The disaster which has overtaken the Jews of Germany continued to dominate the Jewish scene in 1934, and consequently, the work of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, according to its annual report for 1934 made public here.
The report exhaustively reviews the activities of the Board in the domestic and foreign fields. It also includes the annual report of the Joint Foreign Committee of the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association.
SEE NO RELAXATION BY NAZIS
In the introduction to the report it is pointed out that in Germany "there has been no real relaxation of the vigor of official persecution and discrimination even though there may have been some mitigation of the grosser forms of cruelty associated with the concentration camps and prison administration. The lot of our Jewish brethren in the villages and smaller towns has become steadily more and more unbearable, and the license so freely accorded to rabid anti-Semites of the type of Herr Streicher, in Franconia, in their malignant and unscrupulous efforts to inflame the passions of the mob against their Jewish fellow citizens is but typical of the present policy of the Hitler regime. The adverse reactions of this policy on the position of Jews in other countries, especially where economic conditions were by no means favorable, created fresh problems requiring the unremitting attention of the Board and the Joint Foreign Committee.
"The German example was not without its effect on certain elements in this country, although anti – Jewish propaganda here, which was instigated and supported by an insignificant minority, received no encouragement from the responsible organs of the press or leaders of public opinion."
Sustained efforts by Nazi propagandists in England to justify the persecutions of the Jews in Germany were ineffective, the press and information committee of the Board reported. "The British press on the whole gave little encouragement to their campaign or to that of like-minded elements in this country," it declared.
"The defamatory statements with which the committee was called upon to deal occurred generally in newspapers and periodicals of minor importance, and in nearly all cases betrayed a common source—foreign to British tradition both in origin and spirit."
REVIEWS AUSTRIA SITUATION
The report of the Joint Foreign Committee reviews the political situation in Austria in 1934. Referring to the adoption of the new constitution it declares:
"Although the new constitution maintained the equality of civic and religious rights which Jews had enjoyed under the Republic, its interpretation by the authorities responsible for its administration gave grounds for legitimate complaint, particularly in the case of Jewish members of the professions and ‘brain workers’ generally, who had been dismissed from public employment and were virtually debarred from re-entry."
REPORT IN RUMANIA
Of Rumania, the Board reports the apprehension of the Jews regarding a recent law stipulating that at least eighty per cent of the personnel of concerns must be of "Rumanian origin."
"This division, although not ostensibly based on racial theories," it says, "is held by the anti-Semitic parties to be a triumph for the Hitlerist views which they have adopted. If rigorously administered, the law is bound to have the effect of depriving thousands of Jewish officials and artisans of their right to work. The Jewish community is naturally making a vigorous stand against the enactment, but it is not yet possible to say with what success."
The report also notes that the undertaking by Germany to respect the rights of minorities in the Saar for a one-year period, "did little to allay the anxiety felt for the future of the Jews.
POLAND AND MINORITIES
The two main divisions of the Joint Foreign Committee’s report are concerned with Germany and Poland, the latter also taking up the fate of Danzig Jewry. In connection with Poland and the question of minorities generally, it reviews the declaration at Geneva by Col. Josef Beck, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, renouncing the minority obligations. "Although Poland’s proposal for the generalization of the minority treaties was later withdrawn in the VIth Commission," it comments, "her actual position in regard to her obligations under the minorities treaty still remains somewhat obscure."
The report on Germany covers measures taken within the Reich to ensure the existence of community life and also reviews the work of the High Commission for Refugees.
"Throughout the year 1934," it states, "the policy of reducing Jews to the status of aliens whose presence is merely tolerated in the land of their birth was steadily pursued by the National Socialist government. The total exclusion of Jews from the professions has not yet been achieved owing to the fact that so large a proportion of Jewish lawyers and doctors were able to prove that they had been fighting in the front line during the War.
"As a result, however, of anti-Jewish legislation, the number of Jewish students at the universities has fallen from something over 3,000 to something over 300. Except for those who are able to pursue their studies abroad, the Jews in Germany find themselves completely deprived of university education, even at those seats of Jewish learning which owe their very existence to Jewish benefactions.