Berlin (Jul. 20)
In the effort to increase the “Aryan” birth rate in Germany, the Berlin Municipal Board decided to appropriate a considerable sum for some 200 children. “Aryan” families which had healthy ancestry and only two children were to get for the third child thirty marks a month for the first year, and twenty marks a month every subsequent year until the child went to school.
In order to make the offer particularly attractive, the parents were assured that these children would later receive employment in public positions and would be given special preference in every way. A suburb of Berlin also was allotted funds for 180 “third children.”
Although a great ballyhoo was made in the newspaper of this project and municipally employed nurses were forced to visit all the families involved, not even half a dozen parents were prepared to take advantage of the tempting offer.
Only a few had the courage to explain their negative attitude: “Who will guarantee that this government will still be at the helm nine months from now? And then we’ll have the third child without having the promised support.”
In the hottest days of midsummer, which we are now experiencing, one of the questions most frequently asked is, “Have you a winter coat yet?”
Nothing could better illustrate the fear which the Berlin resident has of the coming winter. Buying motivated by fear, like that of the pre-inflation days, grows daily. Every day there appear new government orders which lead one to believe a dreadful winter is in store.
In the textile businesses the hoarding has reached such proportions that many stores are sold out completely. There is a rumor that newly manufactured textiles are largely composed of substitute materials.
Cocoa and coffee are hoarded en gros. Most inhabitants of Berlin live under the fear that in the near future purchase tickets will be distributed. They believe bread tickets are already being printed.
Especially indicative of the growing mistrust of German economy is the recent order of the government against the installment businesses, which have shown a tremendous increase of late. All persons who believe Germany inevitably faces inflation think they are especially clever to buy things on the installment plan and then pay each premium during the expected inflation with devaluated money. The rise on the automobile market is also traceable to this phenomenon.
At a Woolworth store there is a box with a heap of leather pieces, from which the buyers pick out for themselves suitable cuts for boot soles. It occurred to this observer that this box was unduly beleaguered. The clerk when asked about the turnover, replied that whereas she would formerly stand a whole week before she sold one box full, that box was now being refilled some ten times a day.
In a large department store in West Berlin, the food department of which had to be closed temporarily because the crush was too great, a simple woman, apparently of the artisan class, said: “First they made us close the Jewish shops so that we should have it better, and now we small business people have it worse than ever before.”
Among the intellectuals, too, the attitude has changed completely, to Hitler’s disadvantage. The ruling that the Nazi legal advice bureaus were authorized immediately to declare settlements and agreements executable aroused great displeasure among the attorneys. Not only the Jewish but also the Christian lawyers are having an economically hard time of it. The reasons for the decline of legal practice are first of all, the far-reaching execution protection for debtors, and then the fear that a charge against a Nazi would be answered by denunciation and political reprisals. And, thirdly, there is the catastrophic economic situation. The relations between “Aryan” and “non-Aryan” attorneys have improved here and there. Jewish attorneys are now no longer merely tolerated in the counsel chambers of the courts.
Jewish physicians, too, can no longer swear that their consultation rooms in Berlin are empty. But the incomes of Jewish physicians are very slight, for the sick benefit practice has been taken from them and the people, who merely come to them as “demonstrants” can pay only slight fees or nothing at all. The hateful attitude of the “Aryan” doctors towards their Jewish colleagues is becoming, in isolated instances, somewhat weaker. It has already come to pass that “Aryan” doctors have made an effort to provide customers for Jewish specialists.
MOOD OF WORKERS
What the mood is among the workers may be clearly seen from a few slight incidents in connection with the industrial elections in Berlin. All the names on the ballot but one were stricken out. That one was that of a former trade member of the Socialist League for. Unity…. In the machine-manufacturing plant of Rot and Buechner in Berlin-Templehof there are 400 employees. Among the six candidates there were four former Social Democrats and two Nazis. Both Nazi candidates together did not poll a majority. At the trade council elections in the well known printing and publishing firm of Mittler and Sohn there were 350 employes. Eighty-five per cent of the election ballot was stricken out. At the Kartonnage-Aktien – Gesellschaft of Berlin, where there are 300 persons employed, no election took place at all because the leader of the trade refused to place a Nazi foreman on the ballot. At the state Ausbesserungswerk at Potsdam 507 votes of 1,021 were stricken…. Naturally, such results are not made public. But one result which slipped through in the official report because it still seemed favorable to the Nazi leadership gives food for thought: At the widely known firm of Mix and Genest in Berlin 343 votes of 1,540 were stricken out.
MILITARY RULE SEEN
Various opinions are current in Berlin concerning the possibilities of the political developments. Most people give Hitler a respite till Christmas. Then they expect the military dictatorship.
Many are of the opinion that Hitler is strong enough also to weather an economic collapse. Then the government would be recast according to the wishes of the Reichswehr, industry and the large scale farmers. Hitler will remain at the helm, and Goering and Goebbels with him. But their influence will be held in check by the entrance of Bruening (the recognized leader of Catholic Germany and an opponent of von Papen) and of several confidential advisors of the above-mentioned strata.
In the Jewish question no farreaching concessions are to be expected. Only insofar as they are indispensible to the “cranking up of business” and to the revival of foreign trade will a few of them be tolerated in the free play of the powers. And it may be further expected that on economic grounds the loud anti-Semitism which is having such a bad effect abroad will be softened (that is, it will be “intensified”).
In the July issue of Der Stuermer Hitler is still being called upon to testify that the allegation that there are in Germany or anywhere else some respectable Jews is a myth. But in Berlin, on Wilhelmstrasse, they seem to be at Streicher’s heels.
In an advertisement in the July issue of Der Stuermer all Stuermer readers abroad are urged to forward clippings from foreign newspapers in which Julius Streicher is mentioned. Apparently he wants to tell Hitler to his face that abroad Der Stuermer gets no worse press notices than do Hitler’s and Goebbels’ publications.