The resolution proposed by Ernst Toller, the German Jewish writer, now a refugee, protesting against the imprisonment of German writers by the Hitler government and against the burning of books that were distasteful to the Nazis, was adopted by the International Congress of P. E. N. Clubs. Dr. Olden, former editor of the Berliner Tageblatt, supporting the resolution, declared that many Germans were exiles because they were for peace, whether they were Jews or Communists, and that anyone in Germany wanting to reorganize the world along peaceful lines is branded there as a traitor.
Efforts were made to have this resolution sidetracked, but finally it was passed, with only the literary delegate from Switzerland dissenting.
If the P. E. N. Clubs at their International Congress had lacked the courage to adopt this mild resolution, it would have been wiser for the organization to disband. Its usefulness and moral prestige would have been at an end.
Emil Ludwig, the famous biographer, appealed to the P. E. N. International Congress, held in Edinburgh, that the writers of every land establish their position in the event of war and replace what he described as the “impotent” League of Nations, by “acting with the strong, direct medium of the written word.”
“Twenty years ago,” Dr. Ludwig declared, “intellect, labor and the church surrendered to force, to the force of arms, and now efforts at prevention of war are helpless or insincere. In several countries the universities are government instruments. The Vatican is powerless and labor is divided. All armament proposals are dangerous today because of the certainty of attack and the greater chance of prevention by menaces than agreements.”
H. G. Welis, president of the P. E. N., threatened to resign if Ludwig’s proposal were approved by the International P. E. N. Congress. He branded such a proposal as impractical and added that “if war came we would forget P. E. N. and writing men would become simply men.”
The Ludwig proposal was shelved, Mr. Welis was re-elected President, and the P. E. N. International Congress went on record that the sword is still mightier than the pen.
“Putzy” Hanfstaengl, the Hitler aide now visiting at Harvard, in the autobiographical sketch for his classbook, writes:
“Being a German conducting my family’s art firm at 545