Harrison Brown, prominent foreign correspondent who recently arrived in New York from Berlin detailed conditions in Germany for the Jewish Daily Bulletin as he saw them during recent months of terror.
Mr. Brown, a British journalist, is credited with “breaking” the story of projected massacres of Jews in Germany on election eve and, by inciting foreign popular protest, diluting an atrocity campaign which threatened to exceed any persecution since the march of the German army through Belgium.
Mr. Brown, arriving in London on the eve of the scheduled massacre, gave the story to the London Times, Morning Post, Manchester Guardian, and other prominent British dailies, asking them to verify his accounts through their respective Berlin correspondents, who, by that time, had been silenced by Nazi censors. On the following day morning papers throughout the western hemisphere carried banner headlines on the German-Jewish situation, which had heretofore been regarded with tepid interest by editors abroad. In the face of severe world criticism Hitlerites abandoned pre-arranged pretexts for the massacre and tempered their anti-Semitic moves.
ASTOUNDING OVERNIGHT CHANGE
As European representative of the American Committee for the Outlawry of War, Mr. Brown worked with the Chicago advocate, S. O. Levinson, “father of the Kellogg Peace Pact.”
“One of the most astounding overnight changes of a people in history was witnessed by correspondents in Germany during the early part of the year,” Mr. Brown declared. “Between the last of January and March 5, when the Hitler regime ascended to power, the German nation slipped from Twentieth Century culture to Medieval barbarism.
“The change came as Germans sensed the ascendancy of Hitler. Gradually the press was driven into a one way street of propaganda, and with this last hope of fair and just expression gone, the people of Germany resigned themselves to the horrible consequences, which they were sure would follow.
“Until this time Germany as a whole could not be considered anti-Semitic. It was only the ceaseless battering of Nazis against public sentiment and their ultimate smothering of any but anti-Semitic reports that eventually led to persecution and violence against the Jews.
AGAIN WELLS ARE POISONED
“It will be difficult to undo the evil that has been wrought by the Nazi clique during their short term in office. They have so succeeded in poisoning the minds of Germany through propaganda, that it is doubtful if years of education along enlightened, unprejudiced lines would serve to reinstate Jews in their proper place in German affairs. Whether or not the National Socialist party survives, the Jews are going to find the road back long and rough.”
Mr. Brown declared that the world should not judge Hitler by his words but rather by his deeds, which have been essentially vicious and contemptible. He said that within the next two months the chancellor will to all outward appearances relax in his severity towards Jews. There will be pronouncements designed to make foreign people believe there has been an adjustment in the Nazi policies toward Jews. But regardless of the strength of these announcements or even of their sincerityâ€”if, indeed, there will be any attempt to appear sincereâ€”the seed of hate has already been sown so substantially in the hearts of Germans that no relaxation of laws can possibly be of benefit. The boycott of Jewish goods has now become automatic and no longer requires the driving power of Hitler and his henchmen behind it. The only thing Jews in Germany can do is to clear out and stay out of the country for some time.
ATROCITIES NOT EXAGGERATED
Mr. Brown stated that the United States is approximately six weeks behind England in its appreciation of the seriousness of the situation in Germany and that England is substantiallyâ€”perhaps yearsâ€”behind residents of Germany in her conception of the true circumstances which exist throughout the republic.
Reports, he said, which find their way into the foreign press do not exaggerate the unpleasantness of conditions in Germany. He declared that Knickerbocker of the New York Evening Post and other correspondents who have been objects of severe criticism are “100 percent accurate.”
Two reasons were given for the anti-Semitic drive in Germany. The first he termed a “phobia” on the part of Adolf Hitler whose early writings indicated an unreasonable anti-Jewish obsession. The second cause he set forth as the fact that every movement based on emotion requires a scapegoat for emotional outletâ€”and the Jews for some inexplicable reason have been the historic victims of such persecution.
LEADERS ‘BRAINLESS HOODLUMS’
Other reasons of more palpable but less reasonable basis than the psychological causes include the Hitlerite hate of international financial structures and so-called “capitalism”, Mr. Brown said. Small shops, the backbone of German internal trade, are said to have suffered from the introduction of department stores, which are largely owned by Jews.
Mr. Brown described the Nazi leaders in Germany as a group of “brainless hoodlums”, and he stated that the government could not survive, were it not for a few conservative and able members of former administrations, who have been carried over by the current regime. To a few men of the caliber of Herr Schacht he gives all credit for keeping the German ship of state afloat. Von Papen, he says, shares a full portion of the stigma belonging to those who have brought the German nation to its present state of disrepute.
“Dress Hitler in a pair of black leggings, put a chauffeur’s cap on his head,” Mr. Brown said, “and you will find him in the attire that is most harmonious with his insipid nature. He would make a good streetcar conductor.
“Hitler is essentially a nonentity who has been swept into power by thousands like him. He has been told he is God, so he tries to act like God. And there are enough brainless idiots in the country to be impressed by him. Disrobe him of his ego, and this uneducated, barely intelligent house painter would fall back into the obscurity of his original profession. He is kept in power by the tremendous force of a bridled press and an excited populace that can survey neither their leader nor his policies calmly.
“By his common-ness Hitler has earned the disrespect and contempt of every thinking person in Germany. He is a highly subjective Slovak with the dull slow thought of his peasant or peasant-equivalent ancestry.”
Mr. Brown declared that accounts of Nazi atrocities which have reached the front pages of American newspapers have, if anything, been minimized.
“It is hard for people in a country enjoying peace and sympathy between races regardless of race or creed to appreciate how morbid can be the actions of a nation deranged and obsessed,” he said.
“The beatings being given Jews in Germany are inhuman, heartless. Can you imagine the mentality of a sect of people who come in numbers to administer lickings to single, defenseless personsâ€”frequently the victims are aged or sick? They are certainly sick by the time the S. A., or Storm Troopers finish with them.
“Jews have been found crawling about the streets of German cities crying to unhearing ears to shoot them and put them out of their misery. Unspeakable tortures have been applied to Jews in Hessen, Berlin, and Breslau. What horrible tales the torture houses, “Braunheims”, would tell could the inanimate walls but speak! Frequently Jews who are once beaten are attacked again after a few daysâ€” when their wounds have healed.”
Mr. Brown said the brown shirts have entered houses in twos and threes, pointed guns at the heads of occupants, and ordered them to “cough up”.
According to the correspondent, since their accession to power the Nazis have released many convicts from prisons throughout Germany and put them in minor offices, from where they wield brutal powers over citizens. He said that chief peace officer Heines in Breslau had twice been convicted of murder, one of the affairs too gruesome for the most sensational elements of the press to fully present.