Regrettable Error: Interest of Jews in
Refugee Problems Embraces All Faiths
Maxwell M. Rabb, who was one of President Eisenhower's
chief advisers at the White House, is president of the United
States Committee for Refugees. He has just been elected president
of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce and is active in the
America-Israel Society. The names of other prominent Jews
appear on the stationery of the U.S. Refugee Committee. Yet,
when the committee's executive vice-president came here to assist
in arranging a benefit concert, he found it necessary to express
"regret" that the Jewish community is unresponsive to the appeal
in behalf of refugees. The implication was that there was opposi-
tion by Jews to providing help for the Arab refugees.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. There never was a
Jewish opposition to efforts to aid refugees, no matter where they
hailed from; and there has never been other than sympathy for
the Arab refugees.
Jews generally endorse Israel's self-defense program and
while Israel provides for her own military needs there is Jewish
sympathy for our kinsmen who are surrounded by war-threaten-
ing Arab nations. But we join with Israel in appeals for peace
and we hope for practical approaches to solve the Arab self-made
refugee problem.. But of opposition to aid the needy there is
none and there never will be.
It is understandable that some individuals might misinterpret
the aims of the committee that seeks help for refugees, and there
may be isolated cases of people who might oppose aid to a group
that also assists the needy Arabs. In that case there should not
be accusations but an effort to enlighten the uninformed.
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Michael Comay
made it quite plain when he said:
"Whatever the solution to their problems may be, it is clear
that international assistance for the Palestine refugees will be
required for some time to come. My government has always
unreservedly supported such United Nations assistance both in
taking care of the essential needs of the refugees and in pro-
moting their self-support and ultimate integration into pro-
ductive life. We particularly commend the efforts being made
by UNRWA to reach refugees in their professional and voca-
Mr. Rabb concurred in this declaration, as do all responsible
spokesmen for Jewry.
Deviations from such views must be repudiated. To do so, it is
necessary to have proper public relations spokesmen for Jewry.
Without such defensive mechanisms we can be in real trouble.
That is why functions of the Jewish Community Council must
receive the most serious consideration in their vigilance against
misrepresentation of truth about our people.
Mussolini's Adoption of Racism, His Aim
to Make Capital of 'Pro-Zionism,' Told
in MacGregor-Hastie's 'Day of the Lion'
Italian attitudes on Nazism, the revolts against Hitlerism, the
extent of discriMination against Jews during the last war and
the position of the Vatican are among the important and very
revealing data offered by Roy MacGregor-Hastie, in his "The Day
of the Lion—The Rise and Fall of Fascist Italy, 19224945,"
published by Coward-McCann (200 Madison, N.Y. 16).
The author, who had interviewed important Fascist leaders,
including Benito Mussolini, has a reference to Pope Pius XII
which rates special attention in view of the current debate over
"The Deputy." Writing about the role of Pius XII, MacGregor-
"To the Vatican's eternal credit, it was genuinely grieved
about the idea of civil persecution of the Jews, which it could
fairly describe as medieval (the last Jew was tortured by the
Inquisition in 1623). Racism it regarded as reactionary and
likely to turn world opinion against the Vatican, situated as it
was in an officially racist peninsula (the idea of moving the
Holy See was mooted in 1941, but dropped)."
The historian of the Fascist regime states that Church atti-
tude toward the Mussolini regime after 1940 was "first one of
reproval, then of opposition." Then he points to the following
in elaborating on the Vatican's attitude toward Mussolini:
"In the first year of the war, after the invasion of the
Soviet Union especially, many of Mussolini's critics in the
Vatican would have been satisfied to see him mend his ways,
widen the base of the government, stop flirting with Islam,
and generally behave like a good Catholic. This first period
was characterized by a determined effort to reverse Fascist
policy on racial questions, an effort which met with some
success. As late as October 1941 Mussolini was able to respond
with a statement to Yvon de Begnac that: have had affec-
tionate relationships with many Jews—there were Jews among
the founders of Fascism (Renzo Ravenna, Podesta of Ferrara,
Remo Pontecorvo, Bolaffi, Mussolini's librarian Foa, Mussolini's
doctor and dentist Piperno, Malaparte, Margherita Sarfatti,
Aldo Finzi) and. Jews have sustained it. General Pugliesi, a Jew,
is still on active service. Jews have never represented any
danger to Italy . . . they have been loyal and have supported
the regime, to a greater or less degree of sincerity, serving its
interests as well as their own.'
