How to Greet Germans?

(February 7, 1934)


Letter to the Editor of the Cv Zeitung:

Helmuth Bernhard
J 2 OLIVA 5576

Berlin, W 15, 7 February 1934
Duisburgerstr. 12

To the editor of the CV—Zeitung
Berlin W 15
Emserstr. 42

Dear Sir,

As a Jew, and especially as a businessman, it is becoming increasingly evident that the German greeting Heil Hitler, which is being adopted by a growing number of people, is often being used also in encountering Jews. It is not clear whether the person is actually aware that he is greeting a Jew, although it has to be said that it is often being used in greeting people with typically Jewish names. As a Jew, one finds oneself in an embarrassing situation—how to return the greeting without hurting the national feelings of the person and at the same time, without insulting Jewish dignity and injuring the Jews image in the eyes of the National Socialist authorities. It is especially difficult for businessmen when dealing with clients.

It is true also in the opposite situation. When one goes to the authorities, especially in the judicial system, one usually feels that one is received with mistrust when using the old forms of good day or good morning. The form with German greetings replaces the traditional Sincerely in most business correspondence.… A Jewish businessman who continues signing letters to his clients without using the German greeting, may naturally find himself in danger of being discriminated against when compared to his competitors. This, of course, is contrary to the declaration of the Reich Economic Minister, who ordered that no difference be made between Aryans and non-Aryans in economic matters…

I believe this entire issue ought to be discussed and clarified in your paper. Perhaps an official clarification by the Reichsvertretung (National Representation of the German Jews) regarding the following questions ought to be sought:

Can or should a German Jew greet or return the greeting by raising ones arm? Heil Hitler? Heil? With German Greetings (in writing)?

My suggestion, based purely on my feelings, would be to answer the question 1) Yes. 2) no. 3) yes. 4) yes.

Sincerely,

(signature)

PS. Should this be published, please use my initials or an alias.
D.O.

Source: The Central Archive for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem. Microfilm of CV Archives, Center for the Preservation of Historical Documentary Collection (OSOBI), Moscow. Fond. 721, File 2553.


Source: Yad Vashem