Addressing a gathering at Liverpool on March 5th, Mr. Sokolow said he was not afraid of pogroms in Germany, but he was afraid of the degradation of German Jews and of their being pushed back into the ghetto.
It would scarcely be fair to apply the dreadful word “pogrom” to the present action of Germany, or that portion of Germany now for a time in power. But there is such a thing as a bloodless pogrom, which may be more fearful because of its protracted and soul-quelling misery.
Not that the Hitlerist revolution is clear of bloodshed for there has been enough of murder to make the 600,000 Jews of Germany go in terror of their lives. Many are in flight and homeless.
The Jewish Chronicle (March 17th), gives the following as “a few examples” of acts of murderous brutality:
At Spandau, Jews have been thrown into prison. They complain that they have been beaten with steel rods and knocked down and trampled on. Their teeth have been knocked out by rifle-butts, their hands burned and their fingers cut off. One Jew was stood up against a wall and used for target practice for Hitlerist revolvers till one bullet came too near and struck him in the forehead.
At Kiel, Dr. Wilhelm Spieger, a Jewish lawyer, was awakened in the middle of the night and when he went to the door he was shot dead.
Herr Alfred Apfel, a former President of the Berlin Zionist Organisation and the founder of the Jewish Youth Organisation, who was arrested after the Reichstag fire, has been so severely manhandled that he is not expected to live.
Unrecognisable bodies are continually being found in the neighbourhood of Berlin, and not a day passes without a corpse being found in one of the canals.
Rabbi Dr. Fraenkel, aged 70, was set upon in his house in Berlin and so mercilessly beaten that he had to be taken to hospital, where his condition is causing grave anxiety.
A bomb was thrown into the Old Synagogue at Koenigsberg and set fire to the curtain of the Ark of the Law.
The manager of the United Theatres at Breslau, Herr Bernay, was carried off in a car by five men in Nazi uniform, who took off his clothes and flogged him for half an hour with rubber batons and dog-whips.
Jews are fleeing in thousands and arriving in Poland, Austria, Czecho-slovakia, Switzerland, France and England. They continue to arrive in Strasbourg from Germany by foot, train and motor-car, many of them going on direct to Paris, where the Jewish organisations are housing and feeding refugees. They declare that an even larger number of Jews have crossed the German frontier into Czechoslovakia, where they are assured an asylum.
Twelve hundred more Polish Jews, including five rabbis, two of them well over ninety years of age, escaped from Germany into Poland on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. They arrived in Warsaw penniless and in a terrible state, begging for food. Correspondents of foreign news-papers are subject to imprisonment and expulsion if they supply any news condemning the Nazi regime. All German newspapers in opposition have been suspended. Only 20 out of 192 Socialist papers are now appearing.
It is scarcely too much to say that Mr. Sokolow’s generous confidence that there would be no pogrom in Germany was not well founded.
The persecution is not proceeding without protest. The Polish Government has lodged an official protest against the ill-treatment of Polish Jews and it is even said that this Government is preparing a list of Germans who live in Poland to be deported as an offset against the influx of Jewish refugees.
The American Consul-General in Berlin has also protested. Foreign opinion of the disgraceful condition of things has found voice in a thousand journals and the offset is already seen in a modification of the Nazi anti-Jewish methods.
“The first sign,” says the Jewish Chronicle, “that public opinion (and particularly foreign opinion) was beginning to have effect, was Hitler’s order last Friday night calling the Storm Troops to order, and instructing them not to interfere with the business life of the country. It contrasted curiously with Herr Goering’s speech that same night in which he said that ‘it was not the business of the police to protect the shops of Jewish profiteers.’ On Sunday, Hitler had to reiterate his order to the Storm Troops. He said that the first phase of the national revolution was over and that he would not tolerate any more ‘individual actions.’ The Government was not going to allow members of the Storm Troops to take the law into their own hands; the Government alone must be allowed to decide on any action to be taken against this or that enemy of the national movement.”
As a result of the new Ministerial statements the attacks on the stores are ceasing and normal business is being resumed. In general, there is a feeling now that the reign of terror will soon subside and that a more peaceful time is in store for the Jews. A most abominable scene is shown in a photograph reproduced by the Jewish Chronicle (March 17th) in which a Jew who complained to the police of ill-treatment is shown walking in the centre of a street followed by a party of troops. He bears round his neck a huge placard; his trousers are cut off at the knees, and he walks barefoot. The inscription on the placard is “I’ll never again complain to the police.” The Nazis defended this action as “humane.” Of course they might have cut his throat. The victim was afterward expelled from the town.
- The Christadelphian, April 1st, 1933
The Jews and the Nations
This subject came to the front at the meeting at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham, which is described on another page. The Birmingham Post of March 20th thus alludes to it:--
The treatment of Jews in Germany was cited yesterday at a meeting of the Birmingham Hebrew Community at the Grand Hotel as evidence of the need for members of the race to have a haven of refuge. “It has become quite clear,” it was said, “that Palestine is the only place to which Jews can go to escape persecution.”
The meeting was to have been addressed by Lord Melchett, but he did not put in an appearance, the Chairman (Mr. O. Deutsch) explaining that he was travelling by road and had had a breakdown.