"This statement caused a furore in Berlin, and is indicative
of the weight the Duce attached to Church opinion (while
always remaining himself a skeptic)—on the assumption that
any regime which had endured for 1,900 years had something
to teach the others."
in its earliest stages, Hitler's anti-Semitic program reportedly
shocked Mussolini. When Hitler assumed power in 1933, Mac-
Gregor-Hastie writes, "France was horrified by the way in which
Hitler had achieved; more especially horrified by Hitler's anti-
Semitism. Polish Jewry reacted similarly and had fears, shared
by the rest of Poland, for Poland's territorial safety." The author
states that when Mussolini heard from Bastianini, his ambassador
to Warsaw, of the mobilization that had begun, he said he was
not ready for any sort of "aggression," and Hitler's anti-Semitism
might well abate if "Jews would only collaborate with the new
regime, realizing that it has an anti-Bolshevik potential." This
is how misled the Duce apparently was over the partnership he
was about to form with the Fuehrer.
The Era of Fascism . . .
Error About Refugee ,
Aid ... Honor to Holmes 310MOVift
As early as May 13, 1929, in a speech to his "new 'Parlia-
ment'," Mussolini made the statement: "It has ... been suggested
that we must now close down all the synagogues in Rome, and
this is . ridiculous. There have been Jews in Rome since time
immemorial, and I have 'no doubt they supplied new clothes to
everybody after the rape of the Sabine women. They will not be
disturbed . ."
But: "A month later he forbade his daughter Edda to marry
a young Roman Jew."
A bit later, in 1935, there still was hope that Mussolini would
not follow the Hitler line. MacGregor-Hastie informs us:
"The intelligentsia comforted themselves with the thought
that Mussolini, for all his 'idiocies', had not descended to the
bestialities of the sister regime in Germany where anti-clericalism
and anti-Judaism had reached fever pitch. Visitors to the Berlin
Olympics were revolted by discrimination against Jews, but
Mussolini was on record as saying that he was against persecution
of the Jews and disgusted with the racism which seemed to have
appeared in Europe."
The change in Mussolini's attitude is a matter of record. Yet,
in the early years of his Fascist regime, there was hope that
there would be a more human approach and the author of "The
Day of the Lion" writes:
"Even the Jews, in spite of his new declaration of racial
discrimination, continued to plead with him to help them to
their Zion. Dr. Chaim Weizmann, as early as 1934, had asked
him for 'moral support', and for three years the Fascist press
had abused the British in Palestine in the belief that once the
British were gone, a pro-Fascist Jewish state could be created in
MacGregor-Hastie quotes Italian sources to show that there
was a desire to gain a Fascist foothold into Palestine. To quote
from "The Day of the Lion":
Bible in Schools
James Cardinal Gibbons, Ro-
man Catholic Archbishop of
Baltimore from 1877 until his
death in 1921, would have ap-
plauded the United States Su-
preme Court's June 1963 de-
cision, in the Schempp-Murray
case, that Bible reading in the
public schools is "unconstitu-
tional under the establishment
clause (of the First Amend-
ment), as applied to the states
through the 14th Amendment."
The churchman's agreement
with the principle espoused by
the Court in the Schempp-
Murray case is evident from a
letter he addressed in March,
1915, to Dr. William Rosenau,
rabbi of Baltimore's Eutaw
Place Temple. It is among the
Rosenau Papers at the Amer-
ican Jewish Archives on the
Cincinnati campus of the He-
brew Union College-Jewish In-
stitute of Religion.
