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The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black – Chapter 1
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By Edwin Black
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CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 1
The Powers That Were
SHOCK WAVES rumbled through the world on January 30, 1933.
The leader of a band of political hooligans had suddenly become
chief of a European state. Before January 30, 1933, the repressive
ideology of the National Socialist German Workers Party-NSDAPhad
been resisted by the German government. That would all
change now.
Hitler had become chancellor of Germany-a shock, but no surprise.
The November 1932 general elections were held amid public
hysteria over Germany’s economic depression. Despite expensive
emergency make-work programs, more than 5 million people were
still unemployed on election eve. In some areas the jobless rate
was 75 percent. More than 17 million persons-about a third of the
entire population-were dependent upon a welfare stipend equivalent
to a few dollars per family per month. Such families knew hungry
nights once or twice weekly. Destitute people slept in the streets.
The memory of closed or defaulted banks was fresh. The Nazis
blamed the Jews and sought voter support through street violence
against Jewish members of Germany’s urban middle class.
But the November 1932 election was indecisive. Hitler’s party
received only a third of the vote, about 12 million ballots. Then a
coalition government was blocked by Hitler’s refusal to share power
with the Socialists, who controlled 20 percent of the vote, and the
Communists, who controlled 17 percent. Finally, in exasperation, on
January 30, 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg exercised his
emergency powers, appointing Herr Adolf Hitler interim chancellor.
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The Nazis had promised that upon assuming power they would
rebuild Germany’s economy, dismantle its democracy, destroy
German Jewry, and establish Aryans as the master race-in that
order. Yet many Western leaders saw only the economic value of
Nazism. Hitler seemed the only alternative to a Communist state, a
man who might rebuild the German economy and pay Germany’s
debts. That would be good for all Western economies. As for the
threat to Germany’s Jews, that was domestic German affair.(1)
Therefore, if the world’s governments would not act, it would fall to
the influential Jews of America to save their brethren in Germany.
With the ability to be heard, the Jews of America, especially in New
York, could mobilize economic and political pressure against
Germany that would make war against the Jews a campaign of
national suicide.
American Jewish muscle was not a sudden imagined power. For
nearly a century, American Jews had been using economic
pressure and protest to beat back anti-Semitic outrages throughout
the world. But this time the American Jewish community would fail.
That failure was tied to the so-called Big Three defense groups: the
American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith, and the American Jewish
Congress.
Both the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith were founded
by well-to-do German Jews with a special outlook. Like other
European Jews, the Germans immigrated en masse following the
political upheavals of the mid-nineteenth century. But unlike their
East European counterparts, the Germans clung to their original
national identity, and were economically more established.
Moreover, many German Jews believed they were so called
Hofjuden, or courtly Jews, and that coreligionists from Poland and
Russia were “uncivilized” and embarrassing. The bias was best
summarized in a June 1894 German-American Jewish newspaper,
the Hebrew Standard, which declared that the totally acclimated
American Jew is closer to “Christian sentiment around him than to
the Judaism of these miserable darkened Hebrews”. (2)
Having achieved a secure standing in America, the German Jews
organized essentially to protect their position from any “Jewish
problems” that might appear. In 1843, in a small cafe on New York’s
Lower East Side, twelve German Jewish leaders founded B’nai
B’rith as a benevolent fraternal organization. By aiding the Jewish
poor, they hoped to remove any Jewish welfare burden that could
arouse Christian anti-Semitism. In the 1880s, after hordes of
impoverished East European Jews flooded America, B’nai B’rith
accepted these newcomers as lodge members, but largely to
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“manage” the East European Jewish presence in the United States.
(3)
In 1906, as Czar Nicholas continued his anti-Semitic pogroms, men
like Jacob Schiff, Louis Marshall, and Cyrus Adler went beyond
philanthropy and constituted the American Jewish Committee.
These powerful men would now function as a special lobby
concerned with political problems important to Jews. The
Committee initially limited its membership to roughly sixty prominent
men, led by about a dozen central personalities from the realms of
publishing, finance, diplomacy, and the law. (4) As individuals, they
had already proven themselves combating hotels and other
institutions that discriminated against Jews. Once united as the
American Jewish Committee, they waged effective private
economic war against the Russian monarchy. Their motives were
not based on concern for East European Jews, but rather on a solid
opposition to organized Jew hatred anywhere in the world.
But in 1933 things would be different. Quick as they were to oppose
anti-Semitism in foreign lands, Germany held a special place in the
hearts of Committee leaders. A foreshadowing of just how
emotionally paralyzed the Committee would become in a crisis
involving their ancestral home was amply displayed during the early
years of World War I. Committee stalwarts were torn between their
loyalties to the German Fatherland and America’s popular
allegiance to France and Britain. In 1915, Committee cofounder
Jacob Schiff articulated his conflict in a note to German banker Max
Warburg: “I still cherish the feeling of filial devotion for the country in
which my fathers and forefathers lived, and in which my own cradle
stood-a devotion which imbues me with the hope that Germany
shall not be defeated in this fearful struggle.”(5) Committee
members’ open support for Germany against Russia did not alter
until the United States actually entered the war.
Popular Jewish disenchantment over Committee policies and the
known Hofjuden prejudice against the Jewish multitudes had long
alienated America’s East European Jewish community.
Increasingly, the Jewish majority saw the gentlemen of the
American Jewish Committee as benevolent despots, not entitled to
speak for them.(6) In response a number of national and regional
Jewish organizations gathered in Philadelphia in June 1917 and
affiliated into the American Jewish Congress. Proving their
democratic character, 335,000 Jewish ballots from across the
nation were cast. Three hundred delegates were elected and an
additional one hundred appointed, representing thirty national
Jewish organizations.(7)
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After the war, the question of who would represent Jewish interests
at the Peace Conference was bitterly contested. A delegation
cutting across Committee and Congress lines finally did assemble
at Versailles. But the Committee split off from other American
Jewish groups negotiating Jewish rights when-in the Committee
view-the proposed rights went “too far.” Specifically, when
Versailles mapmakers were redrawing boundaries based on
religious, linguistic, and other ethnic affinities, popular Jewish
sentiment demanded to be counted among the minority groups
targeted for self- determination. That meant a Jewish homeland in
Palestine-Zionism.(8)
Committee leaders were repulsed by Zionism. In their view, a
refuge in Palestine would promote Jewish expulsions from countries
where Jews lived and enjoyed roots. Anti-Semitic regimes could
point to Palestine and claim, “You belong there in your own
nation.”(9) However, majority Jewish sentiments won out at
Versailles, assuring a Jewish homeland in Palestine, with
stipulations preserving Jewish rights in other countries.
American Jewish Congress leaders returned from Versailles in
triumph. They had helped create a Jewish homeland, as well as
secure international guarantees for minorities in Europe. In the early
1920s, the Congress solidified its popular Jewish support, thereby
becoming the third of the so-called Big Three.
By 1933, the Congress stood as the most representative and
outspoken Jewish defense organization. In contrast, B’nai B’rith
functioned as little more than a fraternal order (except for its
autonomous Anti-Defamation League). And the Committee, in 1933,
basically represented the interests of about three hundred and fifty
prominent Jewish members. Nonetheless, the Committee and B’nai
B’rith-which often acted as a binary lobby-were respected,
influential, and adequately financed, with access to the most
powerful circles of American government and business. By
comparison, the Congress, despite its vast membership, constantly
struggled for funds and for recognition. While the Committee and
B’nai B’rith generally chose quiet, behind-the-scenes methods,
Congress people-predominantly East Europeans-were accustomed
to attention-getting protests.(10)
Yet, all were Jews, drawn from a common heritage. And as of
January 30, 1933, there arose a clear need to unify to combat the
greatest single anti-Jewish threat ever posed. Hitler promised not
only to rid Germany of its Jews, but to cleanse the world as well.
Action by America’s Jews was required-fast action.
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As Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party was taking over Germany, as the
German Jews of New York were dominating the American Jewish
political scene, so too, would Germans and Germany now
determine the realities in a small undeveloped stretch of desert by
the sea known as Palestine. For hundreds of years, the area had
been the kingdom of the Jews. After the Israelites’ dispersion in the
second century A.D., the Romans changed the region’s name to
Syria Palaestina to wipe away the Jewish nation forever. Small
groups of Jews had remained through the centuries in what became
known simply as Palestine, but not until the late nineteenth century,
following waves of European anti-Semitism, did large numbers of
Jews begin an experimental return to their ancestral home.
Agricultural settlements repeatedly failed in Palestine as Jewish
idealists and dreamers tried to force the sandy and swampy
wasteland to bloom. But with the steady help of European and
American Jewish philanthropists, the Jewish agricultural revival
finally began to triumph over the neglected Palestinian terrain.(11)
By the time airplanes were flying over the Mideast, the future of
Jews in Palestine could be seen as green patches against a
bleached beige backdrop. The green patches marked orange
groves, the economic basis for Jewish survival in the Holy Land.
When the young workers came from Russia, Poland, and even the
United States, they were frequently settled on groves to grow
oranges and other citrus for export. (12) Orange crates became the
building blocks of Zionism.
Promising as those orange groves were, Jewish Palestine in 1933
was still little more than a collection of unconnected enclaves
between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The nearly
200,000 Jews living in Palestine accounted for only 19 percent of
the population. If the enclaves were to grow into an actual
homeland and fulfill the promise of God, Abraham, and Balfour, the
orange groves would have to prosper. For that, more hands and
more lands were needed.
But in 1933, Jewish prosperity in Palestine was in danger of
shutting down. In a tense world, the British were once again making
strategic plans for the Middle East. These plans were dependent
upon the Arab potentates England had been stringing along for a
decade with conflicting promises of Arab nationalism in Palestine.
So Palestinian immigration regulations had been pointedly revised a
few years earlier. Severe quotas now applied to all Jewish
immigrant categories, except the so-called capitalist settler with
proof of £1,000 (about $5,000) in hand.(13)
Few Palestine-bound Jews possessed that much money. Most were
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poor European workers. Moreover, the “worker immigrant” quota
itself was limited by “absorptive capacity” or the ability of the
Palestinian economy to expand and provide new jobs. In this way
existing Arab jobs theoretically would no longer be threatened by
new Jewish arrivals. The British didn’t really expect the Palestinian
economy to grow, because quotas restricted immigration for all but
the wealthier Jews, and the great majority of wealthy Jews were
uninterested in emigrating to Palestine. With little or no new capital,
the Jewish economy in Palestine would stagnate.
At the same time, the message to the world was clear. What began
as a private campaign of violence against Jews was now, under
Hitler, the unofficial policy of the day. Jews were murdered in their
homes, daughters were raped before parents’ eyes, rabbis were
humiliated in the street, prominent leaders were found floating in the
canals and rivers. As early as the first days after Hitler’s surprise
appointment as interim chancellor, the message was indeed clear to
those who would pay attention: The Jews of Germany were facing
an hourglass, and time was slipping away.
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NOTES
1. Arthur D. Morse, While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American
Apathy (New York: Ace, 1968), 101; John Fox, “Great Britain and
the Jews, 1933,” Wiener Library Bulletin XXVI (nos. 1-2 [1972], nos.
26-27): 40-46; telegram, “The Secretary of State to the Chargé in
Germany (Gordon),” FRUS (1933) II: 337; “Joint Statement by
President Roosevelt and the German Representative (Schacht),”
FRUS (1933) I: 505; see Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull
(New York: Macmillan, 1948), I: 231, 383; also see Hull, Memoirs,
II: 978; see Naomi Cohen, Not Free to Desist: The American Jewish
Committee, 1906-1966 (Philadelphia: JPSA,1972), 162; “Hull
Obtains Consul’s Data on Jews,” Chicago Sunday Tribune, Mar. 26,
1933. BACK TO TOP
2. Nathan Schachner, The Price of Liberty: A History of the
American Jewish Committee (New York: AJC, 1948), Eric E.
Hirshler, “Jews From Germany in the United States,” Jews from
Germany in the United States, ed. Eric E. Hirshler (New York:
Farrar, Straus and Cuddahy, 1955), 72-75; Moses Rischin, The
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Promise City: New York’s Jews 1870-1914 (Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard, 1977), 95-98; HS, June 15, 1894, as quoted in Rischin, 97;
Edward E. Grusb, B’nai B’rith: The Story of a Covenant (N.Y.:
Appleton-Century, 1966), vii, 12-23, 89-90, 113, 125. BACK TO
TOP
3. Edward E. Grusd, B’nai B’rith: The Story of a Covenant (New
York: Appleton-Century, 1966), vii, 12-23, 89-90, 113, 125. BACK
TO TOP
4. Cohen, Not Free, 15-17; Schachner, 25-26. BACK TO TOP
5. Letter, Jacob Schiff to Max Warburg, Nov 5, 1915, cited in Cyrus
Adler, Jacob H. Schiff: His Life and Letters (Garden City, New York:
Doubleday, Doran, 1928), II: 190-91; see letter, Jacob Schiff to
Alfred Zimmermann, Nov. 9, 1914, cited in Isaiah Friedman,
Germany, Turkey and Zionism, 1897-1918 (Oxford: Clarendon,
1977), 205; see Adler, Schiff, II: 181-82; Cyrus Adler, Jacob H.
Schiff: His Life and Letters (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran,
1928) II: 190-91 BACK TO TOP
6. Stephen Wise, Challenging Years: The Autobiography of
Stephen Wise (New York: Putnam, 1949), 202-5; Rosenstock, 53-
54; Frommer, 67, 528-529; Schachner, 28. BACK TO TOP
7. Ibid., 205-6. BACK TO TOP
8. Ibid., 207; Morton Rosenstock, Louis Marshall, Defender of
Jewish Rights (Detroit: Wayne State, 1962), 52-53; see Cohen, Not
Free, 102-19; also see letter, Jacob Schiff to Solomon Schechter,
Sept. 22, 1907, and assorted writings of Jacob Schiff, 1915-1920,
cited in Adler, Schiff, II: 166-69, 296-98, 307-20. BACK TO TOP
9. Rosenstock, 52-53; see Cohen, Not Free, 102-19; also see letter,
Jacob Schiff to Solomon Schechter, Sept. 22, 1907, and assorted
writing of Jacob Schiff, 1915-1920, cited in Adler, Schiff, II: 166-69,
296-98, 307-20. BACK TO TOP
10. Grusd, 185-86, 194-97; Schachner, 109-14; Morris Frommer,
“The American Jewish Congress: A History, 1914-1950,” (unpub.
Ph.D. diss., Ohio State, 1978) 37, 58, 60, 322, 337-41; Cohen, Not
Free, 5, 20-21, 155, 193; see Andre Manners, Poor Cousins (New
York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1972), 275-77. BACK TO
TOP
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11. Palestine Royal Commission, Report of the Palestine Royal
Commission (London: HMSO, 1937), 2-5; Esco Palestine Study
Committee, Palestine: A Study of Jewish, Arab and British Policies
(New Haven: Yale, 1947), I: 17-18, 54, 333, 338-40, 366-81; Esco,
II: 686-90; “Israel,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem: Ketter,
1972) IX: 248. BACK TO TOP
12. Yehuda Chorin, Citrus in Israel (Tel Aviv: Israel Periodicals,
1966), 26-27; Sophie A. Udin, ed., The Palestine Year Book 5706:
Review of Events, July 1944 to July 1945, I (Washington, D.C.:
ZOA, 1945), 209-10; see “Minutes of Conversation on Jewish Labor
in Offices of the Histadrut in T.A.,” Jan. 4, 1933, BPM at AJA;
Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York: Holt, Rinehart and
Winston, 1972), 308, 315, 316. BACK TO TOP
13. See Nicholas Bethell, The Palestine Triangle: The Struggle for
the Holy Land, 1935-48 (New York: Putnam, 1979), 24; see “British
Policy in Palestine, 1922,” (Churchill White Paper), cited in Esco, I:
282-84; Esco, I: 256, 315-18; Esco II: 645-48, 653-54; Great Britain
Colonial Office, Palestine and Trans-Jordan for the Year 1932
(London: HMSO, 1933), 24-27; see “Immigration to Palestine with
Reference to German Jewish Refugees,” PRO-FO 371/16767-
1527, pp. 58-60. BACK TO TOP
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Copyright © 1999 – 2004 by Edwin Black
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright hereon may be used in any form or by any means–graphic, electronic
or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems–without the written permission of
the publisher.
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Banking on Baghdad
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War Against the Weak
By Edwin Black
from
Carroll & Graf
CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 2
The Ideological Struggle
REACTIONS to Nazi anti-Semitism were immediate, especially in
America, reflecting the cross-sectional anger of ordinary people.
Naturally, Jewish Americans were at the vanguard. That was a
problem for many in Jewish leadership who considered Jewish
protest their private province.
On February 22, 1933, B’nai B’rith president Alfred Cohen
convened a special conference of fifteen Jewish leaders, five from
each of the Big Three. Meeting in New York, the leaders reviewed
the situation.(1) Thus far, Hitler was nothing more than an interim
chancellor appointed until the next general elections scheduled for
March 5. By March 5, Hitler might be gone. But if the election
increased Hitler’s voter support from a minority 33 percent to an
actual majority, he would control the entire German government.
The conference was divided. Two of the American Jewish Congress
representatives had discussed a series of public protests, here and
abroad, to show the German people that the world was indeed
watching and that Brownshirt violence against Jews must stop. The
men of B’nai B’rith didn’t want to endanger its 13,000-member
German organization or its 103 fraternal lodges in Germany by
publicly antagonizing Hitler and the Nazis. The Committee
leadership had close friends and relatives in Germany who had
advised that public protest would surely provoke a far stronger Nazi
counteraction. Finally, the leaders agreed to establish a “Joint
Conference Committee” merely to “watch developments in
Germany very carefully” and hope for the best.(2)
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But as the gathering broke up with an apparent trilateral agreement
to keep mum, the Congress people planned otherwise. They hadn’t
told the B’nai B’rith or the Committee representatives, but two
weeks earlier the Congress had secretly decided to pursue the path
of protest.(3)
On February 27, 1933, the Hitler takeover began. Hitler himself was
attending a party at Propaganda Minister Paul Joseph Goebbels’
Berlin apartment. A frantic telephone call to Goebbels relayed the
news: ” “The Reichstag is burning!” The Nazis snapped into action.
During that night Hitler and Goebbels prepared a propaganda
campaign. By the next morning, the German public was convinced
that the fire-which Hitler’s own people probably ignited-was in fact
the beginning of a Jewish-backed Communist uprising. Hitler
demanded and received temporary powers suspending all
constitutional liberties.
The Nazis were riding a wave of anti-Jewish, anti-Communist
hysteria. In the name of defending the nation from a Communist
revolution, Hitler’s private militia-the storm Troopers, or SA, together
with rank-and-file party Brownshirts-destroyed editorial offices,
brutalized political opponents, and increased atrocities against
Jews. Through it all, Nazi-dominated local police forces looked the
other way. The apparatus of law and order in Germany had been
suddenly switched off.
One week before the Reichstag fire, Hitler had met with over a
dozen leading industrialists to assure them that nothing was as
important to the Nazis as rebuilding the German economy. This was
to be the foundation of a strong, rearmed Germany, which, under
Hitler, would prepare for war and racial domination. All Hitler wanted
from the gathered industrialists was their financial support in the
days preceding the March 5 general election. Before the meeting
was over roughly $1 million was pledged to establish an
unparalleled propaganda war chest, all to be spent over the next
two weeks. With that prodigious sum, the Nazis were able to
saturate every newspaper and radio station, dispatch pamphleteers
to every city, and flood the streets of Germany with sound trucks
blaring election propaganda. Under Hitler’s emergency powers, only
Nazis were permitted to rally voter support.
Yet when the March 5 votes were counted, the Nazis were still
unable to muster a majority. Despite the biggest campaign blitz in
history, Hitler polled only 43.9 percent of the vote. Only after sealing
alliances with other right-wing parties did Hitler achieve a slim
majority. Nevertheless, he called it a “mandate” and promised to
quickly eradicate the enemies of Germany: Communism,
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democracy, and the Jews.
As the polls were opening March 5, the largest Jewish organization
in Germany, the Central Verein in Berlin, issued a statement: “In
meetings and certain newspapers, violence against Jews is
propagated… The spirit of hated now directed against the Jews will
not halt there. It will spread and poison the soul of the German
people.” When local Nazi party activists learned of the statement,
Storm Troopers vandalized the Central Verein office. Worried about
the impact of such news among anti-Nazi circles in New York, Nazi
leader Hermann Goering summoned Central Verein leaders to his
office for a formal apology and assurances that the incident would
be the last.(4)
But within days, Germany’s dark future became clear. On March 8
and 9, Hitler’s Storm Troopers smashed into the provinces and
towns. Within forty-eight hours, provincial authority was virtually
disassembled and replaced with Hitler’s hand-chosen people. At the
same time, the Nazis began attaching party observers or
kommissars to all major newspapers, companies, and
organizations. Carefully orchestrated anti-Jewish actions in Essen,
Magdeburg, and Berlin accompanied the takeover. In some cases,
Nazi flags were merely raised over Jewish store entrances and
owners “voluntarily” closed. In other cases, windows were
shattered, stench bombs rolled in, customers escorted out, and
proprietors manhandled.(5)
The Nazis now controlled not only the federal government, but state
and local governments as well. Virtually every institution was now
subject to Nazi party dicta and brought into readiness for the
achievement of Nazi social, political, and economic aspirations–
including the elimination of German Jewry. On March 9, Central
Verein leaders returned to Goering’s Berlin office. He again used
reassuring words to downplay the anti-Jewish incidents.(6) And the
Central Verein wanted to believe.
In New York City, however, the Jews were more realistic. On March
12, the American Jewish Congress leadership convened a threehour
session and voted to commence a national program of highly
visible protests, parades, and demonstrations. The centerpiece of
the protest would be a giant anti-Nazi rally March 27, at Madison
Square Garden. An emergency meeting of regional and national
Jewish organizations was set for March 19 to work out the details.
(7)
Before the group adjourned, Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, a Congress
vice-president, spoke a few words of warning to Germany for the
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newsmen present. Threatening a bitter boycott, Tenenbaum said,
“Germany is not a speck on Mars. It is a civilized country, located in
the heart of Europe, relying on friendly cooperation and commercial
intercourse with the nations of the world…. A bellum judaicum-war
against the Jews-means boycott, ruin, disaster, the end of German
resources, and the end of all hope for the rehabilitation of Germany,
whose friends we have not ceased to be.” Measuring his final words
carefully, Tenenbaum spoke sternly, “May God save Germany from
such a national calamity.”(8) The protest would begin-American
Jewish Committee or no American Jewish Committee.
The next day, March 13, American Jewish Committee leaders were
startled to learn of the Congress’ protest decision. The Committee
called an urgent meeting of the Big Three for the following day
under the aegis of the “Joint Conference Committee.” The top
leadership of the Congress attended, led by Rabbi Stephen S.
Wise, the Congress’ founder, currently serving as its honorary
president. The hierarchy of the Committee and B’nai B’rith were at
the meeting as well. The Committee’s intent was to abort any
Congress protest and forestall Congress attempts to contact
“Washington circles.”(9)
As the conference began, the Congress people defended their
decision to rally at Madison Square Garden. They saw Hitler’s bold
provincial takeover and the accompanying violence against Jews as
a threat that could no longer be ignored. Nazi rhetoric was turning
into action at a frightening rate. And the Congress’ national affiliates
were demanding an immediate response, including a
comprehensive boycott of all German goods and services.(10)
Wise added that he had been in touch with Supreme Court Justice
Louis Brandeis, a leading American Zionist and one of Wise’s close
personal friends. The advice was to delay a direct appeal to newly
sworn-in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was
preoccupied with America’s Depression and a calamitous banking
crisis. But Brandeis did feel that ultimately the matter should be
brought to the ear of FDR personally.(11)
Those Congress leaders most favoring the path of protest and even
boycott pleaded that only economic retaliation frightened the Nazis.
Even Nazi party leaders had admitted Hitler’s strength rested on the
German public’s expectation of economic improvement.(12)
Committee leader David Bressler scorned all protest ideas, insisting
that any such moves would only instigate more harm than help for
the German Jews. The committee’s reluctance was based upon
urgent communications from prominent Jewish families to kill any
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anti-German protest or boycott. German Jewish leaders were
convinced that the German public would abandon the Nazis once
the economy improved. And even if Hitler remained in power,
German Jewish leaders felt some compromise would be struck to
provide Jewish cooperation for economic convalescence. Hitler
might then quietly modify, or set aside, his anti-Semitic campaign.
(13)
Wise was also reluctant to move on a boycott, but insisted that a
joint protest statement be issued and efforts commence with the
new administration in Washington. There could be no more delay.
Bressler rejected this and castigated the Congress for even
releasing its March 12 protest decision to the press. A Conservative
Congress leader, Nathan Perlman, tried to assure the Committee
people that the protest policy would be overruled or delayed at a
meeting of the Congress’ Administrative Committee later that night.
But Wise advised against second-guessing the Administrative
Committee, suggesting instead that for now, the three major
organizations agree on a joint statement and a Washington plan.
American Jewish Committee Secretary Morris Waldman interrupted
and declared that any trilateral action would hinge on the
Congress’s protest decision. Wise accepted that proviso.(14)
The Committee delegates were cautiously reassured. Immediately
following the meeting they dispatched a telegram to B’nai B’rith
president Alfred Cohen, in Cincinnati: “CONFERENCE THREE
ORGANIZATIONS GERMAN SITUATION…DISCOURAGING
INDEPENDENT ACTION JEWISH GROUPS THROUGHOUT
COUNTRY.”(15)
But within hours, the Committee learned that its efforts had failed.
The Congress’ Administrative Committee had rejected the
conservative position and by a vast majority opted for visible, vocal
protest highlighted by the March 27 Madison Square Garden rally.
The next morning, March 15, American Jewish Committee secretary
Morris Waldman telephoned Congress vice-president W. W. Cohen
to inform him that the Committee-B’nai B’rith binary would
disassociate itself from the Congress-indeed from any anti-Nazi
protest. Waldman then sent a telegram to Alfred Cohen in
Cincinnati telling him to fly to New York to help plan countermoves
to any organized Jewish protest against Hitler.(16) In that moment,
the “Joint Conference Committee” was dissolved.
While the Big Three were arguing over whether to protest Hitlerism,
smaller Jewish organizations were already committed to action. For
these smaller organizations, closer to the Jewish masses, the
debate was whether or not the Jews should unleash a
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comprehensive boycott against Germany as the best means of
protest. In pursuit of that answer, the militant Jewish War veterans
held a fiery session in New York the evening of March 18.(17)
Shouts for and against a boycott bounced back and forth as the
delegates debated how far the protest against Hitler should actually
go. Speeches, interruptions, calls to order, and sporadic applause
stretched the meeting well past midnight with no decision. Unable to
make their deadlines, the press went home. Finally, to break the
deadlock, Benjamin Sperling of Brooklyn, formally moved that the
Jewish War Veterans organize a vigorous national boycott of all
German goods, services, and shipping lines. The yells in favor were
abundant, but the presiding officer insisted on a formal vote, and
with a flurry of excitement the boycott was unanimously adopted.
(18) It was done so in accordance with the JWV’s charter: “To
combat the sources of bigotry and darkness; wherever originating
and whatever their target; to uphold the fair name of the Jew and
fight his battle wherever unjustly assailed.”
History thus records that in an era distinguished by appeasement,
the Jewish War Veterans were the very first, anywhere in the world,
to declare openly their organized resistance to the Nazi regime.
They had fought Germany once and would fight again. This small
association of ex-warriors, mostly men of little finesse and even less
pretense, would no longer be bound by the Jewish hierarchy.
The gentlemen of the JWV felt especially obligated to persevere
that night. They wanted to present their boycott movement as a
“fact” that would inspire the other 1,500 representatives of Jewish
organizations meeting the following day to consider the dimensions
of the American Jewish Congress call to protest. Indeed, a JWV
protest march was already planned, as was a boycott office, a
publicity campaign, and a fund-raising effort.(19) The Veterans
wanted to be sure that when the March 19 emergency conference
convened, the word boycott would be an established term in the
language of confrontation with the Nazis.
But that same day, Nazi, Jewish and Zionist interests were anxious
to stillbirth the protest movement before it could breathe life. A Paris
conference, called by a group of European Jewish organizations
analogous to the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith, tried
to stifle the growing protest movement on the Continent inspired by
the American Jewish Congress. The Committee was unable to
attend the sudden conference, but did telephone their concerns to
the meeting. The Parisian conference unanimously decided that
public protest by Jews was “not only premature but likely to be
useless and even harmful.(20) Committee people in New York
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could now tell the Congress that Jewish organizations closest to the
trouble in Europe agreed that there should be no public agitation
against Hitler.
March 19, 1933 was also the day that the swastika was unfurled
over German consulates in Jerusalem and Jaffa. Germany
maintained the two consulates in Palestine as part of its normal
diplomatic relations with Great Britain. Angry Tel Aviv Jews
prepared to storm the consulates and burn the new German flag.
But Zionist leaders were afraid to provoke the Nazis, lest Berlin
suddenly clamp down on Zionist organizing and fund-raising
activities in Germany. In Jerusalem, Jewish Agency Executive
Committee member Dr. Werner Senator dispatched a letter about
the flag-raising to the Zionist Organization in London. Senator
explained that Zionist leaders were working with the British
Mandatory authorities to defuse the problem “to avoid hostile
encounters, which would cause unpleasant repercussions for our
people in Germany.”(21)
In Berlin, the Hitler regime was clearly worried. Atrocity reports
covered the front pages of newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Der Forverts correspondent Jacob Leschinsky’s report from Berlin
was typical: “One can find no words to describe the fear and
despair, the tragedy that envelops the German Jews. They are
being beaten, terrorized, murdered and…compelled to keep quiet.
The Hitler regime flames up with anger because it has been forced
through fear of foreign public opinion to forego a mass slaughter….
It threatens, however, to execute big pogroms if Jews in other
countries make too much fuss about the pogroms it has hitherto
indulged in.” The dispatch was carried by The New York Times and
many other newspapers. Leschinsky, immediately after the
dispatch, was arrested and expelled.(22)
Atrocity scandals were complicating almost every attempt at the
German economic and diplomatic recovery Hitler desperately
needed to stay in power. The Jews of New York would have to be
stopped. Within a few days, the reconvened Reichstag was
scheduled to approve sweeping dictatorial powers enabling Hitler to
circumvent the legislature and rule by decree. But this talk of an
international Jewish-led boycott was frightening Germany’s
legislators. Such a boycott could disable German export industries,
affecting every German family. Goebbels expressed the Nazi fear in
his diary: “The horrors propaganda abroad gives us much trouble.
The many Jews who have left Germany have set all foreign
countries against us…. We are defenselessly exposed to the attacks
of our adversaries.” But as Nazi newspapers castigated German
Jewry for the protests of their landsmen overseas, German Jews
themselves responded with letters, transatlantic calls, and cables to
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stifle American Jewish objections to Hitler.
When the Congress’ emergency protest planning conference
convened on March 19 at New York’s Astor Hotel, Committee
representatives arrived with a prepared statement. It read: “It is only
natural for decent and liberal-minded men and women to feel
outraged at these occurrences and…to give public expression to
their indignation and abhorrence, (but) the American Jewish
Committee and the B’nai B’rith are convinced that the wisest and
the most effective policy for the Jews of America to pursue is to
exercise the same fine patience, fortitude and exemplary conduct
that have already overwrought feelings, but to act wisely, judiciously
and deliberately.(24)
These words of caution were emphatically rejected by the delegates
who well knew that the Committee had become a megaphone-via
friends and family relations-for Nazi pressure on the American anti-
German protest movement. Bernard S. Deutsch, Congress
president, set the meeting’s defiant tone: “The offices of the
American Jewish Congress are being flooded with messages from
all over the country demanding protest… We are met here to
translate this popular mandate into responsible, vigorous, orderly
and effective action,” Cries of approval bellowed from the crowd.
The protest motion was formally introduced: “This tragic hour in
Jewish history calls imperatively for the solidarity of the Jewish
people. And we American Jews are resolved to stand shoulder to
shoulder with our brother Jews in Germany in defense of their
rights, which are being grievously violated, and of their lives, which
are imperiled.(25)
The audience cheered. But from among the cheering delegates
stood up J. George Fredman, commander in chief of the Jewish
Was Veterans, who proudly announced his organization had
already-on its own initiative-commenced the national anti-Nazi
boycott. He urged fellow Jewish organizations to join and formally
called for a boycott amendment to the protest resolution.(26)
Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, the American Jewish Committee’s
representative at the rally, became livid. He stood up and insisted
that marches and meetings were improper and unproductive. He
advised quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy-as the Committee had
always done. The crowd booed and hissed. Undaunted, Proskauer
turned toward Fredman and condemned his boycott amendment as
“causing more trouble for the Jews in Germany by unintelligent
action.” Over waving hands and hostile jeering, he insisted on
placing into the record a message from another Committee stalwart,
Judge Irving Lehman, the brother of the governor of New York. In a
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voice struggling to be heard, Proskauer read Lehman’s letter: “I feel
that the [Madison Square Garden protest] meeting may add to the
dangers of the Jews in Germany…. I implore you in the name of
humanity, don’t let anger pass a resolution which will kill Jews in
Germany.” At this the crowd stormed their disapproval in English,
Yiddish, and Russian. The hotel meeting room became so unruly
that police had to be called to restore order.(27)
Stephen Wise stepped in to avoid total humiliation for the
Committee, which he still hoped would use its influence in
Washington. He offered to redraft the protest resolution, but the final
wording was virtually the same and still anathema to the
Committee. The date March 27 was approved, and Madison Square
Garden was ratified as the epicenter of a day of global anti-German
protest that would signal the beginning of mass Jewish resistance to
Hitler. But through Wise’s counsel, the Congress did not declare a
boycott. He felt the big inter-organizational boycott the Congress
could mount would be indeed the final nonviolent weapon. The time
had not yet come.(28)
But official Congress hesitation did not rule out outspoken unofficial
support for the Boycott movement. The very next day, March 20,
Congress vice president W. W. Cohen became inspired while
lunching at a fine German restaurant. When the waiter came by and
offered Cohen an imported Bavarian beer, Cohen suddenly became
enraged, and shouted “No!” The entire restaurant turned to Cohen,
who then pointedly asked for the check.(29)
Cohen left the restaurant and went directly to a Jewish War
Veterans’ boycott rally, where he proclaimed to an excited crowd,
“Any Jew buying one penny’s worth of merchandise made in
Germany is a traitor to his people. I doubt that the American
government can officially take any notice of what the German
government is doing to its own citizens. So our only line of
resistance is to touch German pocketbooks.”(30)
As W. W. Cohen was exhorting his fellow Americans to fight back
economically, the Jews of Vilna, Poland were proposing the
identical tactic. Poland contained Europe’s most concentrated
Jewish population, nearly 3.5 million, mainly residing in closely-knit
urban communities. They were economically and politically
cohesive, often militant. Bordering Hitler’s Germany, Polish Jewry
could organize an anti-Nazi boycott that would not only be
financially irritating to the Reich, but highly visible in central Europe.
The Jews of Vilna held a boycott rally on March 20, 1933. To recruit
added interpolitical and interfaith support, they incorporated their
boycott movement into the larger national furor over the Polish
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Corridor. Hitler, in his first days as chancellor, had hinted strongly
that Germany might occupy the Corridor to ensure the Reich’s
access to the free city of Danzig. German access via a corridor
traversing Poland and controlled by Poland was part of the
Versailles Treaty. Poland, unwilling to relinquish its Versailles
territorial rights, reacted defensively, and rumors of a preemptive
Polish invasion of Germany were rampant.(31)
By identifying their anti-Nazi boycott as national rather than
sectarian retaliation, the Vilna Jews sought to construct the model
for other worried Europeans. Vilna’s March 20 mass anti-Hitler rally
urged all Polish patriots and Jews throughout the world to battle for
Polish territorial defense by not buying or selling German goods.
The Jewish War veterans were no longer alone.(32)
As the former governor of New York, President Roosevelt was
attuned to the pulse of the Jewish constituency. The legends of
FDR’s strong friendship with Stephen Wise of the American Jewish
Congress were feared in Berlin. In truth, however, the Wise-
Roosevelt relationship by 1933 was strained. Two years earlier, in
his last face-to-face meeting with FDR, Rabbi Wise had presented
Governor Roosevelt with written charges against then New York
City Mayor Jimmy Walker. Roosevelt objected to Wise’s pejorative
manner that day and then lectured the rabbi about an earlier protest
on an unrelated issue. That was to be their last private conversation
for five years. Wise openly broke with Roosevelt in 1932 by backing
Democratic primary loser Alfred E. Smith for the presidential
nomination.(33) Berlin did not know it, but in March 1933, Wise was
reluctant to test his access to the White House.
Roosevelt himself had shown little official concern for the plight of
Germany’s Jews. Shortly before the inauguration in the first week of
March, one of Wise’s friends, Lewis Strauss, tried to convince
outgoing President Hoover and President-elect Roosevelt to send a
joint message of alarm to the German government. Although
Hoover sent word of his concern through the American ambassador
in Berlin, FDR refused to get involved.(34)
Yet Nazi atrocities intensified, as bannered each day in the press:
Midnight home invasions by Brownshirts forcing Jewish landlords
and employers at gunpoint to sign papers relenting in tenant or
employee disputes. Leading Jewish physicians kidnapped from their
hospitals, driven to the outskirts of town and threatened with death if
they did not resign and leave Germany. Dignified Jewish
businessmen dragged from their favorite cafes, savagely beaten
and sometimes forced to wash the streets.
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Wise felt he could wait no longer and on March 21, 1933, he led a
delegation of American Jewish Congress leaders to Washington. To
set the tone of his Washington efforts, Rabbi Wise released a
statement that effectively burned the last thread of hoped-for
cooperation with the Committee-B’nai B’rith binary. “The time for
caution and prudence is past,” Wise said. “We must speak up like
men. How can we ask our Christian friends to lift their voices in
protest against the wrongs suffered by Jews if we keep silent?”(35)
Seeking an audience with the president, Rabbi Wise telephoned the
White House and spoke with FDR’s executive assistant, Col. Louis
Howe. Howe remembered Wise unfavorably from the 1932 primary
campaign, but was nonetheless cordial. Wise mentioned that he
had delayed his visit for several weeks on the advice of Supreme
Court Justice Brandeis, whom he had checked with again that very
day. Howe answered that with Roosevelt preoccupied with the
nation’s catastrophic banking crisis, the time still wasn’t right. Howe
did promise, however, to have the president telephone the U.S.
delegate to the Geneva Disarmament Conference, who would raise
the subject with the Germans there.(36)
Wise and his group also testified before the House Immigration
Committee, urging a halt to restrictive procedures at U.S. visa
offices in Germany. German relatives of American Jews might then
be granted refuge in the United States. Obstructing that succor was
a so-called Executive Order issued by Herbert Hoover in 1930 at
the height of Depression woes. Actually, the order itself was only a
press release circulated to consular officials. Quite reasonably, the
presidential memo directed visa sections to stringently enforce a
paragraph of the 1924 Immigration Act barring indigent immigrants
who might become “public charges.” The paragraph was intended
to be waived for political refugees. However, consular officials,
some of them openly anti-Semitic, used the Hoover order to deny
visas to those legitimately entitled. In the past, the wrong
enforcement of the order had been of no grave consequence
because Germany’s immigration quota had been grossly underfilled.
(37) But now the need was urgent, especially for German Jewish
leaders targeted by Nazi activists. For them, procuring a visa was in
fact a matter of life or death.
Chairing the House Immigration Committee was New York
Representative Samuel Dickstein, a close friend of Rabbi Wise.
Dickstein responded to Wise’s testimony by introducing a House
resolution to nullify Hoover’s Executive Order. Dickstein also set
about the longer process of introducing a Congressional bill revising
immigration procedures in view of the new emergency.(38)
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Rabbi Wise also met with Undersecretary of State William Phillips.
Wise and the Congress people vividly described the brutalities
suffered by German Jews-many of them relatives of American
citizens, some of them actual U.S. citizens residing in Germany.
Wise made it clear that the Congress was leading a national anti-
Nazi movement to be launched by a countrywide day of protest,
March 27, focusing on a mass rally at Madison Square Garden. But
then Wise assured the State Department that he would not demand
American diplomatic countermeasures until the department could
verify the atrocity reports. Phillips felt this was reasonable. In his
press announcement, Phillips said, “Following the visit of Rabbi
Stephen S. Wise, the Department has informed the American
Embassy at Berlin of the press report of mistreatment of Jews in
Germany…[and] the deep concern these reports are causing in this
country. The Department has instructed the Embassy to make….a
complete report of the situation.”(39)
Rabbi Wise’s maneuver won him a triple achievement: First, he
appeared reasonable to the State Department; second, he
instigated an on-the-spot State Department investigation putting the
Reich on notice that the American government was studying her
anti-Semitic campaign; third, the State Department’s investigation
would provide independent, official confirmation that could not be
ignored. This would obligate the U.S. government to follow up
diplomatically. The U.S. Government was now involved in a conflict
it had sought to avoid.
Across the Atlantic, the Reich took notice of Wise’s visit to
Washington. Goebbels and other party leaders were convinced that
Rabbi Wise was the archetypal powerbrokering Jew who could
manipulate the U.S. Congress, the State Department, and even the
president.(40) Even as Wise was finishing his round of Washington
meetings, the Reich Foreign Office in Berlin dispatched a cable to
its consulate in New York denying “exaggerated (press) reports”
about “brutal mistreatments.” The cable denounced “opponents of
the present nation government” who are hoping that “well-organized
atrocity propaganda may undermine the reputation and authority of
the national government.” The statement added Hitler’s personal
assurance that future violence would be averted by tough new
police efforts.(41)
By 11:30 A.M. the next day, March 22, German Ambassador
Friedrich von Prittwitz called on the State Department. Offering a
Goering press statement as evidence, von Prittwitz declared that
there would be law and order in Hitler’s Germany, that Jews would
be protected, and that crimes would be punished.(42) The State
Department was becoming aware of the escalating Nazi-Jewish
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conflict. Within twenty-four hours of the German ambassador’s visit,
an American Jewish Committee-B’nai B’rith delegation called on
Secretary of State Cordell Hull. The Committee knew that Hull
deplored public protests such as the American Jewish Congress
was organizing. Even more importantly, they knew he would oppose
any boycott of the Reich. Hull’s expressed view was that “the
friendly and willing cooperation of Germany is necessary to the
program of world [economic] recovery.”(43)
Hull received the Committee-B’nai B’rith representatives cordially in
his office. The delegation did their best to impugn the methods and
the organization of Rabbi Stephen Wise. They wanted no
misunderstanding. Their anxiety over the German situation was just
as great as that of the Congress but their tactics differed. The
Committee-B’nai B’rith group made clear to Hull that they favored
quiet, behind-the-scenes action.(44)
Their argument to the secretary probably added little to the joint
Committee-B’nai B’rith communiqué issued after the Congress’
March 19 emergency protest organizing meeting. To salve the
angry demands of rank and file B’nai B’rith members, and to show
quotable concern in the light of the Congress’ public rallying, that
joint communiqué declared: “The American Jewish Committee and
the B’nai B’rith express their horror at anti-Jewish action in
Germany, which is denying to German Jews the fundamental rights
of every human being. The events of the past few weeks in
Germany have filled with indignation not only American Jews but
also Americans of every other faith… We shall take every possible
measure to discharge the solemn responsibility which rests on our
organization to marshal the forces of public opinion among
Americans of every faith to right the wrongs against the Jews of
Germany and for the vindication of the fundamental principles of
human liberty.”(45)
From Hull’s point of view, listening to a distinguished Committee
and B’nai B’rith delegation was an obligation to fulfill, not an
inspiration to action. The March 23 visit therefore did not
accomplish any amelioration for the Jews in Germany. Worse, the
visit confused the State Department. One Jewish group was bent on
loud and vigorous protest. Another was calling for quit, discreet
diplomacy. But the Committee-B’nai B’rith people were the
influential and prominent leaders of the Jewish community. So Hull
concluded that their voice was representative of Jewish sentiment.
(46)
In one sense, then, the Committee’s “methods” had worked.
Despite a tiny constituency that numbered about 300, the
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Committee’s pronouncements were still more potent than those of
the half-million-strong American Jewish Congress. The delegation
had effectively discredited the Congress as naïve rabble-rousers.
Shortly after the Committee-B’nai B’rith mission left Washington,
Hull dispatched a cable to George A. Gordon, America’s charge
d’afffaires in Germany: “Public opinion in this country continues
alarmed at the persistent press reports of mistreatment of Jews in
Germany…. I am of the opinion that outside intercession has rarely
produced the results desired and has frequently aggravated the
situation. Nevertheless, if you perceive any way in which this
government could usefully be of assistance, I should appreciate
your frank and confidential advice. On Monday next [March 27]
there is to be held in New York a monster mass meeting. If prior to
that date an amelioration in the situation has taken place, which you
could report [for]… release to the press, together with public
assurances by Hitler and other leaders, it would have a calming
effect.(48) In essence, Hull was asking for an encouraging reportjustified
or not-to soothe angry Jewish groups. Thus, he could
cooperate with the Committee request as well.
Within twenty-four hours, Gordon composed a response to Hull: “I
entirely agree with your view…[of] the present situation of outside
intercession…. There is…one suggestion I venture to make in case
you have already not thought of it…. [T]he general tenor of
communications between foreigners and the government here has
necessarily been one of complaint and protest, and it is possible
that if confidence [were expressed] in Hitler’s determination to
restore peaceful and normal conditions, emphasizing what a great
place he will achieve in the estimation of the world if he is able to
bring it about, it might have a helpful effect…. Hitler now represents
the element of moderation in the Nazi Party and I believe that if in
any way you can strengthen his hand, even indirectly, he would
welcome it.”(49)
Gordon then held meetings with several of his counterparts in the
Berlin diplomatic community, obtaining a consensus against any
efforts in their countries to use diplomatic channels as a medium of
protest against Adolf Hitler. He wired news of his achievements to
Hull.(50)
An unwitting alliance of groups now saw their mission as obstructing
anti-Nazi protest in America and Europe, especially an economic
boycott. The members of this alliance included B’nai B’rith, the
American Jewish Committee, and even the Jewish Agency for
Palestine, each preoccupied with its own vested interests, each
driven by its own ideological imperatives, and each wishing that
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conditions for German Jews would improve in the quieter climate
they hoped to establish.
A fourth member of this alliance was now the United States
government, which was pursuing what it thought was America’s vital
interests. As for the fate of German’s Jews? Officially, the U.S.
government simply wasn’t concerned.
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CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 3
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NOTES
1. Letter Alfred M. Chen to Morris D. Waldman, Feb, 16, 1933,
AJCmA; Annual Report of the Executive Committee, 27th Annual
Report (New York, 1934), BBA, 36. BACK TO TOP
2. See Stephen Wise, Challenging Years: The Autobiography of
Stephen Wise (New York: Putnam, 1949), 236-37; see Annual
Report of the Executive Committee, BBA, 36; Moshe Gottlieb, “The
Anti-Nazi Boycott Movement in the United States: An Ideological
and Sociological Appreciation,” Jewish Social Studies XXXV (July-
Oct., 1973): 199, 211, 225; Edward E. Grusd, B’nai B’rith: the Story
of a Covenant (New York: Appleton-Century, 1966), 201; Deborah
Dash Moore, B’nai B’rith and the Challenge of Ethnic Leadership
(Albany: State Univ. of New York, 1981), 176). BACK TO TOP
3. Gottlieb, “Anti-Nazi Boycott Movement,” (article), 211. BACK
TO TOP
4. “Victory for Hitler is Expected Today,” NYT, Mar. 5, 1933;
“Offices of Jews Raided,” NYT, Mar. 6, 1933. BACK TO TOP
5. See F. Thelwell, “Memorandum on the German Economic
Situation, April 1933,” Apr. 26, 1933, PRO-FO 371/16695-1527, pp.
1-3, 7-10; Dr. Joseph Goebbels, My part in German’s Fight, trans.
Dr. Kurt Fiedler (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1935), 227-29; see
telegram, “The Counselor of Embassy in Germany (Gordon) to the
Secretary of State,” Mar. 23, 1933, FRUS 1933 (Washington, D.C.
United States Government Printing Office, 1949), II: 328-29: “Reich
Takes Over Rule of Hamburg,” NYT, Mar. 5, 1933; “Nazi Bands Stir
Up Strife in Germany,” NYT, Mar 9, 1933; “3 More Americans
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Attacked in Berlin as Raiding Goes On” NYT, Mar, 10 1933;
“German Fugitives Tell of Atrocities,” NYT, Mar. 20, 1933; “Reports
of German Atrocities Not Exaggerated, Declares Anglo-Jewish
Doctor,” JDB, Mar: 24, 1933. BACK TO TOP
6. “3 More Americans Attacked,” NYT, Mar 10,1933. BACK TO
TOP
7. “Protest Meeting at Madison Square Garden Decided on by
American Jewish Congress,” JDB, Mar. 14, 1933. BACK TO
TOP
8. See “Protest Meeting at Madison Square Garden,” JDB, Mar. 14,
1933. BACK TO TOP
9. Letter, M. D. Waldman to A. M. Cohen, Mar. 15, 1933, AJCmA.
BACK TO TOP
10. Ibid. BACK TO TOP
11. Ibid.; See letter, S. S. Wise to L. D. Brandeis, Mar. 23, 1933, in
Carl Hermann Voss, ed., Stephen S. Wise; Servant of the People
(Philadelphia: JPSA, 1969), 180-81. BACK TO TOP
12. Ibid.; See “Speech of Hitler in Reichstag on His Policies for
Germany,” NYT, Mar. 24, 1933; William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall
of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (New York: Fawcett
Crest, 1960), 191-92. BACK TO TOP
13. Annual Report of the Executive Committee, BBA, 37, 39;
Stephen Birmingham, “Our Crowd:” The Great Jewish Families of
New York (New York: Dell, 1967), 416-28; Wise, 219. BACK TO
TOP
14. Letter, Waldman to Cohen, March 15, 1933, AJCmA. BACK
TO TOP
15. Telegram, Harry Schneiderman to Alfred M. Cohen, Mar. 14,
1933, AJCmA. BACK TO TOP
16. Letter, Waldman to Cohen, Mar. 15, 1933, AJCmA; cable,
Waldman to Cohen, Mar. 15, 1933, AJCmA. BACK TO TOP
17. Interview with Morris Mendelsohn by Moshe Gottlieb, July 20,
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1965, author’s transcript. BACK TO TOP
18. Ibid. BACK TO TOP
19. Ibid.; “Conference Called by the Jewish Congress Decides on
Protest Demonstration,” JDB Mar. 21, 1933. BACK TO TOP
20. Annual Report of the Executive Committee, BBA, 37. BACK
TO TOP
21. Letter, Werner Senator to Berl Locker, Mar. 19, 1933, CZA
S49/381 (trans. GZ/EF). BACK TO TOP
22. Moshe Gottlieb, “The Anti-Nazi Boycott Movement in the
American Jewish Community 1933-1942,” (unpub. Ph.D. diss., Near
Eastern and Judaic studies, Brandeis, 1967), 20. BACK TO TOP
23. Goebbels, 236-37; “Reich is Worried Over Our Reaction,” NYT,
Mar. 23, 1933; also see “Herr Hitler’s Nazis Hear an Echo of World
Opinion, NYT, Mar. 26, 1933. BACK TO TOP
24. Statement, AJC, in Gottlieb, “Anti-Nazi Boycott
Movement,” (dissertation), 46. BACK TO TOP
25. “Nazi Foes Here Calmed by Police,” NYT, Mar. 20, 1933.
BACK TO TOP
26. Ibid.; “Conference Called by the Jewish Congress” JDB, Mar.
21, 1933; “American Jewry Protests,” JC, Mar. 24, 1933. BACK
TO TOP
27. “Nazi Foes Here Calmed by Police,” NYT, Mar. 20, 1933;
“Conference Called,” JDB, Mar. 21, 1933; “American Jewry
Protest,” JC, Mar 24, 1933 BACK TO TOP
28. See letter, John Haynes Holmes to Stephen Wise, Apr. 20,
1933, BPM at AJA; see “Christian Leaders Protest on Hitler,” NYT,
Mar. 22, 1933; also see press release, AJC, Sep. 16, 1933, BPM at
AJA. BACK TO TOP
29. Interview with Morris Mendelsohn. BACK TO TOP
30. “Boycott Advocated to Curb Hitlerism,” NYT, Mar. 21, 1933;
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interview with Morris Mendelsohn. BACK TO TOP
31. “Vast Protest Movement Throughout Poland: Jews, Non-Jews
Join in Demonstration,” JDB, Mar. 29, 1933; dispatch, British
Embassy, Warsaw, to Sir John Simon, Mar. 29, 1933, PRO-FO
371/16721-1556; “Poland Antagonized,” JC, Mar. 31, 1933; see
telegram, “The Ambassador in Great Britain to the Foreign
Minister,” Mar. 8, 1933, DGFP 1918-45, (London: HMSO, 1957),
ser. C, I: 124-25; telegram, “The Deputy of Department IV to the
Consulate General at Danzig,” Mar. 10, 1933, DGFP, 130; “The
Minister in Poland to the Foreign Ministry,” Apr. 19, 1933, and
enclosed memorandum, Apr. 12, 1933, DGFP, 306-10; also see “In
Europe’s New Tenseness the ‘Corridor’ Looms Large,” NYT, Mar.
19, 1933. BACK TO TOP
32. “Polish Jews Condemn Germany,” NYT, Mar. 21, 1933; “Vast
Protest Movement Throughout Poland,” JDB, Mar. 19,1933.
BACK TO TOP
33. Carl Herman Voss, Rabbi and Minister: The Friendship of
Stephen S. Wise and John Haynes Holmes (Buffalo, New York:
Prometheus, 1980), 275-76. BACK TO TOP
34. Letter, S. Wise to J.W. Mack, Mar. 8, 1933, in Voss, ed.,
Servant, 180. BACK TO TOP
35. “Jews Here Demand Washington Action,” NYT, Mar.
23,1933. BACK TO TOP
36. Letter, S. Wise to L. D. Brandeis, Mar. 23, 1933, in Voss, ed.,
Servant, 180-81; Wise, 218. BACK TO TOP
37. Morris Frommer, “The American Jewish Congress: A History,
1914-1950,” (unpub. Ph.D. diss., history, Ohio State, 1978), 376-77;
letter, Max J. Kohler to Cordell Hull, Aug. 28, 1933, AJCmA.
BACK TO TOP
38. Gottlieb, “Anti-Nazi Boycott Movement,” (dissertation), 453, n.
5. BACK TO TOP
39. Ibid., 49; see telegram, “The Secretary of State to the Chargé in
Germany (Gordon),” Mar. 24, 1933, FRUS, 330-31. BACK TO
TOP
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40. Martin Rosenbluth, Go Forth and Serve: Early Years and Public
Life (New York: Herzl, 1961), 253; see VB, Apr. 1, 1933; “Roosevelt
Under Jewish Influence, Nazis Chargé,” JDDB, May 19, 1933;
“Nazis Get Pick of Jobs,” NYT, July 20, 1933. BACK TO TOP
41. “Reich is Worried Over Our Reaction,” NYT, Mar. 23, 1933.
BACK TO TOP
42. Ibid.; see “Memorandum of Press Conference of the Secretary
of State,” Mar. 22, 1933, FRUS, 327-28. BACK TO TOP
43. Nathan Schachner, The Price of Liberty: A History of the
American Jewish Committee (New York: AJC, 1948), 113. Naomi
W. Cohen, Not Free to Desist: The American Jewish Committee,
1906-1966 (Philadelphia: JPSA, 1972), 162; see ” Hull Obtains
Consul’s Data on Jews’ Cases,” Chicago Sunday Tribune, Mar. 26,
1933; see telegram “The Secretary of State to the Chargé in
Germany (Gordon),” Mar. 24, 1933, FRUS,330-31. BACK TO
TOP
44. See “Jews Here Demand Washington Action,” NYT, Mar. 21,
1933. BACK TO TOP
45. Ibid. BACK TO TOP
46. Telegram, “The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Germany
(Gordon),” Mar. 24, 1933. FRUS, 330-31; telegram, “The Secretary
of State to the Chargé in Germany (Gordon),” Mar. 26, 1933,
FRUS, 333-34. BACK TO TOP
47. Cohen, 338; see Frederick Aaron Lazin, “The Reaction of
American Jewry to Hitler’s Anti-Jewish Policies 1933-1939 (unpub.
Master’s thesis, political science, Univ. of Chicago, 1968), 22; see
“Jews Here Demand Washington Action,” NYT, Mar. 21, 1933.
BACK TO TOP
48. Telegram, “The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Germany
(Gordon),” Mar. 24, 1933, FRUS, 330-31. BACK TO TOP
49. Telegram, “The Chargé in Germany (Gordon) to the Secretary
of State,” Mar. 25, 1933, FRUS, 331. BACK TO TOP
50. Telegram, “The Chargé in Germany (Gordon) to the Secretary
of State,” Mar. 26, 1933, FRUS, 334. BACK TO TOP
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CHAPTER 3
The Weapon Hitler Feared
CORDELL HULL and the American Jewish Committee soon
learned that their efforts to contain the anti-Nazi movement would
be seriously challenged. Page-one headlines of the March 23,
1933, New York Times portrayed the new public mood.
“PROTEST ON HITLER GOWING IN NATION. Christian and Non-
Sectarian Groups Voice Indignation Over Anti-Jewish Drive. URGE
WASHINGTON TO ACT.”(1)
“BOYCOTT MOVE SPREADS. Merchants Canceling Orders for
German Goods.”(2)
The movement was spreading spontaneously, along interreligious
lines. Spurred on by the Jewish War Veterans, the nation’s
emotions were mobilized. Boycott was finally a word lifted out of the
whispers and into the headlines. Under the direction of Col. Morris
J. Mendelsohn, chairman of the JWV’s Boycott Committee, a
veterans’ protest march was organized. In solidarity, W. W. Cohen,
vice-president of the American Jewish Congress, accepted the
position of parade marshal. He participated at his own initiative,
since Stephen Wise was still reluctant to commit the Congress to a
boycott per se, and Congress leaders didn’t want to detract from
their own upcoming Madison Square Garden protest.(3) Cohen’s
visibility nevertheless associated the powerful Congress with the
JWV’s banners and placards declaring economic war on Germany.
Without the active support of the Congress, Mendelsohn was
uncertain how many marchers would participate and how many
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prominent figures would actually show up to endorse the boycott.
The day before the parade, Mendelsohn tried to cheer up JWV
leader J. George Fredman by telling him, “George, if we have
nobody else, you and I will march the full line of the parade and call
on the mayor.” But in truth Mendelsohn doubted whether even
Mayor John O’Brien would attend, since he was known to be saving
his first anti-Nazi appearance for the Congress rally.(4)
Everyone was surprised, therefore, when the Jewish War veterans’
boycott parade received an enthusiastic reception. Many thousands
of cheering sympathetic watchers encouraged the thousands of
Jewish and non-Jewish vets as the parade moved through the East
Side to City Hall where Mayor O’Brien was waiting on the reviewing
stand. With much fanfare and applause, resolutions were presented
demanding diplomatic measures and an economic protest against
the Reich. Dovetailing with the JWV protest parade was a variety of
sympathetic conferences, petitions, and resolutions by interfaith and
nonsectarian groups, including the American Federation of Labor,
which pledged its 3 million members to fighting Nazism here and in
Germany.(5)
March 23 was a success for the Jewish War Veterans. Their boycott
kickoff generated maximum publicity. One radio station covered the
day with updates every fifteen minutes. Extensive support was
offered by those in prominence and power-as well as by the
anonymous faces in the crowd, outraged and merely waiting for a
raised hand to lead the protest against Adolf Hitler.
German legations around the United States reported the anti-Nazi
developments to the fifty-one-day-old Reich. Jewish protest was not
merely a nuisance, it preyed upon the minds of the Nazis as they
braced for their first big fight against their avowed enemies, the
Jews.(6) How effective any anti-German boycott and protest
movement would be was the question. Could mere popular protest
in Europe and America influence the Third Reich? Could a boycottan
economic war-topple the Hitler regime or force Germany to
abandon its anti-Jewish program? At the time, some Jewish leaders
either doubted the power of the anti-Nazi movement or were
unwilling to participate. This failure to participate worked to Hitler’s
advantage, because the Jewish-led worldwide anti Nazi boycott was
indeed the one weapon Hitler feared.
To understand why, one must examine Germany’s economic
precariousness in 1933, the Nazi mentality, and the historic power
of Jewish-led boycotts. To do so requires a dual perspective:
statistical and perceptual. Of equal weight in history is reality and
the perception of reality, because the two ignite each other in a
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continual chain reaction that ultimately shapes events and destinies
among men and nations.
The deterioration of the once powerful German economy really
began in World War 1, when German military and political leaders
simply did not calculate the economic effects of prolonged war. The
Allied blockade cut off Germany’s harbors and most of her land
trade routes. Trade was decimated. Industry couldn’t export. War
materiel and civilian necessities, including food, could not be
imported.
