The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/czechoslovakia/czech.001

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: A temporary victory for Czechoslovakian Jews

Archive/File: pub/places/czechoslovakia/czech.001
Last-Modified: 1994/9/15

   "Czechoslovakian Jews reacted to Hitler's rise to power according
   to their nature and their geographical situation. In the border
   regions, in the Sudetenland, the sense of danger was more
   heightened than in Prague. In the capital, where President Masaryk
   responded to events in Germany by reiterating his unswerving faith
   in democracy, the Zionist organizations held protest meetings and
   were confident that 'it can't happen here.' The Jewish National
   Party called for public meetings and Margulies, head of the party
   and always the fighter, resolved to embark on a vigorous
   counterattack. According to Paragraph 147 of the 1922 German-Polish
   Convention, Germany undertook to protect all minority rights in the
   region annexed to her. In a letter to the Zionist Executive in
   London, Margulies proposed that a protest be lodged with the League
   of Nations at Germany's violation of the said paragraph vis-a-vis
   Upper Silesia. 'A petition must be organized by Jews throughout the
   world and the initiative must extend to all Jews everywhere. Geneva
   expects the initiative to come from the Jews...They must not remain
   silent and wait for others to act on their behalf. [The petition]
   must be based on legal evidence - not on 'atrocities' - on the
   violation of an international agreement in that the Jews of Upper
   Silesia who are lawyers, hospital doctors, university professors,
   and government clerks are not permitted to work.' 

   On behalf of Fritz Bernheim, a minor employee in a government
   warehouse in Gleiwitz who had been fired by the Nazis and
   subsequently emigrated to Czechoslovakia,  Margulies submitted a
   petition to the League of Nations, since by the terms of the Upper
   Silesia Convention any citizen whose national rights had been
   infringed could apply to the League. Margulies attached a hundred
   applications from Jewish organizations to the Bernheim petition,
   much to the consternation of von Keller, the German delegate to the
   League, who claimed that one Bernheim had no right to speak for all
   the Jews. To support his contention, von Keller submitted letters
   from assimilated Jewish organizations in Germany who protested the
   right of any Jewish minority to speak on their behalf. An ad hoc
   committee of jurists rejected the German objection, and in May
   1933, the Bernheim petition was brought before the Council of the
   League of Nations. In this way at least the rest of the world
   learned of the civil rights problem of the Jews of Germany.

   At the Geneva Congree of National Minorities, the Germans had, of
   course, pointed out the astonishing fact that while countries all
   over the world censured Germany for persecuting Jews, they
   themselves were reluctant to accept those 'surplus Jews who wish to
   leave Germany.' Still, Hitler, fearing reprisals on German
   minorities in Poland and elsewhere, knew how to adapt his policies
   to the prevailing mood, at least outwardly. In September of that
   year, Germany informed the League of Nations that Jewish civil
   rights in Upper Silesia had been restored. This state of affairs,
   in which the Jews of Upper Silesia lived as if on a protected
   island, continued until July 1937, at which time the 1922 agreement
   between  Poland and Germany expired and Hitler could ignore both
   world opinion and the League of Nations." (Bondy, 44-45)
                           Work Cited

   Bondy, Ruth.  Elder of the Jews.  New York: Grove Press, 1989.
   (Translated from "Edelshtain neged had-zeman".  Zmora, Bitan,
   Modan, publishers, 1981

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