Reconstruction of the lives of the Jews of Germany within the Reich cannot be successful and the only alternative to extermination is emigration, Samuel A. Telsey declared yesterday on his return here on the Italian liner Rex from a three months investigation tour through Germany and France.
Mr. Telsey, a New York attorney and director of the HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, made his investigation as special commissioner for the organization. He returned convinced that it is useless for the Jews to expect any change in policy on the part of the Nazi regime towards the Jews in its power.
Mr. Telsey declared that conditions in Germany are becoming progressively worse, that there was no future at all for the Jew in Germany and that even the well-to-do German Jews agreed with this now, that nothing was left for the German Jews but emigration. The crying need of the moment among the Jews of the world, he said, is unity so that the activities in behalf of the German Jews may be centralized and duplication of work avoided.
BOOK OF ISRAEL CLOSED
“The book of Israel in Germany is closed,” said Mr. Telsey, quoting a well known German rabbi, “and attempts at the reconstruction of the Jews in Germany have not, and cannot, be successful. I was told by those whose daily work gives them the means of knowing, that the discouragement and despair will shortly produce a large crop of suicides; suicides among the refugees have already become very frequent.
“I believe that the German policy in regard to the Jews will not change; the government will not relax. I do not believe that the external pressure sufficient to produce a change can or will be exerted; the German government, I firmly believe, will not yield to external pressure in this matter. Internal pressure for a change is out of the question for a long time to come. Before the Germans will have awakened and seek to redress the wrongs inflicted upon the Jews, the damage will have been irreparable.”
Mr. Telsey declared that “all Jewish agencies in the United States must unite; there must be no divergence. The work being carried on must be centralized and systematized; it overlaps in many cases.”
He described the plight of the German-Jewish refugees in Paris and elsewhere as tragic in the extreme. “There are 5,500 Jewish refugees in Paris alone,” said Mr. Telsey, “and the Jews, an independent people, used to earning their own living, see themselves reduced to the status of perpetually begging for charity and they commit suicide, rather than go on. Place must be found somewhere. Subsistence for them in Germany is utterly out of the question. Palestine can only absorb a small number. The refugees must go elsewhere. That is our principal job.”
PEACEFUL ON SURFACE
Mr. Telsey described conditions in Germany as being very quiet on the surface. The streets are peaceful and orderly, the Nazi parades have diminished and armed men are no longer conspicuous. The Nazis have learned a new technique, he declared. Physical violence now takes place late at night or very early in the morning, and the new order of the day is the silent, economic or cold pogrom.
The HIAS representative described the sequestration of the German-Jewish relief funds and declared that the American consul in Berlin, Raymond Geist, had told him that despite the fact that American funds were included in the funds seized, the American government could do nothing, but that he would guarantee certain protection for American Jewish relief funds if they were deposited in the name of American organizations and then transmitted to the German-Jewish relief groups.
Like everyone else returning from Germany, Mr. Telsey was extremely cautious about mentioning names or dates, warning the reporters that it would only mean persecution for anyone whom the Nazis could trace.
“DEATH TO THE JEWS”
However, he told of a song now being sung by German school children. The song was given him by the daughter of a German-Jewish lawyer. Needless to say, he refused any details. The song reads in part, “Germans awaken, death to the Jews, and arms for the people.”
Mr. Telsey declared that a peculiar situation had arisen in Germany. As soon as it is known that any Jew is in the hands of the Nazis, the first anxiety is to get the prisoner into the hands of the regular police. According to him, when the Jewish doctors of Berlin, meeting to organize relief for their own members, were seized by the Nazis, the Berlin Jewish community was frantic until it was learned that the arrested men were safe in the custody of the regular police force. Then fear was lightened and in a few days all but two of the Jewish doctors were freed.
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.