Before the blockade was lifted, 800,000 malnourished German
civilians perished. Actually the blockade created less of a food
shortage for Germany, which was 80 percent food self-sufficient
before the war, than did the short-sighted policy of pulling Germans
off the farms to fight without compensating for reduced food
production. But the popular perception among Germans was that
they had been starved into submission, defeated not on the
battlefield but by political and economic warfare and connivance, by
what became known as the “stab in the back.”
The Treaty of Versailles’ nonnegotiable terms demanded the
forfeiture of German colonies as well as a number of conquered or
traditionally German lands: the dismemberment of the German
military machine; the arrest of hundreds of German militarists and
leaders as war criminals, including the German emperor Kaiser
Wilhelm II; the granting of most-favored, nonreciprocal foreign
commercial rights in Germany; and a certain amount of interim
foreign occupation. The German leadership was to sign a hated
statement of total war guilt. Additionally, Germany was to pay war
reparations over the next two years of 5 billion gold marks and
approximately 15 billion marks’ worth in cattle, timber and other
barterable items. The Allies allowed no negotiation of Versailles’
oppressive terms and refused to lift the economic and material
blockade until German leaders accepted what later German
generations would call the Diktat.
Two years later, the Allied Reparations Commission levied
additional reparations of 132 billion gold marks. Such a monumental
sum, payable in cash and goods, would be a garnishment for
generations, a commercial enslavement that would hold Germany
captive for fifty to a hundred years.
Germany’s population, and indeed world leaders and historians,
would later brand the Versailles Treaty as merciless and intolerable.
But the Allies were following in the tradition of previous German
victories, which vanquished losers. For example, in February 1918,
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when Russia, beset by revolution, tried to disengage from the war,
German generals issued an ultimatum to surrender within five days
or suffer unlimited destruction. At the same time, a renewed
German offensive began. Lenin was forced to submit his new nation
to the humiliating Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Its terms defrocked
Russia of a third of her farmland, 56 million people-or a third of her
population-a third of her railroads, more than 5,000 factories
comprising half her industrial capability, almost 90 percent of her
coal, and beyond that a cash indemnity of 6 billion gold marks. The
treaty was nullified after the Allied victory.
So Germany in 1919 was forced to recover from war under
conditions similar to those she had previously imposed on her own
enemies. However, the German people did not blame the
precedents they themselves had established, but rather the political
and economic weapons wielded against them at the Peace
Conference. They blamed the blockade and their own civilian
leaders for acceding to Allied demands and forfeiting German glory.
And, some Germans, such as the Nazis, blamed a Jewish
conspiracy. In their minds it was Jewish bankers who would prosper
from Germany’s economic tragedy, since massive loans would be
necessary both to recover from the war and to pay war indemnity. In
Nazi minds, it was Jewish Bolshevism that would gain by
undermining the German Empire and replacing it with Weimar
Republic where Marxism could flourish. In their minds it was Jews
who at the Treaty of Versailles gained rights of minority citizenship
throughout war-reconstructed Europe.(7)
Hitler’s own words expressed the scapegoat rationale. Preaching to
frantic, impoverished Germans, the Nazi leader cried: “Not so long
ago, Germany was prosperous, strong, and respected by all. It is
not your fault Germany was defeated in the war and has suffered so
much since. You were betrayed in 1918 by Marxists, international
Jewish bankers, and corrupt politicians.(8)
Hitler attributed the stories of Germany’s wartime atrocities to an
international Jewish conspiracy, using newspapers Jews secretly
controlled. And so the Nazis held a special fear of what they called
Greuelpropaganda, that distorted German valor into Hun-like
savagery. Greuelpropaganda was a mighty weapon the Jews knew
how to use to harness the German nation into bondage.
The lasting economic agonies of Versailles were soon apparent.
Inflation wracked postwar Germany, as the Weimar Republic
struggled to keep pace with Allied reparation demands and
domestic recovery. German currency was printed-so fast that it was
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inked on one side only. In 1919, the value of the mark was around 9
to a U.S. dollar; in 1921, 75 marks to a dollar; in 1922, 400 to a
dollar; and in early January 1923 7,000 marks equaled a dollar.
For reparations, France of course preferred commodities, such as
timber and coal, to valueless German currency. But German
production was unable and unwilling to satisfy the payment
schedule. When the Weimar Republic defaulted on the delivery of
100,000 telephone poles, France exercised her treaty option and in
mid-January 1923 invaded German’s industrial heartland, the Ruhr.
Thousands of French troops took charge of mines, mills and
manufacturing plants. Germans were outraged that so petty an
infraction could warrant a full-fledged French occupation. Workers
throughout the Ruhr went on general strike with the full backing of
the Weimar government. To support the strikers, the government
cranked out millions upon millions of worthless marks as special
welfare assistance. By late January 1923, the mark had jumped to
18,000 to the dollar and began inflating astronomically, until by
1924, it was about 5 trillion to the dollar.
In 1924, German currency could be used for virtually nothing except
lighting stoves. People’s savings were wiped away, their livelihood
ruined. An international commission intervened and Dawes Plan
emerged whereby France would withdraw from the Ruhr and
scheduled reparation-mostly in goods-would be resumed. The
goods would be manufactured after a national retooling financed by
large foreign loans, mostly from America.
Within a few years, billions of U.S. dollars and other foreign
currencies flowed into Germany, reequipping and overindustrializing
that nation on an unparalleled basis in order to produce
merchandise and other barterable items to repay the Dawes loans
and war reparations. By the late 1920s, America owned and
controlled billions of dollars of German industry. And the entire
German economy-which was becoming somewhat stable and
prosperous-was now also dependent upon export. Millions of jobs
were wholly tied to the foreign market. Export was the oxygen, the
bread, and the salt of the German work force. Without it, there
would be economic death.(9)
Just before the decade closed, on October 24, 1929, Wall Street
crashed. America’s economy toppled and foreign economies fell
with it. For Germany, intricately tied to all the economies of the
Allied powers, the fall was brutal. Thousands of businesses failed.
Millions were left jobless. Violence over food was commonplace.
Germany was taught the painful lesson that economic survival was
tied to international trading partners and exports.
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During each economic crisis the Nazis scored electoral triumphs
among the disadvantaged. In the boom-like year 1928, the Nazis
could poll no more than 810,000 votes nationally. But two years
later, well into the Depression, the Nazis’ support leaped to about
6.5 million. In July of 1932, at the height of the crisis, oppressed by
6 million unemployed, the nation delivered 13.5 million votes for
Hitler, most of it from the young, unemployed middle class.(10)
Shortly after the July 1932 election, the economy improved
somewhat, due more to psychological than true financial factors. A
bumper wheat and potato harvest made Germany temporarily
independent of imported grain and starch related foodstuffs. Public
make-work gave short-term relief to the most severely hardshipped
in big cities. More than 74,000 gardens and 26,000 settlement
houses were erected to help feed and shelter the jobless in small
towns. Seasonal unemployment came a bit later and less severely
that autumn than in previous years. Total acknowledged
unemployment was under these circumstances down to just more
than 5 million. In certain segments of German society, confidence
began to take hold.(11)
As the bankrupt Nazis approached the November 1932 contest,
they were unable to pay for a last-minute voter drive. In the aura of
stability and with reduced Nazi campaigning, the electorate backed
away from the radical program of National socialism, casting 2
million fewer votes for the NSDAP. But after the November election,
with the Nazis nevertheless assured of a leading role in the
government, the brief improvement in the economy vanished.(12)
The moderate moment had been lost.
Commercial recovery was Adolf Hitler’s prime mission when he
came to power in January 1933. But Hitler and his circle’s
conception of their problem and the twisted explanations they
ascribed to real and perceived trends became the new determining
economic factors. The greatest obstacles to recovery now were, in
fact, political instability and bizarre economic policies, including
import restrictions that provoked retaliatory bans on German
exports.
Economic policies and the worldwide economic depression
combined to deprive Germany of her place among the world’s
trading nations. Without exports, Germany was denied foreign
currency-the essential ingredient to her survival. Without foreign
exchange, she could not pay for the imported raw materials she
needed to continue manufacturing nor for imported foodstuffs to
compensate for recurring shortages. Worse, Germany couldn’t even
borrow money to pay for raw materials and food because without
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foreign exchange to pay her war reparations and other foreign
obligations, her credit was once again unreliable.(13)
In late 1932, the president of the Reichsbank warned the cabinet
that further deterioration in foreign exchange would force Germany
into another fiscal default. What’s more, if there was a sudden run
on Germany’s banks, it would trigger another total crash of the
economy.(14)
But when Hitler and his circle saw Germany deadlocked in
depression, they did not blame the world depression and the
failures of German economic policy. They blamed Bolshevik,
Communist, and Marxist conspiracies, all entangled somehow in the
awesome imaginary international Jewish conspiracy. The Jews
were not just a handy scapegoat. The paranoid Nazis believed in
the legendary, almost supernatural economic power of the Jews.
When they promulgated the motto “The Jews are out bad luck,”
they meant it.(15)
Complicating the Reich’s response to economic developments was
Hitler’s impatience for economic details. A British embassy report
compiled in early 1933 explained: “Hitler is a pure visionary who
probably does not understand the practical problems he is up
against.” In fact, Hitler saw only the superficial aspects of any
economic problem. He was well known for exhorting his followers:
“If economic experts say this or that is impossible, then to hell with
economics….if our will is strong enough we can do anything!”(16)
Therefore, when problems persisted, the Nazi response was to
scream “conspiracy” and make snap decisions to plug holes rather
than rebuild the dike.
In the Nazi mind, the Jewish-led anti-Nazi boycott would reduce
exports and foreign currency below the viable threshold. By Nazi
thinking, a second prong of the Jewish offensive would be
publicizing German atrocities to undermine confidence in the new
regime and turn the non-Jewish world against Germany. In this
instance, Nazi fears approximated the reality. As an
overindustrialized nation dependent upon exports, Germany was
especially prone to boycott. Therefore, as the American Jewish War
Veterans escalated their ant-Reich agitation in late March 1933, a
primary order of Nazi business would now be to end the atrocity
claims and stop the boycott.(17)
Nazi preoccupation with the anti-German boycott was not merely
fear of Jewish power. The Nazis dogmatically believed in the power
of boycotts in general. Boycott had long been a prime tactic of the
German anti-Semitic movement. When in 1873 an economic
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depression followed a stock market fall, the German Conservative
party falsely blamed Jewish speculators and organized anti-Semitic
campaigns, including boycotts. A few year later, the Catholic party
joined the movement, coining the motto “Don’t buy from Jews.” By
1880, Berlin women’s organizations had formed housewife boycott
committees.(18)
During the years prior to 1933, Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, and other
Nazi leaders regularly struggled to attract public support by
advocating the anti-Jewish boycott. Brownshirt pickets around a
store with signs reading DON’T BUY FROM JEWS served to
remind Germans of the Jew’s secure economic status and warn
Jews of what was in store should National Socialism come to
power. The Nazis were convinced that an official countrywide
boycott would totally destroy the commercial viability of the Jews in
Germany.(19)
But during the first years of the Nazi party, German anti-Semites
also became painfully aware of the Jewish power of boycott and
backlash. The lesson came in a confrontation waged not in
Germany but in the United States, pitting the Jewish community
against the American anti-Semite most revered by the Nazis: Henry
Ford.
The richest man in America, whose name was stamped on every
Model T, quickly catapulted to the forefront of political anti-Semitism
after he became convinced of the Jewish conspiracy cliché. Henry
Ford’s nineteenth-century rural mentality didn’t adapt well to the
complexities of the twentieth-century world. He did things in his own
peculiar way, regardless of the cost. Shortly after the Great War
began in Europe, Ford claimed he had discovered “proof” that Jews
were behind the world’s troubles. In 1918, Ford purchased the
weekly Dearborn Independent and soon thereafter changed its
editorial thrust to virulent anti-Semitism.(20)
Ford also employed agents to seek out more anti-Jewish
“evidence.” One such agent acquired a typescript entitled The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the fabricated secret minutes of an
imaginary Jewish conspiracy to topple governments, dominate
economies, pervert morals and defeat noble bloodlines by
intermarriage. The fake Protocols were laughed off by many. But a
few, including Henry Ford, took them to be a veracious revelation of
the most sinister plot of modern times. In May 1920, a series of
Dearborn Independent articles and editorials publicized the
Protocols and a host of slanders and accusations under the general
heading “The International Jew” Ford’s articles accused American
Jewish leaders such as Louis Marshall and Louis Brandeis of using
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Presidents Taft and Wilson as their puppets. Other prominent Jews
were accused of perpetrating World War I for the benefit of Jewish
bankers and fomenting the Russian Revolution for racial
imperialism. The defamations continued weekly as Ford’s paper
denounced the Jewish conspiracy for corruption on Wall Street, in
labor, and on the ball field-Jews were even behind the Black Sox
baseball gambling scandal. Jews were also allegedly responsible
for Benedict Arnold, the Civil War, and the assassination of
Abraham Lincoln. What Jews could not achieve by money, media or
manipulation, they would achieve by pandering to the sexual
perversions of the powerful and prominent.(21)
These accusations were not just the ramblings of The Dearborn
Independent. They were in fact a product of the Ford Motor
Company. Henry Ford listed his name at the top of every page.
