BBC’s Berlin correspondent: Jews “displeased the Nazis”

h/t LO

The January 15th edition of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Six O’Clock News’, presented by Charles Carroll, included a short item (from around 26:00) about the Guelph Treasure.

Six Oclock News 15 1 14

Carroll introduces the item:

“A German mediation panel has started hearing evidence in a dispute about the ownership of a vast collection of medieval religious art, believed to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds. The Guelph Treasure is currently housed at the state-founded Bode Museum in Berlin. But the heirs of Jewish art dealers who owned it in the 1930s say they sold it to the Nazis under duress. Israel has taken the unusual step of writing to the German government to say it’s watching the matter closely. Our correspondent Steve Evans has been to see the treasures in the darkened vault where they’re on display.”

Steve Evans has been the BBC’s Berlin correspondent since September 2010. He tells listeners: Picture of Stephen Evans

“These works are without doubt stunning. Here in the Bode Museum in Berlin are the most ornate gold and silver-work crucifixes. There’s a magnificent twelfth-century carving of a church here with engravings of the apostles and of Christ on the cross, all in ivory and pearl and domed in gold.

In 1671 these treasures passed from the church in Germany to the Duke of Brunswick-Luneberg whose family kept them for nearly three centuries. Then, in 1929, a group of Jewish art dealers bought them. Four years later the Nazis came to power and Goering, the founder of the Gestapo, decided he wanted these treasures for the Nazi Reich.

In the atmosphere of terror at the time, the art dealers sold their treasures: a forced sale say their descendants today. It was a time when Jews, who displeased the Nazis, risked their lives. Now an official commission will decide if these treasures can stay here.”

There are perhaps two ways of reading that miserable sentence. Were one being charitable, it could be interpreted as intending to say that Jews who did something to incur the displeasure of the Nazis risked their lives. Clearly that was not the case: Jews were persecuted and exterminated en-masse not because of anything they had done or said, but purely and simply because they were Jews.

But when one actually listens to Evans’ report, one notes that he pauses after the word ‘Jews’ and again after the word ‘Nazis’, thus clearly indicating that his intention is to convey to listeners that in general, Nazis were “displeased” by Jews.

Steve (Stephen) Evans’ statement is not merely a reduction of the famous British understatement to the absurd. The crass description of a racist, persecutory, genocidal regime as “displeased” and the inversion of action and reaction in that sentence – which makes Jews the active party who “displeased” the passive Nazis – is both historically ridiculous and offensive.

BBC editors and correspondents – and especially one based in Berlin for over three years already – should know a lot better.


BBC Watch has received the following e-mail from Mr Evans:


I don’t normally spot your website but on a slow day I came across it.  Can I say that what you write about me and my piece is drivel.  It reveals a level of historical knowledge and awareness that would shame any moderately intelligent fifteen year old with half an interest in the events of the last century. The works were sold in 1935 – the same year as the Nuremberg Laws – so there was no systematic murder of Jews by the state at that time.  What there was, rather, was widespread persecution.  As I pointed out:  any Jew who displeased Nazis risked extreme violence.  Feel free to incorporate my views in your “analysis” – though somehow I suspect you won’t!

Stephen Evans

Berlin Correspondent, BBC

So once again, as noted above, Steve Evans is suggesting a connection between what Jews did – “displeased Nazis”- and the risk of “extreme violence” against them and is apparently unwilling to acknowledge that in fact, racist attitudes towards Jews as a group – rather than anything specific individuals did or did not do – were the basis for both “widespread persecution” and “extreme violence”. 





105 comments on “BBC’s Berlin correspondent: Jews “displeased the Nazis”

  1. Sorry, your blog is excellent, but this time I think you’ve totally missed the mark. I am Scottish, pro-Israel and a native speaker of British English.

    1) The spoken phrasing does not necessarily imply the commas as you’ve suggested.
    2) Even if it did, the statement that [all] Jews “displeased” the Nazis would not be a mere understatement it would be ridiculously absurd given what is common knowledge of the relationship between the Nazis and the Jews. Holocaust denial has not reached the depths where a statements such as you’ve suggested could be broadcast on the BBC.
    3) The statement by Evans that Jews who “displeased” the Nazis “risked their lives” is not an attempt to justify the murder of Jews! It simply underscores the unreasonableness and brutality of the Nazis. Displeasure is not reasonably accepted as grounds for murder!
    4) The Guelph Treasure was “purchased” by the Nazis in 1934. At that time there would indeed have been problems, perhaps fatal, for Jews who “displeased” the Nazis, however at that time the Jews were not yet being “exterminated en-masse”.

