Biographies & Memoirs

33. Unpublished Preface to a Blackbook

THIS BOOK IS a collection of documentary material on the systematic work of destruction by which the German Government murdered a great proportion of the Jewish people. Responsibility for the truth of the facts set forth is borne by the Jewish organizations that have joined to create the present work and present it to the public.

The purpose of this publication is manifest. It is to convince the reader that an international organization for safeguarding the sanctity of life can effectively fulfill its purpose only if it does not limit itself to protecting countries against military attack but also extends its protection to national minorities within the individual countries. For in the last reckoning it is the individual who must be protected against annihilation and inhuman treatment.

It is true that this goal can be attained only if the principle of non-intervention, which has played such a fateful role in the last decades, is cast overboard. Yet today no one can doubt the need for this far-reaching step any longer. For even those who envision only the attainment of protection against military attack from the outside must today realize that the disasters of war are preceded by certain internal developments in the various countries, and not merely by military and armaments preparations.

Not until the creation and maintenance of decent conditions of life for all men are recognized and accepted as a common obligation of all men and all countries—not until then shall we, with a certain degree of justification, be able to speak of mankind as civilized.

Percentagewise the Jewish people have lost more than any other people affected by the disasters of recent years. If a truly just settlement is to be striven for, the Jewish people must be given special consideration in the organization of the peace. The fact that the Jews, in the formal political sense, cannot be regarded as a nation, insofar as they possess no country and no government, ought to be no impediment. For the Jews have been treated as a uniform group, as though they were a nation. Their status as a uniform political group is proved to be a fact by the behavior of their enemies. Hence in striving toward a stabilization of the international situation they should be considered as though they were a nation in the customary sense of the word.

Another factor must be emphasized in this connection. In parts of Europe Jewish life will probably be impossible for years to come. In decades of hard work and voluntary financial aid the Jews have restored the soil of Palestine to fertility. All these sacrifices were made because of trust in the officially sanctioned promise given by the governments in question after the last war, namely that the Jewish people were to be given a secure home in their ancient Palestinian country. To put it mildly, the fulfillment of this promise has been but hesitant and partial. Now that the Jews—especially the Jews in Palestine—have in this war too rendered a valuable contribution, the promise must be forcibly called to mind. The demand must be put forward that Palestine, within the limits of its economic capacity, be thrown open to Jewish immigration. If supranational institutions are to win that confidence that must form the most important buttress for their endurance, then it must be shown above all that those who, trusting to these institutions, have made the heaviest sacrifices are not defrauded.

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