The Holocaust Historiography Project

The First Holocaust

Jewish Fund Raising Campaigns with Holocaust Claims During and After World War One

by Don Heddesheimer

Chapter 2
World War One Activities

Regarding the growing importance of the American Jewish Committee, a 1931 summary report by its secretary Joseph C. Hyman stated:[52]

"Small in its beginnings and regarded as merely a temporary committee for emergency aid, the organization has evolved into the greatest relief agency in Jewish history. In its primary results, it meant the physical saving of millions of Eastern European Jews."

Another American Jewish Committee's explanation was more restrained:[53]

"As soon as the World War [One] started and it was obvious that a large part of the War would be fought in the zone in which six or seven million Jews lived, particularly Poland, Russia and Galicia, many worthy people started organizations to collect funds for the sufferers in the War zones."

The story of the holocaust of up to six million European Jews didn't originate with World War Two. In fact, a very similar scenario was played out in somewhat less flamboyant terms during World War One and its aftermath. After World War One it was reported as news that five million, over five million, even six million Jews in Europe were sick or dying in a holocaust from starvation, horrible epidemics, and a malignant persecution. The following focuses especially on the World War One fund raising drives. These selected campaigns by major Jewish advocacy groups may offer historical significance both on their own and in terms of the post World War Two Holocaust industry.

Holocaust is a World War One word. Holocaust was used during and after World War One to describe what was going on in Europe and what allegedly happened to the Jews of Europe during and after that war. While the stories that are today referred to as "the Holocaust" weren't called a holocaust during or even for decades after World War Two, the word holocaust was used while World War One was happening and thereafter. It was called a holocaust, it was called the greatest tragedy the world has ever known and it was called the greatest need the world has ever known.

Until 1917, the leader of the Jewish community in New York, Jacob Schiff, repeatedly called for an end to "this holocaust".[54] In 1919, the American Hebrew magazine used the word holocaust in describing the plight of European Jewry in an article written under the byline of a former Governor of New York State.[55] Yehuda Bauer wrote in My Brother's Keeper, an authorized history of the Joint Distribution Committee of Jewish War Sufferers, that[56]

"the destruction of European Jewry during World War Two has obliterated the memory of the first holocaust of the 20th century in the wake of the First World War."

A "holocaust of humanity" is the way World War One was described in The Great Betrayal, a book co-authored by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and published in 1930. The premise of The Great Betrayal was that the British had reneged on promises they made concerning Palestine to the Jewish leadership during World War One. This book included a chapter on Winston Churchill's opinion that:[57]

"The Zionist movement throughout the world was actively pro-Ally, and in a special sense pro-British. Nowhere was this movement more noticeable than in the United States and upon the active share of the United States in the bloody struggle which was impending rested a large proportion of our hopes. The able leaders of the Zionist movement and their wide-spread branches exercised an appreciable influence upon American opinion and that influence -- like the Jewish influence generally -- was steadily cast in our favor. Jews (Zionist and non-Zionist alike) sympathized with the Allies and worked for the success of Great Britain and the close co-operation with Great Britain of the United States.

The Balfour Declaration must, therefore, not be regarded as a promise given from sentimental motives; it was a practical measure taken in the interests of a common cause at a moment when that cause could afford to neglect no factor of material or moral assistance."

The Price of Liberty is an authorized history of the American Jewish Committee that was published in 1948, after World War Two was over. It contains a chapter about World War One entitled "The Holocaust of War". This chapter mentions some of these World War One and postwar fund raising efforts and includes the following quote:[58]

"As the armies rolled back and forth in desperate conflict over the borders of Poland, Galicia, and East Prussia, terror, desolation and death descended on the civilian population in general, but most of all upon the seven million Jews. The Christian Poles, Ruthenians and Germans suffered the inevitable hardships that attend all warfare; but the Jews, already proscribed by the Russians and Poles, met with a concentrated orgy of hatred, blood lust and vindictive opportunity that threatened to wipe them out in one vast holocaust."

Less than a month after the initial declarations of war in Europe, plans were begun to organize an effort to help Jews living in the war affected areas. On October 4, 1914, the Central Committee for the Relief of Jews Suffering Through the War was formed with Morris Engelman elected financial secretary and a day of prayer was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson. On October 14, 1914, Louis Marshall, the president of the American Jewish Committee, called a meeting which resulted in the formation of the American Jewish Relief Committee with Louis Marshall as chairman and Felix Warburg as treasurer. On November 27, 1914, the American Jewish Relief Committee and the Central Relief Committee organized the Joint Distribution Committee, electing Felix M. Warburg chairman.[59]

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for Jewish War Sufferers, affectionately referred to by its supporters as the 'Joint', was also started in 1914 by the leaders of the American Jewish Committee in response to:

"alarming news that reached the U.S. regarding the fate of eighty five thousand Jews of Palestine".

There were then many Jews living in Palestine being subsidized by British Jews whose subsidies were interrupted by the war between Great Britain and Turkey, which then controlled Palestine.

Felix Marshall, the longtime president of the American Jewish Committee, became its first president. Jacob Schiff made son-in-law Felix Warburg the first 'Joint' treasurer. On New Years Day of 1915, Felix Warburg, the Chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, organized a remittance or credit bureau supervised by his secretary, Harriet Lowenstein. In March of that year, the Central Relief Committee made arrangements with Henry Morgenthau, Woodrow Wilson's ambassador to Turkey, to transmit funds to institutions in Palestine. In time, aid to Palestine, Greece, Egypt, and Syria was channeled through the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey.

In 1915, at a rally in New York, Louis Marshall, on behalf of the American Jewish Relief Committee, along with Jacob Schiff and Congressman Meyer London, denounced the apathy toward the suffering of co-religionists declaring that millions were in dire distress and pleading with the rich to give. Marshall said there were about 13 million Jews in the world, and that over 6 million of them are in eastern Europe where the war is being fought. Marshall also read a letter from Schiff that "private reports" had been received showing conditions in Russia, Palestine, Poland, and Galicia, "the frightful nature of which could not be pictured." Mr. London said this was the worst period in Jewish history and that millions of Jewish peoples depended on the generosity of more fortunate Jews of the United States.[60]

In May of 1915, certificates bearing the facsimile signatures of the officers of both committees ranging in value from one dollar to five dollars were introduced. In September, the Esras Torah fund was founded to aid the unfortunate Rabbis and Zadikim in Europe and Palestine. In October, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (Hias) obtained permission from Germany and other countries in Central Europe and received the consent of the United States Government to make arrangements so that communications between residents in the United States and their kin in eastern Europe could be reestablished with all letters passing through Hias, which acted as an International Post Office.

On December 21, 1915, $700,000 was raised by the American Jewish Relief Committee at a meeting held at Carnegie Hall in New York City. On December 28, the Business Men's League was organized with Jacob Wertheim as chairman to assure the cooperation of business people throughout the United States.

On January 6, the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Senator Martine of New Jersey setting aside a special Jewish relief day. On January 12, a Resolution was signed by President Wilson setting aside January 27, 1916 as Jewish Sufferers Relief Day, "at the urging of friends of the Jewish people in the United States Senate".[61] It was observed throughout the country resulting in collections exceeding two million dollars. On February 17, representatives of the Central Committee for the Relief of Jews Suffering Through the War and the Women's Proclamation Committee visited the White House and were received by President Wilson, who accepted a plaque commemorating Jewish Relief Day.[62]

A drive to collect ten million dollars in 1916 was kicked off with a pledge of the cooperation of newspapermen. As Engelman notes in his chronological summary of the first fifteen years of the Joint Distribution Committee published in 1929:

"The generosity of the public was greatly stimulated by the whole-hearted helpfulness of the entire American and Jewish press."

Throughout all of the early holocaust fund raising drives, there was a total lack of criticism or media scrutiny, the press being reduced to a sort of cheering section, not unlike today's cringing fondness over the actions of Israel and the post World War Two holocaust industry by the fourth estate.

A May 22, 1916, New York Times article reported that there were 700,000 Jews in need on the east war front:[63]

"of the normal total of about 2,450,000 Jews in Poland, Lithuania, and Courland, 1,770,000 remain, and of that number about 700,000 are in urgent and continuous want. About 455,000 of these are in Poland, and 50,000 of these number are persons who are without homes and in particularly distressful circumstances."