    The BBC provides a great deal of material for this blog and you do an excellent job in covering it, however in this instance I really believe you have misinterpreted the comment.

    • I think you will find that Hadar Sela is herself British born and educated, and so also a ‘native speaker’ of English, and I doubt she has lost anything at all in translation, as you indirectly suggest.

    • XX 4) The Guelph Treasure was “purchased” by the Nazis in 1934. At that time there would indeed have been problems, perhaps fatal, for Jews who “displeased” the Nazis, however at that time the Jews were not yet being “exterminated en-masse”.XX

      I see it the same way. Pitty really, it would have been a great opportunity to use it to poke the British Broadcasting Communists in the eye with.

  2. Fcallen – I don’t think it’s a matter of commas. No Jew did any act to deserve displeasure by the Nazis – it was the Nazi who hated the Jews and would’ve concocted any excuse in order to feel displeased by the Jews’ very existence.

    The wording by Evans is incredibly inappropriate.

    • Of course not, and that is how Evans’ statement would be understood by anyone other than a raving nazi – as a statement of the unreasonable hatred against Jews. If he had wished to imply that Jews had “deserved” having their lives taken he would have used a phrase such as “It was a time when Jews, who *committed grave offences* against the Nazis, risked their lives.” To say that mere displeasure could lead to death is a condemnation of nazi brutality. What’s more, in our country at least (UK) the displeasing of nazis is still seen as a virtuous act.

      • I do not think Evans wanted to imply anything untoward. I think Evans’ wording of the concept “the Nazis hated the Jews” was and is inappropriate.

        It was a time when Jews, who were persecuted in increasingly more violent forms by the Nazis, risked their lives.

        It was a time when Jews, who were hated by the Nazis on the basis of a repugnant ideology, risked their lives.

        etc etc

        • OK I think the point Stephen Evans was trying to make (and which he succeeded to make as far as this listener is concerned) is that the nazis would have been particularly “ill-disposed” towards these particular art dealers as they had acquired items that the nazis apparently viewed as German national property. Neither of your suggested alternatives convey that fundamental aspect of the story. Had the nazis been in full extermination mode they would have killed the dealers and taken the treasure for nothing as they did with so much other property in later years.

  3. Maybe he meant that any Jew who displeased the Nazis, perhaps by refusing the sell them works of art they desired, risked his life by doing so.

    Steve Evans is now tweeting that he didn’t say these words.

  4. Well, it looks to me “displeased” is a really bad translation of the German word “missliebig”. A word online dictionaries suggest to be translated as “unpopular”. But that is far away from the dramatic sound of the the expression. I would prefer “disliked”, but not sure here.

  5. I’m probably a fool to comment here, but the point I was trying to make related to the legal dispute which apparently turns on whether in 1935 there could be what amounted to a forced sale. At that time, anti-Antisemitism was rife but mass murder by the state wasn’t. I’m trying to make the point that even then, Jewish people might have felt pressure to sell. I don’t know how much pressure. That is what the legal dispute is about.

    • Stephen – please be more careful when (using the active form) speaking about Jews in Nazi-controlled territory.

      The use of “displeased” was in that context wrong. The elimination of the Jew as a person started long before the elimination of the Jew as a physical person, and I find any discussion about the legality of the sale offensive to the idea of humanity.

      • I never thought I’d get anything like a correction or an apology from you and I was right. You need to think before typing.

        • 1. The issue is the use of the word “displeased” in the active form

          2. Such a WORDING remains wrong – since nobody has attempted to address/respond to this very simple point, that the Jews had not DONE anything wrong to the Nazis to deserve/inspire their displeasure

          2. The reasons for having to be careful when reporting about Jews in Nazi-controlled territory are too OBVIOUS to be listed. The reasons for the Berlin correspondent to be very careful when reporting Nazi history are too OBVIOUS to be listed. Etc etc.

          3. The idea that somehow a dictatorship that is steadily removing your civil rights and whose crazed leader keeps talking about you as the enemy of humanity, is still ok-ish because it forces you to sell your art pieces for money RATHER THAN by murdering you and your family (something they were all too ready to do a few years later), reveals a profound ignorance of everything about the 1930-1945 period, and especially of the escalating nature of the Nazis’ suppression of everything and everybody Jew.

          4. I am also not sure why if a dictatorship isn’t into genocide, then it is be ok to say that it’s you “displeasing” the dictatorship – a comedic remark were it not for the tragedies that Nazis caused to the world.

          I am left with the curious feeling of what would make a BBC correspondent prefer to present himself as a naive reporter with no awareness of the actual meaning of his very own words (that he gets paid to produce, speak and write), instead of doing the decent thing and just say “sorry” for an inadvertently poorly chosen remark.

