The Economic Boycott of 1933
Article from The Barnes Review, Jan./Feb. 2001, pp. 41-45.
The Barnes Review, 645 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Suite 100, Washington D.C. 20003, USA.
By M. Raphael Johnson, Ph.D., assistant editor of TBR;
published here with kind permission from TBR.
This digitalized version © 2002 by The Scriptorium.
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Few people know the facts about the singular event that helped spark what ultimately became known as World War II – the international Jewish declaration of war on Germany shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power and well before any official German government sanctions or reprisals against Jews were carried out. The March 24, 1933 issue of The Daily Express of London (shown above) described how Jewish leaders, in combination with powerful international Jewish financial interests, had launched a boycott of Germany for the express purpose of crippling her already precarious economy in the hope of bringing down the new Hitler regime. It was only then that Germany struck back in response. Thus, if truth be told, it was the worldwide Jewish leadership – not the Third Reich – that effectively fired the first shot in the Second World War. Prominent New York attorney Samuel Untermyer (above right) was one of the leading agitators in the war against Germany, describing the Jewish campaign as nothing less than a “holy war.”
Long before the Hitler government began restricting the rights of the German Jews, the leaders of the worldwide Jewish community formally declared war on the “New Germany” at a time when the U.S. government and even the Jewish leaders in Germany were urging caution in dealing with the new Hitler regime.
The war by the international Jewish leadership on Germany not only sparked definite reprisals by the German government but also set the stage for a little-known economic and political alliance between the Hitler government and the leaders of the Zionist movement who hoped that the tension between the Germans and the Jews would lead to massive emigration to Palestine. In short, the result was a tactical alliance between the Nazis and the founders of the modern-day state of Israel – a fact that many today would prefer be forgotten.
To this day, it is generally (although incorrectly) believed that when Adolf Hitler was appointed German chancellor in January of 1933, the German government began policies to suppress the Jews of Germany, including rounding up of Jews and putting them in concentration camps and launching campaigns of terror and violence against the domestic Jewish population.
While there were sporadic eruptions of violence against Jews in Germany after Hitler came to power, this was not officially sanctioned or encouraged. And the truth is that anti-Jewish sentiments in Germany (or elsewhere in Europe) were actually nothing new. As all Jewish historians attest with much fervor, anti-Semitic uprisings of various degrees had been ever-present in European history.
In any case, in early 1933, Hitler was not the undisputed leader of Germany, nor did he have full command of the armed forces. Hitler was a major figure in a coalition government, but he was far from being the government himself. That was the result of a process of consolidation which evolved later.
Even Germany’s Jewish Central Association, known as the Verein, contested the suggestion (made by some Jewish leaders outside Germany) that the new government was deliberately provoking anti-Jewish uprisings.
The Verein issued a statement that “the responsible government authorities [i.e. the Hitler regime] are unaware of the threatening situation,” saying, “we do not believe our German fellow citizens will let themselves be carried away into committing excesses against the Jews.”
Despite this, Jewish leaders in the United States and Britain determined on their own that it was necessary to launch a war against the Hitler government.
On March 12, 1933 the American Jewish Congress announced a massive protest at Madison Square Gardens for March 27. At that time the commander in chief of the Jewish War Veterans called for an American boycott of German goods. In the meantime, on March 23, 20,000 Jews protested at New York’s City Hall as rallies were staged outside the North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American shipping lines and boycotts were mounted against German goods throughout shops and businesses in New York City.
According to The Daily Express of London of March 24, 1933, the Jews had already launched their boycott against Germany and her elected government. The headline read “Judea Declares War on Germany – Jews of All the World Unite – Boycott of German Goods – Mass Demonstrations.” The article described a forthcoming “holy war” and went on to implore Jews everywhere to boycott German goods and engage in mass demonstrations against German economic interests. According to the Express:
The whole of Israel throughout the world is uniting to declare an economic and financial war on Germany. The appearance of the Swastika as the symbol of the new Germany has revived the old war symbol of Judas to new life. Fourteen million Jews scattered over the entire world are tight to each other as if one man, in order to declare war against the German persecutors of their fellow believers.
