The following is the third of a series of four articles that paint an illuminating picture of what Germany and German Jews may expect in the immediate future. The series is based on close observations made by Mr. Smolar, chief European correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency over a period of several months. The closing article will be published tomorrow.
III It really makes very little difference to the Jews of Germany whether Hitler’s influence upon the government is still as strong as heretofore, or whether the actual dictator in the government cabinet today is not Hitler, but Goering.
As far as the Jews are concerned, both are certainly bad. With respect to the Jewish question, differences between Hitler and Goering are negligible indeed.
Nevertheless, the fact that Goeringâ€”and not Hitlerâ€”has now become the silent lord of the Nazi cabinet should not be taken lightly, because outside influences which can be exerted upon Hitler cannot be brought to bear upon Goering.
Hitlerâ€”with all his various demagogic faults â€”is nevertheless a European, a person who has some regard for the rest of the world, and to whom the opinion of the outside world means a great deal. He is a person who pays some attention to the press of the world.
GOERING ALL PRUSSIAN
Not so, however, Goering. Goering is Prussian. He is brutal and military. Foreign public opinion means nothing whatever to him. The attitude of the outside world does not effect him in the slightest. His chief interest is Germany from within. His line of action is: If Germany will but be strong and disciplined within, the world outside will of necessity be forced to change its attitude towards the present German government.
Goering’s approach to the Jewish question is also in line with this policy. Goering has never been affected by the anti-German campaign carried on abroad, nor by the boycott against German goods. Certainly not by the opinions expressed by the press of the world concerning anti-Jewish activities in Germany. If he could have had his way, there would not be a single Jew in Germany today. He would have engineered an exodus of all Jews within twenty-four hours. He has declared that all Jews should be escorted to the border and expelled. He would certainly have carried out such a plan, whether or not it would have aroused the conscience of the world. To Goering, Germany is the world, Germany alone.
So far, however, Goering has not had a great deal of power. On the contrary: his power diminished from one month to the next. He was Minister of the Interior for Prussia. But his opponents in Nazi ranks saw to it that he was ousted. He was Chief of Police, but he was supplanted by someone else. His closest friend, Herr Diels, was head of the secret policeâ€”(the German GPU)â€”but the post was taken from him.
‘PURGE’ WAS GOERING’S
Goering saw that he was becoming isolated. So what recently happened in German came to pass. He saw that an attempt was being made to push him into an obscure corner, leaving him with but the insignificant post of Minister of Aviation. So it was suddenly discovered that Roehm was a traitor, and that 74 important Nazi leadersâ€”according to Hitler’s figures â€”deserved death; that there was even reason not to place too much trust in Von Papen. Thus it came to pass that within twenty-four hours, hundreds of Nazi leaders were brutally shot, and that several thousands of Nazi leaders fill the concentration camps as political prisoners and traitors to Germany’s interests.
Now Goering wields power once more. Now he is a ruler again, much more powerful than Goebbels. In fact, he rules over Hitler.
Naturally, no one knows how long Goering can retain his power in the present cabinet. There are too many intrigues for power going on in Germany right now, too many personal disagreements. The scale of Goering’s power has not yet been fully balanced. It wavers back and forth, and it is impossible to tell as yet to which side it will finally lean.
One thing, however, is certain. So long as Goering retains the power which is his at present, the Jews must not delude themselves by thinking that the condition of the Jews in Germany will be improved in the least. All that can happen under Goering is that the situation of the Jews will become worse. There can be no improvement.
DEAF TO FOREIGN OPINION
Goering, as has been said, has little interest in foreign public opinion. In fact, he is deaf to it. It doesn’t concern him in the least. Under Goering, the chances of exerting external pressure to alleviate the conditions of the Jews are slighter than ever before. The prospect that the German government will of its own accord show any tendency towards letting the Jews alone is now, under Goering, certainly very improbable.
The time is now coming when the play around the Jewish question can become much more dangerous for the Jews of Germany than it has been. A period of great internal dissatisfaction is approaching for Germany. It is quite possible that an attempt will be made to blame the Jew for this disquietude.
The several million disbanded Storm Troopers will go about disgruntled and unemployed. Upon whom will the blame for this be placed? Upon the Jew naturally. The German factories will have to close down because of an insufficiency of raw materials. Whose fault will that be? The Jew’s, of course. Dissatisfied relatives of the assassinated Nazi leaders will seek revenge by an attempt on the life of some government official or other, in Berlin or somewhere in the provinces. Who will be blamed? The Jews, of course.
‘POLICE NOT FOR JEWS’
The German Jews still recall with trembling the long speech which Goering delivered when he first came into power, and in which he declared openly and clearly that “the German police were not organized to protect the Jews.” The German Jews remember that phrase very well.
Since the time that Goering uttered those words, much may have changed in Germany, but Goering’s attitude towards the Jews has not altered. Goering’s opinion that the German police were not pledged to protect the Jewish inhabitants remains the same.
So long as Goering’s opinion was not the determining one in the present German cabinet, so long as the tendency was to isolate Goering, what he thought of the German Jews did not constitue a direct danger for them. And that danger was considerably lessened, when Goering was suddenly removed from the office of chief of the whole police system.
Now, however, the wheel has turned. Now Goering has not only become authoritative, but the most authoritative person in the present cabinet. Now the Jews of Germany have much more reason to fear their fate than they have had before.
No one in Germany today can foresee how long Goering will retain his present power. Indeed, no one can foresee at all what is going to happen in Germany during the next few months. But one must not be optimistic and think that the condition of the German Jew is now about to be normalized. In Germany proper there is no such optimism. Nor should it exist abroad, certainly not among Jewish leaders abroad.
To Be Concluded