How Odd of God*
* – to choose the Jews. (W.N.Ewer)
Chapter Twenty Three in “Disgrace Abounding” by Douglas Reed (1939)
When I was in London in the Spring of 1938 I went one day to see a high official in Whitehall. As I arrived half an hour too soon I went into a teashop, the only thing you can do in London when you arrive anywhere half an hour too soon, and ordered a cup of the wet, brown and warm stuff which they call coffee, and then I heard a voice call ‘Reed’ and turned round, and corpulent as ever, in a corner, was my acquaintance whom we will call Blumenlevy.I knew him first in Berlin, some years before Hitler came to power. Then he was well-to-do and important, and nobody, least of all himself, seemed to recall he was not a German. He was part of Berlin and looked likely to end his days there. But then came Hitler, and Blumenlevy moved to Vienna and suddenly he was Austrian-born and a great Austrian patriot and was all for defending Austrian independence to the last drop of anybody else’s blood and fervently admired Mussolini, a dictator, true, but not then an anti-Semitic one, because he had mobilized troops on the Brenner when Dollfuss was murdered and had declared he would not tolerate the rape of Austria. ‘Why do you English quarrel with this great man?’ Blumenlevy asked me. ‘It is madness.’
But then Mussolini became Hitler’s friend and Blumenlevy, all at once, was a red-hot Austrian monarchist and was for bringing young Otto back to Vienna forthwith, for only so could Austrian patriots count on the continued independence of Austria.
A few days before Hitler marched into Austria, and sent his telegram to Rome, ‘Mussolini, I shall never forget what you have done for me to-day’, I ran into Blumenlevy in a coffee house. He had been to see an Austrian monarchist leader, A, he said, and had urged him to arm the monarchists, but A was a feeble fellow and hadn’t felt equal to it. ‘I would do it,’ said Blumenlevy, ‘Ich bin ein Draufgänger – I’m a stick-at-nothing chap.’
I looked at him, fat, wheezy, and aged. Oh yeah, I thought.
Now Austria was finished, and here he was in London, already waiting on an appointment with somebody in a high place, already half-way to becoming an Englishman, naturalization papers looming ahead, and soon he would be urging the British to go and fight Germany. We shall probably have to do it anyway, but I thought, as I contemplated Blumenlevy, that the Jews, if they want to fight Germany, should urge others less and enlist more.
That is one picture, painted without malice. Look at this one.
I stood, in the heat of that September crisis, in a newspaper office in Budapest and talked with a young Jewish journalist. ‘I am for war,’ he said loudly, ‘this is the moment to stop Germany.’ ‘You,’ I said, ‘but what would you do in this war?’ ‘Oh,’ he said airily, ‘I intend to survive it.’ ‘Then why call for war, if you are not going to fight?’ I asked. ‘What can I do?’ he said, ‘I am a Hungarian subject, that would mean fighting for Germany.’ ‘Why not go to Republican Spain and fight there,’ I answered, ‘or to Czechoslovakia, and fight with the Czechs?’ ‘That would be difficult,’ he said, fidgeting. He too was thinking of a war between Gentiles for the purpose of exterminating anti-Semitism.
Look at this picture.
I sat, during that eventful and fear-laden summer, in a coffee-house in Prague, and a Jewess came in whom I had known in Vienna. She had always laid stress on her Austrian patriotism, on her love for Vienna. She was the daughter, she repeatedly told you, of an officer in the old Imperial Austrian Army, and she longed to see the Kaiser back.
Now she came and sat by me. ‘Are you homesick for Austria?’ she said. ‘Yes, I am,’ I answered, ‘and I shall always be.’ ‘I’m not,’ she said gleefully, ‘not a little bit. I hate it. I have no feeling left for it at all. I feel myself reborn to be away.’
I considered her. I could understand perfectly what she felt. Yet I knew that if I, an Englishman and a Gentile, had been born an Austrian and a Gentile and had had to fly from Austria, when Hitler came, for this reason or that, I should nevertheless have loved and longed for Austria until my last day.
There was a difference, deep, eternal, ineradicable.
These are three portraits from the gallery of 1938. I could show you a hundred others.
I belong to those cads who put loyalty among the human virtues, and I have not forgotten Jews whom I knew in the British Army during the war. Those Jews, long-established in England, were all right; but the great mass of new Jewish immigrants that we are getting now are mortally dangerous to us.
I, with all the horror I have of National Socialism and the dread I have of Germany under National Socialism, shall say some hard things about the Jews. I have watched and studied them now, all over Europe, for many years and know my subject.
In England the fashion is to profess complete incomprehension of the movements in progress in Europe to restrict the influence of the Jews. This attitude towards the Jews is the sheet anchor, in their continual claim to be humane, of those English people who put a screen of self-complacency between themselves and everything that is wrong or needs changing: how can the foreigner be right in saying we are perfidious or arrogant or class-ridden or inhumane when we have this tolerant and magnanimous feeling about the Jews? We feel ‘a generous indignation’ about the treatment of the Jews. We may not care a fig about Spanish women and children being blown to bits by German and Italian bombs. But our British love of fair play is revolted by the treatment of the Jews.
For us, these people say, there is no Jewish problem. For them, the favoured followers of the God-of-things-as-they-are, on whose own corns the Jewish problem does not tread, there is similarly no slum problem. There are, somewhere, slums, about which you occasionally feel a generous indignation. Is there a Derelict Areas problem? No, there are Derelict Areas. Is there a German problem? No, there is Germany.
There is a Jewish problem. Like the slum problem and the German problem you will leave it until it devours you.
I wrote various incidental passages about Jews in Insanity Fair. Because many people either could not understand or did not accept the things I said, I am going to make myself crystal clear this time.
One British newspaper and two American ones spoke reproachfully of my anti-Semitism. If you discuss this question at all the welkin immediately rings with the yelping of ‘Anti-Semite’, often from people who have nothing more than a languid indifference about it, but like using phrases of this sort because Englishmen always play cricket, don’t you know, and hang it, play the game, sir.
I had a letter from a reader in Palestine who said, ‘You have written a good book, save for your appallingly ignorant and callous attitude towards the Jews’. This did not convince me, because many people said similar things about Insanity Fair. The Communists thought it was good save for the part about Soviet Russia, the Fascists liked it apart from its references to Germany and Italy, the Old School Tie Brigade thought it would have been a good book but for its allusions to the public school system in England, and these, as the literary critic of a journal mainly devoted to pushing the sale of women’s underclothes wrote, indicated ‘a regrettable tendency towards Left ideas’. The close connection between the manufacture and sale of camisoles and true-blue, die-in-the-last-ditch, backs-up and chins-to-the-wall, down-with-the-Reds, up-with-the-good-old-flag-Blimpery is a thing I shall investigate one day.
I had two letters which made me think, long and carefully, which made me take out my knowledge and feelings and convictions about the Jews, put them under the microscope, scrutinize them meticulously for the microbes of prejudice or ignorance. After that long examination I was satisfied. I decided to take these letters as my text when I came to write again about the Jews.
The first was from a young American Jew, an earnest request for information. He had read Insanity Fair twice, with great interest, he said, and it had left his mind simmering with questions about the Jews, to which he could not find the answer himself, so that, rather pathetically, he wanted it from me. What did I really think about them? I seemed to think their troubles to some extent were of their own making. Did I believe that? He thought the Jews were just buffeted about. For his own part he had lost all feeling of Jewish cohesion.
I do think this. But I do not believe there is any Jew, anywhere, who has lost all feeling of Jewish cohesion. Many wish they could, but none do.
