Socialism und Judaism.
by Dr. Walter Brinitzer, Chemnitz
Synopisis: Socialism is frequently spoken of, but little understood. Whenever socialism is seen as negative, it is associated with Judaism. How easy it is to connect two things which we don’t comprehend. In order to understand the relationship of Judaism to Socialism, we must go beyond looking at why individual Jews have been drawn to socialism (as Blüher does) and systematically look at Judaism and Socialism.
Brinitzer states that Socialism’s goal is to bring as much of our external lives under the governance of the state as possible, thereby relieving poverty and concern about meeting physical needs. Socialism will force mankind to be happy, underscoring that socialism takes a materialist view of the world. Thus, a socialist state will build its laws on material interests, not on the principle of justice.
The Jewish religion’s stance on using force to satisfy mankind and doing away with personal property conflicts with socialism. Brinitzer cites the 8th Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” as evidence of Judaism’s respect for the right to private ownership. The Bible emphasizes that mankind’s most valuable possession is personal freedom, which is in opposition to a system where the government can abrogate personal freedom. A central tenet of Judaism is, however, to bring the personal freedom of all individuals to bear on the well-being of the whole of society. One should exercise one’s freedom to choose to do good.
Refuting that materialism and socialism have an intrinsic connection to Judaism, Brinitzer considers an apparently opposite system, namely a theocracy based on the religious principles of Judaism. He sees theocracy as being just as opposed to the essence of Judaism, but in this case, the state attempts to use force to rule the interior condition of mankind. He concludes that theocracy and socialism have much in common. Judaism on the other hand encourages the actualization of morality and ethics on earth as a matter of an individual’s personal choice, which Brinitzer sees as a Messianic ideal. The kingdom of the Messiah is not that of an individual ruler, rather it is the rule of holiness, of perfect morality. And because Judaism is an ethics-based religion, the road to the kingdom of heaven is not prescribed by a theocracy, but because it honors mankind’s nobility, it leaves it to individual self-determination inspired by a living faith.
Misery and Aid.
by Felix Heimann
Synopsis: The insanity of the enemy wants to squeeze over 200 billion Goldmarks from our poor people. Every German is asking himself, “How do we save our people, our country?” Heimann’s recommendation is that each person must work, work, and work more. But there are hundreds of thousands without work, especially young people. They were taken in the bloom of youth and sent to suffer hunger, thirst, and death. And hundreds of thousands came back to a starving, freezing country. And that’s what happened to the dream of German students.
Heimann goes on to recommend that more should be done to give students (of all religions) stipends so that they can continue their studies—even though the German universities are rife with anti-Semitism. Only thus will a generation be enabled to work for the fatherland’s salvation.
The newspaper’s editor supports Heimann’s request pointing out that the students that will receive these stipends come from the middle classes, which will lead to having more judges and officials from circles other than the industrialists and landed classes where anti-Semitism is endemic.
He Who Laughs Last . . .
Sketches from the World War by Ino Gaβmann.
From the east, from Gjalstizy, came the continuous thunder of artillery.—It was as though someone were constantly beating on a giant drum.—The whole day they threatened that re-enforcements were coming, … the Russians certainly won’t succeed breaking through here!—
Almost around the clock the carts loaded with wounded come bumping along to our field hospital;–the unfortunate groan and scream when they are—even though so carefully—lifted from the miserable carts with their hasty bandages.
Inside, in the spacious barn, by the light of a stinking petroleum lamp, someone had improvised an operating table from two tavern benches; a Prussian staff doctor, a Russian prisoner named Djoskij who was a doctor and spoke fluent German since he had studied in Germany, and I were feverishly busy bandaging the wounded and carrying out life-saving operations. Today there were an unusually high number of serious cases; we amputated like on a production line. Various wounded died at our hands, one had his windpipe shot through. Even though the staff doctor was able to do a tracheotomy and insert a silver tube, the wounded man suffocated in a horrible way, since the tube kept filling with blood, and we didn’t have the time to unclog it with a feather every half hour.
