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Annual 4 Chapter 8 Part 1
 

Antisemitism in South Africa During World War II:
A Documentation
by Albrecht Hagemann
Translated by Martha Humphreys and Sybil Milton.

This documentation contains the text of a "Report on a Survey of Antisemitism in South Africa," probably written in late 1944 or at the beginning of 1945. The anonymous author, a Jewish scholar in the Union of South Africa, is unknown.1 The document, bearing the notation "confidential," may have been prepared for the United Party, which at that time was represented in a coalition government under the leadership of Prime Minister General J. C. Smuts.2 The report, consisting of 31 typewritten pages in the original, was based on interviews with 112 persons (only 110 of whom actually provided details that could be evaluated3) who held "strategically" important positions4 in various sectors of South African public life at that time.

One of the strengths of this document is that its author clearly understands the limits of his findings. The sample is quite small, and the interviewees might not necessarily have disclosed their actual views about the problem of South African antisemitism, especially since the interviewer identified himself as a Jew and did not restrict himself to precise questions to be answered, but frequently conducted extended, and, in some instances, repeated discussions on the topic of antisernitism.5 It is thus possible to agree with the author's statement that he interpreted his findings more as indicators and clues about opinion trends.6 Despite this disclaimer and the anonymous author's modesty, he was nevertheless clearly in a position to make interesting contributions to our understanding of South African antisernitism during World War II. The last section of the report clearly departs from an analysis of his interviews, and here the reader finds a number of suggestions for effectively dealing with the danger of increasing antisernitism.

The significance of this report is confirmed by the names of two well- known South African social scientists who advised the anonymous author: Professor I. MacCrone of the Department of Psychology and Professor J. L. Gray of the Department of Social Studies of Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. Professor MacCrone in particular achieved international recognition for his pivotal work about historical, sociological, and psychological factors of South African racial society. 7

One of the weaknesses of the document is the author's lack of precision in claryifying his own position when he abandons pure analysis in favor of discussing methods for combatting South African antisernitism. Thus it seems questionable, for instance, when the author summarily mentions at the beginning of his deliberations that he interviewed both antisemites8 and liberals. It is not clear whether the appellation "antisemite" is a self- designation of the interviewee or whether the author, based on his impressions, subsequently classified the person as an antisemite.

Only the total context of the report makes it clear that the author's suggestions for combatting South African antisernitism come from a position that can be loosely characterized as leftist. His frequent use of the pejorative adjective "reactionary" to describe political forces and attitudes indicates probable sympathies with the South African left. Within the South African context, a leftist position generally supported both the integration of all races in political decision-making and a strong union system with a socialist orientation in the economy.

Although the report is loosely structured, it has seven chapter subheadings: 1) Introductory remarks; 2) Procedure used in the survey (pp. 1- 4); 3) The nature and extent of latent and overt antisernitism (pp. 4-8); 4) Antisemitism in its reactionary setting (pp. 8-11); 5) The reaction of liberals to the South African situation (pp. 11-21); 6) The position in the trade unions and the army (pp. 21-26); and 7) An addendum to the report containing general impressions (pp. 27-31).

The following documentation sketches the origins and growth of South African antisernitism after the 1930s,9 followed by a bibliographical note about archival sources. The original text of the "Report on a Survey of Antisemitism in South Africa" is then reproduced with annotations.

The Origins and Growth of South African Antisemitism

In the quest for decisive dates of significance for the Jewish population of South Africa between the wars, the years 1930, 1933-1934, and 1937 constitute important hallmarks.

To the surprise 10 of the Jewish community,11 which in 1930 comprised approximately 4.28 percent of the white South African population, the parliament of the Union passed an Immigration Quota Act that became effective on 1 May 1930.12 This law was introduced on 29 January 1930 by the Minister of the Interior, Daniel F. Malan (starting in 1948, Prime Minister of the Union), for the governing coalition comprised of the National Party and the Labour Party under the Prime Minister, General Herzog. Although it did not expressly mention the Jews, the direction was clear to all interested observers.

