Tesi di laurea di Emanuela Dolcini - 1938: L'opinione pubblica britannica e l'antisemitismo fascista




IN the early years ot this century a famous picture depicted an aged, bearded patriarch, bent low over a globe, a lean finger pointing at the earth's surface over which l.ic old man's sad eyes seemed \.i wander searchlngly.

The picture bore the one word " Whither?" symbolising the plight of East European Jewry fleeing from massacre In Tsarlst Russia and the anti-Semitic terrorism of Rumania.

Four million Jews left Eastern Europe In the 34 years between 1880 and 1914. to seek refuge In Europe, America and across the Seven Seas.

Tomorrow at Evian. on the shore of Lake Lausanne, representatives of 30 nations, convoked by President Roosevelt, will sit round a conference table to solve the problem o( Europe's refugees. fleeing to-day from Hitler's persecution and threatened to-morrow by mass expulsion and penury,

In effect, the statesmen at Evian will. like the aged Jew In the picture. be searching the globe tor an answer to his query, " Whither? "

In Germany 500,000 Jews are under sentence of doom; Hitler decrees, " No more Jews in the Third Relch." Goering, in Hitler's name, proclaims a Four-Year Plan tor the " liquidation " o( Austria's 350.000 Jews. Goebbels declares. " No room in German Austria for the Jews."

POLAND'S statesmen under German innuence, proclaim a policy of " Polonlsatlon," a purge of 3,000,000 Jews from all branches of State life. Col. Beck, the Foreign Minister, announces that " at least 1,000,000 Jews must emigrate." One million arc already on the starvation line.

King Carol of Rumania has said that " hundreds of thousands of Jews are not entitled to citizenship," and Hungary decrees an 80 per cent. purge of Jews from trade, the professions and the Civil Service.

Scores of thousands of Nazldom's victims have already fled; the millions await fearfully their sentence of outlawry.

Where are they to go? President Roosevelt, at least, ha.s realised that the Jewish problem In Europe must be dealt with on an International basis.

His conference will, however, be faced at the outset with this devastating dilemma—while Europe prepares to shut the door behind the Wandering Jew, the rest of the world has already all but closed It In his face.

SO the searching fingers of theEvian statesmen will pass to and fro over the globe's surface, trom one country to the other, only to find written above them the words " No entry.".

But over one land the fingers will pause—over the Eastern corner of the Mediterranean where, 2,000 years ago, the Jews lived as a nation.

The Conference may find, many assert that It must find, that the answer to " Whither?" Is to be found only In Palestine.

Here, in the Jewish National Home promulgated by Great Britain by the Baltour Declaration of 1917 and endorsed by the League of Nations. 420,000 Jews have settled since 1920.

In what was previously derelict desert land and malarial swamp they have created a fruitful soil and raised every kind of agricultural product, from the orange to the household vegetable.

On sandy wastes modern cities have risen connected by great motor roads and rail. Water has been brought to the towns and the desiccated fields, electricity in light and power to the remotest village. They have brought new Industries to the backward Near East.

They have built hospitals and schools and a great Universitywhich stands proudly on Mount Scopus, in Jerusalem.

Since 1933, 135,000 Jews have fled from Nazi Germany. One-third of them, some 45.000, have been settled In Palestine, bringing with them 10,000.000 In capital which they have Invested In agriculture and Industry.

Fourteen thousand of these German Jews —former artisans, professional and business men— have gone on the land, 9,000 In private small holdings, 5,000 in the " communal" settlements The others have been established In the towns and " colonies " as tradesmen and workers. Professional men. the lawyers, doctors, teachers, have found employment hi building, bricklaying, road construction. and in the factories as well as In the hospitals, schools and colleges.

THIS Jewish settlement accomplished despite drastic immigration restrictions and years of terrorism and civil unrest. Had Britain, the Mandatory Power. opened wider the doors of Palestine there Is no doubt that many more of Germany's refugees would have found asylum there.

Assuming freedom of entry, experts maintain that Palestine can settle comfortably another million of Europe's homeless and hopeless Jews.

Viscount Samuel, formerly High Commissioner of Palestine, is by no means an extravagant advocate of large scale Jewish Immigration. Yet he has declared that there is room In Palestine for a population of not less than 3,000,000. including one million Arabs.

With an existing total population of about 1,300.000, there is, on this basis, accommodation tor at least 1,500.000 more people. If that is so. the problem of European Jewry and of those nations that claim to be burdened by surplus Jews is well on the way to solution.

It is conservatively estimated that in Western Palestine there are 500,000 acres of Irrigable land of which less than one fourth has been made available tor agriculture.

It the whole available area were. cultivated. 75.000 families could be settled on It. At present, only 15,000 families live directly on the land. There Is room, therefore. It is claimed tor another 60,000 families, or 300,000 additional individuals.

ALONGSIDE each agricultural family, two non-agricultural families could be settled, giving another 600,000 individuals tor Industry and the professions. This Is the basis ot Jewish economy In Palestine. one-third to agriculture, two-thirds to trade and Industry.

Jewish experts calculate thatover a period ol ten years Palestine can absorb, without difficulty. over 1,000,000 new Inhabitants.

This estimate lakes no account of the potentialities of Palestine as the entrepot of the Near East and the effect upon it of the necessary development of the surrounding countries providing new opportunities tor an Increased trading population.

Nor does the estimate take into account the possibilities of Jewish co-operation with Transjordan, vast, fertile, sparsely populated and undeveloped, and of the great area of Southern Palestine, the Negev, as yet unsurveyed and unpeopled, which may become available tor Jewish colonisation. IT Is noteworthy that out of Palestine's 6.000 square miles Jews now own only 560, with a population of 800 to the square mile.. On 5,400 square miles 900,000 Arabs are settled—180 to the square mile.

Palestine, therefore, must be the chief consideration of the Evian Conference if It will deal, as It must, with the refugee problem in a practical way.

But Palestine alone is not enough, tor there are still tour millions left in Europe. Of these, one million .will require to be absorbed by other countries, the United States, South America, and elsewhere, at the rate of 100,000 a year over the next ten years. Two millions must remain in Europe. For them there is no escape.

What is to become o( these? Evian must proclaim that the settlement o( refugees is no acknowledgment of persecution and the deprivation of rights. Justice demands that these remaining two millions must be given th" right to live and earn, unless they are to perish.

ABOVE all, the Conference will have" to con sider means to facilitate emigration to the one country which has shown the capacity to absorb those for whom Central Europe declares there is no place.

And this Involves pressure on Great Britain, the custodian of the Jewish National Home, to end political uncertainty in Palestine and to provide facilities through the removal of Immigration restrictions tor the entry of Jews seeking asylum and freedom.

Whatever else the conference may consider and propose, that remains the kernel of what must oe a basic solution to a basic problem. The essential answer to Whither? Is. In the final analysis, In Palestine, the Land of •Israel.

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© Morashà 2001 - Emanuela Dolcini 2001.

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