In the tent next door there were already over a hundred that we had bandaged. Those that could be moved in any way were loaded back onto carts and brought to a larger military hospital around 10 kilometers away. From there they’d be taken home on a medical train.—
The couple of people from our column had their hands full to help our patients, bringing them water and cooking food.
Djoskij and I had to carry the bodies and sawed-off limbs to the morgue ourselves. The morgue was a small tool shed between the barn and the well. I noticed that the Russian showed the dead unusual respect and often elaborately made the sign of the cross over them.—
Well, I didn’t have any time to reflect on it—there was just too much to do. We had been working several days and nights without interruption. The news came that we in a couple of hours we’d be relieved by a Bavarian medical field unit. We could finally rest a bit before we had to march the next day. Where to?—Nobody knew!—
It was already very late,–a warm summer’s night with mild light.—I didn’t want to sleep.—The stars shone above me in an immutable, benevolent calm, as though nothing had happened on earth, and as though mankind had not become crazed with hate and confusion.
I lay in the grass not too far from the barn, listening to the thunder of artillery that still hadn’t stopped and watched the balls of light that, like evil thoughts, shot across the shimmery, violet velvet of the heavens.
What a burning desire I had for the quiet sameness of earlier, peaceful days! How dead tired and beaten down I felt. The terrible wounds and heartbreaking misery I’d seen again these last days!—Certainly I was jaded, but still not completely apathetic, that I didn’t feel the terrible dissonance between the wonderful summer night and the times that seemed to have gone off the rails.
While I stretched out on the ground and smoked my pipe Djoskij came out of the barn and sat down next to me. “Tomorrow it starts all over again,” he said. “I’m to stay with you a while longer, then I’ll get sent to a prison camp. – The tall artilleryman from Danzig just died; –and the private who’s lying in the left corner is in terrible shape:–spinal shot…can’t move anything except for his arms; what the devil…to die that way! – Ah! Finally a little rest! I haven’t had fifteen minutes off for three days!”
I offered him tobacco and a light, and he sat quietly exhaling smoke. We sat like that a long time and looked up at the faint band of the Milky Way that arched above us.
“Tell me, Djoskij,” I asked him. “Why do you show so much respect to the dead? They certainly don’t notice it!—It’s a strange habit of yours.”
“Do you believe,” he answered, “that a corpse doesn’t notice what’s going on around it?”
–“That’s weird question,” I said. “Of course not! Dead is dead!”—
“I’ve had a different experience,” he said and began to tell:
“I was an assistant doctor with a column in the Tschessikoff corps that was eventually assigned to the Rennenkampf corps. – The Russian medical conditions, — and the German conditions, what a difference—like night and day. There we were with our field hospital near Carowitschi…By the way, I’d like to know whatever happened to Doctor Wassilij Wersiew! He got wounded there. He was the only doctor we had ,–a big, strong, blond guy,…but lazy as sin! … No compassion for the wounded; when he had his grog and could flirt with the couple of women that worked at our station, he could give a damn about the injured!—
After the victory over Zuesk, a Polish Jew from Barnow named Leib Rosenblatt was brought to our hospital, which was set up in a farmhouse. He’d been shot in the thigh and the wound was badly dressed. I can still clearly remember his intelligent face and sharply chiseled face. He was a student. He drew my attention with his comical, cheerful demeanour. “I can’t die yet,” he said. “I have my old mother whose everything I am…and then…I’m a…writer…I still have a few things to say to the world…it would be too bad if I died!…And by the way, my wound isn’t so bad;–it would be a scandal if you didn’t pull me through!” I calmed him and chatted with him in the evenings—really, he was a nice, clever boy—always alert and funny!—
The following afternoon I saw to my horror that his bandage was getting wet and his blood seeped out.