The second letter came from a Jewess in South Africa. She wrote in deep distress about events in Insanity Fair. Up to the last, she wrote, she believed that England had something up her sleeve, but now, ‘the strong arm that England used to wield lay withered beneath the poppies in Flanders fields’. But the book had been a comfort to her in this mental agony that so many people are experiencing in our time: it was, she said, in a shell-burst of superlatives, magnificent, gallant, terrible. Then she asked, ‘You write repeatedly of your Jewish “acquaintances”. Have you never had a Jewish friend? What have you in your heart for the Jews? Is it pity?’
Stimulating sentences, that acted on me like the cue that prompts an actor to his lines.
The word ‘acquaintances’ was carefully chosen. I have never had a Jewish friend. I never shall. I could, if Jews were Jews, subjects of a Jew state, avowedly foreigners in other lands, not professedly Germans, Englishmen, Hungarians, Austrians, Poles.
I have sharpened my wits on the conversation of Jews, I admire their quick-wittedness. If there were a Jewish nation I would make it an ally of England because I believe that, for their own cause, the Jews would fight like lions. I know that many of them fought in the armies of Germany and France and England, I know that each of these Jews wanted his side to win. But I also know that they had less to fear if their side lost, that they prosper in defeat and chaos. I saw this in Germany and Austria and Hungary.
I distrust the fiction that these Jews are Germans or Frenchmen or Englishmen, when I know that they are in all countries closely welded communities working, first and foremost, for the Jewish cause. Walk any Saturday evening along Oxford Street or Regent Street, contemplate those thousands of hatless young men, of carefully dressed and arm-linked young women coming up from the east to go to the great film theatres round Piccadilly and Marble Arch, to invade the chocolate-sundae corner palaces. Do you believe these are English people? Do they?
Will they help us to re-make England into a sturdy and well-found land of craftsmen and farmers and sailors? Do they not rather stand for cheap and tawdry frocks, and their corollary, sweated labour (if you have the energy, go down into the East End and visit the people who cut and sew those frocks), for gaudy Babylonian film temples, for your blasted Glamour Girls, for trashy imitation jewellery, for spurious marble halls at the sign of the fish-and-chip?
But that is another question. No penny-in-the-slot machine could produce its response more quickly than that question brings the answer from me. I know the answer.
‘What have you in your heart for the Jews? Is it pity?’
The answer is: ‘What have you in your heart for Gentiles?’
That brings you at a stroke to the root of the matter. Not anti-Semitism was first, but anti-Gentilism. You have heard a lot in recent years about Hitler’s Nuremberg anti-Jewish laws, with their ban on intermarriage, which the Germans call race-defilement.
A most intelligent and cultured and open-minded Jew in Budapest said to me, ‘After all, the Nuremberg laws are only the translation into German of our own Mosaic laws, with their ban on intermarriage with Gentiles’.
Race-antagonism began, not with the Gentiles, but with the Jews. Their religion is based on it. This racial lunacy which you detest in the Germans has possessed the Jews for thousands of years. When they become powerful, they practise it; as they consolidate their position in one trade after another, in one profession or another, the squeeze-out of Gentiles begins. That was why you found, in Berlin and Vienna and Budapest and Prague and Bucharest, newspapers with hardly a Gentile on the editorial staff, theatres owned and managed by Jews presenting Jewish actors and actresses in Jewish plays praised by the Jewish critics of Jewish newspapers, whole streets with hardly a non-Jewish shop in them, whole branches of retail trade monopolized by Jews.
Jews, if you know them well enough and understand these things enough for them to talk openly with you, will admit this. They cannot deny it.
In the beginning was anti-Gentilism. This, not the perfidy of the Gentiles, prevents the assimilation of the Jews. This prevents them from ever becoming Germans or Poles or Italians. This keeps them welded together as alien communities in foreign lands, communities ultimately hostile to the Gentile.
It is their religion? Good, but it is the reason why they cannot be assimilated.
In the defeated countries the Jews did not use the great power they achieved to promote and accelerate assimilation. They used it to increase the power and wealth of the Jews, and their intensive mutual collaboration, in that era to oust non-Jews from professions, trades and callings, was the outward and visible sign that anti-Gentilism remained within them. The race barriers that had existed against the Jews were broken down, every path was open; but the race-barrier within themselves still existed, and thus you had the misuse of this freedom and those grave signs of its abuse, the exploitation of cheap labour and of young non-Jewish womanhood, which were so repugnant a feature of life in Berlin and Vienna, and still are seen to-day, as I write, in Budapest and Prague.
These are grave things, which need to be understood.
The inner knowledge of this seemingly unbridgable gulf causes many Jews to take on protective colouring, to change their names, to outdo their Gentile neighbours in vocal patriotism, to obscure the fact that they are Jews. Some, a few, marry Gentiles; to the main body of Jews they are renegades who have ‘married outside the faith’. Some, a few, have themselves baptized; but they remain Jews.
In three Central European capitals that I know the baptism of Jews, since the annexation of Austria, has become an industry. The step is taken in all cynicism, as a business proposition, a means of getting into countries which have banned the admission of Jews, a device to tide over the years until the anti-Semitic wave subsides again. The Jews joke about it among themselves, and the Jews I know, who talk frankly with me because they know that I understand the racket, joke about it with me. One Jew, discussing it with me, told me of an acquaintance who, to his annoyance, found that he had to pass through a period of instruction in the faith he was about to acquire before he received the coveted baptismal certificate, and how he cut short the priest’s explanation of the immaculate conception with the words, ‘Schaun S’, ich glaube Ihnen sämtliche Sachen’ (Look here, I believe everything). This was thought very funny and sent a roar of laughter round the table. In one of the capitals I speak of, several hundred Jews were baptized as Church of England Christians in the summer of 1938, and by a trick they succeeded in predating the baptismal certificates, so that the reason for the conversion should not be ‘too apparent. The convert is usually re-converted to the Hebraic faith when the anti-Semitic period passes.
These baptized Jews, who have no belief whatever in Christianity, join the community of ‘non-Aryan Christians’ for whom your Church leaders constantly appeal.
An industry has also grown up around the very distress of the Jews, namely, the industry of marriages bought and sold. All English readers have seen reports of cases where foreign Jewesses have paid foreigners to marry them in order to acquire another nationality and be beyond the reach of immigration bans and business hindrances. The most coveted of all passports — the passport, not the nationality or the husband, is the coveted thing — is the British. I was told by a Jew in Prague, ‘Any young Englishman could earn a million Kronen by marrying a Jewess from here’. His table neighbour commented, ‘He wouldn’t need to be young’, and much laughter followed.
As I write, the Prague newspaper which makes a speciality of brothel advertisements is earning a large revenue each day by publishing the announcements of emigrant Jews who have their papers in order and offer to take a wife with them, if she has a sufficient dowry; of Jewesses who seek a foreigner or a passage-booked emigrant as a husband and offer large financial inducements; and of foreigners who offer to marry Jewesses, and give them the benefits of another nationality, at a high price. These are some of the advertisements in current issues: ‘American is prepared to marry Jewess’; ‘I seek, for my brother, who is about to emigrate to South America, a wife, Jewess; not over 24, dowry essential’; ‘Marriage of convenience offered by respectable Yugoslav’; ‘Distinguished Englishman offers name-marriage to Jewess’.
No Jew ever mistakes the man he is dealing with. He knows at once whether the other man is a Jew or a Gentile; it is the first question he asks himself.
How many Gentiles know when they have to do with a Jew? How often have you heard, ‘Is he really a Jew? The thought never occurred to me. He doesn’t look like one’.
The feeling towards Gentiles that is given the Jew when he comes into the world and is fostered in him within his family circle, is that the Gentiles are people, more stupid than the Jews, who can be used to bring profit and advantage to the Jews.
