On the Nationalist German Jew.
by Attorney Erich Spitz (Breslau)
Synopsis: Spitz opens by lamenting how sick the entire “civilized” society has been for the last six and a half years. The causes are many, but one thing that the “peace” of the Versailles Treaty has made clear is that one of the more significant ones is an exaggerated sense of nationalism. He goes on to contrast nationalism with the healthier sense of national identity or love of one’s country [“Nationalgefühl”] characterized by love of one’s own kind, the desire to compete with other countries, and the need to maintain honor while doing so and to be of use to all of mankind in parallel. Nationalism is a distortion of these sentiments: it strives for power and domination of other countries; it is brutal to the point of being nihilistic. Two things could heal a society made sick by nationalism: the cultivation of love of country and a healthy sense of internationalism that binds peoples together.
Nationalism is on the rise, not only among the western, victorious countries, but it is also starting to creep into conquered Germany where it expresses itself in a hatred of Jews. The “Deutschnationale Volkspartei” has trampled on its conservative tradition and adopted as its slogan: “Down with Jews!”
While Jews have been noted for their conservatism, they are not typically nationalistic, perhaps because of innate skepticism, but certainly because of historical experience when they were the victims of nationalism. This does not mean, however, that Jews don’t have a sense of national identity with Germany, as has often been claimed in the last fifty years. Certainly, the fact that Jews have descended into the bloodbath of the war should prove otherwise. In recent years it was easy to earn the designation of “un-national”: anyone who criticized the war or taxation, didn’t wear their beard a certain way, was an aetheist or dissident, or voted socialist—and naturally, all Jews were “un-national.”
Spitz maintains that these accusations do not only stem from anti-Semites, but also from within the Jewish ranks as evidenced by a publication by the lawyer, Max Naumann, “On the national-German Jew.” Naumann divides Judaism into three groups: the Zionists, the middleground, and the national German Jews. He dismisses the Zionists because they are on their way to Palestine. The middle tier lives in a kind of purgatory between the Zionists and the national-German heaven. Naumann ascribes traits to them that resemble the claims of anti-Semites. Spitz’s criticism of Naumann’s idealization of the national-German Jew is harsh. Naumann apparently praises the Jew who is not ashamed of Judaism. He apparently contradicts himself by citing as a parallel example the French Huguenots who married into pure German families until their French heritage was but a dusty memory. Spitz maintains that this dusty memory is what Judaism is for Naumann. Naumann further angers Spitz by asserting that religion is no longer what should bind Jews together. This belief is revealed in Naumann’s description of the Eastern Jewish question—the Eastern Jew is a stranger, and nothing more than a stranger—in sympathies, in spirit, even physically. When a nation-German Jew hears of their misfortunes, they are struck with pity, as they would be when hearing of any peoples’ mistreatment, such as the lynchings in America.
Spitz on the other hand claims the victims of these pogroms as his brothers and sisters. He wonders whether in the last fifty years many German Jews have been too quick to adopt German culture while throwing off their traditions. He believes the young generation will have to fight the ensuing rootlessness in that it becomes more Jewish and calmly and steadily integrates organically into the German homeland and its people.
by Dr. Leo Baeck (Berlin).
Synopsis: “Judaism discovered the concept of the fellow man.” In this piece, Dr. Baeck associates the concept of care for one’ s fellow man with justice. He asserts that it is God who made every man to be one’s fellow man, one’s brother, one’s neighbor—not our own will or inclination and not society or law. He closes by portraying the ideal society as one being based on tzedakah.
An everyday story by Bidsche Hohnsalz (Zehlendorf).
Aus dem Reich.
Berlin. Synopsis: At a meeting of the Liberal Association for the Concerns of the Jewish Community in Berlin, Rabbi Dr. Baeck explained in a very well-received lecture that all Jews must work together on the development of Palestine. Jewish Palestine is a fact, even if all German Jews failed to contribute. Germany’s 600,000 Jews could very well become isolated from the world’s 10 Million Jews. Rabbi Dr. Baeck expects that the renewal of Judaism in Palestine will enrich religious, liberal Jewish thought. From Palestine, Jewish ideas could be broadcast to the world with greater justification and authority.
München. Synopsis: The election committee of the liberal Jews of Bavaria, Munich chapter distance themselves from the newly founded Jewish “Volkspartei,” which they claim represents only the Zionist and orthodox points of view.
Braunschweig. Synopsis: A case of anti-Semitic vandalism of a veteran’s grave was reported—a swastika was painted on the tombstone.
Frankfurt a. M. The International League of Women for Peace and Freedom in Geneva made a request of the League of Nations that it take a stand against the persecution of Jews in the Ukraine. Authoritative Jewish organizations have accused Ukrainians of having committed the most horrific massacre that has ever taken place in modern times. Countless individuals have been killed, women raped, pogroms organized and conducted with official permission. As a measure against these horrors the International League of Women demands that the League of Nation denies the Ukraine membership until it guarantees that it will grant minorities the same security and rights as the majority.
