GERMANY: Natural Death

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Working in a Berlin kindergarten last week was 19-year-old, red-haired Fräulein Lotte Lenze whose meagre financial circumstances were briefly, spectacularly enhanced by some of the cash from the Nobel Peace Prize won in 1936 by German Pacifist Carl von Ossietsky..

Herr Ossietsky was in no position himself to go to Oslo and receive the prize, for he was one of the first anti-Nazis arrested after the Nazis took power (TIME, Feb. 6, 1933). In the sanatorium where Nazis confined him, Ossietsky was visited by a former German Army officer, Dr. Kurt Wannow, who palmed himself off as a lawyer, was given by the Nobel Pacifist a power of attorney which enabled him to collect the $40,000 from Oslo. About $32,000 was at one time placed by swindler Dr. Wannow in investments held partly in the name of Fräulein Lenze in hopes of making it more difficult for Sanatorium Inmate Ossietsky to recover anything. His physician, who has the French name of Dosquette, lent money to pay lawyers who got after Wannow & Lenze. By last week Ossietsky had received a total of about $35,000 from the Nobel Prize when, suddenly, Death came to him, shocked Pacifists. The official Nazi death certificate said Carl von Ossietsky died at 48 of meningitis.

Herr Ossietsky was not only anti-Nazi but deeply against all German militarism. He served like Adolf Hitler as a front-line soldier during the World War, came out of it with reactions exactly opposite to those of the Führer. While Hitler toiled and finally succeeded in awakening German militarism to fresh and grandiose efforts, Ossietsky labored as the editor of the German pacifist Weltbühne. The late, great German Nobel Peaceman Dr. Gustav Stresemann said that without Ossietsky's preparatory work he should never have been able to carry out his policy of rapprochement with French Nobel Peace-man Aristide Briand.

It was not the Nazis but democratic Germans of the Republic who in 1931 secured the arrest, conviction and sentencing to 18 months' imprisonment of Carl von Ossietsky for the crime of editing articles which could be construed as divulging to the enemies of the Fatherland what was already an open secret known to all Europe—that Germany had from the start violated the Treaty of Versailles by clandestine rearmament, even under Chancellor Stresemann.

Whether or not Stresemann was a Judas to the cause of Peace, as has been suggested by some students of his diary and letters, Carl von Ossietsky never wavered, said "No!" to friends who had arranged for him to escape to Switzerland before he could be jailed. "If you wish to fight effectively against rottenness in a nation you must do it from the inside," said Ossietsky. "I will not flee abroad. A man speaks with but a hollow voice from across the border."

In his struggle against Naziism, which carried him for a time to a German prison camp near noxious marshes, Carl von Ossietsky was aided by rumors that he was about to receive the Nobel Prize, which secured his transfer to a hospital. There the German guards wore him down until he gave his word that even if he ever got out of the hospital he would never again engage in any sort of pacifism. There was no suggestion of foul play last week in the death of long-ailing, wornout, beaten Nobelman Ossietsky.