It is a fundamentally hostile attitude, the strength of which is that the Gentiles, by and large, do not realize its existence. All the means of protective colouring are used to further it. Outside that family circle the Jew is a matey, hail-fellow-well-met brother citizen. That is not in his heart, nor in his eyes, if you look into them. You are a man against whom he has to pit his wits, to outdo his potential enemy. The basis of it lies in his religion. It is all very good if both sides realize what is afoot. But it makes assimilation impossible.
There are two bitterly antagonistic schools of Jewish thought. One is for assimilation, for ignoring that unbridgeable gulf fixed by the Jewish faith, for settling in the midst of the Christian communities and the various nations, and taking on their forms of life and characteristics.
If you have a young and sturdy race and set a low limit on the number of the Jews, this works fairly well – as for instance, in Serbia. The Serbs were too virile for the Jews to reach disproportionate influence among them – and there were not many Jews. But when a new influx of Jews begins, under the influence of wars or an anti-Semitic movement elsewhere, the trouble starts.
The other Jewish school of thought is for boldly accepting the truth, that Jews are Jews and unassimilable, for setting up a National Jewish state somewhere of which all Jews should be subjects.
It is, in my view, the solution and ought at all cost to be done. Then the native citizen of other countries would know with whom he had to deal and what motives he might expect in that citizen of a foreign state. It would put an end to the Jew who constantly steps across the frontiers and repeatedly changes his language, his nationality, and his professed allegiance, who is a German to-day, an Austrian to-morrow, a Hungarian the day after, and next week an Englishman, who claims a privileged place in the world that is open to no other race or faith, who, in the name of love for that particular country in which he happens at the moment to be, works bee-like for war against the anti-Semitic state that he has left.
Here you have the ruling idea of the dummer Christ again, the stupid Gentile who can be egged on to fight the other Gentiles in order to exterminate anti-Semitism. Organized international Jewry ought, in the name of dignity alone, to put a stop to this. Protest and fight against anti-Semitism as much as you like, but do not expect the nations to go to war about it.
I spent many years in Germany, both before and after Hitler came to power, and there had the opportunity to study the Jews in the heyday of their power. They were still almost debarred from the army, but apart from that might attain to any post in Germany. The period of opening freedom and opportunity which began in the eighteen hundreds had reached its golden climax. Every door was open.
How did they use this freedom? To work for Germany? From what I saw, I do not think so. No man’s hand was against them, but they used it to increase and fortify Jewish power and wealth to the detriment of the non-Jewish community.
The Jews are not cleverer than the Gentiles, if by clever you mean good at their jobs. They ruthlessly exploit the common feeling of Jews, first to get a foothold in a particular trade or calling, then to squeeze the non-Jews out of it. I have chosen journalism for my first example, because I know a deal about it.
It is not true that Jews are better journalists than Gentiles. They held all the posts on these Berlin newspapers because the proprietors and editors were Jewish. The opinions of these newspapers were quoted abroad as samples of German opinion. They represented the Jewish interest exclusively, in their attitude to both foreign and domestic affairs. If another country was friendly towards Jews, they were friendly towards that country: if it was anti-Jewish they attacked it.
I remember a case, when a Lord Mayor of Berlin was detected taking bribes from a Jewish contractor. His wife had received an expensive fur coat, of Nerz, which I think is mink, and the scandal stank to heaven, so that the street boys were singing a parody of a then popular song, ‘Wenn du einmal dein Herz verschenkst, dann schenk’ es mir’. They sang: ‘Wenn du mal einen Nerz verschenkst, dann schenk’ ihn mir’. I remember how the Jewish newspapers tried to whitewash that scandal, to divert attention from the fact that the firm of contractors was a Jewish one. I observed this same attitude, on the part of Jewish newspapers, towards an endless series of financial scandals and criminal trials in which Jews were concerned, in Berlin and in Vienna.
In Berlin, in those days, Jewish newspapers, which had their exact counterparts in Vienna, Budapest and Prague, gave daily space in their small advertisement columns to brothel announcements, blatant and unashamed, with address and telephone number. In Berlin and Vienna this has now been stopped. About Budapest I am not sure. In Prague one of them continues to do this to the very hour in which I write. I have to-day’s issue before me. It has a dozen announcements of this kind:
Charming young Frenchwoman desires to let a beautifully furnished room to a well-to-do gentleman visiting Prague.
An attractive young lady has comfortably furnished rooms to let.
Body culture. A strict young lady imparts instruction in the new crawling-gymnastics.
And so on, through the whole alphabet of procuration.What journalism is this? Is this ‘being cleverer than we are’? Of course you can make money like that, by publishing advertisements that other newspapers will not accept, but are you a better publisher, a better newspaper man for it? Or a less scrupulous one?
In Vienna, in 1937, it was even possible to read in one of these newspapers an advertisement for a virgin, the price offered being a holiday by the sea. The advertisement read:
Young man seeks the acquaintance, as the first friend [Freund, in this sense, means accepted lover] of her life of an attractive young girl, for a holiday in Italy together. He will pay all expenses. Three weeks in fairyland! Afterwards, loving friendship.
The only comment which this advertisement aroused, in the Vienna of that time, was a mild reproof, ‘This is really going a bit far’, from the Catholic Reichspost.In the Berlin of yesteryear most of the theatres were Jewish-owned or Jewish-leased, most of the leading film and stage actors were Jews, the plays performed were often by German, Austrian or Hungarian Jews and were staged by Jewish producers, applauded by Jewish dramatic critics in Jewish newspapers.
Was superior talent the explanation for this Jewish predominance? In my view, it was not. It was due to Protektion, a word that opens every Jewish door between Hamburg and Constanza.
This is the system. You are a Jew, you encounter another Jew. He does you a small service or you do him one, usually something a little irregular by strict standards. On that basis an enormous superstructure of Protektion, of ramificatory and interlocking acquaintanceships and recommendations, is built up which reaches across all frontiers and unites the whole Jewish world.
Do you think superior talent enables a Jewish actor or actress smoothly to step from leading parts in Berlin to leading parts in Vienna, when Hitler appears, and again from leading parts in Vienna, when Hitler appears there, to leading parts in London? Do you think non-Jewish talent would find the same open-armed reception from film and theatrical and operatic producers in London, in Paris and New York? Do you think it is a whim of nature that Jews from Poland, Russia, Galicia or Central Europe are needed to put English history on the screen, to portray famous figures of English history, a British officer, a Tudor prince? Do you imagine no Englishmen are available?
Some of these cases are simply fantastic. The Jew, in such a plight, has a long lead on the non-Jewish fugitive, who faces a world in which he has no single friend, in which he must begin again from scratch, in which his chances of even getting across the frontiers are infinitely worse than those of the Jew, because he has not that Protektion in the outer world.
In Berlin, one day, there was a Jewish journalist, a member of the staff of one of those snappy, sensational, bedtime-story sheets. Came Hitler, and he retired to Vienna, and joined a newspaper of the same sort there. Came Hitler, and he retired to Prague. Came Hitler, to the Sudeten German lands.
This man could by no stretch of imagination be called a German, an Austrian, or a Czech. He was a Jew, born in some place that once was Russia and now was Poland or Lithuania or Estonia or heaven knows what. He had supplied ‘the German view’ from Berlin, ‘the Austrian view’ from Vienna, ‘the Czechoslovak view’ from Prague.
Now I saw him, day by day, in hotel lounges, deep in conference with well-meaning but ill-informed English people who had come to ‘help the Czechs’. He poured a heart-rending tale into their ears, threatened to commit suicide. This was no destitute fugitive, but a slick fellow who was always well-fed and well-dressed and stepped smoothly across the frontier into another land every time that anything happened to make him move on.