          For an analogy, it’s like when a journalist reports of a woman’s rape and BY MISTAKE makes a passing remark about the way the victim was dressed. We all know perfectly well how wrong that is to say (since the way a woman is dressed does not and can not justify any rape). Would it be difficult for the journalist to apologise, and if it would be, why on earth it would be?

        • “I never thought I’d get anything like a correction or an apology from you and I was right.”

          Please don’t confuse those who comment here with the author of this blog.

        • You really should take your own advice Stephen Evans. You have offended whether you feel you have or not, so have the magnanimity to apologise, or else be labelled what you come across as!

  6. It seems this could be a matter of semantics. Mr Evans maybe doesn’t understand that his use of words implies that Jews had to do something that displeased the Nazis in order to be persecuted, rather than simply existing as Jews, as was the case. Let’s to be clear, Mr Evans, all you had to do to be persecuted by the Nazis and later on exterminated, was to be a Jew. In fact all you had to do was to be fractionally Jewish in many cases. Perhaps Mr Evans, you need to rethink your language if you want to be accepted as anything more than a 15 year old schoolboy who hasn’t grasped either the facts or how to write accurately about them.

    • Would any journalist say “the children, who attracted the paedophiles, risked their lives”?

      Or “the African-Americans, who displeased the KKK, risked their lives”?

      Or “the learned Cambodians, who irritated the Khmer Rouge, risked their lives”?

      • You might well say that any black person who displeased a white person in the Southern States under Jim Crow risked extreme violence. That statement doesn’t put the blame on the black person or mitigate racism but simply describe an evil situation. Similarly, in 1935 a Jew in Germany who displeased a racist thug might well be beaten or worse.

        • Stephen, can’t you see that by using the phrase about Jews DISPLEASING the Nazis you lay yourself open to bestowing on the Jews a characteristic that somehow, simply by being, they displease and therefore got their just deserts. (BTW, for sure blacks/gays and in fact any picked on minority would presume the same) It sounds almost acceptable that if a person creates displeasure in another, that person can be sanctioned in some way. Its no good to presume that everyone knows Nazi sentiments toward Jews because most don’t, particularly at such a distance from the event, and many of those who do, agree with Nazi sentiments. The way what you reported comes across, comas or not, creates the impression that you agree with the Nazi displeasure. Perhaps in this instance, rather than picking on BBCWatch, or transferring the blame onto the website coma placement, you should apologize and take care to choose your words more carefully in the future. After all, you are presumably an educated chap reporting in your mother tongue about probably the most contentious issue of present times. It is those who misspeak who add fuel to the fires of anti-Judaism and from where I am sitting it feels like 1935 all over again.

    • At the time in question – 1934 – it was in fact the case that to be victimised by the nazis a Jew had to do something that aroused their displeasure. Only a nazi would consider that such displeasure was in any way warranted or just.

      To understand the conditions at the time, here are some of the measures the nazis introduced against Jews in 1934:

      January 1
      The Nazis remove Jewish holidays from the official German calendar.

      January 24
      Jews are banned from the German Labor Front.

      First group of Jewish refugees from Germany arrive at Kibbutz Ein Harod in Israel.

      May 1
      Julius Streicher’s Nazi periodical, Der Stürmer–one of Germany’s most popular periodicals and a favorite of Hitler–reminds its readers that during the Middle Ages, the Jews were accused of committing ritual murder of Christian children and of using their blood for religious ritual purposes.
      The Rassenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP (Racial Policy Office of the National Socialist German Workers Party) is established by Hitler’s friend and secretary, Rudolph Hess.

      May 17
      German Jews are no longer entitled to health insurance.

      Other 1934 Events
      – “Twenty-Five Points of the German Religion” are issued in Germany by Professor Ernst Bergmann. It holds that Christ was not a Jew but a Nordic warrior put to death by Jews, and whose death spared the world from Jewish domination; Adolf Hitler is the new messiah sent to Earth to save the world from Jews.
      – The Institut für Erbbiologie und Rassenforschung (Institute of Hereditary Biology and Race Research) is founded at the University of Frankfort am Main by Dr. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer to study racial and hereditary issues.

      Source: (interesting to see how much nazi activity was taking place in the US too – analogous to the present day “Democrats”)

  7. BTW this website inserted commas into my script which weren’t there in the original, so altering the meaning. Curious.

    • There were pauses in your broadcast which were obviously misinterpreted as commas. The job of this website is to look for anti-Jewish bias in the BBC, of which there is plenty, but in this instance they have overscrutinised your report and read more into it than is actually there.

      • I haven’t deleted any Tweets. “Over” means: can’t waste any more time on the paranoid drivel you’re website churns out.

