Up rose Col. Josiah C. Wedgwood, Laborite, in the House of Commons last week.
"May I ask," he cried, "whether the Prime Minister is acquainted with the steps the American Government has taken in order to put an end to this state of things in Germany, and whether he has any confirmation of a story that 1,400 people have been put to death in Hamburg alone. . . . What has taken place recently in Germany has completely converted pro-German England into pro-French England!"
That ardent Tory, moon-faced Winston Churchill, jumped up to second him:
"During this anxious month there are a good many people who have said what I've been saying for years: Thank God for the French Army!"*
The story of the 1,400 Hamburgers was undoubtedly the week's high for atrocity stories. There were plenty of others. Filtering slowly through the German Press censorship the world Press gradually got a picture of what had been going on in Naziland:
Few if any Jews had been killed. Physical violence was on the wane, though for a few days, after the Reichstag election March 5. hundreds of Jews were beaten, Jewish homes raided. Conductor Bruno Walter was banned from the concert platform. Former Socialist Premier Braun of Prussia fled to Switzerland. Reports of the torturing to death of one Otto Lenz, Jewish storekeeper in Straubing, Bavaria, seemed authentic. Far more common than actual attacks on Jews was their dismissal from government and business posts and the picketing and boycotting of their stores. Nazi picketing was not limited to Jewish shops. U. S.-owned Woolworth stores were a particular object of attack.
Since the beginning of the War, great numbers of Eastern Jews have emigrated from Poland across Germany to the Palatinate, a province between French Alsace and the southern Rhine. Last week Palatinate Commissioner Birker issued an order freezing all postal savings and bank accounts of Jews in the province until their outstanding debts had been paid. This was explained as a move to prevent a wholesale dodging of obligations by a Jewish hegira over the French Border.
In Frankfort, ancestral home of Rothschilds and Schiffs, Hitlerite Police Chief von Westrem announced:
"Let the German Jews return to Palestine and rob each other reciprocally. No National Socialist attacks a Jew because the Nazi knows the Jew is inferior."
In Berlin hundreds of frightened Jews besieged the British consulate seeking visas to visit the Holy Land.
For a few days the Hitlerite Government ignored all stories of Jewish oppression, but the promptness and violence of world protest seemed to take them by surprise. Handsome Adolf's invaluable assistant, Minister Without Portfolio Hermann Goring, summoned foreign correspondents to his apartment for an angry, hour-long speech to the effect that the Jewish reign of terror had not taken place but that it would stop at once.