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The reports published in this pamphlet are, with a very few exceptions specially indicated, original accounts. We have received reports from certain other countries which we do not publish here because they would not contribute anything new to the picture commonly known.
We wish to add that we constantly receive reports from Germany and other Nazi-occupied countries. We shall be glad to send them to those interested on request.
Octobers 5th, 1942.
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During last year we have made special efforts to receive and to pass on reliable information referring to the question whether or not the German people and the German working class stand behind the war and peace aims of the Nazi clique and the German war-mongers. We have also investigated very carefully the question as to whether we can expect discontent with the regime to lead to an organised opposition and finally to open revolt.
To these questions we have received answers from many individuals, from Germans and non-Germans, living in various districts and belonging to different social classes. Naturally, the answers vary considerably. They do not only express a different social angle in the various cases but they also show how difficult it is for an individual to collect sufficient facts and to have enough experience to warrant a general judgement. For this reason nearly every one of our reporters has warned us not to draw hasty general conclusions from his own views and observations.
All agree on the following statements:
1) The overwhelming majority of the German people are not, and never were, in favour of the war. Especially since America's entry into the war they fear a defeat and at any rate no longer reckon with Germany being able to dictate the peace.
2) The health of the German nation has been undermined by the constant strain of working long hours and by insufficient nourishment. The German working classes make the impression of being badly fed and suffering from many privations.
3) The feeling of "Volksgemeinschaft" (national community of interests), so far as it has existed at all, is dying out completely. Rumours are increasing about corruption in the ranks of high Nazi officials, especially in connection with the very frequent sentences against people dealing on the Black Market. As everyone knows these sentences are never directed against any of the big profiteers on the Black Market.
4) Great victories do not arouse the slightest enthusiasm, especially since people have realised that they do not lead to the conclusion of the war.
5) Allied air attacks are very much dreaded. Not only do they take the horrors of the war to the German hinterland; but they also expose the former boasting of the Nazis concerning their alleged permanent air superiority. In this way they also weaken the effect of their
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6) The majority of the people have, in their hearts, completely broken with the Nazis. They are convinced that the regime will collapse, some reckon with a short, some with a longer period.
7) But few people have a really clear conception who and what could and should come in place of this regime. Many, especially those who never had a clear philosophy of life, live in absolute despair and apathy and do not take part in anything from inner conviction and of their own free will.
8) Nobody believes that the Nazi regime can be overthrown by an opposition movement from inside Germany. The organised power of the Gestapo and of the Waffen S.S. is overwhelming. This power must first be shaken by external events. Nearly all the reporters agree that a military collapse, clearly evident as such, is a prerequisite.
9) The few individuals who know what matters and who prepare themselves for "The Day", work extremely cautiously. The consequence of this is that some reporters have declared - quite convinced of the correctness of their statement - that there is no opposition in the Third Reich. But this only means that these reporters have not themselves come across the opposition movement, since every one of them admits that there are certain indications of its existance.
10) The activities of this opposition in some cases merely consist of keeping up old contacts, in other cases leaflets are published, whilst in other they go so far as to perpetrate acts of open sabotage. The most widespread form of sabotage is the "go slow", which, however, sometimes has very serious consequences. In this category also belongs the good contact of the German workers with their foreign workmates. All reports agree that in many cases this co-operation is excellent.
11) Ideas of being a "master race" are non-existent, at least as far as the German working class is concerned; the same applies to any more serious form of antisemitism.
12) It is essential for the strengthening of the real opposition in Germany and its eventual victory to encourage it by supplying it with material through the radio (news broadcasts), and by reports on the progress of liberty in the Allied countries. There is unanimous agreement that any toying with the idea of peace with Hitler or with some of his less compromised generals and industrialists would be a mortal blow for a genuine and progressive opposition which could present an alternative to the present regime.
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13) It is necessary to develop clear directives and plans. These should by no means acquit the German people of its share of responsibility for Hitler rise to power; but they should show how a new Germany, having radically defeated Hitler and his gangster band, could become a member in the society of free and equal nation.
We ask readers who feel that adequate proof for the above conclusions is sometimes lacking in the reports which follow to take into account that some of the information which has reached us cannot be published, not even in a most carefully camouflaged form.
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"... Whether we Germans will win a complete victory I do not know; probably the war will end in a compromise." (About 6 months ago the same gentleman was convinced of a complete German victory.)
Report of a conversation with a big German industrialist
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"In Stuttgart there is an institution of the Nazi Party which trains young people to prepare and carry out `communist activities'. These activities include the distribution of leaflets with faked communist contents and the assassination of German citizens. The members of this institution always go into action when the Nazis wish to murder a German official whom they no longer trust or when they wish to provoke an incident to blackmail and terrorise the civilian population of a certain district or province."
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A non-Nazi police official gives the following report on the basis of his experience at work and in private life:
"In spite of the big successes in Russia the soldiers are in low spirits. Many people express the opinion that the war cannot be won. Rommel's victories were tremendously exploited by the propaganda machine. But the enthusiasm died down quickly.
People are very worried by the fact that the Government has not issued any lists of losses. Everyone knows that the war in the East is costing them enormous losses. Many wounded soldiers are not sent home to Germany but instead to far away districts occupied by the Germans. The mail service to and from the front sometimes takes weeks and months. Many soldiers are very annoyed that their leave is so short. There is a growing apathy amongst the soldiers at the front. In many cases the only deterrent is the death penalty which is continually being inflicted on soldiers. Eighteen men from an infantry regiment from Donaueschingen which was withdrawn from the Eastern front and stationed in Prague for reinforcement, were shot; the reason was whispering propaganda. They said that they would not return to the front, or if they did, they would know how to act there. Executions of this kind are a regular occurrence. Food supplies for the troops are fairly good, at any rate as regards quantity; there is, however, a shortage of fat which makes itself felt. Already now the soldiers on the Eastern front are terrified at the thought of a second winter in Russia. There is no improvement in the supply of clothing. `Ersatz' is widely used."
A report sent from France on September 28th, 1942, has just reached us; it deals with the spirit of the German troops in Bordeaux. It says amongst other things: -
"The prospect of being sent to the Eastern front makes the soldiers nervous and bad tempered. But even those who do not fear such a transfer are absolutely sick of this long war and their spirits are very low. They listen in fairly often to the German broadcasts of the B.B.C."
From a report sent from the Swiss frontier: -
"A German officer stationed in France was sent to the Eastern front in July 1942. When he took leave of his Swiss friends (he was stationed on the Swiss frontier) he made the following remark: `We shall probably never meet again. In six months time we shall have a revolution in Germany. Things cannot go on any longer like this.'"
"Another German officer, also stationed near the Swiss frontier, recently spent his leave in the Rhineland. On his return to France he made the remark: `Thank God, my leave is over. At last one can have a proper night's rest.'"
We learn from a report: -
"At present the so-called `Wehrunwürdige' (people `not worthy to be soldiers') are being called-up for the army; these include persons who have been sentenced to hard labour, and persons who have lost the rights of citizenship."
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The losses are the most frequent topic of conversation in Germany. The following is an extract from a report concerning conditions in the army:
"In order to get an idea of how ridiculous Hitler's statements are concerning the losses in the present war, one has only to get through the towns in Baden and to enquire how many men have fallen. In the small town of Emmendingen to-day already the number of dead amounts to 70. During the whole of the first world war this place had only 60 dead. The same picture presents itself throughout the whole Baden, and probably throughout the whole Germany. The word goes round: `Count the dead in your locality and compare the figure with the one from the previous world war. Then you will realise what to think of the official figures concerning the losses.' "
We received the following report from Strasbourg:
"In Struthof (Breuschtal) there is a prison camp for soldiers charged with mutiny. In this camp the poor devils are tortured to death. Their cries can be heard hundreds of metres from the camp. It is said that the method of killing the prisoners is to break their legs and to let them bleed to death. Corpses are often seen by night being transported to the crematorium in Strasbourg. Now they are building a crematorium inside the camp of Struthof, where they will be able to burn the corpses without anybody outside noticing it."
A soldier on leave from the Eastern front reports at the end of June:
"Even during the so-called periods of rest the privations are very hard. The soldiers lose their nerve very easily; the most brutal measures are taken to prevent an outbreak. A number of the soldiers reported as fallen in the papers have in reality suddenly collapsed under the terrible strain or have been shot. Whoever talks about these things risks terrible punishment.
The soldiers also do not get to know about the brutal punishments inflicted on others except by illegally listening in to the foreign wireless stations. The cruelties in the protectorate and the shooting of hostages are never discussed. Because even those who know about these happenings do not dare to speak about them. I got the impression that we Germans can hardly bear all these things through another winter."
The following statement helps to clarify the problem of how far an active large-scale opposition within the Third Reich has any chance of success. It is written by people who in former times belonged to left circles and are still out and out anti-Nazis and also actually work against them as far as they can:
"Whoever mutinies is shot ruthlessly. Even if a whole division were to mutiny it would be exactly the same. I know of same small scale mutinies which occurred during the last winter. In one case even officers were shot, and all the soldiers were transferred to different units."
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We know of the rigorous measures adopted by the Nazis of killing invalids who are incurably incapacitated for work. These measures not only affect people inside Germany they are even extended to Germans in neutral countries. As regards Germany the following story was reported to us:
"A woman had three sons, one of them fell at the Eastern front; one caught a lung disease on the Eastern front and is now living abroad, the third was suffering from an incurable disease. The Nazis have now killed him, although his parents were very rich and could have provided their son with every necessity; his illness was not contagious either, and he was in no way a danger to society. He suffered from a nervous disease which caused him to stutter and affected the use of his legs. His disease would have grown worse in time and finally he would have died of it. The Nazis put this man in a sanatorium and after a while no visitors were allowed to see him. Finally his mother was informed that her son had died of an attack of influenza. The authorities added that they had to burn his body but if the mother was willing to pay a certain sum of money they would let her have his ashes. Both his mother and brother are convinced that he did not die of influenza, because the day before his death he wrote to his brother that his state of health was quite good, but that he could not write any more, or his letter would not pass the censor."