        • sorry for assuming you had deleted the tweet in which you said you didn’t say what you said because you didn’t notice saying it when you were saying it so when pointed out that you actually said you said you hadn’t said it.

          • It seems many on twitter also take Steve Evans to task. I had hoped he’d simply inadvertently chosen the wrong language, but no, his denials and name calling show that he is unapologetic and probably is the reason he’s a BBC correspondent in the first place!

          • Fcallen – here and on twitter I haven’t accused Evans of anything. I stated his choice of wording was wrong. This is not “unreasonable” at all, and I’ve provided plenty of explanation and examples including analogue cases that have zero to do with Jews or Nazis.

            Yet all I’ve got from Evans is BBC standard hubris and belief they’re never wrong.

  8. Astonishing. When I first read this, I felt that Hadar may have overstepped the mark here – Evan’s work might have been open to interpretation but giving him the benefit of the doubt, I imagined it was written in good faith.

    Subsequently, Evans has shown himself to be well and truly versed in the BBC practice of arrogant disregard for the audience and its ability to distinguish the finer points of the English language and how it is used and written.

    Evans writes above, ” …..on the paranoid drivel you’re website churns out.”
    So he believes us(?) to be, “mentally disturbed with delusions of grandeur and self importance”; or “abnormally suspicious and mistrustful”. (OED).

    Two points Mr Evans: 3,500 years of persecution may perhaps install what you dismiss so lightly as, “paranoid drivel”. Secondly, the website you refer to is more correctly described as your, not as you have written, you’re.

    Yet again you demonstrate your poor command of English, the very reason this post came to be written.

    • Poor command of English indeed, as shown by his use of the Grocer’s Apostrophe:

      “… the paranoid drivel you’re website churns out.”

      Surely that should be your website?

      As to “paranoid drivel”, perhaps Mr Evans would like to comment on some of the recent posts regarding the BBC breaching its own Editorial Guidelines?

  9. OMG, his meaning is clear. And Fcallen explained it clearly. Does the subject of naziism provoke some of us to such conniptive emotion that we lose the ability to calmly parse the words and syntax of English? People. His remark states the the environment in 1935 was so oppressive that if any Jew accrued the slightest negative attention from the Nazi authorities, if they caused any slight “displeasure,” that Jew was at great risk of violence, this being prior to the mass-murderous acts which were a few years off. Yes, it plainly indicts – not excuses – the Nazis.

    Fear makes people stupid. (Does it to me sometimes, anyway.)

    Overall I really like this blog very much. This was an anomaly.

  10. For the record, in 1933 German Jews, categorised as such by the Jewishness of their grandparents, were declared to be second-class citizens under the Nuremburg Laws and were barred from civil service and academic positions.

  11. 1935 not 1933. And see posts by RM and Fcallen. They get it. I’m still waiting for an apology for a serious and false accusation against me!

    • Being offended is the dubious privilege of those who feel offended.

      A simple statement on your part acknowledging this would have been sufficient. Instead you have been arrogant. Somewhat typical of the BBC in that ‘they’ know what is good for ‘The people’.

      Time that the BBC was completely disbanded and rebuilt with a different and tight mission.

      • Dear Anonymous Nobbly Stick. I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying – please do not take that as an invitation to clarify!!

        • Lets frame it in a way that BBC types understand. If a Black man said that he was offended by something that you said, I suspect that you would accept that outright. The Black person, not you, is entitled to determine if he/she is offended or not by something that you have said or written.

          Jews are human too and can decide if they are offended or not by something that you have said or written.

          Not you!

          • I disagree. You do not have to be a woman to feel offended if a journalist or politician mention the size of the victim’s dress when talking about a rape.

            All you need is to be a human. Among Superhumans such as those found in large numbers at the BBC, it is evidently different.

  12. I am 100% pro-Israel, 100% fan of bbcwatch, camera, elderofziyon, etc. but I think this blog entry is incorrect. I think all that BBC guy is saying is if a Jewish person did anything that “insulted” a nazi, the nazis would harm them and make them pay for it. I don’t think it means Jews were doing something wrong. It means if a Jewish person even breathed funny and it annoyed a nazi ,the nazi would mess with them and harass them. I don’t think that BBC guy meant it in the evil way it’s being suggested he did.

      • You have beaten up this straw man argument long enough. Grow up and try to understand that you’ve used the wrong words. Then find the courage to admit you did.

        The author of this blog and I haven’t suggested you were an antisemite. You obviously aren’t. You’re just a bbc guy allergic to come to terms to his own fallibility -perhaps it’s part of the job specs.

        Btw I haven’t found any mention anywhere of black Americans displeasing the KKK. And you haven’t addressed the rape-dress analogy. Neither have your supporters.

        • See above. The clear implication of your blog was false, serious and defamatory. Please apologise and correct.

          • I am not the author of this blog. I do not know the author of this blog. I am not even a Jew. You haven’t understood. I am not surprised.

            ps in other news, Goering wasn’t “Hitler’s Deputy” as claimed by one Stephen Evans on the BBC site, apart from a brief period in 1941-1942, long after the art was bought/collected/stolen.

          • HA! an usefull idiot of “British broadcasting Communists” demands an apology!

            Just like they are so willing to publish when THEY have dropped a bollock?

            Fucking toss pots.

          • XX ps in other news, Goering wasn’t “Hitler’s Deputy” as claimed by one Stephen Evans on the BBC site,XX

            1930. Hitlers representative in Berlin, 1934 designated internally as Hitlers successor.

            Try studying some history before spouting off about things of which you apparantly know nothing.

      • Sorry but the connotation of “displeasure” implies that the Jews had to actually do something, like “breathe funny” to be “messed around”. That is not accurate. One simply had to be a Jew, not one who even just breathed funny, to be excluded from school, a job, a walk down the street, have your house raided, forced to sell your assets at cut price, denied the right to own a business….. If any of those exclusions are simply being “messed around”, then either Evans, and those who cannot see the error of his choice of words, don’t understand the intensity of what Jews began to suffer, simply for being, not for doing.

        Evans is trying to defend the indefensible. I at least had previously given him an out by saying that maybe he inadvertently chose his words I’ll advisedly, that it was a matter of symantics, but all he has written since in defense of what he said implies that either he is ignorant or willful, or even just a guy who is unable to admit when he has made a mistake. Whatever, as a journalist he is spreading a misconception, particularly in current times when the atmosphere is fast becoming as putrid as 1933 in Germany. You just have to BE a Jew to sense that.

        • as a journalist he is spreading a misconception

          That is really the crux of the matter Sharon, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

          Let’s look at Mr Evans’ sentence again, without the commas:

          It was a time when Jews who displeased the Nazis risked their lives.

          One more time Mr Evans: It was ANY Jew.

          ALL Jews “displeased the Nazis just because they were Jews.

          Specifying that a Jew had to “displease” the Nazis in order to “merit” a risk to their lives is akin to blaming the Jews themselves for the Holocaust.

          • Well I don’t how many ways to explain this to Steve Evans. He seems entrenched in his view that he has done nothing wrong. In fact he is trying to extract an apology for being accused. Well, if he cannot see the connotations of what he said, and retract them in some sort of decent way, then the only conclusion one can arrive at is that Mr Evans believes that Jews displeased the Nazis and brought he entire genocidal Holocaust on themselves.

            Yes or no Steve? If no, then apologise for the ill chosen words. Silence has other implications.

          • Sharon – obviously you haven’t had much experience with the bbc

            Never ever look for malice where incompetence hubris and a general disdain for us populace suffice.

            The bbc likes to be green and some people achieve that by switching off all lights upstairs.

          • XX “It was a time when Jews who displeased the Nazis risked their lives.”

            One more time Mr Evans: It was ANY Jew.

            ALL Jews “displeased the Nazis just because they were Jews.XX

            But until 35-36 they did not neccessarily risk their lives by being so.

            Only those that came to the attention of the auothoritys. Ie “Displeased” the party.

            Gee, it takes a German to teach you English!!??

    • “I am 100% pro-Israel, 100% fan of bbcwatch, camera, elderofziyon, etc. but I think this blog entry is incorrect.”

      Same here on all counts but I would go further – this one blog entry devalues the rest of the material on the blog through association. I strongly believe it should be retracted.

      • fcallen – I don’t think you understood Sharon’s point. “Assimilated” Jews were treated like any other Jew.

        Anyway, for the n-th time you have avoided any reply to the analogy of the journalist mentioning a rape victim’s dress. Congrats.

        • I think I did understand it. The Jews in 1935 still thought they could avoid displeasing nazis by keeping a low profile and appearing as German as the Germans. They understood that the nazis still made a distinction in many areas of life between those who kept their heads below the parapets and those who incurred their wrath. It was not until several years later that one’s survival no longer depended on whether one was assimilated/avoided scrutiny or not.

          There are many real and grievous cases of anti-Semitism in Europe – including the BBC – today. It does no one any favours to try and make this non-story into one!

          Steven Evans is not in the Middle East department, he may or may not share the “Orientalist” views of many/all of those who are are in that department, however I have never read or heard anything in his previous that suggests he is anything other than favourably disposed towards the Jewish – and other – victims of nazism.