The new regulations categorized the countries of origin of future immigrants into two groups: a) nations that were to be exempt from any immigration restriction, including Great Britain and the British Commonwealth, the USA, and more or less all of Western Europe; and b) nations that were to be subject to restrictions, a category that applied to the rest of the world.13 In various speeches the Minister of the Interior Malan referred to the model of the United States in this question, stressing that future South African admissions procedures would generally be more liberal toward immigrants than the American.14

Category b, since it included Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe, worked decidedly to the disadvantage of the Jewish migration to South Africa. With a few exceptions, up to 1936 Jews from all parts of Eastern Europe constituted the largest contingent of Jewish immigration to South Africa. Between 1927 and 1936 a total of 16,532 Jews came into the country, of whom 39 percent were from Lithuania, 15 percent from Poland, and 10 percent from Latvia.15 Johannesburg had fittingly been called the "diaspora of Lithuania."16 In 1929, Jewish immigration to South Africa reached its high point with a total of 2,788 persons. As a result of the new immigration law of 1930, the total Jewish emigration diminished in that year to 1,881 persons and in the years 1931 and 1932 respectively to 885 and 676 persons.17

The immigration law came into effect at a time when, as a result of the international economic crisis, the Union of South Africa was also going through a severe depression (1928-1933).18 This occurred at the time the so- called Carnegie Commission was studying the "poor white" problem in South Africa.19

On closer examination, the "poor white" problem was one that applied almost exclusively to the Afrikaner (Boer) population of the country-in other words, to those white South Africans who had been influenced by Calvinism. They traced their ethnic origins to Dutch, Flemish, German, and French (Huguenot) roots. Dating from the time of the British advance in South Africa during the early nineteenth century, these white South Africans had been desperately striving to preserve their ethnic identity, although they simultaneously constituted a community of fate with South Africans of English origin vis-a-vis the overwhelming black majority. The Afrikaners considered themselves the actual rulers of the country; thus their defeat by Great Britain in the Boer War of 1899-1902 necessarily had traumatic effects.

Large numbers of Afrikaners probably sympathized with the Jewish and other victims of Nazi concentration camps, because of their own direct experience with concentration camps during the Boer War. After all, in the winter of 1901, about 20,000 of the 120,000160,000 Afrikaner prisoners in British camps died; a majority of these were children, women, and the elderly.20 However, the Afrikaner response to the news of Nazi camp atrocities was utterly ambivalent; this is hinted at in the Report.

Moreover, for the Nazi propaganda machine, the British camps of the Boer War were welcome as an object of exploitation in their campaign against "British humanitarian flim-flam." Thus Fritz Spiesser's book Das Konzentrationslager [The Concentration Camp], published in Nazi Germany,21 fictionalized the fate of an Afrikaner woman in a British camp. Further, various German authors glorified in their novels the "positive heros" of the Boer War, such as Paul (Ohm) Kruger. 22 Kruger symbolized the solitary hero who fought in South Africa against "British-Jewish imperialism." Kruger was portrayed as simultaneously "Boer, citizen, and patriarch"; in contrast, Cecil Rhodes was portrayed as the "Golden Calf of Africa."23 The propagandistic apex of Nazi Kruger-euphoria was reached with the film Ohm Kruger by Emil Jannings in 1941, which was officially produced with Goebbels as collaborating script writer.24 Anticapitalism and antisemitism, served as the film's leitmotif, while the Afrikaner state represented by Kruger served as the idealized precursor of the Nazi state. The use of Kruger as the model for Germans at war was especially believable because his ancestry in Prussia's Mark Brandenburg was emphasized. 25

