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Reichsvertretung Report Describes Plight of Jews in Germany

The plight of the Jews in Germany is indicated in the report for 1938 of the Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland, which stresses the narrowing outlets for emigration and the need of aid from abroad.

Anschluss of Austria, resulting in a wave of uncontrolled mass emigration, forced European countries to adopt within a short time the strictest measures against the influx of refugees, which affected adversely the Jews from Germany proper, the report states.

In 1938 the “Aryanization” process in Germany was accelerated with the aim of the total exclusion of the Jews from the economic life of the country. The Reichsvertretung was accordingly faced with the problem of accelerating Jewish emigration and providing the necessary relief for those Jews in Germany who were ousted from their businesses.

The law prohibiting Jews from carrying on any trade in Germany, which came into force in October, 1938, meant a terrible blow to the Jews in Germany because many of them who had already gone through retraining courses had no hope of obtaining employment. At a time when the Jews in Germany were being consistently driven out of economic life of the country, the emigration possibilities could satisfy the emigration needs of the Jewish population to a very slight extent, the report declares. The deportation of about 14,000 Jews of Polish nationality between Oct. 28 and 30, provoked a wave of the strongest solidarity in all the Jewish communities, As for the November pogroms, all the report observes is that during the last months of 1938, in particular, the Jewish community in Germany did its utmost to provide relief and comfort to individual Jews.

After resuming its activities on Nov. 29, the Reichsvertretung had to adapt itself to the new circumstances so as to be able to carry out its role as the sole financial authority for emigration, relief and education. It is true, the report states, that the Jewish communities in Germany retained the right to carry on with their activities as cultural organizations, but they became branches of the Reichsvereinigung so far as social work, including education was concerned. Those independent Jewish organizations which dealt with the problems now entrusted to the Reichsvertretung were incorporated in the Reichsvertretung, while all the other Jewish organizations had to close down.

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