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Forced Labor for Jews in Full Swing in Reich; Kulturbund Banned, Funds Seized

September 5, 1939
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Compulsory employment of able-bodied young Jews and Jewesses on manual labor projects in Germany, which began early in August, is now proceeding on a large scale, according to telephonic information from Berlin today. A first installment of 80 employes of the Berlin Jewish Community has been drafted for manual labor projects, including road-building, house construction for men, factory work in the garment industry for women.

Of 350 Kulturbund–Jewish cultural association–employes, 26 have been taken as a first installment for manual labor. Officials of the Kulturbund were notified by the Nazi authorities that it may become necessary to commandeer the sole Jewish theater in Berlin to billet 300 soldiers, but this step has not yet been taken.

The drafted Jewish workers are being paid the same rate as “Aryans” and are being treated the same, although they are kept segregated and work separately. The advent of forced labor for younger members of the community is an event of considerable importance from the economic viewpoint, because it may help to take some of the strain off the heavily burdened Jewish communities.

The Reich Propaganda Ministry has totally prohibited the activities of the Kulturbund, closing its theater and cinema and assuming control of its treasury. The Kulturbund’s treasury was almost empty because 20,000 marks had been distributed to employes as a precautionary measure.

At the same time, the Propaganda Ministry ordered the Juedisches Nachrichtenblatt, German Jewry’s only newspaper, reduced to four pages to appear on Tuesdays and Fridays, instead of the former 12 to 16 pages, and intimated possible further reduction in size, perhaps total suspension.

Total liquidation of the Kulturbund’s affairs will probably be ordered next week, when stringent action by the Government is expected. The Kulturbund was formed under Government auspices to provide theatrical, moving picture and other entertainment for the Jews when they were prohibited from attending German entertainment houses.

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