14 February 1933
Event held by the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith, entitled “The Future of the German Jews”
When Adolf Hitler was appointed Reich chancellor on 30 January, the executive committee of the CV released a statement not only expressing its misgivings and skepticism regarding the new government, but also its confidence in Reich President Hindenburg. There is an almost imploring tone in the committee’s assertion that “Nevertheless, we are convinced that no one will dare to violate our constitutional rights.”
Two weeks later, the association’s local chapter in Krefeld invited its members to an event entitled “The Future of the German Jews.” Julius Brodnitz (1866–1936) and Arthur Sandelowsky (1892–1946)—two high-ranking CV representatives—took part. The organizers of the event may well have been motivated by a number of anti-Semitic incidents in and around Krefeld: On 31 January stones were thrown through the windows of a Jewish shop and a private house in the neighboring town of Viersen. Five days later, shots were fired at the home of a Jewish family in the same town, and, during the night of 5 February, three windows were smashed in the Krefeld synagogue.
The CV-Zeitung, the association’s main publication, reported on the overcrowded event in its 23 February issue. Julius Brodnitz and Arthur Sandelowsky stressed that “there is not the slightest reason to depart from our association’s basic principles. Our deep inner bond with both German culture and Judaism should help us overcome all the difficulties besetting us.” Responding, no doubt, to its readers’ mood, the newspaper acknowledged that the two speakers—who received “thunderous applause”—had contributed to dispelling “a certain embitterment and despondency that was threatening to take hold in the face of the current situation.”
Two weeks after the event, SA troops searched the CV’s office in Berlin and temporarily detained several people, marking the beginning of a campaign of surveillance, censorship and repression against the Central Association in Germany.
Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith
We are pleased to invite you and your family to a
on Tuesday, 14 February 1933, at 8:30 in the evening
in the hall of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Two speakers will address the topic
The Future of the German Jews
1. Dr. Brodnitz, senior judicial counsel, Berlin, first president
of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith
2. Mr. Sandelowsky, landowner in Norgehnen (East Prussia) and board member of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith.
All German Jews are concerned about their immediate future. The defense of our constitutional rights lies solely in the hands of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith.
We have asked the first president of the association—the leader of political Judaism in Germany—to speak before the members of our community in this fateful hour. He will be accompanied by the association’s most brilliant orator.
Due to their position and experience, these two gentlemen are arguably the best qualified to assess the prevailing political situation.
This is the first time that the leader of the largest organization of German Jews will be speaking in Krefeld.
Every member of our community surely feels the need to inform himself about what the next few weeks will bring.
All of us need to be aware of what we can expect and what our large support organization can do for us.
No member of the community should miss this event.
The Board of the Krefeld Chapter.
The lawyer Dr. Julius Brodnitz was one of the leading representatives of German Jewry during the Weimar Republic and the first years of Nazi rule. He joined the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith already in 1894. Six years later he became a board member and served as President of the Association from 1920 until his death after a car accident in 1936.
His memoirs, written in 1926, are held at the archives of the Jewish Museum Berlin.