Berlin (Oct. 11)
Dr. Otto Hirsch, president of the executive of the Reichsvertretung, central representative body of Jews in Germany, who was arrested here Wednesday in connection with a Yom Kippur message issued to the Jews of Germany by the Reichsvertretung, is now a prisoner in the notorious Columbia House, known as "the torture chamber of the Gestapo," the Jewish Telegraphic Agency established today.
Dr. Hirsch was transferred to the Columbia House today, after having been kept a prisoner at the Gestapo headquarters since Wednesday.
In the best informed foreign circles here it is believed that the Nazis plan to hold Dr. Hirsch as a hostage for the purpose of bludgeoning the Reichsvertretung into signing a statement for foreign consumption that the Jews in Germany are satisfied with the Nuremberg laws and desire that the anti-German boycott abroad be discontinued.
It is most doubtful, however, whether German-Jewish leaders will sign such a statement, no matter what the threats.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hirsch is being held incommunicado and there is ground for belief that the charges against him have not as yet been formulated. Unless charges are brought within eight days he must, according to the regulations, be freed or confined in a concentration camp. If charges are made against him he must be given a chance to appear in court.
The Jewish Community here is absolutely helpless as far as trying to effect the release of Dr. Hirsch, who is one of the outstanding Jewish leaders in Germany, because his fate is now entirely in the hands of the Gestapo, against which no one can intervene.
Foreign diplomatic circles here are watching the case with the greatest interest.