Reports that special labor camps will be built for the thousands of Jews imprisoned last week spread today, as Germany’s harassed Jews awaited with tense anxiety free attacks by Nazi radicals as the climax of the reintensified anti-Jewish drive. That such attacks are coming is held certain by observers who followed closely the evolution of the anti-Semitic campaign in Austria.
Today the Kurfuerstendamm, Berlin’s most popular shopping center, and many other quarters of the capital appeared like a replica of Vienna’s Kaerntnerstrasse and Jewish quarters in the first days after Austro-German reunion. Sidewalks still showed the results of the carefully planned and executed paint-slinging anti-Semitic drive. The word “Jew” was smeared in thick red letters on the window of every Jewish shop, sometimes with a Star of David added, to fix in the minds of Berliners that these were stores for them to avoid entering at all costs.
Similar signs were seen in other neighborhoods of the city, in some cases with the slogans, “Jews Out!” “Now Selling Out” and “This Store Closed by the People.” On the Kaiserdamm two Jewish shopwindows bore a scrawled two-line verse which can be translated: “Czechoslovakia provoked us and now we are taking our revenge out on the Jews.” This is particularly interesting because of the view that the Nazi setback received from the Czechs prompted them to expend their bitterness against their favorite scapegoat, the Jew.
Two American automobile agencies on the Kurfuerstendamm were not neglected by artists who applied a cautious interrogation mark on their windows. These marks were removed later.
APPARENTLY OFFICIALLY INSPIRED
The predominant feature of the artists’ holiday was the obviously official source of its inspiration. The same red oil-paint, difficult to remove, was used throughout and was distributed by automobile throughout the city simultaneously. Unlike the sporadic previous outbreaks, the men seemingly worked under careful discipline and under specific instruction, their vandalism having the full protection of the police.
Policemen along the Kurfuerstendamm wandered through the watching crowds under orders to see that the paint was not removed. A policeman stopped a passer-by with paint on his sleeve and asked for an explanation, also not failing to ask whether he was a Jew. Two policemen near Israel’s Department Store apparently misunderstood their duties and attempted to interfere with the painters, probably because Israel’s is largely British owned. A crowd of painters howled down the police who arrested their ringleaders, and the crowd followed to the police station, shouting insults for an hour until the men were released.
There was evidence to show that a group working in the Alexanderplatz district were at least storm troopers or Nazi Party men. The correspondent heard one addressed as “Oberfuehrer” (district commander).
On the Kurfuerstendamm the crowd watched quietly and apparently without great enthusiasm, sharply contrasting with recent scenes in Vienna, or in the poorer quarters of Berlin, where the crowds either cheered or walked off quickly.
The Leipzigerstrasse and Unter-den-Linden have so far escaped the paint brigade. It is believed that these sections will not be affected in view of the fact that the tourist season has begun.
If the Vienna procedure is followed, the paint smears will be removed in a few days and replaced by a standard identification sign for Jewish shops, in accordance with the law decreed a few days ago. Undoubtedly coming days will witness an unexampled turnover of firms from Jewish hands to “Aryans,” and a few signs indicating that enterprises have been sold out have already appeared. If Jews are reluctant to sell out, it is believed that Austrian system of placing Nazi commissars in control of Jewish shops will be introduce.
Several Kurfuerstendamm cafes posted signs: “Jews Not Desired.” Three such cafes are in the district frequently raided by police seeking “anti-social elements,” which is synonymous with Jews. Crowds gathered at the well-known Wieszcsarda Restaurant on the Kurfuerstendamm, which is plentifully smeared with paint although its owner is a Hungarian Jew and flies the Hungarian flag from the building, and gaped in through the breast-high foliage enclosing the sidewalk tables as if they had never seen a Jew.
CROWDS ATTACK 2 SYNAGOGUES
Fresh outbreaks of window-smearing and smashing were reported from the outskirts of Berlin, while within the city the more violent aspects of the drive appeared to be temporarily suspended. Nazi paint-slingers swept through Neukolln, former Communist stronghold, and left their trademark on every Jewish shop.
At least two synagogues were attacked by crowds over the weekend. Nearly every window was broken of the building housing the Orthodox Rabbinical Seminary and the Adass Israel Congregation. The walls were disfigured and two windows broken of the Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue, the largest in Germany.
On the Kurfuerstendamm the signs of Saturday’s window-painting have been mostly removed, except for two of the largest Jewish shops, Gruenfeld’s and Rosenheim’s, whose windows are still disfigured by scrawling red letters. It is known that the police granted permission in the cases where the signs were removed, but warned the proprietors to expect no protection should another drive be launched. In one instance a Nazi cell leader forbade “Aryan” employees to touch a sign, which Jewish employees removed. In another case those removing a sign were told they were wasting their time, for “we will be doing this again, and next time we will use stuff that will not come off.”
A new angle was injected in the situation with the revelation that insurance companies conferred with Nazi officials at least 24 hours before the drive started regarding their obligations in cases of damage to Jewish property.
The week-end ban on Jewish meetings was made nation-wide and prolonged indefinitely in at least one direction. Official orders were issued prohibiting meetings of adult education classes which have been organized by Jewish communities in all large cities of the Reich.
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.