Back Into the "TIME" Machine


Here’s another fascinating though heartbreaking glimpse at mid-1938 via that issue of TIME magazine I mentioned below. This time it’s an article titled “Wandering Jews.” Here’s an extended excerpt:

One night last week German Austrian storm troopers loaded 51 Jews, including an 82-year-old rabbi, into a Danube river launch, took them downstream to the point where Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary meet. There they dumped them on a stone breakwater in the middle of the swollen stream. All night they crouched on cold, slippery stones barely emerging from the water.

Next morning the Jews’ cries and frantic waving of handkerchiefs attracted the attention of Czech villagers. A Czech patrol boat took off the penniless, ill-clad, hungry group.

Czech authorities fed and clothed the 51, kept them sheltered in Bratislava for two days. But the Czechs feared that further charity to Jews would encourage Austrian Nazis to drive Jews in thousands over into Czechoslovakia. Therefore, the Czechs piled the Jews into trucks at night, dumped them over into Hungary.

Hungarian border patrols, after the Czechs hastily drove off, acted on the theory that the only thing to do was to dump the Jews back into Austria, now part of Greater Germany.

At the frontier strapping Greater German Nazis were more than ready to arrest, punish the tragic unfortunates for “illegal entry,” but 15 Jews broke away and made for the Danube. They eluded Nazi and Hungarian pursuers and managed to spend the night shivering on a sandspit. In the morning a French patrol boat took them aboard, compassionately anchored in mid-Danube, awaited orders from new Premier Edouard Daladier.

All this was a single, small, dramatic incident in what is apparently a ruthless Nazi drive to strip as many Austrian Jews as possible of their possessions, then further harass them by “expelling” them to neighboring countries which cannot support penniless refugees, are forced to acts of “expelling” Jews back into Greater Germany.