The following is the last 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.
IV For the first time since the advent of the Nazi regime, it is possible now to determine definitely, by authentic figures, the actual extent of the havoc wrought upon the economic life of the German Jews by Nazi legislation. It is possible now to quote authentic figures on the number of Jews who in that time have lost their jobs as government officials, to state definitely how many professors were driven from the universities, how many lawyers lost the right to appear in court, how many doctors were expelled from the sick benefit funds, how many Jewish artists were forced to give up their careers and how many journalists lost their posts in the larger and smaller editorial offices of German newspapers.
The number of these sufferers is by no means a small one. Up to July, 1934, it exceeded 15,000. More than 15,000 families of persons in the professions are now in need in Germany and are dependent upon the help which they receive from various Jewish charitable institutions.
Twenty-one months ago, just a month before Hitler came into power, these 15,000 families were the cream of German Jewish life. Not only were they not dependent upon charity, but they were in an excellent position to give charity. They paid great taxes to the Jewish community. They made considerable contributions to various Jewish and general cultural institutions. They gave lavishly on every hand.
Now, after twenty months of the Hitler rule, they are the takers rather than the givers. They sit in the cramped quarters of the Jewish relief organizations in Berlin, Frankfurt, Chemnitz and Leipzig, and wait despondently for slight sums, for occasional heavy work, for a railroad ticket to another city and even for a ticket which will get them a free meal.
The Jewish intellectuals of Germanyâ€”not to mention the small-scale Jewish merchant and the Jewish employeeâ€”have in the space of little more than a year and a half been reduced to beggardom. The Jewish intellectuals of Germany have been relegated, by the Hitler brand of legislation, to degrading poverty. The “Aryan paragraph” has fulfilled its aim. It has taken the very best of German Jewryâ€”the intellectual stratumâ€”has broken it and robbed it of its courage. These Jews have been ground under the Nazi heel until they no longer see any hope for themselves, neither in Germany nor anywhere else.
DOCTORS REQUIRE CHARITY
It may perhaps be difficult to believe, but it is a fact that no less than 4,500 Jewish doctors are now dependent upon the aid of Jewish relief agencies. Two thousand of them have actually been classified with such organizations as being in “drastic need.”
The “Aryan paragraph” eliminated more than 5,000 doctors from the sick benefit funds. It took away the foundation of their livelihood. It isolated them not only from official practice but from private practice as well. No “Aryan” dares consult a Jewish physician in Germany. “Aryan” officials in public institutions lose their jobs if it is discovered that their wives are treated by Jewish doctors. “Aryan” employees are warned not to consult a Jewish physician if he has the right to practice for a sick benefit fund.
Without the sick benefit funds and faced by an intensified campaign against themselves, very few Jewish doctors in Germany are in a position to earn their livelihood. Indeed, very few of them are in a position to keep up a decent office, because their earnings do not even cover their rent.
That is why these ruined Jewish medicos sit for hours in the offices of the various relief organizations, where they tell frankly and despondently how difficult things are for them and how their economic state grows worse daily.
MIGRATION IS BARRED
A great part of them would like to migrate, but they lack the funds. Others among them would like to find places for themselves in other professions, but there is no profession in Germany toward which Jews can turn with assurance that they will not immediately be forced out. About three thousand of them are already middle-aged or past that. All their lives were spent in the medical profession. It would be almost impossible for them, at their age, to become acclimated in a new profession.
The need and desperation of these Jewish doctors continue to grow. And no one can advise them as to how they might help themselves. There is scarcely a place to which they might migrate. German doctors may no longer practice openly in Palestine. No more German doctors are wanted in Egypt. And China, too, has many Jewish doctors from Germany. And it is generally difficult to get into France, England or America. So that the Jewish relief committees in Germany are the one hope of salvation, the one place to which a Jewish doctor, once a giver of charity, now can turn to ask aid for himself.
LAWYERS ALSO SUFFER
Nor is the position of more than 4,000 Jewish lawyers whom Nazi legislation expelled from the court room in accordance with the “Aryan” paragraph any better.