The Jewish wholesaler will quit his house, the banker his stock exchange, the merchant his business, and the beggar his humble hut, in order to join the holy war against Hitler’s people.
The Express said that Germany was “now confronted with an international boycott of its trade, its finances, and its industry…. In London, New York, Paris and Warsaw, Jewish businessmen are united to go on an economic crusade.”
The article said “worldwide preparations are being made to organize protest demonstrations,” and reported that “the old and reunited nation of Israel gets in formation with new and modern weapons to fight out its age old battle against its persecutors.”
This truly could be described as “the first shot fired in the Second World War.”
In a similar vein, the Jewish newspaper Natscha Retsch wrote:
The war against Germany will be waged by all Jewish communities, conferences, congresses… by every individual Jew. Thereby the war against Germany will ideologically enliven and promote our interests, which require that Germany be wholly destroyed.
The danger for us Jews lies in the whole German people, in Germany as a whole as well as individually. It must be rendered harmless for all time…. In this war we Jews have to participate, and this with all the strength and might we have at our disposal.
However, note well that the Zionist Association of Germany put out a telegram on the 26th of March rejecting many of the allegations made against the National Socialists as “propaganda,” “mendacious” and “sensational.”
In fact, the Zionist faction had every reason to ensure the permanence of National Socialist ideology in Germany. Klaus Polkehn, writing in the Journal of Palestine Studies (“The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany, 1933-1941”; JPS v. 3/4, spring/summer 1976), claims that the moderate attitude of the Zionists was due to their vested interest in seeing the financial victory of National Socialism to force immigration to Palestine. This little-known factor would ultimately come to play a pivotal part in the relationship between Nazi Germany and the Jews.
In the meantime, though, German Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath complained of the “vilification campaign” and said:
As concerns Jews, I can only say that their propagandists abroad are rendering their co-religionists in Germany no service by giving the German public, through their distorted and untruthful news about persecution and torture of Jews, the impression that they actually halt at nothing, not even at lies and calumny, to fight the present German government.
The fledgling Hitler government itself was clearly trying to contain the growing tension – both within Germany and without. In the United States, even U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull wired Rabbi Stephen Wise of the American Jewish Congress and urged caution:
Whereas there was for a short time considerable physical mistreatment of Jews, this phase may be considered virtually terminated…. A stabilization appears to have been reached in the field of personal mistreatment…. I feel hopeful that the situation which has caused such widespread concern throughout this country will soon revert to normal.
This New York Daily News front page headline hailed the massive anti-German protest rally held in Madison Square Garden on March 27, 1933. Despite efforts by the German government to alleviate tensions and prevent the escalation of name-calling and threats by the international Jewish leadership, the rally was held as scheduled. Similar rallies and protest marches were also being held in other cities during the same time frame. The intensity of the Jewish campaign against Germany was such that the Hitler government vowed that if the campaign did not stop, there would be a one-day boycott in Germany of Jewish-owned stores. Despite this, the hate campaign continued, forcing Germany to take defensive measures that created a situation wherein the Jews of Germany became increasingly marginalized. The truth about the Jewish war on Germany has been suppressed by most histories of the period.
Despite all this, the leaders of the Jewish community refused to relent. On March 27 there were simultaneous protest rallies at Madison Square Garden, in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland and 70 other locations. The New York rally was broadcast worldwide. The bottom line is that “the New Germany” was declared to be an enemy of Jewish interests and thus needed to be economically strangled. This was beforeHitler decided to boycott Jewish goods.
It was in direct response to this that the German government announced a one-day boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany on April 1. German Propaganda Minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels announced that if, after the one-day boycott, there were no further attacks on Germany, the boycott would be stopped. Hitler himself responded to the Jewish boycott and the threats in a speech on March 28 – four days after the original Jewish declaration of war – saying:
Now that the domestic enemies of the nation have been eliminated by the Volk itself, what we have long been waiting for will not come to pass.
The Communist and Marxist criminals and their Jewish-intellectual instigators, who, having made off with their capital stocks across the border in the nick of time, are now unfolding an unscrupulous, treasonous campaign of agitation against the German Volk as a whole from there….
