Canadian Jewish Review
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Title: Canadian Jewish Review
Full text: •• December 5, 1958 ment with Israel is being implemented with the -utmost good will and fairness, and the indemnification legislation, despite certain complaints, represents, on the whole, a very substantial effort of the new Germany to make good materially the crimes committed against. Romany Jews jtnd_other victims of Nazi persecution. For this the Government and the people of West Germany, and especially its great leader, Chancellor Adenauer, deserve full credit. But both the Germans and non-Germans will understand that when it comes to Germany we are especially watchful and sensitive. I still remember the last years of the Weimar Republic when many among us and many Germans regarded Hitler and his cohorts as not worthy of serious attention and as a passing lunatic episode. It took only a few years for Hitler to make the Nazi movement into what it became. I do not think that a new Nazi Movement in Germany of today is likely or represents a serious danger, but having gone through the experience of the Nazi decade not only Jews but public opinion CANADIAN JEWISH REVIEW developments by the same tendencies and factors. What did it mean in past centuries for China if Europe was engaged in war; or what did it mean for European peoples if there were conflicts in the Far East? Today all parts of the world are more or less affected by the same over-riding elements of development. Isolationism Is a thing of the past and no part of humanity can escape a common destiny. v What makes this development even more tragic is the fact that power has rarely, if ever, been such a decisive and determining factor in world development as today. Ideas, religious, social, and political, concepts continue to play their role. But the destiny of humanity, its hopes and fears, its survival or annihilation, are increasingly determined by sheer power, by arms or the possibility of using these arms. This puts the decision on human destiny more and more into the hands of the Big Powers. They alone can afford the tremendous armaments which decide on survival or destruction. This in itself is a tragic situa- ideas, which, with tye exception of that part of our people who live in Israel, means > nothing in the great power-political game of our time. The most decisive factor in this generally tragic situation is the conflict between the two major powers of our time, the two blocs they lead, and the resulting Cold War. -•- ——•—•' - This Cold War is disastrous for our people from every point of view. It divides humanity into two antagonistic and often hostile parts and consequently the Jewish people in two parts. Yet nothing is more essential and vital for Jewish survival in the Dispersion than to maintain the unity of our people. Every separation between the various parts of our people is a blow to our survival. The secret of our existence in centuries of dispersion lies in the fact that the national genius of our people managed to maintain, despite the dispersion and overall natural differences between the various parts of our people, speaking different languages, living in different environments, a minimum of national, religious, the leaders of Germany to pay full attention even to the slightest recurrence of Neo^Nazism; "to manifestations of brutal anti-Semitism and to any attempt to revive German arrogant nationalism and militarism in the old sense. Here the leaders of Germany ly for the Jewish people whose influence and importance is based primarily on cultural values, on spiritual, religious and social it is maybe the most tragic aspect of the present Jewish situation that our people is split into two parts, not by our own voli- 15 tion or as the result of historical developments, but in consequent of a world situation dominated by the Cold War. For that reason alone, no people in the world is so vitally and deeply interested as our people in helping to find an end to this situation and bringing about a system of peaceful coexistence, of. mutual juiderstand-ing and tolerance, of increasing contacts between these two blocs. As a people we can take no position with regard to the various elements of the conflict. As the Jewish people and as the World Jewish Congress which tries to represent it, we are bound to an attitude of strict neutrality. Individual Jews and Jewish communities or Jewish groups have a right to take positions on the various issues which separate the two blocs, but speaking for the Jewish world "community as a whole, our only legitimate position can be to do everything in our power to reduce the acuteness and sharpness of the issues, to preach and work for understanding and to help pave the way for a world where all regimes and social systems respect one another, competing only by peaceful means and ~cooperating~~for—^the—benefit—of-humanity. Therefore, we are deeply interested in disarmament, in a system of education. Some such educational work is being done by the trials against Nazi criminals which are now taking place in Germany. The German courts deserve credit for the thoroughness with which they conduct them and the punishments they mete out. But nobody knows what the future can bring and it should be the task of the democratic leaders of Germany today to develop^ policy oT educstioir in the widest sense of the word in order to make impossible any revival of the old accursed tendencies of German nationalism, racism, and anti-Semitism. These special instances of anti-Semitism apart, I should like to repeat that in today's overall Jewish situation anti-Semitism is no longer a decisive factor. One can only hope that this will remain so for the future. The second factor is of much more decisive importance for the structure of Jewish life than the one just dealt with. There was rarely a period in history when the general world situation had such a tremendous impact on the life of every people and every community in the world or, for that matter, upon every individual as today. Because there was never a period before when the world was so entirely one world, subject everywhere to the impact of the great determining forces of the world situation. In former periods humanity waa divided in many spheres, rarely affected in their CHANUKAH... On this Festival of Li may the light and Peace shine Freedom upon all the world. THE TELEGRAM DAILY--------WEEKCND Toronto 1, Ontario.