Shortly after the end of World War II, some Afrikaner historians26 realized the dangers such Nazi glorification of Kruger and the Boers posed for the Afrikaner: at the turn of the century, the Boers had been viewed and celebrated by world opinion as the brave fighters against the British Empire; after the nationalist assumption of power in Pretoria in 1948, a change of world opinion became noticeable vis-a-vis South Africans in general and Afrikaners in particular. The policy of apartheid, inaugurated with rabid ruthlessness, increasingly discredited and isolated the Afrikaners. This was already the interpretation advanced in 1951 by the well-known South African historian Floors A. van Jaarsveld.27 The partisanship of the Nazis for the Boers enslaved during the Boer War thus proved itself to be counterproductive for the image of the Afrikaner after World War II. For example, van Jaarsveld found that Nazi German pro-Kruiger propaganda in occupied Holland apparently changed the previously proAfrikaner attitudes of the Dutch population into one that led many of the Dutch to equate Afrikaners with Nazis.

The specifically Afrikaner nationalism that started in the 1920s and increased tremendously in the 1930s has long been interpreted by a one-sided historiography as an almost exclusive reflex of the Afrikaner people's humiliating defeat during the Boer War.28 A "revisionist" approach, however, relativizes the significance of the Boer War without trivializing it.29 The paradigm of this "revisionist" school on the topic of Afrikaner nationalism includes such phenomena as industrialization; urbanism; the alienation of many Afrikaners from a familiar, purely rural lifestyle; and not least of all the sociopsychological effects (difficult to measure) of the encounter of the rural Afrikaner with the urban industrial life-styles that were coming into being.

The "poor white" problem had various causes that cannot be dealt with here.30 Important for our context is the fact that in the first third of the twentieth century approximately 300,000 whites (predominantly Afrikaners)31 out of a total of approximately two million white South Africans lived in unprecedented poverty. A large share of the "poor whites" experienced this poverty in crowded urban centers, where English and Jewish segments of the population controlled trade and banking.

Around 1930 approximately 66 percent of the Jewish inhabitants of South Africa, compared with 20 percent of the entire population, worked in business occupations.32 Jews were employed in trade and business in numbers amounting to approximately 14 percent more than all other whites.33 T. Adler has in fact shown that for Johannesburg, with the largest Jewish congregation of South Africa, in 1935 approximately 38 percent of all male Jewish wage earners were employed in the trade, financial, and insurance sectors.34 But this fact may have been altogether unknown to the Afrikaner who, compelled to find work in the city to earn a living, was moving to Johannesburg, the "Babel of sin." Here he encountered a business world that seemed to be under English and Jewish control.

For masses of Afrikaners the experience of seeming to be foreigners in their native land as soon as they, driven by necessity, moved into the teeming cities, contributed significantly to the emergence of a latent antisernitic "undercurrent."35 That this antisernitism only gradually gained in intensity in the early twentieth century probably resulted from the fact that originally the Afrikaners were kindly disposed toward Judaism, perceiving the Jew as a representative of God's "chosen people.36

Gideon Shimoni points out that even in the 1920s the National Party of General Hertzog, which was considered the party of the Afrikaners, had assumed that the Jewish vote could be won over to the Afrikaner camp.37 But the elections in 1929 clearly showed that these hopes of the Nationalists were deceptive: Jewish votes had predominantly supported the empire-oriented South African Party under the leadership of General Smuts.38

Were the immigration regulations of 1930 therefore an act of revenge by the Nationahsts?39 Shimoni has shown that anti-Jewish sentiment based on the large immigration of East European Jews up to 1929 was not an exclusive Afrikaner matter. Even the parliamentary opposition of the South African Party ultimately voted for the immigration regulations of the Hertzog administration. The party leader, Smuts, did, however, base his criticism of the legislation on the fact that Jewish immigration to South Africa would altogether ease the minority status of whites.40

