No. 249 NAI DFA 202/63

Report from Charles Bewley to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Berlin, 9 December 1938

In1 response to your request for a report on the anti-semitic movement in Germany, I desire to point out in the first place that it would be impossible to give anything like a complete analysis of a question on which more has been written and spoken than on perhaps any other question in modern politics. The most which it is possible for me to do is to summarise as well as I can the following three matters:

  1. The reasons which have induced the Governments of Germany, Italy, the three parts of the Czecho-Slovak Republic, Hungary, and Poland to adopt discriminatory measures in respect of the Jews:
  2. The measures which have been taken in the various countries mentioned to carry out such policy of discrimination:
  3. The manner in which the measures taken by the Governments of, and the events occurring in, these countries have been treated in the Irish press.

1. The Governments of the countries mentioned have been led by their experience to the conviction that Jews, even when settled in a particular country for centuries, do not become assimilated to the people of that country, but, when the interests of the country of their birth come into conflict with their own personal or racial interests, invariably sacrifice the interests of the country of their birth to Jewish interests. It is thus claimed that during the War German Jews in the vast majority acted against the interests of Germany, and that, as soon as England had definitely espoused the cause of Zionism, they worked for Germany's defeat in the War. The same conviction is held in Hungary. The Italian Government has stated that, when relations were strained between Italy and England in 1935, the whole body of Italian Jews (who should have been assimilated if assimilation was possible, owing to the fact that their ancestors had in many cases been over a thousand years in Italy) openly declared themselves Zionists, or in secret conspired against Italian interests.

It is also claimed in all the countries mentioned that the chief supporters and organizers of Communism are almost invariably Jews. That the Bolshevist movement in Russia was almost entirely led by Jews is a fact so well known as to need no emphasis: I would however refer to a pamphlet entitled 'The Rulers of Russia' by the Rev. Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp.2, also the fact alleged for many years in Germany, and now officially confirmed in the evidence recently given before the Commission at present sitting in the United States of America for the purpose of studying un-American movements in the U.S.A., and in 1917 the Bolshevist movement was financed by American-Jewish banking houses, as Kuhn, Loeb & Co. When Communist Governments were set up after the War in Hungary and Bavaria, the majority of the leaders in each case were Jews, - Bela Kun, Szamuely and many more at Budapest, Eisner, Toller, Axelrod, Leviné and Levien at Munich. In recent years the governments of all the mid-European states have formally prohibited the Communist party, and have effected very numerous arrests for illegal communist activities: the vast majority of the guilty persons in each country have been Jews: this is not merely a statement made by the German press, but is proved by a perusal of the reports of trials of Communists in any country in Central Europe.

In the second place, it is claimed that in Germany and the other countries mentioned the Jews had acquired so dominating a position in the financial world that they were in a position to control public policy, and up to a certain point public opinion, that they monopolized the learned professions and held important positions in the universities out of all proportion to their numbers, and in fact had become a force in face of which the lawfully elected government was in many cases powerless.

Anyone who knew Germany before 1933, whatever be his political opinions, must admit the truth of this particular claim. The whole press, theatre, cinema, stock-exchange, the banks were completely under Jewish control. In Berlin and the other chief towns the medical and legal professions were composed of roughly 70% Jews and 30% Germans; even the hospital nurses were in many nominally non-Jewish hospitals exclusively Jewish. Jewish professors held important positions in the universities: their influence was frequently anti-Christian, anti-patriotic and Communistic, as in the case of Professor Gumpel of Heidelberg best known for his statement in a lecture that the Germans who had fallen in the War had fallen 'on the field of dis-honour'. This situation of course no longer exists in Germany; it exists at the present day in Warsaw, Budapest and Prague, although measures are being adopted to alter it in those countries also.

Another cause of the special measures taken against the Jewish community is the fact that almost in no cases do Jews work in the sense of being manual workers, labourers, farmers or artisans. This is, of course, obvious whether in Germany, America or Ireland. The Jew in Germany mainly devoted himself to finance or 'business' in the large towns: the result was a series of grave financial scandals (Barmat, Sklarek, Kutisker, etc., etc.), by which the German State was robbed of milliards of marks. Similar scandals have occurred in Austria, Poland, Hungary, Romania, etc.; almost always the fraudulent financiers have been Jews. Stavisky, the fraudulent financier who swindled the French state to an enormous extent was also a Jew.

