Persecution of German Jews Surpasses Any in Jewish History, Reports Michael Williams
Menu JTA Search

Persecution of German Jews Surpasses Any in Jewish History, Reports Michael Williams

Download PDF for this date

Michael Williams, editor of Commonweal, a national Catholic review published in New York, on his return from Germany yesterday estimated the number of Jews wounded in German anti-Semitic riots at 300. The injured total 3,000, he said.

Mr. Williams will shortly publish details substantiating his estimated casualty list.

The editor entered Germany as a private individual after it was decided to postpone the projected investigation of conditions there by the American Committee on Religious Rights and Minorities, of which he was a member, he said.

Aboard the incoming S.S. Conte de Savoia yesterday, Mr. Williams expressed despair at the plight of several hundred thousands of young Jews in Germany who face life “deprived of the rights granted by the constitutions of every civilized country”. He described them as victims of the “colossal injustice” of the current administration in Germany, which apparently “does not intend to relax in its attitude, except superficially and in appearance only”.

Mr. Williams will report on the situation of the Jews in Germany at a meeting of the American Jewish Congress on June 20.

“I spent nearly two weeks in Berlin, interviewing members of the Hitler Government, leading business and professional men, both German and American, college professors, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders, both clerical and lay, and many others”, Mr. Williams stated.

“So far as the persecution of Jews is concerned, I am positive that those in the best position to know the facts—the foreign newspaper correspondents in Berlin and American consular officials, for example—would agree that in spite of the exaggerated first report of wholesale deliberate slaughterings—which were quickly proven false—and in spite of the tremendous counter propaganda of the Hitler regime, that there was, and there continues to be, a persecution of Jews which in its extent probably surpasses any recorded instance of persecution in Jewish history. For it goes deeper, and is more inclusive in its intent to absolutely eliminate the Jewish portion of the German nation, than any other outbreak of the kind.

“One of the most prominent German political leaders told me that he believed that while the world outside Germany might palliate the physical violence inflicted upon the Jews during the first days of the Nazi revolution, as understandable, even if deplorable, when the Nazi government deliberately proceeded to write into the fundamental law of the land measures outlawing all Jews, without distinction between Communists and criminals and patriotic citizens, it made a mistake comparable only to the invasion of Belgium at the outbreak of the World War.


“A conservative estimate of the cases of physical violence against Jews and of Jewish deaths attributable to physical violence during the anti-Jewish outbreak, would be as follows (the evidence to support this opinion will in due time be presented to the world):

“Recorded cases of physical molestation of Jews serious enough to be noteworthy are at least three thousand.

“Jewish deaths ranging from outright killing to deaths resulting from injuries or shock produced by physical violence, are at least three hundred”, stated the noted Catholic leader.

Mr. Williams declared that certain leading Jews requested him “to ask the humanitarian societies and leaders of the United States and other countries to do their best to help the younger generation of German Jews to enter and settle permanently in countries outside Germany. For several hundred thousand young Jews there is no future in Germany so long as the present regime maintains its present position—and apparently the regime does not intend to relax its attitude, save superficially and in appearance only”.

In conclusion the editor of the Commonweal stated that “the German Catholics fear discrimination and possible laws affecting their rights of education and personal liberty. But while their position is an anxious and harassed one, it is the Jew who at present bears, with the Communist, the full weight of Nazi persecution”.

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