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Jewry in Battle

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James N. Rosenberg, author of the accompanying article, is a distinguished lawyer, artist, dramatist and publicist.

In 1922 my work in Europe for the Joint Distribution Committee took me to Frankfurt. There I saw a great daub of fresh scarlet paint on the wall of a leading synagogue of that city. It was my first acquaintance with the Hakenkreuz. How would you feel if such a thing happened to your beloved house of God?

I tried to tell some of the leading Jews of Frankfurt that such activities ought to be nipped in the bud. They deplored the outrage. But I believe they thought me an alarmist.

In 1926, I went to Russia to survey the work of Agro-Joint —that great effort in which I believe we may all take pride— that effort which has led to the settlement of 250,000 Russian Jews on 2,500,000 acres of land and to their transformation from miserable ghetto prisoners into bronzed and hardy pioneering farmers. On the way to Moscow, I spent several days in Berlin conferring with the very flower of German Jewry.

I showed them several of the horrible anti-Semitic papers which I had bought on public newsstands in Berlin. I besought them to put a stop to the spreading of such poison. A few of them assured me that such efforts were being attempted. But for the most part the thing was looked on as a passing phase which would fall of its own weight.

In 1931, I was again in Berlin; again I met a group of Jewish leaders. Now they knew their fearful danger. It was too late. Let us not be deaf to such warnings.


Do not believe that no such dangers confront us here. Do not delude yourselves with the idea that because this country has a Constitution which guarantees religious freedom we need do nothing to preserve that freedom.

Have we forgotten the Ku Klux Klan? Are we not aware that paid agents of Nazism are busily at work in this country attempting to spread the poison of anti-Semitism? Shall we look on such a menace as a mere passing phase which will run its course and die? Or ought we to find the antiseptics which will neutralize these germs?

Have you heard of the American Blue Corps, the Order of Black Shirts, American Nationalist Party, Anglo-Saxon Federation of America, The Copperheads, White Shirts, Silver Shirts, Defenders of America, Friends of New Germany, the Green Mountain Boys, Steel Helmets, the Storm Troopers?

Do you realize that that notorious anti-Semite, Louis T. McFadden, the defeated ex-congressman of Pennsylvania, has just announced his candidacy for President of the United States on an anti-Semite platform?

Have you not heard of the anti-Semite, William Dudley Pelley, who has just been convicted of a felony by a Federal Court in North Carolina?

These are but a few of the men and organizations parading in the uniform of patriotism and trying to build up here in this beloved country of ours class and race hatred by propagandizing against Jews.


Well, then, what in such circumstances shall we do? Shall we crawl like cowards into a small ghetto of our own? Shall we surrender? Shall we cynically and indifferently blind our eyes to these things, saying they will pass by?

To such questions our entire history gives answer. Ours is the will to live, to survive, to defend our rights. We must and will stand down these base and fearful calumnies.

In this battle against such evils we must praise God that good men and good women of all faith and all groups and all nations align themselves with us. Indeed the battle today is not merely that of Israel, it is a battle of all decent men and women, of all who believe in liberty, of all who oppose the rising tide of tyranny, intolerance and bigotry which threatens to engulf the world.

Do not forget that the persecutions in Germany are not directed against Jews alone. The German Jews, being so small and weak a group, have, it is true, been picked out for special oppression. But it is only in lesser measure that Catholics, Protestants, labor unions, womanhood, all free intellectuals, have also been throttled and trodden on.


What are the chief arguments of the Nazi demagogues? What are the charges there made against us? We are intellectuals. We are doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers. We are bankers, industrialists, poets and scholars. We win too many Nobel awards. Our discoveries in science, our share in the arts, are disproportionate to our numbers.

Whatever we are, they damn us for it. Even the graves of our dead are defiled. But mostly they damned the German Jews as being Communists bent on destroying Germany.

Yet where are the facts? In 1932, there were 600,000 Jews in Germany. Surely less than half of them could have been voters. Yet in that year the German Communist vote was just short of 5,000,000. In the July, 1932, Reichstag there were eighty-nine Communists. How many of them were Jews? Not one; not a single one.

In the November, 1932, Reichstag (the last before the advent of the Hitler regime) there were 100 Communist members. Not one of them was a Jew. And despite this, the propaganda machine of Germany has dinned into the ears of the world that all the Jews of Germany are Communists and all Communists are Jews. Falsehood so absurd should long since have been disproved to the world.


Here in America most of the anti-Semitic organizations repeat the German arguments. Whatever we are, whatever we do, for this they would damn us. Do a few of us work for the Government? That they call a crime. Do we give our best in industry, arts, the sciences? Then they declare we control the country. Does one poor Jew commit petty larceny? Then we are all thieves.

It is sheer nonsense. But we must not overlook these things. Mostly they imitate Germany, crying, “Wolf! Wolf!,” with the same old arguments about Communism. Let one Jew declare himself a Communist. At once the professional anti-Semites, the loathsome merchants of hate, announce that we all are Communistic conspirators en-

James N. Rosenberg, author of the accompanying article, is a distinguished lawyer, artist, dramatist and publicist.Mr. Rosenberg, in addition to his manifold private activities, is vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, president of the American Society for Jewish Farm Settlements in Russia, chairman of the trustees of the Agro-Joint, and one of the directors of many leading Jewish institutions in the United States.

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