By these means, he was one of the first to get away. I don’t think this was what English people meant by ‘helping the Czechs’, But within a few weeks he was in London. A week or two later he wrote to another Jew in Prague in this sense: ‘I am having a wonderful time. I am staying in the household of an English lord, who is most kind to me. If you wish to send your wife to England, just let me know; I can arrange it immediately. I have good prospects of getting on to the English Press.’
Soon this man will be giving the world ‘the English view’, writing about the intense indignation that English people feel at the things that Germany does. It is fantastic. If England encourages this sort of thing, England is a lunatic asylum.
I was present when the contents of that letter were read out. Another Jew who was present said: ‘The next letter you get will tell you that he is now the English lord, and that the English lord has been pushed out in the cold.’ Followed a roar of laughter.
The admission of these people to England is a thing in the free gift of the Government, save for such checks as, for the nonce, public discussion, and such part of the Press as remains immune to Jewish influence, may put on it. Already a barrage of intimidation is touched off against any man who tries to expose the danger to England of this new Jewish immigration.
I have seen this same system at work in Berlin, in Vienna, in Prague, in Budapest. As soon as a man’s name gets the label of anti-Semitism tagged on to it, the grape-vine gets to work, the moles get busy. Yet this is not anti-Semitism, but self-protection.
Mr. Herbert Metcalfe, the Old Street magistrate, who through the particular scope of his court has a great deal to do with Jewish immigrants, in dealing with a particularly bad case, said the way stateless Jews were pouring into England was an outrage, that the right policy would be to punish them sternly, not merely take them by the scruff of the neck and throw them out, and gave three of them six months hard labour apiece for having got into the country without permits.
I know this type of Jew, and in my view Mr. Metcalfe was about right. But immediately a drumfire of invective and recrimination against Mr. Metcalfe opened.
Do you believe this campaign sprang from the Englishman’s innate humanity, sympathy for the under-dog, love of fair play? No, it was partly the balm with which the Englishman of to-day soothes his conscience, mainly the result of Jewish instigation. How many Englishmen to-day would be prepared to admit five thousand non-Jewish, anti-Hitler Germans, skilled workers, men of peace and goodwill and democrats, with their wives and families, to England or the Dominions? No, they are Reds. They are not ‘Germans’ or ‘Austrians’, they are ‘Reds’.
You Englishmen, who know how hard it is for an Englishman, without family influence, without money, without the Old School Tie to break through the iron ring of privilege, of preference, of nepotism, of wealth, of class-hatred, consider these things. Look at your Englishmen, in Durham, in Jarrow, in Shoreditch, in Hoxton. Do something about them first.
When I was last in London I saw many faces I knew, many people of a type that I knew, and was not cheered by what I saw, in the streets, in the picture pages of the Press, in the reports of criminal trials.
If you have eyes to see, take a look at this London of yours, the greatest city of the world, in 1939. Go, with open eyes, from Marble Arch to Hyde Park Corner, along Piccadilly to Leicester Square, down the Strand to Fleet Street and St. Paul’s, from there to Holborn Viaduct and back along Oxford Street. It is as if a drag-net had been cast over Berlin and Vienna and Budapest and Prague and Naples and Paris and Warsaw and Cracow, and the catch dumped down here in this paradise of gilt, chromium, plush and neon-lighting, where Shakespeare once mustered his players, where Milton and Chaucer walked, whence Drake and Raleigh sailed in search of new worlds, where English craftsmen once, long ago, made gates of good wrought iron and chests of good oak, where Englishmen once served Englishmen with beef and beer, and where Englishmen now sit in imitation marble halls eating poached eggs and drinking coffee.
Put your heads through the doors of the restaurants, Petit Paris, Klein Berlin, Mañana’s, Hoggenstein’s, Posenovitch’s, Umpsky’s, and all the others, and see who is eating, who is serving, there. Stroll through the lounges, accursed word, of the cheap but splendiferous hotels round Piccadilly, the Strand and Marble Arch, and see what manner of people are reclining in those cushioned depths.
Take up your newspaper and read the small advertisements on the front page:
This is to certify that Ignacio François Wienerwaldski has applied for naturalization and that if any know just cause or impediment …
I, Aloysius Ibrahim Espagnolovitch, hereby give notice that I have changed my name to Arthur Etonharrow …
Turn over the page and look at the ‘Situations Required’.
Three Viennese sisters (Jewish), who do not wish to be separated, seek positions in an English household.Young German (refugee) seeks post as tutor.
If you have any acquaintances who have engaged such applicants, ask them how long they remained in their employment after reaching England, how soon they left to set up a little business, whether they found a way to bring their sisters and brothers, sons and daughters to England too.Your newspapers, if you read them diligently and with discernment, carefully study the names and the pictures, give you a good picture of your London. Consider the following items collected from The Times:
First, these, about two young Englishmen:
Albert Smith, a van boy, 18, of Forest Gate, was sent to prison for a month at West Ham Police Court yesterday when he was charged with stealing 1s. from a cash till of a shop in Forest Gate.At Thames Police Court yesterday John Brown, 19, pleaded guilty to stealing ten shillings from his employer and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.
Now look at these items, all taken from The Times in that same month:
A Financial Shark. Bankrupt Dutchman sent to prison. Before Mr. Dummett, at Bow Street Police Court yesterday, —-, a Dutch subject, was charged that he, being an undischarged bankrupt, was concerned in the management of a company without the leave of the Court by which he was adjudged bankrupt … In 1935 he was adjudicated bankrupt, with liabilities amounting to £3,549 and assets 10s. 11d. Mr. Dummett sentenced —- to four months imprisonment. Notice of appeal was given.Woman’s Wanderings through Europe. Smuggled into Britain in Ship’s Bunker. At Bow Street yesterday —- … After the advent of Hitler, said defendant, she fled to Poland, then went to Antwerp, where a sailor said he would help her to get to England for £10 … On the third day the sailor came and said, You are safe now, you are in London’ … The magistrate said this was one of those distressing cases. He would make a recommendation for deportation, but the chances were that nothing would be done … A nominal fine of 10s. was imposed.
Foreign Criminals Imprisoned. Three aliens, two men and a woman, were charged at Bow Street yesterday with landing in this country without the consent of the Immigration Officer. [I ought to explain to you that this means that they were smuggled in, against payment, and that only a few of those who do it are caught.] They were —-, a Russian; —-, a Russian; —-, a Peruvian. Detective-Inspector Muscle, of the Flying Squad, said he saw and arrested the accused in Limehouse. The woman —-, told him she had arrived in London an hour before, having landed in England at a port she did not know. She had paid a Greek sailor £5 and was put on board a boat she did not know. —- had been convicted twice in this country and recommended for deportation, while in 1934 he was convicted in Detroit, U.S.A. —- had no recorded convictions against her in this country, but the Berlin police stated that she was known to the Paris Police under another name. —- had convictions against him dating from 1911 in Dresden, Vienna, Warsaw, Milan, Copenhagen and Zürich; he had been expelled from Denmark and Italy and deported from this country. Detective-Inspector Muscle described the accused as ‘a gang of dangerous international criminals’. Sentence was passed. Detective-Inspector Muscle then stated that he had just received a telegram from the Paris police, who had identified —- by fingerprints as a woman named —-, who was sentenced for theft in Paris in 1934.
