"Hitler's bitterest foe": Samuel Untermyer and the boycott of Nazi Germany, 1933-1938 *.
I regret to say that I would not be willing to contribute to any such purpose as is indicated by you. With a large part of this City almost starving, and with the growing needs for relief, I feel that projects of that kind can await more auspicious times. (2)
Untermyer, however, had another reason for declining to make a donation, he had only recently become the leader of a major campaign to defend the Jews of Nazi Germany. He devoted most of the remainder of his life to this campaign until he was forced to give up in 1938 because of failing health. This article seeks to reconstruct that role and the controversies that it created.
Samuel Untermyer (1858-1940) had come to prominence during the Gilded Age as the most successful member of his family's New York City law firm, Guggenheimer & Untermyer. (3) By the end of the nineteenth century, Untermyer had become a millionaire and purchased Greystone, a country estate in Yonkers just outside New York City. He was noted for his identification with the American Jewish community. However, during the early 1920s, the Zionists behind the Keren Hayesod (Palestine Foundation Fund) were looking for a prominent person to represent their cause in the public arena. By the early 1920s, Untermyer had mastered the art of self publicity and had become one of the most visible American Jews. Untermyer was offered and accepted the position of president of the Palestine Foundation Fund, which had been created to raise money for Jewish settlement in Palestine. Contrary to the expectations of the Zionists, he proved to be very generous with his time rather than his money. (4) However, he proved to be a very effective fund raiser and became very popular with the Jewish masses. The problem for the Zionists was that Untermyer had unorthodox views on the Zionist project, (5) warning for example about the dangers of alienating the Arab inhabitants of Palestine. (6) In November 1925, Untermyer was furious to learn a decision had been made behind his back to effectively replace him with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise. (7)
The appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, provided Untermyer with another opportunity to serve the Jewish people. Untermyer had no doubt as to Hitler's true intentions toward German Jewry. He made this abundantly clear on April 13 at a luncheon given in his honor by the American Friends of the Hebrew University. Untermyer had provided the funds for the auditorium on the university campus in memory of his late wife. In his speech Untermyer reflected that,
Nothing could better illustrate the long-sustained suffering and ultimate despair and the blighting, brutalizing after-effects of a disastrous war upon a once prosperous, enlightened nation than the ascendancy to power of a bigoted brute of the Hitler type and the tame submission to his yoke of a proud, self-respecting people. Deep is our pity for the persecution, akin to that of the Dark Ages, of our unfortunate brethren, it should be still greater for the remaining ninety-nine per cent of the German people who are thereby relegated to semi-barbarism. It is now definitely established that there is deep-seated, continuing official propaganda to minimize and mislead the Jews and the rest of the civilized world as to the extent of the persecution with the deliberate purpose of withdrawing interest and support .... But we are not without means of defense. The first step of world Jewry must be to find ways to care for our disfranchised men, women and children, and more particularly to so enlarge the scope of the Hebrew University to receive our youth to whom the doors of the German universities have now been closed by this brutal decree. Our next act should be to see to it that nowhere in the world and under no circumstances should a Jew, from this day forth, buy or use merchandise manufactured in Germany or support Germany industry in any form. The action taken in that respect by the Jewish shopkeepers in London should be followed the world over. (8)
In making this speech, Untermyer was aware that most of the leaders of the American Jewish community, in particular the American Jewish Committee, opposed a trade boycott. The Jewish War Veterans were the only mainstream Jewish organization that supported one. (9) It was also a difficult decision for Untermyer as the son of German Jews. In a letter to his friend Colonel Edward M. House, President Woodrow Wilson's private adviser, the following year he explained that,
As one of German parentage, whose ancestors were for centuries imbedded in the soil of that land, and as one who has spent long periods of time in that country and has many dear friends there, I cannot resist the strongest feeling of sympathy toward the German people, nor a corresponding feeling of revulsion against the sadistic cruelties of the present regime. (10)
A few days after Untermyer's address, the Russian-born Dr. Abram Coralnik, associate editor of the Yiddish daily, Der Tog, announced the formation of the American League for the Defense of Jewish Rights (ALDJR) and the creation of a provisional Boycott Committee by this organization. (11) Meanwhile on May 7, Untermyer used a Keren Hayseod campaign speech in Boston to extend his call for a boycott to the whole American nation, with its scope to include patronage of German ships and visits to Germany. He also observed,
I am, however, aware that there is a very large and respectable element among our people, for whose opinion I have the greatest respect, that advises against this course but fails to suggest any other remedy. Their argument is based upon the fear that if the boycott proves effective Hitler and his fellow ruffians in office will carry out their implied threats and let loose their hatred by indulging and encouraging bloody pogroms against their unfortunate victims which they otherwise would not dare. That is what they started to do and what I fear they will do in any event unless restrained by some remaining shred of fear of the opinion of the civilized world. (12)
The speech was considered sufficiently important for the German Embassy in Washington to send a report to Berlin and from this time onward Untermyer's anti-Nazi activities were closely monitored by the Germans. (13)
Henry L. Feingold has written of the conflict between arriviste Jews from Eastern Europe and established Jews from Central Europe. Many of the arriviste leaders held radical left-wing political beliefs and were outside the mainstream American society and economy. The founders of the ALDJR were radical East European Jews and recognized that their cause required a leader who was able to appeal to the general Jewish community and operate within mainstream American society. However, most established Jewish leaders still opposed an economic boycott of Germany. Untermyer was one of the few exceptions. He was also a Wall Street lawyer, a former vice-president of the American Jewish Congress, and a prominent Democrat. Ezekiel Rabinowitz, the Executive Secretary of the ALDJR, decided to approach him. Untermyer agreed to make a plea for unity on the question in a speech on May 12. (14) Rabinowitz was delighted by the enthusiastic response by the Jewish masses to Untermyer's speech. He offered him the presidency or honorary presidency of the ALDJR and invited him to speak at a boycott conference to be held at the Hotel Astor on May 14, an invitation that Untermyer accepted. (15)
The first conference of the ALDJR attracted nearly 600 delegates representing 288 organizations in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It was addressed by New York City Mayoral candidate Fiorello H. LaGuardia, Untermyer's friend James W. Gerard, a former United States Ambassador to Germany, and Jacob De Haas, a well-known Zionist. (16) In his address, Untermyer described Germany's policy towards its Jewish citizens as a "cruel campaign of extermination." He also condemned the 'timid' American Jewish leaders who opposed the boycott but proposed no alternative means of defending their brethren in Germany. He also noted that,
It has been brought to my attention that since this boycott was announced the ... brands and tickets, or what-not, that are required to be on all imported goods, are being removed, and that some of the greatest offenders are the proprietors of department stores. I do not believe that the heads of these stores, many of whom are Jews, know what their subordinates have been doing in this direction, and am sure that when their attention is called to these violations of law they will be immediately corrected. The Jewish people should, however, in their own defense, be careful to see to it that they are not imposed upon and should withdraw their patronage from any merchant who seeks to deceive them. Meantime, the attention of the authorities in Washington should be called to these violations of law, and they should be asked to enforce the penalties prescribed by the statutes. (17)
The conference resolved to mount a boycott of German goods and services, in cooperation with the committee of Jews in Britain represented by Lord Melchett. (18) A month later, Untermyer formally accepted the ALDJR's invitation to serve as honrary president of the National Boycott Committee of America. (19)
Untermyer soon came under attack from other American Jewish leaders for meddling in a matter outside his area of expertise. In a note attached to a special circular report sent to Untermyer, Morris Waldman, Executive Secretary of the American Jewish Committee, observed,
Above all, it is imperative that in this grave and highly delicate situation, no individual should speak or act for the Jewish people, but all should entrust the responsibility to recognized organizations like the American Jewish Committee and B'nai B'rith who have been dealing with these problems for many years.
I have given considerable study to this subject and gathered a mass of information, all leading to the conclusion that the Hitler party is bent upon the extermination of the Jews in Germany, or upon driving them out of the country. The men in control are bigoted fanatics to whom neither reason, justice nor humanity makes the slightest appeal. Their hatred is deep-seated and nothing but the fear of consequences will affect them.
