THE PLIGHT OF 300.000 JEWS
THE eve of the opening of the Conference was marked by discussions of the problems of the Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria in most of the London papers.
“I appeal to the Conscience of the World”, the last article written by the Austrian socialist leader Dr. Otto Bauer, was published by the “News Chronicle,” with the explanation that Dr. Bauer had been the man who organized the resistance of the Viennese workers against the troops of Chancellor Dollfuss in 1934, and who died in Paris on July 4.
After briefly describing again the plight of the 300,000 Austrian Jews, Dr. Bauer pointed out that the other countries had certain obligations towards the Austrian Jews which they did not have towards the German Jews.
By the Treaty of St. Germain Austria undertook to grant the same civil, economic and cultural rights to the national and racial minorities living in the country as those enjoyed by the majority.
No State can evade treaty obligations once undertaken merely by joining another State.
Foreign Governments take the view that all obligations entered into by Austria have automatically passed to the Reich Government since March 13.
If the foreign Governments have neither the force nor the courage to compel the German Government to fulfil these treaty obligations, it is, to say the least, their duty to protect 300.000 defenceless human beings from disaster.
Any Jew Will Do
One of the incidents described by Dr. Bauer is worth retelling. A Jewish office worker was about to be arrested by a plain-clothes policeman. In reply to his question on what charge he was being arrested the policeman answered: “We have orders to arrest 2,000 Jews today.”
Imploring the policeman to consider his old mother and his little children he received the answer: “All right; you stay here. I’ll get myself another Jew somewhere else.”
Under the heading of “Whither? Five million Jews are asking that question, and tomorrow representatives of thirty nations meet to seek an answer,” the “Daily Herald” featured an article by A. L. Easterman.
The exodus of four million Jews from Eastern Europe between 1880 and 1914 is recalled, and it is stated that the Evian Conference is faced with the dilemma that “while Europe prepares to shut the door behind the Wandering Jew, the rest of the world has already all but closed it in his face.”
“The Conference may find, many assert that it must find, that the answer to “Whither?” is to he found only in Palestine,” Mr. Easterman concluded.
Whipping-Boys of the Reich
The “Evening Standard“, after having provoked much violent correspondence with an article of June 28, in which it was indicated that the Jews were inclined to exaggerate their difficulties devoted a leading article to the urgency of the problems to be discussed at Evian.
To imagine that the persecution of the Jews in Germany would gradually diminish would be a delusion, and a cruel deception of the persecuted.
“The Nazi campaign is heartless and, as some think, brainless, but it is not aimless”.
So long as a single Jew remained in Germany he would serve only as whipping-boy in all the difficulties that could befall a nation under military law, a “people geared up to incessant war-like preparation.”
The moral obligations of the nations attending the Conference are epitomised with: Well, what are we going ‘to do, we, the thirty nations that do not lash Jews? For we cannot escape guilt if we do nothing.
The meanest figure in the Bible is that one who passed by on the other side.
A number of facts and figures concerning Jewish emigration from Germany during the past five years, and the suddenly increased need for emigration since the “Anschluss” is provided by “The Times“.
It is pointed out that the financial aspect of settling the migrants is becoming increasingly difficult, and that there is no prospect whatever of the German Government using the £7,000,000 collected in “flight tax” from Jews for facilitating the emigration of poor Jews, as had at one time been hoped.
The need for some kind of travel and identity documents for persons whose German or Austrian passports have expired and or been confiscated, is emphasized by “The Times“, as one of the primary needs of the refugees, as is the right to work in the countries in which they are allowed to live.
Die Probleme der Juden in Nazi-Deutschland und Österreich wurden von den Teilnehmern der Evian Konferenz durchaus gesehen, und von den internationalen Medien benannt…
Hervorhebungen nicht im Original
Photo: Wikimedia, gemeinfrei