Lagebericht [Situation Report] of SD II 112

(August 1938)


Jewry:

The situation of Jewry has constantly deteriorated as a result of the legislation enacted since the beginning of this year, which aims at excluding them. Alongside the marking of Jewish shops that is being practiced in different localities in a variety of ways, an increasing Aryanization of Jewish businesses is being reported from all over the Reich. Only few cases of defiance of the laws on the part of Jews are being reported. Jews have refused to sell their property in one area of Mainfranken, because they assumed that the circumstances would improve in the future.

Aside from the laws and regulations, one should especially note the police measures directed against the Jews in Berlin in the past few month. The orders of the police commissioner of Berlin aim to make the life of the Jews in Germany so difficult, that they will choose to emigrate in spite of the harsh financial restrictions [for emigrants]. Every possible support should be given to Jews wishing to emigrate in supplying the necessary documents for emigration.

The result of all these measures can be seen in the very strong reduction in the activities of [Jewish] organizations all over the Reich, especially in the dissolution of aid associations. The situation of the communities, which was shattered by the law changing the legal status of the Jewish communities, has deteriorated in what regards their financial situation to such an extent that in some areas it will be impossible to continue their social aid activities. This means that in the future, the Jewish proletariat will increase in numbers and the result will be an increased burden on the public social services if the unemployed Jews are not removed from the Reich through emigration.

However, the possibilities for emigration have been reduced so much due to international measures, that one can hardly speak any longer of regular emigration—with the possible exception of emigration from Austria. Even if the necessary support were given by Jewish organizations abroad and the Reich were to release the necessary foreign currency, the question will not be solved in the near future. In the coming year, only Palestine and the United States can be considered possible targets for emigration of large numbers of Jews.

This disproportion between the Jews' desire to emigrate Jews and the possibilities of finding a country for immigration has caused unrest that is being expressed in some cases in growing opposition to the measures used by the Reich. Thus, after the demolition of the synagogue in Nuremberg [the synagogue of Nurenberg was demolished on August 10, 1938 on the allegation that it was an eyesore] Gauleiter Julius Streicher received an anonymous letter saying: remember the poets words: the bow will break if it is stretched too much. Your fate is sealed. Your death sentence has been signed. Your time is over.

The effects of these measures are also evident in the attempts for illegal emigration to Switzerland, France and the Baltic states. In all of these cases large numbers of Austrian Jews were among the illegal emigrants. These attempts failed mostly because of the increased preventive measures undertaken by the neighboring countries. These attempts result in a further decrease in emigration possibilities and they also have economic implications. Thus, in Latvia large sums of German money have appeared on the black market. About 30,000 Marks are being exchanged into Latvian currency every week. About 340,000 Marks were traced in Riga in the last two or three months….

A decree issued by the Ministry of Interior on 18 August 1938 proclaims that Jews of German citizenship and stateless Jews can only have Jewish names in the future. If they already have other names, they have to add a middle name—Israel for men and Sarah for women. The additional name has to be mentioned in business and all legal matters….

Austria:

The centralization of Jewish organizations active in matters of emigration and the German authorities was enacted by the regulation of the Reich commissioner for the reunification of Austria with the German Reich of 27 August establishing the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. All party and state agencies were ordered to refer emigration requests to this office. The office is capable of furnishing all the necessary paperwork for emigration within 8 days for those Jews who wish to emigrate.

The emigrants are being prepared for emigration with language and vocational training courses. After about 25,000 Jews have left so far, another 120,000 Jews from Vienna alone have to be motivated to emigrate.

Jewry Abroad:

While Jewry awaits the ultimate solution of the problem of a Jewish state…their prospects for the future were shattered by the introduction of the anti-Jewish laws by the Italians. As no material about the Jews in Italy was available, nothing can be said about the practical consequences of the laws for the exclusion of the Jews from the Italian racial community. One thing is clear. The expulsion of Jews with foreign citizenship who emigrated to Italy after 1919 will cause further difficulties to the expulsion of Jews from Germany.

The London meeting of the executive committee of the Evian Conference [the Intergovernmental Committee] of 3 August has shown no practical results to date.

Source: 0.51/OSO/47.


Source: Yad Vashem