This reply provoked an even stronger rebuke from Waldman, who commented,
Strong as your convictions, which we respect, may be, I keenly regret, frankly, that a man of your outstanding position in the community whose utterances exert a great influence upon public opinion, did not consult with the American Jewish Committee to ascertain the reasons for their attitude, and what methods they have been following, before giving public utterance to views which, you must have known, would be widely published and profoundly influence public sentiment. (20)
In late June, together with LaGuardia, Gerard, and others, Untermyer addressed the Women's Conference on the Boycott at the Hotel Astor. The conference launched a nationwide boycott of German goods and services. It supplemented a boycott by professional trades and industries previously begun by the ALDJR. (21) The boycott had four stages. The first involved discovering which businesses stocked German goods, either overtly or covertly. Intelligence was acquired from one of three sources: information from concerned citizens; questionnaires sent out to businesses by the ALDJR; and interviews or fieldwork by members of the ALDJR. The second stage involved writing to businesses and asking them to comply with the boycott. When appropriate, the ALDJR provided information about American or other non-German substitutes. If the business refused to comply, the ALDJR instituted a boycott of that concern. Sometimes circulars were distributed informing customers of the firm's links with Germany. After the ALDJR was reorganized as the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights, the names of offending firms would be published in the organization's journal, the Economic Bulletin. (22) However, the organization did not support directly or indirectly picketing, but as Untermyer told his son Irwin,
Whilst our organization does not and cannot from motives of policy support picketing, and has taken every opportunity of so explaining, between you and me we are glad that it is being done, and hope that it will continue. It has had very effective results. (23)
The ALDJR did not undertake to cover the whole of the United States; some satellite committees were also created. When the Philadelphia newspaper publisher J. David Stern discovered that Untermyer was establishing an anti-Nazi organization, he rushed to Untermyer's law firm office in New York City to find out how he could help. Untermyer set Stern three tasks. First, to get the large Philadelphia stores to boycott German goods. Second, to organize a public protest meeting with prominent non-Jewish speakers. Third, to raise money. That same day, the board of the ALDJR appointed Stern secretary-treasurer. Stern organized a protest rally at the Hammerstein Opera House in Philadelphia with speeches by Governor Gifford Pinchot and others. The composition of the large audience disheartened Stern. A third were Christians, of whom the majority were Quakers. Jews of East European origin made up the remainder. Stern was concerned that, except for two others and himself, there were no Jews of German origin in the audience. (24) The meeting agreed to form the Pennsylvania Committee for the Defense of Human Rights with Pinchot as Honorary Chairman and Richard J. Beamish, a prominent Catholic layman and former Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as Chairman. (25) Stern soon discovered that Philadelphia's storekeepers followed the pattern of the audience at the rally, for stores owned by Christians were more willing to boycott German imports than those owned by fellow Jews of German origin. (26)
Other satellite committees were formed. In Cleveland, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver established the Cleveland Committee for the Defense of Human Rights Against Nazism. In Illinois, Dr. Paul Hutchinson, editor of the Catholic World, and Salomon O. Levinson, attorney and Nobel Prize winner, formed the Chicago Committee for the Defense of Human Rights against Nazism, of which the former was president. (27)
Untermyer was particularly furious at Macy's for continuing to sell German goods, because the owners were descended from German Jews like himself. However, in the summer of 1933 the mass circulation New York newspapers refused to publish his attacks on their biggest advertiser, unlike the Jewish national daily, Der Tog. (28) Therefore he persuaded Stern, who was publisher of the Philadelphia Record, to publish his attacks on Macy's. Untermyer then circulated thousands of reprints in New York City. (29) On October 2, R.H. Macy and Company published a full page advertisement on the boycott in the New York daily newspapers. The advertisement was entitled "Three Personal Letters concerning the sale of German Goods by Department Stores in the United States." The letters were purportedly correspondence about the boycott between an unnamed customer and Percy S. Straus, the store's president. Furthermore a statement was issued by the Retail Dry Goods Association on behalf of twenty leading New York department stores, many of which were owned by Jews, stating they had minimized their purchases of German merchandise, but that the boycott of their stores by the ALDJR would "create a dangerous precedent." (30)
A half-page advertisement in response to that of R.H. Macy, signed by Untermyer as president of the ALDJR, was refused by three New York morning newspapers, the Times, the Herald-Tribune, and the American, for publication on October 3. Untermyer challenged the accuracy and sincerity of some of the statements in Macy's advertisement. The well-known radical liberal magazine, The Nation, considered that the newspapers' "refusal to publish even as paid advertising a statement from a man of the standing of Mr. Untermyer, who could be held liable for any libelous material therein contained, constitutes a unique and flagrant suppression."
The Nation offered to publish the advertisement without payment in its next issue. (31) On October 25, it published an article on "The Suppressed Advertisement Concerning R.H. Macy" that embarrassed the department store, (32) within which was the text of Untermyer's advertisement. It took the form of an open letter to Straus, in which Untermyer observed
that the decision of the New York department stores to which you refer [in your advertisement of October 2], against refusing to further handle goods made in Germany, is said to have been influenced largely by your leadership as the most important store in the group, supported by another Jewish-managed store in New York City; that so long as you persisted in continuing to buy German goods you would have maintained an unfair advantage over them if they had failed to follow your lead; that they preferred not to subject themselves to such unequal competition.
He also wrote
that the "dangerous precedent" of the boycott, to which you so feelingly refer, is in no respect dangerous nor is it in no respect dangerous nor is it a "precedent" in that is a purely defensive counter-boycott against a vastly more impressive and all-embracing boycott that is being enforced against all Jews in Germany. It follows the precedent that was set by Germany when it was brutally inaugurated and actively continued to prosecute the boycott of Jewish manufacturers and shopkeepers and professional men by the entire German nation for the avowed purpose of destroying their means of livelihood and of ruining and exterminating the German Jews.
Untermyer's open letter was followed by a summary of Macy's response. Straus denied asking any New York newspaper to suppress the advertisement. He went on further to observe that,
Action on the part of a large business house which tends to accelerate racial cleavage in the United States is un-American. The policy of a mercantile establishment ought not to be directed to inculcating or to opposing the views of anyone on the ground of race, creed, or politics. (33)
The Jewish War Veterans were one of the first national Jewish organizations to support Untermyer's boycott campaign. (34) They circulated half a million stamps to paste on the back of letters urging a boycott of German goods. Unfortunately in June the Postmaster General issued a ruling barring this action. (35) The following month, Untermyer addressed the annual convention of the Jewish War Veterans over a nationwide NBC hook-up. As he observed to his friend Adolph S. Ochs, publisher of the New York Times, his address was a response to Hitler's libel that the Jews were cowards. In his address he stressed the patriotism of American Jewry:
We may well hold up our heads, for the record is one of which we are and should be intensely proud.... It demonstrates that at all times patriotism has been the guiding star of the American Jew. In all the wars of the Republic his deeds have cast their fragrance of heroism and sacrifice over every page of the military and naval annals of the nation. (36)
At the beginning of his 1933 European summer vacation, Untermyer attended a three-day conference in Amsterdam from July 19 to 21. More than thirty representatives of world Jewry sought to devise a strategy to counter Germany's persecution of the Jews. The conference had been postponed a month, at the request of the ALDJR, so that Untermyer could attend. (37) On his way to the conference, Untermyer was interviewed by the London Sunday Express. He was described as one of Hitler's bitterest foes, whose righteous indignation had fired him with youthful vigor in his old age. Untermyer claimed that Hitler had tried to negotiate through one of his henchmen, but had refused. Untermyer told the newspaper, "I have no intention of going to see Hitler, although asked by his friends to do so. It is an essential part of the Hitler policy that the Jew shall be persecuted to the point of extermination." (38)
The German Embassy in the Hague reported that support for the boycott at the conference was particularly strong among the Polish delegates. (39) The conference adopted a resolution that called for a boycott by world Jewry of German goods and services, and agreed to form a World Jewish Economic Federation with Untermyer as president. (40) But the Federation was not to be a success because it had insufficient funds and poor intelligence. In addition, Lord Melchett, the wealthy British industrialist, had stood down because of a conflict of interest. His company, ICI, had dealings with IG Farben. His uncle, Sir Robet Mond, who took his place, was not an effective replacement. (41)
Untermyer returned to New York on August 6. Chartered boats greeted him in Quarantine carrying placards welcoming him home. Jewish veterans and other organizations paid tribute to him at the pier when his ship docked. (42) Before returning to his home, Untermyer went to the WABC radio studio where he made an appeal, which was also broadcast by the Columbia network, in which he described the boycott as a "holy war in the cause of humanity." In his appeal Untermyer criticized some of his fellow Jews:
As to the boycott, strange to say a mere handful in number, but powerful in influence, of our thoughtless but doubtless well intentioned Jews seem obsessed and frightened at the bare mention of the word "boycott." It signifies and conjures up to them images of force and illegality, such as have on occasions in the past characterized struggles between labor unions and their employers. As these timid souls are capitalists and employers, the word and all that it implies are hateful to their ears. In point of fact, it signifies nothing of the kind. These gentlemen do not know what they are talking or thinking about. Instead of surrendering to their vague fears and half-baked ideas, our first duty is to educate them as to what is meant by a purely defensive economic boycott, and what we are doing and proposing. Admittedly, the boycott is our only really effective weapon. These gentlemen who are taking counsel of their groundless fears to the exclusion of their reason have done nothing and have no program except to attempt to arouse world opinion which is and has been from the outset on our side, as it was bound to be because of the brutal, senseless, unprovoked assault upon civilization.... What then have these amiable gentlemen accomplished and what do they hope or expect to accomplish in the way of stemming this conflagration of civilization by their "feather-duster" methods? You cannot put out a fire ... by just looking on until the mad flames, fanned by the wind of hate, have destroyed everything. What we are proposing and have already gone far toward doing, is to prosecute a purely defensive economic boycott that will undermine the Hitler regime and bring the German people to their senses by destroying their export trade on which their very existence depends.
In the same broadcast, he condemned the American Jewish Committee and the leadership of the American Jewish Congress for failing to support the boycott. (43) Indeed, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise had authorized Professor D. Cohen, Secretary of the Dutch Relief Committee, to issue a statement during the Amsterdam Conference that the majority of American Jews were not behind the boycott. (44)
In late September, the German Ambassador, Dr. Hans Luther, had a meeting with Hull to discuss the boycott. According to Luther,
[Hull] talked about the difficulties that were arising for the American Government from the continuous propaganda undertaken by the Jews. Pressure was continuing to increase in an attempt to get the American Government of its own accord to take a definitive stand against Germany on account of the treatment of Jews in Germany. Hull said he did not know, for example, whether news used for propaganda purposes or reports on speeches from Germany were in fact correct. However, they certainly had an effect in America. He was worried that the situation could get more difficult by the beginning of January  when Congress met, and also more difficult in general through the fact that some of the Senators would then be involved in election campaigns. (45)
Hull recollected in his memoirs that he suggested that, if Germany ceased mistreating its Jews, then it would be possible to curtail the boycott and similar activities in the United States. (46) This is not mentioned in Luther's report.
On August 20, the National Executive Committee of the American Jewish Congress decided to join the boycott. Like Untermyer, the Congress had become exasperated by the lack of response by Roosevelt and Hull to the persecution of Germany's Jews. Untermyer was a guest speaker at the AJC meeting. He expressed the hope that the Congress would coordinate its boycott campaign with that of the ALDJR. (47) This did not happen, although Wise and Bernard S. Deutsch visited Untermyer for this purpose in mid-September. (48) Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, who had become a key adviser to Untermyer behind the scenes, strongly advised him against this move, because it would cause friction and eventually submerge the ALDJR. Silver believed that the ALDJR's fund raising campaign would suffer from being associated with the Congress "concerning whose program and activities there is a sharp division of sentiment in American Jewry. Many who favor boycott will not contribute when it becomes known that part of fund will go to Congress." (49) Untermyer ultimately heeded Silver's advice.
In August, the World Zionist Organization signed the Haavara Agreement with Germany. Funds confiscated from emigrant Jews were to be used to buy German machinery for Palestine. Untermyer told the B'nai B'rith at the annual reunion of its tri-state lodges in Youngstown, Ohio, that "the Zionist Organization has no business to enter upon such negotiation. ... Why sell our birthright for a mess of pottage?" (50) The Zionists were aware that the Haavara Agreement would be badly received in America as Morris Rothenburg observed in a letter to Chaim Weizmann:
The agreement which the Anglo-Palestine Bank made with the German authorities has made a terrible impression everywhere, particularly in America, where Untermyer is playing havoc with the Zionists for it. The sentiment of the public is entirely with his point of view and I am inclined to believe that the instinct of the Jewish masses is correct. You cannot in one breath call upon Jews and the friends of Jews to help us boycott German goods and at the same time violate the boycott ourselves. They cannot and will not understand the argument in favor of the transaction. (51)
The Zionists tried unsuccessfully to placate Untermyer, but he regarded their dealings as "being reprehensible" and making a "breach in the boycott." (52)
The difference of opinion between Untermyer and the Zionists led to the end of his friendship with Albert Einstein. The Zionists advised Einstein to shun Untermyer when the latter accepted a faculty position at Princeton in August 1932. (53) Einstein later had second thoughts and visited Untermyer at Greystone to apologize. Untermyer soon became engaged in a debate on the persecution of Jews in German and the importance of intensifying the boycott of German goods in the United States. Einstein is reported to have expressed the opinion that Hitler could not be stopped. (54) Einstein's fatalism can be explained by his belief in determinism. (55) But he remained opposed to the boycott. As he later told Untermyer,
Despite my greatest respect for the cause for which you are tirelessly fighting, I can nevertheless not comply with your friendly request [to support the boycott]. I regard it as bad taste when an amateur pretends to be an artist. I can only make an effective contribution in the long run to the cause of freedom and the Jews by creating permanent values in my own field of work. (56)
On September 10 at an ALDJR conference, Untermyer was elected president of the organization. At the conference Silver took issue with Untermyer's prediction that the boycott had the potential to cause starvation in Germany and the collapse of the Nazi government. He correctly foresaw that it would be "a long battle." (57) The Roosevelt Administration remained opposed to the boycott. The ALDJR had requested a message of support from Roosevelt for a testimonial dinner honoring Untermyer for his work in defense of German Jewry, but Hull advised the president's secretary that "it would be hard to frame a message that would not be interpreted as at least an implied endorsement of such a boycott, which is contrary to this Government's beliefs." (58)
However, it would be wrong to infer from this that Roosevelt was indifferent to the plight of Germany's Jews. According to the diary of James G. McDonald, the League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Roosevelt apparently believed that the Germans were considering the mass murder of Europe's Jews and wanted to find a way to warn the German people. (59) However, it would appear, as Conrad Black has argued, that domestic political considerations led him to decide against this course of action. (60)
By the autumn of 1933, it had become apparent that agents of the German government were seeking to seize control of German American community organizations. In October 1933 New York City Mayor, John P. O'Brien, upheld a ban on a pro-Nazi rally in celebration of German Day. In a radio address Untermyer supported the mayor's decision. He also spoke of how a Nazi agent, Heinz Sparknoebel, had tried unsuccessfully to gain control of the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold by intimidating the proprietor, Bernard Ridder. (61) In an interview with the New York Times, Untermyer also urged the Immigration Bureau to deport immediately several people associated with the organizers of the rally, the United German Societies. (62) His cover exposed, Sparknoebel was suddenly recalled to Berlin. (63)
Untermyer's concern over the activities of German secret agents in the United States led to a secret alliance with Congressman Samuel Dickstein. This was despite the fact that Untermyer considered that the hearings on Nazi activities in the United States conducted by Dickstein's subcommittee of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in November 1933 (64) "had been harmful to the general cause." (65) In March 1934, Dickstein finally persuaded the House of Representatives to establish a Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized to Investigate Nazi Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities. He declined the offer of chairman because he felt that a Jew at the head of the committee would only incite further prejudice. (66) Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League refused to assign any of their investigators to Dickstein's investigation. (67) Dickstein's committee submitted its report in February 1935. Dickstein felt the 74th Congress had buried the Special Committee on Un-American Activities. (68) Concerned about his and Dickstein's failure to halt Nazi subversion in the United States, Untermyer called a secret meeting at Greystone during the first week of May 1935. The group of middle aged men present included three film studio and radio executives, a priest, a rabbi, a clergyman, a group of Wall Street industrialists, a labor leader and two former government officials. The meeting agreed to form a secret organization known as the Board to help Dickstein and Untermyer expose German subversion. One of Dickstein's staff, Richard Rollins, was appointed as the Board's chief investigator. Untermyer paid Rollins a small salary and operating expenses. (69) Rollins had already been carrying out investigations of German subversion for Dickstein as requested by Untermyer for about a year. (70) Investigations on behalf of the Board were still being carried out by Rollins in October 1938. (71)
In November 1933, Untermyer decided to respond to the attempts by the German government to undermine the boycott by attacking the German Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Hans Luther, in a speech to a meeting of the ALDJR held in Cleveland on November 1. (72) The meeting was chaired by Silver. In his speech Untermyer referred to the Congressional hearings on Nazi propaganda in the United States, and denounced the German ambassador, saying, "One of the most destructive of propagandists is Dr. Luther who, I say, is masquerading as the German ambassador and is really a propagandist." (73)
Luther quickly complained to the State Department about Untermyer's speech. Hull told Luther he regretted the situation. (74) He also issued a press release expressing "his concern that an Ambassador accredited to the Government of the United States should be subjected to a public attack." (75) Untermyer in turn thought Hull was "most precipitous and unjudicial" in expressing his regrets to Luther. He argued that Hull had no right, without inquiry into Untermyer's allegation that Germany was funding propaganda in the United States, to give credence to Luther's "monstrous falsehood" by denying the allegation. (76) Untermyer told Silver that "the lying statement of Dr. Luther that he knew of no propaganda in this country is about the most brazen piece of impertinence I have encountered in a long time." (77)
Among the correspondence received by Hull concerning this incident was a telegram from Cyrus Adler, president of the American Jewish Committee, saying that his committee wished to be entirely disassociated from Untermyer's attack on the Department of State. (78)
Untermyer was to clash with Hull on a regular basis during the boycott campaign. As he observed in 1937,
Mr. Hull has been always, at heart, a "free trader".... I regard Mr. Hull's views on the so-called "Reciprocal Trade Agreements" as distinctly disastrous to our prosperity. If persisted in they will come pretty near destroying our export trade in favor of the pauper labor of Europe, against which we cannot compete--with our high standards of living. I have given close study to the operations of these reciprocal trade agreements since they came into being. They have proved disastrous except with respect to South and Central American countries, where I approve of them. I do not regard my views as to the attitude of Mr. Hull in dealing with anti-Semitic questions as having any relation whatever to anti-Semitism in this country.... All I know is that although I give Mr. Hull credit for being a friend to Jews and liberalism generally, his way of expressing himself is so inconclusive that in the end he does us more harm than good. (79)
At the end of November 1933, the German General Consulate in New York reported to the Embassy in Washington that Untermyer was understood to be prepared under certain conditions to revoke the boycott. His conditions were the repeal of the laws against the Jews and the reinstatement of an acceptable number of them as state officials. He also suggested that Hitler include the Jews in a published message of peace on the occasion of the upcoming Christmas festival. Untermyer made a solemn pledge of secrecy, which the General Consulate observed was out of character. They argued that his desire to reach an understanding had to be seen in the context of the growing antisemitic mood in the United States. The report writer also observed,
It is certainly possible that he hopes to gain in stature through his role as a peace mediator. I consider it beyond doubt that he is in a position, despite hostility in his own camp, to influence the boycott decisively in one direction or another; it is precisely the radical wing that listens to him. I agree therefore with my informant who considers Untermyer's statement very important. (80)
It is clear that the General Consulate wrongly assumed that their government would be interested in negotiating with Untermyer.