Cardinal Gibbons, in his day
the outstanding Roman Catholic
leader in America, had been
asked by a Protestant clergy-
man, Dr. Wilbur Fisk Crafts, to
comment on Crafts's "Bible in
School Plans of Many Lands,"
While Hitler had been plugging the gaps in his master plan Green,
Mussolini had been making a further effort to awaken Lord Perth and published in 1914 as part of
the British Foreign Office to the "realities." He now had the Czech Craft's "Bible Stories
business in reserve, as a bargaining counter—he was sure the British Poems." The Cardinal was
government did not have the detailed knowledge of the plan which
had come into his possession (he was wrong, every secret service seems quoted by Dr. Crafts as declar-
to have had copies of master plan Green, but not to have acted on it). ing that "the men and women
The day after Hitler's phone call, on September 2nd, Ciano called in
Lord Perth again and said that the Duce was prepared to make another of our day who are educated in
gesture of goodwill to show the British government, and especially this our public schools will, I am
British public opinion he was so worried about, that Italy meant what
she said when she promised to solve the problems of today and forget sure, be much better themselves
the misunderstandings of yesterday. What was the thing which worried and will also be able to transmit
Well, now, the Duce was prepared to help here. As the British govern-
British public opinion most? The treatment of the Jews by Hitler. to their children an inheritance
ment knew, he had been in touch with Zionist leaders for some time, of true virtue and deep morality
and had at one time thought of forcing the British out of Palestine if at school they are brought to
to accommodate them. But, with the possibility of a new era of Anglo-
Italian relations ahead, he had abandoned this plan, as the British the knowledge of Biblical facts
government had conceded, and had ceased to make trouble in the Near and teachings."
East. On November 2, 1937, said Count Ciano, "the Duce had asked
When Rabbi Rosenau wrote
the Honourable Vincenzo Tecchio to make further inquiries about the
possibility of a home for the Jews, and Tecchio had discussed with him the Cardinal and asked if his
a most interesting idea—that of establishing the Jews in the empty
spaces of Ethiopia and Italian East Africa. The Duce had conferred with statement was an endorsement
officials of the German Racial Affairs Office (June 2, 1938) and the of Bible reading in the public
Honourable Farinacci had had long talks with them, too. The Fuehrer
was not yet convinced that this was not too humane a treatment for schools, the Cardinal wrote on
Jews, for whom he seemed to have a particular aversion, but the Duce March 27, 1915, to Rabbi
felt he could persuade him. As Lord Perth must know, he had (August Rosenau:
3, 1938) brought his racial policies into line with the Fuehrer's, not
"In answer to your letter of
because he intended to persecute Jews, but so that he could better
arrange for their removal from places where they caused friction."
the 26th. inst. I would say that
The British government was horrified. It had always made noises
of extreme disapproval about Hitler's persecution of the Jews, even last September, Mr. Wilbur F.
though many of its members shared the feeling of mild, passive anti- Crafts wrote me concerning a
Semitism, characteristic of the British ruling class. In principle, it book 'Bible Stories,' asking for
was anxious to help the Jews. It was not willing to hand over Palestine
to them, and thereby upset all its friendly relations with the Arabs. a friendly letter relative to the
And this idea of Mussolini's was unthinkable. It was had enough being same. I replied in a spirit of
forced to recognize what he pleased to call his Empire, and to have
an Italian colony on the frontier with Kenya. To have the colony friendship, approving as I have
strengthened beyond all belief and measure by the immigration of mil- always done, of the reading of
lions of Jews was the most dangerous idea it had heard of for a long the Holy Scripture, but no men-
time. Jews worked hard. They would obviously be prepared to work
twice as hard in Ethiopia to escape from European persecution. Mus- tion was made, nor was anything
solini would find himself as prosperous and powerful as England had said to give the impression, that
become in the days when she granted asylum to Hugenot and other
I intended this letter to be an
Silvio Maurano accused Anthony Eden of having been the man to endorsement of the reading of
reject this solution of the Jewish "problem." He writes: "A great deal the Bible in public schools. As
of glory would have accrued to Fascism for having carried across the
Red Sea, even if in the opposite direction, the Chosen People Moses things stand I am opposed to
once led away from a similar persecution. But the policies of Eden this as it gives a teacher the
unfortunately had a disastrous effect and pushed Italy in the direction
opportunity to make such se-
. . . of the insane German racial policy in all its aspects."