          As for your other point, I am not avoiding replying to your analogy. Analogies are great things as they only need a degree of similarity in order to be plausible, however the degree of similarity in your instance is minimal. Frankly, from your comments, I think you are an intellectually dishonest person and fooling yourself.

          • You just keep it coming, do not worry. I have learned about the kind of persons who show their real attitudes towards Jews and all other sorts of people after a few apparently innocent comments.

            It’s like those who claim they have “gay friends” and then 30 minutes later reveal themselves with homophobic slurs.

            I cannot imagine what other kind of reasoning would make a connection between the “BBC Watch” blog and Israel’s stance in the world.

            ps since you’re into history denial with your totally invented 1935 Nazi’s “distinction in many areas of life between those who kept their heads below the parapets and those who incurred their wrath”, I hope your screen melts at the reading of this: -in which we learned how Jews “displeased” the Nazis by keeping theirs heads above the parapet by…owning small shops.

            pps the words “cold progrom” and “extermination” appear in The New York Times on April 16, 1933, when we learned how the totality of lawyers in Prussia who were Jews had been disbarred, obviously since they were “displeasing” the Nazis by keeping theirs heads above the parapet by…being lawyers.

          • I don’t know what you are on about. I never said any of this. I don’t think it. I never said it. I never wrote it. Maybe you’re confusing me with someone else. Calm down.

          • “I cannot imagine what other kind of reasoning would make a connection between the “BBC Watch” blog and Israel’s stance in the world.”

            The fact that the subtitle of this blog is “Monitoring BBC coverage of Israel for accuracy and impartiality”

            In the About Us: “As a new era approaches in which British licence fee payers will be funding foreign as well as domestic BBC content, BBC Watch will seek to continue the monitoring of BBC output on the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict and to examine the broadcaster’s adherence to its legal obligation to produce accurate and impartial reporting as a service to its funding public.”

            There is no mention of “Jewish” or “anti-semitism” in this mission statement.

            Besides, any comment on Jews in the media automatically has a bearing on Israel, and vice versa. I’m sure you will appreciate that fact.

            Regarding your NYT article, the sale of the treasure was concluded in June 1935 following negotiations that began in 1934. Your article dates from October 1935. The Holocaust did not go into top gear in 1933, it was a gradual process of “eliminating” the Jewish presence from German society. Jews of any prominence were subject to persecution, starting with the most prominent and “progressing” from there. By October 1935 that persecution had extended to Jews who had shop sign on the high street. If you read the timeline I posted earlier from the Jewish Virtual Library you will find that there were several more “gears” to go.

            “It’s like those who claim they have “gay friends” and then 30 minutes later reveal themselves with homophobic slurs.”

            Yet another interpretation fail on your part.

          • I mentioned a 1933 article when thousands lost their jobs for the fact of being Jews, and rumors of mass killings had already started to spread abroad. Those rumors were unsubstantiated but the Jewish community in Germany had invented the expression “cold progrom” to identify its wholesale destruction even if not by killing.

            This clearly shows an atmosphere of generalised terror where Jews didn’t have to do anything to deserve the Nazi’s little and big punishments. There was no ‘parapet’ and your earlier argument is unfounded.

            You have failed to mention any of that, just like you don’t understand that journalists saying that Jews ‘displeased’ the Nazis are like journalists saying rape victims were wearing ‘provocative’ dresses.

            Your baseless accusations of intellectual dishonesty are badges of honour. In the meanwhile, it is still not clear why BBC Watch would have relevance to Israel’s stance, apart from with those who associated anything any Jew does with “Israel”.

          • Fcallen – I know you have no arguments. Please stop the puerile rhetorics…if my analogy is lame, demonstrate why it is lame, as to simply state so can only work up to pre-Reception class.

          • I told you earlier why analogies are of limited value and why they rely on intellectual honesty to be of any value. You have your view, I have mine, I do not accept your arguments, you do not accept mine, so let’s leave it at that

          • Fcallen – I do not have your views. You either dismiss or ignore contrary evidence.

            The earliest report of anti-Jewish nationwide terror in Nazi Germany on the NYT is dated March 20, 1933. Nobody reading that will doubt that Jews were afraid to risk their lives at the time for the simple fact of being Jews.

          • You haven’t read the article I mentioned. It doesn’t report of any big ‘event’ that would have found its way to the JVL. It reports of the many small ‘events’ that were happening in the daily lives of German Jews already.

            For example a group of citizens were called to some barracks and threatened at gunpoint into flogging each other.

            The March 27, 1933 New York City anti-Nazi march is an indication that people already knew how malign Hitler and followers were, seven/eight weeks after getting into power.