Lies and slander of positively hair-raising perversity are being launched about Germany. Horror stories of dismembered Jewish corpses, gouged out eyes and hacked off hands are circulating for the purpose of defaming the German Volk in the world for the second time, just as they had succeeded in doing once before in 1914.
Thus, the fact – one conveniently left out of nearly all history on the subject – is that Hitler’s March 28, 1933 boycott order was in direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership just four days earlier. Today, Hitler’s boycott order is described as a naked act of aggression, yet the full circumstances leading up to his order are seldom described in even the most ponderous and detailed histories of “the Holocaust”.
Not even Saul Friedlander in his otherwise comprehensive overview of German policy, Nazi Germany and the Jews, mentions the fact that the Jewish declaration of war and boycott preceded Hitler’s speech of March 28, 1933. Discerning readers would be wise to ask why Friedlander felt this item of history so irrelevant.
The simple fact is that it was organized Jewry as a political entity – and not even the German Jewish community per se – that actually initiated the first shot in the war with Germany.
“Germans! Defend yourselves!
Don’t shop at Jewish stores!”
Photo not part of original TBR article –
added by The Scriptorium.
Germany’s response was a defensive – not an offensive – measure. Were that fact widely known today, it would cast new light on the subsequent events that ultimately led to the world-wide conflagration that followed.
To understand Hitler’s reaction to the Jewish declaration of war, it is vital to understand the critical state of the German economy at the time. In 1933, the German economy was in a shambles. Some 3 million Germans were on public assistance with a total of 6 million unemployed. Hyper-inflation had destroyed the economic vitality of the German nation. Furthermore, the anti-German propaganda pouring out of the global press strengthened the resolve of Germany’s enemies, especially the Poles and their hawkish military high command.
The Jewish leaders were not bluffing. The boycott was an act of war not solely in metaphor: it was a means, well crafted, to destroy Germany as a political, social and economic entity. The long term purpose of the Jewish boycott against Germany was to bankrupt her with respect to the reparation payments imposed on Germany after World War I and to keep Germany demilitarized and vulnerable.
The boycott, in fact, was quite crippling to Germany. Jewish scholars such as Edwin Black have reported that, in response to the boycott, German exports were cut by 10 percent, and that many were demanding seizing German assets in foreign countries (Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement – The Untold Story of the Secret Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine, New York, 1984).
The attacks on Germany did not cease. The worldwide Jewish leadership became ever the more belligerent and worked itself into a frenzy. An International Jewish Boycott Conference was held in Amsterdam to coordinate the ongoing boycott campaign. It was held under the auspices of the self-styled World Jewish Economic Federation, of which famous New York City attorney and longtime political power broker, Samuel Untermyer, was elected president.
Upon returning to the United States in the wake of the conference, Untermyer delivered a speech over WABC Radio (New York), a transcript of which was printed in The New York Times on August 7, 1933.
Untermyer’s inflammatory oratory called for a “sacred war” against Germany, making the flat-out allegation that Germany was engaged in a plan to “exterminate the Jews.” He said (in part):
…Germany [has] been converted from a nation of culture into a veritable hell of cruel and savage beasts.
We owe it not only to our persecuted brethren but to the entire world to now strike in self-defense a blow that will free humanity from a repetition of this incredible outrage….
Now or never must all the nations of the earth make common cause against the… slaughter, starvation and annihilation… fiendish torture, cruelty and persecution that are being inflicted day by day upon these men, women and children….
When the tale is told… the world will confront a picture so fearful in its barbarous cruelty that the hell of war and the alleged Belgian atrocities pale into insignificance as compared to this devilishly, deliberately, cold-bloodedly planned and already partially executed campaign for the extermination of a proud, gentle, loyal, law-abiding people…
The Jews are the aristocrats of the world. From time immemorial they have been persecuted and have seen their persecutors come and go. They alone have survived. And so will history repeat itself, but that furnishes no reason why we should permit this reversion of a once great nation to the Dark Ages or fail to rescue these 600,000 human souls from the tortures of hell….
…What we are proposing and have already gone far toward doing, is to prosecute a purely defensive economic boycott that will undermine the Hitler regime and bring the German people to their senses by destroying their export trade on which their very existence depends.