During November, Silver suggested to Untermyer that the boycott would be more effective if non-Jews were also involved in the campaign. Salomon Levinson, who had organized a boycott committee in Chicago mainly with non-Jews, suggested that the ALDJR should also be non-sectarian. Untermyer agreed. (81) After a great deal of discussion and deliberation Untermyer persuaded the ALDJR to change its name to the "Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights" (NALCHR). (82) On December 23, Untermyer was elected president, Silver became first vice-president, and Coralnik became second vice-president. Rabinowitz remained executive secretary. (83) Untermyer had already succeeded in persuading several prominent non-Jewish statesmen to serve as directors of the ALDJR, including his old friend Republican Congressman James M. Beck, (84) his former adversary Theodore Roosevelt, (85) James W. Gerard, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, and Arthur S. Tompkins, Justice of the Appellate Division of the New York County Supreme Court. (86) However, some of those he invited to join declined. A good example is Professor Raymond Moley, editor of Today. Moley argued that membership would compromise his integrity as a journalist, and that he would be of more use to the NALCHR as an independent journalist. (87) While Untermyer's autocratic management style may have been effective at his law firm, it caused great problems with his colleagues at the NALCHR. Benjamin Dubovsky, one of the founders of the ALDJR, called Untermyer the "Fuhrer." (88) The NALCHR's work was to be marred by factionalism and personality clashes. (89) For example, the good natured Rabbi Silver withdrew from an active role in the NALCHR in late 1934 because of what he saw as Untermyer's dictatorship. (90)
In January 1934, Untermyer began his annual vacation at his winter estate, the Willows, in Palm Springs. While he was there he engaged in an ill-tempered correspondence with David A. Brown, editor of the American Hebrew, who proposed the creation of a united boycott organization. In a telegram Untermyer declared,
Remember that [the American Jewish] Congress was for six months opposing boycott whilst we alone were prosecuting it[.] We have far reaching plans and are always welcoming cooperation[.] Congress is doing nothing but talking and collecting money[.] Whatever has been done here and abroad we have done[.] Perhaps it is more than you imagine[.] (91)
Despite Untermyer's rejection of Brown's proposal, privately he had doubts. He was depressed by the lack of publicity regarding NALCHR's work and the fact that its mail campaign in New York City had only raised $ 5,000, whereas the American Jewish Congress, which had started its boycott campaign six months after the NALCHR, had already collected $25,000. He observed to Silver that,
I am afraid we made a mistake in not joining with them. They may have, and doubtless have, a far more extensive organization and they seem to get somewhere with it. In this part of the country [California] they are well known and we are utterly unknown. In point of fact, we have no real organization. (92)
Silver felt that Untermyer's criticisms of the NALCHR were unfair and once again rejected talk of unity. As he wrote,
You complain of the publicity work of the League. I myself have been not at all pleased with it. However, we must face the facts in the situation. The newspapers in New York are unwilling to give much space to Boycott news. They clamp down even on such sensational matters as the picketing of Macy's.... Please bear in mind one fact, my dear Mr. Untermyer. The monies the American Jewish Congress collects must be split ten ways and more for its numerous activities and its expensive office organization. Our funds are applied solely and exclusively to Boycott work, and while larger sums would, of course, be highly desirable, nevertheless, we are able to carry on an effective piece of work with limited funds at our disposal.... If you have any doubt of the effectiveness of the League in regard to the Boycott, let me call your attention to the work of Mrs. Harris in putting through the Boycott resolution at the meeting of the Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations in New York in the face of tremendous opposition on the part of the leaders. (93)
Later that year Silver had to intervene when he learned that Untermyer had started negotiations regarding closer cooperation with Wise without the knowledge of the NALCHR. (94)
Untermyer continued to campaign during his vacation. On February 13, he addressed a mass meeting in San Francisco, at which about 12,000 people were present. Untermyer was assigned a 24 hour police guard. (95) He observed in his address that,
We know it is the openly avowed official policy and boasted purpose eventually [of the German government] to exterminate [Germany's Jews].... Whether by murder, suicide or starvation is immaterial. If they cannot be rescued through the pressure of the boycott, or by some other means, death has no terrors for them, for they are every day suffering a living death. Driven out of the professions, excluded from all business and labor unions or other means of livelihood, their children denied the use of the schools and treated with contempt and unbelievable cruelty--what more terrible fate can befall them! (96)
Toward the end of March, while Untermyer was still in California, the NALCHR succeeded in persuading E W. Woolworth Company to discontinue importing goods from Germany. (97) The German Consulate in New York reported that similar declarations had been made by R.H. Macy & Co., Saks, Gimbel's, Bloomingdale's, Hearn, Best, Constable, and Lord & Taylor. (98) Byron D. Miller, president of Woolworth's, sent a telegram to Rabinowitz saying that "we have discontinued importation owing to extreme sales resistance." (99) This was followed by a decision by John Wanamaker, one of the few large non-Jewish department stores, to discontinue dealing in German goods. (100)
Woolworth's did not honor its agreement. (101) This may have partly been the result of retaliation against its German subsidiary in May 1934. (102) The German Foreign Ministry reported the following month that Woolworth's had continued to purchase goods from Germany through its subsidiaries in Canada and Great Britain. The General Consulate in New York also reported that Woolworth's was still purchasing goods from Germany for resale in the majority of its stores in the United States. (103) In a letter to Miller, Untermyer contrasted Woolworth's position with the absolute adherence to the boycott by Sears, Roebuck & Co. (104)
In late April, the German Embassy reported to Berlin that it had been informed that Untermyer had had a meeting with Roosevelt, which was also attended by Hull and Henry Morgenthau, Jr. Referring to similar cases in the past, namely Russia, Untermyer urged the President to make representations to Germany regarding its antisemitic policies. He was confronted by a very reserved attitude on the part of the president. Roosevelt told Untermyer that he did not intend to take such action under any circumstances partly, because the American Jewish community was itself divided, and partly because fundamental considerations led him to the conviction that such a step was not appropriate. The Embassy reported Untermyer was said to attribute Roosevelt's position to the influence of Hull. It also cautioned Berlin against concluding from Roosevelt's position that he approved of Germany's Jewish policy. (105)
By May 1934, the United German Societies had established an organization called the German-American Protective Alliance (DAWA) to boycott the boycotters. The DAWA argued that NALCHR was directed against everything German, including German Americans and their businesses. (106) It began to post German blue eagles on the windows of stores that refused to boycott German goods. (107) In response, Untermyer prepared an advertisement entitled "To Our Patriotic German Citizens." In a lengthy text over his signature, he said that he had no quarrel with American citizens of German birth or ancestry. The boycott was aimed only at German goods, ships, and shipping. (108) Unlike the case of the advertisement about Macy's, the New York newspapers published this advertisement on May 15.
Two days later, on May 17, a mass meeting against the boycott was held at Madison Square Garden by a new organization, the Friends of New Germany. Against a backdrop of Nazi swastikas, various speakers condemned Untermyer and the boycott. His name was booed and met with chants of "Hang him!" One speaker, Louis Zahne, suggested that Untermyer had tried to defraud the American people in his May 15 advertisement. In it, he had referred to himself as "president" with the idea, according to Zahne, of deceiving the American people that Roosevelt supported the boycott. (109)
As well as his public campaign in 1934 Untermyer also supported a confidential approach by Colonel House (110) to the American Ambassador in Berlin, William E. Dodd, in confidence to try and negotiate a change in Germany's policy toward its Jews. (111) House had been invited to Germany to discuss the Jewish situation but had refused, suggesting that Dodd should negotiate instead. (112) House also told Dodd that the cause of this move was the growing antisemitism in the United States, which had provoked opposition even provoked opposition even to Roosevelt because of his handful of Jewish appointments. (113) While House was one of Untermyer's friends, according to Dodd he wanted to ease off the boycott and to reduce the number of Jews in high positions in the United States. (114) Untermyer was probably aware that House had views that many people might consider antisemitic.
On June 4, Ambassador Dodd visited the German Foreign Minister, Konstantin Baron von Neurath, alone in his home. He read a letter from House and suggested that he see Hitler and sound him out. Von Neurath said he would do so as soon as Hitler was home again, and that Hjalmar Schacht, President of the Reichsbank, and Kurt Schmitt, Reich Economics Minister, would join him. He suggested that restraining propagandists Julius Streicher and Dr. Josef Goebbels was the first move, and that some Nazi leader deliver a speech calling for moderation. (115) Von Neurath recorded in a memorandum that Dodd had met with House on a recent trip to the United States. House had said a precondition for the suspension of the boycott was that further measures against the Jews must cease, and, in particular, Streicher's hate campaign must end and his publication, Der Sturmer, be banned. The letter that Dodd read to him was in reference to the Ambassador's conversation with House. (116) In late June, House informed Untermyer that Dodd had been told that "official assurances [were] not possible but unofficial moderation emphasized." (117) By mid-July, however, it was clear that the secret negotiations had been unsuccessful because the German government intensified rather than moderated its antisemitic policies. (118)
In late July, Untermyer was visited by a German secret agent posing as a journalist. The agent reported that,
This 75 year old lawyer has his office on the 16th floor of 30 Pine Street, the nearest parallel street to Wall Street. The lift takes you straight to his office. It is very difficult to arrange an appointment. In spite of the reliable recommendations you are thoroughly questioned as to what you want and mostly you are turned away. I was lucky; apparently, I did not give the impression I was carrying a revolver. You have to force yourself to remain calm when you hear this ruthless little man speak so openly and freely about all the things he has brought upon our country.
The agent reported that Untermyer told him that,
Boycotts in general are a weapon that I personally do not like and whose use does not therefore appeal. This weapon was and is, however, the only one with which I can damage and influence Germany. I would give up the boycott today rather than tomorrow if the Jews in Germany were given the rights again that they had. I am very German, my wife was Ayran. I have done much for Germany; I spoke and wrote extensively against the Treaty of Versailles. After the [outbreak] of the war I was appointed Counsellor of the German Embassy in Washington. My and our boycott does not only extend to the Jews but above all to the Catholics and the American workers. A boycott of this kind does not succeed with the Jews alone. I have never relied upon newspapers. I have always had my own investigations carried out and then not only lead the boycott in America but also in various countries in Europe, especially Holland. (119)
The following year another German secret agent succeeded in infiltrating Untermyer's inner circle to gain intelligence on the progress of the boycott from the lawyer himself. (120)
In early November 1934, the NALCHR announced that a world conference would begin on November 15 in London. Its aim was to intensify and coordinate the boycott of Germany. (121) Some two hundred delegates attended the London conference from eighteen countries in Europe, North and South America, and Africa. There were representatives of nearly fifty organizations including Socialists, labor unionists, Trotskyites, Zionists and Quakers. (122) Significantly there was no representative from the Soviet Union. The public session of the conference on November 26 resolved to establish a World Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi Council to Champion Human Rights (WNSANCHR), which replaced the defunct World Jewish Economic Federation. The new organization received the endorsement of the British labor movement, (123)
Untermyer was rather disappointed that although the four-day conference was attended by eminent delegates from many countries and culminated in a vast meeting attended by thousands, "not a line appeared in any important daily newspaper." He believed that the British government had instructed the newspapers to boycott the meeting, on demand of the German government. (124) The Gestapo suggested otherwise:
If the leader of the boycott had hoped to win over more of the English population to the cause of the boycott through this conference in London, he appears to have been unsuccessful. The British public scarcely took any notice of these events. This lack of interest was also seen at the mass meeting at the end of the conference that was attended by only approximately 4,000 people. There was no discussion of the conference in the English press. Only two dailies, the Daily Herald and the Manchester Guardian, mentioned the conference in an inconspicuous position in their newspapers. (125)
The conference also resulted in the establishment of a British Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi Council (BNSANC) with Sir Walter Citrine, the general secretary of the British Trades Union Congress, as president. (126)
Few records have survived of the two organizations founded in London. The activities of the BNSANC appear to have gone largely unreported apart from a successful demonstration of as many as twenty thousand and a meeting in London's Hyde Park joined by many thousands more on October 27, 1935. It was addressed by prominent British politicians and academics from across the political spectrum including Eleanor Rathbone, M.P., Clement Attlee, M.P. (Labour Party leader and a future Prime Minister), Citrine, Professor J.B.S. Haldane and Sylvia Pankhurst. (127) As was the case with similar events in the United States, most of the several thousand Jewish participants were of East European descent. (128) The London Evening News, owned by Lord Rothermere, at that time a fascist sympathizer and friend of Hitler, (129) was incensed that the state radio company, the British Broadcasting Corporation, thought fit to broadcast an account of it, and editorialized that, "when the doings and sayings of these trouble-makers are broadcast by the B.B.C. they reach all lands. Their spleen's poured straight into the ears of those against whom it is directed." (130) Although the BNSANC had some limited success in diverting trade away from Germany (131) it does not seem to have survived beyond 1936. (132)
The labor- and liberal-dominated WNSANCHR appears to have survived longer. (133) In April 1936, Winston Churchill joined the WNSANCHR after being urged to do so by two anti-Appeasement Foreign Office officials and a fellow Conservative M.P. In July, the Board of Deputies of British Jews created a secret fund to support anti-Nazi groups including the WNSANCHR. At a meeting on October 15, the WNSANCHR, at the suggestion of Churchill, decided to establish a Focus in Defence of Freedom and Peace movement. (134) The Focus helped revive Churchill's political career. As Eugen Spier later observed, "Later on it was easy to forget the part [the Focus] played in creating a platform for Winston Churchill at a time he was in the political wilderness." (135)
After his return to America, Untermyer continued to campaign against Nazi Germany. In early June the NALCHR informed him of a front page attack on him in the May 30 issue of the journal of the German-American Bund, Deutscher Beobachter of New York. (136) The attack was in response to a speech Untermyer had given in Yonkers earlier in mid-May. The Beobachter claimed that it was the only newspaper in New York that dared to give the Jewish leader a deserved answer to his outrageous slanders against Germany. It wrote:
It is easy for Untermyer, the noble Jew and aristocrat, to attack the German government with his nasty slanders. He is sitting at his country estate, Greystone in Yonkers, with nothing better to do than to think week in and out how to devise his malicious slogans. He, the self-appointed "Boycott-General," seems not to be getting enough recognition, no, now he is beginning to give the government in Washington advice, demanding a break in diplomatic relations with Germany.... You [Mr. Untermyer] ... are hardened in your blinding hatred, crushed beneath your money bag and meanness. Your nihilism will only bring destruction and incitement. We, however, want to achieve positive development and understanding with all nations, especially Germany. By making nasty remarks with regard to the New Germany, especially by you, they are also directed towards us as well. Every day you are dragging our honor into the gutter and for this you will have to pay on the day of victory. (137)
Although Germany and its allies in America continued to regard Untermyer as one of their most dangerous foes in the United States it is clear that, by the end of 1935, the boycott had failed to end the persecution of German Jewry. However, Untermyer continued to fight on. For example, in September at a lunch in honor of George Lathan, chairman of the BNSANC and a British Labour Party politician, Untermyer renewed his call, in a letter read on his behalf, for an American boycott of the (1936) Olympic Games. (138) Moshe Gottlieb has argued that Untermyer and his organization had taken the initiative the previous year, rather than rival boycott organizations, in appealing to Jewish athletes not to participate in the Berlin Olympic Games. (139)
Although the position of the Roman Catholic church toward the Nazi government was, to say the least, ambivalent, a senior American Roman Catholic, Cardinal Mundelein of Chicago, unequivocally condemned it on May 19, 1937. Untermyer praised Mundelein in a telegram to him and the NALCHR redoubled its efforts to win the support of America's twenty million Roman Catholics. (140) The following day, the Berliner Illustrierte Nachtausgabe published a front page article on Untermyer's praise for the Cardinal with a headline that included "Samuel Untermeyer [sic] senses new business opportunities." It reported,
The Anti-Nazi League wants to use the favorable opportunity to have new meetings to oppose National Socialist Germany in order to extend the boycott of German goods from Jewish groups to Catholic groups. Samuel Untermeyer [sic] has shown in his well known and crude way in this telegram what the Jewish elements in New York really want: the extension of a front created purely for business purposes against a competitor who is inconvenient because it supplies quality goods instead of the poor goods commonly found in Jewish trade. (141)
In August 1937, Untermyer visited the Soviet Union as part of a European cruise. (142) Later that month at a day camp sponsored by the German-American Bund at Yaphank, Long Island, its national chairman, Fritz Kuhn, seized the opportunity to accuse Untermyer of being in league with Moscow. As Kuhn averred, "He went to Russia to get instructions on how to carry out his propaganda against the German people. He returns only with praise of Russia. He is better liked in Moscow than in New York." (143) Kuhn repeated this accusation in his testimony to the New York State Legislative Committee inquiry into the Nazi movement in June 1938. He claimed Untermyer had started the boycott after his return from Moscow, where he presumably received his orders.(144) Alvin Untermyer wrote to the committee on behalf of his father, who was very ill, saying that his father not only opposed Communism but had started the boycott in 1933, not 1937. (145)
In December 1937 Untermyer gave his last major public address on the boycott in Baltimore. The address was broadcast by Radio Station WCBM of the Mutual Broadcasting System. In his address, Untermyer reflected,
I cannot understand why Catholics, Protestants, Organized Labor, Rotarians, Masons and Americans generally have been so indolent, callous and shortsighted as to have failed long since to effect a mutual protective organization to safeguard civilization, or why they permit this perilous situation aimlessly to drift, when they have within easy reach the means of self-protection for themselves and their brethren in Germany--by the simple expedient of the boycott of German goods and services.
