JULY 16, 1955
HYDE PARK—The pictures of the 1,243 refugees who arrived from Germany on the Navy transport, General Langfitt, early this week, were certainly very moving. As the ship passed the Statue of Liberty the passengers looked at the monument very quietly but many raised their hands in salute.
Every time I see these pictures and look at the faces of the people I wonder what the individual stories are that lie behind them. Our plan of bringing over refugees from behind the Iron Curtain and other areas where the poor souls have been for some time on the move without being able to settle has lagged a good deal.
We had expected that 209,000 refugees would have arrived and been settled in this country by 1956, but most of our citizens know how this program has been bungled.
Most of these people who arrived on Tuesday came with few belongings, so the customs officials did not have a hard time in examining their luggage. But it was encouraging to see this small beginning which is the first full shipload of Europeans to come to the U.S. under this refugee program.
This particular group will scatter to 31 states and the District of Columbia, where sponsors have supplied assurances of jobs and housing. Most of them have lately been in Germany or Austria, but they come from many of the Iron Curtain countries. They decided to choose freedom over slavery, believing that those of us who live in a free country could somehow help them to reestablish themselves in new areas of the world.
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I can't say that I watched the CBS television show to find out what Mrs. Catherine Kreitzer would do, but I certainly have read a good deal about her decision not to try to answer the $64,000 question.
I think she was a very wise lady to accept the $32,000 she had already won by answering so many questions about the Bible, and not take the risk of losing it all in order to try to double it. After all, when she adds up what she has to pay the government—if she has not already done so—she will learn that she has not passed up a great deal by following the Bible quotation she had picked out: "Let your moderation be known to all men."
The Bible is a remarkable book, you can always find something that suits the subject you are discussing.
I must say that sometimes I have heard people attribute strange meanings to the things they have picked out of the Bible and sometimes I have heard it quoted to uphold doctrines that would not seem exactly to be what we would believe in today. Nevertheless, much help and comfort can be found in the Bible.
On Wednesday afternoon I met a small group of people from the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association, of Elizabeth, N.J., who visited me as part of a program of summer outings they are sponsoring. They visit places of historical interest as well as going in groups to our parks and beaches for recreation. This is a new program which they tell me is working out very well, not only giving pleasure but also education.