…We propose to and are organizing world opinion to express itself in the only way Germany can be made to understand….
Untermyer then proceeded to provide his listeners with a wholly fraudulent history of the circumstances of the German boycott and how it originated. He also proclaimed that the Germans were bent on a plan to “exterminate the Jews”:
The Hitler regime originated and are fiendishly prosecuting their boycott to exterminate the Jews by placarding Jewish shops, warning Germans against dealing with them, by imprisoning Jewish shopkeepers and parading them through the streets by the hundreds under guard of Nazi troops for the sole crime of being Jews, by ejecting them from the learned professions in which many of them had attained eminence, by excluding their children from the schools, their men from the labor unions, closing against them every avenue of livelihood, locking them in vile concentration camps and starving and torturing them without cause and resorting to every other conceivable form of torture, inhuman beyond conception, until suicide has become their only means of escape, and all solely because they are or their remote ancestors were Jews, and all with the avowed object of exterminating them.
Untermyer concluded his largely fantastic and hysterical address by declaring that with the support of “Christian friends… we will drive the last nail in the coffin of bigotry and fanaticism….”
The Biggest Secret of WWII?
Why Germany Began Rounding Up Jews
and Deporting Them to the East
Why did the Germans begin rounding up the Jews and interning them in the concentration camps to begin with? Contrary to popular myth, the Jews remained “free” inside Germany – albeit subject to laws which did restrict certain of their privileges – prior to the outbreak of World War II.
That his allegations against Germany were made long before even Jewish historians today claim there were any gas chambers or even a plan to “exterminate” the Jews, displays the nature of the propaganda campaign confronting Germany.
However, during this same period there were some unusual developments at work: The spring of 1933 also witnessed the beginning of a period of private cooperation between the German government and the Zionist movement in Germany and Palestine (and actually worldwide) to increase the flow of German-Jewish immigrants and capital to Palestine.
The modern-day supporters of Zionist Israel and many historians have succeeded in keeping this Nazi-Zionist pact a secret to the general public for decades and while most Americans have no concept of the possibility that there could have been outright collaboration between the Nazi leadership and the founders of what became the state of Israel, the truth has begun to emerge.
Dissident Jewish writer Lenni Brennar’s Zionism In the Age of the Dictators, published by a small press and not given the publicity it deserves by the so-called “mainstream” media (which is otherwise obsessed with the Holocaust era), was perhaps the first major endeavor in this realm.
In response to Brennar and others, the Zionist reaction has usually consisted of declarations that their collaboration with Nazi Germany was undertaken solely to save the lives of Jews. But the collaboration was all the more remarkable because it took place at a time when many Jews and Jewish organizations demanded a boycott of Germany.
To the Zionist leaders, Hitler’s assumption of power held out the possibility of a flow of immigrants to Palestine. Previously, the majority of German Jews, who identified themselves as Germans, had little sympathy with the Zionist cause of promoting the ingathering of world Jewry to Palestine. But the Zionists saw that only the anti-Semitic Hitler was likely to push the anti-Zionist German Jews into the arms of Zionism.
For all the modern-day wailing by worldwide supporters of Israel (not to mention the Israelis themselves) about “the Holocaust”, they neglect to mention that making the situation in Germany as uncomfortable for the Jews as possible – in cooperation with German National Socialism – was part of the plan.
|Note to readers of this article who can also read German: a booklet discussing the emigration of Jews from Third Reich Germany, and the Transfer Agreement that facilitated their emigration, may be found here!|
This was the genesis of the so-called Transfer Agreement, the agreement between Zionist Jews and the National Socialist government to transfer German Jewry to Palestine.
According to Jewish historian Walter Laqueur and many others, German Jews were far from convinced that immigration to Palestine was the answer. Furthermore, although the majority of German Jews refused to consider the Zionists as their political leaders, it is clear that Hitler protected and cooperated with the Zionists for the purposes of implementing the final solution: the mass transfer of Jews to the Middle East.
