See Reich Jews in Middle of Endless Debate
Menu JTA Search

See Reich Jews in Middle of Endless Debate

Download PDF for this date

The Jews of Germany are living in an uninterrupted sharp controversy in which their moral and material basis of life is the subject in dispute, writes the Juedische Rundschau the official organ of the German Jewish Federation, in an editorial.

“Actually,” the editorial states, “the word is not the right one, because a controversy requires two parties, and this is a one-sided affair.

“Unfortunately there has not yet been a real discussion between non-Jewish and Jewish spokesmen on the regulation of Jewish affairs. Even that which is said about the Jews in Germany, is mostly not addressed to the Jews, but to the inside German world, and we Jews stand aside as observers, though very attentive and interested observers, because we know that these words that are spoken, and which we are not in a position to contradict, sink gradually more and more into the souls of the people, especially of the German youth.


“As that discussion proceeds inside the German world, we Jews feel the need to react to it; but mostly we can do so only in our own ranks, from the Jewish tribune, so that our words do not reach the other party.

“Very often the argument is put forward that we Jews, German Jewry, are in a state of liquidation. If the new Germany, it is said, considers a reduction of the numbers of German Jews desirable, this state is being brought about automatically by the process of natural development. The German Jews are mostly of the older generation. There is a fall in the birth rate, a decrease in the number of marriages, and this, combined with the emigration, will in a decade or so result in bringing down the Jewish population of Germany to half its present number.

“This argument is without question correct. German Jewry is in a process of liquidation. The phrase is not a new one; it goes back for twenty-five years when Dr. Felix Theilhaber used it for the first time. There was a great deal of controversy against it, but it should be remembered that Dr. Theilhaber’s purpose was to rouse German Jewry, to make it realize the position and counteract it.

“Today the German press publishes figures issued by the statistical Reich Office, expressing satisfaction at the reduction in the number of German Jews. If the Jewish influence in Germany is, therefore, described by anyone as a danger to German life, we are able to point out that this danger is diminishing with the fall in the numbers and thereby the influence of the Jews, so that the Jewish question in Germany, whose importance has always in our opinion been exaggerated, will from the point of view of numbers no longer play an important part.

“When we consider the situation from the Jewish point of view, it obtains an entirely different aspect,” the paper states. “Is dying a consolation? The Jewish people, and they include the German Jews, cannot adopt this tone of resignation. We do not want to console ourselves with the thought that we are all old people, and that we are going to have few children. Our youth must not have that feeling of being superfluous. We must declare emphatically: We are not liquidating.

“Our youth is seeking new life, and it can find it. In a few weeks, another 5,000 young Jews will leave school, and will seek occupations. We know how difficult it is for a young Jew to find employment in Germany. But we say to this youth: It is not true that you are superfluous, you are important, perhaps more important than any generation of Jewish youth. The situation has changed. In the past, the older people could provide for you; now you must provide for us. There is an immense task of construction awaiting the Jewish youth, and you have something great to do that will contribute to the honor of Judaism and the German Jews.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund