As the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany intensified in 1938, a pastor at Wynnefield United Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia penned the featured letter to his "dear Jewish friends and neighbors." How widely Reverend Hugh M. Newlands' message may have been distributed is unclear, but Simon Greenberg—a Russian-born American rabbi serving in Philadelphia—saved the letter.
Newlands would have likely formed relationships with his neighbors in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Wynnefield. His letter reflects a desire to clarify Christian attitudes toward Jews so that "misunderstandings may be dispelled." The pastor asserts that "Christian" antisemitism did not accurately represent Christianity in several respects, neglecting its deep connections to Judaism.
Newlands' letter also refers to the persecution of Jews in "other countries," evidencing an increasing awareness among American Christian leaders of the growing persecution of European Jews in Germany and across Europe. In light of this escalating intolerance, the pastor emphasizes that shared history and spiritual traditions among Jews and Christians should form the basis for solidarity. This was an uncommon assertion during this period.