NEW YORK (Dec. 9)
Thousands of persons gathered tonight in Carnegie Hall and in overflow meetings nearby at a Citizens’ Rally against Oppression sponsored officially by Mayor LaGuardia. They heard prominent speakers denounce Nazi persecution and voice determination to preserve democracy and racial tolerance in this country.
Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace warned that any anti-Semitic drive in the United States was the first move to substitute dictatorship for democracy and would be followed by an anti-Catholic drive. Decrying oppression abroad, he said that “Jews and Christians in America must watch out that they do not allow their spirits to be molded in the terrible spirit of hatred which characterizes the oppressors overseas. We must not allow the Nazis, because we hate Nazi-dom, to force us to act like Nazis.”
Senator Theodore F. Green of Rhode Island, terming the Nazi anti-Jewish campaign “acrusade against God,” urged Americans to protest in vigorous terms, to assist the oppressed and to “strike at those who seek to create dissension and disunity among us.” Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen said: “We shall lift our voices and say to all persecuting nations: ‘This is not the first of your persecutions but it shall be the last.’” Gertrude Atherton, president of the Authors’ League of America, warned Americans not to imitate racial prejudice lest they prove the Darwinian theory and turn ourselves into monkeys.”
Special prayers for the victims of oppression were recited by Father Stephen J. Donohue and Bishop William T. Manning. Other scheduled speakers included ex-Ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd and Victor Ridder, publisher of the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold. Senator Carter Glass sent a message endorsing the meeting in which he referred to the Hitler regime as a “bestial government.” Mayor LaGuardia presided. The meeting was heavily guarded by police, partly as result of the death threat made upon the Mayor yesterday.
Meanwhile, the American Institute of Public Opinion reported that the overwhelming majority of Americans disapproved of the Nazi persecution. A national cross-section survey found that 6 per cent approve of the German treatment of Jews and 94 per cent disapprove, while 3 per cent approve of the treatment of Catholics and 97 per cent disapprove.