Ford motorcar dealers were compelled to buy and sell
subscriptions. Dealers who filled their subscription quotas received
Ford cars as prizes. Those falling short were assured that The
Dearborn Independent was “just as much of a Ford product as the
car or tractor.” Many reluctant dealers received threatening
legalistic letters insisting they sell the tabloid. Reprints were bound
into booklets and distributed to libraries and YMCAs throughout the
nation.(22)
Devoting the national sales force and the assets of Ford Motor
Company to spreading Jew hatred made Henry Ford the first to
organize anti-Semitism in America. Indeed, he was the hero of anti-
Semites the world over. In Germany, thousands of copies of Ford’s
teachings were published under the title The Eternal Jew, By
Heinrich Ford.(23)
Ford’s book quickly became the bible of the German anti-Semites,
including Adolf Hitler-this at least two years before Mein Kampf was
written. Hitler was so entranced with Ford’s struggle against Jewish
economic power that he hung a large portrait of Ford beside his
desk and spoke of him incessantly. When Hitler was interviewed by
a Chicago Tribune reporter in 1923 about Ford’s chances of winning
the U.S. presidency, der Fuhrer enthusiastically declared, “I wish
that I could send some of my shock troops to Chicago and other big
American cities to help in the elections. We look on Heinrich Ford
as the leader of the growing Fascist Party in America.”(24)
A year later, in 1924, Hitler wrote his own anti-Jewish epistle, Mein
Kampf, his blueprint for the destruction of the Jewish people. Many
of the ramblings in Mein Kampf were identical to passages in “The
International Jew.” Hitler lionized Ford even after the Nazis became
a leading factor on the German political scene. Just before
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Christmas 1931, der Fuhrer admitted to a Detroit News reporter, “I
regard Henry Ford as my inspiration.” Once the Third Reich came
to power, millions of Ford’s books were circulated to every school
and party office in the nation, many featuring the names Hitler and
Ford side by side on the cover.(25)
American Jewish reaction to the Henry Ford threat was swift. Within
a few months of the Dearborn Independent’s inaugural anti-Semitic
issue, a spontaneous Jewish boycott movement erupted. Libel suits
were launched against Ford personally. A Jewish-lead campaign to
legally ban the sale or distribution of the publication began in
Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, and other cities. Where legislated bans
were overturned by court action, angry mobs often greeted
Dearborn Independent street vendors.(26)
The backlash campaign started hurting Ford in late 1920, when
Jews began refusing en masse to purchase any vehicle bearing a
Ford emblem. Typical was a Connecticut Jewish community’s 400-
car parade in early 1921 honoring Albert Einstein and Chaim
Weizmann- parade rules included the proviso “Positively no Ford
machines permitted in line.” Ford himself couldn’t even give one
away to his Jewish neighbor, Rabbi Leo M. Franklin of Detroit. Each
year Ford gave the rabbi a custom-built car as a gift. But the rabbi
emphatically refused Ford’s gift after the Dearborn Independent’s
articles began.(27)
Even the American Jewish Committee encouraged the boycott. The
Committee opposed proclaiming an “official” boycott, reluctant to
openly answer Ford’s charges of an economic conspiracy with a
coordinated economic weapon. But Committee leader Louis
Marshall felt a “silent boycott” would be equally effective,
maintaining that any self-respecting Jew would know what to do
without being told when purchasing an automobile.
Ford’s steepest sales declines first appeared in the Northeast,
where Jews comprised a substantial segment of the car-buying
market. Within five years, a leading dealer in the Southwest was
painfully aware that wealthy Jews in Texas and neighboring states
hadn’t purchased a Lincoln in years. And company inquiries about
low sales in Missouri revealed that Jews wouldn’t take a Ford if it
was handed to them free.(29)
In reality, the Jewish boycott of Ford products was probably not
statistically effective. While Ford’s sales in urban centers did
decrease significantly, equally important sales in small towns and
rural areas either remained constant or increased. And the recorded
urban sales slumps were only partially due to the Jewish-led
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boycott. General economic conditions and the declining popularity
of the Model T were equally potent factors. But in the early and mid-
1920s, Ford people were convinced that the Jewish-led boycott was
in large part responsible.(30)
The precise figures were guaranteed by Ford’s corporate sales
hierarchy, even as dealers and regional sales managers continually
pleaded for Ford’s campaign to cease. For example, New York
sales manager Gaston Flaintiff, a personal friend of Ford, wrote
numerous letters bemoaning the boycott. Ford would typically reply,
“If they want our product they’ll buy it.”(31)
In 1927, the advent of a competitive Chevrolet made the Jewish
boycott an unacceptable liability for Ford Motor company. Any lost
product loyalty and the company’s future was precariously stacked
on a new Model A. At the same time, Ford desperately sought to
avoid humiliating public trials with libeled Jews who had sued.(32)
In the summer of 1927, Ford’s representatives approached Nathan
Perlman, a vice-president of the American Jewish Congress,
seeking a truce. Stephen Wise was in Europe, so Perlman referred
Ford’s people to the Committee. Louis Marshall prepared an
embarrassing retraction cum apology for Ford to sign and publish.
Close advisers cautioned the car maker that the humiliating apology
might be too much for Ford’s pride. But the global leader of anti-
Semites had endured boycotts, legal actions, and political abrasions
long enough.(33) It was time to make money, secure the future,
and fight Chevrolet.
On July 7, 1927, in the last year of the outmoded Model T, as Ford
acknowledged a decline of about a half million fewer cars sold, and
as he prepared for a major financial effort to introduce his new
Model A, the proud gladiators of anti-Semites released to the press
his contrite plea for forgiveness for wronging the Jews and
misleading mankind.(34)
I have given consideration to the series of articles concerning Jews
which have since 1920 appeared in The Dearborn Independent…
and in pamphlet form under the title “The International Jew”… Too
my great regret I have learned that Jews generally, and particularly
those of this country, not only resent these publications as
promoting anti-Semitism, but regard me as their enemy… I am
deeply mortified… I deem it to be my duty as an honorable man to
make amends for the wrongs done to the Jews as fellowmen and
brothers, by asking their forgiveness for the harm I have
unintentionally committed, by retracting as far as lies within my
power the offensive charges laid at their door by these publications,
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and by giving them the unqualified assurance that hence forth they
may look to me for friendship and goodwill.(35)
Within weeks the retraction appeared in The Dearborn Independent
itself. Shortly thereafter, Ford’s advertising agencies were instructed
to spend about 12 percent of the Model A’s $1.3 million introductory
advertisement in Yiddish and Anglo-Jewish newspaper-the only
minority press included in the campaign. Ford also directed that five
truckloads of “The International Jew” be burned, and ordered
overseas publishers to cease publication as well.(36)
Ford’s capitulation was taken hardest in Germany among Nazi
circles. Nazi boycotter Theodore Fritsch wrote to Ford lamenting the
loss of both book sales and “the inestimable mental goods” Ford
had bestowed upon civilization. “The publication of this book
remains the most important action of your life.” Yet now, as Fritsch
put it, Ford was capitulating to the financial might of the Jews. (37)
Adolph Hitler, when informed of the retraction, tried to avoid
comment. Henry Ford was the man the Nazi party and der Fuhrer
had himself lionized as the quintessential fighter of the so-called
Jewish economic conspiracy. Hitler had once told reporters in
Germany that “the struggles of international Jewish finance against
Ford… has only strengthened [Nazi] sympathies… for Ford.” In Mein
Kampf, Hitler had declared that “only a single great man, Ford,” was
able to stand up to Jewish economic power. (38)
Ford’s unexpected surrender was so powerful a loss to Hitler’s
movement that the Nazi’s preferred to ignore the retraction as a
mere expediency. Fritsch continued printing “The International
Jew.” Nonetheless, the tribute to Ford in Mein Kampf was changed
in its second edition. The words “only a single great man, Ford,”
was replaced with the phrase “only a very few.” (39)
A lesson had been learned by Hitler and the Nazis. Jewish boycotts
and economic influence, in the Nazi view, held the power not only to
subvert governments, but silence the most indomitable challengers.
Presidential candidate Norman Thomas declared, “Ford’s backdown
was good evidence of what a consumers’ boycott and a lawyer’s
million dollar libel suit can do in the way of educating a man who
has heretofore been impervious to history.” The New York
Telegram editorialized, “If one of the richest men in the world
cannot get away with an anti-Semitic movement in this country,
nobody else will have the nerve to try it, and of that we can all be
thankful, gentiles as well as Jews.” But perhaps the most poignant
summing up was uttered by Will Rogers: “Ford used to have it in for
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Jewish people -until he saw them in Chevrolets.”(40)
Jews also believed in the power of Jewish boycotts. It mattered little
whether the real might of the boycott was statistical business harm
or simply the perception of it. Boycott was a weapon the Jews were
ready and willing to use in emergencies to dissuade the forces of
anti-Semitism.
The anti Ford boycott was but a commercial skirmish compared to
the international financial war waged against Russian Czar Nicholas
II by Jewish banker Jacob Schiff and the American Jewish
Committee. The war began when Jews were blamed for Russia’s
social and economic chaos in the 1880s. The classic scapegoat
scenario developed. Quotas for Jews were decreed in academia
and commerce. Jews were physically restricted to the smallest
hamlets. Bloody pogroms followed as mounted Cossacks swept
through the hamlets pillaging and ravaging defenseless Jews.(41)
Although America’s German Jews detested the unkempt Russian
Jews, they were nevertheless infuriated by the barbarism of the
czar’s persecution. Among the Hofjuden who considered
themselves the custodians of Jewish defense, Jacob Schiff stood
out as a central figure. A major factor in international finance,
Schiff’s greatest weapon was money: giving it, denying it. After the
notorious Kishinev pogrom of Passover 1903, Schiff decided to
personally lead a crusade to force Czar Nicholas to abandon his
anti-Semitic campaign.(42)
Schiff used his influence with friends and family in Europe to commit
major Jewish and even non-Jewish financial houses to a banking
boycott of Russia.(43) And before long, Russia’s loan requests
were in fact systematically denied in most French, English, and U.S.
money markets. In 1904, after war broke out between Russia and
Japan, Schiff lobbied tirelessly among commercial adversaries and
cohorts alike to grant high-risk war loans to the Japanese. About
$100 million, suddenly infused, quickly armed the under equipped
Japanese, allowing them to score a series of humiliating victories.
Schiff’s loans were officially recognized as the pivotal factor in
Japan’s victory, and the Jewish leader was commemorated in
Japanese newspapers and history books as a new national hero.
(45)
The banking boycott and the financing of Japan’s victory were only
the first rounds. In 1906, Schiff and other influential Hofjuden
formed the American Jewish Committee. Their first major objective
was abrogation of the Russo-American commercial treaty, the legal
basis of all friendly relations with Russia. The Committee asserted
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that the czar’s denial of Russian visas to Jewish American citizens
was an affront not just to America’s Jewish citizens but to the United
States itself.(46)
Although William Taft had issued a presidential campaign promise
of abrogation, he refused to honor his pledge once elected. During
a February 1911 White House luncheon for Committee leaders,
when Taft rendered his final refusal to abrogate, Schiff warned, “We
had hoped you would see that justice be done us. You have
decided otherwise. We shall now go to the American people.” Schiff
then stalked from the room, refusing to even shake the president’s
hand. On the way out, Schiff whispered to fellow Committee
leaders, “This means war!”(47)
Calling upon all friends and resources, the Committee began a
widespread public appeal to have Congress force the president to
end commercial relations with Russia. Within weeks, House and
Senate abrogation resolutions-each personally approved by the
Committee-were prepared. On December 13, 1911, after the House
voted 300 to 1 to abrogate, Taft capitulated, and two days later
issued instructions to terminate the treaty. (48)
Despite abrogation, the czar would not yield. Massacres continued,
and the Jewish death toll rose. So the banking boycott was
tightened. Its effects became most destructive, however, during
World War I, when the czar needed multimillion-dollar military loans.