Another 1916 project was a book entitled The Jews in the Eastern War Zone. Published by the American Jewish Committee, 25,000 copies of this book were sent to the leaders of American thought and the molders of public opinion including President Wilson, members of the Presidential Cabinet and Congress, the press and the magazines, influential men and women everywhere.[64] The book said that Russia has virtually converted an area into a penal settlement, where six million human beings guilty only of adherence to the Jewish faith are compelled to live out their lives in squalor and misery, in constant terror of massacre, subject to the caprice of police officials and a corrupt administration -- in short, without legal rights or social status:[65]

"a kind of prison with six million inmates, guarded by an army of corrupt and brutal jailers."

The Jews in the Eastern War Zone is an important book from this period because the language in the book is reused extensively by other sources, such as the New York Times. It is important today because it shows what the American Jewish establishment was telling people before the United States entered World War One, as a reading of the introduction and the introduction to the section on Russia shows.[66] This book's concept included the theme that the Jews in eastern Europe were experiencing a unique suffering, that this suffering was to an extent suffered by no others, that they were denied elementary rights denied to no other people, and were the victims of government sponsored persecutions. It even contains the buzz words "six million" and "extermination."

The book also describes why the American Jewish establishment thought that the recent abolition of the Pale was temporary, granted grudgingly by Russia's leadership with galling limitations, and issued in the hope of facilitating a foreign loan.[67]

In July of 1916, Felix and Paul Warburg's younger brother Fritz Warburg, who during World War One was the Chairman of the Hamburg Metal Exchange, was involved in discreet unofficial peace talks with Alexander Protopopov, the Vice President of the Russian Duma, in Stockholm, Sweden. Fritz discussed a separate peace between Germany and Russia with Russia receiving parts of German occupied Polish areas.[68] There were several unsuccessful peace attempts between Germany and Russia in 1916.

In October of 1916, Felix Warburg, who had simultaneously held both the office of Chairman of the Joint Jewish Distribution Committee and Treasurer, resigned as Treasurer and was replaced by Herbert Lehman. Mr. Lehman is more famous as the Democratic governor of New York from 1933 to 1942. Franklin Roosevelt preceded him in that office from 1929 to 1933. Although Lehman served as treasurer for less than a year, he retained close connections with the 'Joint' and headed up the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), which was established in 1943 and existed until it was supplanted by the International Refugee Organization in 1947.[69]

The outbreak of World War One was a difficult time for Americans who had been born in Germany. Most didn't want the United States to get sucked into this European war, which they thought would not benefit their adopted country as well as for reasons of sentiment. At the beginning of the war, Jacob Schiff rationalized that Germany was going to win and that a German victory that would also end Czarism appeared by far the more desirable end. Schiff's in-laws at the Warburg firm in Hamburg were actively supporting the German war effort.[54] Although the Russian invasion of Germany was halted by the German army shifting troops from the western front, this produced a stalemate in the west. As hopes for a quick victory evaporated and the war dragged on, the anxieties of German-Americans only increased.

German-Americans in general had their loyalty as Americans questioned during the World War One period by the pro-British U.S. establishment. Schiff was accused of being pro-German during the first two years of World War One because he didn't want America to fight in a war allied with the Czar. Once the Czar fell in early 1917, Schiff financially supported the Mensheviks and supported U.S. intervention. A month after the March 1917 revolution deposing the Czar in Russia, the United States declared war on Germany and entered World War One.

While America was still neutral,[70] the 'Joint' channeled 19 million marks to aid Polish Jews through the M.M. Warburg private bank in Hamburg Germany.[71] According to Reports Received by the Joint,[72] a 1916 publication of The Joint Distribution Committee, they were sending money to the Jewish Colonization Committee in Petrograd, Russia, which worked through local committees in 142 centers in Russia from Alitir, Baku, Bessarabia, Irkutsk, and Odessa to Yaraslavl.[73] It was the general policy of the 'Joint' to work within existing Jewish organizational structures already in place in Europe.

