A Week’s Events in Review
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A Week’s Events in Review

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The entire Jewish and non-Jewish world watched with great interest this week the report from Germany on the restoration of the German army in defiance of the Versailles treaty.

With war as a consequence which this challenging act of the Hitler government threatens, there was also the question whether the Jews would be conscripted into the new German army or barred from the conscription under the "Aryan" paragraph.

The "Aryan" paragraph, eliminated the Jews from public life and state and municipal employment, has so far not been applied in the army. Partly because the army was limited under the Versailles treaty and partly because of the insistence of Hindenburg that no Nazi principles should be invoked in the Reichswehr this discriminatory paragraph was not introduced into the military service of the Reich.


With Hindenburg dead and with the German army being enlarged to its pre-war strength by general conscription, doubt has arisen whether the Jews will be given a chance to serve in the German army. This doubt was based not only upon the fact that Hitler himself is now the leader of all military forces but also upon the fear that Jews would not be trusted with arms by the Nazis.

The question whether Jews would or would not be conscripted into the German army as equal citizens was therefore watched with great interest by the outside world, while in Germany itself it was watched by the Jews with actual anxiety. Not to be accepted into the regular army would mean for the German Jews being put on the status of untrustworthy inhabitants of the country who during a time of war could be sent to concentration camps as an undesirable element.


The actual decree officially establishing whether the Jews are to be admitted into the army has not been issued as yet, but it was taken for granted that the decree would contain discriminatory provisions against Jews. If the Jews are not altogether barred from the army, they will be permitted to serve only in special auxiliary brigades and without arms.

Reports from Berlin indicated that there is actually a difference of opinion between military authorities and the Cabinet on the question of admitting Jews into the Reichswehr. Upholding the traditions of Hindenburg that the army should be free from politics, General Werner Von Blomberg, the Reichswehr Minister, suggested that the "Aryan" paragraph should not be applied in the conscription. Hitler and other Nazi leaders were of course of a different opinion. The result of this split was that General Von Blomberg came out with an article explaining that the new Third Reich army would be based on a so-called "elective service" and not upon mass conscription. This selective service system opened the door wide for applying the race principle also to the army.


The Jewish war veterans’ Associations in Germany, which at first hesitated to inquire of the authorities as to whether Jewish youth would be conscripted on an equal basis with the German youth, finally decided on Friday to make such inquiries. They were given no definite reply. All they were told was that the details of the formation of the new army would be made known in the near future.

The "Aryan" paragraph, which has been applied in Germany ever since the Nazis came to power, has not been applied to those Jews who fought in the world war. Thirteen thousand Jewish men were killed while serving in the German army, and their families, as well as the other Jews who participated in the war, were exempted from the restrictions imposed by the "Aryan" paragraph. This exemption was, however, valid as far as employment was concerned, but not with regard to participating in military and semi-military organizations. The anti-Jewish restrictions introduced in different automobile clubs, fliers’ clubs and other clubs of semi-military groups were exercised also with respect to Jewish war veterans. Similarly, Jewish war veterans were not admitted to the drills which were instituted for the entire population in Germany, teaching the inhabitants of the country how to protect themselves from gas raids from the air.


Downhearted by the prospect that they are not to be admitted into the army and that they are to be openly branded as untrustworthy citizens, many Jews in Germany took to emigration this week. Thousands of Jewish families which were hitherto under the impression that the sky is becoming clearer for them in Germany have suddenly lost their optimism and have begun to make plans to {SPAN}lea#{/SPAN} the country.

The great disappointment of German Jewry was due not only to the discrimination which awaits them in the conscription, but also to the renewed wave of anti-Jewish propaganda which has reached such a point that in Franconia posters were displayed in a number of cities, openly calling upon the population to prepare itself for anti-Jewish pogroms. The notorious Jew-baiter, Julius Streicher, this week suddenly felt himself stronger than ever before and openly boasted that Hitler himself is supporting his anti-Jewish campaign.


Inspired by the events in Germany, Dr. Vaida-Voevod, the ex-Premier of Rumania, who is now demanding restrictions against Jews also in Rumania, announced this week that he {SPAN}###{/SPAN} forming a new party of his own, having been ousted from leadership of the National Peasant Party, which did not approve of his anti-Jewish activities.

The anti-Jewish propaganda which Dr. Vaida-Voevod is conducting in Rumania is perhaps not as harmful to the Jews there as the National Labor Law which the government has promulgated, demanding that the ethic origin of each employe in the country must be stated. This law actually means that many Jews will be dismissed from employment, even in private firms, and replaced by Rumanians. The application of this law in the above sense has already been observed and protests have been voiced against it by all the Jewish organizations of the country, since it has deprived thousands of Jewish families of their livelihood.

In a statement which Rumanian Minister Davila issued in Washington this week after making an inquiry of his government in Bucharest, he tries to dissipate the impression that the National Labor Law actually aims to replace Jewish employes by Rumanians. He makes the assurance in his statement that this law would only affect professionals who are not Rumanian citizens. However, reports which reached New York directly from Rumania relate quite a different story. They tell of mass dismissals not only of Jews who are professionals but also of such as are ordinary employes.


The question of people "who are not Rumanian citizens" is another one of the questions which are interpreted differently by Jews than by the Rumanian authorities. There are tens of thousands of Jews today in Bessarabia, in Bukowina and in other sections which were annexed to Rumania after {SPAN}###{/SPAN} war who are not Rumanian citizens simply because the government does not wish to grant them citizenship despite the fact that they have been under Rumanian jurisdiction ever since

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