Sunday, April 12, 2015

Propes' 1934 Visit to America

Polish Trumpeldor Head Sees Powerful U.S. Revisionist Unit

July 20, 1934

Potentialities exist in the United States for the creation of a powerful Revisionist Zionist movement and above all for the formation of a strong Brith Trumpeldor youth group, Aaron Propes, head of the Polish Brith Trumpeldor, declared yesterday on his arrival in New York.

Mr. Propes, who has been head of the Polish Brith Trumpeldor since 1929, said he came here for a short visit to acquaint himself with the Jewish situation. He will return to Europe shortly for the world Brith Trumpeldor conference in Czechoslovakia, and after a short stay in Warsaw and Bucharest will come back to the United States for a period of not less than a year and one half to organize an American Brith Trumpeldor, he declared.

“I recognize the difficulties confronting a Brith Trumpeldor organization in the United States,” Mr. Propes asserted. “I realize that your youth are in a totally different position than the Polish Jewish youth. I know that your young men spend their leisure differently and that they are not accustomed to organizational work, but I am convinced that it will be possible to interest Jewish youth here in our movement and I am certain that the near future will show a strong Brith Trumpeldor in this country. In Poland the Brith Trumpeldor had 2,300 members in 1929. Today there are 60,000 young Polish Jews enrolled in our ranks.”


The Polish Revisionist leader denied vehemently many of the charges brought against the Revisionist movement and the Brith Trumpeldor. He also told of the reason for the adoption of the brown uniform by the Brith Trumpeldor, which has aroused unfavorable comment because of the similarity to the Hitler uniform. “The Brith Trumpeldor was founded in Riga in 1923. Of course we wanted a uniform which is always of interest to young people. We could not use the blue because that was the uniform of the Hashomer Hazoir. Red was out because it was Communist. We finally chose brown because it was the color of Palestinian earth and because it was serviceable. For us that was an important consideration. Our members are mainly very poor young Jews and the buying of a uniform meant financial sacrifices. We had to choose some color that would last. We chose brown at a time when the Hitler movement had not been heard of. But that did not prevent our opponents from likening us to the Hitlerites.”


Attacking the Histadruth, the central labor federation of Palestine, for accusing the Revisionists of strikebreaking, Mr. Propes declared that the accusation was wholly political. “We are out to break the Histadruth,” he said, “but we are not strikebreakers and never have been. What we would like to see in Palestine are neutral labor exchanges, which would guarantee work to all Jews on a non-political basis. The world is tired of political experimentation in Palestine. You may or may not like Revisionist methods in fighting the Mandatory power, but it is the only practical way for the Jews to fight for a Jewish National Home. What is being erected there now is an Arab national home.”


Zionist and general Jewish organizations were not affected by the recent strengthening of the Pilsudski dictatorship in Poland, Mr. Propes declared. He said, however, that the Jewish economic position is bad and that the Jews suffer from the economic policies of the regime.

“In one six-week period, Jewish papers in Warsaw were confiscated thirty times. Even when editions were not confiscated outright they were heavily censored, particularly during the Goebbels visit to Warsaw. It was curious to see the Jewish dailies appearing with blank spaces on every page.”
Mr. Propes characterized the Pilsudski regime as the only one possible at the moment and the only one that would be friendly to the Jews.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Didn't Mr. Propes later take the lead in establishing an aviation school near NYC and later go on to establish a music festival in Israel? What a trailblazer!