Apart from the large financiers, the small Jew either opened a shop or acted as middleman. In each capacity his commercial activities are claimed to have been marked by a want of scruple which enabled him to enrich himself at the expense of his non-Jewish neighbours. In all the countries mentioned the governments have felt themselves compelled to intervene in the interests of the native community against the usury and fraud of Jewish moneylenders, employers, and middlemen.

Even in the countries to which Jews have been allowed to emigrate in the last couple of years for the purpose of working productively, the same difficulty has arisen: I am informed by various diplomats in Berlin that the Jews whom they have admitted do not remain on the land, but very soon desert it for the purpose of exploiting the inhabitants of the country. They have thus produced strong antisemitic feeling in a number of states where it was formerly unknown owing to the absence of Jews.

In connection with the occupations adopted by members of the Jewish race it is also important to remark that the figures of the persons belonging to the different religious denominations who fell in the War have recently been published, not only for Germany but for Italy and France, and in each case it is found that the proportion of Jews was minimal in comparison with that of the Germany, Frenchmen or Italians, whether Protestant or Catholic: hence the inference is drawn, not only in Germany, that the Jew endeavours with success to avoid doing his duty in defending the state in which he resides. Anyone who witnessed the immigration into Ireland of English Jews after the introduction of conscription in England will feel inclined to adopt the German view. When it was found in Germany, as in many other countries, that the Jew had not only succeeded in avoiding military service but also in enriching himself during the agony of the country, it is comprehensible that popular feeling has tended to become anti-semitic.

A further reason given in Germany and all the other countries of Central Europe for introducing discriminating legislation against the Jews is their demoralizing influence on the communities among which they live. It is a notorious fact that the international white slave traffic is controlled by Jews. No one who has even a superficial knowledge of Germany can be ignorant that the appalling moral degradation before 1933 was, if not caused, at least exploited by Jews. The German stage was the most indecent in Europe; it was a Jewish monopoly. German papers appeared of a purely pornographic nature: the proprietor and editor were invariably Jews. Jewish members of the Reichstag were responsible for the introduction of a number of measures abolishing legal penalties for abortion and a number of other practices which are visited by the most severe punishments in every Christian country. Jewish emigrants in the countries which they have been permitted to enter have created and are creating grave moral scandals and are a source of corruption of the populations among which they dwell.

The German police have recently published statistics showing the far higher proportion of Jewish criminals to those of German race: if any doubt should be felt about the authenticity of the statistics, it might be well to peruse the English Black List (an unimpeachable authority), from which it will appear that the undesirables of Jewish race outweigh those of other races in an overwhelming degree.

Furthermore, it is right to mention the fact which determined the last and most severe measures of the German Government against the Jews, - the murder of vom Rath in Paris. It is claimed that this is one of a series of murders committed by Jews against persons who they considered enemies of their race; and lists are given including the murders of the Austrian Minister President Sturck in 1916, the German Minister to the Ukraine Count Mirbach in 1918, the former President of the Ukraine Petljura in 1926, and Gustloff in 1936: in each case the assassin was a Jew, and in each case the murder was committed where there was no death penalty, or where it was a moral certainty that the jury would not convict, or by a young Jew like Grynszpan who could not be executed on account of his age.

To the suggestion that these cases are exceptions, and that the whole Jewish community should not be held responsible for the crimes of particular Jews, the answer is given that, when a non-Jew commits a non-political crime, the whole of his country does not rally in his defence, but that international Jewry at once rallies in the support of a Jew, whatever be the crime of which he is accused. Anyone familiar with the criminal courts even in Ireland must be aware that every Jew convicted of a crime can count with confidence on the Chief Rabbi testifying on oath that he knows the man intimately and is convinced that he could not possibly be guilty of the crime of which he has been found guilty by an Irish jury.

Finally, the German authorities have frequently pointed out that the concern expressed by Jews for the fate of the Catholic Church in Germany is not to be reconciled with the treatment of the Church in states where Jews have had the control. In Russia, to take the most obvious instance, not only have the Catholic clergy been practically exterminated, but Christian morals have so far as possible been wiped out. When a Jewish Communist Government came into power in Hungary, the clergy were massacred, religious teaching was naturally abolished, and 'sexual instruction' of a revolting type was introduced by the Jewish Minister of Education.

There are of course very many other reasons adduced for the elimination of the Jewish element from the public life of Germany: I cannot for obvious reasons enter into them all. I desire however to point out that the facts here stated are well known to everyone who has lived in Central Europe, or who has taken the trouble to make enquiries from non-Jewish sources into the situation as it really is.

