Berlin (Apr. 15)
The following article was published in the Baltimore Sun on May 18, 1934. Its author is anonymous. He is a special correspondent for The Sun and is spending his time in general study of conditions.
This is an atrocity story; the tale of a Nazi atrocity against Jews. I watched it for three hours last night, and so did 800 others. The German Government will not deny it. This is a perfectly official and licensed atrocity. It has been going on for months-every evening of the week except Friday. Any Jew who wishes can subject himself to this atrocity, and thousands wish to.
Jews have been killed, tortured and beaten up since Hitler came into power. Jews have been pilloried and boycotted. All very bad. But yesterday’s atrocity was much worse. Worse because it is peaceful, continuous, enjoyable, and done to a musical accompaniment. It took place in the Berliner Theater. No. S. A.’s or S. S.’s were there. The only Aryans present were the fire inspector and the policeman.
TALES OF HOFFMAN
This is an atrocity which Jews inflict upon themselves while the Nazis look on. It was a performance of ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’ given by a troupe consisting of Jewish artists only. The spectator buys a ticket which is accompanied by a mimeographed permit. “The bearer of this permit, it reads, ‘who guarantees that he is a Jew, is entitled, on producing an identification card showing his photograph, to attend today’s entertainment.’ Art by, of and for Jews only.
This excellent performance impressed me as the worst piece of barbarism I had ever witnessed. It was the deliberate creation of cultural Ghetto.
The Nazi regime made it impossible for any Jew, no matter how talented, how patriotic, how Aryanlike in exterior, to act, play music or conduct before a German audience. Those Jewish artists who could fled the country, but the two thousand who remained were free to sell newspapers in certain districts, or starve, or live on charity. Some of them thereupon took the initiative and organized the German-Jewish League of Culture. This is the body which staged the “Tales of Hoffmann.’
The directors of the league have strict instructions to bar all Aryans. What if an Aryan should discover that a number of the finest artists of Germany have been pushed into a Ghetto where no Teuton eye can see them! No German newspaper is allowed to print reviews of the league’s performances. What if some one should delicately hint that there was an oasis in that vast desert of German theater which the Nazis have created.
German Jews do not go to German theaters or concerts. In the beginning, when they tried, some were beaten up, and others were conscious of the discomfort which they caused their Aryan seat-neighbors. But then the performances proved to be so poor that the Jews became as disinterested in them as the Gentiles. I heard the loudest complaints in Germany from taxi chauffeurs, who declared that since few people now went to theaters and cinemas, night life was dead and they could scarcely get passengers after 10 P. M. Indeed, I could not help but notice that after that hour even popular evening thoroghfares like the Kurfuerstendamm were half-de-serted.
In their distress, the Jewish artist and the Jewish art lover established the German-Jewish League of Culture. This society, one would think, would maintain closest contacts with Goebbels’ Ministry of Propaganda and Education. But no, its most intimate touch with the Hitler regime is through Herr Schmitt, the Minister of Economy. This strange circumstance has a very simple explanation: Schmitt’s department suffers most from the world-wide Jewish boycott of German exports, and Schmitt is under the illusion that this cultural atrocity will moderate foreign Jewish opposition to the Nazi regime. The reestablishment of a Ghetto, he believes, will impress world Jewry with the freedom which the National Socialists have granted to German Jews.
Directly, however, the league operates under the supervision of Herr Goebbels. Before a drama, operetta or symphony is produced, his office must approve.
For instance, it vetoed Schiller’s ‘Wallenstein’ on the ground that so classic a German author must not be impurified by having his lines spoken from Jewish mouths. It prohibited ‘Uriel Acosta’ because it manifests Jewish spiritual aggressiveness and the strength of Jewish convictions. Anything, on the other hand, which emphasizes Jewish separateness and the existence of a Jewish race is enthusiastically encouraged. For such teachings serve the Nazis as confirmation of the fundamental thesis that the Jews are a foreign element in the German nation.
Zionism, naturally, is therefore nursed by the Hitler regime, and the Juedische Rundschaw, the organ of the Zionist organization of Germany, has practically quadrupled its circulation since the National Socialists took office.
When the Juedisohe Rundschau appears with a streamer across its first page reading ‘Juedische Eigenart,’ or Jewish Uniqueness, the Nazis applaud, for this reflects their own views on the subject. The Jews, they argue, are a peculiar body of people who cannot form part of the German nation. The National Socialists are anxious to stress every racial division because it diverts attention from class divisions, and they are particularly happy to stress the differences between German Jews and German Aryans.
Nationalism begets nationalism and in the intensely chauvinistic atmosphere which envelops Germany today the Jews, too, have experienced an accession to nationalistic sentiment. It is wrong to suppose that all Jews are opposed to Hitlerian philosophy. On the contrary, the Fuehrer counts many enthusiastic followers among Jews, and, if the Nazis would only let them, a large number of bourgeois Jews would joyfully march under the Hakenkreuz banner. But the Nazis do not let them, and Jews accordingly are thrown back upon themselves. Jews cling closer to one another. Thus it happens that the Ghetto which the Nazis demarcate for the Jews acquires internal cohesion. Jews buy from one another. Jews patronize only Jewish physicians. Jews visit only Jewish-owned cafes.
The program book of last night’s performance of the “Tales of Hoffmann’ looks almost like a directory of Jewish business in Berlin. Only Jews advertise there in. Jews try, if they can, to avoid giving advertisements to German dailies.
IN THE GHETTO
In the Ghetto one must walk warily. The German-Jewish League of Culture must make as little noise as possible. Its regular ticket-purchasers are expressly requested not to wear evening dress at performances, in fact to dress modestly lest the goyim take umbrage at manifestations of Jewish prosperity.
In the theater foyer stood a book kiosk. This is probably the only book store in Germany where Nazi literature is not sold, not even the Fuehrer’s ‘Mein Kampf. But there were volumes on the Dreifuss case, on ancient Jewish customs, on racial theory, on the history of Zionism, on the geography of Palestine, on various phases of Jewish nationalism, and on the Talmud-and German-He-brew dictionaries.
Among the Jewish bourgeoisie in Germany a strong element opposes the popular trend toward Zionism because it sees the danger of thereby acquiescing in the Nazi principle that the Jews do not belong to the German nation, but constitute one themselves. Those wise people, however, are powerless to block the Nazi plan of constructing a Ghetto wall around the Jews.