Untermyer Urges German-americans Be Not Boycotted
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Untermyer Urges German-americans Be Not Boycotted

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Declaring that he was by no means relenting on his boycott of German goods and German shipping lines, Samuel Untermyer, president of the World Jewish Federation and of the American League for the Defense of Jewish Rights, Friday advised all sympathizers of the anti-German boycott to recognize the rights of German-American tradesmen not dealing in German goods to operate outside the boycott.

At the same time the Committee for Better Trade Relations with Germany, with headquarters at 10 East 40th Street, announced a campaign to regain patronage for German goods and German shipping lines. They will oppose the Untermyer boycott organization. Five thousand circulars have been sent to firms, soliciting their cooperation.


H. A. Johnson, representative of the Leipzing fair, heads the new group of protestants against anti-German boycott. Other members of the committee are: John Schroder of the North German Lloyd lines; E. Schmitz of the German Tourist Information Office, and Dr. A. Degener, secretary of the Board of Trade for German-American Commerce.

Mr. Untermyer’s exclusion of German American shopowners came as a result of an appeal by Bernard Ridder, publisher of the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung. He wrote the following to Mr. Untermyer:

“My attention has been called during the last few weeks to an increasing tendency on the part of some of the Jewish element of New York City to boycott German-American business concerns located in New York City.

“On Monday last, Municipal Court Justice Jacob S. Strahl, speaking before the Jewish Forum, directly urged a boycott of German store-keepers. I am enclosing a clipping of the Brooklyn Eagle reporting his speech.

“I feel certain that you will have no sympathy with a boycott directed against American citizens, living and doing business in the United States, and I trust that you will use your great influence with your Jewish friends to prevent the spread of this boycott movement.”

In response to Ridder’s letter, Mr. Untermyer wrote as follows:

“I am distressed beyond expression at what you tell me of the boycott by Jews of delicatessen stores in New York City conducted by German-Americans. It is so foreign and opposed in principle to the activities in which our organization is engaged that it is unbelievable.

“Our boycott is directed against German merchandise and shipping. It is the only effective defense and counter-boycott by Americans against the brutal, official torture and persecution looking to the avowed extermination of all inoffensive, law-abiding German Jews living in Germany—merely because they are Jews. Although they are now the victims of this medieval onslaught, at some other time or in some other country it may be the Catholics or the Protesants or what not. It is not a Jewish question but one that affects manhood of all races and creeds and all civilization.

“Nothing is further from our intention or more hateful to us than a boycott of German-American citizens or any other class in this community, so long as they are not dealing in German merchandise. I promise you that we shall exhaust every effort to prevent such a perversion of the purpose of our movement.

“If Justice Strahl is correctly reported in the clipping you sent me, we are opposed to his point of view, but I rather imagine he spoke loosely when he referred to the boycott of German storekeepers. I imagine he meant to refer to storekeepers who were selling German goods.

“The German-Americans are among the most loyal and valuable of our citizens. The Jews have no grievance against them and will not tolerate any interference with them, so long as we can prevent it, except as to those who are handling German goods.

“I shall be pleased to have this given the widest circulation, so as to correct any misapprehension that may have been created in the minds of overzealous advocates of our cause.”

Mr. Untermyer in an interview Friday added that the right of German-Americans to publicly protest the boycott of German goods is granted them in the constitution. He said that regardless of their participation in protest against the boycott of German goods, no German-American would be boycotted unless he dealt in German goods.

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