Professor S. Brodetsky, who was the other speaker, said there was never a time in Jewish history of the last few hundred years when it was more necessary for them to have a haven of refuge. The Jews in Germany had regarded themselves as an integral part of the population, and a couple of years ago they would have laughed if anyone had suggested to them the possibility of persecution. Now the great problem of 1933 was their treatment by a civilised country.
In Palestine, he said, Jews had to lead simple lives and work hard, but there was room for great development, room for thousands of farmers and for a great expansion in industry and commerce. He appealed to those present to take part in the great work of reconstruction.
The Rev. Dr. A. Cohen pointed out that there were 16,000,000 Jews in the world, but there was no representative of the Jewish people at Geneva, although there were small States with populations of 2,000,000, 5,000,000 and 7,000,000 who were represented.
—Rabbi Cohen’s remark introduces a consideration of great international interest; but which receives but little attention by Jew or Gentile at the present time. It is this:—The Jew does not belong to “the nations”! This does not in the least excuse their Anti-Semitism; but there is the fact. Present day Germany is only emulating Moab of old; and Hitler is but a modern Balak (Num. 22.–24.), saying, “Come, curse me this people!” Impossible, O King! Even the wicked prophet is compelled to say, “How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy whom the Lord hath not defied? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.”
Ah! that is an individual matter. Balaam’s “last end” is sad to contemplate (Num. 24. 17–23: 31:8; Josh. 13:22). But where is Moab? And where is Israel? Moab has gone; but there has come no “full end” of Israel, though he be still so ill at ease among “the nations.” But what of “the nations” and the Jews and Palestine in the future? So far from Palestine being a refuge from “the nations” it is really, as of old, the melting pot of the Lord of Hosts (Ezek. 22:18–22). “The nations,” as of old, are burdening themselves, and will burden themselves with Jerusalem and Palestine. But what says the word of God by the prophet? “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the peoples round about, when they shall be in the siege, both against Judah and Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, and all the peoples of the earth (R.V.) shall be gathered together against it.... And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zech. 12:2, 3, 9). “I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle ... Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle” (14:2, 3).
There is no succour either in Geneva or Jerusalem at present for Jew or Gentile. The Lord must go forth first. Jews “inwardly” like Jews “after the flesh,” are “not reckoned among the nations.” So far as they are true to their “adoption,” they are themselves “an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Pet. 2:5–10), endeavouring to shew forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of the darkness into His marvellous light. This is their “national effort” everywhere, and in all the days of their “calling”; and the apostle in the context instructs all and sundry as to the manner thereof.
- The Christadelphian, April 1st, 1933
The Situation in Germany and the Jews
On January 20th the Jewish Chronicle published a column filled with recent outrages upon German Jews by the Nazis. Many of these were marked by extreme violence, the worst of which was the attempted assassination of a Jewish editor of a Jewish paper. He was taken to a hospital with a bullet would in the head, fractured spine and other injuries. Whether he died or not has not transpired.
It was then not to be wondered at that the Jewish population viewed with apprehension the coming to power of Hitler as German Chancellor, of Dr. Frick as Minister of the Interior, and Captain Goehring, Deputy-Commissioner for the Interior in Prussia. All of these are Nazis.
There were isolated outbreaks, some Jewish shops were wrecked, a Jewish funeral was interfered with, anti-Jewish speeches were delivered against Jewish capital and Nazis crying "Robbers,” “Plunderers” and “Down with the Jews,” but the police dispersed the rowdies and rioters and order was soon restored.
The correspondent of the Jewish Chronicle in Berlin writes to his paper on February 3rd:--
I have just paid a visit to the Press Department of the Federal Government, where I was received by Legation Councillor von Putlitz. In the course of our conversation I emphasised the necessity of a Government statement on the attitude of the new Cabinet towards the Jews, especially in view of the great anxiety produced by the new situation among the Jews abroad. Herr von Putlitz, after full consultation, has authorised me to make public the following statement:
“In order to allay the anxiety of the Jews abroad concerning the fate of the Jews in Germany, the Press Department of the German Government declares that the new German Cabinet seeks to secure peace and order for all German citizens and has no intention to embark on any unreasonable experiments.”
The editor of the Jewish Chronicle says: Taking everything into consideration, perhaps, the most solid hope that still remains is that the Nazi chiefs may acquire, in office, that sense of responsibility which they could not feel when wooing the passions of the rabble.
Jewish journalists were wondering what attitude would be adopted towards them by the new order, but their fears were groundless. One writes on February 10th:
To all Press-conferences, summoned by the new Government during the last week—either with the participation of Herr Funk, chief of the Government Press Department, or Herr Frick, the Reich Minister of the Interior—the Jewish journalists were invited by telephone, together with all the other Press representatives. Outwardly, everything is polite and correct. One official has even told me: “Don’t worry. The programme of the new Government is not the Nazi programme, after all!”
Though the immediate crisis has passed, misgivings still remain, for under a Chancellor with a private army of his own, and the Police under his direction, and with hot-headed followers who recall his blood-thirsty declarations and promises made not so long ago, there is still possibility of danger for the Jews of Germany.