In a world-famous health resort in a neutral country the German authorities already behave as though they were at home. The following facts emerge from a number of reports:
"At the moment 1,200 German patients live here; 400 live in sanatoria, 800 in private houses. The Germans want to send more German patients here but they want to avoid spending foreign currency as far as possible. They buy up more and more sanatoria because patients living in sanatoria require less foreign currency than those living in private houses. They want therefore to restrict as far as possible the number of private patients. In the `... Journal' an appeal appeared recently asking private patients to undergo another examination. This appeal was signed by the Medical Association. We do not know whether the doctors were in some way or other forced by the Germans to give their signature or whether they made a disgraceful bargain with the Germans. A German doctor decides whether a patient can be sent home as "cured", whether he is to be put in one of the German sanatoria, or whether he is so gravely ill that any further medical treatment appears to be unprofitable. Gravely ill people are terrible afraid of being sent back to Germany. They say openly: `We shall receive an injection that will finish us off.'
A man suffering from tuberculosis was faced with the choice of undergoing an operation or being sent back to Germany. Doctors who knew his case said that it would be quite wrong to operate on him. The patient knew the opinion of non-German doctors and for this reason it was very difficult for him to make his choice. After long hesitation he decided in favour of the operation.
German patients live very much under the control of German authorities. These are very concerned to prevent the development of any close contact between
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Germans and foreigners. The Nazis behave in a provocative way, but the others hardly dare to indicate their views. A cinema owner manages quite well to sail with the wind: As he owns two cinemas he plays German and Italian films for the Nazis in the one, and in the other English and American ones for his compatriots. At present the situation is such that his fellow countrymen almost exclusively go to English and American films and that hardly ever a German dares to see these films. In shops and restaurants the Hitlerites make a most unpleasant impression. They boast how well they are provided with food in Germany, they bully the staff that serves them so that in most cases they would gladly do without these customers. There is one café which sometimes throws out its German customers."
From well informed persons we get the following insight as to what goes on in Nazi circles:
"Only actual party members can get promotion. The higher official positions are now only open to the most active and ruthless Nazis. In 1923 the present police president of Stuttgart, Schweinerl, had been a member of the Bavarian police force for some months, and was said to have refused to shoot at Adolf Hitler and Erich Ludendorff. The N.S.D.A.P. valued this so highly that he became one of the `Blutritter' (special Nazi distinction) and was made police president of Stuttgart.
There is very bad feeling also amongst the Nazis themselves. Everyone feels that he is not adequately paid. They all spy on each other. Every opportunity is taken to make anonymous denunciations. The big Nazi officials fear every one of their former accomplices."
"He was one of the most depraved criminals; he was formerly aide-de-camp of the present ambassador in Hungary. The other high officials found his presence at their drunken orgies objectionable.
He was given the position of Stewart of the Minister President Murr of Wuerttemberg. It was arranged that he should get his meals apart from the others, and should get some bottles of wine and cigars. On one occasion this was forgotten and Reising boxed the ears of Murr's aide-de-camp. The Minister President thereupon sent for Reising, but he did not turn up, not even in answer to a written order. Then the S.S. came into the scene. After Reising had murdered two policemen the S.S. arrived, armed with light machine guns and pistols. There was an exchange of shots and Reising received a wound in the shoulder. Since he was responsible for two murders his enemies thought this was a good opportunity to put him finally out of harm's way. But Reising's appeal to Hitler for mercy was granted. Murr, who feared his partner in crime, tried everything possible to get him executed. He even went so far as to go himself to Hitler but without success. Some time later Reising was found shot dead."
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"In Oeschelbrunn, in Wuerttemberg, several houses were burnt down. The Nazis organised a collection for the sufferers. The officials in charge found the proceeds of the collection rather small, so the Public Prosecutor handed over the matter to the criminal police to make investigations. The officials discovered that about 28,000 Marks were missing, which had been handed over to Weiss, the chief editor of the `N.S.-Kurier' in Stuttgart. One of the officials asked for a prosecution. After waiting for weeks without receiving a reply he applied to the Public Prosecutor. Again there was no response. When he made still further enquiries he was only snubbed. Several months passed before the files in question were returned to the police headquarters with the remark: `This matter must be immediately dropped on the orders, written and oral, of the Minister President Murr of Wuerttemberg.' "
The following reports deal with the position of wage earners and salaried employees:
"Workers in war industries, both men and women, have to work 14, 16 and 18 hours per day. Unskilled workers earn an average of 10d. to 1/3 per hour, skilled workers 1/- to 1/9, women 9d. to 1/1. Big deductions are made from these earnings. On the whole the workers accept these deductions with indifference, and the same applies also to the measures which force them to invest their money in war savings. A civil servant with a period of 25 years of service receives a monthly salary of about £15. Out of this amount he has to contribute 26/- for war savings; this is tax-free. He is left with about £11 after all the other compulsory deductions have been carried out."
"In the factory canteens the portions are small and the food is lacking in fat. The effect of chemical stimulants is of only short duration. After a while people get exhausted and tired. It is an every-day occurrence that men and women in the factories simply collapse. They are taken away without much fuss being made, and have to report on duty after two or three days at the latest.
Even in restaurants food is scarcely obtainable. In a public house a worker can get 1 / 4 litre of wine, a cup of coffee or two glasses of beer per day. Even if you have a lot of money you cannot get substantially bigger rations.
Apart from the rations, food is unobtainable, except on the Black Market. Those who are forced to do their shopping after working hours generally get bad quality food and often nothing at all.
There are always sufficient ration cards available, but the goods for them are often sold out. Shoppers who frequently vent their feelings of annoyance are soon confronted by the Gestapo. In most such cases the penalty consists of fines, this has the double advantage of meeting the need for money and man-power."
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"The situation as regards textiles is very bad. Ordinary individuals do not get anything. With shoes it is the same."
"A worker can earn £3 to £4 per week. But in most cases he cannot use this amount of money, for consumption goods and commodities are difficult to obtain. Occasionally a soldier on leave can procure for his friends a camera, a binocular or a film. People say to themselves: `It is quite immaterial what we earn because, anyway, we cannot buy anything. And later on our money will have lost all its value.' For this reason every one endeavours to invest his few marks in commodities. A small rug which in former times cost about £2-10-0 and which is already very worn fetches to-day £20."
"The rate of work is generally controlled by a stop clock. But in spite of that in some factories the workers go slow. They have the following password: `Even a few minutes wasted every day counts!`"
"People already voice the opinion to their trusted friends that the Nazi system is doomed to be destroyed by its own corruption. Only people with outspoken Nazi opinions can hope for promotion. As a consequence some civil servants who are not Nazis are quite glad not to get promotion because they think that after the war this will be a proof that they were never real Nazis. The punishment of civil servants by transferring them has increased enormously. Many civil servants are treated just like soldiers: without any consideration for their families they are sent to distant places without any warning. As soon as they start settling down and develop closer personal contacts with some of the people the authorities become suspicious and they are transferred anew. In this way a number of people from Southern Germany were sent to Koenigsberg, Berlin and Prague, and people from Brandenburg were transferred to Baden. Only reliable Nazis are left in places where they can settle down."
The following is a factual report by an educated man from a neutral country who has spent about two years at a small German university. A few weeks ago he returned home and wrote:
"The successes of the German army in North Africa as well as in Russia made no impression on the German population. People read the newspapers without any enthusiasm. It seems that they are becoming increasingly sceptical as to the significance of German victories. I spoke about this point shortly before my departure with one of my German friends; he said with great conviction: `Yes, the people have adopted a neutral attitude.' The belief in a final victory of the Germans is dwindling more and more. To-day the mass of the German people believe that they are heading towards an inevitable catastrophe.
The general public is completely war-weary. This mood has developed specially during the last six months when it has become more difficult to obtain
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food supplies and when the undernourishment has assumed greater proportions. This war weariness does not express itself so much in public conversations. It has become evident in the depressed silence of the people.
One has to queue up for all sorts of things: for vegetables, fish and all kind of utensils. Often one has to start queuing up at six o'clock in the morning to be in time when the shops open at 8 o'clock. I could not manage, for instance, to buy two glasses which my household urgently needed. While cherries were in season I got 5 kilogram (about 10½ lbs) of cherries for my wife and myself, and that only with the help of a third ration card.
I often travelled in the workers' trains which got to one of the biggest and most important factories of Germany. The workers have the impression of being very tired and undernourished which was emphasized by their general appearance. Obviously they have not enough material to keep their clothes in good repair which therefore often look torn and neglected. In comparison, the foreign workers who are very numerous in this district are better dressed.
I often discovered great enthusiasm for the war amongst boys from 14 to 16 whom I taught foreign languages. Many of them were keenly awaiting the moment when they would be called up.
The position, however, was completely different in the case of young people from 20 to 22 who had returned from the Eastern front. These young men gave the impression that they have quite suddenly matured. They hated propaganda speeches and were very eager to get at the truth.
In this way there is a widening of the rift between the official views and the feelings of the individual Germans. The soldiers on the Eastern front are for instance very much impressed by the courage of the Russian soldiers; naturally, they have also realised by now that the Russian civilian population consists of human beings like themselves.
