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February 10, 1967 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-02-10

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Purely Commentary

By Philip Slomovitz

German Democracy on Trial

Journey Into Past: Nuremberg Recollections

said: "Here is where we stood." quartets of our military Post Ex-
Ahead of us lay a short, dim-lit change for all of Europe.
cobbled alley, empty except for a
In the lobby of the German
parked truck laden with dirt and wing, I stopped at an information
odd bits of timber. Yes, the desk manned by an elderly Ger-
Seitenstettingasse: 28 years ago, man. "Upstairs, Room 600," he
on a mild March afternoon that said in answer to my query. "It
bore the promise of Vienna's love- ils a Schwurgericht (jury court)
ly springtime, we had stood here now."
and watched the beginning of the
"Do many German visitors, ask
end of Austrian Jewry. A cheerful, about that room?"
noisy crowd was gathered, then,
"Only Americans and other(
around the entrance to No. 4, in
foreigners. For them the people
the middle of the block. We had
next door"—he nodded in the di- \---
pushed through, past guffawing rection of the Post Exchange of-
men and mothers who had raised fices — "have arranged for one-
their children to their shoulders hour tours Tuesdays and Thurs-
so that the little ones, too, would
not miss the fun. And, in front of days. Visitors are shown the court-
Vienna-28 Years Later
-- men and room, the cells downstairs,
No. 4, a score of Jews
"I think it's the same room," I
execution chamber. Some people
women and children as young as
find it interesting."
said to my wife.
10 — were on their knees scrub-
A few minutes later I stood be-
"No," Selma said. "The bath- bing the cobbles with a lye solu-
tion which had already turned fore one of the two doors leading
room was on the other side."
their hands raw and bloody. A into Room 600. For 10 months,
Not for the first time, I mar- half-dozen armed Brownshirts su- behind that door, there had un-
veled at the things a woman can pervised.
folded a story of tragedy and vil-
remember, even after 28 years. I
lainy unprecedented in history. "-I
Well, of course, that was only commanded Auschwitz until De-
looked out of the window opening
on the Schottenring; the broad the beginning. Years later, at cember 1, 1943," Rudolf Franz
street was less familiar than the Nuremberg, we would learn that Ferdinand Hess had deposed,
room. The heavy traffic, the teem- what had begun by dipping • the "and I estimate that at least 2,500,-
ing sidewalks, the neon signs, the Jews into lye had ended by turn- 000 victims were executed there
pedestrian underpass at the cor- ing them into soap.
by gassing and burning. I used
The 28-year-old picture faded. Cyclon B. It took from three to
ner — all new; only the trolley
tracks were familiar. Watching the We advanced silently along the 15 minutes to kill the people. We
crowded sidewalks, I wondered: ancient cobbles and stopped half- knew they were dead because the
Fatah's Admission of Guilt
With Israel, in the current crisis, it is not a lack of patience but Are there any Jews down there? way. Unimaginably, the old syna- screaming stopped." Had the world
That old man, perhaps? The old gogue was still there — small and really listened? Did it remember?
a loss of it.
That the Arab potentates are responsible for the outrageous woman? Then I thought, con- shabby, but with its remarkably
The corridor in which I stood
fusedly: No, no, there are no Jews handsome doors intact. And ad- was empty. The oblong of dark,
occurrences of the past few weeks is now generally conceded.
An admission of guilt is contained in the following
paneled oak before me seemed to
by the Arab "Fatah" organization as it was broadcast from Baghdad in Europe. When one recalls the in 1938 housed the aching heart shut out the past as if it had never
mountains of the dead, it is hard of Viennese Jewry: the Kultus- been
on Jan. 16:
A half-dozen small wall ' I turned and walked along
The "Fatah" ("Al-Asifa") organization announces in a mili- to believe in survivors. gemeinde.
plaques gleamed palely at the the deserted corridor. Descending
the broad staircase, I passed a
"Let's go down," I said abruptly.
tary communique made public on Jan. 16 in Damascus that it
entrance, indicating its present oc- woman on her knees polishing the
carried out four military actions inside Israel during the period "We can unpack later."
them s. We approached to -read wooden steps. I thought of the
Jan. 3-Jan. 14. On the night of Jan. 3, the organization destroyed
In the lobby, I asked the an-
in the half-light: Women's Seitenstettingasse. The cleaning
by time-bomb an equipment storage house and power relay cient clerk behind the reception
Zionist Organization;
station near the moshav of Idmit in upper exchanged
Galilee. On machinegun
the night desk: "Do you remember an Em- International
Jewish National Fund; Jewish woman looked back at me
left angrily
a heel-
of Jan.
erich Lustig, who used to be hotel Credit and Savings Society; United as I went down;
I polish
was still
manager here?"