The Afrikaner press was not alone in welcoming the new immigration law. Starting in 1933, English newspapers, which resolutely took to the field against National Socialism in Germany (for instance, Cape Times, Cape Argus, Rand Daily Mail, Natal Mercury), acknowledged the intention of the otherwise unpopular administration of Hertzog. On 31 January 1930 the Rand Daily Mail of Johannesburg stated:

There is no doubt at all that the great weight of public opinion will be on the side of the Government in this matter, not, however, through any personal or racial animus towards the immigrants ... but merely because the whole destiny of the country is likely to be changed within a comparatively short period if the inflow of immigrants of a certain type is allowed to continue at its present rate, unchecked.41
The year 1933 resulted in a significant upheaval for the South African Jews- as for all Jews, of course, considering the seizure of power by Hitler-though this may not have been immediately recognized. That year the National Party of General Hertzog and the South African Party of General Smuts formed a coalition government, from which in 1934 the United National South African Party (called the United Party for short) emerged. The reason for this merger was mainly economic: To overcome the economic crisis, General Hertzog after long consideration considered it necessary to abandon the gold standard. To accomplish this, which during the postwar years led to a lasting economic upswing in the Union,42 Hertzog sought the support of the party of General Smuts.

Politically the fusion could hardly be overrated, as Hertzog was now regarded by many nationalist Afrikaners as a traitor since he had evidently made his peace with Great Britain, which was still hated. In the Westminster Statute of 1931, Great Britain had assured the Union of complete sovereignty within the British Commonwealth.

From the beginning, Hertzog, as the nominal leader of the new United Party and Prime Minister of the "fusion government" (actually Vice Premier Smuts continued to be considered the stronger man), had to defend himself particularly against the accusation of betrayal by the parts of his former National Party that had not participated in the fusion. Among these were the National Party of the Cape Province under the leadership of the former Minister of the Interior D. F. Malan and parts of the National Party of other provinces of the Union. It was mainly J. G. Strijdom (Prime Minister of South Africa from 1954 to 1958) who emerged in the Transvaal as a nationalist firebrand against the "heretical" Hertzog and his "fusion party." Unofficially the Nationalists under Malan and Strijdom. now adopted the name Purified National Party (called Purified for short).

In the 1930s the nationalism of the Afrikaner segment of the population underwent an enormous upswing, stimulated to a large extent by the reorganization of the political landscape of South Africa resulting from the realignment of the political parties. A high point of this development was the so-called Voortrekker celebration in Pretoria in 1938, recalling the legendary "great treck" by the Afrikaners a hundred years earlier from the Cape to the Transvaal. Radical Afrikaner academicians, many of whom were organized in the secret Afkrikaner Broederbond, propagandized in countless speeches, brochures, and books the ideal of a future Afrikaner republic in which foreigners (referring primarily to British and Jews) would have only guest status.43

Undoubtedly Afrikaner nationalism also gained impetus from Hitler's seizure of power. Afrikaner nationalism agitated against "unafrikaner" party pluralism and the Western (British) form of democracy. It also drew on an inferiority complex resulting from the defeat in the Boer War, and its followers railed simultaneously against "capitalism," exploitation by "parasitic elements," and unchristian Communism.44 The "inorganic" urbanization of the Afrikaner, his displacement and alienation in the large cities, as well as the Afrikaner's general "loss of individuality" in the rapidly industrializing nation- these were grievances of the Calvinist academicians at the universities of Potchefstroom and Stellenbosch, who could look back on an exclusively Afrikaans-Calvinist tradition.

Afrikaner nationalists and German National Socialists had one important mutual point of agreement: Both were oriented by the criterion of racial superiority, and in fact there was no lack of mutual expressions of sympathy in the late 1930s.45 Nonetheless, German National Socialism remained largely unknown to the average Afrikaner, and only an extremely small share of the Afrikaner intelhgentsia unreservedly affirmed the Nazi system as a model for South Africa. Even radical elements among the Afrikaner academicians considered the Nazi dictatorship to be unafrikans and ultimately alien. The Nazis' overemphasis on race was in fact considered as an unacceptable idolatry incompatible with divine will.