Whoever was responsible for the rejection of Mussolini's goodWill lections and comments as may
offer condemned Italian Jews, at least to discrimination, though not to offend the reigious beliefs of
active persecution. There were no gas ovens or mass-murder camps in
Fascist Italy. It was in fact Fascist Italy which suffered by its race laws, the scholars (pupils). It is an
impoverishing its universities (to Bottai's anger) of the physicists Fermi, entering wedge that might lead
Rossi, Racah, Pincherle, Pontecorvo and Debenedetti; the surgeon Don-
ait; the mathematicians Volterra, Levi-Cibita, Enriquez, Castelnuovo, to great abuse."
Fubino, Fano, and the physiologists Ascolo and Herlitska.
Even more unfortunate was the effect the race laws had on men
like Farinacci, who became more bestially German with every imitation
of Hitler's excesses, even though their anti-Jewishness was confined
mostly to words.
Having had his solution to the Jewish problem rejected, Mussolini
restarted anti-British propaganda from Bari, and ordered his agents to
restart the routine dynamiting of public works that he had promised
the Zionists. When King Boris of Bulgaria passed through Rome on his
way to London, Mussolini made another gesture of "immense goodwill,"
handing Boris a letter for Lord Halifax (which he lost) and giving him
a message for Chamberlain (which he delivered).
In "The Day of the Lion" we have a reconstructed story of
Mussolini, his destructive efforts and the manner in which he
gained support among a large segment of his people, his oppo-
sition to anti-Semitism in his early rulership and his adoption
of the racist order he at first claimed to have abhorred. The
MacGregor-Hastie analyses add to an understanding of that
tragic era in Italian and world history.
Dr. John Haynes Holmes: Pioneer Libertarian
The death last week of the Rev. Dr. John Haynes Holmes at
the age of 84 will be responsible for reminiscences by many of his
and the late Dr. Stephen S. Wise's associates regarding this great
Christian's devoted services in the cause of civil rights, of justice
to the oppressed, in behalf of Zionism and in opposition to every
vestige either of anti-Semitism or anti-Negroism.
Holmes and Wise were associated in many movements. They
were among the first to fight prejudice against the Negroes. They
helped found the American Civil Liberties Union and the National
Association for the Advancement of the Colored People. To advance
their views, they frequently exchanged pulpits.
Dr. Holmes was one of the great libertarians of this century
and his name, like that of Stephen S. Wise who fought with hhn
for just causes, will remain indelibly in the record of the great
defenders of human rights.
Says Canada Could
Learn From the
People of Israel
EDMONTON, Canada (JTA)—
Alberta's Premier Ernest C.
Manning told a gathering here
that Canada could use some of
the spirit of the people of mod-
em Israel which, he said, is
destined to thrive "in accord-
ance with the promise made to
Speaking at an awards meet-
ing of the Jewish Community
Council attended by almost 600
persons, the Premier described
Israel as a "nation in a hurry,"
attributing this to an "attempt
to make up for the lost time of
centuries." The Premier had
just returned from a tour of
Another highlight of the meet-
ing was the presentation of
awards to Tevie H. Miller, chair-
man of the 1962 United Jewish
Appeal, and Samuel Belzberg,
chairman of the 1963 campaign.
Community Council President
Hy S. Baltzman gave Mr. Miller
a statue of Moses and Mr. Balz-
berg a statue of Isaiah.