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February 27, 1987 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Jews And Money: The Stock Market And The Anti-Semites

Everybody who is somebody, espe-
cially in the investment field, is talking
about the stock market.
If it should go well, it'll be good for
everybody, and if it should have a down-
ward trend — Heaven forbid — it will be
bad, especially for Jews.
Everybody always talked about it,
now perhaps a bit more than ever.
Therefore the topic became a leading
article in one of the world's most prestigi-
ous magazines, Judaism, published by
the World Jewish Congress.
The New York Times constantly and
consistently makes money and the stock
market a cause for major concern.
Under the intriguing title "Jews
with Money," Seton Hall University Pro-
fessor of History Edward S. Shapiro takes
into account the 100 Jews who were in the
400 richest Americans recently listed in
Forbes magazine. They are the people
with possessions of a minimum of $150
million.
The Judaism essay delves into fields
of activities pursued by Jews, accounting
for real estate, oil, newspaper publishing
investments, retailing, technology, as
well as academia.
Prof. Shapiro has found in his study
that "over half of the Jewish super-rich
are in real estate . . . 'The Jew runs to real
estate,' Jacob Riis wrote, 'as soon as he
can save up enough for a deposit to clinch
the bargain' . . . in New York City, except
for a few gentile interlopers such as
Donald Trump and Harry Helmsley, the
great majority of the most successful real
estate entrepreneurs are Jews."
Much of the accumulated data about

Jews may not be found credible. On the
question of the real estate involvement
Prof. Shapiro wrote in the Judaism arti-
cle:
The affinity of Jews for real
estate has not attracted the atten-
tion of many scholars, though one
exception is found in Nathan
Glazer and Daniel P. Moynihan's

Beyond the Melting Pot: the Neg-
roes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians
and Irish of New York City (1963).

Jews, they speculated, gravitated
to real estate because it was more
open than, say, insurance and in-
vestment banking and could be
run as a family operation.
"Perhaps (they concluded),
there is among Jews an accumu-
lation of business acumen, sup-
ported by a relatively strong fam-
ily system that permits mobiliza-
tion of capital (even if in small
sums), and that makes it possible
to move into new areas with op-
portunities for great growth and
high profits."

Walter Shorenstein asserted
that real estate was an ideal in-
dustry for ambitious Jewish
entrepreneurs who lacked capi-
tal and contacts. "You don't need
a factory, you don't need a prod-
uct, you don't have to invest in
inventory, and you don't need to
go to school for eight or ten
years." Possibly, also, there is
something in the Jewish experi-
ence of geographical mobility

which has influenced Jews, by
contrast with Italians, to prize not
land but land values.
Dr. Shapiro goes into other areas in-
volving Jewish participation. On the
question of high technology he turns
again to Glazer and Moynihan for this
important observation:
While Jews have made sig-
nificant breakthroughs in heavy
industry and finance, they have
not as yet accumulated sizable
fortunes in high technology. Two
decades ago, Glazer and Moyni-
han predicted that the first im-
portant breakthrough of Jews in
heavy industry would be in elec-
tronics and other highly techni-
cal forms of manufacturing, these
being areas where Jews would
profit handsomely because of
their investment in education.
(One can also assume that Glazer
and Moynihan were rather pes-
simistic regarding the prospects
of Jews storming the citadels of
big business and high finance.)
Their prophecy did not come
to pass. Except for Max Palevsky,
the Forbes list includes no Jewish
equivalents of William Hewlett
and David Packard of Hewlett-
Packard, Henry R. Perot of Elec-
tronic Data Systems, An Wang of
Wang Laboratories, Henry Sing-
leton and George Kozmetsky of
Teledyne, Gordon Moore of Intel,
Steven Jobs and Armas Mark-
kula of Apple Computer, or Ken-

neth Olsen of Digital Equipment.
One possible explanation for this
might be that the Jews who
gravitate to high technology are
similar to Jews who enter
academia, in that both groups are
oriented toward science and the
intellectual pursuits and not
toward business and the bottom
line.
There are traditional legacies and
contrasting lessons on wealth and the
concerns over poverty in both Judaism
and Christianity, and Dr. Shapiro prop-
erly takes them into account as a com-
mentary on the treatments accorded
them on a universal scale. He states in his
article:

Ethnic groups have different
backgrounds and values and
they pass on these values to fu-
ture generations. Each has made
a contribution to American life,
but they have all been different. It
is naive to suppose that each
group possesses the same politi-
cal skills, intellectual ambitions,
or economic talents or has con-
tributed to American life in the
same way and to the same degree.
Jews should be no more embar-
rassed by their millionaires (or
their violinists, chess players,
and Nobel prize-winning
economists) than blacks are by
their athletes and entertainers,
the Irish by their politicians, or

Mounting Testimony Expands Bookshelves On Nazi Cruelties

So overwhelmingly massive was the
Nazi Auschwitz cauldron that most
references to the great tragedy ignore
using the terminology naming the Polish
Oswiecim death camp.
An increasingly emerging series of
reminiscences by survivors and compil-
ers of the records of the immense crimes
keep listing German-supervised death
camp after death camp.
Mauthausen is currently in the news
because of the trial of an accused Nazi
collaborator who was recognized among
the cruel now facing U.S. Justice De-
partment indictments for having falsely
attained U.S. citizenship.
Other camps are listed in the ac-
cusatory condemnations.
The criminals are not forgotten, as
horror after horror is recalled.
More than a million children were
among the murdered. The records are
now publicized anew as the memories
keep unveiling the facts.
Then there were the barbarities to
which the aged and pregnant women
were subjected.
In the bulgingly expanding records
of the Holocaust barbarities there is now
a reminder of horrors in Nazi-dominated
Holland, where more than 130,000 Jews
were assembled for Auschwitz. Only
30,000 of that community survived.
Once again the Westerbork camp
terrors are described to indicate how it
had served as a temporary stopover used
by the Nazis to transport Dutch Jews to
Auschwitz.
It is to the glory of this generation
that it does not forget the courage of

Hanna Senesh who was executed by the
Nazi-collaborating Hungarian anti-
Semites; that the deeply moving story of
Anne Frank is not forgotten. Now we
turn to the records provided regarding
Westerbork and Dutch family, Jewry by
another remarkable personality who is
honored in the story of martyrdom under
Nazism. To the list of admirable people
who have provided the needed testimony
based on their tragic experiences should
be added the name of Etty Hillesum.
Stemming from a highly assimilated
Dutch family, Etty was given a social
worker's assignment by the Nazis to op-
erate among the thousands who were
rounded up for deportation to the Au-
schwitz death camp. She worked at Assen
in northeastern Netherlands near the
Westerbork camp. She wrote numerous
letters to her friends about the oppressive
conditions in the Nazi camp.
While there, she was able to make
some improving conditions for her par-
ents and the many others incarcerated.
That her letters should have been assem-
bled, now appearing in Letters from Wes-
terbork (Pantheon Books) is proving a
blessing for archivists.
Her last message was a post card she
had dropped from the train on which she
herself was being transferred to Au-
schwitz. A farmer found it Sept. 7, 1943,
and he mailed it to the addressee. Her
death at the age of 29 was in Auschwitz.
Her letters expose the criminals, de-
scribe the tensions, anxieties, fears, all
stemming from the inhumanities of the
Nazi hordes that assembled them for the
mass murders.

Etty Hillesum

One of her very revealing letters
points to the brutalities and humilia-
tions. Here is one of her agonizingly reve-
aling observations of the oppressions at
Westerbork:
(Probably to Father Han and
friends)
24 August 1943
And then there was that
paralyzed young girl, who didn't
want to take her dinner plate

along and found it so hard to die.
Or the terrified young boy: he had
thought he was safe, that was his
mistake, and when he realized he
was going to have to go anyway,
he panicked and ran off. His fel-
low Jews had to hunt him down.
If they didn't find him, scores of
others would be put on the trans-
port in his place. He was caught
soon enough, hiding in a tent, but
"notwithstanding" ... "not-
withstanding," all those others
had to go on transport anyway, as
a deterrent, they said. And so,
many good friends were dragged
away by that boy. Fifty victims
for one moment of insanity. Or
rather: he didn't drag them away
— our commandant did, someone
of whom it is sometimes said that
he is a gentleman. Even so, will
the boy be able to live with him-
self, once it dawns on him exactly
what he's been the cause of? And
how will all the other Jews on
board the train react to him? That
boy is going to have a very hard
time. The episode might have
been overlooked, perhaps, if
there hadn't been so much un-
nerving activity over our heads
that night. The commandant must
have been affected by that too,
"Donnerwetter, some flying to-
night!" I heard a guard say as he
looked up at the stars.
People still harbor such
childish hopes that the transport

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