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The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

April 11, 1980 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-04-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

12 Friday, April 11, 1980

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Purely

Commentary

(Continued from Page 2)
mittee, in cooperation with leaders from the Dan-
zig Jewish community, managed to negotiate the
complicated arrangements for the shipment of
these precious objects to the Jewish Theological
Seminary of America for safekeeping. For a cer-
tain sum of money — which presumably would
also help expedite the emigration of Jews from
Danzig — the Police Department of Danzig per-
mitted the export of these objects to the United
States. (The original police permit is on display in
the present exhibition.) The community stipu-
lated that the Jewish Theological Seminary was
to house the collection for a period of 15 years;
and if the Danzig Jewish community were to be
re-established before that time, the collection .
would be returned to the Free City. If, after 15
years, there would be no safe and free Jews in
Danzig, the collection would remain in America
for the education and inspiration of the rest of the
world.
Shortly after permission was granted by the
police, the collection was hastily packed in crates.
It arrived at The Jewish Theological Seminary on
July 26, 1939. One month later, on Aug. 31, the
German army marched into Danzig.
Foity years have passed. In those early years,
The Jewish Museum was housed in the library of
the Jewish Theological Seminary and only a few
objects from the Danzig collection could be ex-
hibited. In 1947, the collections of the Jewish
Museum were transferred to its new home at 1109
Fifth Ave., New York City, the former Warburg
mansion. But a major exhibition of the Danzig
material could only be mounted after the collec-
tion was properly researched and catalogued,
and its objects conserved and restored.
Over a period of years, through the cooperative
efforts of many individuals and agencies, the
Danzig objects have been intensively researched,
and historical documents, including important
photographs, have been dug out of dusty arc-
hives. The result of these combined efforts is the
present exhibition, Danzig 1939: Treasures of a
Destroyed Community.
The Jewish Museum believes that this exhibi-
tion of the personal and communal objects of a
single Jewish community brings us closer to those
millions throughout Europe who died' in the cre-
matoria of concentration camps and whose pos-
sessions were appropriated by the Nazis. The
Danzig community, more fortunate than others,
had the opportunity and foresight to retain some
part of its heritage by sending its material culture
to America for preservation.
We have also been brought closer to the experi-
ence of the Danzig community through interviews
with those who escaped "the final solution." Ad-
vertisements and press coverage announcing the
forthcoming exhibition produced many letters
and visits from former Danzigers, mainly from
Israel and the United States.
I was privileged to interview a number of these
former residents, such as Dr. Erwin Lichtenstein,
who was an executive director of the
Synagogen-Gemeinde, the Jewish community
organization, from 1932 to 1938; Moshe Landau,
currently a judge in the Israel Supreme Court;
and Dr. Ruth Rosenbaum-Spiro. When it was no
longer possible for Jewish children to attend pub-
lic schools in Danzig, Dr. Spiro organized a
unique education facility in her parents' home.
Jewish children were there able to continue their
academic studies, while at the same time they
were provided with vocational training to pre-
pare them for a new life elsewhere. The staff of
three — Ruth,,her father, and her mother —
rapidly grew in number and stature through the
addition of distinguished scholars who had been
dismissed from pretigious German universities
because they were Jewish. Pictures and records
of Die Hohere Judische Privatschule, as well as
other archival documents, are included in our ex-
hibition.
This noteworthy catalog symbolizes the experience of
the tragic years of Hitlerism. It is history warped by
tragedy. It also serves as a tribute to the people of vision
who acted in time to save great treasures from utter de-
struction.
Wayne State University Press and the Jewish
Museum have earned the gratitude of generations for a
catalog that emerges as significant document in evaluating
great works and the artists and the people of vision who
prevented the treasures from falling into ugly hands.

Jewish Communal Survival
Focus of Teenage Dialogues

By BEN GALLOB

Inc.)
The start of dialogues be-
tween groups of high
school-age Jewish teena-
gers representing virtually
every facet of Jewish action
and philosophy has been de-
scribed by the coordinator of
the first day-long confer-
ence of youth leaders in
New York as one of the
major achievements of that
conclave.
The conference was con-
vened by the New York
Jewish Community Rela-
tions Council and the
Greater New York Jewish
Youth Council, on the
theme of "Today's Jewish
Youth; Tomorrow's Jewish
Leaders."
Coordinator Melanie
Shimoff said more than 150
teenagers, equally divided
between young men and
women, and advisers met
with experts for "intense
discussions" of such issues
as anti-Semitism in
America; Israel, the Pales-
tine Liberation Organiza-
tion and terrorism; op-
pressed Jewish corn-
munities; missionary and
cult activities; and
strengthening Jewish iden-.
tity.
Ms. Shimoff said the
conference, held in
Yeshiva University's
Brookdale Center in
Manhattan, marked the
start of a coordinated ef-
fort by the JCRC, the
Federation of Jewish

(Copyright 1980, JTA,

Philanthropies,
and
major Jewish youth
organizations, to develop
young leaders and to
encourage their partici-
pation in Jewish life.
Steven Kaplansky, co-
chairman of the federation's
youth services committee
and president of the profes-
sional advisory board of the
New York Jewish Youth
Council, described the de-
velopment of regional youth
councils in nine com-
munities in the Greater
New York area. He urged
the teenagers to contact
their regional council coor-
dinator, to become active at
that level, and to seek to in-
volve their organizations in
the planning of
community-wide programs.
Ms. Shimoff said plans
had been approved at the
conference to coordinate
inter-group programs in-
volving Jewish and non-
Jewish high school stu-
dents, but that the principal
goal of the conclave was to
stress the importance of get-
ting Jewish high school stu-
dents involved Jewishly
while they were still reach-
able in school.
Malcolm Hoenlein, JCRC
executive director, told the
teenagers that they must
educate themselves and be-
come active to in'l-tre
Jewish survival. He invited
his listeners to participate
in the activities of local
Jewish community councils
and in the JCRC.

SILVER SPRING, Md. —
Bnai Brith Philatelic Serv-
ice will offer a first day
cover serviced with the new
Dolly Madison stamp to be
issued May 20.
The cachet honors Re-
becca Gratz, Jewish Ameri-
can woman of the post-
Revolutionary War period
and reputed model for Re-
becca in Sir Walter Scott's
novel Ivanhoe. Miss Gratz
was active in communal so-
cial work and founded the
first Jewish Sunday school
in this country.
For information contact
Bnai Brith Philatelic Serv-
ice, 906 Playford Lane,
Silver Spring, Md. 20901.

Women's Groups
Call for Social
Security Reform

NEW YORK — In a joint
statement, the Coalition of
100 Black Women and the
American Jewish Congress
national women's division
recently called for reform of
the Social Security system
"to reflect contemporary
conditions of women in our
society."
Jewell Jackson McCabe,
president of the coalition
and Leona F. Chanin,
president of the women's di-
vision, issued the statement
following a meeting of
representatives of the two
groups.

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