Menu JTA Search

Letter to the Editor

May 15, 1933.

New York City.

To the Editor of the

Jewish Daily Bulletin:

Considerable publicity was afforded recently in the daily press to a statement issued by the National Executive Committee of the Steuben Society of America on the German-Jewish question.

In this article, the extraordinary and fallacious statement appears that it is the conviction of the Society, based on information coming to it from various sources, that no such “alleged cruelties or atrocities” charged against the German Government had taken place. Proceeding next from the matter of atrocities, the further sweepingly misleading statement was made concerning the wholesale discriminations and eliminations of Jews from important branches of German economic, scientific, educational and artistic life, as well as public life, that they involved merely removal “from public office in accord with the old American doctrine, ‘to the victor belongs the spoils’.”

The article next regards the treatment of Jews in Germany as an aspect merely of elimination of communists, although merely a trifling fraction of German Jews can be so characterized. Equally fallacious is the insinuation that the persecution of the Jews in Germany has been confined to Jews who entered the country recently from the East. In order to lend color to the theory that “aliens” merely are involved, the article contrasts our citizenship laws requiring five years’ prior residence, with Germany’s, which permitted prompt naturalization, the obvious purpose being to disguise the fact that large numbers of citizens of Germany legally admitted to citizenship, were being deprived of their fundamental rights by measures heretofore unparalleled in the history of civilized countries. Unfamiliarity with our American conditions is next displayed in this article in the assertion that bills are now pending to exclude all communists from this country, again wholly ignoring the fact that under the fundamental provisions of our Constitution, citizens may not and are not thus dealt with,

In aid of the Steuben Society’s claim, the position of the American Jewish Committee and the B’nai Brith—in both of which I happen to be active—is sorely misrepresented.

In his admirable speech on May 10, Major General O’Ryan forcibly and persuasively answered the argument that public resentment in this country of Germany’s anti-Jewish course, would be analogous to “boycotts and parades in protest of our treatment of the colored race.” Surely no one but a special pleader would attempt to suggest that such occasional discriminations here are Governmental, or are newly announced in this twentieth century of ours, or that they are not vehemently deprecated by all leading citizens of this country.

One can understand that persons of German birth and extraction may be biased in favor of the action of the German Government, and seek to close their eyes to undeniable truths, but it should not be forgotten that it was the revered leading German-American leader, Carl Schurz, who corrected the saying “My country, may she always be right, but right or wrong, my country”, so as to read “My country, may she always be right, but if not right, may she be set right”.

In singular contrast to the recent statement of the Steuben Society, is the able article emanating from Judge Herman C. Kudlich, himself active in the Steuben Society and a real representative of enlightened German-American opinion in this country, which appeared in the same “Steuben News” in December, 1930 and read in part as follows:

“Masses of voters who used the Hitler Party to voice their protest against existing conditions in Germany, surely gave no thought to this particular plank. They voted for disarmament as promised in the Versailles Treaty. They voted for the breaking of the shackles that the Dawes and Young Plans forced on them. They voted for a review of the whole treaty. They voted for an amelioration of economic burdens. But they did not vote to degrade their country to the anti-Semitic pogrom policies of Czarist Russia or Poland or Rumania.

“There is such a specific thing as German culture and German civilization which has risen to a high estate and which will yet rise victoriously throughout the world. For this the Jews of Germany have wrought as well as any other ele###ment.”(Signed) Max J. Kohler.

NEXT STORY