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Confiscation of All Property of East European Jews Who Have Come into Germany Since August 1st.,1914

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At five o’clock in the early hours of this morning, during an all-night sitting of the Prussian Parliament, the Nazis succeeded in carrying at a snap-division, in the absence of many of the Deputies of the Social Democratic and Centre Parties, a motion for the confiscation of all property belonging to East European Jews who have come into Prussia after the outbreak of the Great war, on August 1st., 1914.

The Communists voted with the Nazis for confiscation, apparently in the desire to effect any confiscation of property, even if it is at first limited to that of East European Jews.

The Nazis also succeeded in carrying at this session a motion prohibiting State theatres in Prussia employing Jews in any capacity, as actors, managers, musicians, etc.

At 3 a.m. the Nazis again brought in their motion for prohibiting Shechita, but the Centre Party Deputies abstained from voting, thus leaving the Nazi fraction alone to vote, and since one fraction cannot pass any law by itself, the anti-shechita motion has been held up till the next session in July.

The motion for the confiscation of Jewish property requires that it should be seized within three weeks and converted into means for providing employment for the unemployed.

The text of the confiscation motion is as follows:

The entire property of all East-European Jews who have entered the country since August 1st., 1914, constituting the dishonest accumulation of a race which itself does no productive work, but has accumulated wealth by enslaving the German nation, is to be completely confiscated. The Prussian Government is instructed within three weeks to convert this confiscated property into means of employment for the unemployed.

There is a Tisha B’Ab feeling of gloom and depression this morning among the Jewish population because of the unexpected passing of the confiscation motion, for which no one had been in any way prepared.

The Central Union of German Citizens of Jewish Faith and Ministerial Director Dr. Hermann Badt, who is the Prussian representative on the Reichsrat, or Federal Council, and the great authority on Inter-State relations, have both assured the J.T.A. to-day that the confiscation motion has no real value as long as the present Social Democratic-Centre Coalition Government remains in power in Prussia, because the Prussian Government can ignore the resolutions of the Diet. And even if there should be a Nazi Cabinet formed in Prussia, Dr. Badt added, the law must be sanctioned by the Federal Government before it can enter into force. There is, therefore, he said, no reason now for panic.

The Hitlerists and other antisemitic Deputies have for years past been regularly introducing motions into the various legislative assemblies in which they have been represented, seeking, among other things, to confiscate the property of East European Jews living in the country.

In 1924 the Hitlerists demanded a referendum on the following five proposals: (1) all East European Jews who entered Germany after November 9th., 1918, to be expelled; (2) all Jews who entered Germany after August 1st., 1914 to be expelled; (3) the possessions of all Jews expelled to be confiscated and the confiscated funds used for paying compensation to war-loan holders and savings bank holders who have lost the value of their holdings; (4) those Jews allowed to remain in Germany to be placed under alien regulations and treated in the same way as subjects of foreign States; (5) a special Jew law to be drawn up and enforced.

In 1926 fifteen Hitlerist Deputies in the Reichstag, including General Ludendorff, introduced a bill entitled “The Draft of a Law for the Expropriation of the Banking and Stock Exchange Princes and other Parasites on the People”, providing that “The entire property of the banking and stock exchange princes and of all East European Jews who have entered the country since August 1st., 1914, and of others of alien origin, their families and family dependents, as well as of those who have made fortunes out of profits gained by the war, the Revolution, currency inflation or deflation, is to be expropriated for the good of the generality without compensation”.

A movement for deporting East European Jews and other Jews was started in 1923 by the Bavarian Government, where the Hitlerists had a great deal of influence at the time. Several hundred Jews, mostly Polish Jews, were expelled all over the country. The Polish Government made strong representations against these expulsions at the time and threatened reprisals. The Prime Minister of the day, Dr. von Kahr, was reported to have said: “All foreign Jews must clear out and then we will deal with our own Jews”.

The British Government, although no British subjects had been affected by the expulsions, instructed the then British Consul-General in Munich, Mr. Robert H. Clive, to communicate to the Bavarian Government that Britain was viewing the expulsions with grave concern and disfacour. The report of the Joint Foreign Committee to the Board of Deputies at that time officially referred to these representations as showing what a painful impression the expulsions had made upon British public opinion.

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