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Nazis Dissolve B’nai B’rith, Seize All Property

April 21, 1937
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The International Order B’nai B’rith was under prohibition throughout Germany today, its lodges closed and its property, including buildings, confiscated by the authorities.

The prohibition, accompanied by a series of raids by the Gestapo on homes of members yesterday in which 80 persons were reported arrested for a day in Berlin alone, was followed by new anti-Jewish measures.

These measures, according to the Havas News Agency, ban Jewish classes in Hebrew and all other living languages. The moves were interpreted here as retaliation for recent anti Hitler propaganda, such as the manifesto of the “Liberty Party,” for which Jews resident in Germany are held by the Nazis to be responsible, Havas said.

The United Press quoted the Propaganda Ministry as announcing B’nai B’rith had been dissolved because it “tolerated a member who was engaged in Communistic propaganda.” The member specified, a former member of the Prussian Diet, was arrested and held for a few hours, but was then released, according to the statement.

A New York Times dispatch said that among the more than 80 persons arrested in Berlin were Rabbi Leo Baeck, president of the Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland, and several heads of women’s auxiliaries. They were released after a day’s close questioning at Gestapo headquarters. Reports from the provinces indicated similar action had been taken in all cities were B’nai B’rith lodges existed.

The reason for the drastic action against B’nai B’rith, the Times said, was obvious from the nature of the questions put to the arrested officers. They were concerned principally with connection of the lodge with similar organizations abroad, especially the United States. The intimation was given that the Gestapo held the Jewish organizations principally responsible for anti-German campaigns in America.

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