Geneva (May. 16)
More than a thousand Jewish soldiers and officers of the Swiss Army joined in a protest against attempts to introduce anti-Semitism into Switzerland, and, in particular, against accusation levelled by the Nazis against Jewish soldiers serving in the Swiss Army.
“We Jews,” they declared in a statement recently issued, “have always during the period of active service, carried out our duties to our Fatherland as have any other. Swiss citizens. We pay our taxes as all do. Ninety per cent of us belong to the middle class, and are therefore affected by the crisis no less than anybody else. Why should the 18,000 Jews in Switzerland be made the scape-goats? The Jews in Switzerland have been Swiss citizens longer than have those who now follow Hitler.”
The protest of the Jewish soldiers followed closely upon the first large Nazi meeting held in Geneva, headquarters of the League of Nations. The meeting was attended by some 2,000 Nazi sympathizers, and was addressed by Colonel Sonderegger, late chief of the general staff of the Swiss Army, who aspires to be the Hitler of Switzerland.
THE OLD RABBLE-ROUSING
Colonel Sonderegger declared that his organization, which is called the “New Front”, was fighting against “Marxism”, pacifism, anti-militarism, internationalism and “Jewish civilization.” He demanded that Jews naturalized in Switzerland be deprived of their Swiss nationality. He accused the Jews of being the organizers of socialism and pacifism.
Despite the fact that only three of the big stores in Geneva belong to Jews, the Swiss Hitler said that they were all owned by Jews and incited the small shopkeepers to picket the large shops in an effort to dissuade the public from buying in them.
The Nazi victory in Germany has given great impetus to the Swiss Hitlerite movement, especially in German Switzerland, and the Swiss Constitution and democratic institutions are seriously threatened. The Swiss government, alive to the danger, has forbidden political parties in Switzerland to wear uniforms or other “distinctive signs”. The punishment for breaking this law is fine, imprisonment, or both.
The Swiss Nazi movement is also a danger to the peace of Europe, for its success would almost certainly lead to the disruption of Switzerland and the annexation of German Switzerland by Germany, which is one of the aims of the German Nazis.