From October 1933, the South African Greyshirt Movement, which devoted much space in its polemics to antisemitism, appeared in a uniform that was clearly Nazi.47 Under their leader, Louis Weichardt, who was of German heritage, the Greyshirts at times achieved a membership of 2,000 persons.48 Several times during the 1930s and 1940s they changed their designation: Depending upon whether their intention was to appear more activist and extra-parliamentary or to participate in the party rivalry at the elections, they called themselves the South African Christian National Socialist Movement or, as in May 1934, the South African National Party.49

Weichardt always valued the assertion that he was not a puppet of the German National Socialists in South Africa but was a true Afrikaner. Nonetheless he maintained proper contact with the German consular and party representatives in the Union. These contacts, however, are usually overrated.50 German interest in the domestic political forces within the Union applied more to the nationalist forces within the ruling United Party and the Purified headed by D. F. Malan, both of which were considered to have more political weight than the handful of Greyshirts. 51

In addition to the Greyshirts, other splinter groups took the field in propagating a South African antisemitism in the 1930s. The People's Movement under the leadership of H. S. Terblanche militantly supported a South African terre blanche52 In addition, there was the South African National Democratic Party (Blackshirts) under Manie Wessels, which created a branch under the leadership of Chris Havemann called Die Volksbeweging. Other groups were the South African Fascists under the leadership of Johannes von Strauss von Moltke as well as the Gentile Protection League and the Boerenasie under R. Rudman. 53

With the exception of the Greyshirts, all these groups mentioned were numerically insignificant and predominantly of an ephemeral nature. In a typical manner, they represented an antisemitism that primarily instrumentalized its scapegoat function. According to them, the misery of the Afrikaner "poor whites" derived primarily from the machinations of the Jews in South Africa, and the solution to this problem was closely connected with a solution to the South African "Jewish question."

To anyone who believed it necessary to compensate for a feeling of inferiority by projecting hate on a religious minority, the Jews of South Africa were a seemingly ideal but extremely inconsistent victim. Jews were in prominent positions alongside capitalists and opinion-makers (such as Oppenheimer in the mining industry and Schlesinger in the media), which evoked the "Hoggenheimer" cliche of the money-hungry Jew. But there were also a great number of Jews who were active on behalf of a worker movement that was in part communist-oriented. The labor unions and the Communist Party of South Africa registered a large share of well-known Jewish leaders,54 which according to T. Adler was due primarily to the socialist tradition of many East European Jews in South Africa.55

The Jews served as a target for accusations by antisernitic propagandists who suspected Jews to be at the forefront of a JewishBolshevik revolutionary movement in South Africa, the goal of which was ostensibly to hand over the country to the black masses.56

The Hoggenheimer cliche and the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy stereotype were used alternatively or simultaneously by the representatives of radical antisemitism in South Africa, who had no particular difficulties with the contradiction.

The events in South Africa during 1933 and 1934 (Fusion, Purified, Greyshirts) became politically significant for our context as a result of the increasing attempts by the Purified under Malan's leadership to include the antisernitism of the Greyshirts for their own purposes. As stated in a report for the United Party about "Nationalists and the Jews" in the 1940s, "It was eager to cash in on this disreputable gangster movement."57

Undoubtedly the persecution of the Jews in Germany following Hitler's assumption of power also intensified the "Jewish question" in South Africa; the nationalists used this example in their electoral campaigns and also to build a political profile. From 1933 to 1936 a total of 6,132 German emigrants, including 3,615 Jews, came to South Africa. Only 2,549 German Jews came to the Union in 1936.58 This new wave of Jewish emigrants increased antisernitic tendencies in the country. At the same time it indicated a sensitive omission in the immigration law of 1930: At that time Germany was still a member of the group of West European countries, and the number of its emigrants to South Africa was supposed to remain unrestricted. It could be anticipated that nationalist groups within the Union would make it their aim to close this gap.