Untermyer also reflected on the lack of unity in the American Jewish community:
The wave of world-wide anti-Semitism, led and encouraged by Germany, that is inundating our country should serve only to make us more race conscious, tie us closer together and confirm us in our determination to combat and overcome by every means in our power the vast propaganda of this world-bully and braggart and the forces of evil that inspire it. There are still too many turn-coats, hyphenated Jews and apostates in our ranks. The sooner we expose them and rout them out, the better it will be for our welfare and self-respect. They are an undiluted liability. (146)
On April 24, 1938, Untermyer resigned as chairman and president of the NALCHR. (147) His health had deteriorated to the point that his work on behalf of the boycott had become too great a burden. He could not sleep because he was worrying so much about the NALCHR. (148) He had also become very pessimistic. A few weeks earlier, reacting to events in Austria, he had despondently told the Palm Springs Desert Sun that,
It does not seem possible that a callous world that is apparently paralyzed that nothing can any longer arouse it to stand idly and helplessly by and witness the continuous march of the reign of terror by a government that was once a member of the human family in a carnage of slaughter, tramping civilization under foot in cold blood by the hundreds of thousands without rhyme, reason or pretext. (149)
This article has shown that, in his last years, Untermyer devoted himself to championing the human rights of the victims of Nazi Germany. Contrary to the claim made by Untermyer's Nazi opponents in both Germany and the United States, he did not benefit financially from the boycott. In fact, he provided a substantial part of his organization's funds, which he found displeasing. There is no doubt that he found it distressing that the boycott was unsuccessful. Nazi Germany did not abandon its persecution and ultimate mass murder of European Jewry. The boycott might have been more effective had American Jewry had been more united and not so hopelessly divided into religious and ideological factions. (150) Rabbi Silver's opposition to Untermyer's efforts to coordinate the boycott with other organizations did not help. The boycott might also have benefited from a more courageous defense of human rights on the part of the Roosevelt Administration. However, governments such as those of America and Britain had "attitudes of almost complete disinterestedness," as the British Jewish Chronicle observed in 1935. (151) On the other hand, the Nazi government regarded Untermyer's exposure to the American public of their human rights abuses and what he perceived as their long-term plan for the Jews as a serious problem. In this respect, therefore, Untermyer's boycott campaign was not a wasted effort and his last years were spent honorably.
* The research for this article was funded by the late Samuel Untermyer II, Samuel Untermyer's grandson. Another grandson, the late Frank Untermyer, made available his Untermyer family papers.
(1.) Bonnie Yochelson, "Bernice Abbott's Changing New York, 1935-1939: A Fantastic Passion for New York," at http://www.mcny.org/collections/abbott/passion.htm, accessed on April 18, 2007; Bonnie Yochelson to Richard Hawkins, May 17, 2004.
(2.) Samuel Untermyer to Berenice Abbott, June 15, 1933, quoted with permission of copyright holder Ron Kurtz of Commerce Graphics Ltd., Inc. I would like to thank Bonnie Yochelson for sending me a copy of this letter.
(3.) The firm became known as Guggenheimer, Untermyer & Marshall after Louis Marshall joined the firm in 1894. After Marshall's death in 1919, the firm reverted to its original name, Guggenheimer & Untermyer.
(4.) Emanuel Neumann to Chaim Weizmann, May 27, 1921, Weizmann Archives, Rehovot, Israel.
(5.) Maier Bryan Fox, "American Zionism in the 1920s" (Ph.D. diss., George Washington University, 1979), 114-15.
(6.) "$733,000 Raised Here For Palestine Fund," New York Times, May 12, 1925, 2.
(7.) Emanuel Neumann, In The Arena: An Autobiographical Memoir (New York, 1976), 86; "Will Seek $5,000,000 To Help Palestine," New York Times, November 22, 1925, 14.
(8.) Samuel Untermyer, The Boycott Is Our Only Weapon Against Nazi Germany: Addresses By Samuel Untermyer (New York, 1933), 1-4.
(9.) Moshe Gottlieb, "The Anti-Nazi Boycott Movement in the American Jewish Community, 1933-1941" (Phd. diss., Brandeis University, 1967), 53-60.
(10.) Samuel Untermyer to Colonel House, July 9, 1934, Edward M. House Papers, MS466, box 122, folder 3884, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
(11.) Gotdieb, "Boycott," 60; "Abram Coralnik, Editor, Dies At 54," New York Times, July 17, 1937, 15.
(12.) "Untermyer Urges German Boycott," New York Times, May 8, 1933, 6; Untermyer, Addresses, 5-15.
(13.) An die Deutsche Botschaft in Washington, May 9, 1933, R301/44483, Handel 37: USA, Bd. 1, S. 100-2, Bundesarchiv Berlin.
(14.) Henry L. Feingold, A Time for Searching: Entering the Mainstream (Baltimore, 1992), 18-19; Irving Howe, World of Our Fathers (New York, 1994) 739; "Congress of Jews Pass Constitution," Philadelphia Inquirer, May 23, 1922, 2; "Untermyer Renews Plea For Boycott," New York Times, May 12, 1933, 7; Gottlieb, "Boycott," 69.
(15.) Nanette Dembitz, "The Anti-Nazi Boycott Campaign" (unpublished manuscript, c. 1964), 7ff. In the possession of Frank Untermyer, Evanston, II. Judge Dembitz was a distant relative of Samuel Untermyer. During the 1960s she worked on a biography of Untermyer, of which this manuscript formed a chapter. It is based on interviews and Untermyer family papers. She was unable to find a publisher for her biography and abandoned the project. Nanene Dembitz to Frank Untermyer, September 7, 1973, private papers of Frank Untermyer, Evanston, II.
(16.) Gottlieb, "Boycott," 69-72; "Jews Here Decree Boycott On Reich," New York Times, May 15, 1933, 1, 8.
(17.) American League for the Defense of Jewish Rights Press Release, "Address of Mr. Samuel Untermyer, Hotel Astor, New York City, May 14, 1933," R301/44483, Handel 37: USA, Bd. 1, $77-82, Bundesarchiv Berlin.
(18.) New York Times, May 15, 1933, 1, 8.
(19.) "Untermyer Aids Boycott," New York Times, June 16, 1933, 7.
(20.) Gottlieb, "Boycott," 80-I.
(21.) "Boycott Is Begun By Jewish Women," New York Times, June 28, 1933, 4; The Economic Boycott of Germany: Address By Samuel Untermyer Before the Women's Conference on the Boycott, Hotel Astor, New York City, June 27, 1933, Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League Collection, box 29, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.
(22.) Karen J. Greenberg, ed., Archives of the Holocaust; Volume 6, Columbia University Library, New York: The Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights Papers: The Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League Pamphlet Collection (New York, 1990), iX--X.
(23.) Samuel Untermyer to Irwin Untermyer, February 9, 1935, private papers of Frank Untermyer.
(24.) J. David Stern, Memoirs of a Maverick Publisher (New York, 1962), 45-50.
(25.) Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League, August 12, 1935, R301/44489, Handel 37: USA, Bd.7, S.35-6, Bundesarchiv Berlin.
(26.) Stern, Memoirs, 214.
(27.) Deutsches Generalkonsulat Chicago, Verweigerung des Sichtvermerks fur Dr. Paul Hutchinson, November 7, 1934, R99531, German Foreign Ministry Political Archive, Bonn; "15,000 Assail Hitlerism At Stadium Rally," Chicago Tribune, December 4, 1933, 5; Address Read Before Anti-Nazi Non-Sectarian Meeting at Chicago Auditorium, November 28, 1933, Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League Collection, box 29.
(28.) Dr. S. Margoshes to Abba Hillel Silver, August 9, 1933, Papers of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, microfilm roll 15, folder 344, Judaica Department, Brandeis University Library, Waltham, MA.
(29.) Stern, Memoirs, 214.
(30.) "Three Personal Letters concerning the sale of German Goods by Department Stores in the United States," New York Times, October 2, 1933, 7.
(31.) The Nation, October 18, 1933, 423.
(32.) The German Consulate-General in New York City considered this to be an important turn of events. Deusches Generalkonsulat New York, October 25, 1933, R301/44484, Handel 37: Bd.2, S.42, Bundesarchiv Berlin.
(33.) "The Suppressed Advertisement Concerning R.H. Macy," The Nation, October 25, 1933, 478-80.
(34.) "Untermyer Picked For Fight On Nazis," New York Times, May 22, 1933, 9.
(35.) "Protests Ban On Stamps," New York Times, June 30, 1933, 3.
(36.) "Untermyer Hails Jewish Patriots," New York Times, July 5, 1933, 8; Samuel Untermyer to Adolph S. Ochs, July 3, 1933, New York Times Archive, New York, NY.