After America entered the war, the 'Joint' transferred money into German-occupied territory through neutral Holland. A committee was set up that transferred close to two million dollars from the United States to Dutch diplomatic representatives, who distributed it according to guidelines received from New York by way of Holland. In May of 1917, Oscar Strauss, Henry Morgenthau Sr., Louis Marshall, Fulton R. Brylawski, and Albert Lucas, secretary of the Joint Distribution Committee, interviewed the Secretary of State, and arrangements were completed for sending relief funds to the German occupied territories in Poland and Lithuania through the intermediary of a committee of Dutch Jews, instead of the German Hilfskomitee.[74]

By the time America entered World War One, anti-German hate propaganda in the United States had escalated to a point that was much worse than any time even during World War Two. In many places the playing of music by Beethoven and other German composers was outlawed, as was the teaching of German in public schools. It is now conveniently forgotten how Kaiser Wilhelm was vilified and caricatured. Falsehood In Wartime, a book written by a Member of British Parliament, chronicles some of the vitriolic stories published about aspects of German culture. He notes that films were produced by those who were trying to get America into the war and that one showed a foreign army burning villages, carrying off women, and a hideous German looking villain was depicted plotting and scheming, with a close-up of him, rolling his eyes with Mephistophelian cunning in the gallery of Congress. Luther's A Mighty Fortress is our God was mistranslated as "Hindenburg is our God", and Wagner was unfavorably compared to Sousa.[75]

Rudyard Kipling saw Germans as germs, saying that "Pestis Teutonicus" menaces civilization everywhere in a New York Times article, which is reprinted below:[76]

"One thing that we must get into our thick heads is that wherever the German -- man or woman -- gets a suitable culture to thrive in he or she means death and loss to civilized people, precisely as germs of any disease suffered to multiply mean death or loss to mankind, There is no question of hate, or anger or excitement in the matter, any more than there is in flushing out sinks or putting oil on water to prevent mosquitoes hatching eggs. As far as we are concerned the German is typhoid or plague -- Pestis Teutonicus, if you like. But until we realize this elementary fact in peace we shall always be liable to outbreaks of anti-civilization. Make this clear by all means in your power. […] We must put the work through for the sake of all mankind and the saving of our souls. I see that Australia has begun to restrict German trade. That is right. Where a bale or box of German goods comes into a civilized country there is always the chance of exposing mankind to danger sooner or later. This has been proved, before all mankind in every quarter of the world. […] If I were a German, I would really be grieved at the blindness of all the rest of the world, and judging from their papers, they are grieving in multitudes. But I fancy it is a long way yet for them and for us. They have got to go on winning victories for about another year if their men and their money run into it. They will probably finish up with a splendid victory, and then those 'fool allies' will reform their line and pick up the pieces and get ready to be beaten again -- very likely not far from where the lines are now. Then the show will shut up with Germany victorious to the last and the Allies methodically carving her up into nice harmless pieces. Maybe I am wrong, but that is the way I see it. Germany winning all the victories and the Allies winning the war."

After America entered the war, "actual war films" (sic) were produced in Hollywood and released, and the Committee on Public Information employed an immense army of speakers and pamphleteers. Lies were successfully circulated including poisoned sugar-candy dropped by German airplanes for children to eat and German soldiers giving poisoned candy and hand grenades to children. A particularly gruesome lie about German soldiers crucifying a young girl was the basis of a war propaganda drama, "Duty to Civilization", which had the blessing of President Wilson.[77]

It was during this period that the Provisional Zionist Committee whose chairman was Stephen S. Wise in a news story entitled "Germans let Jews Die, Women and Children in Warsaw Starving to Death" vouched that "Jewish mothers, mothers of mercy, feel happy to see their nursing babies die, at least they are through with their suffering."[78]

This report ignores the facts that aid had been sent to Warsaw through Hamburg while America was still neutral and that just a month before, in May of 1917, 'Joint' officials made arrangements through both the U.S. Secretary of State and German officials to send relief funds to the German occupied areas of Poland and Lithuania by way of a committee of Dutch Jews as noted previously in this chapter. The Netherlands managed to remain neutral throughout that war and provided asylum for Kaiser Wilhelm the Second from the time of his abdication until his death in 1941.

The Balfour declaration is dated November 2, 1917, although the language in the declaration had been worked on for years before that. For example the words "national home" were used instead of nation to dispel fears that the Arab Moslems and Christians already living there would be expelled. Lord Balfour of the British foreign office signed and sent a letter to Lord Rothschild which said:

"I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty's Government the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to and approved by the cabinet: 'His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.' I should be grateful to you if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation."

A month after the date of the Balfour Declaration in December of 1917, the British army entered Jerusalem.

