The Jewish Heart and the Income Tax
We hear our readers’ surprised question: What do these two things have to do with each other? That the Jewish heart cramps up when it thinks of the monstrous rates of the income tax is something it truly has in common with all other German hearts. But we do not mean it that way; rather we are referring to one stipulation in the income tax law that gratifyingly gives credit to what we proudly call the Jewish heart.
We, the much reviled, can say it without false boasting: The Jew has always been a generous donor, as anyone who has had to collect for a good cause can testify. See for yourself and ask, e.g. the collectors for the Christian charitable orders. They will confirm this for you with words of praise–and that the open heart and the open hand does not close for good Jewish causes does not even need to be mentioned.
Only in recent times it seems as though donor-fatigue is setting in. That has two causes that both stem from the same source. The impoverishment of our people and the devaluation of our money increase the demands on the merciful and social attitude of those that have; and the same reasons lead to the state having to lay its hands through taxes on a very large part of our wealth and the fruit of our labor. And that’s why here and there in places that were otherwise not just ready to help, but happy to help, a quiet reserve is being exercised: “We’d like to, but we can’t, the taxes, the taxes!”
And this is where our income-tax law comes to the tremendous aid of the Jewish heart. The thirteenth paragraph, which in contrast to the unpleasant sound of its number, is something thoroughly pleasant, namely the list of deductibles, that is, expenses that are not taxable. It states at number 7: “From the sum total of the income are to be deducted: Donations to cultural, charitable, communal, and political unions, insofar as the sum total does not exceed 10 of 100 of the income of the taxpayer.”
This provision for our whole social and political effort cannot be valued highly enough. Especially those who are blessed with significant income, who are supposed to deliver 45, 50, and even 60 of 100 of their salary to the beloved taxman, justly or unjustly, will certainly grasp the opportunity with special joy to give to charitable institutions whose sponsorship is personally important to you, as opposed to the other option. That we therefore can support those German political parties for which we work and which help defend our rights needs as little mention as that the Jew will not limit himself to give with an open hand to the charitable and social associations of Jewish character. But that the great and multifaceted poverty of Jews lays upon us the holy duty to pay special attention to and actively participate in Jewish causes does not need to be proven further.
Those of you to whom this applies, consider: What you, up to 10% of your taxable income give our “cultural, charitable, communal, and political unions,” could deduct from your tax statement. To name a few:
The religious congregations, the Central Organization [of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith], the Aid Society of German Jews, the Society for the Support of Agriculture among Jews, the Liberal Jewry Association in Germany and its local groups, the Jewish liberal youth organizations, the veterans association, the Society for the Promotion of the Science of Judaism, the association that supports the Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary, and the thousands of other organizations of similar character.
Consider it and act on it. Because the need is great!
Abraham Geiger Lodge in — America
The Independent Order B’nai Brith founded an Abraham Geiger lodge last spring in its American homeland, in Spokane Washington.
As much satisfaction as we German Jews can have that on the other side of the ocean, the memory of the great Jewish reformer will be cherished and his universal significance for Judaism recognized—110 years after his birth–so must we regretfully admit that in his and our home community, Breslau, a similar honor for this historically exceptional personality has been forfeited—no association, foundation, or institution bears his important name!
May this thought be enough to cause influential circles to fill this gap at a suitable opportunity, so that the Breslau community finally fulfills its duty to the man to whom the poet’s words rightfully refer:
“Where’er the mighty treads,
That place is hallowed. Ages pass away:
His words, his deeds, speak to our children’s children.”
[Quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Torquato Tasso: A Drama. Translated by M.A.H, London 1856.]
Aus dem Reich.
“Children in Need.”
During recent days a collection took place in the whole Reich whose purpose was to procure the means to address the healthcare needs of the German children who suffered deprivation during the war years. In unusual harmony the aid organizations of all religions came together for this work of love. From the Jewish side, the Central Aid Committee participated. Happily, in the area of social action all differences are bridged, and it would be desirable if in all other areas of public life such a spirit of harmony could exist among the various religions. With it, our heavily suffering fatherland would be far better served than by the poisoning vitriol of anti-Semitism, which divides and paralyzes the best energies for the renewal of our whole public life, which in turn inhibits the determination that we must show foreign countries and greatly compromises Germany’s standing in the world.
Knüppel-Kunze as a Wit.
Knüppel-Kunze is tired of dry tones. Knüppel-Kunze doesn’t want to be just the involuntary source of humor. That’s why he’s no longer content with his weekly paper, Deutsches Wochenblatt. If people are going to laugh at him anyhow, then they should at least pay him 18 Marks more a year for the pleasure. That is why he was loudly beating the advertising drum in the Deutsche Tageszeitung for his Deutsches Witzblatt which he has started publishing and which he maintains has the single purpose of fighting the Jewish character, that sacred topic no one dares broach, with humor and sarcasm. This attempt is not as new as this buffoon, outfitted with a rubber hose and cudgel, will have us believe.* Many of us surely remember the apparently poorly sleeping German Michel** who for so many years was the dumping ground of the meanest humorlessness by those who are mentally impoverished, those who can laugh hysterically at a picture of an exaggeratedly bent nose.