(37.) "World Jews Push Boycott of Reich For 'Inhuman' Acts," New York Times, July 21, 1933, I, 5; Gottlieb, "Boycott," 91, 96.
(38.) "A Jew Who Comes To Lead All Jews Against Hitler," Sunday Express, July 16, 1933, 5. There is no record of this approach in the German government papers. However, Untermyer repeated this claim in an address to the Assembly of Orthodox Rabbis in September. "Rabbi Group Vote to Boycott On Nazis," New York Times, September 7, 1933, 6.
(39.) German Embassy, the Hague, to the Foreign Ministry, July 25, 1933, GFM33/4735, United Kingdom National Archives, Kew, Surrey.
(40.) New York Times, July 21, 1933, I, 5; Gottlieb, "Boycott," 96-7.
(41.) Samuel Untermyer to H. Salomons, November 15, 1933, collection 251, box 1, folder 2, Samuel Untermyer Papers, American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati; H. Salomons to Samuel Untermyer, December 6, 1933, ibid.; Jean Goodman, The Mond Legacy: A Family Saga (London, 1982), 156-57, 161-63; Geoffrey Knox to Lord Balfour, November 29, 1939, F.O.371/25169, United Kingdom National Archives.
(42.) "Untermyer Back, Greeted in Harbor," New York Times, August 7, 1933, 4.
(43.) "Text of Untermyer's Address," New York Times, August 7, 1933, 4; Samuel Untermyer Criticizes Hitler's Rule, August 6, 1933, Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League Collection, box 29.
(44.) "Likewise-Contrariwise!," Jewish Chronicle, July 28, 1933, 27.
(45.) Telegramm, September 21, 1933, GFM33/4734, United Kingdom National Archives. Translated by Peter Brown.
(46.) Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull, 2 vols. (London, 1948), 1: 241.
(47.) Gottlieb, "Boycott," 104-7; "Jews Here to Push Boycott On Hitler," New York Times, August 21, 1933, 2.
(48.) Gottlieb, "Boycott," 161-63.
(49.) Abba Hillel Silver to Samuel Untermyer, September 27, 1933, microfilm roll 49, folder 1217, Papers of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver.
(50.) "Untermyer See Hitler's End Soon," New York Times, August 28, 1933, 5. Untermyer subsequently disassociated himself with B'nai B'rith after it published an article in the November 1933 issue of B'nai B'rith Magazine opposing the boycott. "Untermyer Shuns B'nai B'rith Dinner," New York Times, November 13, 1933, 2.
(51.) Morris Rothenburg to Chaim Weizmann, September 10, 1933, Weizmann Archives.
(52.) Louis Lipsky to Chaim Weizmann, September 12, 1933, Weizmann Archives.
(53.) Felix M. Warburg to Chaim Weizmann, October 17, 1933, Weizmann Archives.
(54.) Leon L. Watters, "Comments On The Letters of Professor And Mrs. Albert Einstein To Dr. Leon L. Watters," c.1959, 17-18, American Jewish Archives.
(55.) George Sylvester Viereck, "What Life Means to Einstein," Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1929, 114.
(56.) Albert Einstein to Samuel Untermyer, March 31, 1937, private papers of Frank Untermyer.
(57.) "$500,000 Sought for Nazi Boycott," New York Times, September 11, 1933, 8; Gottlieb, "Boycott," 128-37.
(58.) Cordell Hull to Louis McH. Howe, September 6, 1933, Official File 198A, Germany 1933, Roosevelt Papers, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, NY.
(59.) Nell A. Lewis, "Nazis and Jews: Insights From Old Diary," New York Times, April 22, 2004, [A.sub.3]. Because the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is now preparing the McDonald Diaries for publication, the actual diary entries are not currently available to researchers.
(60.) Conrad Black, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom (London, 2003), 450.
(61.) Address of Mr. Samuel Untermyer over Station "WOR", New York: "Was The Mayor Right In Preventing The Nazi Meeting?," October 23, 1933, box 29, Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League Collection.
(62.) "Ban On Nazi Rally Upheld By O'Brien," New York Times, October 26, 1933, 1, 8.
(63.) "Nazi Agent Called Home To Explain," New York Times, October 27, 1933, 10.
(64.) Dorothy Waring, American Defender (New York, 1935), 172.
(65.) Samuel Untermyer to Samuel Dickstein, December 20, 1934, collection 8, box 5, folder 6, Samuel Dickstein Papers, American Jewish Archives.
(66.) Waring, American Defender, 181-85.
(67.) Samuel Dickstein to Samuel Untermyer, February 10, 1934; and Samuel Untermyer to Samuel Dickstein, May 3, 1934, collection 8, box 5, folder 6, Samuel Dickstein Papers.
(68.) Waring, American Defender, 202, 206.
(69.) Richard Rollins, I Find Treason: The Story of an American Anti-Nazi Agent (London, 1941), 24-25, 50-51. No direct evidence of the Board exists except for Rollins's account. However, a telegram from Dickstein to Rollins in 1937 suggests that Rollins was employed by Untermyer and Dickstein. Samuel Dickstein to Richard Rollins, March 30, 1937, collection 8, box 4, folder 7, Samuel Dickstein Papers.
(70.) Investigation At Request of Samuel Untermyer: Re: "U.S. Malt Co., Inc.," June 6, 1934, collection 8, box 4, folder 7, Samuel Dickstein Papers.
(71.) Hotel bill from Richard Rollins, October 18, 1938, collection 8, box 4, folder 7, Samuel Dickstein Papers.
(72.) "Untermyer Scores Luther," New York Times, November 2, 1933, II.
(73.) Address of Hon. Samuel Untermyer Given At Luncheon Meeting of American League for Defense of Jewish Rights at Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, November 1, 1933, box 29, Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League Collection.
(74.) Memorandum of Conversation Between Secretary Hull and the German Ambassador, Herr Hans Luther, November 2, 1933, File 811.00 NAZI/31, R.G.59, Records of the Department of State, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
(75.) "Hull Deprecates Attack On Luther," New York Times, November 3, 1933, 10. This was unusual enough for the British Ambassador to include in a report to the Foreign Office. Nazi Activities in United States of America, November 10, 1933, F.O. 371/1671, United Kingdom National Archives.
(76.) "Untermyer Turns Attack Upon Hull," New York Times, November 4, 1933, 8.
(77.) Samuel Untermyer to Abba Hillel Silver, microfilm roll 49, folder 1217, Papers of Abba Hillel Silver.
(78.) Cyrus Adler to Cordell Hull, November 3, 1933, File 811.00 NAZI/18, R.G.59, Records of the Department of State.
(79.) Samuel Untermyer to Jacob Billikopf, October 28, 1937, collection 13, box 30, folder 16, Jacob Billikopf Papers, American Jewish Archives, Cincinatti. Hull's attitude toward Untermyer, and perhaps the boycott too, may have been influenced by the fact that he was an intimate friend of Senator Carter Glass. Glass had been a bitter enemy of Untermyer since the latter had served as counsel to the Pujo Money Trust Investigation. Hull does not mention Untermyer in his memoirs. Hull, Memoirs, 1:72, 236-37.
(80.) Deutsches Generalkonsulat New York, November 28, 1933, R99530, German Foreign Ministry Political Archive, Bonn. Translated by Peter Brown.
(81.) Abba Hillel Silver to Samuel Untermyer, November 9, 1933; Samuel Untermyer to Abba Hillel Silver, November 20, 1933; Abba Hillel Silver to Samuel Untermyer, November 20, 1933, microfilm roll 49, folder 1217, Papers of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver.
(82.) Samuel Untermyer to Abba Hillel Silver, November 22, 1933, microfilm roll 49, folder 1217, ibid.
(83.) Gottlieb, "Boycott," 157.
(84.) Samuel Untermyer to James M. Beck, November 2 1, 1933, box 7, folder 2 1, James M. Beck Papers, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.
(85.) Roosevelt resigned after a few months. Samuel Untermyer to George E. Harriman, December 24, 1934, box 29, Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League Collection.
(86.) Why The Boycott Against Germany Is Succeeding: Address of Samuel Untermyer at the Metropolitan Opera House, Philadelphia, June 27, 1934, box 29, Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League Collection.
(87.) Samuel Untermyer to Raymond Moley, May 11, 1934; Raymond Moley to Samuel Untermyer, May 14, 1934, box 56, folder 6, Raymond Moley Archives, Hoover Institution Archives, Palo Alto, CA.
(88.) Benjamin Dubovsky to Abba Hillel Silver, August 16, 1934; August 17, 1934, microfilm roll 49, folder 1217, Papers of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver.
(89.) Ezekiel Rabinowitz to Abba Hillel Silver, August 17, 1934, microfilm roll 49, folder 1218, ibid.
(90.) Abba Hillel Silver to Samuel Untermyer, December 31, 1934, microfilm roll 49, folder 1219, ibid.
(91.) Samuel Untermyer to David A. Brown, January H, 1934, collection 18, box 3, folder 14, David A. Brown Papers, American Jewish Archives.
(92.) Samuel Untermyer to Abba Hillel Silver, January 31, 1934, microfilm roll 49, folder 1217, Papers of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver.
(93.) Abba Hillel Silver to Samuel Untermyer, February 8, 1934, ibid.
(94.) Samuel Untermyer to Stephen S. Wise, May 7, 1934, box 108-7, Papers of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise (microfilm), Judaica Department, Brandeis University Library; Abba Hillel Silver to Mrs. Mark Harris, May 28, 1934, microfilm roll 49, folder 1217, Papers of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver.
(95.) "Police Guard Untermyer," New York Times, February 14, 1934, 21.
(96.) "Untermyer Brands Nazi Rule by Extermination," San Francisco Chronicle, February 14, 1934, 3.
(97.) "Woolworth Bans All German Goods," New York Times, March 21, 1934, II.
(98.) Telegramm, March 20, 1934, R301/44485, Handel 37: USA, Bd. 3, S.104, Bundesarchiv Berlin.
(99.) Greenberg, Archives, 7.
(100.) Gottlieb, "Boycott," 173.
(101.) Nanette Silbert to Samuel Untermyer, August 30, 1934, collection 251, box 1, folder 2, Samuel Untermyer Papers.
(102.) Boykott-Massnahmen gegen die Einfuhr deutscher Erzeugnisse durch die Firma F.W. Woolworth Co., New York, July 4, 1934, R301/44486, Handel 37: USA, Bd. 4, S.249-51, Bundesarchiv Berlin.
(103.) Auswartiges Amt, June 6, 1934, R 99530, German Foreign Ministry Political Archive, Bonn.
(104.) Samuel Untermyer to Byron O. Miller, October 24, 1934, collection 251, box 1, folder 2, Samuel Untermyer Papers.
(105.) Besuch des judisches Boykott-fuhrers Untermyer beim Presidenten Roosevelt, April 26, 1934, R30,/44485, Handel 37: USA, Bd. 3, S.348-9, Bundesarchiv Berlin.
(106.) "Chides Nazis On Protest," New York Times, May 7, 1934, 10.
(107.) "German Societies Defend the DAWA," New York Times, May 10, 1934, 22.
(108.) "To Our Patriotic German-American Fellow Citizens," New York Times, May 15, 1934, 15.
(109.) "20,000 Nazi Friends At A Rally Here Denounce Boycott," New York Times, May 18, 1934, 1, 3; "Nazi Rally Open Threat to Jews," American Hebrew, May 25, 1934, 33, 36.
(110.) William E. Dodd and Martha Dodd, eds., Ambassador Dodd's Diary, 1933-1938 (London, 1941), 24, 156.
(111.) Colonel House to Samuel Untermyer, June 20, 1934; Samuel Untermyer to Colonel House, June 21, 1934, box 122, folder 3884, MS466, Edward M. House Papers.
(112.) Colonel House to William E. Dodd, May 23, 1934, box 39, folder 1210, MS466, ibid.
(113.) Dodd and Dodd, Diary, 117-18.
(114.) Ibid., 24, 156.
(115.) William E. Dodd to Colonel House, June 4, 1934, box 39, folder 1210, MS466, Edward M. House Papers.
(116.) Berichte, June 4, 1934, R301/44486, Handel 37: USA, Bd. 4, S.71-2, Bundesarchiv Berlin.
(117.) Colonel House to Samuel Untermyer, June 26, 1934, box, 22, folder 3884, MS466, Edward M. House Papers.
(118.) Colonel House to Samuel Untermyer, July 12, 1934, box 122, folder 3884, MS466, ibid.
(119.) Interview S.U., July 24, 1934, R301/44486, Handel 37: USA, Bd. 4, S.380-1, Bundesarchiv Berlin. Translated by Peter Brown.
(120.) U.Nr.45: Berichte fiber eine Unterredung mit Samuel Untermyer, R301/44488, Handel 37: USA, Bd. 6, S.332-5, Bundesarchiv Berlin.
(121.) "Boycott Meeting Called in London," New York Times, November 9, 1934, 5.
(122.) Deutsche Gesandschaft Brussel Tagung der an Boykott Deutschlands interessierten Kreise in London, December 1, 1934, R99532, German Foreign Ministry Political
(123.) "Boycott Body Acts To End Hitlerism," New York Times, November 27, 1934, 9; Geheimes Staatspolizeiamt Berlin: Bericht tiber internationale Boykottkonferenz in London vom 26.-28-11.1934, December 28, 1934, R99532, German Foreign Ministry Political Archive, Bonn; "Laborites Back German Boycott," New York Times, November 28, 1934, II. Archive, Bonn; "International Boycott Conference," Jewish Chronicle, November 30, 1934, 8, 25-26, 35.
(124.) "Untermyer Home, Scores Saar Pact," New York Times, December 5, 1934, 8.
(125.) Geheimes Staatspolizeiamt Berlin, December 28, 1934, R99532, German Foreign Ministry Political Archive, Bonn.
(126.) Greenberg, Archives, 58, 83.
(127.) "Boycott of Germany: Money Paid for German Goods Used for Rearmament--Professor Haldane," Manchester Guardian, October 28, 1935, P. 18; "Anti-Nazi Demonstration jin Hyde Park," Jewish Chronicle, November 1, 1935, 24; "Persecution of Jews in Germany: Protest Demonstration in Hyde Park," The Times, October 28, 1935, 16.
(128.) "Where Were the Jews from the N.W.?," Jewish Chronicle, November 1, 1935, 24.
(129.) S.J. Taylor, The Great Outsiders: Northcliffe, Rothermere and the Daily Mail (London, 1996), 281, 292-314.
(130.) "Trouble-Mongers Unlimited," Evening News, October 28, 1935, 8.
(131.) British Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi Council, Report: British Anti-Nazi Boycott, c. 1935, RP XIV 2 6 (14), Papers of Eleanor Florence Rathbone, Special Collections and Archives, University of Liverpool Library, Liverpool.
(132.) Eleanor Rathbone to Frank Rogers, February 4, 1936; Frank Rogers to Eleanor Rathbone, January 22, 1936; February 5, 1936, RP XIV 2 6 (15), Papers of Eleanor Florence Rathbone, ibid.
(133.) World Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi Council, Annual General Meeting, April 19th 1936: Agenda, file 286, Papers of Sylvia Pankhurst, 1863-1960, British Library of Political and Economic Science, London.
(134.) Robert Henriques, Sir Robert Waley Cohen, 1877-1952 (London, 1966), 360-64; A.H. Richards to Vyvyan Adams, April 3, 1936, File 1/4/7, Papers of Vyvyan Adams, British Library of Political and Economic Science Archive; Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Vol.V: 1922-1939 (London, 1976), 724-26, 739-41, 799.
(135.) Eugen Spier, Focus: A Footnote to the History of the Thirties (London, 1963), 13.
(136.) George E. Harriman to Samuel Untermyer, June 4, 1935, box 29, Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League Collection.
(137.) "Haegele's Antwort an Mr. Untermyer," Deutscber Beobachter of New York, May 30, 1935, 1-2. Translated by Doris Jaeger.
(138.) "Public Men Urge Olympic Boycott," New York Times, September 12, 1935, 28; Joyce N. Bellamy, John Saville and David E. Martin, eds., Dictionary of Labour Biography (Basingstoke, 1993), 168-70.
(139.) Gottlieb, "Boycott," 307.
(140.) "Untermyer Felicitates Cardinal," New York Times, May 20, 1937, 4.
(141.) "Samuel Untermeyer wittert neue Geschaftsmoglichkeiten," Berliner Illustrierte Nachtausgabe, May 20, 1937, 1-2. Translated by Peter Brown.
(142.) "Untermyer Praises Subway in Moscow," New York Times, August 28, 1937, 6.
(143.) "25,000 Hear Critics of Nazis Assailed," New York Times, August 30, 1937, 3 Ironically Untermyer's associate, Samuel Dickstein, was to agree to pass information to the NKVD, the Soviet secret service, on Nazi activities in the United States later that year. Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America--The Stalin Era (New York, 1999), 140-50.
(144.) "Russia Dictates to Untermyer, Kuhn Opines: Boycott of Reich Ordered By Moscow He Tells McNaboe," New York World Telegram, June 23, 1938, 3.
(145.) Alvin Untermyer to John J. McNaboe, June 1938, collection 251, box 1, folder 2, Samuel Untermyer Papers.
(146.) Samuel Untermyer, "No Pasaran " (They Shall Not Pass): Religion Answers the Nazi Challenge: Address of Samuel Untermyer Before the Temple and Synagogue Brotherhoods at Baltimore, Md., Sunday, December 19, 1937 (New York, 1938), 1-32.
(147.) Samuel Untermyer to the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League, April 24, 1938, collection 251, box 1, folder 2, Samuel Untermyer Papers.
(148.) Samuel Untermyer to Alvin Untermyer, April 27, 1938, collection 251, box 1, folder 2, Samuel Untermyer Papers.
(149.) "Untermyer Says Jews to Boycott Austria," Desert Sun, March 25, 1938, 11.
(150.) Feingold, Time for Searching, 226.
(151.) Jewish Chronicle, November 1, 1935, 8.
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|Author:||Hawkins, Richard A.|
|Publication:||American Jewish History|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2007|
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