The publicly displayed South African antisernitism reached a dramatic high point in October 1936 when the ship Stuttgart was to arrive in Cape Town with approximately 500 German Jews. The ship had been chartered by the Council for German Jewry in London after it had become known that new South African immigration laws demanded the payment of E100 per immigrant after 1 November 1936. Under the propagandistic leadership of the Greyshirts, whose headquarters were in Cape Town, a demonstration by approximately 1,500 persons protesting the landing of the refugees was held in nearby Stellenbosch. The protest was directed against the "unlimited and undesired Jewish mass emigration to South Africa."59

It was clear that even Malan's party was no longer capable of stopping this increasing antisernitic trend without running the danger of "missing the boat." Up to this point Malan had always stressed that he was not propagating antisernitism but was more concerned with opposing the discrimination of Jews already settled in South Africa. However, he strictly rejected further Jewish emigration into the country, maintaining that it would merely incite latent antisemitism in the Union.60 The Stuttgart incident marked a turning point in Malan's attitude toward the "Jewish question."

Malan and his Purified Party undoubtedly had clear reservations about the fascist aspirations of their party member Louis Weichardt. Regardless of how much Malan and his followers wanted to recognize the "achievements" of the Third Reich for the German people, a National Socialist system was not considered altogether exemplary for South Africa. Negotiations in the 1930s regarding administrative cooperation between the Greyshirts and the Purified finally failed in 1937, also on the question of the evaluation of the Nazi system as a model for the Union. The fact that the reduction of Jewish influence in South Africa was nonetheless an important element in their shared convictions emerged clearly from the letter of 25 October 1937 by F. C. Erasmus, secretary of the Purified, to the leader of the Greyshirts, stating that the negotiations with the party were over:

Before concluding our correspondence, my party is glad to give expression to its sincere appreciation of the useful work done by the Greyshirts in one important respect, viz., that they have permanently drawn the attention of the people to the Jewish problem which indeed has assumed very threatening dimensions.61
The South African fusion government under Prime Minister Hertzog defused a parliamentary attempt by the Purified at closing the "German hole" in the immigration law of 1930. On 11 January 1937 it introduced into parliament its own Aliens Bill for the new regulation of immigration to South Africa. 62

The new law stated that an immigration committee had been formed specifically for the purpose of considering and deciding each case individually.63 Although the law did not mention the Jews as such, the criterion of "assimilability" made it easy to recognize the law's discriminatory bent. Malan failed with his proposal that Yiddish no longer be recognized as a European language in South Africa, but he now stated publicly in parliament for the first time that the new regulations were directed against Jews:

I have been reproached that I am now discriminating against the Jews as Jews. Now let me say frankly that I admit that it is so, but let me add that if you want to effectively protect South Africa against the special influx from outside, it must inevitably be done. 64
The extent to which antisernitic sentiment had penetrated the ranks of Malan's Nationalists is shown by the decision of the Transvaal Purified in October 1937 to withhold party membership from Jews .65 The Transvaal party leader was J. G. Strijdom, who cooperated closely with H. F. Verwoerd, the publisher of the new Afrikaans newspaper Die Transvaler. Verwoerd became Prime Minister of the Union/Republic of South Africa from 1958 to 1966. A short time later, the party of the Orange Free State followed the example of the Transvaal Purified regarding discrimination within the party against the Jews, while the Capeland Purified National Party refrained from this step.