Königshütte. Synopsis: Kosher meals will be available to all during the elections.
Jewish Liberalism in Posen.
Synopsis: The Posen Jewish newspaper which is still being published in this formerly German region provides evidence that Jewish liberalism continues to thrive there.
Vienna. Synopsis: One of the largest Alpine associations has declared that from voted on a motion to allow only members that are Germans of Aryan descent. The vote was 1253 for and 653 against so the motion did not pass as it required a 3/4 majority.
The Liberal Association of Syngogue Congregations. Synopsis: A beer evening will feature good food, full-bodied beer, speeches and toasts, songs, an American auction, and a raffle.
Representatives Assembly. Synopsis: At the last meeting Dr. Klein (Chemnitz) and Davidsohn (Berlin) were elected as religion teachers.
Synopsis: The German Jews’ Central Aid Committee has begun publishing instructive essays about important charitable initiatives under the title “Tzedakah.” The piece by Rabbi Dr. Beck published in this issue is an example of this worthwhile content. A subscription to “Tzedakah” is recommended.
Synopsis: A few more companies have asked to be removed from the notorious list created by the German Nationalist Protection and Defiance Federation.
Arranged by the Union of Eastern Jews.
Synopsis: The evening was held as a fundraiser for Jewish refugees. Joseph Halpern started the entertainment by reciting three poems and later performing a comedic routine. Marga Dannenberg sang an aria from “Samson and Delilah,” Grieg Lieder, and a duet from “Tosca” with Adolf Löltgen who went on to sing Schumann Lieder and some cabaret pieces. Hans Faber, dressed in a Pierrot costume performed comedy. Miss Knepel sang duets from the operettas “Geisha” and the “Loyal Farmer.”
Associations and Assemblies.
The Jewish-Liberal Youth Organization. Synopsis: On February 7, Emil Waldstein reported on the recent founding of the Central Organization of German Jewry, the challenges that were faced, especially around the question of allowing foreigners the right to vote. On February 14, Rabbi Dr. Vogelstein spoke on the theme of “God and Man,” the central concept of the Jewish religion being the relationship between God and man, ethics being a more important source than the idea of monotheism. The ethical is sustained by justice and love, both being attributes of God. The human soul is created pure with the capability for good as well as for evil, unlike the Christian teaching that mankind is born with original sin and saved by Christ’s sacrificial death. On February 21, Dr. Fränkel spoke on German Jewry at the beginning of the 19th century and on February 28, Mr. Brienitzer began his lecture series on the Jewish question in Germany.
League of Jewish Women, Breslau chapter. Synopsis: The chapter met on February 22. Miss Röschen Cohn greeted the assembly with a speech written by Miss R. Urbach. Then Mrs. Ollendorf described the league’s history and goals, warmly promoting its high ideals. With subtle sarcasm she touched upon the tendency toward materialism of some Jewish circles. The article’s author wanted to point out the Breslau chapter’s initiatives such as founding a home for Jewish children born out of wedlock.
Central Organization of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith. Synopsis: On February 17 Professor Goldstein (Darmstadt) spoke on “Modern Racial Theory.” Important Christian fellow citizens had been invited to attend. See issue 10 for a thorough report on this topic.
The Association of Independent Jewish Craftsmen, Breslau chapter celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Association of Poseners. Synopsis: An evening of entertainment was held on February 23 at which Dr. Teichmann presented slides of Italy.
Engagements: Edith Cohn (Charlottenburg) with Walter Horwitz (Berlin); Gisela Cohn with Manfred Metzner (Breslau); Berta Levy with Leo Berger (Loslau, Upper Silesia).
Marriages: Heinrich Golden with Luise Koch (Obernigk); Viktor Mannheim with Käthe Dobschützer (Dyhernfurth); Hans Neuländer with Erna Lust (Danzig); Hans Rothstein with Toni Dressel (Breslau); Berthold Riesenfeld with Helene Freund (Breslau); Salvador Hopp with Margot Badrian (Guatemala); Harmann Salinger with Frieda Bergmann (Neumarkt, Silesia); Arthur Kahl with Gertrud Sklarz (Breslau).
Births: Son: Kurt Budwig and Margarete nee Philipp (Breslau); Richard Wiener and Annie nee Müller (Breslau).
Daughter: Arthur Leβheim and Herta nee Fleischer (Breslau); Siegmund Günzberger and Else nee Jenderkoy (Breslau); Bruno Wechselmann and Paula nee Leβ (Breslau); Attorney Dr. Kurt Weiβ and Grete nee Bab (Breslau); Kurt Schweitzer and Margot nee Stein (Kattowitz).
Deaths: Ella Friedmann (Breslau); Abraham Cohn (Breslau); Bernhard Guttmann (Breslau); Salo Licht (Breslau); Heinz Kohn (Katscher, Upper Silesia); Martin Guttmann (Breslau); Salo Weiβenberg (Breslau).