Amsterdam (Oct. 22)
The following is the first part of a comprehensive report on recent developments in Germany in regard to the Jewish question, prepared by a special investigator for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Measures employed against the Jews, especially in the provinces, anti-Semitic agitation and propaganda methods will be discussed in the second part of the report here next week.
How to break the Jewish boycott of German products is one of the chief prob-problems before the German cabinet and one that occupies much of the time of several of Adolf Hitler’s advisers, this correspondent learns on good authority.
The boycott, as it is being carried on at present, is a source of great concern to those members of the cabinetâ€”Dr. Kurt Schmitt, minister of economics, and Baron Constantilvon Neurath, minister of foreign affairs, for instanceâ€”who retain their touch with realities beyond the Reich’s bounds. Coordination and intensification of the boycott, they feel, would be the greatest single factor in an internal economic breakdown which, from present indications, is the only menace to continuation of the Hitler regime.
The boycott is now felt in every branch of German industry except the chemical, automobile and other militarized fields. It is especially felt in German exports despite the fact that official German statistics attempt to prove that exports are not decreasing, and despite measures taken by the government to aid exporters.
To fight the decrease in Germany’s export business, the government has adopted the following measures of policy:
(1) It has promised many German firms reimbursement of their losses for “dumping” or selling their products abroad at less than cost to defeat the boycott.
(2) It has authorized all exporters to accept for their goods abroad the so-called “spare marks” which differ about twenty percent in value from the original mark, thus, in effect, giving purchasers of German goods, a twenty percent discount.
(3) It has assigned long-term credits for those industries which produce goods chiefly for export.
COMMITTED TO LOSSES
These steps have committed the government treasury to heavy expenditures and staggering losses. They are dictated, however, by the continuing fall in various industries which threatens a real increase in unemploymentâ€”a subject on which the government is most sensitive.
The boycott movement initiated by Jews abroad is not looked upon today as a Jewish movement. The Jews are considered only as the vanguard and “front” of the movement. Attention to it, if it were solely a Jewish activity, would not be more than slight.
But the German government feels however, that behind the Jewish boycott stand all the governments of Europe which desire to weaken Germany economically and to capture the markets for their own industries formerly held by Germany. This reputed international backing of the boycott is what worries Germany’s masters, those in a position of close contact with the authorities have told this correspondent.
WHAT NAZIS WORRY ABOUT
Were France, for instance, to declare a boycott on German products, the German government could reply with a boycott against France. This could be done if Poland, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain or other countries took such action. But here, as German authorities see it, is a case where these countries practicaly stimulate the boycott, and the German government cannot make any reprisals because the boycott is not conducted officially by the countries involved, but by the Jewish populations.
To induce the Jewish boycotters, therefore, to abandon the boycott against Germany, and thus remove any “front” for the movement, today is the source of preoccupation for those German leaders whose vision extends beyond the confines of the Reich. And this leads directly to Nazi treatment of the Jews ###n Germany.
The cabinet split on the external Jewish question is duplicated in the cabinet schism on the internal Jewish question. The pressure on Germany from the boycott and the a#sing of the Jewish issue by the #eague of Nations induced certain members of the cabinet to put forward the proposal of a status quo or the Jews of Germany and a ces#ation of further anti-Jewish edicts. These members are, however, in the minority and, despite their positions, have little influence. Their views are not shared by Hitler, Goering and Goebbels.
STRIVE FOR MILDNESS
This correspondent has it on good authority that Vice-Chancellor Von Papen and Baron Von Neurath, who are the men who come into closest contact with the foreign world, are still continuing their efforts to convince the cabinet to take a milder attitude toward the Jews. This they do in the hope that hostility to the present German government will relax with diminution of one of its most aggravating causes.
Dr. Kurt Schmitt, minister of economics, is strongly supporting Von Papen and Von Neurath in their stand on the Jewish question. Dr. Schmitt is closest in touch with the German economic situation. He has learned full well what the policy of driving the Jews out of commerce and industry is costing the Reich daily and feels that something must be done to save the German industrial structure from collapse. This is what actuated him in his widely-publicized but scantily-heeded decrees forbidding interference in industrial and commercial organizations in order to eliminate Jews.
