Judge Kurt Soelling, the Chairman of the Berlin District Court, which is the highest position in the German local judiciary system, appeared in court to-day in a libel action against Herr Felix Hirsch, a Jewish journalist, editor of the important Berlin evening paper Achtuhr Abendblatt”.
Dr. Klee, the famous Jewish lawyer, who is the leader of the Zionist Party in the Berlin Jewish, Community and Vice-President of the Federation of Prussian Jewish Communities, appeared for Dr. Hirsch, and many high officials are being called to give evidence in the case.
Judge Soelling is stated to have been born in Berlin, in a Jewish family named Seligsohn. He became baptised in order to enable him to become a judge. Until last year Judge Soelling was a member of the Social Democratic Party, but last year he sprang a surprise on his political associates by joining the German National Party, declaring himself a Monarchist and conducting propaganda for the Hitlerist movement. Herr Hirsch thereupon revealed in his paper that Judge Soelling was himself of Jewish origin, and denounced him as a dishonest politician, with the result that he brought his libel action against Herr Hirsch.
In January 1929 Judge Gellin, of the Breslau District Court, a baptised Jew, was dismissed from his office following a disciplinary trial before the Berlin Court, because he had made in public antisemitic utterances, attacking as a Jew Deputy Herrmann, a member of the Prussian Parliament, a non-Jew, whom he had mistaken for a Jew. Judge Gellin had previously been suspended for a number of months, and was in addition fined five thousand Marks for insulting Deputy Herrmann.
The incident took place in 1927. Deputy Herrmann, while in a wineshop in Breslau, heard Gellin shout: “The Berliner Tageblatt” is a rag. It is a vulgar Jewish paper. Pity such a thing should exist. All Jews are swindlers.” Deputy Herrmann went up to Gellin’s table and told him that he was a contributor to the “Berliner Tageblatt” and took his insult to refer to him personally. Gellin thereupon heaped abuses on Deputy Herrmann, calling him a dirty Jew. A policeman was called in, and when the policeman asked Gellin for his name and address it came out that he was a judge. Deputy Herrmann thereupon put the matter in the hands of the Prussian Minister of Justice, who after an investigation ordered Gellin’s suspension from the judgship pending a disciplinary trial. The democratic press made merry over the fact when it came out in the course of the proceedings that the antisemite in the case was by birth a Jew, while the man whom he attacked as a Jew was a non-Jew.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.