Berlin (May. 6)
The State, or Constitution, Party, which is the old Democratic Party as reorganised shortly before the last Reichstag elections in the autumn of 1931, and which was looked up to with the Centre Party and the Social Democrats as the bulwarks of Constitutionalism and Republicanism has in the State of Wuerttemburg, where Jew Suess was once Financial Councillor) given support to the Hitlerists, enabling them to form a Government, in which the State Party has one of its representatives as a Cabinet Minister. The Hitlerists, in view of the uncompromising attitude of the Centre Catholic Party, which refused to enter into any alliance with it, hit upon the idea of forming a Protestant alliance W### and this the Wuerttemburg State Party has joined, placing the Hitlerists in power. The Jews are tremendously concerned over this action of the Wuerttemburg State Party, and Democrats and the Democratic press in the rest of the country are indignant at what they describe as a breakdown of Democratic ideology in Wuerttemburg.
The new State Party includes not only the old Democratic Party, but also several groups which were known to hold antisemitic views, and the merger of the Democratic Party with these groups created considerable anxiety and discussion among German Jewry at the time.
Dr. Bruno Weil, Vice-President of the Central Union of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith, who stood in Berlin as a candidate of the State Party, dealt with this question at the time of the last Reichstag elections in an interview which he gave to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. ### the time.
It is in the Democratic Party that the Jews have played their most important part in German political life, he said. It has had among its members men like Walter Rathenau, Hugo Preuss, the author of the present German Constitution, Dr. Theodor Wolff, Dr. Georg Bermhard, and Deputy Ludwig Haas. In recent years, however, the Democratic Party has declined. It was in danger of being crushed between the purely economic Parties, like the Social Democrats, the Communists, the Economic Party and the Agrarian Parties of the Right on the one hand and the religious parties, like the Centre Party, on the other. For that reason its leaders decided to wind up the Party, forming the new State or Constitutional Party, by joining with the People’s National Federation, members of the Young People’s Party, and members of the Christian trade unions.
This fact has caused some concern among the Jews of Germany, he pursued, especially since the most important element in the new Party, after the Democrats, is the People’s National Federation, which is largely in contact with the Young German Order, whose Constitution restricts its member ship to people of German blood-to Aryans. The Young German Order, like most similar organisations in Germany, has sprung out of the soil of antisemitism, but it has developed in a different direction from the National Socialists, and has gradually come to accept the Republic, and its leaders claim that it is now complete free from antisemitic prejudices.
It must be remembered, at the same time, Dr. Well urged, that the new State Party has been founded not in conjunction with the Young German Order, but with its allied People’s National Federation, which from the day of its foundation guaranteed in its Statutes full and equal rights for all citizens and has repeatedly confirmed this attitude, and has always fought vigorously against Hitlerism.
Of the Centre Party, Dr. Weil said that it was a purely Catholic Party, which had always stood both in theory and practice for tolerance, and could be trusted to continue to do so, because the Catholics constitute only a third of the German population, and are a permanent minority. The Centre Party has in the Rhineland and to some extent in Silesia, the support of a certain type of Jewish elector, he added, but it is obvious that an avowed Catholic Party cannot be the refuge of the great majority of German Jews.
Rector Kellerman, one of the leaders of the Centre Party, on the other hand, speaking during the 1931 Reichstag elections at an election meeting of the Federation of Jewish ex-soldiers, said that the Centre Party had been founded in 1870 for the defence of Roman Catholic interests against Bismarck’s educational policy, and consisting mainly of Roman Catholics, it was generally regarded as a Roman Catholic Party, but although 90 per cent. of its members to-day are Roman Catholics, it is not a Roman Catholic Party. Jews and Catholics are both members of a minority faith in Germany, he said, and therefore they have identical interests. There are many Jews, and a good many Protestants among the members of the Centre Party, he pointed out, and in proof of his contention that the Party is not exclusively Catholic, he mentioned the fact that it had put up as one of its candidates in the election Dr. Georg Kareski, former President of the Berlin Jewish Community.