“Germany wants no war!” “German newspapers print the truth and all the truth!” “There is no discrimination whatsoever against Jewish pupils in German schools!”
These were some of the statements made to a Jewish Daily Bulletin reporter by sixty Nazified school teachers aboard the Hamburg-American liner Albert Ballin as it steamed up the North River to its Forty-sixth street berth Friday.
The teachers were mostly women. All traveled third class. Laden with cameras, binoculars, handbags and sundry miscellany, they divided their time between scampering across the deck to gape at the Empire State Building â€”it was the first time across for most of themâ€”and returning to give the reporter the lowdown on the Germany of today.
“Every Jewish pupil in Germany is satisfied,” declared one in answer to a question. The rest nodded vigorous assent. “There is no discrimination against Jews in German schools,” volunteered another. All spoke in German.
The reporter asked about newspaper reports to the effect that Jews are mistreated in German schools. “The foreign press lies! All the foreign newspapers lie about Germany!” a buxom fraulein declared vehemently.
“Jewish children are not obliged to give the Heil Hitler salute if they do not want to,” said one of the male pedants. “German children treat them with perfect impartiality.”
HITLER AND THE TRUTH
“Does the German press print all the truth?” asked the reporter.
“Certainly.” The answer was snapped back with conviction.
“But I thought that Propaganda Minister Goebbels dictates what the press should print,” the reporter said.
“Of course he does,” the teachers answered, “but a German does not lie!”
Convinced to his satisfaction of the honesty of the German press and the impartiality in German schools, the reporter turned to more general topics.
“What do you think of Germany’s war preparations?”
“War preparations?” They laughed. “Germany is not preparing for war. We do not want war. Germany is the most peaceful country in the world.”
One of the quieter teachers had been pondering. Suddenly she broached the question of the school system again. “Of course you must understand that there are not many Jewish teachers,” she said. “Only war veterans may serve in the government. But that is because the Jews controlled all the professions before Hitler came into power.”
Not reluctant to discuss the question of the Jews in Germany for “die Judenpresse,” the teachers volunteered statements to the effect that Jews conduct business as usual and that they are still numerous in the professions.
By this time they were eager to devote their full attention to the Manhattan skyline. Hastily informing the reporter that their purpose in coming to New York was to study the school system and that they will sail for home aboard the Albert Ballin on August 2, they bade a hurried farewell.
THE OTHER SIDE
A number of Jews were found aboard the ship. One, Ernst Meyer, was coming to the United States because his Jewishness made it impossible for him to find a job. He had lost his position with the biggest department store in Bremen with the accession of Hitler. He laughed sardonically when informed of the teachers’ statement that Jews are in business as usual.
Three New York Jewish students were also aboard, one of them studying medicine in Germany. He asked that he remain anonymous, fearing reprisal for what he was about to tell.
“Nominally, one and a half per cent of a university’s registration may be Jewish,” he said. “Actually, practically no Jews may enter. Those already in universities when Hitler came into power are allowed to finish their courses.
NO FUTURE FOR THEM
“Even these are looking forward to the future hopelessly, for they cannot get jobs. Jewish medical students in my university say they may as well commit suicide when they get their degrees, for there is absolutely nothing to look forward to on graduation. They regard their intensive medical training as a joke.
“Foreign students are very well treated, for Germany is trying to attract anybody into the country who will bring money.
“There is absolutely nothing to read in the German papers. All they print is what the Propaganda Ministry send them. A Jewish student committed suicide in the town where I am studying. The London Times printed it. The German press denied it. Finally, the German papers announced that twenty storm troopers had been arrested for causing the suicide which they previously denied.
FOREIGN PAPERS SNATCHED UP
“The truth comes out only when the papers are forced to print it in defense against statements of foreign papers. Swiss and Austrian papers are not permitted in Germany. English papers are allowed because practically nobody can read them. Yet the London and New York papers are snatched up by the inhabitants of the town as soon as they arrive. Later the people bring the papers around to the university for the students to translate for them.”
While the reporter was speaking to the student, a steward rushed up to him and asked if he had seen a large picture of Hitler which had been hanging in the dining room. It seems that somebody purloined it and threw it overboard.
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.