2. In consequence of the various facts as set out above, the German Government, as well as the other governments of Central Europe, has felt itself obliged to eliminate the Jews from the public life of the state. It has done this by stages and in different ways, but the result is that Jews are now for practical purposes completely isolated from Germans. They are not entitled to vote or be elected to Parliament, or to hold any public office. They are not entitled to practice as doctors or lawyers, except for the purpose of healing or legally representing other Jews. They cannot be journalists except in purely Jewish publications, or appear on the stage or take any part in theatres or cinematographs except Jewish ones. They cannot of course take any part in the education of Germans, and young Jews cannot enter any schools or universities except Jewish ones. They have been eliminated from the Banks.

Since the murder of vom Rath by a Jew with a Polish passport who had passed all his life in Germany, the measures have become considerably more severe. Only a limited number of Jewish shops will be allowed, which will cater only for Jewish customers. Jews will not be allowed to enter theatres, cinemas, museums, etc.; they have their own cinemas and theatres, and it is considered that this should be sufficient. They are forbidden to own or drive motor cars or motor cycles, or to enter particular streets in Berlin. It will be required of them in the future to reside in particular districts. And, immediately after the murder of vom Rath, there was an obviously organized movement to smash the windows and in some cases the fittings of all the Jewish shops in the cities of Germany; and in addition a fine of a milliard marks has been placed on the Jewish community, which also has to repair the damage done without receiving any compensation from the insurance companies.

In addition, Jewish households are not allowed, on moral grounds, to have non-Jewish female servants under the age of 45, and all marriages and other relations between Jews and non-Jews are forbidden under heavy penalties.

These are the chief measures introduced by the German Government in regard to the Jews in Germany: there are no doubt others which do not occur to me at the moment. The measures in other countries have been similar, though not yet so drastic. Hungary, for instance, has prohibited Jews from entering in a proportion of over 20% into the professions or commerce: the present proportion is about 80%, and the 60% in excess are eliminated without compensation. The government of Slovakia under Monsignor Tiso and that of Carpatho-Russia under Monsignor Woloschin have introduced much more stringent measures, eliminating Jews completely from the professions and universities, and allowing Jewish shops only to trade with Jews. In these countries, as in Germany, a number of synagogues have been burned. In Italy the policy is very similar to that of Germany, it has become much more drastic than originally intended in consequence of the anti-Italian attitude taken up by the Italian Jews in the recent crisis and the numerous cases of fraud on the revenue carried out by Jewish organisations. In Poland the Jewish societies, like the Masonic organization and the Communist party, have been dissolved; a numerus clausus has been introduced for universities, professions, etc., and Jewish students are not allowed to sit with Poles. It is certain that the anti-Jewish legislation will become very much more stringent in the near future. In Bohemia, and particularly in Prague, it will be increasingly strict, and the number of Jews applying for baptism (for strictly business reasons) is said by members of the Czech Legation to be enormous.

Up to the present the method of the 'Western democracies' in dealing with the Jewish problem has been to deny that the problem exists, and to consider the matter settled by calling those who think otherwise 'antisemites'. Since the government of Mr. Léon Blum it would appear that the French public, like that of such states as Holland and Belgium, realizes that a problem exists. What are the best methods of dealing with it are presumably matters for the individual governments to determine. For members of a foreign country like various English politicians to make solemn pronouncements in complete and often wilful ignorance of the circumstances would appear neither helpful to the cause of international peace nor of assistance in finding a solution of the problem.

It is perhaps well to refer to the fact that very few, if any, of the measures introduced in Germany in relation to the Jewish problem cannot be paralleled in the measures introduced by the Popes in relation to the Jews of Rome. Under various Papal decrees Jews were forbidden to have Christian servants. Christians who had recourse to Jewish doctors were excommunicated. Jews lived in special parts of the city and carried a distinctive mark (a wheel or circle) on their clothing, marriages between Jews and Christians were not admitted.

Obviously the fact that, not only in Germany but in every state where they exist in any quantity, the Jews are regarded as an alien body (this is the case even in Persia and Iraq) makes an attitude of assumed moral superiority towards Germany somewhat out of place. If every state which has experience of Jews, including those with Catholic clergymen at their head, finds it necessary to introduce similar special measures restricting their activities, it is impossible to take up with any degree of reason the attitude that they should be treated like ordinary citizens of the country. It is of course necessary to be aware of the particular circumstances prevailing in each country before it is possible to judge whether the measures adopted are necessary or not. Naturally this would not apply to cases of deliberate cruelty on the part of the Government, but I am not aware of any such towards Jews on the part of the German Government3. There has been no episode in connection with Jews in Germany which could even remotely be compared with the atrocities of the Communists in Spain or Russia or the English in Palestine.

