Menu JTA Search

Letters to the Editor

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

October 10, 1933.

To the Editor of the

Jewish Daily Bulletin:

In connection with the 250th anniversary of the founding of Germantown, the German Propaganda Minister Goebbels called for loyal support of the Nazi Regime by German-Americans, in speaking at the Carl Schurz Society’s celebration in Berlin. The Associated Press dispatch informs us that Dr. Goebbels recalled the part played in Ameriman history by Carl Schurz.

The tragic irony of Goebbels invoking the memory of Schurz on behalf of Hitlerism!

On May 25, 1903, that great German-American patriot and statesman, Carl Schurz, who had been a United States Senator and the Secretary of the Interior of the United States, wrote a letter from Bolton Landing, Lake George, to Mayor Seth Low of New York City, the contents of which should be read today by every German-American.

Louis E. Leventhal.

The letter follows in part:

“Bolton Landing,

Lake George, May 25, 1903.

His Honor Mayor Low:

My dear Sir:

I am sincerely sorry I cannot attend the meeting called to express the indignation of American citizens at the horrible atrocities recently committed at Kishinef. I hardly need assure you that I am heartily with you in your purpose.

While those outrages in Russia stand preeminent in their savage cruelty, it should not be forgotten that they only present one of the natural upshots of a widespread movement which in our days has put a peculiarly repulsive blot upon our vaunted civilization.

The persecution and maltreatment of human beings on account of their race or their religious belief is always an offense not only unjust to the victim, but also degrading to the offender. But the persecution and maltreatment of the Jews, as mankind has witnessed it, and is now witnessing it in several countries, has been not only especially barbarous in the ferocity of its excesses, but in a singular degree self-debasing and cowardly in the invention of the reasons adduced for its justification.

For centuries they were in most countries arbitrarily restricted in the right to hold land and to follow various civil callings, and then they were gravely accused of not taking to agriculture and of preferring to trade.

For centuries they had to defend themselves against the lawless rapacity of the multitude, being robbed and kicked and cuffed and spit upon like outcasts having no rights and no feelings entitled to respect; and they were accused of having become crafty and unscrupulous in taking advantage of the opportunities left open to them.

For centuries—and even down to our day—whenever a Jew did anything conspicuously offensive, be it in the way of business unscrupulousness or of social ostentation, the cry has been—and is: ‘Lo, behold the Jew!’ While, when a Christian did the same thing, or even ten times worse, nobody would cry: “Lo, behold the Christian!”

And now, to cap the climax, even in this age of light and progress, and in countries boasting of their mental and moral culture, we hear apostles of anti-Semitism, even persons belonging to the so-called upper classes, insist with accents of profound alarm that if the Jews be permitted the same rights and privileges as other people, that despised race, forming so infinitesimal a part of the world’s population, will surely outwit us all, and rob us of our property, and possess themselves of all the controlling forces of society; and that, therefore, the Jews must be shackled hand and foot with all sorts of legal disabilities, if not exterminated, in order to save Christendom from ignominious enslavement.

Nothing could be more absurd and at the same time more cowardly than such reasoning and such appeals. But it is to agitations inflamed by just this spirit that we owe horrors like those of Kishinef, in beholding which humanity stands aghast. These horrors are only one more revelation of the ulterior tendency of a movement which here and there even assumes the mask of superior respectability. Here is the whole question again brought before the tribunal of the conscience of mankind. May this event serve to put in clearer light the fact that the history of the world exhibits no more monumental record of monstrous injustice than the persecutions inflicted upon the Jews during so many centuries. We may then also hope to see the other fact universally recognized, that wherever the Jewish race, with its wonderful vitality and its remarkable productiveness of talent and energy, enjoys the equal protection of just laws and a due appreciation of its self-respect, it will, far from remaining a race of aliens, furnish its full contingent of law-abiding, peaceable, industrious, public-spirited and patriotic citizens, vieing with the best.”

Carl Schurz.

NEXT STORY