GERMANY: All Fools' Day

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On Friday of last week news cables from Berlin to the U. S. seemed to be hinting at more than they could say: one Alfred Rosenberg—surely a strange name for a Nazi—had been appointed Chief of the Foreign Policy Division of the National Socialist Party. Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath had offered his resignation and then withdrawn it. Three days later the world learned what had happened:

Appalled by the growing tide of world resentment against the Hitlerites and a Germany that could permit them to govern, realizing what desperate harm this was doing the nation's industry, Baron von Neurath and Vice Chancellor von Papen fought for hours against the proclamation of Adolf Hitler's Jewish boycott. In the end they rushed to old President von Hindenburg. Baron von Neurath offered his resignation, was finally persuaded to withdraw it. Old Paul agreed absolutely with his two Nationalist ministers and added a private complaint of his own : he had just learned that his name had appeared without authorization on anti-Jew proclamations in Munich. Like a naughty schoolboy Handsome Adolf was summoned to the Feldmarschall's office, and Handsome Adolf meekly backed down. He was willing to call off the boycott, he realized its folly, but what could he do? Orders could not stop it, the Nazis would run wild. President von Hindenburg reminded his Chancellor of his oath to defend the rights of all law-abiding citizens. He threatened to declare martial law and abolish the Government. Then a compromise was reached: the boycott would be declared, but for nine hours on Saturday only. And it must be peaceful.

On All Fools' Day therefore the Nazis, all in their brown shirts, went out with buckets of paste and rolls of posters, the most sprightly of which were black & yellow, simply marked QUARANTINE. By specific orders no banks or newspapers were picketed or postered but almost every Jewish-owned shop in Germany received both attentions. There was little violence. The New York Evening Post's Correspondent Albion Ross was punched on the back of the neck for attempting to enter a Jewish store (other U. S. correspondents were not molested). In Hamburg a Jew shot a Nazi officer and was himself killed in jail. In Berlin photographers were ready to snap pictures of people attempting to enter Jewish stores. In Annaberg pickets were ready with stickers to place on the foreheads of shoppers: "We Traitors Bought from Jews." They were little used. Nazi bands played lustily in the public squares to keep the populace amused and at nightfall the great boycott was over. Nazi headquarters promptly announced that the nefarious foreign Jews, whose spreading of "atrocity stories" this curious performance was supposed to punish, had all seen the error of their ways and that it was extremely unlikely that the official boycott would be resumed on Wednesday, as had been originally announced. The brownshirts went out and scraped the stickers off the stores.

None less than the former Kaiser suddenly appeared among the forces of moderation last week. From Doorn came an official message: "Loyal followers of the House of Hohenzollern will refrain from Jew-baiting."

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