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Gestapo Imposes Control on Jewish Community Funds in Germany

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Abolition of the financial independence of the Jewish communities in Germany, was reported here today by the American Friends of German Freedom, an anti-Nazi group, on the basis of information reaching the organization directly from Germany. The report, smuggled from Hamburg, pictures especially the plight of the Jewish community in that city.

“The situation of the Jews has become much worse during the last few weeks”, the report says. “Heretofore the Jewish communities had been essentially independent in the matter of their financing, raising and administering the funds for the organizations, except for the general regulations and the fact that they had to make a strict accounting to the Gestapo. This was particularly true of the Jewish community of Hamburg, which has always had more money than most of the other communities, and whose representative dealt with the Hamburg Gestapo in matters pertaining to the Jewish community. The Hamburg Gestapo, in spite of the fact that they are 100 per cent Nazis, have often been prone, in dealing with the Jewish representative, to put mutual Hamburg interests before ‘instructions from Berlin’. However, the financial independence of the Jewish communities of Germany was abolished by a stroke of the pen. Now all the Jewish funds have to be sent to Berlin, and all local expenditures are controlled by the Berlin center.

“This has meant tremendous reductions in the money available for the activities of the Hamburg community. For example, the Jewish school in Hamburg which still has more than 400 students, had to let almost half its teachers go, and the salaries of all of the other employees of Jewish organizations supported by the community were radically cut. Employment by one of the Jewish organizations is practically the only opportunity for a decent life for a Jew in Germany. The salary of the rabbi was cut to 151 marks a month; he had been paying 200 marks a month for his apartment.

“In most parts of Germany Jewish families have been forced out of their homes, but this has almost never happened in Hamburg. Apparently the reason for these drastic economies was that rapid exhaustion of what was left of Jewish fortunes would soon make it impossible for Jewish money to provide for the welfare work, the schools and the immigration expenses which they have been covering. That would mean, that whether they liked it or not, the Nazi treasury would have to pay. Actually if sensible economies had been practised, they could have carried on for another year, as before. Certainly by that time, according to the Nazis, the war would be won, and then in the New Order of Europe, a “final solution of the Jewish question’ could be found, whether it would be a ‘reserve’ in Poland or a ‘Jewish State’ in Madagascar.”

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