Sao Paulo (May. 3)
Two years ago a green-shirted Fascist group which called itself the Integralist Party made its appearance in Brazil. Until very recently no one suspected anti-Semitism was a part of the Integralist program.
A short time ago, however, the truth became apparent and the Jewish colony was startled by the extent to which anti-Jewish propaganda was being spread by the Integralists among the provincial population.
Like practiced agitators the Integralists realized they would meet with at least some opposition if they began their activities in the larger cities, where Fascism has already suffered several defeats at the hands of the liberal and labor elements, which are constantly on the alert against it. Instead, the Integralists started the dissemination of their anti-Semitic dogmas in the most remote places, where they delivered Hitleristic speeches designed to convince the populace that “the Jews have already invaded the largest cities of Brazil”; that “the Jews are coming to Brazil now that they have been driven from every other country”; that “the Jews are enslaving the people of Brazil”; and that “the Jews are responsible for all the troubles which beset the land.”
JEWS WIDELY SCATTERED
The regional press was everywhere enrolled to aid the Integralists and emphasize what they said in their speeches.
The actuality of the menace inherent in this propaganda becomes more evident when one knows how widely scattered the Jewish population is here. Most of the Jews live in the large cities and earn their living by peddling. Some live in the smaller cities. Still others are itinerant traders, going from town to town with their wares. Most of these peddlers sell holy pictures, a popular item.
One can easily visualize the reception which will await such Jewish peddlers when they arrive among people whose memory of the “horned Judeo” legend has just been refreshed.
The nature of the soil upon which the Integralist seed has fallen may be seen from the list of doctors, lawyers, writers and high military officials who hold key offices in the organization.
The newspapers which are sympathetic to Integralism occasionally make their voices heard on the Jewish question. But the incident most indicative of the increasing impudence of the Integralist group occurred during Holy Week. Every year, on Holy Saturday, children in various parts of the city perform a ceremony centering about the burning of a straw “Judas.” Never before this year was the ceremony imbued with any special significance. But this year the straw mannikins were accompanied by insulting remarks about the Jews, who were characterized as the “real Judases, responsible for the death of Christ.” The hand behind this new turn of events is not difficult to detect.
The newspapers undoubtedly know who prepared the effigies, but gave no indication of that fact, seeking instead an “expression of the nation’s i###e” in the attack upon the Jews. The Diario da Noite referred to the Jewish quarter of Sao Paulo as the Palestine of Brazil, and declared calmly that the Jews were descended from Judas, who sold Jesus.
A letter describing the feelings of the provincial Jewish population was sent to the various Jewish newspapers by an old Campas settler, H. Nadler. Nadler recounts a speech delivered by Plinias Salgado, leader of the Integralists, who faithfully repeated some of Hitler’s most anti-Semitic pronouncements.
The speech, Nadler says, was received with great enthusiasm by the populace. In describing his impressions of the meeting Nadler declares that several times he thought the audience about to lynch him. Some consolation may be derived from the fact that in the same letter the writer gives an account of talks with a number of Brazilian intellectuals, all of whom expressed great distaste for the poison of Integralism.
The Jewish provincial settlements were unprepared for this anti-Semitic move of the Integralists. But they are taking every possible step to prevent the spread of the danger, which constitutes a menace to the life and property of the Jews scattered over the great expanse of the Republic of Brazil.