That’s what this sad new Witzblatt will look like. For hatred of man has never been counted among the fathers of humor. And the only kind of humor that anti-Semites are good at is, and will forever be, lunacy.
[*Richard Kunze, founder of the right-wing German Social Party, was nicknamed Knüppel-Kunze after he marketed a rubber cudgel for use as protection against bodily attacks by Jews.]
[**Der deutsche Michel was a caricature of a German stereotype depicted as a foolish man wearing a nightcap.]
Berlin. The Jewish community has set up a public reading room to which everyone has access on part of the synagogue property on Fasanenstraβe. There are more than 50 newspapers there, and books can be borrowed.
About the Jews in Soviet Russia.
The Moscow newspaper, Iswestija, recently had a few interesting reports on the current conditions of Russia’s Jews. According to the reports, the large masses of Jews, who had to keep moving with the Russian army during the war as it retreated from German troops, settled especially in the east of the emprire, in the Volga region, above all in the Urals and even in Siberia, where Irkutsk now has a community of 15,000 souls. A large part has engaged in productive work in their new home towns. But very many must rely on charitable institutions and societies because of the collapsed economy. Not a few wish they could return to their old homeland. Iswestija opposes this intention and recommends that these Jewish refugees be mobilized as workers.
Jewish Spirit in the Newer German Literature
by Dr. Ludwig Davidsohn.
The terrible fate that has befallen Europe and one which recorded history has never seen to such an extent and awfulness, has left no other country with such sorrow and troubles as our German fatherland.
And since there never was a great misfortune for which guilt has not been immediately assigned to Jews, this one too has caused an extraordinarily encompassing and poisoned vilification that is trying to convince the broad masses who are incapable of thoughtfulness and comprehending reality that, once again, all catastrophe comes from the Jews.
In intellectual areas, especially in literature, the disparagement and detraction of everything Jewish have taken on an extreme degree of injustice and hatefulness.
“The subverting, critical, Jewish mind falsifies and poisons the far nobler and higher-standing German mind,” is observed from many sides and in many variations; and boycott is preached from every direction as a weapon against the Semitic evil.
The two foundational questions that arise when one examines this old accusation are first, is the Jewish mind completely different from the German mind or to be spoken of as a complete contrast? How do the two differ? Then, if there is a specifically “Jewish” tone, does it truly exert a damaging influence on the “Germanic” one?
With regards to the first question, one must clearly acknowledge that there are certain differences.
Of course, “subverting criticism” doesn’t just come from Jews; they don’t have exclusive rights over criticism, even if the most gifted critics that summon up their wit and cool keenness of thought are Jews.
The many-faceted S. Lublinski, who unfortunately died too early, left a whole series of critical masterpieces of distinction. Not only as a critic and representative of the whole of the German intellect of his time, but also as a dramatist, philosopher, historian of religion, and novelist he created something truly meaningful.
Almost forgotten is the brilliant Leo Berg whose many books will still be enjoyable, inspiring, and instructive when the curiosities and leaps of many of the modern writers will lie on the junk heap for all time.
Still not well-enough known is the deep and significant, untiringly productive critic and philosopher-poet, Kurt Walter Goldschmidt of Berlin. He had to pay for the height of his perspective with a lack of resonance among the masses and lack of fame. But a small group of select individuals, and among these are the best, cherish him all the more because of this! Goldschmidt’s learnedness, confident style, and his all-encompassing education have only ever been achieved by a modern Jewish critic, by Brandes, a university professor who is valued throughout Europe and whose work has been translated into almost all cultured languages.
As it is with criticism, so it is with literature. Not any less lasting, certainly brilliant in its day, but having hardly any influence beyond its time should one judge the totality of Jewish minds, but judge by the many representatives who have created works of lasting value.
The somewhat ailing trait that accompanies the writings of the Austrian Jewish literary circle around Schnitzler, Hofmannsthal, Salten, Auernheimer and Altenberg, is typical of the overly refined, tiring old culture of the rich Jewish families who have lived in Vienna for centuries, but it would be just as wrong, to allow this type to characterize the achievements of the Jewish mind in the present.
Writings of timeless value that speak to the heart have these men in part bestowed on literature. Some of Hofmannsthal’s lyricism, his wonder-ful small drama written in his youth, Tor und Tod this unique tragedy of aestheticism that cannot survive, will not fade so soon! And Schnitzler’s best is more than clever and refined chatter as is borne out in his novellas such as, for example, the Hirtenfloete with its exceptionally fine and calm form.
A skill worthy of recognition is demonstrated by the poet, novelist, and dramatist, Stephan Zweig who only loosely belongs to that Viennese group. And the Moravian Jakob Julius David who stands far above the almost forgotten folk poet from the Black Forest Auerbach, shows that also the Jews who are “rootless, only feeling at home in the big city” can bring forth Heimatsdichter [folk poets] in the most wholesome and beautiful sense of the word. From David’s works the scent of native earth arises just as strongly and refreshingly as from the writings of a Hermann Löns or Ludwig Thoma. [Conclusion follows in the next issue.]