3. The newspapers published in Ireland, like the rest of the English press, take their information from English press agencies which are in fact in Jewish hands, - Reuter, Exchange Telegraph, etc. They do not apparently wish to have any news from any other source, and refuse to publish it if sent them. All measures taken against Jews are consequently printed on their front news page in a form most likely to capture the imagination of their readers. They give favourable publicity to statements by members of the Jewish community. On the other hand, they frequently suppress reports of criminal cases where the accused person is a Jew. I understand that this phenomenon results from the knowledge that, if they do not do so, they will lose their Jewish advertisements. They do not of course even suggest to the Irish public that there may be any reason for the Governments of Germany and the other mid-European countries to take the steps which they have taken in recent years, - still less that the Governments in question believe themselves to be acting in necessary defence of the people entrusted to their charge.

So long as this is so, it is of course impossible to expect that the Irish public will have any opinion on international affairs other than that which is suggested to them by Anglo-Jewish telegraph agencies, and by the articles written in the same sense by editors who apparently, like the public, swallow without investigation the versions given them by the Anglo-Jewish agencies to which they subscribe. This of course means that, in the long run, public opinion on foreign affairs and public policy in international relations are formed, not by the Government of Ireland but by anonymous agencies acting on the dictation and in pursuance of the policy of persons who are neither Irish nor Catholic but bitterly opposed both to Irish Nationalism and to the Catholic Church.

Even more misleading to the Irish public is the fact that, while, as I have pointed out, reports of 'persecutions' of Jews are invariably 'featured' in the newspapers published in Ireland, the crimes of anti-Fascists are systematically suppressed. Recently a priest in Poland was shot during Mass by a man who stated that he did so in the name of international Communism: though the event and subsequently the trial filled the pages of the press all through Central Europe, it was not allowed to come to the knowledge of the Irish reader. Every time aeroplanes belonging to National Spain bombard Madrid or Valencia, detailed accounts of the damage to civilians, particularly women and children, is given by the English telegraph agencies in the Irish press (the military damage is less often mentioned): on the other hand the number of civilians massacred by Spanish Communists, while sometimes formally mentioned, is never given in such a form as to strike the imagination of the readers, nor do the leading articles show the same moral indignation over the burning alive of Catholic clergy as for the breaking of Jewish shop windows. No one would dream, after a perusal of the Irish Times, Irish Press and Irish Daily Independent that atrocities are at present every day being committed by British troops in Palestine, compared to which the atrocities of the 'Blackand-Tans' in Ireland were a trifling matter. The fact that Jewish interests are involved is sufficient to prevent the international telegraph agencies from referring to British crimes: the Arab Nationalists are referred to as 'terrorists', just as Irish Nationalists were eighteen years ago, and the Irish people is not even allowed to know the facts.

It may be suggested that matters occurring in other countries do no affect, in one direction or the other, the question of the treatment of Jews in Germany. It is however clear that if the Irish press and public opinion indulge in paroxysms of moral indignation at the treatment of Jews but remain blind and deaf to atrocities committed on Christians in other parts of the world, they lay themselves open to a charge of ignorance or hypocrisy, and scarcely contribute to an amelioration of the general international situation.

I know of course nothing of the methods which could be employed by the Government in altering such a state of affairs, and would not dream of expressing an opinion on the subject. I have no doubt, however, that the Minister will be glad of an exposé of the situation as it is, of the very incomplete view of the Jewish problem which under present circumstances is permitted to the Irish public, and of the complete want of proportion in the importance ascribed to events in Germany.

As I stated in the beginning of this report, it is impossible to give even a summary of the Jewish problem except in very insufficient form. The German official view is set out fairly fully in an official publication of some 400 pages. If the Minister so desires, I can forward it to the Department. If there are any further points to which I have not referred, I should be very glad to discuss them with the Minister during my approaching visit to Dublin.

[signed] C. BEWLEY

1 Marginal notes: 'Secy. 12/12/38'. 'Copies in reports file 119/1'. This file (119/1) contained confidential reports from Berlin and ran from January 1937 to December 1938. It was destroyed on de Valera's orders in May 1940 when it was feared that a German invasion of Ireland was imminent.

2 Denis Fahey C.S.Sp. (1883-1954), Holy Ghost priest, Professor of Theology at the Holy Ghost Seminary, Kimmage, Dublin, a prolific writer who held strongly anti-Semitic beliefs which are reflected in his works.

3 This sentence and the next have been highlighted in pen in the margin by a reader.

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