The Charlotte News

Sunday, September 17, 1939


Pretzel Stuff

New Jersey Official Winds Words Around And Says No

As choice a nonsense as ever showed itself is to be found in the action of New Jersey's liquor control commissioner, who declined to grant a beer license to a German Bund camp.

The commissioner's reasons for not letting the restaurant at Camp Nordland serve beer were that:

"Speeches and harangues have been made, endorsed with heil's, and advocating that those who insult Hitler be punched in the nose;

"The Nazi flag has been flown above the American flag;

"The Nazi salute has been given while the Star Spangled Banner played and the swastika is omnipresent. In the picture of George Washington it is stuck under his nose."

Father George's capable nose would probably have wrinkled with anticipation at the good brew they are making these days, and undoubtedly would have pewed at the smell of these impossible Nazis. But what pray has all that got to do with beer licenses?

Love Feast

Do You Think This Was All Quite Voluntary?

The Nazi propaganda is a curiously double-edged weapon. On the one side, it is clearly designed to tear eyes and create the impression of Germany's irresistible power--witness the censor's release of pictures showing burning Polish villages and such stories as that of the AP's Melvin Whiteleather as to what Western Poland looks like since the German Army has passed through it.

But on the other, it is just as clearly intended to wipe out our memories of the concentration camps and what happened to the Jews and Spanish loyalists before this war started, to plant the conviction that the Nazis after all are pretty good fellows, chivalrous to a fault, and entitled to a break, maybe to our outright sympathy.

The uniformly courteous behavior of the submarine commanders since the first few days of the war may fairly be suspected to be the result of a general order, designed to the purpose.

And a more amusing case in point is that of the captured British air officer who appeared (if it were indeed he and not an English-speaking Nazi masquerading in his role) on a German radio program Thursday night, and testified (1) that the Nazi airman rescued him after shooting down his plane and (2) that the Nazis were treating him perfectly ducky-wucky, while those around him wisecracked jovially. Just a lot of good clean fellows together, you see--unfortunately engaged in a grim little game, but full of generous respect toward one another.

Well, maybe so, but our guess is that when a British officer appears on the air (if he really did) to offer testimonials for the Nazis, he has pressing reasons. A bayonet in the back? Probably nothing so crude. Say, a courteous demonstration by the Nazis of precisely what happens to Jews in a concentration camp when they balk...

Babs Bolts

And For All Of Us, She Can Come Home Unescorted

This is unworthy of us, we know, and perhaps we'll end up either by taking it back or tearing it up. Nevertheless, the temptation is strong to be nasty and blurt it out even if we have to apologize immediately.

The Countess Haugwitz-Beventlow, the former Barbara Hutton, dime-store heiress, intends to return to America next month. Even now she has left Paris for the greater security of neutral Belgium, and in a little while she is coming home.

Home, that is that was. In reality, she is merely coming across the water. For the former Hutton dame long ago renounced her American citizenship and took up her residence, as she had every right to, in surroundings more to her liking.

Yet, somehow, we feel that, having cast her lot in pleasurable times with a set that is now beleaguered by war, and having pulled up the stakes that bound her to her native land, the Countess Haugwitz-Beventlow ought to stick it out where she is. In fact, we make that in the form of a motion, flushing meanwhile at being caught in so snide a sentiment.

Anyhow, we are against sending a battleship for her.

From The Record

Yet It Is Plain That Germans Are Bombing Open Towns

If the weight of the evidence before us means anything, the British warning to Germany not to bomb civilians and open towns seems a little empty and futile. For it appears certain that open towns have already been bombed and civilians machine-gunned as well.

The Polish announcer in the Warsaw radio station is to be counted out, of course. So are the announcers in London and Paris. All these are propagandists out to make the Germans look as bad as possible in order to enlist our sympathies. Of the same sort is the English captain who reported the deliberate bombing and machine-gunning of hospitals and cemeteries to Daniel De Luce, of the Associated Press. And though the Polish peasants who talk to Mr. De Luce and Lloyd Lehrbas, also of the AP, may not be deliberate and conscious propagandists, even they are to be discounted, for it is human nature to exaggerate its sufferings.

The evidence remains, however. The United States Ambassador to Poland, A. J. Drexel Biddle Jr., has officially reported to Washington that:

"The German air forces have been taking advantage of every opportunity without regard to the danger to the civilian population..."

He has gone further, indeed, and reported that the village in southeastern Poland to which he retired before finally leaving Poland, was repeatedly bombed, though it had no value as a military objective.

Mr. Lehrbas, before he left Warsaw, reported that he has seen the central part of the city repeatedly bombed.

En route through Poland, he saw with his own eyes a town of six thousand people in flames. It was not, he reported, a fortified town, and had no evident military value. Half its population was known to have been composed of Jews. The tearful inhabitants told Mr. Lehrbas that a sniper had taken shots at the rearguard of the Germans, that they had turned back and systematically destroyed the place, machine-gunned many citizens whose bodies Lehrbas saw.

Melvin Whiteleather, an Associated Press man in Berlin, traveled in the wake of the German army in western Poland, reported that the towns and villages looked like Northern France in 1918, that farmhouses had been burned in large numbers, that there were bodies everywhere.

Thursday, Mr. De Luce, traveling away from burning Lwow to Sntatyn, a distance of 150 miles, reported:

"We were subjected to all raids all day along the dusty chuck-holed road toward Sntatyn. Nearly every village we passed through had been bombed... Five bodies were lying under a half-fallen tree..."

Even so it might still be incredible were there no precedent to make it plausible. But there is precedent. We know beyond any question of doubt that at Guernica in 1937, German airmen in German planes first bombed unfortified villages without military value, and then systematically machine-gunned the population as it fled into the fields, killing 700 men, women and children.

Sailing Delayed

Men Still Go To Sea But Only On Their Own Terms

A useful barometer of the intensity of crises during the past few months was Lloyd's (of London) marine insurance rates. If rates went up only a few points, the world could breathe easier. But when double and even triple premiums were announced, it was Katy bar the door.

Now that war has broken, seamen, too, are demanding higher pay, such as the crew of the U.S. liner American Traveler, who refused yesterday to sail her for an English port unless given a bonus of $250 per man, $25,000 war risk insurance each and a 40 per cent increase in manning scale.

We tell you, mates, the old days when men shipped just for the adventure of it, and the rougher the better, have given away to hiring halls. Nowadays its "Aye, aye, sir--for 'arf a quid more," and a seaman's rights and duties are all set down in a contract approved by some maritime labor union.

And rightly and properly, too, for crews are as much entitled to war-time premiums as cargoes. But it does sort of take the romance out of the seven seas and ships that sail 'em.

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