Philadelphia (Jun. 28)
Mexico, which contains approximately 15,000 Jews, has not escaped the menace of Hitlerism reports Dr. Jacob Billikopf, executive director of the Federation of Jewish Charities, who returned last week from a month’s stay in that republic.
German propagandists from Berlin are engaged in infecting the country with the virus of Nazism, declares Dr. Billikopf, who finds harmful results already discernible.
The Federation director departed yesterday for Marshall Camp in the Adirondacks to complete his recuperation in preparation for resuming his work here in September. He left Philadelphia a month ago upon the advice of his physicians, who ordered a complete rest for him. Although he spent most of his time in Mexico in outdoor exercise, he also availed himself of the opportunity of examining the status of Jews in the southern republic.
Prior to the World War, he points out, there were not more than seventy-five Jewish families in Mexico, most of them from the United States, a few from Australia, Germany and Alsace-Lorraine. There also were a handful of Levantine Jews, attracted to the country by language ties.
The total number of Jews in the country has greatly increased since 1914, Dr. Billikopf explained. A heavy influx of East European Jews began in 1921, bringing the total Jewish population up to the present figure, he said. He pointed out that of the 15,000 Jews now in Mexico, from 8,000 to 9,000 reside in the capital.
“Discussing the status of the Jew in Mexico with a number of leading citizens,” he declared, “I find that anywhere from three to five per cent belong to what might be called the proletariat; ten per cent, the white-collar; from forty to fifty per cent, the small dealers’ group; fifteen per cent represent installment merchants; twenty per cent, manufacturers, and ten per cent, capitalists.
CONTROL APPAREL TRADE
“Less than ten per cent are dependent on charity. The East European immigrants are virtually in control of the entire wearing apparel industry, particularly women’s wear, hosiery and knit goods. I think I am safe in making the statement that the 13,000 Jews who have settled in Mexico since 1921 are decidedly better off materially than they would have been in the United States.
“During the past year or so there have been some nasty manifestations on the part of what is known as the Comite pro-Raza y Accion Revolucionaria Mexicanista, whose members have been spreading vile reports of the Jews and plastering walls and telephone poles with fliers containing such comments as, ‘The Jew is the leper of civilization.’
“Undoubtedly these groups have been instigated to such activity by German and other merchants, especially propagandists emanating from Berlin. While there is some anxiety among the newer immigrants, the older settlers do not attach much importance to these outbreaks.
“When I discussed the matter with the rector of the National University, he assured me that the government was friendly to the Jewish colony; that the activities of the Comite pro-Raza and kindred groups are an expression of commercial resentment on the part of industrialists and storekeepers who have felt the encroachment by the immigrant Jew. The rector dismissed it as a commercial warfare not abetted by the government.”