These in a few weeks. The drag-net has caught a few small fish from the shoals that are swimming about in London. Now go through the West End, for your edification, with an open eye, and see what you have in London. When I was there I sometimes thought I was back in the Kurfürstendamm, the Kärntnerstrasse, the Andrássy Ut, the Wenceslas Platz. Here they were, neither toiling nor spinning, but flashing the diamond ring on their little fingers, occupying all the most prominent seats in the lounges of the cheap hotels, reading the papers in half a dozen languages, that pestiferous gang, with their well-manicured hands, their ever-roving eyes, their oiled hair, their natty suits, their aggressive manners, that I had seen in the main streets and cafés of half a dozen capitals.I first had my attention called to these things when I came back to London after the annexation of Austria. I had not been there for many years, save for a day or two, and now I was staggered by the change for the worse. London seemed to have taken over the human bad debts of half Europe. I began then closely to study the publications on the bookstalls, the people in the cheap but gaudy hotels, in the restaurants around Piccadilly, in the film-theatres, in the bottle-parties, in the massage-and-manicure halls, the newspapers, the brass plates, for the things I knew I should find.
These people are the dregs of the emigration. Our police, as far as I can judge, cannot keep them out. They come in again and again, and when they are arrested in Whitechapel High Street they blandly protest that they have only just that moment arrived there, really don’t know how they got there, have none but the best of intentions, are sentenced to a few weeks’ imprisonment and deportation – and six months later they are there again. They have found a Greek sailor, a convict without a penny in his pockets.
Almost every day now in your newspapers you may read items like these:
German Refugee in Terror. A German dentist, —-, who was smuggled into England by motor-boat from France, stated yesterday that he had been living in terror and pleaded not to be sent back to Germany. Constable Smith, of the Aliens Department, said, —- paid a man in France 500 francs to bring him to England.Refugee Imprisoned; Appeal to Press not to Publish Name. A watch dealer, —-, described as of no nationality, was charged at Bow Street yesterday with having landed without the leave of an immigration officer. Police Constable Brown, of the Aliens Department, said the man arrived on Monday, having stowed away on a boat.
If you closely follow these items, which you will generally find in obscure corners of your newspapers, you will see that the names of defending counsel in them are generally Jewish. Jewish welfare officials attend the courts. Any magistrate who expresses concern about the evil is liable to be pilloried in the Press and in Parliament. What eventually happens to these people, no man knows. You usually read that ‘the question of deportation will be carefully considered by the authorities’ or ‘a recommendation for deportation was made’. My own belief is that the majority of these people stay; you only have to look about you to see them.As long as you have a stable number of Jews, restricted by law from attaining undue power, in any particular land you can in course of time make those Jews so nearly natives of that land that the difference doesn’t matter.
But as soon as you take the restrictions off, open every door to them, keep no safeguards for yourself, allow unlimited immigration, the trouble begins.
You nearly had that state of affairs before the war; after the war you did have it; and that is the reason for all the trouble now. If you could stabilize the Jews in the world within the frontiers where they now live, and still build barriers against their disproportionate acquisition of wealth and power — for the Jews in prosperity are as ruthless as the Germans — all would be well. But you can’t, because of that great flood of migration, surging hither and thither, and in England you should as quickly as possible build barriers against the formation of yet another privileged class.
That is what the Jews become, if they have full freedom. Held together by that cement of fellow-feeling, they are a compact and well-organized minority within the community, working with the co-ordinated rhythm of a great machine. I don’t mean that it is a plot; that depends on what you understand by a plot. It is possibly just a feeling of common belonging-together, that the surest way of reaching the desired end is by close mutual collaboration.
But don’t forget that the acquisition of wealth and worldly goods and the power they bring is for the Jew a sign of divine favour, a thing that entitles him to the respect of his fellow-Jews. For most of us, the rich man is, in our hearts, rather a creature of contempt. He, too, by his closed guilds, keeps us enslaved; we work for him, pay him tribute – but not respect. The very rich Jew is for the poor Jew an object of esteem and admiration.
I wrote that the Jews, when you give them full equality, use it to become a privileged group, not to become equals. A small example of the system at work was that case of the Jew newly arrived in Harley Street, who got his fellow-Jew in Berlin to write to a prospective English patient and warn her against the English doctors. That is how it begins – the squeeze-out. Imagine that in 1938, with one of the greatest countries in the world suppressing the Jews, with England taking its place as the haven where they fain would be! Imagine how it would work in a time when no anti-Semitic feeling existed, how it worked in Germany before anti-Semitism boiled up. Where is the feeling of gratitude to the country that has given you sanctuary?
I know a newspaper in a Central European capital where the entire editorial staff — the printers and packers and typists and porters and drivers and runabout-boys were mostly Gentiles — were Jews. When anti-Semitism began to loom nearer, a new editor was appointed – a Gentile. He was one of those charming Hungarians, that is to say, he was a Croat or Slovene or a Ruthene or a German or something by origin, but he was a great Hungarian patriot, and a Christian. He knew Jews perfectly, he said: all non-Jewish Hungarians think that, and that is why the Jews are stronger in Hungary than almost anywhere.
With a charming smile he told me that he knew exactly why he had been appointed and what his position was to be – the Auslage Goy, or shop-window Gentile. When the sun shines and you re-dress the window, you take that particular dummy away; it is old-fashioned. But why did that Jewish newspaper engage only Jewish journalists? Was this chance? Or was it anti-Gentilism?
In Berlin, in Vienna, as I knew them, this system of the squeeze-out was always at work, relentlessly. In the main shopping thoroughfares a non-Jewish shop was a rarity. Do you know that in the Regent Street of Berlin, the Kurfürstendamm, Jewish shops were in the riots of November 1938 in the overwhelming majority, that on that day you could count the unwrecked, that is, the non-Jewish shops, on the fingers of your hand? In some trades — the clothing trade, the leather trade, the fur trade, the gold and jewellery trade, the coal trade — a Jewish monopoly prevailed, in Vienna, and a Christian who tried to set foot in them would have had about as much chance as General Ludendorff at a Freemasons’ meeting.
When times become bad that extraordinary grape-vine system of inter-recommendation continues. It is not confined, in so far as favours are asked, to Jews. The machine of Jewish wits is set to work to foster the sympathy, to enlist the help, of the Christians. The smallest service rendered is the soil in which that seed of Protektion is planted, and once it takes root a beanstalk of betterment starts climbing to the skies, with Jack Jew shinning up it.
Hungary is a particularly good example of the country which produces the Jew who is a good Hungarian to-day, good Englishman to-morrow, good German next week, good Chinese next month, and which in my view still affords the best example to-day of a country where the Jew, by this method of squeeze-out collaboration, rises to heights of influence and affluence far beyond his deserts and his numbers.
Hungary produced the classic example of that kind of Jew – Trebitsch Lincoln. Consider Trebitsch Lincoln. He was born a Jew, in Hungary. His parents came from Poland or Russia or Lord knows where – from ‘behind God’s back’, as the Magyar proverb says. You, if you had been writing a paragraph for your English newspapers, would in your objective, fair’s-fair way have written ‘A Hungarian has been born’.
In his early manhood, if I remember rightly, he was a priest of one of the Christian confessions, in Canada, I think! Here was your ‘non-Aryan Christian’! A little later he was making a deep impression on those loving souls, the Quakers, in England. A little later still he was a good British patriot, a Member of the House of Commons.
A few more years passed, the World War broke out, and Trebitsch Lincoln proved to have been a spy – for Germany, a country to which he owed no allegiance. But to what country did he owe allegiance? If any, then, I should say, to England. But allegiance was not in him.