When one goes through a German town one is struck by the large number of wounded and crippled soldiers. I think that on the average every fourth soldier I met had only one leg or arm. The soldiers are not well clothed: their uniforms are often worn out, and do not match, and the material is of poor quality.
A friend of mine, a publisher, recently went to Paris to get hold of some books for translating into German. He told me: `The German people give much more the impression of being a defeated nation than the French!'
I think his judgement is quite correct. By the way this publisher was not able to carry out his intention of publishing German translations of French books.
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People generally speak with horror about the bombings. The inhabitants of our town were very astonished that they had not yet had a raid. Good friends of mine from Rostock gave me the following piece of information and assured me that it is absolutely reliable:
'Enormous qualities of hoarded food stuff was found in the bombed houses of leading Nazi officials; e.g. whole hams, etc.' Obviously the same is the case in other towns because the whispering propaganda about corruption in Nazi circles has enormously increased.
The mass air raids in the West of Germany have not provoked, as far as I can judge, a hatred of the English, but rather a hatred of the Nazi regime.
The most important feature of Nazi propaganda is their efforts to convince the German people of the necessity of standing by the Fuehrer. The propaganda of the Allies which is designed to bring into being or deepen the cleavage between the Nazi clique und the German people by pointing to the facts, is considered by the German rulers as extremely dangerous for them.
I cannot say much concerning definite acts of resistance on the part of the German population. Often I found Nazi propaganda posters torn to pieces. But I could not say with certainty that these posters were deliberately destroyed by enemies of the regime.
Through my contact with the intellectuals at the university and with teachers I gained the impression that in these circles many people are in disagreement with the regime. They only admitted this after having known me for a very long time. I was terribly depressed to find that these people are completely lacking in moral courage. They live in a state of despair; they feel completely at the mercy of the regime and do not do anything against it. They frankly express the opinion that anything would be better than the continuation of this regime. It is interesting that their greatest desire is to see Germany become an American colony. These people express their indolence and cowardice even when there is absolutely no excuse. A small example: A man who is definitely opposed to the Nazis had to give a lecture on `Symbolism in the Art of the Middle Ages'. In order to explain what a symbol is he chose the example of the Swastika. I do not think that many of these people will be fit to help in building up a new education in Germany after the war.
All these discontented intellectuals are quite useless for any form of organised resistance. Not one of them, for instance, made an attempt to make use of my departure abroad for getting into contact with the non-Nazi world.
In these circles they do not even listen in to the London Radio as many other people do in Germany. Before the war the university had 4,000 students, now it has 400. Really intelligent students are extremely rare amongst the younger generation, this applies even to the departments of medicine and chemistry.
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Strangely enough, I found that the famous sermons of the Bishop von Galen and Archbishop Faulhaber are hardly known even in Catholic circles. I learned their full text only abroad.
Last Easter, I had the opportunity of meeting peasants in a small village of Southern Germany. They were extremely suspicious of everything that came from Berlin. A day before my arrival the British had dropped leaflets. On the whole the reaction was. `All this is propaganda.' For many Germans propaganda means deceit.
The following is a report of a conversation with a woman socialist who for many years actively opposed the Nazis; last summer she spent a few months in Germany.
"Do you believe that the collapse of the Nazi regime can be brought about by opposition from within?"
Answer: "Yes, when the people get so angry and bitter that they forget their fear. But at present fear absolutely dominates them. I am haunted by this fear even now. While in Germany I did not visit any of my old comrades, as I had originally intended. I was afraid I might endanger them and fall into the hands of the Gestapo myself. It is also the reason why I saw so little of any organised work against the regime. Once I was given a printed illegal leaflet which had been distributed in an aircraft factory in X. This leaflet referred specially to the bad food situation. I heard from the person who gave me the leaflet that now that there are many foreign workers in the factories the work has been seriously slowed down. There is always something to be looked for or fetched from somewhere else."
"Are you of the opinion that the German workers are more cowardly than their foreign colleagues?"
Answer: "No, but they are more intimidated. I think that if the foreign workers had lived as long under this terror regime as the Germans have, they would be crushed by it in the same way. The German workers have not changed in their real convictions, they have their own secret thoughts, but they do not want to get into trouble. They have found again and again that anyone who dared to show signs of revolt was put out of the way. The Nazis have often succeeded in breaking the spirit of political active people who have had served long terms of imprisonment or hard labour. In any case, these people are specially watched by the Gestapo. A comrade who was released from prison after three years was rearrested shortly after finding work. He had been talking politics in the factory to some old comrades of his. In the course of this conversation they happened to mention Russia. The following day the Gestapo fetched him from the factory. This
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happened in spite of the fact that the conversation was very cautious and contained neither propaganda for Russia nor attacks against the Nazi regime. The very fact that a political conversation had taken place was obviously enough to make the Gestapo intervene, although the arrested man was a skilled worker whose services were urgently needed in the factory.
This man has now been under arrest for many months without being brought to trial. Another man who had been arrested in a different connection and who had to spend some nights in the Berlin police prison on the Alexanderplatz told me that this prison was so overcrowded that they had to spend the nights standing up, herded together like sheep. Many of the people there had been arrested for political offences.
In spite of the shortage of labour the Gestapo is fully staffed. The Gestapo deals with every detail and keeps a record of old offenders."
"Are the foreign press reports correct as regards the acute shortage of food and other every-day necessities and has the Black Market assumed such proportions as they make out?"
Answer: "Yes, although people caught using the Black Market are punished terribly severely, black marketing still goes on. Every day the press reports death sentences for illegal slaughtering and other Black Market offences. And this is quite understandable. People who have to live on their rations suffer severely in health. At first I asked several of my old friends whether they had been suffering from some grave illness lately; but it always turned out that it was merely the bad food that made them look so ill. A friend of mine had to queue up for three hours to get a lettuce. Often women have to leave the queue after they have waited for hours, because they have to go to work.
I could not even get an envelope to write home.
There are many people in Germany who cannot even afford to buy the things which are available on ration cards. Skilled workers earn quite good money; but the majority of the workers not employed in armament factories are just as badly off as in 1932, at the depth of the depression. I met builder's labourers who earned 20 marks (£1) a week and who had to keep a whole family on that wage.
On the other hand, those who have money can get good meals for 27 to 30 marks in the restaurants of the West-End of Berlin. There are still some shops where you can get this or that but you have to take along suitable objects for barter.
Going through the West-End of Berlin you do not notice any external signs of the war. The windows are marvellously dressed. I went in one of these shops to buy an umbrella, of which I had seen a number in the window. When I asked for it the saleswoman burst into laughter at my innocence.
People in Germany say with a twinkle in their eyes: `You need Vitamin B!' B. stands for Beziehungen (influential connection)."
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"How are the Jews treated at present in the Third Reich?"
Answer: "Those who do not work in munition factories are being systematically exterminated. The first indication of their forthcoming deportation to the East is generally a notice to leave their lodgings. A few days later they are told to get ready for the journey. Then they are deported, to somewhere in Poland.
Frequently Aryans collect the sum of money which the Jews have to deposit before they are allowed to leave the country. Jews do not possess any money of their own. Aryans give this help because they cannot stand the sight of the sufferings of the Jews. It would be wrong to believe that antisemitism has gained a real foothold among the German people."
It seems that during the thousand bomber raid the A.R.P. service in Cologne and the military authorities completely failed to fulfil their tasks. This is shown by the following report:
"To this day Cologne has not recovered from the mass bombing raid. A soldier from an anti-aircraft battery regiment reported to us that the British circled round the anti-aircraft batteries like flies and silenced most of them, one after the other, in a very short time. The crews left the flak-shelters in panic and sought safety in the fields. Now, the Waffen-S.S. together with the Gestapo has been put in charge of all anti-aircraft batteries in the Rhineland. How grave is the damage, is shown by the fact that even to-day one cannot board a train in Cologne and that neither passenger nor goods trains can enter the station there. People from Cologne who want to leave the town must have a special permit, they are then taken by goods train to a station five miles from the town where they can board a train. The factories, which are still able to carry on in Cologne, can only get their supplies of materials and tools in small quantities."
We hear from Rostock:
"At the beginning of the war the small workshops were closed and the skilled men were called up to work in the Heinkel factories. Now, since the Heinkel works have been destroyed, production has been distributed amongst the smaller factories round Rostock and the skilled men are employed there. Attempts are also being made to let them do work for the armament industry at home."
For information concerning other effects of the bombing compare the report on "Professors, Petty-Bourgeois and Workers".
The following is reported to us from a working-call district with a definitely revolutionary spirit:
"We were very pleased when at last the British attacked the works of B. and D.B. We hoped that at least for a few weeks the production in this highly important war industry would be interrupted. Unfortunately we expected too much. For this reason we enclose here a description of a better way of doing it next time." (This was enclosed).
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One of our reporters gave us a description of the big anti-aircraft towers of which there exist altogether seven. His first impression was, "that the population of Berlin became terribly nervous after the sounding of the air-raid warning. Then he heard one of the towers, which was about a mile away, join in the anti-aircraft fire. The repercussion was so violent that the house in which he lived was shaken to its foundations."
"Air raids are the one thing which stir every member of this population out of his apathy or acquiescence. Nobody understands why the German authorities lie so shamelessly when publishing the number of casualties, because the truth about them always spreads very quickly. Everyone knows that the official figures are simply ridiculous because generally everyone has heard that in their neighbourhood there were a higher number of casualties than the government admits for the whole area affected.
For a long time the illusion prevailed that the British would not attack the district on the left bank of the Rhine, because after the war they intended to take this district away from Germany. Recently, however, this illusion has been shattered."