In 1918, Louis Marshall was spearheading a drive to raise twenty million dollars for what they said was the millions of starving Jews in the war zones.[79] While labeled non-sectarian, Felix Warburg, the Chairman of the 1918 campaign explained that:[80]

"this campaign is entirely for the Jewish civilian populations in Europe, Palestine and Asia Minor."

Also in 1918, the American Jewish Congress was founded with the original goals of "providing humanitarian relief for European Jews who had suffered from the carnage of the war and restoring the State Of Israel to Palestine".[43] The American Jewish Congress saw itself as the voice of the eastern European Jews rather than the American Jewish Committee, whose members were mostly German Jews.

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise was the major leadership figure of the American Jewish Congress during its formative period.[81] Born in Hungary, the son of a Rabbi and a porcelain heiress and the grandson of Joseph Hirsch Weisz, a Grand Rabbi of Hungary, he was brought to New York by his parents as a small child in 1875, when his father became rabbi of a Brooklyn, New York, congregation. The younger Wise was instructed in Talmudic law by his father and the Rev. Dr. Gustav Gotheil. He attended the College of the City of New York, and was reported to have completed his studies abroad. After returning to the United States, at the age of 20, he was elected rabbi of the Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York where he remained for over five years. Shortly after June of 1900, he went to Portland, Oregon, to head up a congregation and then returned to New York, founding the Free Synagogue in 1906. Early on, Dr. Wise was known for his progressive ideas on general topics and also as an exponent of Zionism, a movement then contemplating the reestablishment of the Jewish nation.[82]

As early as 1900, Wise is recorded telling a Zionist gathering that "there are 6,000,000 living, bleeding, suffering arguments in favor of Zionism" as reported in a New York Times article.[83]

By 1906, Dr. Wise had founded the Free Synagogue, an independent reform synagogue on West 81st Street in New York City. His sermons sometimes were reported in the New York Times. In 1908, the New Years service was so crowded that the overflow crowd was addressed by Eugene Lehman of Yale University, the President of the adjoining religious school.[84] His tone was often frankly populist. In one sermon Wise accused the Standard Oil Company of treason and of a bankruptcy in morals.[85] He preached from Carnegie Hall that certain criticism should be ignored but that there was a duty, "to meet every attack on honor, righteousness, and justice, to make ourselves kings among men, and knightly administrators of justice to humanity at large."[86] In another sermon he went after thirteen New York State Judges for attending a banquet in honor of a former Tammany (political machine) leader. He preached against the intermarriage of Jews and Christians.[87] He spoke at a Seventh Avenue Methodist Church under the auspices of the Peace Society, of which Andrew Carnegie was President, attacking "yellow journalism as would jingoize our land into war." An excellent topic even for today! Wise also once came out in favor of a bill that was pending in the New York Legislature that would tax and assess "for profit" cemeteries for public improvements.[88]

One story he used to tell was that in 1914 the Mayor of New York City called him on the phone and asked:

"Dr. Wise, this is John Mitchell. Where the hell is Armenia? […] Some representatives of Armenia are coming to this office in a few minutes and I don't know where Armenia is or what those fellows want."

Wise said he suggested that Mitchell put a good stenographer on the phone and dictated a short statement of welcome and congratulations to the gentlemen from Armenia.[89]

In November of 1918, Wise was named chairman of a delegation to go to London, England, on behalf of the Zionist Organization of America.[90] In January of 1919, after conferring with Lord Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, Wise was in Paris, France, where he conferred with Colonel House and received the Legion of Honor decoration in appreciation of his eminent services to the French cause. When asked if there was any likelihood of boundary difficulties in the Near East, Dr. Wise said:

"Not if France and Great Britain act as they may be expected to act in the spirit of friends and allies -- and have regard not for obsolete conventions and questionable facts, but for that spirit throughout the permanent conference."

After returning to the United States, Dr. Wise met with President Wilson in 1919 who approved of a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine under British rule. Wise was quoted on page one of the New York Times on March 13, 1919, saying:[91]

"The rebuilding of Zion will be the reparation of all Christendom for the wrongs done to the Jews."

The occasion was a meeting of Zionist leaders headed by Wise and President Wilson at the White House, where guarantees for human rights to Jews throughout the world including eastern Europe and Palestine were discussed. Afterwards, Wise and other leaders spoke to a large Washington, D.C., audience about his recent experiences in Paris and its bearing on the Paris Peace conference. He predicted that Britain, through the League of Nations, would accept a mandate over Palestine and that the Jews would return to their rightful place in the world.

