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Anti-semitic Drive Preceded Election

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Taking advantage of Praha’s earlier orders to local authorities to ignore provocations, Nazis in the Sudeten German districts of Czechoslovakia conducted a violent campaign of terror against the 22,000 Jews in that region. A special Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent found the Nazis employing all methods used so effectively in the Reich against the Jews.

While the authorities were passive, under instructions to avoid incidents that might disturb peaceful passage of the elections, the Jews were subjected to intensive picketing, boycotting, social ostracism and even physical attacks. Many were compelled to close down their enterprises and move to non-German districts. (Later reports said the Government restored its authority by military measures.)

Yielding of the Jewish merchants to pressure caused considerable resentment among Czech Nationalists, who accused the Jews of deserting and at the same time of spreading Germanism by speaking German. The Henleinists, on the other hand, contended that the Jews were acting as missionaries among the Germans to spread Czechoslovak influence.

Curiously, the Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda was markedly influencing Czechoslovak right-wingers. To such an extent was this true, that at least five of the 20 parties contesting the Praha municipal elections had anti-Semitic platforms.

Anti-Jewish propaganda reached the point where it became necessary to make protests to the Praha Municipal Council and to the Minister of Interior. The protests resulted in removal of anti-Semitic posters put up by the five parties throughout the city. The Government also confiscated an issue of the Agrarian newspaper, which supports the regime, but which attacked the Jews.

While the situation was completely under control in the capital, where Henleinists comprise a tiny minority, there were no limits at first to Nazi activities in the Sudeten districts, where they terrorized and intimidated not only Jews, but Czechs, Slovaks and Social Democratic Germans, in order to keep them from the polls.

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