We hear from Cologne:
"A great part of the population from Cologne was taken to Vienna. We hear from people in Vienna that they are by no means welcome guests. This evacuation also presented very considerable difficulties because in many cases women and children were separated from their menfolk, who were not allowed to leave Cologne as they were engaged on work of national importance. It was a hard job to tear the families asunder."
The following is taken from a detailed report concerning the general situation in Germany with special reference to the spirit amongst Socialists and Trade Unionists who were earlier engaged in underground activities:
"According to my experience masses of people listen in to foreign wireless stations. One of my good friends tells me amongst all his friends he is the only one who does not listen in to a foreign station. But there is no need for him to do so because the others always tell him what they have heard."
"The Gestapo uses the following method: In their fight against the army of illegal listeners to foreign wireless stations they open private flats with skeleton keys so that in some cases it has happened that a Gestapo man suddenly appeared in the room. All this took place so quickly that people had no time to switch their wireless back to the `Deutschlandsender'. Foreign wireless stations, that is London and Moscow, should give instructions how to deal with such surprise visits. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to provide chains for the front doors, they are almost unobtainable because of the lack of material."
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We have heard the following comment on the contents of the broadcasts:
"Everybody likes to listen to news. People are very sensitive to any untruths, just because the German Government lies so shamelessly, a fact that is to-day almost common knowledge amongst people in the Third Reich. We had for instance the impression that the reports concerning the treatment of seriously wounded people in the Third Reich were somewhat exaggerated, because we knew of certain cases of seriously wounded men who were treated with the utmost care."
Of course, it is impossible that these broadcasts referred to some special cases. However this may be - the effectiveness of British propaganda is undoubtedly best served by not endangering the reputation Radio London has gained in the Third Reich, namely: that it reports the truth. - We may add that our friend who sent the above report also mentioned that a number of people suffering from incurable tuberculosis, and mentally deranged people, and also quite normal old people who were no longer fit for work.
The following items shed light on the question whether there is any possibility that the Hitler dictatorship will be overthrown by an opposition movement inside Germany before the Nazis are defeated in battle. We shall not quote reports of opposition which have already been issued in the press or on the radio. We are, however, by no means convinced that the German press and radio are studied so carefully in the Allied and neutral countries that everything possible is extracted from them. We therefore wish to point to several facts which serve to confirm our own reports.
The Gestapo's attitude with regard to the publicly reporting of signs of opposition varies from time to time. On the whole the Nazi leaders are convinced that it is better to make as little as possible of any signs of opposition to the regime, so as to keep the innocent inhabitants of the Third Reich so far as possible under the illusion that no opposition whatsoever exists in Germany. This is their general attitude!
From time to time, however, there are unmistakable signs that another consideration is important, i.e. that it is about time once again to impress on those who are dissatisfied with the regime that if they express their opinion too openly they will be subjected to severe penalties. All at once the press reports sentences for high treason, sabotage in factories, listening in to enemy broadcasts and passing on information so obtained. Thus the public learns that there are obviously quite a number of people in Germany who are systematically carrying on political activity against the Third Reich.
The following are sentences passed during the last few months:
In Mannheim 14 Socialists were sentenced to death for high treason;
In Frankfurt the civil engineer Heinrich Mass was sentenced to death;
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In another town a person was sentenced to death for listening in to enemy broadcasts;
In Oppeln two workers in an armament factory were sentenced to death for sabotage;
The Nazis announced end of September 1942 that seven workers were sentenced to death by the People's court in Frankfurt on the Main because they had committed high treason and had carried out activities which "helped the enemy".
These cases must be considered only as examples. They do not prove anything with regard to the frequency of death sentences. From announcements in the German press one cannot gauge how much opposition there really is against the regime.
Hitler himself indicated that the Nazis hush up most of the signs of opposition against them; in a speech in the spring of 1942 he admitted:
"In cases where nerves have broken down, where people have failed in discipline and lacked conscientiousness in carrying out their tasks I have made hard decisions; I have felt entitled to do so in accordance with the sovereign right which I feel the German people have given me for such cases."
In this connection Hitler specially praises "my good S.S. divisions and S.S. police units". Not a single one of the "hard decisions" for the carrying out of which the S.S. was praised was ever published in the German press.
A further proof of the existence of an opposition is supplied by the "Reichsfuehrung" of the S.S.; in Spring 1942, just before the offensive on the Eastern front was started, they admitted in a secret report concerning the situation on the Home Front that they expected opposition to grow again and that special measures against it would therefore become necessary. They write in the following unmistakable terms:
"Recently several instances of the revival of socialist propaganda have been reported. We have to reckon with an increase in this propaganda. For this reason the political leaders in those parts of Germany where there is a majority of industrial workers should order the preventive arrest of socialist leaders as was done in the past."
We publish at the time extracts from this report by the "Reichsfuehrung" of the S.S. Anyone who has the slightest doubt of the existence of a real opposition in the Third Reich should carefully study this report. It can be obtained from us on request.
The assertion that this war will not end up in a "1918", - an assertion which is a constant and important feature of Nazi propaganda - is a further proof of the fear of the Nazi rulers lest opposition movements against the regime and the war should assume serious proportions. In fact it has been reported that people are exploiting the confusion
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caused by British air-attacks and using the cover of the black-out to paint anti-war slogans on the walls of the air-raid shelters; leaflets showing the analogy between this war and that of 1914-18 have been distributed in relatively large numbers.
The S.S. has been equipped with all the weapons required for modern warfare and for civil war; that is another sign that, far from being convinced that the international enemy has been destroyed, the Nazi regime takes every precaution against it. The strengthening of the Waffen-S.S. proves that the S.S. leaders are convinced, and rightly so, that the longer the war lasts the stronger the opposition will get.
The document found during the Libyan campaign by which Hitler gave fill licence to the S.S., as well as the fact that all important dictatorial functions were entrusted to active S.S. men or to people considered reliable by the S.S., prove that the Nazi regime is absolutely convinced of the necessity of waging a life and death struggle against the enemy within.
In order to complete the picture which emerges from reports sent to us during the last few weeks we summarize the essential facts and judgments concerning resistance against the regime:
"In many cases the only deterrent is the death penalty which is continually being inflicted on soldiers. Eighteen men from an infantry regiment from Donaueschingen which was withdrawn from the Eastern front and stationed in Prague for reinforcement were shot; the reason was whispering propaganda. They said that they would not return to the front, or if they did, they would have known how to act there. Executions of this kind are regular occurrence."
"In Struthof (Breuschtal) there is a prison camp for soldiers charged with mutiny. In this camp the poor devils are tortured to death. Their cries can be heard hundreds of metres from the camp. It is said that the method of killing the prisoners is to break their legs and to let them bleed to death."
"Whoever mutinies is shot ruthlessly. Even if a whole division were to mutiny it would be exactly the same. I know of some small scale mutinies which occurred during last winter. In one case even officers of the unit took part in it. In this case the officers were shot, and all the soldiers were transferred to different units."
"The soldiers lose their nerve very easily; the most brutal measures are taken to prevent an outbreak."
"The prospect of being sent to the Eastern front makes the soldiers nervous and bad tempered. But even those who do not fear such a transfer are absolutely sick of this long war and their spirits are very low. They listen in fairly often to the German broadcasts of the B.B.C."
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"The rate of work is generally controlled by a stop clock. But in spite of that in some factories the workers go slow. They have the following password: `Even a few minutes wasted every day count.' "
"Once I was given a printed illegal leaflet which has been distributed in an aircraft factory in X. This leaflet referred specially to the bad food situation. I heard from the person who gave me the leaflet that now that there are many foreign workers in the factories the work has been seriously slowed down. There is always something to be looked for or fetched from somewhere else."
"We were very pleased when at last the British attacked the works of B. and D.B. We hoped that at least for a few weeks the production in this highly important war industry would be interrupted. Unfortunately, we expected too much. For this reason we enclose here a description of a better way of doing it next time." (Detailed description was enclosed.)
"According to my experience masses of people listen in to foreign wireless stations. One of my good friends tells me that amongst all his friends he is the only one who does not listen in to a foreign station. But there is no need for him to do so because the others always tell him what they have heard."
"There (in Baden) the word goes round. `Count the dead in your locality and compare the figure with the one from the previous world war. Then you will realise what to think of the official figures concerning the losses.'"
"Somebody who had to spend some nights in the Berlin police prison on the Alexanderplatz told me that this prison was so overcrowded that they had to spend the nights standing up, herded together like sheep. Many of the people there had been arrested for political offences."
"Some civil servants who are not Nazis are quite glad not to get promotion because they think that after the war this will be a proof that they were never real Nazis.
The punishment of civil servants by transferring them has increased enormously. Many civil servants are treated just like soldiers; without any consideration for their families they are sent to a distant place without any warning. As soon as they start settling down and develop closer personal contacts with some of the people the authorities become suspicious and they are transferred anew."
"Through my contact with intellectuals at the university and with teachers I gained the impression that in these circles many people are in disagreement with the regime. They only admitted this after having known me for a very long time. I was terribly depressed to find that these people are completely lacking in moral courage. They live in a state of despair; they feel completely at the mercy of the regime and do not do anything against it: They frankly express the opinion that anything would be better than the continuation
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of this regime. It is interesting that their greatest desire is to see Germany become an American colony. These people express their indolence and cowardice even when there is absolutely no excuse. A small example: A man who is definitely opposed to the Nazis had to give a lecture on `Symbolism in the Art of the Middle Ages'. In order to explain what a symbol is he chose the example of the Swastika. I do not think that many of these people will be fit to help in building up a new education in Germany after the war.
All these discontented intellectuals are quite useless for any form of organised resistance. Not one of them, for instance, made an attempt to make use of my departure abroad for getting into contact with the non-Nazi world."
