My Brother s Keeper: A History...

This book deals with the efforts of American Jews - through their overseas aid organization, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee - to come the aid of European Jewry in the crucial prewar decade, 1929-1939.

4 : My Brother’s Keeper dle and upper class, liberal, speedily adapting itself to the Ameri-can way of life— and the masses of East European Jews who had been arriving in the New World since 1882. The latter were largely proletarian or lower middle class, and their spiritual outlook tend-ed to be either Jewish Orthodox or, at the other extreme, socialist and antireligious. There was very little in common between those different kinds of Jews, except for the uncertain and ill- defined feeling that their common origin and cultural background should mean more to them than it actually did. The German Jewish leadership of American Jewry was a highly sophisticated, intellectual group of men and women. The social elite at the top was made up of bankers, merchants, judges, law-yers, and doctors; they were well- bred, well- read, patrons of the arts and of sports, supporters and furtherers of a well- ordered de-mocracy. Their philanthropy was sincere and well- meant. Most of them— there were some notable exceptions— kept some of the re-ligious observances of their ancestors, or rather those of them that had not been discarded by the Jewish Reform movement. Howev-er, it appeared that their religion meant less and less to them as time went on. In a sense their social obligation to their brethren ( whom they awkwardly called “ coreligionists,” to emphasize the fact that there was really nothing in common between them except religion, or vestiges of it) was a kind of inherited trait. It had been transmitted to them from the customs and usages of their ancestors in the ghet-tos of Germany, where, a scant three generations before Mor-genthau sent off his telegram to Schiff, life had produced the same kind of Jew as Eastern Europe did. In their efforts to “ assimilate,” that is, to become citizens of the world in which they lived, they often rationalized their aid to Jews as part of their concern for hu-manity as a whole. The common past put a moral obligation on them to help those Jews in backward Europe to reach the happy stage of equality— and therefore prosperity— that they themselves had attained. That, it was hoped, would be the end of the Jewish problem for Europe’s Jews; it would also be the end of their own   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C  | I n d e x For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com

My Brother s Keeper: A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1929-1939.


About Book My Brother s Keeper: A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1929-1939.

FRONT MATTERTitle PageCopyright PageContentsTablesPrefaceIntroduction: The First Fifteen Years1. A Time of Crisis: 1929–19322. Agro-Joint3. Germany: 1933–19384. Refugees: 1933–19385. Prelude to the HolocaustPOLANDROMANIACZECHOSLOVAKIA AND HUNGARYTHE BALTIC STATES6. The Beginning of the EndAUSTRIAEVIANTHE REFUGEESZBASZYNJDC IN 1938/9THE “NIGHT OF CRYSTAL”EMIGRATION AND FLIGHTTHE RUBLEE-SCHACHT EPISODE AND THE COORDINATING FOUNDATIONILLEGAL MIGRATIONTHE END IN POLANDConclusionAppendix: Income and Expenditure of JDC: 1914–1939NotesBibliographyIndex
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