            One can only imagine the situation two years later.

          • NYT is paywalled for me but I am guessing it might be this:

            March 9-10 [1933]
            A wave of riots begins against German Jews by the SA, so-called Storm Troopers of the Nazi Party, and Stahlhelm, a nationalist organization comprised of World War I veterans.

            When I’ve finished work I will look for more details on that date.

            In the meantime, perhaps this provides some perspective on the phasing-in of anti-Jewish measures:

            May 31 [1935]
            Jews are banned from the German Armed Forces.

            I.e. Hitler had been in power for over two years before Jews were banned from the armed forces. It was about this time that the sale of the treasure was concluded, although negotiations began in 1934.


  13. In 1935 the malign nature of the Nazi regime was already evident. Hitler had just passed a law declaring the legality of the killings done for the Night of the Long Knives, the same killings he had admitted the illegality of beforehand. Goering was also busy building up the completely illegal Luftwaffe.

    With genocide still a few years away, everybody in Germany knew that what the Nazis wanted, they were going to get, and if they had found no legal way (=buying the art) they would have found an illegal one, retroactively made legal later on by the Nazis themselves.

    Once again, this shows that the scandal in this story is why would anybody have to fight a legal battle to recover what was effectively stolen, despite any monetary exchange about it.

  14. omnologos – I disagree. You do not have to be a woman to feel offended if a journalist or politician mention the size of the victim’s dress when talking about a rape. All you need is to be a human. Among Superhumans such as those found in large numbers at the BBC, it is evidently different.

    OK. I’ll try to frame it differently. If you think that something you said to a person relating to race, color or religion, and that person was of the race, or religion or color and they told you that they were offended, you have to accept that he, she (or it), is offended and if you didn’t mean to offend, apologise.

    If, on the other hand, you intended to offend, that is something else all together.

  15. And I just noticed this on a Guardian thread.

    The statement said: “I am sorry if I offended anyone with my use of the N word on Instagram. It was not meant as a racial slur. I am not a racist. There’s no way to defend the use of the word. It was all about intention. It was used as a term of endearment toward my son who is white. I appreciate that it’s a provocative word and I apologise if it gave people the wrong impression.”

  16. I would like to acknowledge and appreciate Steve Evans for coming to this blog and engaging in dialogue – whatever our disagreements.

      • Because I think dialogue at least offers an opportunity to a) explore and understand each other’s point of view and b) to learn and look at things from another angle. I wish the likes of H. Sherwood would visit from time to time too to explain their thinking. It seems that they live in a self-reinforcing anti-Israel bubble. I’d like to hear them try to justify it. Maybe, just maybe, a discussion with someone outside their bubble would start to open their mind. I’m sure I’d learn from the discussion too.

        • Don’t worry, they all take a peak at BBCWatch as they can’t resist seeing their names in print. From time to time they might venture a post as is the case with Steve Evans. Even “over and out” doesn’t stop them as they can’t resist justifying their righteousness. And of course they’re protected by the secret pact the BBC has forged with the FOI Commissioner so BBC journalists can say what they want and their bosses will not sanction them. That’s why we have Jews in Germany displeasing the Nazis into treating them badly, like forcing cheap sale of their goods etc etc!

  17. I have to agree with Mr Evans here. He was simply saying that the sale, if forced, could not be challenged at the time because of probable serious repercussions that would have ensued from such a challenge by Jews. On its own, the phrase ‘it was a time when Jews, who displeased the Nazis, risked their lives’ (or without the commas), doesn’t make it clear that it is an explanation for why there was no such challenge.

    • But that phrase does make it clear that the Jews actually had to do something in order to displease, like “breathe funny” as someone else said. Well no they didn’t, they simply had to be born of Jewish parents or grandparents. They didn’t even have to be observant. They could in fact have been totally assimilated like many of the Berlin Jews were – more fool them thinking they could hide away by never displeasing the Nazis!

      • “They could in fact have been totally assimilated like many of the Berlin Jews were – more fool them thinking they could hide away by never displeasing the Nazis!”

        There you accept that Jews in Germany before WWII attempted to avoid persecution by “never displeasing the Nazis”. People did try to blend in just as today Jews in Europe avoid wearing religious symbols so as not to “displease” – or attract the violent attentions – of modern (islamist) nazis.

        It is this state of affairs – not the wholesale mechanised genocide that would come later – that Stephen Evans was describing in his report.

  18. This protracted, unnecessary online debate with Steve Evans who refuses to even acknowledge, much less apologise for, what he got wrong, is the best possible demonstration of why this website is so essential.

