Economic conditions in Europe are responsible for anti-Semitism in Germany, and England. Nevertheless the hysteria which has existed among part of German Jewry was not and is not justified.
This statement was made to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency yesterday by Lawrence A. Steinhardt, prominent Jewish attorney and communal worker who has returned from an extended stay abroad.
In contradistinction to Germany and England anti-Semitism has failed to achieve a foothold in France and Italy because economic conditions have not provided the necessary hothouse within which that culture thrives and because the Latin temperament is not inclined in that direction, Mr. Steinhardt stated.
Discussing the situation in Germany, Mr. Steinhardt expressed doubt that the Nazis would ever come into power.
“In Germany,” he said, “anti-Semitism has been primarily a political expedient of the Nazis. The closer they come to a real accession to power the less palatable anti-Semitism will be to them. As long as the Hitlerites remain a powerful opposition to the constituted government, they will agitate for anti-Semitism. Should they take over the government â€” which is most unlikely â€” they will then find themselves in the position of having to suppress anti-Semitism as much as possible.”
He predicted that “as economic conditions in Germany improve â€” and great improvement is confidently anti-cipated in the Spring â€” anti-Semitism will subside.
“I have never felt,” he declared, “and still do not feel today that the hysteria which has existed among part of German Jewry was or is justified. There have, of course, been minor disorders caused by individuals, and they are liable to continue, but I do not anticipate or fear, for a moment, any calamitous outbreak. The German people as a whole are a highly civilized, educated people who dislike disorder, who have a marked respect for discipline, and particularly for the rights of other individuals. They will not tolerate any anti-Semitic outbreak on a large scale, nor would any responsible German government, Hitlerite or otherwise, sanction outbreaks which might easily get out of control,” Mr. Steinhardt stated.
German Jewry, he said, should not forget that there is a fundamental difference between the Russian masses and the German masses, a difference of tradition, culture and education which is the greatest guarantee of their safety.
Anti-Semitism, he declared, is on the wane in England, although it will be many years before the status of the Jews in England reaches the pinnacle achieved before the outbreak of the world war.
Anti-Semitism, according to Mr. Steinhardt, is foreign to the English character and it cannot long survive in the English atmosphere.