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Claims for Damages in Silesia Through League Action Urged

Former Editor, the Vossische Zeitung of Berlin

The impending approach of the next League of Nations sessions recalls that a year ago the League’s Council passed resolutions binding Germany to respect the equality rights guaranteed in the Versailles Treaty to all national minorities in Upper Silesia, including Jews.

It is obvious that formally, the German government acted up to this obligation by compensating the Jews of Upper Silesia; it reinstated dismissed officials, rescinded all official discriminations against Jewish lawyers and doctors in German Upper Silesia.

But in reality the Jews of Upper Silesia are only superficially better off than are the Jews in the rest of Germany. The fact that they are maltreated on occasion by terrorist Nazi bands as are the Jews in Germany proper, is the kind of thing that people no longer speak about in Germany, but the fact is that the Jews in Upper Silesia are unable to carry on their professional work, or only to a very limited extent, for there isn’t much difference between the methods employed against Jews in Germany and in those parts which are subject to the Versailles Treaty guarantee.

The nations of the world and largely also the Jews outside of Germany are still allowing themselves to be humbugged about the real German condition by the show of legislative measures or ministerial decrees. There are not rights at present in Germany and legislative measures and ministerial decrees are applied only when such application suits the Nazis’ purpose.

The essential fact about the Jewish question is the boycott. Where the laws still permit the Jews to carry on their activities, it is made impossible for them by an illegal boycott, which, however, is not only tolerated but actually promoted by the so-called guardians of the law.

A comparatively large number of Jewish lawyers has been given the right to practice, but the number is steadily being whittled down by names constantly being struck off lists and if a few Jewish lawyers are still allowed to practice, they may not show their faces in court without the Nazi papers immediately printing their names and the names of their clients. Similar courses of action are adopted against doctors and dentists, and these procedures are applied exactly in the same way, whether in Germany or in Upper Silesia.

The resolutions of the League have made no difference at all in this respect. Members of the Hitler government just laugh at the naivete of such resolutions and the stupidity of people who still believe in such old-fashioned things as rights. We have to get at these people with altogether different methods. What they will understand is being made to pay compensation and claims for compensation should be lodged in an organized manner. All over Upper Silesia the Bernheim case must be repeated a hundred-fold.

It seems to me to be a matter of great urgency that at the next meeting of the League at which the German question will play an important part, when the various states will put their questions as to how far Germany has acted up to the League’s resolutions concerning the Jews in Upper Silesia, that a commission be appointed for investigating the matter on the spot and deal with the question of compensation.

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