How Odd Of God*
Quote:How Odd of God*
* - to choose the Jews. (W.N.Ewer)
Chapter Twenty Three in "Disgrace Abounding" by Douglas Reed (1939)
When I was in London in the Spring of 1938 I went one day to see a high official in Whitehall. As I arrived half an hour too soon I went into a teashop, the only thing you can do in London when you arrive anywhere half an hour too soon, and ordered a cup of the wet, brown and warm stuff which they call coffee, and then I heard a voice call 'Reed' and turned round, and corpulent as ever, in a corner, was my acquaintance whom we will call Blumenlevy.
I knew him first in Berlin, some years before Hitler came to power. Then he was well-to-do and important, and nobody, least of all himself, seemed to recall he was not a German. He was part of Berlin and looked likely to end his days there. But then came Hitler, and Blumenlevy moved to Vienna and suddenly he was Austrian-born and a great Austrian patriot and was all for defending Austrian independence to the last drop of anybody else's blood and fervently admired Mussolini, a dictator, true, but not then an anti-Semitic one, because he had mobilized troops on the Brenner when Dollfuss was murdered and had declared he would not tolerate the rape of Austria. 'Why do you English quarrel with this great man?' Blumenlevy asked me. 'It is madness.'
But then Mussolini became Hitler's friend and Blumenlevy, all at once, was a red-hot Austrian monarchist and was for bringing young Otto back to Vienna forthwith, for only so could Austrian patriots count on the continued independence of Austria.
A few days before Hitler marched into Austria, and sent his telegram to Rome, 'Mussolini, I shall never forget what you have done for me to-day', I ran into Blumenlevy in a coffee house. He had been to see an Austrian monarchist leader, A, he said, and had urged him to arm the monarchists, but A was a feeble fellow and hadn't felt equal to it. 'I would do it,' said Blumenlevy, 'Ich bin ein Draufgänger - I'm a stick-at-nothing chap.'
I looked at him, fat, wheezy, and aged. Oh yeah, I thought.
Now Austria was finished, and here he was in London, already waiting on an appointment with somebody in a high place, already half-way to becoming an Englishman, naturalization papers looming ahead, and soon he would be urging the British to go and fight Germany. We shall probably have to do it anyway, but I thought, as I contemplated Blumenlevy, that the Jews, if they want to fight Germany, should urge others less and enlist more.
That is one picture, painted without malice. Look at this one.
I stood, in the heat of that September crisis, in a newspaper office in Budapest and talked with a young Jewish journalist. 'I am for war,' he said loudly, 'this is the moment to stop Germany.' 'You,' I said, 'but what would you do in this war?' 'Oh,' he said airily, 'I intend to survive it.' 'Then why call for war, if you are not going to fight?' I asked. 'What can I do?' he said, 'I am a Hungarian subject, that would mean fighting for Germany.' 'Why not go to Republican Spain and fight there,' I answered, 'or to Czechoslovakia, and fight with the Czechs?' 'That would be difficult,' he said, fidgeting. He too was thinking of a war between Gentiles for the purpose of exterminating anti-Semitism.
Look at this picture.
I sat, during that eventful and fear-laden summer, in a coffee-house in Prague, and a Jewess came in whom I had known in Vienna. She had always laid stress on her Austrian patriotism, on her love for Vienna. She was the daughter, she repeatedly told you, of an officer in the old Imperial Austrian Army, and she longed to see the Kaiser back.
Now she came and sat by me. 'Are you homesick for Austria?' she said. 'Yes, I am,' I answered, 'and I shall always be.' 'I'm not,' she said gleefully, 'not a little bit. I hate it. I have no feeling left for it at all. I feel myself reborn to be away.'
I considered her. I could understand perfectly what she felt. Yet I knew that if I, an Englishman and a Gentile, had been born an Austrian and a Gentile and had had to fly from Austria, when Hitler came, for this reason or that, I should nevertheless have loved and longed for Austria until my last day.
There was a difference, deep, eternal, ineradicable.
These are three portraits from the gallery of 1938. I could show you a hundred others.
I belong to those cads who put loyalty among the human virtues, and I have not forgotten Jews whom I knew in the British Army during the war. Those Jews, long-established in England, were all right; but the great mass of new Jewish immigrants that we are getting now are mortally dangerous to us.
I, with all the horror I have of National Socialism and the dread I have of Germany under National Socialism, shall say some hard things about the Jews. I have watched and studied them now, all over Europe, for many years and know my subject.
In England the fashion is to profess complete incomprehension of the movements in progress in Europe to restrict the influence of the Jews. This attitude towards the Jews is the sheet anchor, in their continual claim to be humane, of those English people who put a screen of self-complacency between themselves and everything that is wrong or needs changing: how can the foreigner be right in saying we are perfidious or arrogant or class-ridden or inhumane when we have this tolerant and magnanimous feeling about the Jews? We feel 'a generous indignation' about the treatment of the Jews. We may not care a fig about Spanish women and children being blown to bits by German and Italian bombs. But our British love of fair play is revolted by the treatment of the Jews.
For us, these people say, there is no Jewish problem. For them, the favoured followers of the God-of-things-as-they-are, on whose own corns the Jewish problem does not tread, there is similarly no slum problem. There are, somewhere, slums, about which you occasionally feel a generous indignation. Is there a Derelict Areas problem? No, there are Derelict Areas. Is there a German problem? No, there is Germany.
There is a Jewish problem. Like the slum problem and the German problem you will leave it until it devours you.
I wrote various incidental passages about Jews in Insanity Fair. Because many people either could not understand or did not accept the things I said, I am going to make myself crystal clear this time.
One British newspaper and two American ones spoke reproachfully of my anti-Semitism. If you discuss this question at all the welkin immediately rings with the yelping of 'Anti-Semite', often from people who have nothing more than a languid indifference about it, but like using phrases of this sort because Englishmen always play cricket, don't you know, and hang it, play the game, sir.
I had a letter from a reader in Palestine who said, 'You have written a good book, save for your appallingly ignorant and callous attitude towards the Jews'. This did not convince me, because many people said similar things about Insanity Fair. The Communists thought it was good save for the part about Soviet Russia, the Fascists liked it apart from its references to Germany and Italy, the Old School Tie Brigade thought it would have been a good book but for its allusions to the public school system in England, and these, as the literary critic of a journal mainly devoted to pushing the sale of women's underclothes wrote, indicated 'a regrettable tendency towards Left ideas'. The close connection between the manufacture and sale of camisoles and true-blue, die-in-the-last-ditch, backs-up and chins-to-the-wall, down-with-the-Reds, up-with-the-good-old-flag-Blimpery is a thing I shall investigate one day.
I had two letters which made me think, long and carefully, which made me take out my knowledge and feelings and convictions about the Jews, put them under the microscope, scrutinize them meticulously for the microbes of prejudice or ignorance. After that long examination I was satisfied. I decided to take these letters as my text when I came to write again about the Jews.
The first was from a young American Jew, an earnest request for information. He had read Insanity Fair twice, with great interest, he said, and it had left his mind simmering with questions about the Jews, to which he could not find the answer himself, so that, rather pathetically, he wanted it from me. What did I really think about them? I seemed to think their troubles to some extent were of their own making. Did I believe that? He thought the Jews were just buffeted about. For his own part he had lost all feeling of Jewish cohesion.
I do think this. But I do not believe there is any Jew, anywhere, who has lost all feeling of Jewish cohesion. Many wish they could, but none do.
The second letter came from a Jewess in South Africa. She wrote in deep distress about events in Insanity Fair. Up to the last, she wrote, she believed that England had something up her sleeve, but now, 'the strong arm that England used to wield lay withered beneath the poppies in Flanders fields'. But the book had been a comfort to her in this mental agony that so many people are experiencing in our time: it was, she said, in a shell-burst of superlatives, magnificent, gallant, terrible. Then she asked, 'You write repeatedly of your Jewish "acquaintances". Have you never had a Jewish friend? What have you in your heart for the Jews? Is it pity?'
Stimulating sentences, that acted on me like the cue that prompts an actor to his lines.
The word 'acquaintances' was carefully chosen. I have never had a Jewish friend. I never shall. I could, if Jews were Jews, subjects of a Jew state, avowedly foreigners in other lands, not professedly Germans, Englishmen, Hungarians, Austrians, Poles.
I have sharpened my wits on the conversation of Jews, I admire their quick-wittedness. If there were a Jewish nation I would make it an ally of England because I believe that, for their own cause, the Jews would fight like lions. I know that many of them fought in the armies of Germany and France and England, I know that each of these Jews wanted his side to win. But I also know that they had less to fear if their side lost, that they prosper in defeat and chaos. I saw this in Germany and Austria and Hungary.
I distrust the fiction that these Jews are Germans or Frenchmen or Englishmen, when I know that they are in all countries closely welded communities working, first and foremost, for the Jewish cause. Walk any Saturday evening along Oxford Street or Regent Street, contemplate those thousands of hatless young men, of carefully dressed and arm-linked young women coming up from the east to go to the great film theatres round Piccadilly and Marble Arch, to invade the chocolate-sundae corner palaces. Do you believe these are English people? Do they?
Will they help us to re-make England into a sturdy and well-found land of craftsmen and farmers and sailors? Do they not rather stand for cheap and tawdry frocks, and their corollary, sweated labour (if you have the energy, go down into the East End and visit the people who cut and sew those frocks), for gaudy Babylonian film temples, for your blasted Glamour Girls, for trashy imitation jewellery, for spurious marble halls at the sign of the fish-and-chip?
But that is another question. No penny-in-the-slot machine could produce its response more quickly than that question brings the answer from me. I know the answer.
'What have you in your heart for the Jews? Is it pity?'
The answer is: 'What have you in your heart for Gentiles?'
That brings you at a stroke to the root of the matter. Not anti-Semitism was first, but anti-Gentilism. You have heard a lot in recent years about Hitler's Nuremberg anti-Jewish laws, with their ban on intermarriage, which the Germans call race-defilement.
A most intelligent and cultured and open-minded Jew in Budapest said to me, 'After all, the Nuremberg laws are only the translation into German of our own Mosaic laws, with their ban on intermarriage with Gentiles'.
Race-antagonism began, not with the Gentiles, but with the Jews. Their religion is based on it. This racial lunacy which you detest in the Germans has possessed the Jews for thousands of years. When they become powerful, they practise it; as they consolidate their position in one trade after another, in one profession or another, the squeeze-out of Gentiles begins. That was why you found, in Berlin and Vienna and Budapest and Prague and Bucharest, newspapers with hardly a Gentile on the editorial staff, theatres owned and managed by Jews presenting Jewish actors and actresses in Jewish plays praised by the Jewish critics of Jewish newspapers, whole streets with hardly a non-Jewish shop in them, whole branches of retail trade monopolized by Jews.
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