These articles show that by 1919 the Jewish lobby was international, focused, and powerful. They were in friendly contact with the heads of the victorious allied governments and a strong voice at the Paris Peace Conference. Wise was a major player as the head of the Zionist Organization of America and later the driving force behind the American Jewish Congress. Wise was meeting with world leaders, passing on their agendas, and representing the Jewish leadership on the issue of Palestine. Chaim Weizmann, Chairman of the British Zionist Committee who had been that organization's central Paris Peace Conference figure, indicated that the allies and especially the British were sympathetic to the Zionist cause. Displaying confidence and assurance that the mandate of Palestine through the League of Nations would naturally evolve into a Jewish commonwealth, Weizmann said:

"The League of Nation has made it possible to give expression to the centuries old desire of the Jewish race."

Weizmann is credited with making the famous prediction in the early nineteen twenties that Palestine would become "as Jewish as England is English."[92]

An early American Jewish Congress news story and fund drive article from May 20, 1920, included this message:

"The fund for Jewish war sufferers in Central and Eastern Europe where six millions face horrifying conditions of famine, disease and death."

In the second paragraph Dr. Wise says:

"If American Jews now fail to help those who suffer through no fault of their own, the blame will rest on their own heads should they miserably perish. Surely no self respecting American Jew will wish, or even will suffer, the extinction of large numbers of Jewish people to come to pass."

The article lists many large contributors, including a ten thousand dollar contribution from Adolf Ochs, who was then the owner of the New York Times.[93]

We are concentrating on Stephen S. Wise because of his role in breaking the World War Two extermination stories to the American mainstream media through the New York Times. A New York Times article of November 25, 1942, written under the byline of James MacDonald, has been mounted and displayed in the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It is titled:

"Himmler Program Kills Polish Jews. […] Officials of Poland Publish Data -- Dr. Wise Gets Check Here by State Department."

The first part of the article was based on a report issued on November 24 by the Polish government in exile in London, England, although details of the report had allegedly been previously printed in unnamed Palestine newspapers. It stated that in June of 1942 Himmler had visited Warsaw and ordered that half the Jews in Poland be killed by the end of the year and that this was being done throughout Poland and especially at Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor. There is no mention of Auschwitz.[94] Stephen S. Wise, who was still the president of the American Jewish Congress as well as chairman of the World Jewish Congress, is the source of the second half of the article "Wise Gets Confirmations-Checks With State Department on Nazis' Extermination Campaign." Wise said that he had learned through unnamed sources confirmed by the State Department "that about half the estimated 4,000,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe had been slain in an extermination campaign" and that "the plan was drafted by Herman Backe, Secretary of State for Economics, and was put into effect by Hitler by late summer." Wise presented a detailed memorandum on atrocities committed in areas occupied by German, Rumanian, Hungarian, and Slovak troops and summarized the statistical effect of the campaign on the Jews living in each country. One example:

"The total number of Jews in Poland, after the deduction of some 500,000 refugees in Russia, should have approximated 2,800,000."

I don't want to say that Wise's numbers in the article were wrong because one would think that, if anyone knew the Jewish population in German occupied Europe in 1942, it would be the chairman of the World Jewish Congress. If anything, he would inflate the numbers, which may have been the case here. For example, however many Jews purportedly were in Poland, since there was no modern Poland before 1918, they were previously also counted as citizens of other countries, chiefly Russia. In 1939, when Stalin invaded eastern Poland, it was on the pretext of protecting the minorities within what had for two decades been Poland. The Soviet Union considered the Jews under their control to be Soviet citizens as they had been Russian citizens before 1918. Also many so called Polish Jews moved to Hungary, a country that Wise left out of his statistical analysis. This historic article contains several inconsistencies and is historically significant for its timeliness, not for its accuracy.

There are many other articles. One such example is an article on page one of the New York Times of July 22, 1942, printing the text of messages from President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Dr. Wise containing vague statements of atrocities.[95] There are other such examples. The points are that Wise was a major force behind breaking the World War Two holocaust story to the mainstream press through the New York Times, that he then had a history of an active ongoing relationship with the Times that went back over forty years, and that he also had a long history of making extermination claims all the way back to World War One. This makes Wise's activities during the First World War era holocaust fund raising drives all the more significant.