    If we don’t keep an eye on the BBC, they will continue to broadcast information that is factually incorrect.

  19. Can I just say that this view, paraphrased as mine by one of the excitable people on this webite, is the exact opposite of what I believe: “Mr Evans believes that Jews displeased the Nazis and brought he entire genocidal Holocaust on themselves”. I thought my piece was actually highlighting the evil of the Nazis not the opposite. But there you go. People will hear what they want to hear. I still think I’m owed an apology but I’m not holding my breath. I wish you all well.

    • Stephen – this is what happens when you steadfastly and unreasonably refuse to apologise for what I kept describing as an unfortunate mistaken choice of words, without accusing you of any antisemitism or pro-Nazi views (something I do not believe or ever imagined to believe you have).

      As with Savile and 28gate and Lord McAlpine and and and, the BBC’s stupid no-apology we-are-perfect circle-the-wagon stance elicits monsters and poisons the discussion. But if you cared, you would not be a BBC employee.

      • Steve Evans – if you could just bring yourself to say you phrased this rather awkwardly this entire discussion would not have grown as it has. At the outset I said it was probably semantics, but your refusal to admit the duality of what you said can only allow conclusions that it is your view that it was the Jews doing rather than them just being that caused the Nazis to be reactive. But then you’re schooled by the BBC so it’s obviously difficult for you. Have a go and you’ll feel relieved and maybe make some friends. It’s obvious that you care or you’d have left after your over and out

          • Because the words are in clear English, clearly he said that Jews had to do something to deserve the displeasure of the Nazis when in fact they only had to be Jews, behaving in every civil way non Jews behaved who did not earn the Nazis displeasure.

          • 1) I believe you are misinterpreting the relevance of the active verb in this instance. If a madman shoots an innocent person who displeased him, who is at fault? In Britain we are proud of having fought the nazis. We do not consider their “sensitivities” vis-a-vis Jews – or anyone else – to be in any way valid.

            2) Jews did do something to displease the Nazis: they lived in Germany. If you think that is reasonable grounds for murder you are a nazi. If you think Steven Evans presented that as reasonable grounds for murder, you are, as he says – and in my humble opinion – paranoid. Of course Jews have very good reason to be highly sensitive to ethnic hatred and Stephen Evans should have taken that into consideration in his response. This case, however, is IMHO one of over-sensitivity at a time when there are many overt instances of anti-Semitism to deal with, e.g., unbelievably, the Jobbik rally in London this weekend.

  20. Here’s what I said (talking about 1935): “It was a time when Jews who displeased the Nazis risked their lives”. No blame attached to the victims. No mitigation of Nazi acts. Rather, the sentence high-lighted the viciousness of the hate. May I suggest that you heard what you wanted to hear in your conspiratorial mind and hit the key-board first and engaged brain second. In the process, a serious defamation was made – the website implied that I had diminished the crimes of the Nazis. I’m banging my headagainst a brick wall by suggesting a correction and apology but there we are.

    • I myself have made no defamatory statement about you Stephen. I have said that the use of the active form of ‘displeased’ was wrong and have provided plenty of argument on why it was and still is wrong. I have asked for a simple apology and correction – in 1935 Jews risked their lives for the fact of being Jews. They knew it perfectly well…not every Nazi was legally-minded after all,, and they didn’t much care if removing a Jewish person from a commanding position in a company, or from owning a small shop, or from being a lawyer, was meant to be done via bureaucracy or homicide. This point was made in 1935 in the pages of the NYT, so it was well known worldwide.

      The Nazi bigwigs had excused themselves from dozen of anti-SA killings around the Night of the Long Knives, with a retroactive law. There was nothing suggesting they were not ready to do the same to any Jew on sight, and even to those ‘partially’ Jewish too.

      You have used the wrong word. And yet, I am here banging my head against your brick wall, by suggesting a correction and an apology.

      • XX This point was made in 1935 in the pages of the NYT, so it was well known worldwide.XX

        Seem to have forgotten to tell the Jews that stayed about their findings though.

        Didn’t they?

        Or did the ones still here in 1941 just like a good gamble?

  21. Absolutely no point in carrying on this debate. If we take him at his, ‘hard done by’, word, then Steve Evans simply does not get it.

    If on the other hand, he does get it but would rather die that admit it – well, either way what’s the point?

    I entered this fray, not because I wanted to make a friend of Evans, but to let him know we won’t let lazy, sloppy, biased, subjective reporting of matters relating to Israel and Jews, go by without comment. Now he knows.

  22. Pingback: Wichsanwalt Pornojurist Urmann sieht sich als Verfolgter des Nazi-Regimes | Die Judenfrage und GFM RIMPLER III

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