NEW YORK (Apr. 16)
George Backer, president of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, returned on the United States liner Manhattan today after an eight-week tour of Europe in which he surveyed the situation of Jews in Poland, Germany, England and France.
Mr. Backer was interviewed in his cabin on the Manhattan by representatives of every leading New York newspaper. He issued the following statement on his observations in Poland and Germany:
“The crisis is deepening in Poland. Within six months it will reach a climax which may resemble the German situation–the difference being that if anti-Semitism becomes the Polish Government’s official policy, then there’ll be enormous pogroms with perhaps a toll of thousands of Jewish victims. The Endeks (Nationalist Democrats) will take things over and they’ll get their ‘three days on the streets’.
“The East European states, such as Poland and Rumania, have lost all faith in the sanctity of treaties and contracts, causing a lessening of governmental morale. This situation is directly traceable to Hitler’s having been allowed to walk into the Rhineland and break all treaties, without punishment.”
On the German situation, Mr. Backer had the following to say:
“The spectacular part of the anti-Semitic program is quiescent, but anti-Semitism as the official Government policy is still in full force. The effect of this policy is cumulative. Pressure against the Jews is continuing from all sides with the result that the entire structure and morale of German Jewry is really in danger.
“As for the Nazi Government, the election, as far as I could see in Berlin, was a complete failure, in that it aroused less enthusiasm than occurs in New York City for a very minor election. True, they got the vote out, but it was only because the voters were forced to go to the polls. I was in the Wilhelmplatz the night the returns were announced and in the entire area in front of Hitler’s residence there weren’t 1,500 persons. Most of these were guards who had to be there. And there was only the most perfunctory of ‘heiling’.
“Indeed, there is so little enthusiasm for the Nazi Party today that it was never once mentioned by Hitler by name in any of his pre-election speeches.”
On the same boat was a group of 122 German refugees, most of them Jewish, who embarked on the Manhattan at Hamburg. They entered as quota immigrants under the special provision permitting entry of political and religious refugees. Also on the Manhattan was Mr. George Messersmith, United States Minister to Austria, who is returning to celebrate his mother’s 87th birthday. Mr. Messer-smith refused to comment on the situation of Austria’s Jews in connection with the Phoenix Insurance Company case.