Disorders, Mass Arrests Throw Terror into Berlin Jewry; 6 Reported in Hospital
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Disorders, Mass Arrests Throw Terror into Berlin Jewry; 6 Reported in Hospital

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A terror-stricken Berlin Jewry today awaited new developments after street riots and mass arrests by police, while restrictive measures mounted to harass Jews in business.

Dozens of Jewish shops remained closed today and Jewish cafes were empty as the capital’s “non-Aryans” attempted to safeguard themselves against expected repetition of last night’s raids, arrests and street disorders which climaxed what was termed the worst 24 hours experienced by Berlin Jewry since the early days of the Nazi regime.

(Six Jews were reported taken to hospitals with injuries, the Havas News Agency said. Qualified sources said police would prevent further acts of violence, but the German public considered it a provocation that Jews expelled from Vienna and other German cities had come to the capital. They said “the attitude of the Jewish elements” had contributed to public exasperation.)

The tense atmosphere was particularly noticeable in the Jewish quarter surrounding the Horst Wessel Place, scene of last night’s most violent disturbances, with only a handful of the scores of Jewish businessmen daring to remove the shutters from their windows this morning.

It was believed that the majority of the estimated 200 Jewish prisoners taken in last night’s quick succession of cafe raids were freed after a night in the Alexanderplatz prison. The raids set a precedent for thoroughness and summary execution, with women and men rounded up alike. Unlike the raids of a fortnight ago, police asked no questions in the cafes, nor did they seek to identify the guests, but simply bundled them into waiting police vans.


Punctuating an assertion by Nazi circles that the reintensified anti-Jewish drive “has only just begun,” a mob late last night surged through Horst Wessel Place, pulling Jewish proprietors out of their shops, beating many of them and forcing every Jewish door on several streets to close.

Hours later demonstrations broke out anew as police raided another cafe, rounding up guests. Two American newspapermen–from the Chicago Tribune and United Press–were hauled to the police station with the Jewish prisoners when they entered the cafe to ascertain what was happening. They were released by police after being obliged to yield their passports for examination.

The procession of police vans from cafes to the police station was followed by crowds of men and women shouting “Judah Verrecke!” (“Perish the Jew!”). The unruly mob was held back by a police cordon. Similar crowds swarmed about other cafes in the neighborhood as raid after raid was made in quick succession.

Additional raids were carried out in other parts of the city. Police picked up 40 Jews in the Mortiz Dobrin Cafe and the Hackeschermerk.

A survey of the Horst Wessel section revealed that the disorders and daubing of Jewish shops with paint were planned and regulated by local Nazi chieftains. The area affected was definitely limited, covering the streets radiating from Horst Wessel Square. The Horst Wessel and Bayerische Squares are situated in areas little frequented by tourists.

Before the disorders, uniformed Hitler Youth had scrawled anti-Jewish slogans on the sidewalks in front of shops. Afterwards, some uniformed storm troopers were seen among the crowds, consisting mostly of civilian-dressed persons, who surged down the streets, dragging Jews from shops and punching them. The police were not seen until the cafe raids started.

Shopkeepers have now removed the paint from their windows, but many signs, with letters two-feet-long declaring, “Germans Do Not Buy from Jews,” remain on the pavements. Meanwhile, “ghetto benches” were established in the Bayerischeplatz in two isolated areas completely surrounded by trees and bushes. These benches, unlike the others, are backless and unpainted. They are marked “Only for Jews.”


Meanwhile, the Wilhelmstrasse and Storm Troop leaders were busy with a new series of anti-Semitic measures, the spearhead of which is a law paving the way for a permanent nation-wide boycott of Jewish enterprises. Other developments were:

1–A reported move to cut down drastically the number of synagogues throughout the Reich to conform with the ratio of Jews to the total population. This represents the first systematic attempt to interfere with Jewish religious life. In addition to an old synagogue ordered demolished in Munich, the report of the demolition of another in Nuremberg was received here.

2–A ban on Jews in motion picture houses and the projected establishment of “ghetto cinemas” for Jewish youth. Under orders from storm troopers, seven cinema owners Wednesday night ordered Jews to get out and declared they did not desire Jewish patronage in the future.

3–Continuation of mass arrests to round up Jews who fled to Berlin from terrorism in Vienna.

Yesterday’s decree vesting the Minister of Economics with the authority to order all Jewish firms to hallmark themselves by displaying signs puts Jewish economy in the most difficult position it has yet reached in the Reich. The law further requires registration of every Jewish firm in a special register, which foreshadows establishment of a permanent basis for the heretofore sporadic attempts of Nazi radicals to boycott Jewish shops.

The term “Jewish enterprise” is extended to include not only enterprises which are Jewish owned or under Jewish domination, but firms in which the managing director or more than one-quarter of the capital are Jewish. Observers see a quick purging of Jewish personnel and capital from part-Jewish establishments by “Aryans” seeking to save their business from the necessity of registration. An exception to the decree affects enterprises in which foreign Jews are “interested.” In such cases the Minister of Economics is empowered to decide whether registration is required.

Dr. Dinger, manager of the textile and clothing manufacturing group, announced that the “Aryanization” of this industry should be completed by April 1, 1939, according to Havas. The Agriculture Ministry issued a decree banning Jews from all activities connected in any way with horse racing. The Reich Insurance Office has announced the principle that Jewish hospitals must not take non-Jewish patients, and that racial groups shall be separated in all hospitals and clinics.

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