Committee members were widely criticized for the stubborn
continuation of their boycott even as it threatened the Allied war
effort. But the boycott remained in effect until the monarchy was
toppled in 1917.(49)
Throughout the nearly fifteen years of the anti-czar boycott and
backlash, threats of retaliation against Russian Jewry never
deterred the men of the Committee. And in fact, during the anti-czar
crusade, thousands of Russian lives were lost and hundreds of
thousands more were devastated in pogroms. But the Committee
held that the anti-Semitic outrages of one regime could speed
infectiously if not quarantined.
Jacob Schiff addressed the issue in a 1905 cable to Russian
premier Count Sergei Witte: “No doubt… your local authorities,
seeing the coming of the end of the old regime,… have in their
rage… instigated the populace against the Jews…. Jewry in general
will have at least this consolation; that the present awful sufferings
of their co-religionists will not have been for naught, nor their blood
spilled in vain.” A year later, President Theodore Roosevelt warned
Schiff that the U.S. protests against pogroms might only provoke
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more harm from an indignant czar. Schiff ignored the warning,
determined that such genocidal actions could not go unprotested.
(50)
And in early 1911, Schiff acknowledged in a letter to Taft that as a
result of “action on our part, pogroms and massacres of Russian
Jews, such as shocked the world in 1905, might be repeated.” But
he assured the president that the world Jewish community and even
the Russian Jews themselves knew the risks were unavoidable.
The responsibility for bloody reprisals would be taken “upon our
own shoulders,” said Schiff. He added, “it was recognized by our coreligionists
that in such a situation, as in war, each and every man,
wherever placed, must be ready to suffer, and if need be to sacrifice
his life.”(51)
The art of economic and political confrontation-public and privatewas
thus a tested and endorsed tradition of the American Jewish
Committee. In 1929, Committee president Cyrus Adler wrote an
authorized biography of the great economic warrior of the Jews,
entitled Jacob H Schiff, His Life and Letters. The book detailed
Schiff’s and the Committee’s tradition of unrelenting economic and
political retaliation-regardless of the short-term risks- against those
who would threaten Jewish rights. The book’s foreword hoped its
accounts of staunch Jewish defense would “prove of some value in
guiding and inspiring others.”(52)
For the three and a half decades before Hitler’s rise to power in
1933, the Jews of America were actively engaged in international
and domestic boycotts to fight anti-Semitism. They used the
backlash weapon to fill newspapers and congressional hearing
rooms with the gruesome truths of Jewish oppression. The Jews of
America could lead public opinion and marshal government action.
They had this power and they used it continuously.
Wielding this power inspired the conspiracy stories. And so Jewish
leaders were often reluctant. But what choices did they have? After
its expulsion from Israel in the second century, Judaism became a
religion without a state and thus without an army.
Papal legions could crush rebellions. Crusaders could invade lands.
Islamic armies could conquer and convert. To survive, Jews could
only use what they had. And what they had was what they were
allowed to have. For centuries, denied lands, denied access to the
professions, denied military rank, Jews were forced to deal with
money, with trade, with middlemanship, with bargains, with
influence, with the portable professions. And so Jews fought fire not
with fire but with money, with the media, with access to high
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position, not in some imaginary conspiracy to dominate the world
but in an ongoing effort to stay one step ahead of the blade, the
noose, and the burning stake.
Yet the Jewish leaders most skilled in wielding the boycott and
backlash weapon would in 1933 refuse, in part because the enemy
was now Germany, Fatherland of the Committee. It was now
German Jewish blood that would be spilled-not Russian Jewish. It
was now their own uncles and lifetime friends whose lives would be
subject to reprisal in any war for Jewish rights.
Those skilled in using Jewish weapons would also refuse because a
wholly new tactic would now be used to shape Jewish destiny.
Palestine would be the new solution. Hence, the question was now
whether to use or not to use the one weapon Jews had, the one
weapon they knew how to use: boycott and protest.
Yet the one weapon Jews had was the one weapon Hitler feared.
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NOTES
1. “Protest on Hitler Growing in Nation,” NYT, Mar. 23, 1933.
BACK TO TOP
2. Ibid. BACK TO TOP
3. “Boycott Advocated to Curb Hitlerism,” NYT, Mar. 21, 1933; see
Morris Frommer, “The American Jewish Congress: A History, 1914-
1950” (unpub. Ph.D. diss., history, Ohio State, 1978), 315-16, also
see 314, n. 29.
4. Interview with Morris Mendelsohn by Moshe Gottlieb, July 20,
1965, author’s transcript. BACK TO TOP
5. “O’Brien Reviews 4,000 Hitler Foes,” NYT, Mar. 24, 1933;
“Protest on Hitler Growing in Nation,” NYT, Mar. 23, 1933. BACK
TO TOP
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6. See Dr. Joseph Goebbels, My Part in Germany’s Fight, trans. Dr.
Kurt Fiedler (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1935), 236-37, 269-70;
see “Reich is Worried Over Our Reaction,” NYT, Mar. 24, 1933;
“Reich Warns Correspondents Not to Send Atrocity Reports,” NYT,
Mar. 24, 1933; see VB, Mar. 30, 1933 and Mar. 31, 1933; see Lucy
S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945 (Toronto:
Bantam, 1976), 70-71. BACK TO TOP
7. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History
of Nazi Germany (New York: Fawcett Crest, 1960), 54; Nora Levin,
The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry 1933-1945
(New York: Schocken, 1973), 23-25, 35; Isaiah Friedman,
Germany, Turkey and Zionism, 1897- 1918 (Oxford: Clarendon,
1977), 317; Francis R. J. Nicosia, “Germany and the Palestine
Question, 1933-1939” (unpub. Ph.D. diss., history, McGill, 1977),
62. BACK TO TOP
8. James Pool and Suzanne Pool, Who Financed Hitler: The Secret
Funding of Hitler’s Rise to Power, 1919-1933 (New York: Dial,
1978), 246. BACK TO TOP
9. See Shirer, 167, 192; Nicosia, 72-73. BACK TO TOP
10. Pool and Pool, 248, 413-14. BACK TO TOP
11. Report, F. Thelwell, “The Economic Situation in Germany,
February, 1933,” PRO-FO 317/16694-1527. BACK TO TOP
12. Ibid.; Shirer, 240-41. BACK TO TOP
13. Thelwell, “Economic Situation,” PRO-FO 317/16694-1527.
BACK TO TOP
14. Ibid., 7-8 BACK TO TOP
15. Dawidowicz, 24-28, 47, 68-69; see George L. Mosse, The
Crisis of German Ideology: The Intellectual Origins of the Third
Reich (“The Universal Library”; New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1971),
242-43; see Shirer, 586. BACK TO TOP
16. Thelwell, “Economic Situation,” PRO-FO 371/16694-1527; Pool
and Pool, 246; see Shirer 357. BACK TO TOP
17. See Dawidowicz, 68-71; see “Reich is Worried Over Our
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Reaction,” NYT, Mar. 23, 1933; see Goebbels, 236-39. BACK TO
TOP
18. Dawidowicz, 43; Moshe Gottlieb, “The Anti-Nazi Boycott
Movement in the American Jewish Community, 1933-1941″ (unpub.
Ph.D. diss., Near Eastern and Judaic studies, Brandeis, 1967), 13-
14; see Marvin Lowenthal, The Jews of Germany: A Story of
Sixteen Centuries (New York: Longmans, Green, 1936), 277.
BACK TO TOP
19. See Levin, 43-44, 72-73; Lowenthal 369-71; see Stephen Wise,
Challenging Years: The Autobiography of Stephen Wise (New York:
G. P. Putnam, 1949), 247; see Sidney Bolkosky, The Distorted
Image; German Jewish Perceptions of Germans and Germany,
1918-1935 (New York: Elsevier, 1975), 169-70. BACK TO TOP
20. See Carol Gelderman, Henry Ford: The Wayward Capitalist
(New York: Dial, 1981), 218-21; Albert Lee, Henry Ford and the
Jews (New York: Stein and Day, 1980), 25-28. BACK TO TOP
21. Pool and Pool, 86-87, 95, 101-2; Morton Rosenstock, Louis
Marshall, Defender of Jewish Rights (Detroit: Wayne State, 1965),
128-41. BACK TO TOP
22. Lee, 42; Rosenstock, 145-47; David Lewis, The Public Image of
Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company (Detroit:
Wayne State, 1976), pp. 142-43. BACK TO TOP
23. Lewis, 143; Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of
the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of
Zion (New York: Harper and Row, 1967), 138. BACK TO TOP
24. Pool and Pool, 90-91; ” ‘Heinrich’ Ford Idol of Bavaria Fascisti
Chief,” Chicago Tribune, Mar. 8, 1923. BACK TO TOP
25. Pool and Pool, 91; Detroit News, Dec. 31, 1931, cited in Lee,
46, p. 51. BACK TO TOP
26. Lewis, 140; Rosenstock, 149-50, 169-70, 183-84. BACK TO
TOP
27.Lewis, 140; Lee, 34, 38. BACK TO TOP
28. Rosenstock, 170. BACK TO TOP
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29. See Lee, 38; Rosenstock, 188-89. BACK TO TOP
30. Lee, 38-39; 43-44; Rosenstock 188-89. See Lewis, 140.
BACK TO TOP
31. Lee, p. 39; Lewis, p. 140. BACK TO TOP
32. Rosenstock, 189-91. BACK TO TOP
33. Rosenstock. 190-92; Lee, 84-85; Lewis, 145. BACK TO TOP
34. Rosenstock,191. BACK TO TOP
35. Ibid. BACK TO TOP
36. Rosenstock, pp. 197-98; Lewis, 147. BACK TO TOP
37. Gelderman, 235. BACK TO TOP
38. Lewis, 143; Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, trans. Ralph Manheim
(Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1943), 639. BACK TO TOP
39. Hitler, 639, n. 1. BACK TO TOP
40. Rosenstock, 193; Lee 84-85. BACK TO TOP
41. Salo W. Baron, The Russian Jew under Tsars and Soviets
(New York: Macmillan 1976), 44-49. BACK TO TOP
42. Eric Hirshler, “Jews from Germany in the United States,” in Eric
Hirshler, ed., Jews from Germany in the United States (New York:
Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1955), 62-64, 75-76; see Cyrus Adler,
Jacob H. Schiff: His Life and Letters (Garden City, New York:
Doubleday, Doran, 1929), I: 42-154, and II: 117-38, 296-97; see
Hirshler, “Jews from German” in Hirshler, pp. 96-98; 72-76; Moses
Rischin, The Promised City: New York’s Jews 1870-1914
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard, 1977), 95-98. BACK TO TOP
43. Adler, Schiff, II, pp. 120-138. BACK TO TOP
44. Marvin Tokayer and Mary Swartz, The Fugu Plan: The Untold
Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II (New
York: Paddington, 1979), 46; Memorandum, Takahashi, in Adler,
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Schiff, I: 215-26; Stephen Birmingham, “Our Crowd.” The Great
Jewish Families of New York (New York: Dell, 1967), 335. BACK
TO TOP
45. Tokayer and Swartz, 46; memorandum, Takahashi, in Adler,
Schiff, I: 216,228. BACK TO TOP
46. Nathan Schachner, The Price of Liberty: A History of the
American Jewish Committee (New York: AJC, 1948), 7-8, 37-42;
Adler, Schiff, II: 160-61. BACK TO TOP
47. Naomi W. Cohen, “The Abrogation of the Russo-American
Treaty of 1832,” Jewish Social Studies, XXV (Jan. 1963): 21;
Rosenstock, p.75; Adler, Schiff, II, pp. 150-151. BACK TO TOP
48. Cohen, “Abrogation,” 22-28, 35; Cyrus Adler and Aaron M.
Argalith, With Firmness in the Right; American Diplomatic Action
Affecting Jews, 1840-1945 (N.Y.: AJC, 1946), 285-280. BACK TO
TOP
49. Cohen, Not Free, 89-90. BACK TO TOP
50. Cable, J. Schiff to Count Witte, in Adler, Schiff, II: 135, 138.
BACK TO TOP
51. Letter, Schiff to President Taft, February 20, 1933, in Adler,
Schiff, II: 148. BACK TO TOP
52. Adler, Schiff, I: vii, ix. BACK TO TOP
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Copyright © 1999 – 2004 by Edwin Black
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright hereon may be used in any form or by any means–graphic, electronic
or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems–without the written permission of
the publisher.
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