Edwin Black, in his massive tome The Transfer Agreement (Macmillan, 1984), stated that although most Jews did not want to flee to Palestine at all, due to the Zionist movement’s influence within Nazi Germany a Jew’s best chance of getting out of Germany was by emigrating to Palestine. In other words, the Transfer Agreement itself mandated that Jewish capital could only to go Palestine.
Thus, according to the Zionists, a Jew could leave Germany only if he went to the Levant.
The primary difficulty with the Transfer Agreement (or even the idea of such an agreement) was that the English [!!!; Scriptorium] were demanding, as a condition of immigration, that each immigrant pay 1,000 pounds sterling upon arrival in Haifa or elsewhere. The difficulty was that such hard currency was nearly impossible to come by in a cash-strapped and radically inflationary Germany. This was the main idea behind the final Transfer Agreement. Laqueur writes:
A large German bank would freeze funds paid in by immigrants in blocked accounts for German exporters, while a bank in Palestine would control the sale of German goods to Palestine, thereby providing the immigrants with the necessary foreign currency on the spot. Sam Cohen, co-owner of Hanoaiah Ltd. and initiator of the transfer endeavors, was however subjected to long-lasting objections from his own people and finally had to concede that such a transfer agreement could only be concluded on a much higher level with a bank of its own rather than that of a private company. The renowned Anglo-Palestine Bank in London would be included in this transfer deal and create a trust company for [this] purpose.
Of course, this is of major historical importance in dealing with the relationship between Zionism and National Socialism in Germany in the 1930s. The relationship was not one merely of mutual interest and political favoritism on the part of Hitler, but a close financial relationship with German banking families and financial institutions as well. Black writes:
It was one thing for the Zionists to subvert the anti-Nazi boycott. Zionism needed to transfer out the capital of German Jews, and merchandise was the only available medium. But soon Zionist leaders understood that the success of the future Jewish Palestinian economy would be inextricably bound up with the survival of the Nazi economy. So the Zionist leadership was compelled to go further. The German economy would have to be safeguarded, stabilized, and if necessary reinforced. Hence, the Nazi party and the Zionist organizers shared a common stake in the recovery of Germany.
Thus one sees a radical fissure in world Jewry around 1933 and beyond. There were, first, the non-Zionist Jews (specifically the World Jewish Congress founded in 1933), who, on the one hand, demanded the boycott and eventual destruction of Germany. Black notes that many of these people were not just in New York and Amsterdam, but a major source for this also came from Palestine proper.
On the other hand, one can see the judicious use of such feelings by the Zionists for the sake of eventual resettlement in Palestine. In other words, it can be said (and Black does hint at this) that Zionism believed that, since Jews would be moving to the Levant, capital flight would be necessary for any new economy to function.
The result was the understanding that Zionism would have to ally itself with National Socialism, so that the German government would not impede the flow of Jewish capital out of the country.
It served the Zionist interests at the time that Jews be loud in their denunciations of German practices against the Jews to scare them into the Levant, but, on the other hand, Laqueur states that “The Zionists became motivated not to jeopardize the German economy or currency.” In other words, the Zionist leadership of the Jewish Diaspora was one of subterfuge and underhandedness, with only the advent of German hostility towards Jewry convincing the world’s Jews that immigration was the only escape.
The fact is that the ultimate establishment of the state of Israel was based on fraud. The Zionists did not represent anything more than a small minority of German Jews in 1933.
On the one hand, the Zionist fathers of Israel wanted loud denunciations of Germany’s “cruelties” to the world’s Jews while at the same time demanding moderation so that the National Socialist government would remain stable, financially and politically. Thus Zionism boycotted the boycott.
For all intents and purposes, the National Socialist government was the best thing to happen to Zionism in its history, for it “proved” to many Jews that Europeans were irredeemably anti-Jewish and that Palestine was the only answer: Zionism came to represent the overwhelming majority of Jews solely by trickery and cooperation with Adolf Hitler.
For the Zionists, both the denunciations of German policies towards Jews (to keep Jews frightened), plus the reinvigoration of the German economy (for the sake of final resettlement) was imperative for the Zionist movement. Ironically, today the Zionist leaders of Israel complain bitterly about the horrific and inhuman regime of the National Socialists. So the fraud continues.