Detroit (Sep. 28)
The attitude of German-Americans on the rule of the Nazis and the anti-Semitic campaign conducted by the Hitlerites is revealed in a statement made to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent in Detroit by Frederick A. Schopp, one of the leading members of the German colony here. Mr. Schopp, who is known as a liberal and who is a prominent attorney here, made this statement:
“Of course, all Americans of German extraction are not anti-Jewish. Personally, I have no race prejudice, and hope I shall never have. I hope to live amicably with my fellow man, regardless of race, color or creed. Prejudice of race and of religion is an evil which the human race has unfortunately not yet eliminated.
“I have followed the events in Germany with great misgivings and those who are persecuted have my sympathy. The burning of books, the throttling of the press, the denial of freedom of expression, the establishment of concentration camps, the suicides, the shooting of those ‘attempting to escape’, the holding of hostages, the censorship, the regimentation and robotizing of a nation, are entirely foreign to my nature. Moreover, if I have read history correctly, they will bring forth more evils than they are intended to eradicate.
“Life is hard enough and difficult enough for most of us, without add### such unnecessary hardships.
“For more than fifteen years the German people have suffered. For a decade and a half they have suffered a hundredfold what we have had a taste of in the past three yearsâ€”poverty, hunger, distress. It has had a most demoralizing effect. Whichever way they turned, there was no escape, no help, and not even any sympathy. In that desperate condition they turned toward Hitler.
“Herr Hitler is not Germany. That this is so is apparet from the fact that nearly all German sources of news deny the accusations and charges of cruelty, either against the Jews or against others who are persecuted because of their political views and affiliations. If these persecutions are taking place, they are taking place without the knowledge of the great mass of the German people. Please bear in mind that I am not excusing in the least any such acts, but what I am trying to point out is that the great bulk of the German people are still human and civilized.
“I listened to the speech of Mr. Untermyer over the radio [the speech delivered Sunday evening, August 27 from Youngstown]. He spoke with a depth of feeling that I can easily understand. He advocated the boycott with all his might, I hope you do not consider it presumptuous on my part to inject my views on what is purely a question of Jewish policy. It is a problem that you must solve, and the course of action you pursue must be one that suits your temperament and condition.
“I happen to be president of the Detroiter Socialer Turnverein, probably the largest German-American organization in Detroit. You will find a Turnverein in every large city of the union. At our national convention held last June, we went on record in no uncertain terms, condemning the Hitler government. I have personally gone on record to the same effect, and have received in consequence letters from the followers of Hitler condemning me as a traitor and a lot of other things.
“This is a tragedy. A tragedy for the Jews, a greater tragedy for Germany, and a much greater tragedy still for the cause of tolerance.”