Oblivion for a few years, and then came the Kapp Putsch in Germany, the first of the Nationalist conspiracies to overthrow the democratic liberal regime that was so kind to the Jews, and reinstate the big business men, big landlords, monarchists, militarists, in the seats of the mighty in Germany. Who was a leading figure in this short-lived seizure of power? Trebitsch Lincoln, now a German die-hard. Among the other sympathizers was a relatively unknown man, one Adolf Hitler. Trebitsch Lincoln on the side of the anti-Semites? Of course, he was a Christian.
Let me here interrupt my story of Trebitsch Lincoln for a moment to say that when the discomfited Kapp troops, after their brief reign, withdrew through the Brandenburger Tor at the top of Unter den Linden they fired, just from exuberant geniality, on the crowd, many people being killed and wounded, while others ran, and I saw a photograph of this incident which has never left my memory.
In the foreground, with the running, crouched or prostrate figures for a background, is an old woman with a child. The child huddles into her skirts. She holds it, her body between it and the bullets. When you look at that picture you can almost hear the rat-tat-tat of the machine-guns, the frightened crying of the child, the beating of the old woman’s heart. Madonna, child and machine-gun, a pleasant symbolic picture for our post-war Europe. But nobody has bothered to paint it.
Back to Trebitsch Lincoln. Again a few years of oblivion and you heard of him in China, where men were fighting. By now he was either a good Russian Bolshevist or a good Chinese Nationalist, I forget which. Then, again, a few years of silence. Then, again, news that Trebitsch Lincoln was a Buddhist monk, and the tardy post brought pictures of him in his little silken cap, his silken tunic, his funny pants.
A man without truth, without honour, without faith, without loyalty? No, you are wrong. Now something happened that touched the one spot in Trebitsch Lincoln where you could find loyalty. In England he had a son, and this son was a soldier in the British Army, and if you can beat that one please write and tell me, because I should like to know. The son was convicted of murder, the date of execution set. In far Tibet, or wherever he was, Trebitsch Lincoln heard the news. He came speeding across the world to see his son before he died. Here was his one loyalty, the loyalty of the Jewish family. He arrived, at Southampton, I think, a few hours before the execution. He was not allowed to land. He steamed away again, resumed that endless journey …
What a figure. I wish sometimes that I had another medium than words, those pale and empty sounds and symbols. I would like to tell a tale in acid, in poison, in vitriol, in fire and brimstone, a tale that would scar and singe and scorch and curl up the pages as you read them.
If you open wide the doors of opportunity to this kind of Jew you are asking for your house to be despoiled. Remember that he uses all the methods of protective colouring. Baptism. Me a Jew? No, I am a Christian, even a Christian priest. Language. What, Mr. Lincoln a foreigner? But he speaks perfect English. Name-changing. What, Mr. Lincoln a foreigner and a Jew? But he has a good English name, is a Member of Parliament, and his sentiments are irreproachable. You are mad. Out upon you.
There is no limit for this kind of Jew. If you doubt me, think of Trebitsch Lincoln leading the anti-Semites down the Wilhelmstrasse to the seat of power. But I can show you the modern counterpart of Trebitsch Lincoln, and I don’t mean those pro-Hitler Jews who were said by rumour to have marched round Berlin in the early Nazi days carrying a banner with the legend ‘Hinaus mit uns!’ – ‘Chuck us out!’
In Budapest, while Hitler, the Jew-killer, was conducting his siege of Czechoslovakia, was a newspaper conducted almost entirely by Jews. All the Jews on that newspaper were hoping that Hitler would fail, that Czechoslovakia, which had given liberal shelter to Jews from Germany and Austria, would survive, that Germany would be discomfited in peace or crushed in war. Otherwise the anti-Semitic Reich would advance a step-nearer Hungary, the day of anti-Semitism in Hungary would loom nearer.
But rather than forfeit their posts or risk the suspension of their paper by the Government, which was anti-Czech, the Jews on that newspaper wrote the bitterest things about Czechoslovakia each day, called the Czechs tyrants and rogues and scum, applauded Germany’s resolve to bring Czechoslovakia to her knees.
The problem is not simple.
Hungary is the most instructive country in Europe for the study of the Jews, because they are there more powerful than in any other country I know, and yet the innocent abroad never even suspects this when he spends his pleasant days and nights in Budapest and thinks he is getting to know the Magyars.
I once sat on a café terrace overlooking Budapest with a Jew, an exceptionally intelligent one. He looked reflectively over the city. ‘Isn’t it lovely?’ he said. ‘You know, this, and not Vienna, was the Jews’ paradise.’ I had never thought it out quite as far as that, but as soon as he said it I knew that he was right.
In Hungary you had, as that old Magyar nobleman said who I quoted to you earlier, a ruling class, the nobles and magnates, who chose to pretend that business was beneath them and used the Jews for all matters of buying and selling, banking and moneylending, accounting and manufacturing. By doing this, as they went out hunting or sat by the fireside and in a lordly way commanded the gipsies to make music for them, they delivered the country to the Jews and surrendered their own mastery of it to the Jews.
The Hungarians, the masses, the people who lived on and from the land, noticed little difference. It was a change of bond-masters. They remained plough-fodder and factory-fodder, but it was an age when the number of factories and chimneys, of which the noblemen understood nothing, was daily increasing, and the number of shops, fed by the factories, was increasing in like ratio, and the power of the Jews grew and grew, and even on the land, as the indolent noblemen, with their flashy phrases and their stupid acts, went bankrupt or signed more and more bills, the number of acres in Jewish ownership grew and grew likewise.
It was the age of the machine, and the Jews slipped slickly into that gap between the lords of the manor and the serfs and soon monopolized all the functions that neither understood: the one class because it was too arrogant and lazy, the other because it was too downtrodden and kept in ignorance and serfdom. It was a golden age for the Jews, and Hungary in that half century before the World War became, as my Jewish acquaintance said, the Jews’ paradise.
Then came a thing you should remember when you read that lamentable outcry: What, oh what on earth is to become of the Jews, in ten years, at this rate? They will all have been exterminated.
There came a Communist regime, almost exclusively Jewish: a reactionary regime with a brief but fierce anti-Jewish period; and then – another period of glorious Jewish prosperity. This is what makes Hungary so very instructive, in studying the Jewish problem: it is the only country in Europe, save Germany, where you have had violent anti-Semitism since the war, and within a few months that was all forgotten and the Jews were as powerful and as comfortable as ever, and have remained so to this day, when the clouds are gathering again in the north-west.
This is the story. In 1919 a Red Republic was proclaimed in the land of the Magyars. Of the Government, of the twenty-six People’s Commissars, eighteen were Jews! The Jews had untrammelled power in Hungary, and they packed the administration, so that the Jews, in that period, were not a powerful though camouflaged class, but overtly the ruling class.
They had a straw man, an Auslage Goy, as President, the good master-bricklayer Alexander Garbai, but he had nothing to say. Theirs was the Hungarian Kingdom, the power and the glory. Aaron Cohen (Béla Kun), Josef Pogany, Tibor Szamuelly (Samuels) and the others reigned unchallenged, and did some very unpleasant things. Their fingers were no whit less quick on the trigger than those of Ad Hitler or Al Capone.
Many people are puzzled by the leading part that the Jews play in Communism. How can the Jews, who love money, be for a doctrine which denies the right of private property, the right to amass wealth?, they ask their little selves. The answer is that there is always money at the top, and at the top is a thing that attracts Jews more than money – power. Hungary had given the Jews everything they could desire. One Jew, Ludwig Hatvány, wrote:
The old Hungary gave me everything: wellbeing, security, rank and title. The university and the academy stood open to me.
