Monday, Jan. 25, 1943
American Jews, already anticipating the post-war need to settle refugees, launched a campaign to raise $50,000,000 to buy land in Palestine. At $25 per dunam, a ¼ acre, that money would fund the purchase of 2 million dunams — one for each of the 2 million Jews already reported slaughtered in Nazi-occupied Europe. The need was great. Mrs. Archibald Silverman, who had just toured refugee camps in England and South America, reported in Chicago that Hitler had turned refugee camps in Poland and Rumania into concentration camps, i.e. death camps.
The slaughter of Jews in Europe – not yet described as genocide or a “holocaust” – was not in the forefront of the national consciousness or conscience. But I remember the little blue puschke (piggy bank) in the kitchen where I regularly deposited a few pennies a week to help buy more dunams in what would become the state of Israel. More than half a century later, I grieve at the loss of my childhood hopes for a peaceful Jewish sanctuary.