A few other examples. In a sermon at Carnegie Hall Wise declared that Jews cannot believe in "the Christ of dogma" in order "to be saved or to be safe." Regarding Jesus Christ, Dr. Wise said in 1938:[96]

"We've never rejected him. He died as millions of Jews are dying today."

There are several articles about Wise's views on Jesus. One urged Jews to agree as to the historic reality of Jesus and the nature of his activity.[97] In another, Dr. Wise wanted an end of missionizing by Christians to Jews and that Christian textbooks not teach that the Jews tried to kill Jesus:

"The Christian teacher ought to read backward, trying to make clear to the Christian child that all this happened long ago, that we do not know where the responsibility rests. Some Jews went with Him, some turned against Him. But his mother was a Jewish woman."

Wise wrote in his autobiography Challenging Years:[98]

"I have felt it to be my sacred duty, when addressing Christian groups and committees, to remind them that even if it could be proven, as of course it cannot be [according to Wise], that Jews and only Jews were responsible for the crucifixion, those who called themselves his followers dare not overlook or ignore Jesus' last appeal on behalf of his persecutors."

Wise thought that Christians, in stressing the resurrection, neglected the life and teachings of Jesus the Jew, and that Jews have not repudiated Jesus the Jew. Wise considered it undebatable that, "Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian." Of course, if we follow that logic to its ultimate absurdity, then it should be stressed that Buddha was born a Hindu, that Luther was born a Catholic, and that John Wesley was born an Anglican and was even buried in his Anglican robes. George Washington was born an Englishman, and the English never rejected Washington the Englishman. El Libertador Simon Bolivar was born a Spaniard, and so on.

Wise, again from his autobiography published in 1949, says:[99]

"It is credibly, even verifiably reported that in all negotiations in the last year of the war through neutral powers on the part of the representatives of the Nazi regime in 1944, the first demand of Hitler had reference not to territory or to reparations but to the handing over to him of the Jews of such countries as England and the United States."

You can't help but wonder how much of what he said he actually believed but it's possible he believed everything he said.

Recapitulating this chapter, at the beginning of World War One the leadership of the American Jewish Committee established The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for Jewish War Sufferers, ostensibly to help Jews living in Palestine. It channeled aid to Jews living in eastern Europe through Jewish welfare agencies in Germany until America entered the war, after which, with the permission of the German and American governments, aid continued to be sent through the neutral Netherlands. The suffering of Jewish civilians living in eastern Europe was described literally as a holocaust, a unique suffering, and regular fund raising campaigns to aid these people were conducted throughout the war. January 27, 1916, was set aside as Jewish Sufferers relief day by President Wilson, and also in 1916, an influential book was published by the American Jewish Committee entitled The Jews in the Eastern War Zones, that reported Jews were being denied rights denied to no other people, and used the words six million and extermination in describing their persecutions under the Czar. Anti-German hate propaganda, directed against both Jews and non-Jews in the United States reached a fever pitch. The Balfour Declaration was declared a month before the British army entered Jerusalem. The American Jewish Congress was launched and both the American Jewish Committee and The American Jewish Congress sent delegates to the Paris Peace Conference that placed Palestine under a British mandate.


