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Anti-semitism Gaining Ground in France; Provokes Concern in Germany

Anti-Semitism is gaining ground in France and arousing increased concern in West Germany, the European office of the American Jewish Committee disclosed here last night after completion of a survey of anti-Semitism in 12 Western European countries. The survey was based on the opinions of Jewish community leaders throughout Europe.

“The electoral campaign and subsequent victory of the Poujade movement at the French polls last January have given definite impetus to anti-Semitism in France,” the AJC reported. There has been a “noticeable increase” in unfavorable comments about Jews, in the appearance on street walls of signs like “Jew, Go Home” and in the arrogance of the French anti-democratic and anti-Semitic papers. New publications with anti Semitic tendencies have, moreover, appeared in France in recent months, the report emphasizes.

“While Poujadists have not been effective in the French Parliament and while there has been some internal dissension in the Poujade movement, there is no real evidence that its strength has diminished since last January.” the AJC report stressed. “In fact, French troubles at home and in North Africa can give Poujadism an even greater appeal than before.”

In West Germany, the AJC survey noted, many Germans are now warning with increased urgency of the need to take vigorous counter-action against a renewed flow of neo Nazi literature, against the German public’s tendency to excuse and ignore the evils of Hitlerism, and against the infiltration of former Nazis into important posts. They point out that present democratic progress in West Germany has been made in a period of outstanding economic prosperity and political stability and that the German public’s attitude toward democracy has not yet been tested by difficulties such as those which beset the Weimar Republic in the 1920s, for example.

Among the evidence of increased West German apprehension that anti-democratic attitudes may be gaining strength has been, in recent months: 1. The declaration by Bundestage Speaker Eugen Gerstenmeier of the “real danger (represented) by those people who; silently, begin with the premise that Hitler was only a little too dumb and clumsy, but that otherwise he was right”: 2. The campaign by groups of German journalists and writers to call greater attention to infiltration by former Nazis into posts of influence, to bring test cases against publishers of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic Literature, and to seek laws to punish the dissemination of hate propaganda.

Outside France and West Germany, anti-Semitic elements constitute a “nuisance” but pose no serious problem at the present time, according to the reports received by AJC from the European Jewish communities. In addition to France and, West Germany the survey included Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

“Open anti-Semitism is still considered a political mark of Cain in post-war Europe, a fact recognized even by the anti-Semites themselves,” the report continued. “As a result, they prefer to work anonymously and under cover, or deny their anti-Semitism even while engaged in anti-Semitic activities. Jews are worried, however, that the success of the Poujade movement and the present resurgence of neo-Nazis and anti-Semitic literature in West Germany might, if unchecked, “help make anti-Semitism a marketable commodity once more, and may taint those countries where, until now, anti-Semitism has made no real post war headway,” according to the AJC.

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