A Regular Pogrom Systematically Planned and Organised: Emphatic Statement by Berlin Police Officers

It was a regular pogrom, systematically planned and organised, is the way in which fourteen Berlin police officers and sergeants described the anti-Jewish excesses which took place in Berlin on Rosh Hashanah, when they were called upon to give evidence to-day in the case against Count Helldorf, the Berlin Commandant of the Hitlerist Storm Troops, and the other accused who are being tried with him on the charge of having directed and participated in the outbreak. Some of the police officers declared that Count Helldorf was issuing orders from his motor car to the rioters, telling them where to direct their attacks against the Jews.

The statements of the police witnesses were so emphatic on this point and so damaging to the accused that the Counsel for the Defence appealed to the presiding judge, in the name of the Hitlerist Party, as the coming Government Party, to protect them against the publication of these statements in the press, since it would create a very unfavourable feeling against them, but the presiding judge rejected the appeal.

I did not know that September 12th. was the Jewish New Year Day, was the argument used by Count Helldorf in continuing his evidence in court to-day. I had heard my comrades say that they were going to the Kurfuerstendamm. That was why I went there in my car to get my comrades to come away. In any case, he said, what happened in the Kurfuerstendamm district, with a few Jews beaten, was nothing very important against the fact that on the very same day, there were eight Hitlerist storm troopers killed in various parts of the country by our enemies. Besides, he went on, the Hitlerist Party has officially condemned the Kurfuerstendamm occurrences, declaring them illegal and contrary to Party discipline, and it has shown its disapproval by the drastic step of expelling the participants from the Party. Even I myself, he said, have been suspended from the Party until the end of the trial, in the belief that I will be vindicated.

The other members of the Hitlerist storm troops who are standing their trial with Count Helldorf maintained as one man that the Kurfuerstendamm excesses were not carried out under Party orders. They alleged that the Hitlerists who were caught there had been inveigled to the scene of the disturbances by spies and provocateurs, and they as Party officials hearing some of their men were involved in the Kurfuerstendamm rioting had gone there to call them off and help to restore order.

Is it possible, the Public Prosecutor asked, that with such a well-organised and disciplined Party as the Hitlerists are, 1,200 members should be engaged in a big attack of this kind without Party orders and without the control of their leaders?

I heard that there was an attack in the West End, one of the prisoners, Samerski, said, so I rushed to the Jewish Temple in the Fasanen Strasse, but I found that it was closed, an admission, in the view of the prosecution that he knew of an order that the Hitlerist storm troops were to proceed to the Fasanen Strasse Synagogue, where they had arrived after the service was over and too late, therefore, for the original plan to set upon the Jewish worshippers as they were coming out of the synagogue.

Engineer Brandt, the leader of the Young Steel Helm Brigade, made the significant statement that “on the afternoon of September 12th. I was informed that a demonstration had been organised in the West End of Berlin on the occasion of the Jewish New Year, but I will not say who gave me the information, because that would implicate the entire organisation.”

It does not seem that the trial will be over before next week. Many more witnesses are to be called, among them Deputy Goebbels, the Hitlerist leader in Berlin, who will give his evidence at the end of this week.

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