JUNE 11, 1946
HYDE PARK, Monday—A young artist, Jack Lewis, who is a veteran of the Pacific war and whom I mentioned before in this column, came here to look around for paintable spots in the Hudson Valley with an eye to a book such as he has done on Delaware. While he was here, he did a watercolor sketch of the stone cottage next to us, where Miss Cook and Miss Dickerman live, and also one of the big house. Both are very charming. I hope he will return and carry through his idea of a book about this region.
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I wonder how many of my readers know of the Community Committee of New York on behalf of the United Jewish Appeal. The chairman is Nelson A. Rockefeller. The honorary chairmen are Governor Thomas E. Dewey, Mayor William O'Dwyer of New York City, the Honorable Herbert H. Lehman and Bishop William T. Manning. The vice-chairmen are William J. Donovan, John J. McCloy and William S. Paley. And there is a distinguished executive committee made up of men of many races and many faiths.
I bring this to the attention of my readers because I feel strongly that every city, small or large, in this country would help to increase the feeling of brotherhood throughout the world if a similar committee was organized in their midst. The purpose is to help the survivors of the Jewish group in Europe who were the greatest sufferers under Hitler's fascist rise to power.
Of the 7,000,000 Jews who lived in Europe when Hitler first came to power, nearly 6,000,000 were put to death in the most brutal manner possible. The methods used frequently included deliberate starvation and torture. Among those murdered were 2,000,000 Jewish children.
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Just the other day, I talked to a man and his wife who had finally managed to come to this country from a concentration camp near Frankfort. They are educated, scholarly people—he is a poet. They had seen their two children burned to death. How one lives through such torture is only explained by the fact that, within each of us, there is an extraordinary tenacity which clings to life, and if we have any hope held out to us, we will struggle to start again.
We in America, who have been spared such cruelty, have a joint responsibility, I think—whether we are Catholic, Protestant or Jew—to help the 1,400,000 Jewish survivors in Europe to return to some kind of normal living.
This committee in New York is helping these people in 51 countries through a joint distribution committee, which does the work of providing food, clothing, shelter and medical supplies. They are establishing hospitals, helping to rehabilitate schools and community welfare institutions, and giving vocational training. Not the least important work is that of reuniting families—which, in war-torn Europe, is a difficult thing to do—and then assisting in their transportation to and establishment in new homelands.