The Activities of Central Jewish Organizations following Hitler’s Rise to Power
In 1933 the Third Reich enacted the first of its discriminatory laws against the 550,000 Jews in Germany. Could the legal rights of the German Jews have been defended? The important Jewish bodies were alarmed and determined not to accept the new situation. Included were the American Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee, the Joint Foreign Committee of British Jews and the Anglo-Jewish Association, and the French Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Comité des Délégations Juives in Paris. Unfortunately and despite the obvious dangers, these bodies were unable to rise above their differences in order to get together and present a united stand. The Jews in the USA were split between those who supported a quiet, behind-the-scenes approach and those who proposed an aggressive attitude in the hope that the American government would bring the matter up before the League of Nations. In Britain, too, many Jewish leaders pressed Members of Parliament to influence the government to appeal to the League of Nations. However, the government refused. The only organization which brought up the matter before the League of Nations was the Comité des Délégations Juives headed by Motzkin, who hoped that a Jewish resident of Upper Silesia would submit the complaint. However, fear of Nazi retribution against family members prevented such initiative.