He was of those who supported the Bolshevist regime and afterwards fled into exile.The Rumanians chased Béla Kun out of Hungary. He failed to do the one thing which could have given him any hold on the people – take land from the big landowners and give it to the landless peasants. Instead, he nationalized all the land. But to give land to the peasants was a thing not in the hearts of these men; they were as ruthless as any other tyrants. Hard on his heels came Admiral Horthy; quickly the old regime reinstated itself in power; Hungary after a world war was exactly as she had been before it.
Inevitably, there was a rabid anti-Jewish outbreak. Officers, with improvised detachments, rampaged the land and hanged some Jews, and were not always careful to choose the right ones.
That was in 1919. By 1920 anti-Jewish feeling was already dwindling, by 1921 it was dead, and the Jews were moving to another period of increasing influence and prosperity. A remarkable thing, when you think of the want that stalked Hungary, of the passions that had been aroused.
At first, to dissociate themselves from the Red regime and to escape the vengeance that seemed likely to follow it, masses of Jews had themselves baptized: in 1919, 7146; in 1920, 1925; in 1921 only 827, thereafter a very small number annually. The need for protective colouring was diminishing. The number of re-conversions, from Christianity to the Mosaic religion, rose steeply.
Seventeen years later, in 1938, the Jews in Hungary were richer and more powerfully established than ever before. The memory of the Béla Kun regime seemed completely to have faded; anti-Semitism, but for the ominous rumblings from the north-west, would have been a dead letter. On paper, as always, the proportion of the Jews to the population was very small – about 600,000, or 6.5 per cent of the total, including confessing Jews, baptized Jews, and half-Jews.
In this matter of the Jews, figures are great prevaricators, for the actual picture that Hungary presented to the human eye was a completely different one. It was a picture of Jewish predominance, in very many walks of life, out of all proportion to their numbers, even assuming that these were much greater than the statistics showed. They were — they are, as I write — a group with a standard of wellbeing and power far above any other in the country.
They owned 46 per cent of all industrial undertakings. They manned 70 per cent of the boards of all companies representing big business. On the boards of the leading banking houses their share was between 75 and 80 per cent; 67.2 per cent of private brokers and 36 per cent of banking clerks were Jews. They had even gained possession of 11.7 per cent of all land in Hungary – against the urgent warnings of a Zionist leader, who many years before had told them:
You are making a fatal mistake in acquiring landed property. You already own more than half of the immovable property in this land. The people cannot in the long run tolerate such a conquest. Only by force of arms can a minority, which is alien to the people and is not historically renowned like the old aristocracy, maintain its hold on such possessions.
Of the bigger estates, 17.6 per cent were in Jewish hands; 34.4 per cent of all doctors were Jews, 49.2 per cent of all lawyers, 31.6 per cent of all journalists. In Budapest, the capital, where between a quarter and a third of the entire population is Jewish, the proportion was much higher. The publishing and printing trades were almost exclusively Jewish, all privately-owned theatres were Jewish, and 40.5 per cent of film theatres.To get a clearer picture of this almost monopolistic control take the boards of the twenty leading industrial undertakings in Hungary in 1934-35. Of 336 names 235 were Jewish; 290 of the biggest industrial concerns in Hungary were under the control of the ten biggest banks. Of 319 names on the boards 223 were Jewish.
In 1936, 19 newspapers in Budapest employed 418 editors, journalists and contributors; 306 were Jewish.
Now leave the figures and look at Budapest, at the retail trade, the mightiest of all the Jewish strongholds. Here the Jewish preponderance is clearest to the naked eye, because it is behind the counter, not upstairs in the board-room. In Budapest there are miles of streets where you may search vainly for a non-Jewish shop. It is very difficult, if you wish to buy anything, not to buy it from a Jew.
The contrast between this strongly entrenched Jewish community, all its units earning a good living, and the poverty of the workers in outer Budapest, of the peasants in many parts of the country, is striking and depressing. Most of the workers work for Jews and, when they get their meagre pay envelope, hand it to their wives, who trot along to the Jewish shopkeeper and give it back, and so the money, like the music, goes round and round and comes out – where? Nowhere where the worker or the peasant can get at it.
It is, in its way, a new tyranny, comparable with that of the nobles and the Church in the Middle Ages, the tyranny of money-power instead of the tyranny of inherited privilege, and it needs remedying just as much as those other tyrannies, which still linger on.
This is the problem that has to be solved, as it seems to me: that the Jews, given full equality of opportunity, use it to oust the others and acquire the status of a privileged class.
Come with me on a few journeys through the Hungarian countryside and watch the system at work there.
Come to Mezökövesd, where the tourists are taken on Sundays in charabancs, because on Sundays the peasants put on their pretty costumes and all go to church, and this delights the tourists, who feel they are really getting to know Hungary, lunch well at the restaurant round the corner, which is decorated in the Hungarian-operetta style and is especially put there for tourists and has about as much relation to life in Mezökövesd as the Berkeley Buttery has to the good old English life of Bethnal Green, and are whisked back to Budapest in their charabancs.
But we will go to Mezökövesd not on Sunday, but on Saturday afternoon. The peasants and villagers are at work; they are not wearing those picturesque costumes. They are at their daily grind, which lasts from dawn to dusk. They are bitterly poor. Money is a rare thing to them, even small coins. They think themselves lucky if they have enough to eat.
On all sides of you you will see these faces lined and wrinkled by toil and care and weather, these figures warped by heavy labour. But go a little farther and you come to the village square, a place where the church stands and the road widens and there are a few shops and women sit by piles of pumpkins – the village meeting-place. If Mezökövesd were London this would be Piccadilly Circus.
All those shops, every one of them, has a Jewish name above it. It is Saturday afternoon, and the owners are not working. They, too, stand about the market-place, or at any rate, the young men; the older men and the women sit in the shops, talking.
If you close your eyes to the market-place and only look at those young men, this is London, this is Piccadilly Circus. They are just the same Jews that you see there. They wear natty suits, close-fitting shoes, new hats on carefully-barbered heads. They are well-to-do. They are the lords of this remote little town, with its dusty and rutty road, with the geese running about, with oxen-hauled wagons passing to and fro.
The rest, the church, the lean and hungry peasants, the mean cottages, is just backcloth. On the long winter evenings those peasant women spend hours, by the dim light of a paraffin lamp, stitching and embroidering, stitching and embroidering, stitching and embroidering. Round the corner is a shop, where a well-dressed Jewish gentleman sits reading the Pesti Naplo. From him you may buy those attractive hand-worked bedspreads and tablecloths, the products of so many midwinter nights’ work – at a price, a high one. The peasants sell them to him – at a low one. In Budapest there are many of these shops, all Jewish-owned, where the arts and crafts of Hungary fill the windows and the foreign tourists pause with little cries of pleasure at the pretty things they see.
Next time you pass one of those shops think of the people who make these things. Try and get someone to take you to the homes of the people who make them, watch them at work.
In Czechoslovakia the peasants sell these things direct to the buyer – in the market-place, in the street. Why not in Hungary? Is it forbidden? By whom, and for whom?
Come to Esztèrgom, the cradle of Hungary, where the first Hungarian kings had their palace on that craggy eminence overlooking the Danube and the bridge which, until recently, took you into Czechoslovakia, but now the land on the other side is Hungarian again. Come there, too, on a Saturday afternoon, see exactly the same thing happen there in the tiny market-place. Perhaps in a hundred years Esztèrgom will be a great and rich and populous and important town. That little market-place will be growing into a local Piccadilly Circus. Sites there will be the most valuable in all Esztèrgom. They are all owned by Jews. All the shops bear Jewish names, first modest ventures in gilt, chromium, nickel and neon-lighting are being made. The young Jews, in their town clothes, stand about, talking. The town lads run about barefoot, beg watermelon-rinds from the greengrocer, gnaw them till the light shows through the husk.
