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Huge Purge of Jewish Officials Reported from East Germany

September 21, 1953
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Communists in East Germany have secretly renewed their anti-Semitic campaign, purging the last handful of government officials of Jewish origin, dissolving the operations of Jewish community organizations and jailing hundreds of others, the American Jewish Committee charged today.

The AJC report declares that the Jewish population of East Germany has dwindled to a few hundred from a high of about 5,000 as most of the Jewish leaders have been purged, have fled or have been sent to Soviet slave labor camps.

“The Jewish communities have been broken up to a point where they have ceased functioning,” the report asserts. “Vicious public diatribes against ‘Zionism’ and ‘cosmopolitanism’ are the order of the day. All Jews and half-Jews are registered in special police rosters, barred from most jobs and many of them already have been sent to Soviet slave labor camps.”

Among those reported purged by the East German Communist Government are: Alexander Aubsch, executive secretary of the Cultural League; Herbert Grunstein, Deputy Inspector-General of the People’s Police; Peter Florin, chief of the People’s Democracies Desk in the Foreign Ministry; Albert Hirsch, the government’s advisor on Jewish affairs; George Honigmann, editor of “BZ Am Abend,” largest afternoon newspaper; Ernest Ichenhauser, editor of the official educational magazine, “Die Neue Schule.”

Also, Hans Jakobus, editor of “Deutsches Sportecho,” largest sports magazine; Max Kahane, managing editor of ADN, East German news agency; Grete Keilson, head of the International Relations Department of the Communist Party; Max Keilson, chief of the Soviet desk in the Foreign Ministry; Hans Mark, executive secretary of the Society for German-Soviet Friendship; Dr. Leo Mendel, division chief in the Ministry of Health; Albert Norden, top aide in the Office of Information.

Also, Bruno Wolf, head of the Education and Religious Affairs Department of the Communist Party. Rudolf Herrnstadt, editor-in-chief of “Neues Deutschland,” official organ of the Communist Party in East Germany; Herman Axen, Central Committeeman of the Party Secretariat; Bernd Weinberger, Minister for Production; Dr. Bruno Raphael, chief of the European Desk, Foreign Ministry.

The AJC report comments that “the Grunsteins, the Hernstadts and the Axens do not rate our sympathy as Jews or as human beings. They were never Jews in any sense. In their careers, they outraged every canon of democracy and decency. They are important as pawns, whose sacrifice by the skillful chess player reveals something about his intentions.”

The report contains a complete list of Jewish community leaders who fled westward during the last eight months, including six of the seven heads of the provincial communities. These include: Julius Meyer, president of the Association of Jewish Communities in the “German Democratic Republic;” Dr. Fritz Grunsfeld, vice-president; Leo Eisenstaedt, secretary general; Dr. Hans Freund, Hermann Hirschberg and Heinz Cols, leaders of the East Berlin Jewish Community.

Also, Salo Looser, president of the Leipzig Jewish community; Leo Lowenkopf, president of the Dresden community; Gunther Singer, president of the Erfurt community; Horst Karliner, president of the Magdeburg community; Leon Zamojre, president of the Halle community; Walter Kappel, president of the Eisenbech community.

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