Action for Israel; and —
the southern sector. One member of the organization was slightly
one of the upper floors, the Is-
"When was that?"
wounded. Nothing is known of Israeli casualties. Members of the
That night we had dinner with
raelitische Kultusgemeinde.
organization on the night of Jan. 11, laid time-bombs at a water-
our young journalist friend. He
No more Jews in Vienna? Jew- was intelligent, well-informed, lib-
pumping station north of the village of Dishon in Galilee, and
The clerk smiled. "I've only.
ish durability
also laid time bombs at various spots in the village itself. The been here 20 years." After a mo _ found
our enemies;
but indeed
sometimes - eral-minded—typical, I suppose, of
announcement also says great damage was caused at the water ment's thought he added: "I don't that Young Generation we have
I been read about as being the hope of
pumping station and the Israelis suffered a large number of dead believe there's anybody working it confounds me, too.
k I could the New Germany. We talked o
and wounded when two time-bombs exploded- on Jan. 15, in the here now who goes back that far." Viennese, I don th i nk
ever have returned to tread those many things, and finally I asked
village of Dishon.
Lustig was Jewish and the cobbles again, or climb these dark about the Nuremberg Jewry.
The outrage- of it all is that the big powers, the dominant elements Hotel de France has been the last stairs. But then I had never known
"A couple of hundred left of a
of the United Nations and many Christian spokesmen should have of the large Vienna hotels where this city when it wasn't evil.
community of 5,000," he said.
made it a point to emphasize the need for restraint on the part of a Jew could stay after Anschluss.
We left Vienna the next day, "They get along all right — and
Israel. All others are at liberty to threaten, to molest, to plant mines We had helped him and his wife
and on the way to the airport I
and to kill and rob! Where is the Christian justice that advocates escape to America. Had we really read in the papers that an Aus- yet—"
"And yet—what?"
such submission?
done him a favor? He died shortly ' trian court had just convicted a
thereafter in California, no less a man for involvement in the mur-
"They seem so—oversensitive."
victim of Hitler than millions of der of several thousand Jews. The He drew a deep breath. "The other
Tripartite Declaration: A Political Dream
evening I was eating in this res-
There was hope, in 1950, that the Western powers would exert his fellow Jews who did not have sentence: four years in jail.
with a Jewish friend, and
sufficient influence to assure an Arab-Jewish peace. The so-called to go so far from home to die.
* * *
a couple of tables away three or
Tripartite Declaration of the three Western powers — the United
My wife and I made our way
States, Britain and France — was viewed for a time as a peace- to the street and, wordlessly, made Nuremburg Does Its Best to Forget four , young punks who'd drunk too
preserving guarantee. But in a statement in the House of Commons all the proper turns until we "Our city really doesn't deserve much beer began singing Nazi ,
last week, British Foreign Secretary George Brawn made it plain reached the Kaerntnerstrage and such a bad name," the young jour- songs. My friend got more and
that the 1950 declaration is no longer effective and that henceforth turned left toward the river. Selma nalist told us. "Munich was much more excited and began insisting
that the police be called. Well, we
the United Nations is considered primarly responsible for peace in knew I was thinking. "How hard more important to the Nazis."
it rained that day," she said. I
"Well," I said reasonably, "it is finally called them and there was
that area.
The Washington Post is not as hopeful as those who believe that grinned. The last time we had hard to forget Streicher, the Party a big fuss and the singers had to
panacea lies with the UN. It has declared that it is unfortunate that taken that walk we were escorted parades, the Nuremburg Laws — be removed by main force." He
U Thant "did not declare himself to the root of the current flare-up" by a Gestapo agent who had come and, of course, the historic war paused. "They were just drunken
kids; wouldn't it have been better
in dealing with the Israel-Syrian crisis and declared that "the danger to our hotel room with an urgent crimes trial."
to ignore the whole thing? Bt
of war in the region will last as long as all governments there do invitation for me to visit Gestapo
"We are doing our best to for- the Jews here won't overlook awl
not honor each other's permanence and right to exist. But the tempta- headquarters. We had preferred to get," was his answer.
thing; they run to the police, GI .__
tion for any state to use force beyond its borders could be dampened force him to walk with us through
Thir best, apparently, is quite to the courts, at the slightest in-
if the three Western countries — perhaps joined later by the Soviet the downpour than to let him
good enough. Tourist pamphlets cident."
share the comfort of a cab ride.
Union — were to freshen their old guarantee of regional peace."
about the city tell much about old
"For how many centuries," I
This is tantamount to a suggestion that the powers revert to the , Now, as we passed the Stefan- churches, old and new museums,
assurances contained in the Tripartite 1950 Declaration. But Britain's skirche, it was growing dark rap- new ind_ustries and workers' asked, "have the Jews been held
in contempt for failing to fight
spokesman meanwhile has declared it "no longer effective." Therefore idly. On the left side was the cafe homes, and the rebuilding of the
the issue remains unsolved, dependent upon a UN that is not always that had been a Nazi hang-out; Old Town "so faithfully one can- back against their oppressors?
Now when they try —"
as vigil as it should or could be. A more vigilant UN will depend perhaps it still was. We turned not tell the difference between
"I know," said our friend, sigh-
upon constituents willing to act firmly in preventing the war-monger- into the Rotenturmstrasse, de- new and old." But you will find
ing. "It is all very complicated."
ing that has cast such a dark shadow over Israel. Unless there is scended its length to the Quai and nothing about the Party parade He looked into his beer glass, but
such firmness in action, there is little hope from a decrepit UN. turned left.
ground, or Hitler's unfinished coli- found no solution to his problem
"It's gone," I muttered.
seum, or the courthouse on the there. After a while he looked up
Where once had stood the Hotel Fuertherstrasse where, in 1946, at me and said candidly, "I don't
American Arabs' Peculiar Concern
There is a new puzzle on the political scene. ''Americans of Arab Metropole, which the Gestapo had the Reich that was to last a thou- think I have much faith in German
descent" have suddenly become concerned about Jews leaving Israel taken over as their headquarters, sand years ended, in its thirteenth, democracy."
A few weeks later, Nuremberg
and they would like to have the UN provide a "haven" for them. So— a huge apartment house was ris- with a series of brief tableaux
they met with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Arthur Goldberg to present ing. We approached for a closer upon two handman's stages, each gave 13 percent of its vote to the
look, but there was no lesson to thirteen steps high and eight feet neo-Nazi National Democratic
their great humanitarian proposal.
Party, more than any other large
More than 1,230,000 Jews have come to Israel since the emergence be learned here. Man builds as square.
The courthouse is there still, German city. How ironic it would
of statehood and 180,000 reportedly left the country in the last 18 readily and as firmly upon the
years. There are always people coming and going into and from havens bones of his victims as upon not much changed. It is a large be, I thought, if the city which
complex of joined structures; to- had witnessed the final death
of refuge. But instead of considering the plight of Jews in Moslem granite.
We turned into the small maze day the German judiciary has the throes of the Third Reich should
countries, or behind the Iron Curtain, the new humanitarians have
of crooked alleys that lie off the use only of an end wing. The rest prove, in the end, to be the birth.
suddenly taken an interest in the few who are leaving Israel.
The most difficult piece to put together . in this puzzle is why Rotenturmstrasse. This time we of the complex houses the head- place of the Fourth.
Arthur Goldberg should have met with them! Is it politics, on what- had to ask our way. Then we
Friday, February 10, 1967
ever scale, the international included, that makes strange bedfellows? rounded a corner and my-- wife 2

Mrs. Romney Clarifies Mormon Issue

Many rumors have been spread about Mormon prejudices in
order to antagonize Governor Romney.
And the Mormon story vis-a-vis the Negroes has been utilized on
numerous occasions. An interesting instance was the resort to it by
Congressman Powell, who, in his condemnation of Congressman Morris
K. Udall, who had moved to strip the Harlem M.C. of his powers,
charged that he was being discriminated against because he was a
Negro. He then asserted that Udall belonged to the Mormon church
which, he said, "doesn't admit Negroes to full membership."
The able wife of Governor Romney, Lenore, (acclaimed in a
Look Magazine article as "Romney's :Secret Weapon'"), clarified the
matter very ably in the Look article. We quote from it:
"Romney critics have arrowed their darts at the Mormon
attitude on Negroes. An angry Lenore counters: "If my church
taught me anything other than that the Negro is equal in every
way to any other person, I could not accept it. Who can say a
person is inferior when the Lord said: "I am the judge, and
judge not lest ye be judged." This, I believe completely. The
Negro cannot attain the priesthood, and I am sorry, but he will
get it. He has all the blessings and can go straight to the celestial
heaven (highest plateau in the Mormon hereafter). I just can't
believe any inferiority, and it makes me very cross when some
commentators say we think Negroes inferior. Good grief. Nothing
could be further from the truth.' "
Governor Romney himself had occasion recently to comment on
the Mormon position. He then told a close friend that he had a credo
he adhered to, that it negates prejudices of all sorts and that he
will adhere to it with all his heart.
Political debates will drag in enough issues without justifying
the maligning of character based on religious beliefs. It is fortunate,
therefore, that Lenore Romney has stated her own, her husband's and
her church position so clearly.


(Copyright, 1967, JTA, Inc.)
Editor's Note: Victor H. Bernstein was
the JTA correspondent in Germany in
1937 and 1938, with headquarters in
Berlin. He and his wife witnessed the
Nazi seizure of Austria and the brutali-
zation of Vienna Jewry in the first days
of the Anschluss. In 1946, as correspon-
dent for the New York daily, PM, Mr.
Bernstein covered the Nuremberg war
crimes trials and wrote a book about
them. Mr. Bernstein was one of the
Nuremberg trial veterans who attended
a reunion conference in Warsaw last
winter to mark the 20th anniversary
of the trials. En route, he revisited
Nuremberg and Vienna. He recorded
this intensely personal account of his
experiences because, he explained, "I
wanted to record my impressions, not
as a journalist, but as a Jew." This is
the first part of Mr. Bernstein's two-part
* * *

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