In fact, the position of the lawyers, is much sadder than that of the doctors. A doctor can at least hope that, now and then, a private patient may find his way to him. But that is not the case with an ousted Jewish attorney. Jews will not consult a Jewish advocate, not even if he has permission to practice, because they are afraid that, under the present Nazi regime, a Jewish lawyer can hardly win the case. Non-Jews will not consult a Jewish lawyer because they will immediately be made to suffer for having patronized a Jew.
Jewish attorneys in Germany, even those who because of their service during the war have not been excluded from the courts, are now in a very difficult position. The more so those who may not make their appearance in court.
In Prussia alone there are now, according to the official figures, 1364 Jewish advocates who have lost their right to plead in court simply because they are Jews. The number of such Jewish advocates all over the country is conservatively estimated as 2,000. This includes only the older lawyers, those with a wide reputation.
NO HOPE FOR YOUNG
But, in addition to these older men, there are more than 2,000 young lawyers who have lost their profession. Two thousand so-called “junior barristers.” Two thousand graduate lawyers who in compliance with the existing laws were always forced to serve for a certain length of time in a recognized lawyer’s office before they were accepted by the court as lawyers in their own right.
Now these 2,000 junior barristers are without any prospects whatsoever. They will never be admitted before a court. Nor have they any hope of remaining with recognized lawyers, for if a lawyer has nothing to do, what need has he of an assistant?
These young Jewish attorneys are now trying to learn new occupations. They are going in for hard labor. They spent their best years studying German law, but now they are learning to become tailors, shoemakers, building laborers, bakers and whatever else possible. They will never be lawyers, they know now. The “Aryan paragraph” will not soon be abolished in Germany. Not even if Hitler should fall. Not even if some other power should come to Germany.
Tragic, too, and without hope is the condition of the Jewish government officials who have been ousted.
In Prussia 2,700 Jews have been thrown out of their jobs in government offices. Two thousand of them are persons with academic training. More than 1,500 of them worked in courts, in tax bureaus and in various administrative and municipal institutions. Two hundred and fifty of them were employed in the postal and telegraph systems. Others held positions in institutions for social service and in various departments of the Prussian government system.
Now, however, not one of them retains his position. All are without work, and most are dependent upon charity.
The great number of Jewish notaries who have been deprived of their right to practice is not included in the above figures. The official Prussian “Press Service” states that in Prussia alone 1,199 Jews may no longer practice as notaries. In all of Germany the number of such Jewish notaries is certainly not less than 2,000. The complete number of ousted Jewish government officials in all of Germany is conservatively estimated at 3,000. Five thousand persons, therefore have lost their positions without any prospect whatsoever of other work.
It must be difficult for a person on the sidelines to realize that no less than 8,000 Jewish artists and 1200 Jewish journalists are now scattered over Germany, having been driven from their positions and robbed of the opportunity to continue working in their chosen fields.
The “Aryan paragraph” hit these people of the free professions harder than it did any of the others. These 1200 Jewish journalists were specialists. Each one occupied an important position in the general press of Germany. Each one helped to make the German press the best in Europe.
Now they are all on the outside. All are without bread. Not only may they not work in a German editorial office but they may not even print an occasional article in some newspaper. They are simply dead professionally.
The same is true of the 1200 Jewish artists. Less than two years ago they were the best actors on the German stage. They were among the most famous singers. They were considered Germany’s best regisseurs. They made Berlin the world’s greatest theatre center.
Now they dare not set foot upon a stage. Now they are, almost every one, hungry. They have nowhere to earn anything and nothing they could earn it with.
TEACHERS MUST BEG
Similar is the plight of some 800 Jewish teachers and professors at German high schools and universities.
The Jewish professors and high school teachers were never wealthy individuals. They never received high salaries. They never had the opportunity to save anything for a rainy day. Now that that day has come, they are the first to be forced to beg for their bread.
In the professional stratum alone, fifteen thousand Jewish families have been broken up as a result of the “Aryan paragraph.” The havoc created by the “Aryan paragraph” among Jewish employees is a chapter in itself, one I shall have occasion to write about later.