BERLIN (Jul. 4)
Dispossessed from its leased building, The American School in Berlin today celebrated July Fourth in a warehouse. After this morning’s disposal by court order, Nazi circles vigorously denied that the action had been taken on racial or political grounds.
Gregor Zimmer, American director of the school, who rushed back to Berlin from a holiday in Stockholm in a futile attempt to forestall closing of the ten-year-old school, announced his intention of re-opening it in a new location next semester, adding, however, that he did not know whether he would receive the necessary permission.
While the precise reason for the vacating order, which was issued by a Berlin court yesterday, effective today, was not known, it was definitely established that the school had been in the bad graces of the Nazis for some time because of Jewish patronage. A few weeks ago Mr. Zimmer was “advised” by the Ministry of Culture to dismiss the school’s only Jewish teacher, which he did rather than risk losing the institution. A complicating factor in the situation was the fact that the building is owned by a jewess, Mrs. lazarus, and the lease expired July I.
While trouble had been believed brewing for some time because of the school’s Jewish patronage, the climax came suddenly and unexpectedly, with the director away from the city. Among the patrons of the school was United States Ambassador Hugh R. Wilson. The school served as a “little America” here, not only for children of resident Americans, including members of the diplomatic corps, but, of late, for Jewish children whose parents were anxious to inculcate them with the spirit of their future homeland.
According to the Havas News Agency, agents of the Gestapo (German Secret Police) sought the closing of the school because it made no distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish pupils. Some sources said that Mrs. Lazarus was prevailed upon by Gestapo agents to bring fantastic charges before the court that the school gave anti-Semitic instructions.