Special Clause in New German Penal Code to Deal with Cemetery Desecrations?: Government Representati
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Special Clause in New German Penal Code to Deal with Cemetery Desecrations?: Government Representati

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The insertion of a paragraph in the new German penal code now under discussion by the Reichstag Commission, to deal with the desecrators of cemeteries, was demanded by Deputy Moses, one of the Jewish members of the Social Democratic Party, at to-day’s meeting of the Commission.

During the last few years there have been 117 Jewish cemeteries desecrated in Germany, Deputy Moses said, and it has been established that the vandals are for the most part young people who have been influenced by the wild anti-Jewish agitation conducted by the Nazis.

The Government representative on the Commission spoke in support of Deputy Moses motion, declaring that the Government is in favour of such a paragraph. of 83 desecrators of Jewish cemeteries who had been traced and punished, he said, 45 were women and girls belonging to the Nazi movement.

A bill directed against the desecration of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in Germany came up before the Law. Commission of the Reichstag, two years ago, in February 1929. the bill was designed also to punish persons disturbing Jewish funerals, since there had been many cases at the time of stones thrown after Jewish funerals and insulting remarks made while they were passing. The Rapporteur on the bill, in introducing it, said that though the German State was not identified with any Church, there being no established Church in the German Republic, the German State, nevertheless, regarded it as its dut### give equal protection to every religious community in the country and to protect their sacred places from desecration.

as far back as October 1927, the Prussian Minister of the Interior issued instructions to all police authorities in the country, to spare no effort to track down the desecrators of Jewish cemeteries and to punish them by the most severe penalties provided under the law. He also instructed the police to offer rewards for the detection of the vandals. at the end of 1928 the Prussian Minister of Justice issued similar instructions to all judicial authorities, recalling the police instructions that had been issued by the Minister of the Interior, and telling them to give special attention to the increasing number of desecrations of Jewish cemeteries. in view of the ghoulish character of these outrages, these instructions said, all persons arrested on this charge should be punished in a way that will act as a deterrent to others.

about the same time, the Federal Minister of Justice, Dr. Koch, the leader of the German Democratic Party, and a number of other statesmen, politicians and police chiefs were present at a big mass meeting held in Berlin under the auspices of the Central Union of German Citizens of Jewish Faith to protest against the repeated desecrations of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues in Germany. the Federal Government, in whose name I speak, joins with you in your indignation and grief that it has been possible for Germans to do such things, Dr. Koch said in his speech. We are at one with you in condemning outrages committed by German citizens against German citizens in their places of worship, but when enmity is carried against the dead, that exceeds the bounds even of antisemitism. Then it is no longer a conflict between Germans of the Jewish faith and antisemites, but between human beings and beasts. You may be convinced that the Federal Government as the custodian of public order and peace and in the interests of Germany’s good name abroad, will do its duty in regard to such outrages, for it is most deeply hurt and humiliated by those vandalistic offences against right and decency. the Government of Germany is with you in every way in your protest.

in the summer of 1930 the German Government, through the German Ambassador in the United States, Baron von Prittwitz, wrote to Mr. Jacob Landau, the Managing Director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, with regard to the frequent desecrations of Jewish cemeteries in Germany: “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 the preserver of order and peace and also in the interest of Germany’s reputation abroad, the Government feeling itself deeply offended by such outrages. I am sure 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”.

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