A remarkable suggestion of how the Jews could silence anti-Semitic agitatation by “a general strike of Jews” was made by Maximillian Harden, well known German publicist of Jewish origin, in an interview in Berlin with Jacob Landau, managing director of the “Jewish Daily Bulletin”, during his recent visit in Europe.
In this interview, Mr. Harden gives expression to the feeling prevalent among many leading Germans of Jewish origin who have been reminded of their Jewishness by the recent strong anti-Semitic agitation in Germany.
“A general strike of Jews to bring the anti-Semites to their senses by showing them how indispensable the Jews have become to the life of the countries in which they live, would be the most effective counter-action to anti-Semitism,” Mr. Harden declared. “It would be the very best of reprisals and could be counted upon to silence anti-Semitic agitation as nothing else could.
“The Jews in Germany participate in science, literature, commerce and finance to a much greater degree than they do in England or America. In the arts they lead, and they are active in all branches of intellectual life.
“One expects, of course, that the anti-Semites will at least appreciate Jewish ability at its proper value. In anti-Semitic literature we always are being told that the Jewish average is much higher than that of other races, but that the Jews produce no really great creative individuals. I cannot accept this view. It must not be forgotten that after all the Jews are a very small and much scattered people of only about twelve or fourteen millions all told. So we cannot compare them with the Germans or with the English. In Germany the Jews number less than 1 per cent of the total population. Is it possible then that this handful of people should have the power to imperil the life of the great and mighty, industrious, highly cultured and superlatively efficient German people? Even to hint at such a possibility is humiliating to the Germans. There is no doubt about it that the Jews have sufficient great and creative geniuses in proportion to their numbers. Did not the Jews give the world Jesus, the Rabbi of Galilee; did they not produce the Bible, the Sacred Book of the West; did they not give forth Paul and the other Apostles? Are their myths of less moral value to civilization, of less poetic vision than those of Homer and the Edda? Is not Baruch Spinoza one of the noblest and most splendid figures in the whole history of mankind? Side by side with those Jews who because they were nowhere allowed to take root, nowhere allowed to become settled citizens, but had to be always intent upon enriching themselves quickly, we have had everywhere and at all times many of those selfless Jews who go unrewarded. never seeking reward, giving gladly all they can for the general good, for res publica,” he said.
“We must not forget also that the Jews have to go through a much harder time than the non-Jews, and that often they have reached their goal only after overcoming very big obstacles. Jews even of the first rank are frequently not given a chance of developing their talents simply because they are Jews.
“Take for example a man like Max Warburg in Hamburg, whom I regard as a wise and in a certain sense a statesmanlike man. Is he being made use of by Germany? He rendered Germany great services during and after the War. His friend and my friend, Albert Ballin, placed the whole of his great shipping machinery at the disposal of the State and made possible the provisioning of the Fleet. Professor Haber saved German agriculture during the War and he also invented the stuff which made possible gas warfare. Ehrlich’s Salvarsan checked that terrible scourge, syphilis. Rathenau in the War Ministry organized the means of ensuring for Germany the raw stuffs essential for the war. World famous Jewish surgeons, physicians and engineers did great work untiringly and without a thought for themselves year after year for the army and their Fatherland. Without the talents and the self-sacrifice of all these Jews Germany would not have been able in the blockade to have gone on with the War for as long as she did. And was not Albert Einstein the first to bring world-fame again to defeated Germany?
“All that is now forgotten. But a strike of all the Jews would very quickly show that Germany cannot nowadays go on without the Jews, would show how indispensable the Jew has become to the German and to what extent Germany’s successes in many fields all over the world are dependent upon just this admixture and complementing each other of these two ‘races’.
“I myself, who grew up in a purely German atmosphere, was bred in the Christian faith and have had very little at all to do with the Jews and have in every respect considered myself a German, had to find out one fine day that the pure racists do not consider me a real German. They disregard the fact that there is hardly any pure race anywhere, and that in Germany, especially east of the Elbe, the population is predominantly a Wend-Slavic-Prussian admixtune, and the aristocratic families in the East of Germany, as is shown by their names and features, were to a large extent Slavicized very early. Many others besides myself have had the same experience. No matter what the Jews of Germany have done to serve their people with all that lay in their power and with absolute loyalty, has been useless,” he said.
“The ignorant mob is fed with foolish tales about the Jews having caused the War, the revolutions and Bolshevism. There isn’t a word of truth in it all. In Russia too, the vast majority of the Jews were and are against Bolshevism. What is true is that the anti-Semites have destroyed in many Jews the hope that they will ever be recognized as citizens in their native countries on an equality with other citizens. So these Jews seek refuge in their old faith and ritual and national feeling from which their fathers had already been weaned. Thus, the urge to Zion. Thus, the big success of the Habimah, the Hebrew Theatre from Moscow. I saw them play the “Dybbuk”, which the prematurely dead Wachtangov, an unsurpassed genius among producers, staged in masterly fashion. And although I did not understand a word of their language, I was moved to the very depths by their mimic power and the ritual ecstasy of their acting,” Mr. Harden declared.
Independent Order of B’nai Brith will erect a synagogue in Lowell, Mass., it was announced. Contracts for construction have already been let.