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Shall Jew Accept Autonomy As a Racial Minority?

In the confusion of paragraphs defining and regulating the status of Jews in Germany there is no final disposition of the Jewish question, nothing which gives the Jews a place in law and in fact. The Jews and the new German state face alike a dilemma. What are the practical suggestions offered for a way out?

There is division in the Jewish ranks. There are those Jews who are vainly hoping for a return of the “liberal” attitude which will again allow them complete freedom and citizenship and the possibilities of assimilation. There are Jews who are first and foremost German patriots, who subscribe to the dictum, “My country right or wrong” and who would fall in line, “co-ordinated” and blindly loyal to the government. And there are opposed to these the Jews to whom the maintenance of their racial integrity is of prime importance. These Jews believe that a renaissance of Jewish culture and consciousness will result from the bitter trials the Nazis are inflicting on a race that has for ages endured persecutions and emerged therefrom with increased strength and glory. And at this time when a united front among the Jews themselves is so essential to meet the combined forces of blood and iron dominating Germany, the Jews are holding their debates according to their prejudices and desires.

LORINGHOVEN POSES PROBLEM

But the Nazi government cannot be left out of consideration although the Jews in their opposing camps, are prone to do that. Which horn of the dilemma will the state grasp? The most articulate statement on this subject was made by a man who, although not a Nazi, may be regarded as a spokesman of the government—Baron Freytagh-Loringhoven, member of the Reichstag, representing the German National Party which Hugenberg heads. Hugenberg’s “Lokal-Anzeiger” reprints an interview the Baron gave the Vienna “Neuesten Nachrichten”, as a likely solution of the problem.

“I wish to emphasize that I regard the Jews as an alien people, without, however, any implication of its worth. Whether the Jews are better or worse than we, we shall not discuss. They are different from us, they feel and think differently and for this simple reason alone we cannot allow them a place of influence in our public life. The disproportionately great influence which they had in the last fourteen years actually had an ‘ungermanifying’ influence on our state and culture.

“I have always been of the opinion that the Jewish question could only be solved by carefully though out and comprehensive laws. The isolated actions and laws which have been effected form a chain with many missing links. And of course we demand the right to decide our own internal affairs according to our own light, regardless of foreign opinion.

DECLARE THEM ALIEN FOLK

“In my opinion there was and is but one way to disarm the opposition, that is, the possibility of granting the Jews cultural autonomy. This means that the Jews will be declared, according to our national principles, an alien people. They will have the right to administer their cultural organizations—church, school and charity—with the customary financial support from the state and of course, under government supervision. And, as a natural consequence of this classification, they would be removed from all German activity. It would, indeed, have to be considered a great concession if we permitted them to hold public office in proportion to their numbers in the German population. These provisions would create an unassailable juridical basis for their position in Germany which would be analogous in many particulars with the position of national minorities in several states although we would not be bound by the provisions of the so-called treaties for the protection of minorities, nor would we be under the control of the League of Nations.”

The “Deutsche Allegemeine Zeittung” comments that von Freytagh-Loringhoven’s idea is a progressive and practical one, but it remarks that the Baron ignores the fact that the Jews do not comprise an entity either politically or religiously, that it ingores those Jews who have been assimilated for decades and longer.

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