Jews of Milwaukee Soften Sentiments Against Hitlerism
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Jews of Milwaukee Soften Sentiments Against Hitlerism

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With 60 percent of the population of this city of German extraction, Jews here have been facing a more acute problem than the Jews of most communities in the matter of taking a public, militant stand against the Hitler terrorism.

Since the nation-wide series of demonstrations against the Nazi anti-Jewish atrocities, in which Milwaukee joined, there has been no organized agitation over the barbarism in Germany, except for some minor anti-Fascist rallies and parades staged by radical and communist groups.

After all, the Jewish leaders here are merchants and professional men. They realize they are sitting on a tinder-box and that a vociferous anti-German activity may prove a boomerang and alienate their important trade and clientele from local Germans.

This does not mean they are less aroused and in their hearts less bitter over the treatment of their brothers abroad. But some of them have found a better way of tackling this ticklish subject. The recently-formed Fellowship of Faiths, an organization composed of representatives of all creeds (both clergymen and important laymen), has given them their opportunity.

The aim of this fellowship is to combat religious prejudice and to foster peace and harmony and cooperation between races and creeds. Dr. Joseph L. Baron, associate rabbi of Temple Emanu-El B’nai Jeshurun, and Judge Charles L. Aarons are among the members of the fellowship, and Jewish leaders are confident this organization will use its power to condemn vigorously and frequently the kind of religious and racial hatred being sowed in Germany.

Agitation from this source against barbaric Nazi practices will be far more effective than from a purely Jewish organization, it is contended. Various Jewish-Christian goodwill meetings are already planned by this fellowship for the winter.

The caution of the Jews may seem to indicate the Germans here are generally pro-Hitler. They are, in fact, sharply divided. This was graphically shown at a recent Steuben Society festival.

At one point in the society’s ceremony in the Auditorium, a huge American flag was unfurled on one side of the stage. The audience waited expectantly for a German flag to fall on the other. None came. The officials in charge, it was said, were undecided whether to drop a republican or Hitlerite flag, knowing either might offend some faction, and therefore unfurled no German colors.

The German attitude upon Hitler is also sharply split, of course, by the strong Socialist party which ## definitely anti-fascist and anti-Hitler, though not as militantly as it was at the outset. However, the Jews gravely admit that the pro-Hitlerites are gaining ground as time goes on.

As an instance, hardly a week goes by but that a Milwaukeean, back from a visit to Germany, gives an interview to local newspapers, declaring that conditions are not as bad as they are painted, that atrocities have been exaggertaed and that Hitler (though his racial ideas are condemned) “has done wonders” for Germany.

Most of these interviews have been published in the city’s leading evening newspapers, and have given some Jews the feeling that this paper is pro-Hitlerite.

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