[52] The Activities of the Joint Distribution Committee (J.D.C.), A Summary Report, Submitted to the Council of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee by Joseph C. Hyman, Secretary, March 22, 1931.
[53] Felix M. Warburg, A Biographical Sketch, New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1938, p. 14.
[54] N. Cohen, op. cit. (note 38), p. 191.
[55] Martin H. Glynn, "The Crucifixion of Jews Must Stop!," The American Hebrew, Oct. 31, 1919, pp. 582f. See Appendix, p. 135.
[56] Yehuda Bauer, My Brother's Keeper. A History of the American Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1974.
[57] Jacob de Haas, Stephen S. Wise, The Great Betrayal, New York: Brentano's Publishers, 1930, p. 287.
[58] Nathan Schachner, The Price of Liberty. A History of The American Jewish Committee, New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1948, p. 60, 287.
[59] Morris Engelman, Fifteen Years of Effort on Behalf of World Jewry, New York: Ference Press, 1929.
[60] "Jews Indifference to War Aid Rebuked", New York Times, Jan. 14, 1915, p. 3. The complete text is reproduced in the Appendix, p. 92.
[61] Y. Bauer, op. cit. (note 56), p. 8.
[62] M. Engelman, op. cit. (note 59), p. 9.
[63] "700,000 Jews in Need on the East War Front", New York Times, May 22, 1916, p. 11. The complete article is reproduced in the Appendix, p. 93.
[64] Nathan Schachner, op. cit., (note 58), p. 63.
[65] The American Jewish Committee, The Jews in the Eastern War Zones, New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1916, p. 19f.
[66] For a longer excerpt from this book, see Appendix, p. 95.
[67] Ibid., p. 21.
[68] R. Chernow, op. cit. (note 34), pp. 178f.
[69] Oscar Handlin, op. cit. (note 35), p. 93.
[70] R. Chernow, op. cit. (note 34), Chapter 13: "Iron Cross," pp. 171-179.
[71] Ibid., p. 173.
[72] Reports Received by the Joint Distribution Committee of Funds for Jewish War Sufferers, Felix M. Warburg, Chairman; Albert Lucas Secretary. New York Public Library 746677 Astor, Lenox and Tylden foundations, 1916.
[73] Ibid., p. 9.
[74] Engelman, op. cit. (note 59), p. 16.
[75] Arthur Ponsonby, M.P., Falsehood In Wartime-Propaganda: Lies of the First World War, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1929.
[76] "Sees Germans as Germs," New York Times, May 14, 1916.
[77] A. Ponsonby, op. cit. (note 75), pp. 183-185.
[78] "Germans Let Jews Die. Women and Children in Warsaw Starving to Death" New York Times, August 10, 1917. The complete text is reproduced in the Appendix, p. 94.
[79] "No Sectarianism In Jewish Drive", New York Times, September 15, 1918.
[80] Pamphlet with the title "A Message from Felix M. Warburg, Chairman, Jewish War Relief 1918 Campaign, New York City, Conducted by the American Jewish Relief Committee -- Louis Marshall, Chairman; Central Relief Committee -- Leon Kamaiky, Chairman; People's Relief Committee -- Alexander Kahn, Chairman," Sept. 29, 1919.
[81] G. Ivers, op. cit. (note 43), p. 51.
[82] "Dr. Wise To Go To Portland", New York Times, August 3, 1898 p. 1.
[83] "Rabbi Wise's Address", New York Times, June 11, 1900, p. 7. For the entire article, see Appendix, p. 91.
[84] "Throng at Free Synagogue", New York Times, Sept. 27, 1908, p. 7.
[85] "Holds Oil Trust Guilty of Treason", New York Times, Oct. 12, 1908.
[86] "Dr. Wise On Attacks", New York Times, March 12, 1912.
[87] "Dr. Wise Against Intermarriage", New York Times, Oct. 4, 1909.
[88] "Would Tax Cemeteries", New York Times, March 9, 1913.
[89] Stephen S. Wise, Challenging Years. The autobiography of Stephen Wise, New York: Putnam's Sons, 1949, p. 15.
[90] "Send Zionist Mission", New York Times, Nov. 29, 1918.
[91] "President Gives Hope to Zionists", New York Times, March 3, 1919, p. 1. For the complete article, see Appendix, p. 101.
[92] S.S. Wise, op. cit. (note 89), p. 109.
[93] "Jewish War aid Gets $100,000 Gift", New York Times May 7, 1920, p. 11, see Appendix, p. 124.
[94] According to Arthur Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, op. cit. (note 9), p. 89, Auschwitz entered the Allied war propaganda with the publication of a booklet by the War Refugee Board in November, 1944. Therefore, it makes sense that Auschwitz isn't mentioned in this 1942 story.
[95] Ibid., p. 98; Butz discusses a large series of quotes from the New York Times, ibid., pp. 90-113.
[96] "Totalitarianism is Scored -- Dr. Wise Declares Jews Cannot Believe in 'Christ of Dogma'", New York Times April 18, 1938, p. 15.
[97] "Jesus As A Reality -- Rabbi Wise Thinks Jews Should Agree as to His Activities", New York Times, April 25, 1925; "Jesus Lived, Dr. Wise Tells Jews", ibid., December 21, 1925.
[98] S.S. Wise, op. cit. (note 89), p. 282.
[99] Ibid., p. 235f.

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