These ministers, however, carry but little weight in any cabinet decisions on matters pertaining to the Jews and there is little hope to be derived for the Jews of Germany from their proclamations or edicts on the Jewish question.
Despite their stand, the already painfully restricted circle of possibilities for Jews to earn a living continues to shrink and despite such statements as the recent utterance of the Minister of Justice at the Leipzig convention of jurists that “the government is inclined to consider the anti-Jewish legislation ended”, the discriminations and persecutions of the Jews continue unchecked.
To understand the situation, one must comprehend the “double-bookkeeping” practiced in Nazi Germany. The minister of justice issued his famous order against boycotting of Jews in Germany. Sincere as it was, dictated by circumstances which left no other choice, it means nothing. An order, not from the earnest Dr. Schmitt, but from Goering, minister of the interior, whose orders are obeyed by the police and the storm troops, is necessary to ensure enforcement of the order. This has not been forthcoming. An order from headquarters of the National Socialist party to all party members ordering them not to boycott Jewish enterprises would be effective. This has not been forthcoming.
The average official in Germany today takes orders not from the minister of economics, but from the minister of the interior. The member of the Nazi party takes orders only from officials who are members of the party and from no one else. Schmitt, Von Neurath and even Von Papen are not considered real party members by dyed-in-the-wool Nazis. Hence, the boycott against the Jewish firms continues.
SCHMITT BELIEVED SINCERE
Jewish manufacturers and proprietors of the smaller firms have emphasized in conversations with this correspondent recently their belief that the minister of economics was sincere in his anti-boycott edicts. This feeling, they state, does not hold at the ministry of the interior. A Jew entering the offices of the commercial ministry gets a cordial welcome. A Jew making an inquiry at any department of the ministry of the interior is looked upon with contempt and treated so.
This double-bookkeeping makes things worse for the Jews. The silence of Goering as well as of the Nazi party is taken by the rank and file of the Nazi membership as evidence that the order is not approved by Goering and the party. Hence the boycott against the Jews continues as savagely as ever, especially in the provinces.
No pretense is employed to conceal the boycott even in Berlin. Not a day passes without the appearance of new signs on “German” stores attesting to their Aryan ownership. And this despite a specific order to the contrary by Dr. Schmitt. The Nazi party has even authorized a special sign, which has the widest display and which Jews, of course, are barred from showing. The Jewish store is easily recognized and avoided by Nazis and sympathizers.
The Association of German Druggists recently issued a special sign to its members reading “this is a De-Dro store,” De-Dro signifies “Deutscher Druggist.” Jewish pharmacists naturally are not allowed to display this sign.
THE PILLORY STILL WORKS
Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s lieutenant in command of the Nazi ranks, issued instructions to the Hitler henchmen to abstain “temporarily” from boycotting department stores. Significantly, he did not mention Jewish stores or add his approval to the order of the minister of economics. As a result of this, no German in a small town would think of entering a Jewish store.
In many places, as in Konstanz, Christians entering a Jewish store are photographed, and the photographs, with names and addresses, are posted on a public pillory. The slogan, “whoever buys from a Jew is a traitor,” is still being displayed in public places and on government property despite Dr. Schmitt’s order. In many towns of Hessen, the population has been warned “whoever buys from a Jew or sells to a Jew is a traitor, will be put on a blacklist and sent to a concentration camp.”
The use of violence in enforcing the boycott has not been abandoned. In Pommern, many peasants were detained by the authorities for selling to Jewish grain-dealers. They were photographed together with the numbers of their wagon-licenses and wagons and were compelled to dump their grain in the road.
Peasants paying off debts to Jews in grain have to stand by and watch zealous Nazis dump it in the streets. When they ask, “how else can we repay our obligations?” they receive a reply, “that’s none of our business. There must be no trading with Jews!”
POPULACE AGAINST VIOLENCE
It is worthy of note that the general populace does not approve of this violence which is carried on chiefly by storm troop detachments consisting of school-boys, salesmen and minor office-workers. Despite the feeling of more responsible elements of the population, this use of violence and terrorism is growing in the provinces.
This anti-Semitic terror is noticed to a somewhat slighter degree in Thuringia and Hanover, in the former because the Nazis there are more disciplined, and in the latter state because of the nature of the people.