German Government Condemns Jewish Cemetery Desecrations; See New Penal Code Ending Anti-schechita Le
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German Government Condemns Jewish Cemetery Desecrations; See New Penal Code Ending Anti-schechita Le

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The German government condemns the repeated desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Germany and will do its duty against such outrages and it also feels that the passage of the new German penal code will make it impossible for the various German states to uphold the prohibition of schechita. This was revealed today when a letter from Baron von Prittwitz, German ambassador to the United States, to Jacob Landau managing director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, was made public. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency had asked the Ambassador for a statement on the cemetery desecrations and the anti-schechita ordinances in Bavaria and Saxony.

In addition to the request for a statement from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Baron von Prittwitz had received a communication about the schechita ban from Dr. Cyrus Adler, president of the American Jewish Committee. Baron von Prittwitz forwarded the communication to the German state department which in turn asked the German ministry of the interior to communicate the matter to the governments of the various German states together with a letter from the German ministry of the interior.


The letter from Baron von Prittwitz follows:

“My dear Mr. Landau:

“Referring to your favor of March 1 and pursuant to my letter of March 12 I have just received a reply from Berlin on the two subjects raised in your first letter.

“As regards the desecrations of Jewish cemeteries the German Government refers to the public statement made on its behalf by Dr. Erich Koch, former Minister of Justice, some time ago which I mentioned in my letter of March 12 and which still represents the Government’s attitude on this question. The published text of this statement runs as follows:

“‘The German Minister of Justice, Dr. Erich Koch, in a conference of German Citizens of Jewish Creed, held in Berlin on October 18, 1928, issued the following statement:

“‘The Government of the Reich, in whose name I am speaking, agrees with you in condemning the occurrences which have been the subject of your protests. It agrees with you in deploring that it should have been possible for Germans to commit such things against Germans.


“‘Each one of us assembled here knows that a German is one who by language, morals, culture, and common fate belongs to the German Fatherland. All of us are united in condemning outrages committed by German Citizens against German Citizens and their places of worship. Hate, however, and misled anger directed against the resting places of the dead is not the outcome of differences between Germans of Jewish creed and anti-Semites, but of the difference between the Human and the Non-Human.


“‘Please be convinced that the Government of the Reich knows its duty as against such outrages, and that it will act according to this duty as preserver of Order and Peace, and also in the interest of Germany’s reputation abroad, the Government itself feeling deeply offended by such outrages. I am sure that you have done the right thing in sending out this protest to the world, a protest which the Government of the Reich endorses without reservation.’

“For further details regarding this statement and the various measures taken by German authorities to prevent a recurrence of such acts I beg to refer to the enclosed brochure.


“As to the schechita question there seems to be some difference of opinion concerning its appraisal in the German public and there has been a tendency in a few states to introduce legislation prohibiting its exercise in some instances. The German new Penal Code, however, which is at present under consideration by the Federal Legislative bodies, contains a provision expressly declaring the practice of schechita to be not punishable. If this provision becomes law, it is the general opinion of legal authorities that the States will no more have power to decree or uphold the prohibition of schechita.

“Yours faithfully,

“F. W. von Prittwitz und Gaffron,

“German Ambassador.”


Below is given the statement of the German ministry of state to the German ministry of the interior:

“Foreign Office—Berlin,

“Abschrift II/ a 4440/

“Auswartiges Amt

“III o 1447 Ang. II

“To the Federal Ministry

of the Interior:

“The German Embassy in Washington reported on March 12 that complaints against the increasing number of violations of Jewish cemeteries in Germany and against the violations of Jewish cemeteries in Germany and against the decision of the Bavarian Landtag to forbid the Jewish method of animal slaughter have been received from the president of the American Jewish Committee, which is interested in the maintenance of Jewish rights all over the world, and from the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which besides in New York has offices in London, Paris, Berlin and Warsaw and which exerts a great influence.

“It was the desire of these representatives to call to the attention of the German Federal and Bavarian State governments the ill-feeling which has as a result of this been aroused in Jewish circles in the United States. Since it is proposed also to prohibit schechita in other German states, as for instance in Saxony, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is asked to inform the governments of various German states of the ill-feeling this would arouse among large groups of the population in the United States, which might have an unfavorable political effect.

“The statement made by the then Federal Minister of Justice, Dr. Koch-Wesser, on behalf of the Federal government on the 18th of October at a meeting of the Central Organization of German Citizens of Jewish Faith, has been sent to the German Embassy in Washington.


“The Federal Minister of the Interior

de Haas.”

“In re: Desecration of Jewish cemeteries and issuance of slaughtering prohibition laws in Germany.

“I have the honor to forward a copy of this letter to you.

“(Signed) Wirth.

“To the State governments (for Prussia: Ministry of the Interior, Ministry for Agriculture, Domains and Forests.”

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