The mass arrests of Jews which the German government has conducted against those who have returned to Germany during the last few weeks in the hope that anti-Semitism has abated in the Reich are the best proof that reports of the alleged intention of the Nazis to modify their attitude towards the Jews are baseless.
Encouraged by these reports, many German Jewish refugees who were suffering in France and were not feeling at home even in Palestine have taken the chance of returning to their native land. Nazis or no Nazis, Germany is the land which they consider their fatherland and toward which they remained loyal even in exile.
ONCE OUT ALWAYS OUT
The return of the German Jews to Germany seems, however, to have attracted the attention of the Nazi rulers, whose policy it is to have as few Jews in the country as possible. Once a Jew is out of Germany, these rulers do not wish to see him in the country again, no matter how patriotic he may have remained while away.
In order to discourage a mass return of German Jews to Germany, the arrests were started. It stands to reason that the Jews who are already in Germany will sooner or later be released, since there are no definite charges against them except the fact that they had been abroad. Their arrest, however, is a warning to those Jews who are still outside of Germany, that they had better not return.
VICTIMS OF MISERY
Many will, of course, be surprised that German Jews who fled the country when the Nazis came to power are now suddenly changing their minds and are so anxious to be back in Germany. The reason is obvious. They do not get, abroad, the assistance which, they should be given. Hundreds of them are roofless and depend entirely upon charity. Others are stateless and cannot move from one country to another because they are citizens of no man’s land.
The disappointment among the majority of German-Jewish refugees, coupled with the fact that those Jews who remained in Germany are still permitted to continue their trading, has stimulated the talk among many that it is better to live as second class citizens in a country where one can hope to make a living than to suffer as an exile in a country where one is considered equal but is not given permission to work and to settle. The little hope which hundreds of German-Jewish refugees originally placed in the office of James G. Mac-Donald has also evaporated, since this office has not done much for them during the two years of their sufferings in exile.
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM GERMANY
It is possible that many German-Jewish refugees would not have thought of returning to Germany, were it not for the indirect invitation which they received from official Jewish bodies in Germany. The Federation of Jewish Communities in Prussia, for instance, only last week issued a circular urging all the local Jewish communities to make arrangements that those loyal members of their community who have in the last two years migrated from Germany, but who feel keenly their severance from their native land be kept regularly informed of the course of Jewish life in their old communities.
The federation circular urged that the local communities maintain regular correspondence with the Jewish refugees abroad and keep them posted on Jewish life in Germany by mailing them the news bulletins which each Jewish community in Prussia issues. In this way the Federation of Jewish Communities in Prussia has practically expressed the hope that the Jewish refugees will in the very near future again become a part of German Jewry.
LOYALTY AND ITS PRICE
This loyal intention of the Jews in Germany to have the German Jews in other countries still feel that they are Germans seems not to coincide with the views of Hitler, Goering and Goebbels. The Nazi rulers do not wish the German Jews to return to Germany. They want them to stay out of the country. This will perhaps be a lesson to those German Jews abroad who still consider themselves Germans and who are still German patriots. They may now realize that their patriotism is not wanted. And realizing this they may perhaps finally think of adjusting themselves in the lands where they live, instead of dreaming of sometime returning to Germany.