Predicting the collapse of the Hitler regime on the basis of a brilliant analysis of Germany’s economic situation, Dr. Alfons Goldschmidt, former dean of the Department of Economics at the University of Leipzig, appealed to the intellectuals of America to fight “for the dignity of the true, oppressed Germany”, and thus hasten the downfall of the Hitlerites. Dr. Goldschmidt spoke at a dinner on Tuesday night given in his honor by the American Committee Against Fascist Oppression in Germany at the Hotel Lismore.
Decrying the revival of barbarism in Germany by a Fascist State whose brutality is increasing in fear of its own impotence, Dr. Goldschmidt demanded with great emotion: “Why are they beheading and shooting workersâ€”they who claim to be a labor party? Why was my friend Theodor Lessing shot? Why my friend Wilhelm Spiegel? Why did my friend Erich Baron commit suicide? Why do I receive threatening letters here in New York?
“Because,” he answered : “A large part of the German people, desperate and blind, full of mysticism and the goose-step, has followed them and another part has submitted without protest or opposition. Because the scientists, the writers, the artists, the engineers, the physicians and lawyers outside Germany are not resolutely taking up the cause of the cultured Germany which has been trampled under foot. Because the intellectuals in the world have not had the energy to unite into a world-wide association… Because even refugee German intellectuals are looking out for only their own lives and are not defending the lives of their brothers in Germany.”
GERMANY COMPLETELY IMPOVERISHED
Discussing Germany’s financial condition he declared that Germany is completely impoverished under a debt burden of 240 billion marks, which is approximately equal to the total national wealth of the country according to pre-war estimates. “Under present conditions the German working population must pay up more than 20,000,000,000 marks annually in the form of interest, management costs and so forth. In other words, 21,000,000 persons, who produce Germany’s total output, are expected to turn over more than 1,000 marks per capita of this output, which is more than most of them earn.”
Dr. Goldschmidt said that this was the basic cause of fascism, born out of the despair of a middle-class threatened with certain proletarianization in such a situation. The Nazi’s promises to the middle class that they would abolish this terrible interest slavery brought millions into the fold.
Dr. Goldschmidt ridiculed Chancellor Hitler’s efforts to reduce unemployment, stating Nazi figures as an indication that the situation was practically unchanged, and pointing to the drop in export trade as the direct cause of depriving 1,000,000 persons of a living.
Professor Robert Morss Lovett, chairman of the committee, presided. Other speakers were Bernard S. Deutsch, president of the American Jewish Congress; Dr. Horace M. Kallen and Dr. Ira S. Wile.