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Nazis Take Drivers’ Permits from Jews; Ban Use of Central Berlin Areas

December 5, 1938
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German Jewry awaited with deepening despair today the placing into effect of two drastic police decrees under which they are deprived of the right to drive automobiles and are banned from the central quarters of Berlin and all public entertainment centers. The automobile ban goes into effect Dec. 31, while the "ghettoization" decree becomes effective on Tuesday.

A police decree withdrawing all automobile drivers’ permits issued to German Jews was published yesterday. Signed by Heinrich Himmler, chief of all German police, the decree was intended as further punishment of the Jews, who already have been fined $400,000,000, for the murder by a Polish Jewish youth of Ernst vom Rath, third secretary of the German Embassy in Paris.

The order forbidding Jews to own or drive automobiles and motorcycles said, "the cowardly assassination committed by the Jew Grynszpan against the whole German people reveals the Jews as lacking sufficient guaranties for possession or operation of automobiles."

The problem of Jewish operation of trucks will be settled later, the decree disclosed. All German Jews were ordered to hand in driving permits and other automobile papers by Dec. 31.

Commenting on the measure, the official German News Agency said, "for a long time Germans have considered it a provocation and a danger to public welfare for Jews to race through German streets and over German roads, or to profit from the Adolf Hitler highways built by German hands."

The decree coincided with another police edict banning German and "stateless" Jews from the central quarters of Berlin and all public entertainment centers, an edict that was regarded as an important step toward establishment of a virtual ghetto here. The order, which becomes effective next Tuesday, Listed the following places as forbidden ground to the German and "stateless" Jews:

Theaters, motion picture houses, concert halls, museums, the Deutschlandhalle, the Sportspalast, the great Berlin stadium, all sports fields, and public baths; the Wilhelmstrasse and the Leipzigerstrasse as far as the Unter den Linden, including the square where the monument to the war dead is located. Jews residing within the "forbidden" zones will have to carry special permits to circulate in them.

Informed quarters said the Government eventually would ban Jews from the Kurfuer stendam, Friedrichstrasse, Unter den Linden and other important arteries. Certain streets in the central and northern parts of the capital, where large number of Jews have presided for a long time, will not be considered forbidden areas and thus may constitute a sort of ghetto.

A maximum fine of 150 marks or six weeks’ imprisonment was provided for violations of the decree banning Jews from the specified Berlin quarters. An official statement issued by the police prefect said the ban would not apply to foreign Jews. The prefect added that the ban would not be limited and that in all likelihood it would be extended shortly to a large number of additional Berlin thoroughfares.

The authorities desire fundamentally to keep Jews off such main arteries and fashionable streets as the Kurfuerstendam, Unter den Linden, etc. The police prefect argued that

"Jewry still dominates" on these avenues. All Jews residing in homes or apartments in or near the forbidden areas must expect the ban to be extended to fit their case, the prefect said. He recommended as a precautionary measure that these Jews seek other domiciles in the quarters of Berlin still open to them by exchanging apartments with "Aryan" Germans.

Finally the prefect declared that as a result of a demand by Berlin hotelmen and restaurant-owners for restriction of Jewish patronage, Jews must expect in the future to be forbidden to eat at any restaurant that is not purely Jewish.

Meanwhile anti-Semitic measures continued to multiply throughout the Reich. In Goettingen, Jews were forbidden to ride on municipal buses. The state police of Nuremberg issued an order forbidding non-resident Jews to remain in that city for more than two days without police permits. The object was to prevent Jews from other towns and villages of Franconia from taking refuge in Nuremberg.

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