The shortsightedness of German womanhood was largely responsible for Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, asserted Miriam Beard, daughter of Charles and Mary Beard, the historians, last night at a forum in the Free Synagogue arranged by the Women’s Association of the American Jewish Congress as the second event of an educational series to acquaint the public with the nature of Nazism’s menace.
Producing factual evidence of her charges, she sounded a warning to women of the United States that they will be a thousand times more guilty than the women in Fascist Germany if Fascism comes to this country.
A discussion followed Miss Beard’s address, under the leadership of Edward Cahn. Mrs. Kaia Williams presided.
Declaring that women are as much responsible for Fascism in Germany as men, Miss Beard stated: “Her plight is pitiful, but more pitiful was her shortsightedness.”
Miss Beard, who is the wife of Professor Vagts, German educator now in exile in this country, and who recently returned from a five years’ residence in Germany, drew an analogy between what transpired in Nazi Germany and the rise of Nazi propaganda in this country.
WARNS AMERICAN WOMEN
“We women in the United States,” she said, “know what Fascism is and does; we have the solemn warnings before our eyes; we have also an economic power, which the women of unhappy and impoverished Germany never had. If Fascism comes in America, woman will be a thousand times more guilty than she was in Germany.
“You will say, but American women are too proud to tag after warriors as camp followers! Yes? Have you not noticed in the latest issue of Professor Moley’s Today that of the shareholders of the Fascist Silver Shirt press, nearly half were women?”
If women want to exert any influence, Miss Beard declared, “It must be now before men have got their shoulder straps buckled.
She warned of adopting too optimistic an attitude as to the impossibility of the Fascist domination in this country.
“That is precisely what German women felt. For they did not know what we know now: that Fascism is a river fed by a thousand rivulets dashing together form a thousand fields. The rivulets are inconspicuous; only when they have joined and the swollen flood is on the way, is its might apparent. But then it is too late.”
Miss Beard pointed out that it is generally conceded that in the very infancy of Hitlerism, women supplied in large measure the funds to keep alive the movement. Women she charged with aiding Hitler included Getrud von Seidlitz, a wealthy backer, and Helene von Bechtain, who is said to have visited Hitler in jail to console him and to have furnished him large sums of money.
“Women,” Miss Beard stated, “remain enthusiastic for Hitler today, even though he ignored them at the Nurnberg rally; even though a new law passed relieves spectators on streets from saluting any Nazi women’s organizations; while the smallest detachment of brown-shirted boys must be saluted. There are plenty of female marionettes in the Third Reich who go right on marching, salutes or no salutes, in muddy colored gunny-sack garments with flapping pigtails a la Gretchen and glory it.”