giterman was not as enthusiastic about the Bund as his colleague was. But he, too, thought that it would be highly unfair to stop supporting the Bund's establishments when the Central Committee was set up, and he therefore supported the compromise suggested by Troper.

[Further Negotiations for setting up a Central Committee - little committees don't want to loose their function]

Negotiations regarding the Central Committee were carried on with great intensity during the summer of 1939. Troper realized that the problem had to be solved speedily, and he put the whole prestige of JDC behind efforts to reach a satisfactory conclusion. The groups in Poland, both the political groupings and the large social organizations such as CENTOS, TOZ, CEKABE, and others, feared that their affairs would be handed over to a committee that would lean toward one side or another and be less impartial than the JDC office in Warsaw had been. JDC had to put great pressure on the groups to agree to conduct their own affairs alone rather than continue under JDC auspices.

In July a final JDC proposal was worked out. The Central Committee would represent Jewish communal activity "in its entirety".

Article 3 of the proposed constitution stated that the committee would coordinate the activities of the federated organizations and "represent their interests", organize and carry out fund raising in Poland, seek financial support abroad, and generally "consider or initiate new proposals for dealing with social and economic welfare needs of a national scope." In other words, what (p.299)

was proposed was an umbrella organization of Polish Jewry, which undoubtedly would have the tendency to become involved in more than economic and social problems. Membership in the committee, as carefully proposed by JDC, consisted of 20 persons; more would be added later. These 20 comprised well-known Zionist and Orthodox leaders, as well as the group of industrialists around Sachs, who would serve as chairman of the committee. Left-wing Zionists were also represented, and the Bund would be taken care of by the Troper-Orzech compromise.

(End note 197: 44-4, Interim Report, July 1939)

These efforts to establish a Polish Central Committee were typical of a trend in JDC thinking. In effect JDC was almost coercing Polish Jewry to establish a unified front, at least in the economic and social spheres, though it was clear that such a front would have political overtones. JDC was trying its best to reduce its own role in Poland and hand over its work to others.

There was an interesting contradiction in its attitudes. On one hand, it continued its detailed supervision of economic and social organizations in Poland; its rather patronizing attitude did not materially change. At the same time, it was trying almost desperately to disengage itself from day-to-day supervision and give the Polish Jews a feeling of responsibility and leadership, so that ultimately they would take over its work.

[Different view from the "USA"]
There was an even greater and more significant paradox. In New York, JDC leadership was in 1939 still concentrated in the hands of the same group that had been at the helm in the early 1930. The prevalent view was still that the Polish Jews were "coreligionists". The idea of a Jewish national group was viewed with skepticism, at best. Yet here was JDC actually organizing Polish Jewry , for the first time in centuries, as one body, as a national group within the Polish Jewry. It was left to an apolitical, philanthropic American Jewish agency, working on general Jewish and humanitarian principles, to attempt the unification of Polish Jewry. Had it succeeded, it is at least possible that Polish Jewry would have been better prepared to meet the horrors that were in store for it. (p. 300)

[2 September 1939: Central Committee set up]

As it was, the fate of the Central Committee of Polish Jews was symbolic of the situation of Polish Jewry generally. JDC in New York received a telegram, signed by Raphael Szereszewski, a former senator, a banker, and one of the group of industrialists mentioned above, that the Central Committee had been established. The date was September 2, 1939.

(End note 198: 44-4, cable of 9/2/39 [2 September 1939])

Twenty-four hours earlier German troops had crossed the borders of Poland. World War II had begun. It was too late. (p.301)

[The Polish government had six months the choice to go with Hitler against Russia, or with Russia against Hitler. There was never a decision, but the hope that France and Britain would attack Germany when Hitler attacks Poland. The Polish propaganda spoke of a march to Berlin...]