"Strangely enough, I found that the famous sermons of the Bishop von Galen and Archbishop Faulhaber are hardly known even in Catholic circles. I learned their full text only abroad."
The following authentic report shows how carefully one must be in judging accounts of the work of the opposition, especially "communists' activities":
"In Stuttgart there is an institution of the NSDAP which trains young people to prepare and carry out communists activities. These activities include the distribution of leaflets with faked communist contents and the assassination of German citizens. The members of this institution always go into action when the Nazis wish to murder a German official whom they no longer trust or when they wish to provoke an incident to blackmail and terrorise the civilian population of a certain district or province."
* * *
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The following reports deal with the situation in France, especially during the time when Laval was endeavouring to secure the collaboration of French labour leaders. Laval realised quite clearly that he could keep his promise to Hitler that he would send hundreds of thousands of French workers to Germany, only if the French labour leaders gave him their support. The documents printed below show what unanimous and definite opposition this attempt of Laval encountered.
The following are extracts from a report which we have received from one of the leading French trade unionists of the resistance movement in the Unoccupied Zone:
"The French workers movement decided to send out a circular to all militant trade unionists in the Unoccupied Zone. In this they strongly emphasized that if the trade unions responded to Laval's appeal to form a committee and pledged themselves to help Germany by supplying more French slaves and prisoners, a most terrible responsibility would be theirs towards the nation and the working class at the present time and in the future. In addition the active members of the resistance movement belonging to the two French trade union federations (C.G.T., the French T.U.C., and the C.G.T.C., the Federation of Christian Trade Unions) embarked on a campaign of winning over those trade unionists who were wavering in their decision and encouraging the timid ones by approaching them individually. Finally the C.G.T.C. sent a very astute and dignified letter to the Minister of Labour in reply to the invitation which he addressed to certain militant trade unionists.
The effect of all this was to fill the official trade unionists with anxiety and even with fear; to be quite fair one must admit that some of them even gave evidence of pangs of conscience.
Opposition to the measures proposed by Laval gained ground amongst those who had collaborated so far; they wished at least to avoid the terrible responsibility of having supported such measures. Bertin, the editor of Belin's paper `Au Travail', had first of all had the idea of persuading the `Gaullists' by means of trickery or by putting pressure on them to share in this responsibility; but for some reason so far unknown, the militant trade unionists were not approached. Perhaps any such attempt was considered useless, after the vote taken by the executive of the trade unions of the Rhone district which under the courageous and able leadership of X.Y. resulted in 174 to 4 against the sending of workers to Germany. Amongst the followers of Bertin, those whom we have mentioned as being sympathetic to the resistance movement and who regarded the action of `Liberation' (a left-wing illegal paper) with increasing favour, tried to convince him of the gravity of the decisions with which he was faced. A wave of opposition developed inside the Miners' Federation.
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The editorial board of the paper `Au Travail' were in such great difficulties that some of the members were in favour of discontinuing the paper altogether rather than write openly in support of the official propaganda campaign for the `grande relève'. In several issues Bertin avoided any mention of it altogether and even up to the present time he has only allowed a very limited number of vague references to be made. The sympathisers of the resistance movement, whose support he has enjoyed so far under the guise of carrying out a policy for the benefit of the workers, have now the hope of either winning Bertin over to their side or securing the discontinuance of the paper.
In this atmosphere the meeting of the twelve delegates called together by Lagardelle and Laval took place. As had been foreseen, Laval asked the trade union delegates for support in his policy of Franco-German reconciliation and European reconstruction. For the first time he advanced an argument which betrayed a certain degree of anxiety. He said that there are two schools of thought in Germany - on the one hand those Germans who wish to destroy France and those who are ready to collaborate with her; it is not at all sure that the latter are the most numerous and it is in France's interest to strengthen them in every possible way. In any case a policy of collaboration can only serve to make Germany more favourably disposed towards France after peace has been concluded. It is clear that Laval is still obsessed with the idea of a German victory on which all his arguments are based.
Although Bertin and Bard (Miners) have up to now had a point of view similar to that of Laval, they have refused to support the sending of French workers to Germany. They declared that they could not take part in a workers' committee which was in favour of putting pressure on the workers. `It would compromise us too much and we should then no longer be able to help you effectively'.
A poor reply, but is shows that the campaign organised by the French workers' movement and the line of the opposition, Free and Christian trade unionists, has had its effect; it is a proof that the defeatists and those who have not remained faithful to trade union traditions have at last understood the situation.
They have taken fright.
The committee which Laval had intended to form in the Unoccupied Zone will not come into being, the attempt has ended in failure.
Failure of the Charte, failure of Vichy trade unionism, failure of the attempts at reorganisation made by Laval for his own advantage, violent condemnation by the masses.
There are some who do not care about this: they are those who have been bought; types like Mesnard, who in addition to the money he gets through the paper `Atelier' and similar sources, receives 30,000 francs monthly in his capacity as president of the committee for providing immediate help to working-class victims of the R.A.F. raids. The C.O.S.T., the officials in charge of the French workers in Germany who earn 1,000 marks per month; the local councillors of Paris who earn 48,000 francs; Boville who earns 12,000 francs on the Departmental Commission of the Seine - besides the 60,000 francs which he gets
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as a propagandist of the Ministry of Labour (and apart from the earnings of his wife who is working in the national Welfare Department); a man like Vernier who receives nearly 100,000 francs in the Home Office, and a whole army of such venal creatures of whom we shall later compile as complete a list as possible.
There are others who wish to co-operate more closely with the resistance movement; such as Savoie who wants unity on the basis of a new charter and not through the Lafaye Committee. Then there are certain supporters of `Au Travail' who frankly admit their failure. They have realised that their attempts at conciliation through their paper `Au Travail' have not succeeded. They have not been able to curb the resistance of the masses to the `Revolution nationale' and to the trade union policy of Vichy. The weakening of the intransigent attitude of the employers has been nothing but a pretence and the social benefits have been so small that they are not worth mentioning. An attempt was made, on the initiative of Lagardelle, to bring together the different wings of the trade union movement by organising a one week course, to be devoted to the study of trade union organisation. The opposition trade unionists politely abstained.
The excellent behaviour of the great mass of the working-class on the one hand, and on the other hand the disintegration of the trade unionism of the defeatists and renegades have all worked in favour of the resistance movement.
But the movement must be based on a still more solid foundation, we must organise a whole system of propaganda, set up cadres, develop working-class patriotism so that it will result in well organised action. ...
The small handful of leaders of the opposition trade union movement, already overburdened with innumerable tasks, is faced with organisational problems of the first magnitude."
The following documents give information concerning the negotiations of Laval with the Christian Trade Unions:
This is to confirm my telephone message of yesterday asking you to let me have urgently a list of ten active trade unionists who belong to the Christian Trade Unions. These trade unionists should be chosen as far as possible from all over the Unoccupied Zone.
I need these names to issue the invitations for a meeting of active trade unionists of the Unoccupied Zone to whom the Head of the Government has an announcement to make.
With fraternal greetings,
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we have received your letter of the 26th inst. Asking for a list of ten active trade unionists belonging to the Christian Trade Union in the Unoccupied Zone. You added that you needed these names in order to call together the active trade unionists of the Unoccupied Zone to whom the Head of the Government had an announcement to make.
According to a notice which has recently appeared in the press, this announcement will be similar to the one made in Paris on June 7th to a number of representatives of trade union organizations in the Occupied Zone.
From information which we have received from that zone the following has become clear to us: Those colleagues of ours who thought they ought to support the Comité d'Information et de Propaganda Ouvriere founded subsequent to the announcement of June 7th did so purely in a personal capacity and declared that their action in no way bound the trade union organizations to which they belonged.
Our district trades councils and unions in the Unoccupied Zone have no desire to take part in an organization of definitely political character. They take this stand in accordance with an unbroken tradition of the Christian trade unions, which has been confirmed, we are glad to note, by the precise and compelling terms of article 14 of the decree of October 4th, 1941.
None of the active trade unionists present at the meeting of our Unoccupied Zone liaison committee on Sunday, June 28th, sees any reason for supporting the proposed committee in a personal capacity.
This circular was sent out by the Headquarters of the Christian Trade Unions to their officials.
"We inform you: In the Occupied Zone a Comité d'informations ouvrieres et sociales has been created; according to an announcement in the press, this committee was founded with the active help of a number of district trades councils which formerly belonged to the C.G.T., the C.F.T.C. and the S.P.F., and with the collaboration of representatives of the political movements won over or bought by Germany.
We have to stress that as far as trade unionists are concerned those who have decided to support the work of this committee have adopted a purely personal attitude and have no mandate from anybody.
The main job entrusted to these men is the recruitment of man-power for Germany.
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It is superfluous to say that this new treachery has been received with strong expressions of indignation in the factories, in the trade union circles, and in all sections of the population.
We have been informed by the press that a similar committee is to be established in the Unoccupied Zone, for the same purpose.
You have been warned: you have the duty, as Frenchmen and as trade unionists, to refuse to co-operate in this manoeuvre whose purpose it is to supply Germany with new prisoners, new slaves, new hostages.
Our 1,300,000 prisoners, their families, the families of all those who have defended the Fatherland and have paid for it with their freedom, their blood and their lives, will be your judges, they will know no pity. The working class organizations, when they can again express themselves freely and act accordingly, will also be your judges.
This is a question of government policy; the policy the government has adopted is its own business, sincere trade unionists should have nothing to do with it. Your presence alone will suffice to compromise you.
You should not answer any invitation, even and indeed especially if the subject of the meeting is not indicated; whether the invitation is conveyed to you directly, or through the intermediary of a civilian, administrative or religious authority.
FREE FRENCH WORKERS or TRAITORS OF THE WORKING CLASS AND THE NATION
The following is an extract from an article written by the former French Cabinet Minister Charles Spinasse published in the Paris paper "Le Rouge et le Bleu", No. 35, 27th June 1942. Spinasse belongs to that group of former French left-wingers who used pseudo-scientific phraseology in trying to justify collaboration with Hitler Germany. Another supporter of that school of thought is M. Zoretti, the former head of the Workers' Educational Centre of the French T.U.C. who even went so far as to say that a British victory would be a victory for socialism.
"I am going to discuss the speech President Laval made on Monday, a speech full of patriotic anxiety.
He said: `Do you understand that one day we shall negotiate the Peace, and that in the meantime we must do all we can to find a basis for a lasting reconciliation with Germany?'
We cannot be unmoved by this appeal. For we are among those who have never ceased, ever since the Treaty of Versailles, before 1933 and since, before Munich and after, in office or in opposition, to desire such a reconciliation and to seek and suggest the means for it. One cannot repeat often enough that no restoration of Europe is possible without a free France; assuring by the very fact of her freedom the existence and the progress of the other nations. A Franco-
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German understanding and the incorporation of a new Russia will be the two political problems of the Peace.
And we implore all Frenchmen to think seriously instead of letting themselves be distracted by foolish illusions. We appeal especially to our young people not to become diverted along paths which lead nowhere.
We want them to settle down and to regain their self-confidence.
Why then wait for a miracle to undo the course of history, why resist it and so risk losing everything? To bring France back to life, to restore her proud soul, so susceptible to true liberty, to imbue with her spirit the revolution from which a new Europe will emerge, - is that not a great task for them?
President Laval appealed to them henceforward to give themselves, body and soul, to this task. He said to them: "I cannot do anything for you, without you, without your support, your sacrifice." And he asked all our young skilled workers to leave their families and their workshops and go and work in Germany. He asked it for the sake of France, so that, in future peace negotiations, she should have an important item on the credit side. He asked it for the sake of our prisoners, so that they should also be `relieved' after suffering for two years for the errors of us all. Have you thought, young people, of the sorrow of those who have so long been living interned in remote camps, while their comrades can peacefully work and rest, in their own villages, with their wives and children near them? It depends on you, more fortunate ones, to break the chains which hundreds and thousands of French peasants still bear. Will you hesitate?
Living France, devoted to her soil and her tradition of adaptability, will find herself free once more to make her own revolution, a socialist revolution which will both give her peace and establish justice, and which will certainly be her most valuable contribution towards the Europe of to-morrow."
The following passage is taken from the letter of an eye-witness who was in France on September 9th:
"We have just returned from our journey. We were there just while they were hunting down the Jews. What a horrible relapse into I don't know what barbaric age! People fled into the woods, and when the woods were searched they climbed up trees; but the police simply shook them down and took them off. In cases where the required number of deportees was not complete when the deportation of the arrested should have started - because people had fled - they simply dragged some foreign workers out of their beds and shoved these unfortunate people who had nothing on but their night clothes into cattle trucks.
There is one consolation: the vast majority of the French people have shown great solidarity, they have hidden adults and children and helped them in many ways. Of course it is a great problem how long this help can go on when these people do not get ration cards. Rich people - who have also helped a great deal - can care for Jewish people through the Black Market, but a person of ordinary means cannot pay the prices demanded there."
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From a special report:
"On July 16th of this year, at 4 o'clock in the morning, the arrest of 26,000 Jews started, they were sent to the Velodrome d'Hiver, the Salle Wagrame etc., localities which were requisitioned for this purpose at the beginning of July. Mostly Polish and Russian Jews were affected.
The French police had warned many of them two days beforehand, but most of them were poor people who could not find a hiding place, nor had they the necessary means of escape. On the whole the police behaved in a humane way and that is why 400 police officials have been arrested or dismissed since the beginning of this anti-Jewish campaign.
Heart-rending scenes took place when the children over three were separated from their mothers. One mother threw her children from a third floor window and afterwards jumped out herself. Women who had been confined the previous night were taken away the following morning. In one house two police guards were ordered to stand in front of the bed until the confinement was over.
According to the reports of some welfare workers and Red Cross nurses who were allowed to enter the Velodrome d'Hiver after a few days and to bring some food to the unfortunate people (arrested persons could provide themselves only with food for one day, they could take along only one miserable little bundle or nothing at all) the situation there is a nightmare, a hell, comparable only to Dante's vision of the Inferno.
The arrested sit huddled together on the steps and in the gangways there are stretchers with dying people. People have to queue for hours to use the lavatories. The cries of the women separated from their children prevent the people of the neighbourhood from sleeping at night.
The sucklings were left without milk for 72 hours, of course they died. The children above three years of age were separated from their mothers and sent in batches to various empty school buildings: Lycée Janson, Louis le Grand, etc. After a few hours they were besmirched with their own excrement. Amongst the children there were some with contagious diseases and in these centres without any sanitary provision epidemics spread with terrifying rapidity.
"Aryan" children who were left in the care of Jewish women or neighbours while their parents followed their occupation were also taken away and the authorities refused to return them to their parents, because as they say "they know this trick".
No document of identity of any description was issued for these children; this was done on purpose to make it impossible later on to establish their identity ... Where will they be sent to? It is hoped and even fervently desired that they will be entrusted to the care of the Public Assistance Authorities. In former times this public services was known to be very hard on the children, but nowadays, in comparison with any other possible solution, this appears to be the lesser evil.
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Children of three to seventeen, born in France of foreign Jews, are considered as French and they were released sometimes after a detention of several days. On their return they found that their homes had been requisitioned by the authorities. They were left to themselves, or to the charity of sympathetic neighbours.
The common people have everywhere shown great sympathy and a solidarity which is deeply moving. On the 16th of July a queue was standing in front of a butcher's shop in the Rue de Cherche-Midi. A girl of about 15 years of age appeared, her hair all dishevelled. She shouted. "They are taking away my mother, she needs a box to put some food in." Immediately the whole queue dissolved and all the women ran home to fetch some of their treasures which they gave to the girl. One brought a bit of chocolate, another biscuits etc. ... A little later the mother passed them guarded by policemen. The butcher's wife shouted to her. "We shall look after your girl, she will stay with us!"
In contrast, some "concierges" (caretakers) have acted as informers by giving away their Jewish tenants and by telling the police about hiding places to which some Jews have taken their modest belongings. Some "concierges" have taken advantage of the situation and plundered Jewish flats.
From the Velodrome d'Hiver and other centres the Jews have transferred to the camp of Drancy which will be cleared of its present inhabitants to make room for new victims. From Drancy transports go to the East (Poland, Silesia, forced labour mines.)
The Rothschild Hospital
This hospital has been completely evacuated, even of those patients who were not fit to travel. A patient who in the morning underwent an operation for cancer of the stomach was taken away on a stretcher; many patients, however, were forced to walk. Denniker, the man chosen by the Fuehrer to handle the Jewish question in France, supervised the evacuation of the hospital: with his whip he indicated in which order the patients should be taken away.
As regards Denniker, everyone who has met this man is in agreement that he is a madman, an epileptic sadist with typical fits.
This anti-Jewish raid was directed against 30,000 Jews. But the authorities got half of only 26,000, the others managed to escape, though every day some of those who escaped are caught and arrested.
In all circles there is a mood of deep indignation and despair. The general impression in the Occupied Zone is that these measures will certainly be applied to the French Jews also, and later on to other groups, the Catholics, the intellectuals, etc.
To whatever category a person belongs, everyone feels that his turn might be next."
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From Strasbourg we received the following report:
"The official reports make no secret of the fact that 50,000 more engines are needed for carrying on the war. To remedy this unsatisfactory state of affairs the Magdeburg machine-tool factory Ltd. in its Strasbourg Grafenstaden works exhibited various parts of engines which it was intended to give out for assemblage and finishing off. There were very few offers from sub-contractors. The authorities are said to have been infuriated by the scanty attendance. - In Alsace there is little sympathy for the oppressor."
"In the Vichy broadcasts the Quisling Laval treats us to an ample dose of collaboration. But since the penalty for listening in to Vichy is the Concentration Camp, the same as for listening in to the English broadcasts, people prefer to listen in to the latter."
"Three young girls who greeted each other in the street with `bon jour' were recently sentenced to three to four weeks imprisonment. Almost every day Alsatians are arrested or expelled for expressing pro-French sentiments."
"The Swiss frontier guards were struck by the seeming unfriendliness of the Alsatian peasants who were haymaking in their fields which border on the frontier. Finally, having made sure that no sentry was in sight, a woman answered in reply to a question that it had been announced that anyone trying to speak to Swiss people risks being shot. Whilst giving this reply she continued with her work - so cautious have the people become.
"At the present time the so-called non-essential industries are being closed down in the whole of Upper Alsace and all the male and female workers are being redistributed amongst two large firms who manufacture precision apparatus and arms for aeroplanes and U-boats. The production of precision apparatus, which is only entrusted to female workers, is carried out in the former factory of the firm Dollfuss-Mieg and Co. in Niederburnhaupt (Upper Alsace). They work there day and night. The armaments are produced in the smelting works of Bitschweiler near Thann."
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In view of the bestial deeds the German authorities perpetrate in Poland in the name of the German people we consider it of special importance to point out that there are many indications of opposition on the part of the German people to such atrocities. In another part of this pamphlet we also quote examples of the attitude of German workers towards their foreign colleagues and towards Jews. Those who have studied the history of the Third Reich and the history of the working class movement before Hitler know how little success antisemitism had among the German people. It was a German labour leader who was the author of the slogan that "antisemitism is the socialism of the stupid". It was the general attitude of the German people which made a complete failure of Streicher's Jewish boycott on April 1st, 1933.
We thought that in our collection of reports from oppressed countries an account of the terror in Poland should not be missing. But in publishing this account we feel under an obligation to make clear to the public that to consider the German people as being in agreement with the atrocities perpetrated in their name would be not only an unwarranted generalisation but in fact an unjustifiable insult to the great majority of the German people.
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"Declaration of the food department of Reich Governor in Posen. Applicable to the "Reichsgau" (Reich province) Wartheland. Concerning: The distribution of Honey. According to the decree of 29th June, 1942, on presentation of part KLK 3 of page 37/38 of the fat ration card, 250 gr honey can be obtained for German children up to 6 years old."
"The Landrat of the district of Lask. Special announcement. The German population of the district of Lask will receive during the 38th food rationing period, 6 broth cubes and 2 soup cubes. Babianca. 1st July, 1942."
"Buying and selling in the officially authorised weekly markets in the town and outlying districts of Litzmannstadt. On the basis of paragraph 1 of the Police Order of 12th December, 1940, the following rule was laid down which was to take effect immediately from October 10th, 1941: At all weekly markets Poles must not be served before 11 o'clock. The mayor in his capacity of Chief of Police" (After 11 o'clock the goods are all sold out).
"Distribution of fish. German consumers who are registered with the following fish retailers will immediately receive 250 g fish. Litzmannstadt, 2nd July, 1942."
"Travelling Restrictions for Poles on Sundays and Public Holidays. In order to avoid restricting travelling amongst the German population for a day's outing or holidays from July 15th onwards with the consent of the District Governor, the Poles will not be allowed to use the train service on Sundays and public holidays. This restriction does not apply to Poles who have to travel by train
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to their working places on Sundays and public holidays and who can present a special permit signed by the employer. These passes will be issued to the employers by the travelling department of the train service. Those Poles who do not work on Sundays and public holidays, if in exceptional cases they have to travel on these days (for instance in the case of illness, or when a journey is necessary which cannot be postponed) must apply for a pass to their district police. - Litzmannstadt, 1st July, 1942."
The `Ostdeutsche Beobachter', which appears in Poland, continuously reports sentences against Poles, these sentences being conspicuous for their extraordinary severity. No. 176 of 28th June for example reports the case of a Polish domestic servant who was sentenced to death by the special court of Posen because she refused to work. She had neglected her work in spite of repeated warnings and had flung a dirty rag in her mistress's face. When she was reprimanded she forced her employer against the wall and shouted at her. The special court based their judgment of this case on the principle that every Pole who carries out acts of violence against a German automatically forfeits his life."
"In Posen the Nazis have established a huge concentration camp for Jews. Every person with any vestige of human feeling becomes sick with horror when he sees their wretched figures from the distance. They die off like flies. They are beaten with heavy whips. The most they get to eat is grass soup. Anyone who approaches within even 12 yards of the barbed wire fence which is 7 feet high and several yards wide, is shot down with machine gun fire. Nevertheless the number of those who prefer this death to slow starvation increases every day."
"Arrival in medium sized Polish town. The atmosphere was more gloomy than in a graveyard. Some minutes from the station there runs a straight road. In front of the houses stood a long row of men with their faces turned towards the walls - motionless. It was not possible to distinguish whether they were Jews or Poles or both. One of the men who made a movement - nothing is harder than to remain motionless beaten by one of the guards. The Gestapo is in a dilemma. Their policy is extermination on the one hand and `Reprisals' on the other hand to get as much work out of them as possible. It is no easy job to run a factory with hungry workers, deprived of their most primitive rights and badly paid by order; though you do at least become hardened in the process. Every day it is drummed into the Germans in every imaginable way that they are superior to the Polish `under dogs'. You feel almost suffocated in this atmosphere of hate, unless every vestige of human feeling is destroyed in you. Strange recollections haunt you of lectures, articles, extracts from speeches of the `Fuehrer' from the treaty period; in those times the Poles were still a `friendly' and civilised nation. In some villages the male population have simply disappeared into the woods to escape being hunted down as slaves by the S.S. To prevent this, those who pose as the saviours of Europe from anti-Christian Bolshevism, have devised the following trick: correctly reckoning on the piety of the Poles, they used the church as the trap and the service as the bait. They placed their lorries by the church door and at the end of the service simply took away all those who had no occupation card."
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From an official report from May, 1942:
"In the Eastern part of Lithuania two German subjects Joseph Beck and Walter Gruhl were murdered in a cowardly and treacherous manner while carrying out an official mission. As a reprisal for this detestable deed 400 saboteurs and "Communists", mostly Poles, were shot. The crime committed against German subjects who were pursuing their peaceful task of reconstructing the territory which had especially suffered under Bolshevism, is so brutal and inhuman that it can only be avenged by the most harsh measures. This deed is all the worse since it was perpetrated by criminal elements in a country which in the midst of the colossal struggle in the East is already experiencing the blessings of a peaceful and extensive reconstruction. The vile assassination affected not only these two conscientious Germans but also the German soldiers fighting on the front and the whole German people, not to mention the constructive elements in the country itself. The Lithuanian people have been granted self-government. Local self-government in the various districts, towns and villages has now also been accorded. And this all during war-time. The warning is expressly given not to mistake generosity for weakness."
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We have received detailed reports about the terrible plight of the people in the so-called Protectorate. The following are some extracts: -
"The terror which the Germans are perpetrating in Czechoslovakia is indescribable. Considerably more people are shot than is generally known, for every list of those who have been shot, which is made public in Prague also, always concludes with the words: "And still others". In the main the Germans single out the intellectuals as their victims. Day after day well-known doctors, dentists, solicitors, directors of banks and of well-known trading concerns are shot. Their property is of course confiscated. The reasons given by the occupation authorities for these executions are wide and varied: The possessions of arms, going out without an identification card, suspicion of having approved of the assassination of Heydrich, listening in to the foreign broadcasts, spreading of foreign wireless reports, these are the customary charges.
The police carried out a search in the house of highly respected citizen in Prague and discovered a Flobert rifle. This was sufficient reason to have the father, mother and their 12 and 14 years old sons shot; their married daughter who lived in Brunn and was expecting a baby was also shot, together with her husband.
During his stay in Prague a friend of mine went to a dentist for treatment. He had an appointment to go again the next morning. When he was on the point of going there, he was informed that the dentist had been shot that very morning. Reason unknown.
The people are filled with a deep and bitter hatred because they feel completely deprived of any rights. For all they know to-day or to-morrow they may be shot. It often happens that people are stopped in the street and never come home again. When two Czechs speak to each other in the street it may happen that they are suddenly arrested and have to submit to a cross-examination with the purpose of finding out what they had been talking about. If their statements do not entirely agree they run the risk of being shot. For this reason Czechs, the moment they start speaking to each other, agree what is to be the subject of their conversation.
A certain amount of bitterness is felt towards England, because the Czechs have the impression that no reprisals have been made for the acts of violence committed in their country. The people expected the R.A.F. to carry out reprisal raids over Germany.
It is said in Prague that Heydrich was shot not by a Czech but by the Germans themselves. In support of this assertion attention is drawn to the fact that the Czechs could not pos-
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sibly have known which way Heydrich would go, as this was always kept secret. Furthermore so many S.S.-men and police were stationed on the way he was to take that it would have been impossible for the culprit to escape.
Bohemia and Moravia are crowded with Germans. The food shortage is especially great there. Fruit and vegetables can be sold to none but Germans and only then on presentation of their pass.
It is rumoured in Prague that in the near future a decree will come into force whereby the Czechs, as in the case of the Jews, will only be able to buy food between 11 and 1 o'clock, which would actually amount to not being able to buy it at all.
The shops are as a rule empty. There are still goods on show, there is however nothing for sale. The people have the feeling that the intention is to exterminate them systematically.
Women from whatever class in society are stopped in the street and, if they are unable to prove that they are working, they have to do heavy charring work in the barracks or in government buildings. In these cases no account is taken of age, old women have to work side by side with quite young girls."
The following is a report given by a Swiss about the past winter: -
"The trains were very unpunctual, it was a common occurrence for them to arrive three to four hours late. Many travellers have reported cases of even greater unpunctuality. - In the company of a Sudeten German director I visited various firms in Bohemia and Moravia. The acceptance of private orders is practically out of the question, because the necessary workers have either been sent to Germany or have been removed to the armament industries. I was very surprised to observe the following facts: The amount produced in a certain foundry, in spite of the fact that it had been enlarged, was only 75 % in comparison with the pre-war level. In one colliery production has even decreased to 15 %. In another firm only 10% of their former workpeople are still employed there. The other 90 % consists of members of ten different nations. The difficulties encountered through this diversity of languages can be imagined, also the effect on the productive capacity of the firm.
Food ration cards were distributed in the hotel, and only for eight days at a time. During the first weeks I found the food insufficient since I was used to a diet richer in fats. I received per week 2,250 grammes of bread (including flour etc.), 35 grammes of butter, 400 grammes of meat, 100 grammes of fat.. (1,000 grammes equals slightly over two pounds). The soup did not require any ration cards, but contained very little nourishment. There were hardly any vegetables. In the way of salads there was only sauerkraut and potato. Fish and game require no ration cards, but with the exception of tunny and hares they seldom appear on the table, and hares are very expensive. Fruit is only available for children once a month. The milk is skimmed. A quarter litre (1 litre - 1 3 / 4 pints) was allowed daily per person. The price of a meal consisting of soup, vegetables (potatoes and salad) and meat (100 grammes including bones without fat) is
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8 to 10 d. With the addition of a hors d'oeuvre of tunny fish and a dessert of hard plums the cost is 1/8; garnished roast goose costs 7/- to 8/-.
