Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Yorkville is Not Yet America

October 28, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

We read with interest the other day some of the thick Teutonic sentiments voiced at the Nazi meeting held in Madison Square Garden under the auspices of the United German Societies celebrating German Day. One fellow who thought that he was standing on the platform of the Sports-Palast in Berlin instead of New York, delivered himself of the following bit of pugnacious pomposity.

“Those who fight us must perish—socially as well as economically—because of our determination to destroy our enemies completely and without any consideration whatever.” Griebl was the name of this determined gentleman. One could fairly visualize this Griebl ecstatically though vicariously enjoyng the physical trampling underfoot of his enemies, the Jews, through the medium of this verbal Germanic orgasm.

In the Bronx, a few days later, another German-American delivered himself of the following: “I’m happy to preach race; there’s nothing better than the German race. As long as I’m able, I’m going to preach the doctrine of race and preach that the German is the cream of all races.” Zahne is the name of this modest German whose race humility, so tactfully proclaimed, will undoubtedly make a hit with the American people.

In Chicago, the other day, another German-American, the national “fuehrer” of the Friends of New Germany, referred derisively and with startling originality to the “chosen people of the kosher” (?) and again to “those who are supposed to be chosen people. I wonder who chose them?”, and called for a “unified force to counteract Jewish influence.” Schnuch is the name of this humorist whose brilliant sallies, however, fell far short of those of Zahne, who, at the Chicago meeting, referred to the “five million garlic eaters who are trying to run things in the United States.” The above are samples of the linguistic schrecklichkeit, bombast and billingsgate with which the Yorkville Nazi leaders have been regaling the American public in recent months.

They are masters of abuse, fist-shaking and invective, these Nazi lads. The propaganda of all the shirted political parties abroad is rich in colorful polemics but none has evolved so extensive and foul a propaganda vocabulary as the Nazis. Schimpfkunst is their forte. Their compatriots in Germany were evidently impressed by it. In the United States, however, and in other civilized countries, threats and abuse are not looked upon as good argument or good form. Distinctly they are regarded as bad taste and evidence of petulant impotence. Strong men are reserved and calm. Weaklings sputter and fume and throw verbal sticks and stones.

Jews should not permit themselves to be angered or frightened by such stage thunder and scurrility. Yorkville is not yet the United States, and the German-Americans—even all the seven millions of them—most of whom will have nothing to do with the Nazi extremists—are not yet the American people…. Some of their self-appointed spokesmen, hankering after political jobs, have been flaunting the numerical strength of the German-American group in the United States. With characteristic Nazi contempt for facts and figures they claim that the German-Americans constitute twenty, thirty, fifty, eighty percent of the American population…. And, of course, the German-Americans, discovered, explored, settled and developed America and are the true creators of American culture in the self same way as the Germans are the sole creators and monitors of European culture…. Some German-Americans have a way of hypnotizing themselves into delectable delusions—just like their brethren abroad.

Nevertheless, and in spite of all this braggadocio, they are not yet the American people. They discovered that in 1917…. The more recent German immigrants seem to have forgotten this. They may discover it again…. No national or racial group in American life can rant itself into any preferential position in our body politic. Furthermore, any hyphenated citizens in this country who place loyalty to the land of origin above loyalty to their adopted country, and who attempt to carry over into the New World the hatreds of the Old, and to stir up religious and racial strife among the American people which is a mosaic of so many races, peoples and religions, will come to certain grief,—brass, gall and verbal violence, notwithstanding….

America was not taken in by all the high-powered propaganda emanating from the Goebbels, the Goerings, and the Hanfstaengls in Germany. It is not being taken in by the stupid and insolent propaganda of the Griebls, the Schnuchs, and the Zahnes here at home. America was acquainted with the disloyal and treasonable acts and attitudes of this element during the World War and dealt with it then. It will know how to deal with it again….

It is clear that the anti-Semitic propaganda of these alien and hyphenated Germans in the United States has only begun. It will be kept up as long as the Nazis remain in power in Germany. Some of these propagandists are outspoken pogrom-mongers. They are putting their kinsmen in uniform and training them with rifles for some longed-for day of future reckoning. They talk with great relish about some great “Purge” which will take place in the United States similar to Hitler’s “Purge” of last June. They have already become bold enough to break up a public hearing conducted by a committee appointed by the Congress of the United States….

If these gentlemen are really looking for trouble, the Jews of the United States should be prepared to give it to them. Policy and wisdom dictate that our American Jewish youth should be trained in self-defense. In unsettled times it is far more important that our youth should be receiving the necessary training in athletic and sport groups than in debating societies…. In unsettled times, a Jewish Governor or a Jewish President of the Board of Aldermen or influential friends in exalted places are of no help at all. But a trained and disciplined host of a hundred thousand Jews ready to respond to a quick emergency is a reasonable argument which even Yorkville can understand….

Such physical preparedness against pogrom-mongers will save the largest Jewish community in the world from those frequent waves of hysteria which have been sweeping over it in the last few months, and from such blundering affairs as that of the “Black Hitler.”… Instead of giving this Barnum-and-Bailey African showman the grand order of the boot, a frenzied Jewish press (with an eye, perhaps, to circulation) built him up into a dreadful ogre—another Hitler—and his shadow was cast by nationally syndicated articles across every Jewish community in the United States. And the affair was allowed to end in a disgraceful judicial fiasco….

Training and preparedness rather than hysteria, protest meetings, and linguistic tournaments, are clearly indicated:

And the boycott!…

Recommended from JTA