The Purified led the electoral fight for the parliamentary elections of 1938 by clearly stressing the South African "Jewish problem." The results: the United Party under Hertzog/Smuts, 111 seats; Purified, 27 seats; and other parties, 12 seats. The election showed that the single cause of antisernitism could not yet mobilize the white voters of the Union to provide an electoral victory.66 That did not prevent Malan and many of his followers, however, from attributing the overwhelming victory by Hertzog and Smuts to allegedly extensive support of "Jewish capital" in the electoral battle.67

As a deputy of the Purified, the diplomat Eric Louw again made a private attempt in January 1939 to have the immigration legislation tightened. Even though this was apparently a solitary effort, Louw nevertheless had the silent backing of Malan's Purified National Party.68 Louw's legislative effort let radically racist motives be recognized publicly for the first time. No immigration applicant of Jewish origin was to be considered assimilable. Louw even went so far as to demand that anyone whose mother or father was Jewish should be considered a Jew regardless of the person's actual religious affiliation.69 Under the prevailing power relations in parliament, Louw's proposed law had no chance, but it indicated the antisernitic potential on the nationalist side that could be cultivated.

The active participation of the Union of South Africa on the side of Great Britain from 4 September 1939 had the effect of an earthquake on the political landscape of South Africa. The entrance into the war was largely unpopular with the Afrikaner population, and General Hertzog tried literally up to the last moment to hold out in parliament for a determination on South African neutrality that had been made by the cabinet. He finally failed in a crucial vote, 80 to 67, against his fellow cabinet member Smuts, who considered the German invasion of Poland a casus belli and rallied together parts of the United Party as well as other parliamentary deputies to a majority vote for participation in the war.

Prior to the deciding vote, Hertzog had been assured in writing of support by Malan's Purified for a vote of neutrality. The United Party was split by the results of the vote, and in the next weeks and months Hertzog, as expected, again moved closer to the Purified under the leadership of Malan.

After lengthy negotiations, Malan and Hertzog actually founded a Reunited National Party at the beginning of 1940. It can be simply said that this nationalistic party initially strove for a revision of the parliamentary decision of 4 September 1939. It also supported the creation of a South African republic and demanded the liberation of the country from unafrikaner (meaning Jewish) influences.70

But the reunification of the political party of Afrikanerism did not last. General Hertzog was embittered, and by December 1940 he withdrew from the party and parliament after having been unsuccessful in setting the Reunited of the Orange Free State on a course of domestic policy that provided for the complete equality of the Afrikaner and English, or white, segments of the population of the Union. The radicals in the party, however, pursued a policy directed toward a one-sided strengthening of the Afrikaner in the political life of South Africa. Malan became the new leader of the Reunited at the beginning of 1941.

From the beginning Malan had to combat the problem of the formation of groups within the party. In particular, Oswald Pirow, the former Minister of Defense, who was of German heritage and an admirer of Hitler,71 attracted the nationalists who were clearly oriented toward National Socialism with the "Reunited." With his so-called New Order Movement, he tried to provide them with a political homeland. Pirow openly advocated a fascist South Africa. After the collapse of the Third Reich he stressed that his ideas were actually of Portuguese origin, from Salazar. They revolved around a "Christian- national," decidedly authoritarian South Africa that was sympathetic toward corporatism. The anti-Jewish provisions in his program were less outspoken than the other goals.72

Numerically the New Order remained insignificant during the war. However, for Malan, the leader of the most important opposition party to the wartime administration of Smuts, it constituted the feared example of inner-party sectarianism. It is against this background that the notorious statement by Malan in March 1941 is also to be understood, according to which the New Order was completely superfluous because the program of the entire Reunited National Party included 80-85 percent of Pirow's ideas.73

Within the various oppositional parties of Afrikanerism, the Afrikaner Party of the former Minister of Finance, N. C. Havenga, offered a parliamentary stage to those Afrikaners who felt committed to Hertzog's ideal of the Afrikaner-Enghsh equality of all white South Africans. In many respects it was less radical than Malan's Reunited National Party. On the other hand, it never succeeded in making a political breakthrough and becoming a formative political force. With certain presuppositions, it too supported the establishment of a Republic of South Africa and demanded that the country resume a status of neutrality.