I went to Wassilij immediately, the only doctor who had a medical bag with him. But he was in his cups again and was having an animated discussion with a pretty nurse from Moscow . I asked him quickly but politely, “The little Jew has started bleeding; if we could bind off his ateria femoralis we could stop the bleeding and save him. Wassilij sniffed his grog glass and looked at me loathingly. Suddenly we heard Leib Rosenblatt calling loudly from downstairs, “Doctor, Doctor, help me, quickly!” There was a strange, trembling fear in the Jew’s voice; he seemed to know that this was a matter of life and death. Wassilij went to the stairs and in his cold, rough way, aped Leib’s calls for help, then called, “I’m coming!” But first he wanted to finish his grog.—
Just then more ambulances with wounded came and I had to go down and help unload them.—
When I went to Leib a quarter of an hour later, I noticed that he has bled to death. Wassilij hadn’t come down at all or hadn’t gotten to him in time. As I bent over the body, I noticed that the dead man’s face was contorted in anger and rage…
The next day, in the farm’s stall—our morgue—Leib Rosenblatt’s autopsy took place. According to regulations we had to make out a quick autopsy report on every dead soldier.
That’s when the strange thing happened! I will never forget this mystery, even if I live to become an old man! I still remember everything as though it had happened yesterday.—It was half dark in the room. The oil lamp hanging from the ceiling shed only a weak light. Leib Rosenblatt’s corpse lay on the dissection table; Wassilij stood next to it, the field bailiff cut, and I wrote. The three of us were alone. We all noticed the dead man’s face, contorted in displeasure and anger. I noted: ‘the femoral artery torn by a bullet; besides the lack of blood, there are no changes to the corpse’s organs as is usual with death by bleeding…’
After the autopsy we left the stall.—The bailiff brought the papers to the staff office to report back. I stood outside with Wassilij and reproached him, “You could have easily saved poor Rosenblatt!”
The doctor gave me a cynical answer and went back into the autopsy room to get his notebook that he’d left behind. Suddenly I heard a bone-chilling scream…Wassilij stumbled out, his eyes bulging from their sockets with fear. His face was white as chalk—on his cheek were the marks of five fingers—someone must have slapped him hard! Wassilij was still screaming and holding his face, then he just stared and mumbled some unintelligible words. He seemed to have lost his senses.—
My God, there was no one in the autopsy room! I went in. Dead quiet. Leib Rosenblatt, cut from the autopsy, lay there still and peacefully—but on his face was a satisfied smile!—
Aus dem Reich.
On the Elections.
Synopsis: The Prussian state parliamentary elections are approaching. Certainly each will vote according to their conscience, but it would be against Jewish honor and dignity to vote for an anti-Semitic party. This is also for the sake of Germany since hatred of Jews mars Germany’s international reputation.
Berlin. Synopsis: At Tuesday’s meeting of the Association for Defense against Anti-Semitism ReichsministerGothein spoke on “The Effect of German Anti-Semitism on the Rest of the World.” Now is the time for Germans to unite and score moral victories and not appear to fall back into medievalism. Here and there are some with sympathy for vanquished and suffering Germany—anti-Semitism stamps out these positive feelings. Most importantly, anti-Semitism contradicts the sense of justice, truth, and German culture. Von Oppeln-Bronikowski represented the German nationalists, but he also spoke out against anti-Semitism. Only a handful of right-wing radicals participate in anti-Semitic vitriol.
Mannheim. Synopsis: The local chapter of Association for Jewish History and Literature held a lecture by Professor Franz Oppenheimer (Frankfurt a. M.) on “Anti-Semitism in Light of Sociology.” He began by tracing the roots of hatred of groups, citing Aristotle’s distinction between Greeks and Barbarians. He described how groups formed and excluded other groups through history, then described how craftsmen joined into Christian guilds and excluded Jews. The practice of having restricted sections of cities started as a privilege for merchants, but developed into the “ghetto.” The role of merchant, especially one conducting foreign trade, was revolutionary. Jews were well represented in the ranks of merchants—the rise of capitalism coincided with the rise of nationalist anti-Semitism. Professor Oppenheimer concludes that anti-Semitism will only end with the introduction of a new social order and the demise of capitalism.
Rybnik, Upper Silesia. Synopsis: The congregations of Rybnik and Loslau will hold a memorial for members who died in the war.
