The sweeping nature of the decree against Jewish physicians proved today to be a crushing blow to the morale of German Jewry. (The decree invalidates licenses of Jewish physicians after Sept. 30, permitting the Interior Ministry to grant extensions in certain cases at its discretion.)
Aside from other considerations the decree serves as notice to the approximately 27,000 Jewish lawyers and 1,000 Jewish dentists now practicing in the Greater Reich of what they may expect. quarters believe that the purge of dentists will take place before Oct. 5, when the annual Reich dental convention begins.
Meanwhile, the controlled press moved on two fronts to justify or minimize the measure which deprives nearly 7,000 physicians of their livelihood. On one hand Nazi-inspired reports reached foreign correspondents that the Reich Medical chamber was preparing to finance a retraining program for the ousted doctors. These reports did not appearing the German press, nor did they reach Jewish medical circles, which discounted them entirely.
On the other hand, Chancellor Hitler’s Voelkischer Beobachter, in a lengthy editorial apologizes, at least by implication, because the purge did not come sooner, declaring that the Government had approached “the desired goal” gradually. The editorial quoted figures to show that the number of Jewish physicians in the old Reich was reduced from about 8,000 in 1933 to 4,000 in 1938.
Figures published by Berlin papers show that despite ousting of Jews, the number of physicians practicing in Berlin had risen by 400, which may partly account for the need of reducing competition.
The Voelkischer Beobachter declares unequivocally that only in places where Jews live in great number will exceptions be made to permit Jewish doctors to continue to practice among their co-religionists. Jewish circles hope that large Jewish hospitals in Berlin, Frankfort and elsewhere will be permitted to continue to operate with approximation of their present staffs.
Informed observers do not believe that the provision of the decree for the granting of pensions to ousted doctors who are “worthy and needy” will be applied to more than an insignificant fraction of them. Jewish doctors also face enormous difficulties in finding living quarters in view of the decree’s provisions. Ousted physicians without means will prove a difficult problem for Jewish welfare organizations, since most of them are too old to emigrate, no Jews having been admitted to the profession since 1933.
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.