For Malan, the supposed leader of the Afrikaner population, the greatest competition arose in early 1941 outside the parliamentary arena in the form of the Ossewabrandwag movement (in English, ox-wagon sentinels). Under the leadership of their second "commandant general," Hans van Rensburg, Ossewabrandwag (OB), founded as a cultural organization in February 1939, attracted the more actionoriented and radical elements among the Afrikaner opponents of the war. To its followers the parliamentary struggle for political leadership in the country seemed too cumbersome and time-consuming. Van Rensburg was a convinced Nazi following his meeting with Hitler in 1936,74 and under his leadership the OB developed into a paramilitary movement which at times had as many as 300,000 followers.75 It controlled a militant combat patrol, the Stormjaers (stormtroopers), which was loosely associated with the organization. Even after World War II, van Rensburg himself compared the Stormjaers with the SA.76

From August 1941 the OB was in an embittered feud with Malan's Reunited National Party. It now can be shown that for approximately two years during the war (around the end of 1940 to early 1943), van Rensburg had hoped to come to power in South Africa with direct German help, which is why he assumed a wait-and-see attitude in the dispute with Malan.77

The ideological congruities between the OB and the Reunited were evident. Both called for a republic and for South African neutrality in the war, both ranted against exploitative capitalism as wen as against the alleged communist menace to South Africa. Both were anti-Jewish in orientation, although the OB adopted an unmistakably sharper tone at the end of the war.78

Malan succeeded in making van Rensburg, as the stooge of National Socialism, unacceptable to the Afrikaner electorate. In doing so, Malan was admittedly helped by the military defeat of Nazi Germany from the beginning of 1943. In truth Malan also strove for a strongly authoritarian regime after the achievement of an independent republic, even though he also formally advocated the retention of a pluralism of parties. Unafrikaan parties and groups would in any case be subject to special restrictions in their political freedom of movement.79

Within South African domestic politics during the war years, the splintered Afrikaner camp was confronted primarily by the United Party, which had been liberated from the "Hertzog wing" under General Smuts. Their followers were recruited mainly from the pro-British part of the population, provided they were not in the Dominion or Labour Party.

Many Afrikaners, however, remained faithful to the United Party even after 4 September 1939. The party also included that difficultto-define group of voters who could be accommodated in the liberal parties of Western Europe.

Public antisernitic statements by prominent members of the United Party from the war years were almost unknown. Prime Minister Smuts, leader of the party, was regarded all over the world as a recognized friend of the Jews, and he corresponded with leading Jews of the English-speaking world.

But among the followers of the United Party, both Afrikaans and English- speaking, there were antisemitic currents, as is documented by the excerpts from the report reproduced in full.80 With the end of World War Il in sight, the cardinal question about maintaining white power displaced the problem of the South African entry into the war in public debate. 81 It was no coincidence that the Ossewabrandwag now took an extremely anticommunist and anti-Jewish course. Presented also in the English language, its propaganda was aimed at the returning soldiers and, among other things, presented the specter of a threatening black takeover as a result of communist-Jewish collaboration. 82

After the parliamentary elections of 7 July 1943, which had again yielded a brilliant victory for the United Party of General Smuts, the question about the assurance of economic and political power for the whites in South Africa came to the fore. Temporary food shortages, a lack of living space for the whites, the question of the demobilization and reintegration of the soldiers into the work force, created a climate of political irritation that gratefully sought to use the Jewish minority in the country as a scapegoat. For example, confidential reports of 1942-1945 by the South African military intelligence showed that many returning veterans desired comprehensive social benefits, but simultaneously demanded the drastic reduction of economic power for "war profiteers" (for example, enterprises of the "Schlesinger type").83

General uncertainty about the political future of the white minority characterized the atmosphere surrounding South Africa's domestic policy when the "Report on a Survey of Antisemitism in South Africa" was written.

Chap 9

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