May Jewish Crisis Produce a Leader, Berlin Paper’s Hope
Menu JTA Search

May Jewish Crisis Produce a Leader, Berlin Paper’s Hope

Download PDF for this date

The inescapable paradox of the position of the Jews in Germany calls for a Jewish leader who will lead both his own people and the erring Nazis out of the wilderness into the clearing.

The Nazis have redefined “patriotism” and have made it spell “anti-Semitism”. This automatically removes the Jews from the body politic, brands them as “aliens” and “enemies of Germany”, as Goebbels reiterated at Cologne. Fascism in Italy did not create this equation so that it can hardly be an organic tenet of that state form.

If you’re a Jew, you’re not a German, say in effect Germany’s present rulers to a most German-conscious Jewry. “And it won’t help you either to recant or seek assimilation.” The question, then, of “Jew or non-Jew” is no longer one for individual decision, thus removing that problem with which Jews have concerned themselves for centuries In Germany the state decides who is Jewish, ousting even such a one as Duesterberg, commander of the nationalistic Steel Helmet veteran organization who was so obviously removed from any connection with Judaism who himself had no inkling of the apostasy from the Jewish faith of his grandparent until Hitler’s geneologists put him in possession of the documented facts.

This action by the German state should crystallize a new solidarity among the Jews and awaken to the leadership of a united Jewry a new and great figure—even as Theodore Herzl was irresistibly swept from his position of a European man of letters and a comparative stranger to Jewish affairs when he heard the cry “A bas les juifs,” during the Dreyfus trial. The infamy of that stirred a dormant racial consciousness, pricked it to the quick and a leader was born. Thus the major, the real Jewish problem will be decided by this creative power within Jewry itself—within, indeed, German Jewry which has strayed further from Judaism than Russian Jewry had fifty years ago.

The National Socialists do not know this Jewry and we must confess this is not their fault. For German Jewry, in its many shadings, presented a faded aspect to outsiders. Nor are the Jewish profiteers and wily business men who have been involved in private and public scandals and corruption representative of German Jewry although they achieved a certain “fame” and following. We reject the taunt that Jews are materialistic, we are prepared to accept the economic hardships as an inevitable manifestation of a revolution which brought suffering to other liberal and opposition non-Jewish elements also. But we repudiate two public pronouncements made by Germany’s present rulers.

“We deny the inference of Jewish superiority, we will remove these aliens and elevate our own people to these guiding positions,” the Nazis have volunteered in their own defense. The German Jews have always had too awesome a respect for the German spirit and intellect to have any cognizance of “superiority”. There has been no racial over-weeningness among them. Rather, as in the case of Professor Bernhard Zondek, head of one of Berlin’s noted clinics and physician to German statesmen, the world knew only that he was a great German physician and Germany, not the Jews, harvested the fame of that reputation.

The German Jews, stung by the defamation that they are neither Germans nor patriots can only fall back on their own racial sources. Their whole “Weltanschauung” has been destroyed. To lament this today would be inutile. It is better to look to the future, to the new covenant with the house of Judah.

“To build and to plant. . . .”

It is for us to lay the cornerstone.—The Juedische Rundschau, Berlin, April 28.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund