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The Human Touch

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UNOFFICIAL Observer, the man who wrote “The New Dealers,” discusses the racial complexion of the able lawyers in Washington, most of them students of Prof. Felix Frankfurter, who are contributing their intelligence, training and learning to the New Deal. There are now, he informs us, between seventy-five and one hundred young lawyers in Washington who studied under Frankfurter at the Harvard Law School, not all of them necessarily Jews, nor all necessarily recommended by him. Mr. Observer continues:

The fact that so many liberal lawyers are Jews has succeeded in giving an accidentally Semitic cast of countenance to the legal front of the New Deal, which has produced ominous mutterings in the political hinterland and which in part precipitated the quarrel between Peek and Tug well in the Department of Agriculture, Peek having raised the racial issue by the assertion that visiting farmers and business men from the West and South complained about the Jewish lawyers they had to deal with.

“Although the Peek blow-off was insignificant, Frank [Jerome Frank, Chicago liberal lawyer], having been so scrupulous in that regard that only three of four of his staff of a hundred attorneys in the A.A.A. [Agriculture Adjustment Administration] were members of that gifted international race, the fact is that Roosevelt is making use of Jewish brains exactly where and how they should be used. He is using them not because they are Jewish but because they are brains. The Jewish contribution to the New Deal is, therefore, precisely that specialized intelligence which makes other races fear them when they are treated as a separate community. For Roosevelt has discovered what the English have known since the day of Disraeli, that the Jew is a . . . superb partner in any bold enterprise.”


One of the things to bear in mind about many of the men who are at the right and the left of President Roosevelt in his efforts to organize these United States on the lines of the New Deal is that they are not there because they are Jews and they are not there only because they are brains, but, partly and in many cases for the most part, because they helped Roosevelt win the nomination for President and they helped him win the election. Felix Frankfurter, for example, has the power in the Administration which he has because he worked for Roosevelt among the liberals, when all the liberals were being divided among the candidacies of Al Smith, Newton Baker, Governor Ritchie and others.

One of the reasons why Bernard Baruch is listed among “Fallen Angels” is this book, and in the Roosevelt line-up, or set-up, is that he was not loyal to Roosevelt during the pre-convention campaign and also, this on the word of Observer, that he has no real understanding of or sympathy with the Roosevelt program. We are informed that every president from Wilson on has consulted Baruch.


Observer regards Roosevelt’s failure to use Baruch as one of the greatest wastes of brains and energy and skill in the United States. But the fact is Baruch is regarded as only a hitch-hiker on the New Deal wagon.

“He has an intuitive mind, but behind that and his tremendous pose of authority, there lurks what used to be known in the Hoover period as an inferiority complex. He wants so terribly to be known as something more than a speculator. He bas studied orthodox economics and finance in an effort to make up for his lack of a thorough formal education, and, like many self-educated men, has an all but Biblical aspect for what he has taught himself.”


Ernst Toller, in his autobiography, “I Was a German,” has stated the puzzlement of the German Jew in the face of the present crisis in Germany with such succinctness, with such force and with such poetry that I am taking the liberty of quoting those paragraphs in full, as something in the nature of an index to the hundreds of similar expressions that have come from those Jews in Germany who had believed themselves assimilated.

“I thought of my own childhood, of my misery when the other children shouted ‘Dirty Jew!’ at me, of my childish appeal to the picture of Christ, of my terrible joy when I realized that nobody would recognize me for a Jew; of the first day of the war and my passionate longing to prove that I was a real German by offering my life to my country; of my writing form the Front to the authorities to say that they could strike my name from the list of the Jewish community. Had it all been for nothing? Had it all been wrong? Did I not love Germany with all my heart? Had I not stood in the rich beauty of the Mediterranean landscape and longed for the austere pine-woods, for the beauty of the still, secret lakes of North Germany? And was not the German language my language, the language in which I felt and thought and spoke a part of my very being?

“But was I not also a Jew? A member of that great race that for centuries had been persecuted, harried, martyrized and slain; whose prophets had called the world righteousness, had exalted the wretched and oppressed, then and for all time, a race who had never bowed their heads to their persecutors, who had preferred death and dishonor. I had denied my own mother and I was ashamed. It is an indictment of society at large that a child should have thus been driven to deception.

“But was I an alien because of all this? Is blood to be the only test? Does nothing else count at all? I was born and brought up in Germany; I had breathed the air of Germany and its spirit had molded mine; as a German writer I had helped to preserve the purity of the German language. How much of me was German, how much Jewish? I could not have said.

“All over Europe an infuriated nationalism and ridiculous pride was raging–must I too participate in the madness of this epoch? Wasn’t it just this madness that had made me turn Socialist?–my belief that Socialism would eliminate not only class hatreds but also national hatreds?

“The words, ‘I am proud to be a German’ or ‘I am proud to be a Jew,’ sounded ineffably stupid to me. As well say, ‘I am proud to have brown eyes.’

“Must I then join the ranks of the bigoted and glorify my Jewish blood now, not my German? Pride and love are not the same thing, and if I were asked where I belonged I should answer that a Jewish mother had borne me, that Germany had nourished me, Europe had informed me, my home was the earth, and the world my fatherland.

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