Come to Kecskemet. This is a town, quite a big one. Here they make that excellent apricot brandy which the Prince of Wales discovered for the Hungarians – so the Hungarians say. Here is a big square. One of the biggest buildings in it is the synagogue. A deal of money, such a synagogue costs. All round the square are the glittering Jewish, shop signs. The countryside around is poor, the peasants harassed by want. Out of the synagogue come the Jews of Kecskemet, important, well-dressed, talking in gesticulating groups – a people apart.
Go where you will in Hungary, in every town and every larger village you will find the synagogue among the most prominent buildings, the banks, the shops, the picture theatres, the filling stations, owned by the Jews.
Go where you will in Hungary and you will find that the native craftsman and handworker is almost extinct. Where he still exists he makes lovely things, but he is almost impossible to find. The few shops in the village market-place are a replica in miniature of Budapest – cheap china, shoddy and ready-made, trashy jewellery, artificial silk stockings, tawdry frocks, the harvest of a young Jewish-controlled industry working to the lowest possible level of taste and material.
I once went to a great fair on the outskirts of Budapest and was staggered by the nightmare assortment of cheap machine-made goods that I saw there, that the peasants, come in from the countryside, were avidly buying. At one stall a Jew was selling the most hideous collection of cheap oleographs of the Christian God and His prophets that I ever saw, all in gilt frames. I ransacked that fair for something that I wanted to buy, something that, when I was in other lands, would give me pleasure to look at and remind me of Hungary, that lovely Hungary of the abundant fields and the peasants working in them, not this Hungary of inferior machine-made wares.
At last I found a man who sold jugs and vases and cups that he had moulded and baked and painted himself. At last, something echt, something genuine, something Hungarian. He had a few drinking-cups, bottoms-up cups that you have either to hold in your hand or empty and put down, you can’t stand them on the table and sip. They were lovely. I bought four, and only wish I had bought the other two that he had. I never look at them without delight. They cost sixpence each. To me they were beyond price.
‘The Jews’ paradise’, my Jewish acquaintance had called Hungary. I had taken a good look at it and agreed with him. I was not convinced that the Jews had been good for Hungary. If you want to study this question, which is playing so large a part in our time, Hungary is a good place to begin.
I was impressed in Hungary, as I had been in Vienna up to the very moment when Hitler marched in, as I was later in Prague, by the apparent unconcern of the Jews. England, France, America and the whole of the outer world were ringing with the tale of Jewish persecution, yet in these cities, with Hitler at their very door, they went their way seemingly unperturbed, made no change in their mode of life or their way of enjoying it, predominated, just as they had always done, in the showier cafés and restaurants and hotels and bars and night-clubs. This continues at this moment, as I write, in Prague, in November 1938. Only a few miles away, at this very moment, synagogues are burning. Thousands of Jews have been turned out, neck and crop, from Germany into Poland; hundreds into Czechoslovakia. Here in Prague the Jews are eating, laughing, dancing as if they had no cares. Of all the prevalent misconceptions about the Jews the worst is that they are cowardly. They are most courageous – for a cause that is their own. They are also irrepressible.
Many people were puzzled by something I once wrote about the Jews – that when Hitler had passed away they would still he trading in the Kurfürstendamm, in the Kärntnerstrasse. You seem to be right about some things, they said, but you are clearly nuts about this. The Jews are being exterminated. Soon they will be no more.
Don’t believe it. You are fooling yourself if you do. Try and realize that the great majority of the Jews who were in Germany when Hitler came to power are there now, that the majority of the shops in such main shopping thoroughfares as the Kurfürstendamm are Jewish — I write this in the knowledge that they were wrecked yesterday, and I wonder how those British insurance companies are feeling about it — and this mass of Jews will stay there.
Of course they will go through bad times, but they will stay there and survive them. Hitler should live, say, another twenty years, or thereabouts. From Vienna the Jews were banished ‘for all time’ — a favourite phrase of the Führer — in 1422, and subsequent clearances were made in 1554, 1567, 1573, 1575, 1600, 1614 and 1624. In 1670 they were banished for all time again. All through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in spite of periodic banishments, their influence increased. In 1879 the last strongholds — State service and university chairs — fell to them. In 1937 Vienna had more Jews than ever before and they prospered exceedingly.
I don’t think the Jews made good or fair use, on the whole, of the flinging-open of all doors to them, and they are now descending somewhat from the peak of power and affluence to which the World War brought them. A new period of restriction has begun. No one can foresee at this moment how long it will last or how much damage it will do them. That it will relax again, sometime, is as certain as that the sun will rise to-morrow.
For my part, I am convinced of one thing, and I know that many Jews in their hearts agree with me about this: that the relaxation, when it comes, should not be used, for instance, to make Berlin again at some future time what Berlin was before 1933. For this reason I find some of the things that I see in London to-day sinister and ominous.
The Jews have a part to play if anti-Semitism is to be killed. In London to-day they are doing just what they did in Berlin. They are deserting the East, flooding the West, flooding Hampstead and Maida Vale, squeezing-out, flaunting.
There are nearly two million unemployed in England, millions of English people are living in conditions that disgrace the richest country in the world, and it isn’t good enough. The theory of the free fox in the free henroost has got to be exploded.
Why have I written all these things, at such length? First, because I know something about the matter and because I, who have helped many Jews by word and deed, like to say just what I think when somebody yelps ‘anti-Semite’ at me.
Secondly, because I believe the only way to settle this eternal wrangle to everybody’s satisfaction, including the Jews, since the Jews will not change their anti-Gentile religion, would be to found a National Jew State for them, and if I were Hitler I would do that: what a sweet revenge, to be the man who solved the Jewish problem and put an end to anti-Semitism!
Thirdly, because I believe that if you cannot have your Jewish state, then you must resolutely close your frontiers to any more Jews and apply yourself diligently to assimilating those that you have, but in this case you must safeguard yourself against their rise to disproportionate power and affluence through methods which, in our code, amount to unfair competition.
At a railway station in Prague I watched a trainload of refugees move out into an unknown future. They were all men. They were all Germans, from the Sudeten German lands that Hitler has annexed. These were Socialists and Communists, men whose lives were in peril. They were bound for England and, after that, somewhither, none knew.
Their womenfolk and children stood on the platform weeping, not knowing when they would see their husbands and fathers again. The men, good, sturdy German working men, stood at the windows and watched them. They said hardly a word. Their faces showed resignation and dejection. They just stood and looked at their wives and children on the platform.
Among them was one Jew. On the platform stood his mother and sister, different from the working-class women around, better dressed. The Jew, alone of all those men, had something to say. ‘Wir kommen wieda’, he announced loudly, to the waiting crowd at large, ‘We’ll be back’. The other men remained silent and expressionless; they knew that they would not be coming back. The Jew spoke again, to his sister. ‘Trachte, dass du bald nachkommst’, he said. ‘Try and get out soon.’ Why, I wondered, if he thought he would be back.
The train moved out. The men at the windows looked silently at their people on the platform, nodded sadly with their heads, made no other movement. The Jew leaned out of the window, cried, loudly, ‘Wir kommen wieda!’ The crowd gazed after him, made no response. The other men still stood silently at their windows, nodding their heads in farewell. The Jew raised his arm, fist clenched, in the workers’ greeting. On the little finger a diamond flashed in the light of the lamps.
Now, why? I asked myself, as I came away. He simply is not of those men, those working men, neither he nor his ring nor his rather theatrical cry nor his mother nor his sister. They are all quite different, they belong somewhere else. Then why was he there, and what were his innermost motives?
I could find no answer. He was just different.