London (Apr. 8)
The sinister shadow of Adolf Hitler lies across German Jewry, Mr. H. J. Greenwall, the “Daily Express” correspondent in Germany, writes in a message in to-day’s issue of his paper. This morning, he says, I was walking in the Pragerstrasse when I met an old man, with his shoulders bent and his big grey eyes fixed in sorrowful reflection, who seemed to carry the sorrows of his Jewish race across his back. This aged Jew was typical of his fellows all over Germany; men who fear that a Hitler regime will mean pogroms and the death of Jewish men, women, and children.
During the worst of the inflation period a few years ago, he proceeds, I witnessed in the Jewish quarter of Berlin scenes which, ugly as they were, would pale before what will happen in Germany should Hitler win next Sunday.
I have been visiting some of the chief provincial cities of Germany, and I find a brooding uncertainty such as I have never known before. People are fearful of talking politics to each other. The Communists watch the Hitlerites; the Hitlerites watch the Communists; and the Government watches both. How are you going to vote? one German asks another. How are you going to vote? counters his friend. The very cafe walls have ears to-day.
You notice a group of Jews sitting in a cafe; their coffee has grown cold, their cigars have gone out. Tragic groups – but typical of the tragedy through which Germany passing.
The victory of Hindenburg on Sunday – and I firmly believe that the Grand Old Man of Germany will achieve his last victory – will be a more palliative.
The President is eighty-four; his days are numbered. But the real tragedy of Germany is that it lacks men of the Stresemann calibre. Hitler, the ex-Austrian house painter, promises “freedrom and bread”, and the workmen rub their eyes confusedly. The anti-Hitlerites speak of “Hitler’s dictatorship”.
The result is confusion. Rumours of another in-vasion of the Ruhr if Hitler wins; rumours of civil war in six months if Hindenburg wins and then dies. Rumours … and fears.
A motor tyre bursts and people jump because they fear a bomb – Jews who fear pogroms and Gentiles who fear “the Jewish revenge”.
Rumours and lies – and a terrible fear that makes women stay in their houses and men walk abroad with pale faces.
Poor, tragic Germany.
ONLY IN HIS HATRED OF THE JEWS IS HITLER CONSISTENT SAYS “MANCHESTER GUARDIAN”
Hitler, so as to secure all the votes needed for success in the presidential election and in the even more important Prussian election, has gradually universalised his appeal, the “Manchester Guardian” correspondent in Germany writes in to-day’s issue of his paper. He has told the house-owner that he will raise rents and the tenant that he will lower them. In Westphalia, where there is a Catholic population, his newspapers proclain him a protector of religion (Catholic as well as Protestant), but in Pomerania and East Prussia, where the population is almost entirely protestant he refers to Catholicism as “the black plague”, and to the Vatican as “a claw of Rome”. In certain districts he has preached the expropriation of the landed gentry, and in Schleswig-Holstein he has worked up agricultural labour into a Communist mood.
In his autobiography he refers in terms of loathing to officialdom, and he has roused all the latent hatred of officials that exists in Germany. But he has himself become an official so as to be made a German subject, and on his election placard he proclaims that he will defend the rights of the bureaucracy.
His movement calls itself a “Labour movement”, and when the audience is made up of poor people he and his agents are almost Muscovite in their denunciations of Capitalism. At the same time he is a champion of private property and obtains support from capitalists great and small. He gives assurances that he will abstain from all but legal methods, and at the same time prepares an armed insurrection for the overthrow of the State and the illegal seizure of power.
Only in his hatred of the Jews the correspondent says, is he consistent, for they are but a fraction of the population. In a large and divided country like Germany, where public opinion is divided amongst irreconcilable factions and where few newspapers give the other side, such demagogy is possible for a while.