An official told me that he gave his meat ration to his son and had therefore to live chiefly on dry rolls, which were at least fresh, and that in order to keep up his strength he took to his bed immediately he came home from work. No similar cases have come to my notice. The Germans are better off the than Czechs.
All material is rationed. Ration cards are only distributed when proof is given that new clothes are necessary. This is done by means of house inspections. Many Czechs shrink from these house inspections and prefer to wear the same clothing on Sundays as they do on weekdays. As a rule families with many children come off rather badly.
In all restaurants silence must be kept during the new broadcasts, so that no one is prevented from hearing them. There is a great contrast however between the interest shown by the listeners there and in Switzerland. I had the feeling that announcements were neither listened to nor believed. In this respect I have observed members of the forces, officers and soldiers, as well as Gestapo officials and civilians, and always I had the same impression. Many soldiers from the front were very annoyed by certain reports which they stigmatised as `rubbish'. From all that I saw I came to the conclusion that propaganda is overdone and that it arouses little or no confidence. Foreign broadcasts are listened to in spite of the death penalty.
I cannot complain of my treatment by the Gestapo. However they kept a strict eye on me. My room was searched in my absence. Information about certain Czechs has been voluntarily given to the Gestapo, often even by other Czechs who wanted to secure some advantage or pay off some old score. In a hotel my attention was drawn to a waiter who it was hinted was a spy and an informer. I often talked with this man in order to observe him more closely, and gained the impression that he was a weak and unreliable character with a strong urge to play an important rule. Such people are dangerous especially if they are greedy of money.
In conclusion I realise that we in Switzerland live in a paradise without knowing it. In the eyes of the Czechs, Switzerland presents itself as a heavenly ideal, although in my view we Swiss scarcely live up to this."
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We have received the following report about the internal situation in Italy:
"It is impossible to sum up in a few words the reaction of the Italian people and of political circles to the capture of Tobruk and the advance to El Alamein. It would be untrue to say that Rommel's victory had increased the popularity of Fascism and the war, but it would be equally wrong to say that the announcement of the victory had left the Italians completely indifferent.
From the various reports coming from all parts of Italy we get the following picture: -
The convinced fascists were wildly enthusiastic during the week following the fall of Tobruk. They created the impression that the war was nearly over. There were scenes of patriotic exultation which had not been known for many years. The Government propaganda machine exploited the situation very cleverly and made out that this victory had been expected for a long time. Fascist officials mouthed ultra-nationalistic and imperialistic phrases in the attempt to win over the mass of the people and especially the factory workers. This propaganda seemed to have had a favourable effect on the ordinary people but the rejoicing amongst the people was due rather to the increased hope of an early peace than to the victory. Listening to their conversations you could not help but be struck by their ignorance as to the real nature of this world war. The capture of Alexandria was for them a matter of hours, and to their reckoning the occupation of Egypt would of course bring the war to an end.
The propaganda amongst the workers revived once more the myth of the "proletarian Italian nation", and the promise of better conditions for the Italian worker after a victory. The expression of their faces and the remarks made by workers after listening to such propaganda showed that it had not been without effect. However, objections carefully voiced and by serious people sufficed to dispel this wild patriotism. At all events the workers showed signs of disappointment that first of all the English had once again allowed themselves to be defeated; regret that the military defeat of Italy had again been postponed.
During the days that followed, the good effect of the work of socialist groups was evident in many factories. The conversations during the lunch hour about the nature of this war, its extent and significance, were in direct contrast to the optimism of the official propaganda. The objections were usually put in a very clever way as for example in the form of innocent-sounding questions about the distance between America and Egypt and between Cairo and the Urals.
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Apart from the working class there did not seem to be any other political groups during this time who remained unaffected by the fascist demagogy. The so-called bourgeois anti-fascists were ill at ease. We realised then that the anti-fascist sentiments of many middle-class people depend to a large extent on their conviction that Fascism is doomed through a military defeat. The slightest indication that the fascists might be victorious suffices to reduce these compatriots of ours to political indifference. Even if they were not taken in by the government propaganda this was more often due to their innate scepticism than to any deep anti-fascist convictions. It is one thing, they said, to occupy Tobruk, but it is quite another thing to hold it for any length of time. If Mussolini were able to have his photo taken at the foot of the pyramids then one could talk of victory. But why should he succeed where even Napoleon failed?
There were, however, some intellectuals who also did not lose their heads and remained steadfast in their opposition to the government. At first their point of view was considered to be too narrow, but the stabilisation of the front at El Alamein destroyed the illusion of a decisive victory and the opinion of the anti-fascists gradually gained ground.
During the general excitement aroused by the military victory we were able to make the following observations: the pro-English attitude of the Italian people is less widespread than is generally imagined; apart from certain circles of educated people there is not much friendly feeling towards England. Amongst the workers, particularly those who have been abroad, there is a strong desire that the world should be reorganised so as to abolish the unjust division into rich and poor nations. The fascists cannot claim to be the first to arouse these feelings amongst the Italian people for they have their roots in the past, long before Fascism was thought of. But one thing is certain - these feelings must be taken into consideration by those who will have the task of reorganising Europe and the world. The workers welcome every sign of really socialist propaganda, and it helps the socialist opposition to gain a foothold amongst the Italian workers."
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The following are extracts from a manifesto issued recently by the Socialist Party of Italy:
"Nothing exposes more clearly the cruel, decadent and anti-Italian character of the gangster band which rules our country to-day than the fact that they subordinate the whole of our country's interests and even the needs of military and political warfare to the single purpose of maintaining their political dictatorship. At a moment when the fate of Europe and of the Italian people are at stake, when millions of lives have been sacrificed and when every thinking human being is confronted with social problems of burning urgency, Mussolini, Ciano, Farinacci and their accomplices are dominated by one fear: that they might
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lose their personal power. They jeopardise the lives of ever increasing numbers of soldiers; they disregard honour and security; they are using up the last reserves of the country for the sole purpose of securing a few temporary successes for their own discredited regime. In order to deceive public opinion about the nature of this war and the part Italy is playing in it they have completely altered the role of propaganda. Whereas in other belligerent countries propaganda is an instrument subordinated to war purposes, Mussolini's personal and anti-national dictatorship makes the war a mere instrument of his personal propaganda. This has become obvious during recent months as groups and personalities have left the fascist camp who up till then had given their unreserved support, as for instance: Tassinari, Rossoni and the former secretary of the Fascist Party, Serena.
This compelled Mussolini to beg his German master for permission to organise in Italian towns anti-French irredentist demonstrations for the sole purpose of diverting the general discontent. He also had to ask urgently for German armed assistance to avert the danger to his African army which the British Eight Army represented. But even the help rendered by the Germans was not enough to counteract the discontent amongst the soldiers, the officers, the working and middle classes economically exploited by the Germans, and the Catholics. As real, decisive victories were lacking, a mirage had to be produced in front of their eyes: the occupation of Egypt; the Duce on horseback in front of the pyramids; Italian colonies on the fertile plains of the Nile; the entry of Italian armies into Palestine and Syria; the liberation of the sepulchre of Christ from the desecrating presence of the Protestant and Greek Orthodox and its return to the Pope.
But neither real but partial successes nor the anticipation of decisive victories has been able effectively to counteract the increasing disintegration of the bloc of agrarians, industrialists and clericals which have supported Mussolini hitherto.
Public opinions is only superficially affected by the military communiqués. Those who get enthusiastic over military successes and depressed by defeats are not representative of public opinion and the help they render is dubious. The Socialist Party of Italy and the political groups which have developed during recent years and which support the socialists in their fight against the regime are not deceived by military successes. Let there be no mistake:
The anti-fascist opposition does not base its hopes upon a military defeat of the country. The opposition does not endeavour to build up a democratic and freedom-loving regime upon the ruins of a degraded nation, - it desires the salvation of the Italian people and of Europe. The Socialist Party of Italy is no mere clique of ambitious politicians. Together with other anti-fascist groups it is the part of Italian people most aware of a national and social consciousness. It is the expression of a people in bondage determined not to die. The Socialist Party of Italy declares to all Italians that this war, whatever its outcome, means ruin for Italy. There is only one possibility of averting the catastrophe: a revolt of the army and people which shall do away with the anti-national regime of Mussolini, Ciano and Farinacci and bring this war to an end.
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When the fascists embarked upon this war they thought they would face an enemy already dying. At that time their propagandists boasted of their war; they called it a `fascist war', not realising just how correct this term was. This war is a fascist war indeed. It is a war of the Fascist Party; a war of a gang of adventurers in the service of Germany. Its most revolting feature is the fact that, although it is a fascist war, it is not fought by the fascist militia alone but under compulsion by the whole Italian nation: it does not affect the interests of the fascists alone but the whole people have to suffer for it. To-day it is common knowledge that this war is entirely fascist in character.
Whatever course the war may take, the interests of Italy will be subordinated to the interest of German imperialism. The Italian troops in Africa are under the command of a German general. Italian troops on the Eastern front have been degraded to the status of colonial troops or foreign legionaries and are serving under a German high command. Italian troops rank after Finns, Rumanians and Hungarians.
Many Italian workers are compelled to work in Germany under humiliating conditions. Their treatment is no better than that of prisoners of war or of slaves.
Nothing can alter the fact that in the event of the victory of the anti-democratic military alliance over Europe, the whole of Europe, Italy included, will become the prey of barbaric German imperialism.
DOWN WITH FASCISM!
DOWN WITH THE WAR!"
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