Berlin. Synopsis: An article in the “National Newspaper” by former Secretary of State August Müller writes that Germany’s anti-Semitism is interfering with reconstruction and foreign trade. Germany has to rebuild its foreign trade, especially with America and Russia, where Germany is competing with America and England. England wants to trade throughout Eastern Europe as does America. In Eastern Europe, foreign trade is almost exclusively in the hands of Jews. Even in America, Jews play an important role in foreign trade. Jewish shopkeepers have always preferred to get their goods from Germany as do the Eastern Jews. With German goods and German merchants you now get anti-Semitism. Most American Jews come from Eastern Europe—why shouldn’t they prefer to trade with England and its colonies? The English and American wares are as good as German wares. The English and American merchants are as honest and credit-worthy as the German ones. The only difference is that these aren’t anti-Semitic.
Berlin. Synopsis: Paul Goldmann, Master glazier, writes about the growing friction between Jewish and Christian craftsmen. Goldmann encourages Jewish crafts- and tradesmen to attend their union meetings an speak out against anti-Semitic statements or actions.
New York.Synopsis: 120 American personalities have published a statement in which they condemn anti-Semitism. Among the signers are the former President Wilson, members of the Cabinet, and the most well-known Catholic and Protestant clergymen. Anti-Semitism cannot be reconciled with one of the foundational tenets of the American way of life—tolerance. Only one newspaper or journal prints anti-Semitic material in America, that is Henry Ford’s weekly “Dearborn Independent.”
Synopsis: Board elections were held. Congregation taxes discussed as well as the cleanliness of the bathing facilities. The proposal to raise the contribution to the vocational school from 2,000 Marks to 10,000 Marks was debated. Although many are in principle against the idea of confessional schools, the Jewish vocational school has a hundred-year history and it is essential to the newly arrived Eastern Jews. One faction wanted to work with the state to convert the school into a state-run school. After more debate on the subject of confessional schools, the proposal was accepted. The proposal to contribute 2,000 Marks to ensure kosher meals for the voters on the Upper-Silesian referendum was accepted because everything should be done to keep Upper Silesia German. Mr. M. Hes from Schlüchtern was chosen to be the assistant cantor for the Old Synagogue.
Synopsis: Private citizens are working to open a much needed soup kitchen.
A few days ago bookdealer, Hugo Jacobsohn, passed away. He was a founder and board member of the liberal association of the synagogue congregations in Breslau and made important contributions to the cause of Liberalism.
Mozart Matinee by the united organizations of loyal Upper Silesians.
Synopsis: Werner Sander, a young musician from Breslau, conducted the overture and arias from Figaro, “Eine kleine Nachtmusik.” Soloists were Else Knepel and Carl Rudow. Else Knepel’s accompanist was Kurt Nellhaus.
Associations and Assemblies.
Synopsis: The Youth League of the Central Organization re-started its activities with a lecture by Chief Rabbi Vogelstein on “The Aims and Ways of German Jewry” where he emphasized the synthesis of German and Jewish identity. Rabbi Simonsohn then spoke on the “Duties of the Youth,” among which are a thorough knowledge of Jewish religious truths. The deepening of this knowledge will serve as a foundation from which to launch a successful attack on anti-Semitism.
Engaged. Käte Lewy, Breslay with Berth. Heinz Flieβer, Berlin; Martha Kassel, Ratibor, Upper Silesia, with Alfred Werner, Katscher, Upper Silesia; Martha Glaser, Breslau, with Arnold Schlesinger, Beuthen, Upper Silesia, Lucie Tworoger with Dr. Hermann Roltonski, Breslau.
Married. Alfred Stern with Lorle Besser, Breslau;¬ Hans Kirschstein with Linka Friedeberger, Breslau; Erich Freudenthal with Rose Neustadt, Charlottenburg; Leo Grünpeter with Anni Freund, Berlin.
Born. Son. Hermann and Frieda Seeligmann, Breslau; Siegbert Benjamin and Else, nee Suβmann, Breslau; Emil Goldstein and Elsa, nee Schindler, Breslau; Chief Rabbi Dr. Adolf Kober and Hanna, nee Samoje, Cologne.
Daughter. Fabian Mielzynski and Hede, nee Braun, Kempen; Alfred Schachmann and Lotte, nee Schiftan, Breslau; Josef and Friedl Freiwald; Alfred Freund and Hilde, nee Kochmann, Rosenberg, Upper Silesia.
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