The Brown Shirts – The Literary Digest May 6th 1933
on October 19, 2014 at 23:00
THE “BROWN TERROR” DOES NOT EXIST in Germany, according to Hitler dicatatorship.
Even to talk about it is a penal offense. But the “Brown Terror” goes on.
This is the declaration of a famous English newspaper, the Manchester Guardian, long known as an authoritative source of information about German affairs and a particularly fair and sympathetic recorder of them.
Altho The Guardian is now ” forbidden in Germany until further notice, ” it still receives special correspondence from Berlin, and we learn from it that the outrages committed during the first terrosrist wave are “being committed now as before, systematically and with the knowledge of the Government.”
A special summary court at Cassel, we read, passed a sentence of fifteen months’ imprisonment on a Mr. Juris, who in a letter to his mother, living in New York, commented on the situation in Germany in a manner held to be libelous on the Government, and also enclosed newspaper clippings criticizing the Government and giving accounts of outrages.
A similar court at Stuttgart sentenced to one’ month’s imprisonment a sixty-year-old policeman who had been overheard in a shop to say that “in Switzerland and Italy it is believed that the Nazis themselves set the Reichstag on fire.”
FROM a Guardian correspondent in an unnamed city in Germany came a dispatch about the middle of April, in which he said it is impossible to give an adequate account of the happenings there. Properly to report them, he added:
” A Zola or a Dostoyefsky would be needed, and the space of a big volume at least would have to be put at his disposal. Your correspondent can only give occasional samples of what is happening.
“There are regions- Wurttemberg, for example, or towns like Aachen-where the cruder barbarisms do not seem to have been committed (altho there can be no certainty on this point).
” The state of Berlin as described in the Manchester Guardian just over a fortnight ago would seem to be fair average of Germany as a whole. The Brown Terror is evidently at its worst in Silesia (especially in Breslau and the neighborhood) and is Brunswick.
“But again and again the inquirer who attempts to survey the whole field chances upon new centers of horror and outrage that have not been mentioned as such in any report or even rumor.
“The crimes committed (and still going on) in the town of Cassel have just come beneath the notice your correspondent. He can give names and particulars of a dozen beatings that left the victims bruised, bleeding, and lacerated human wrecks, with minds dazed or blank. The beatings were carried out systematically and according to a general plan-general, that is to say, for all Germany-in the ‘Brown Houses’ that are nothing less than torture chambers.
“They were not carried out in the heat of a political struggle but in cold blood, and on victims who were helpless and who were found guilty of no offense whatever.”
These dozens outrages, we are further informed by The Guardian’s correspondent, are only a small fraction of those committed in Cassel and the neighborhood. The panic is so great and the fear of reprisals s justified, we are told, that only the boldest dare to speak up even in private conversations, “about the hell they have been through in the ‘Brown Houses’; and we read:
“But the evidence in the possession of your correspondent (it includes personal statements, medical certificates signed by courageous doctors, and a photograph) establish a fraction of the truth about the events in Cassel. Such a fraction is horrible enough. The whole truth about events in Cassel and the neighborhood is in its turn a mere fraction of the truth about events that still go on all over Germany.”
In a Frankfort dispatch to The Guardian this same correspondent avers that workmen are continually being beaten by Brown Shirts. Members of the Reichsbanner, trade-union secretaries, and all known in their street or village as having been prominent in local labor politics are menaced. Entire districts are terrorized, it is alleged, and men, and women speak only is frightened whispers of what they have seen. But he relates to The Guardian and the world at large that:
” In the night from Saturday to Sunday last a man of sixty and his two sons were arrested by Brown Shirts in a suburb of Frankfort, taken to a Brown House, and beaten. One of the boys received only slight injuries but the other was fearfully smashed and may remain deaf for the rest of their life. The father was terribly injured. He is now in hospital and his condition is grave.
“On Saturday during the boycott a girl was leaving one of the picketed Jewish shops (it is not clear if she went in to make a purchase) when the Brown Shirt pickets surrounded her and were about to take her photograph. The threat to those who bough in Jewish shops on Saturday was that their portraits would be published in the local newspaper- this would expose them to victimization and probably force them to leave their own districts.
“A kindly passer-by intervened and held up his hand in front of the camera. He was thereupon beaten by the Brown Shirts and collapsed, bruised and bleeding. His condition is grave.”
In Frankfort, this informant points out, the “non-legal terror” has been less than in many other towns because that city is exposed to the scrutiny of Western civilization. But in many other towns, within an hour or two all around Frankfort, the terror has been frightful, and, writing in the early part of April, he reported:
“A precise account of what has happened in the villages of Oberhessen alone during the last four weeks would make a terrible story. But it is impossible to establish more than a few cases, inquiry being made difficult by the general fear not only of reprisals but also imprisonment.
“A few days ago a man was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for spreading the ‘false rumor’ that a Jew had been hanged by Brown Shirts-the ‘rumor, as a matter of fact, was true: the Jew, a certain Mr.__, was beaten by Brown Shirts and hanged by his feet, so that his head was suspended off the ground. When the Brown Shirts had finished with him he was dead.
“In the Vogelberg region of Oberhessen Jews have continually been beaten since the elections. Several are in hospital here in Frankfort.
“At Wiesbaden, a trade-union secretary was arrested by Brown Shirts in his own home. They beat him and then took turns in jabbing him with a knife. It is doubtful whether he will live.
“IN a village near Worms a woman who kept an inn frequented by Reichsbanner men was dragged through the streets after her hair had been cut off.
“At Worms also a number of Jews were arrested, shut up in a pigsty and beaten on the buttocks, so that the flesh was bruised and lacerated. they were then made to hit one another. The names of three of the victims are known to your correspondent.”
Thousands upon thousands of Germans, it is said, have only one wish- “to get out of the country.” But the frontiers are closed by the new passport regulations, and escape is impossible except at great risk. Thus all Germany is being “converted into a huge prison.” Among the Jews there is terrible despair, for they are “neither allowed to make a living in Germany nor to leave.”
A ZURICH correspondent of The Guardian reports that between March 30 and April 2, about 3,000 Jewish refugees arrived at Basel. A certain number returned to Germany when the boycott on Jewish shops was lifted, but the great majority went on to France, and this informant continues:
“It is impossible to say how many German refugees there are in Zurich, but they are very numerous, altho many have already gone to other places. Here the refugees are mostly Socialist politicians, lawyers, doctors, journalists, dismissed civil servants, and other professional men.
“There have been no arrivals of refugees during the last few days except such as have succeeded in crossing the frontier illegally. The frontiers are guarded by Nazi troops to prevent Hitler’s victims from escaping.
” The plight of the refugees here, many of whom held high positions in Germany, is almost hopeless. They can no longer earn a living in Germany, and even if they have private means they can not get their money out. They are allowed, I understand, to withdraw only 200 marks a month. Moreover, they are in danger of being robbed, as Professor Einstein was when the Nazis confiscated his deposits in a Berlin bank.
“They can not earn a living in Switzerland, for they are tolerated here only on condition that they abstain from all political and economic activity, and they have to register themselves as political refugees.
“France is behaving magnificently. The French Government has thrown open the frontiers to all refugees, and allows them to be give employment without restriction, altho there is a great deal of unemployment in France. Surely room can be found for some of them in England. The immediate necessity is to help as many of them as possible, and there must be people in England willing to invite individuals as guests, or to put a dwelling temporarily at their disposal while they try to start a new life.”
EDITORIALLY speaking of its banishment from Germany, the Manchester Guardian sarcastically that “the German dictatorship, strong in physical force, is weak before the exposure of facts.”
But prohibitions of foreign newspapers, The Guardian argues, are a proof to the outer world of lack of confidence in Germany’s rulers and of their incapacity, and it adds:
“Too many people detest the actions of the present German Government, too many agencies are working, and will continue to work, to spread the truth about it, for the prohibition of this paper or that to do injury, except to the German Government itself. No one will fail to understand.
“But other things besides newspapers are forbidden activity in Germany to-day: pacifist leaders, liberal writers and thinkers, Jews who are the ornament of their professions, Jews who are only honest workmen. A newspaper is, therefore, in good company. And, forbidden or not, it can not be stop from exhibiting what it believes to be the facts.”
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