The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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17 December 1933

Letter from Julius Salinger to his brother-in-law Otto Kasper Arendt

"Berlin—in my view no chance at all at this time; for now must wait to see what happens with the private health insurers, whether 'they' [the Nazis] really succeed in pushing us out." This sentence in a letter written on 17 December 1933 by Julius Salinger to his brother-in-law Otto Kasper Arendt reveals something of the concern the writer felt about his situation.

Salinger was a physician who ran a sanatorium "for internal and nervous diseases." In April of that year, because he was Jewish, the forty-nine-year-old had already lost the accreditation required to charge the statutory health insurance scheme for his services. Moreover, private health insurers now only paid his bills when he treated "non-Aryans." These measures instituted by the National Socialist regime made the situation of Jewish physicians extremely difficult. As Julius Salinger goes on to write in his letter: "If this proves the case, then Germany is finished for me as a physician. There are hardly any people left without health insurance. And among those you have to subtract the ones who do not go to Jewish doctors."

Salinger was therefore considering emigrating and, as he wrote to his brother-in-law, he had already looked into the prospects of employment in different countries. The two men had obviously also discussed the Reich Union of Christian German Citizens of Non-Aryan or Not Purely Aryan Descent. In his letter, Salinger asks Arendt to send him a speech by the association‘s deputy chairman, Günther Alexander-Katz—"perhaps important to read before becoming a member."

Julius Salinger emigrated four years later. His name can be found with his daughter‘s on the passenger list of a ship that sailed from London to Cape Town in 1936. It seems he had to leave Germany because he had treated children free of charge. A number his relatives also managed to flee to South Africa.

The non-Jewish architect and sculptor Otto Kasper Arendt married Salinger‘s sister Elisabeth in 1929. She was also a sculptor. Unlike her husband, she was refused membership in the Reich Chamber of Culture in April 1935, which was the equivalent of an occupational ban. The reason given was that "you are a non-Aryan and as such do not exhibit the suitability or reliability required for the creation of German cultural assets." This explanation was followed by the unequivocal statement: "I hereby forbid you from continuing to pursue sculpture as a profession."

Elisabeth and Otto Kasper Arendt also managed to immigrate to South Africa prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Michaela Roßberg

Categorie(s): artists and writers | emigration | occupational ban | physicians
Letter from Julius Salinger to his brother-in-law Otto Kasper Arendt, Graal, 17 December 1933
Gift of Elke Wulk-Voltmer