From Kishinev to Kristallnacht
Anti-Semitism in Pre-War Europe
 

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From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper, October 27-29, 1937

A series of three articles published dealing with the position of the Jew in some European countries.


The Jew in Europe


Warsaw, Oct. 27 (AP) -- The "Classroom Ghetto" has heightened the anxiety of Poland's 3,500,000 Jews, long beset by a rising tide of anti-Semitism.

This recent innovation to segregate Jews in Polish universities is looked upon apprehensively by the Jews as alarming evidence of official yielding to anti-Jewish agitation.

For two years Jewish students struggled against unofficial attempts to force them to sit in segregated "Jewish sections" in classrooms and lecture halls. Rather than yield, they heard lectures standing.

But when the universities reopened this Fall, orders were issued by all rectors to mark seats distinctly with initials indicating which might be used by Christians and which by Jews.

A protesting delegation of Jewish deputies was told by the Minister of Education the purpose of the formal segregation was to end once and for all the continual student rioting growing out of friction between Jewish and Christian students.

Later, similar official segregation measures came to light in various sections of the country when grammar schools opened. In Minsk Mazowiecki two schools were reserved exclusively for Christian children, a third for Jews.

Officialdom 'Urges' Emigration

Official emphasis on the "urgent necessity" of more extensive emigration of Jews is another source of anxiety among the race.

This idea of a gradual "evacuation" of the country's Jewish population was given international emphasis when Foreign Minister Beck last year told the League of Nations Council, Poland is deeply interested in Palestine affairs, in view of the alleviation of Poland's over-population which could be achieved through extensive Jewish emigration to Palestine.

Polish Jews were much aroused by this speech, which they interpreted as an admission by the Polish Government of a desire to get rid of them.

More recently, the question of mass emigration of Jews has been taken up by Parliament, and there is hardly a day that some Polish newspaper does not call the public's attention to a Jewish emigration as a cure for the country's economic ills.

Immigrate to What Country?

Radical nationalists argue that most of the real Polish Jews immigrated to the United States during the 19th century, and that those overcrowding the country now are really Russian and German Jews--undesirable foreigners, they contend, who have no right to remain.

In the face of all this agitation, sensationally emphasized by chronic anti-Jewish riots and Jew beatings, many Jews frankly say they would like very much to emigrate, "but how, and to what country?"

"There is a strong desire on the part of large Jewish groups to emigrate," Heshel Gotlieb, Jewish deputy, said recently.

"The majority, however, would like to emigrate to well-organized countries. If the United States were to amend its immigration laws, long lines of Jews would stand before the American Consulate in Warsaw. We do not, however, boycott any proposal as to emigration possibilities."

The more radical elements are propagating the doctrine that the life of Jews in Poland must be made so unpleasant that they will "have to emigrate." Vigorous anti-Semitic activity in neighboring Germany naturally encourages this line of thought.


Vienna, Oct. 28 (AP) -- The lot of the Jew is becoming progressively complex in three of Central Europe's smaller countries--Austria, Hungary and Rumania.

Mounting social and economic pressure have reduced their means of livelihood in Austria and Hungary, and in Rumania anti-Semitism threatens to become an inter-party, if not parliamentary, issue.

In Austria, with a Jewish population of 196,000--of which 171,000 live in Vienna--it is a truism that the higher the mountain village, the keener the feeling against Jews because Alpine villages are the country's strongholds of Nazism.

Jews Barred as Hospital Doctors

Austrian Jews say municipal hospitals accept no more Jews as assistant doctors and that the University of Vienna appoints n more Jews to professorships. This, they assert, is representative of anti-Semitism penetrating almost every branch of endeavor.

Young Austrian Jews have no hope of getting jobs in federal or municipal offices, although under the old pension and seniority system, those already in such jobs are permitted to stay.

Even some Jewish commercial firms are hiring only non-Jews for work that entails contact with the general public.

