Barring of Coughlin from 3 Stations Stirs Debate; Priest Defends Charges Against Jews
Menu JTA Search

Barring of Coughlin from 3 Stations Stirs Debate; Priest Defends Charges Against Jews

Download PDF for this date

The barring of Father Charles E. Coughlin from three radio stations yesterday — YMCA, New York; WJJD, Chicago, and WIND, Gary, Ind. — because he had failed to comply with requests to submit his script in advance, prompted by his talk the previous Sunday which linked Jews to Communism, continued to stir controversy today.

The New York Herald Tribune declared editorially recriminations aroused by this “deplorable incident” were “another instance of how easily the poisons of group propaganda, bigotry, intellectual thuggery and race and religious prejudice, once they are released anywhere in the world, spread their malignant influence.”

Denial of Father Coughlin’s assertion that Kuhn, Loeb and Co. helped to finance the Russian revolution was made by Lewis L. Strauss a partner in the firm. “I wish to state that the charges and the inferences he makes as to support of Communism by my firm are absolutely untrue,” Mr. Strauss said. Officials of the Secret Service in Washington declined to comment on Father Coughlin’s reference to a Secret Service “report” on Jewish financing of the revolution.

Broadcasting an electrical transcription of his previous speech, which attributed the Russian revolution to “Jewish discontent” — supported by a purported quotation from the American Hebrew — and foreign Jewish financing and “explained” Nazism as being a reaction against Communist influence, Father Coughlin denied that the speech was anti-Semitic or un-American and said he would let the public be the judge.

The American Hebrew issued a statement today which said: “The quotation from The American Hebrew (of Sept. 10, 1920) is incorrect. There was no mention of the Jewish Bolshevist Revolution. The reference was to the overthrow of the Czar.” The statement included a long passage from the American Hebrew of June 3, 1938, which, under the heading ‘Unmasking the Lie of Jewish Communism,’ told of attacks on Jews by the Soviet and of the conversion of synagogue into workmen’s clubs.

In “rebuttal” to Prof. Johan Smertenko, director of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League, who had denied the accuracy of Father Coughlin’s statement that Kuhn, Loeb and Co. contributed financially to the revolution, the “radio priest” quoted from a book, “The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World,” by Prof. Denis Fahey of Blackrock Seminary, Dublin, which in turn quoted the purported American Secret Service “report” as stating that the revolution “was launched and fomented by distinctively Jewish influence.” Father Coughlin also quoted from this book to support the assertion in his original speech that 56 of 59 members of a Soviet quasi-cabinet were Jews.

Near the conclusion of his remarks yesterday Father Coughlin said: “There is no Jewish question in America. Please God, may there never be one. However, there is a question of Communism in America. Please God, we will solve it. If Jews persist in supporting Communism, directly or indirectly, that will be regrettable. By their failure to use the press, the radio and the banking house, where they stand so prominently, to fight Communism as vigorously as they fight Nazism, the Jews invite the charges of being supporters of Communism. As Christ said, ‘You are either with me or against me.'”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund