April 8, 2018

1933. Hitler Likens Nazi Germany's Immigration Policy to the United States

Hitler Denies Terror Against Jews in Germany
An SA member stands outside of a Tietz department store in front of a sign calling for the boycott of Jewish businesses. The sign reads "Germans defend yourselves! Don't buy from Jews!" April 1, 1933 (source)
This article is part of a series of posts on how newspapers, specifically The New York Times, covered the rise of fascism. In 1933, journalist Thomas Russell Ybarra interviewed Hitler for a Collier's magazine articled titled "The Hitler Jitters." The Times wrote about the interview soon after, noting Hitler's attempts to downplay persecution of Jews in Germany.

From The New York Times, June 23, 1933:
Chancellor Says in Interview that United States Restricts Immigration of Jews
But T. R. Ybarra Asserts in Article There is No Sign of Cessation of Anti-Jewish Persecution

"There has been no terror in Germany," declared Chancellor Hitler of Germany in an interview published yesterday by Collier's Weekly, in which he defends his attitude on the Jewish question.

"You Americans, too, have an immigration problem," he continued. "You have made restrictions against immigrants of the sort you don't want in America. Why are not Americans fair enough to admit that we Germans have the same right?

"We don't want Jews from Eastern Europe. It is for us Germans to decide this matter. You Americans made similar restrictions. Why don't Americans show an understanding for questions of this kind?

Stresses Huge Election Vote

"How can any American believe, for instance, the tales told before the Reichstag election of the terrorizing of voters by the National Socialists, in view of the fact that 90 per cent of the Germans entitled to vote actually went to the polls? Under a reign of terror people don't go to the polls. They stay at home.

"Whatever violence there was is now past. Perfect calm reigns in Germany. Not a street has been destroyed, not a house.

"I tell you we have Communists here in Germany who would not be allowed for a moment in America. You in America wouldn't tolerate what we in Germany have been forced to endure from these Communists.

"Americans should view international problems from the viewpoint of other nations. I know this isn't easy, but only thus can understanding come.

"If only all Americans could come over here! They would look about and ask themselves where is this revolution, where is this terror, where is all the destruction and chaos I've heard about?"

Interviewer Sees Persecution

Nevertheless, says the interviewer, T. R. Ybarra, looking around Berlin after his talk with Chancellor Hitler, life in Berlin still resembles sitting on the edge of a volcano.

"At the time of my talk with Hitler," explains Mr. Ybarra, "there was no indication of a cessation of anti-Jewish persecution. Daily lists were being published of professors dismissed from universities, many of whom are Jews with nothing else against them.

"A big chain-store firm and other concerns were being obliged to close temporarily because their Nazi employees had struck against Jewish control. At the headquarters of a big publishing house, a procession of striking employees surged through all the corridors shouting: 'We want all Jewish bosses fired.' Here as elsewhere there was nothing to do but obey.

"Many Jews, being dismissed after years of faithful service, were now besieging the offices of Americans in business in Berlin, seeking work. The fruits of a lifetime of toil had been snatched from them—in many cases they faced destitution—and often men who formerly had held the most important and best-paid positions were telling Americans that they were willing to do anything for wages no better than an office boy's.

Hitler Discipline Doubted

"Some observers believe that the situation inside the Hitlerist ranks is another case of Frankenstein and his monster. They feel that because Hitler for years has been promising his adherents that Jews would be uprooted and opposition crushed, and that foreigners should be shown the temper of a new Germany, he was obliged to make good his violent promises.

"But sometimes it certainly seemed that Adolf Frankenstein Hitler's machine was running amuck. Many of us foreigners, sitting on the rim of the German volcano, occasionally wondered whether Hitler was boss of his own show any more."