Jews may belong to one legal Austrian political organization, the Fatherland Front, but very few hold offices in it, or are members of directorates of professional, cultural or government groups.

1,000 Fleeing Every Year

Jews are fleeing Hungary at an average of 1,000 a year. Between 500 and 1,000 more annually withdraw from Jewry. This year the Hungarian Jewish population of 445,000 will be further reduced by 1,700, the estimated surplus of deaths over births.

Next year losses through emigration, deaths and renunciation of religion are expected to mount to 4,000. The numbers in each category are rising steadily, and pessimists, says the Jewish newspaper Die Stimme, predict the extinction of the race in Hungary.

In Hungary there are no laws directed specifically against Jews, and anti-Semitic demonstrations are comparatively few.

But Jewish leaders protest there is no sphere of professional or commercial activity in which Jews are not being systematically pushed out.

The number of Jewish lawyers recently has decreased 20 percent in Hungary; doctors, 15 percent. Jewish tradesmen declare they are being driven out of business by semi-official retail co-operative organizations called "Hangya," which have branches throughout the country and can undersell them.

In Rumania some political writers go so far as to say that the issue of anti-Semitism may be a factor in the life or death of Premier George Tatarescu's National Liberal Cabinet.


Berlin, Oct. 29 (AP) -- The Jew has been eliminated politically by the Nazi regime, but he still is a factor in the German scene.

Since the Nazi came into power in 1933 approximately 100,000 Jews have emigrated, leaving--according to Jewish sources--some 400,000 still in Germany.

Nazi statisticians, however, contend all racial Jews should be included, even those the churches classify as Christians. They place the total at 500,00, with 200,000 in Berlin.

In either case, it is obvious the vast majority of Germany's Jews are still here, stripped of whatever political power, social prestige or cultural influence they may have enjoyed in days before Chancellor Adolf Hitler rose to power.

It is impossible for a Jew to hold public office; he is not even classified as a citizen. He is merely a German subject.

Socially he is an outcast. Marriage or extra-marital relations between Jew and non-Jew can land the offender in jail.

On a Ghetto Basis

Jewish actors, opera singers, playwrights and directors can perform or produce only for Jewish audiences. In other words, they are permitted to function only on a Ghetto basis.

All newspapers, of course, are under the direct or indirect control of the propaganda ministry. No Jew may edit or contribute to any one of them, unless it is a Jewish newspaper published only for the Jewish population.

Books by Jewish authors--even law books--are taboo for Germans. An exception is the Bible. It has not yet been forbidden, but there are churchmen who favor throwing the Old Testament overboard.

Jewish scholars and scientists no longer play a prominent role in the German universities. Of 1,000 recently listed as emigrants, 238 had found ports in the United States, 270 in England, 52 in Palestine, 64 in France. The remainder were scattered among 42 countries. Prof. Albert Einstein, who chose the United States, is perhaps the most celebrated on the list.

Stores Pass Into Aryan Hands

In business the Jew is being eliminated more gradually. One by one the big Jewish department stores, restaurants and other establishments are passing into "Aryan" hands.

Many Jews still are in business, however, especially in the smaller establishments, and in the medical and dental professions.

Sometimes the foreigner new to Germany is surprised to find so many Jews at work. Without consciously attempting to defy the ant--Jewish boycott, he finds himself going to a Jewish dentist, having his suits made by a Jewish tailor, renting a flat from a Jewish landlord.

All this does not mean the Jew has a chance to be happy in Germany. If no deliberate effort is made to prevent him from earning a living, a very deliberate and sustained effort is made to make him feel out of place and unwelcome.

He is not allowed to forget he is not wanted, even though he may be temporarily and disdainfully tolerated.

Reliable Jewish sources estimate that half of all the Jews will have quit Germany by 1941, and unless the Nazi regime changes its racial policy--the last Jews will have left Germany by 1950.
 







 


 

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