1860-1899 | 1940-1949 | Antisemitism | Burning towns and cities | Racism



Jozef Goebbels in 1942 –
Bundesarchiv via Wikimedia

[ 6 March 1942 ]

On 6 March 1942, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, Jozef Goebbels, noted gleefully in his diary that ‘a frontal attack on black markets was made in the (British) House of Commons. No bones are made about the fact that Jews were chiefly implicated in profiteering in the food market. Heading the procession were the Jewish immigrants who went from Germany to England.’1

Three days earlier Beverley Baxter, Conservative MP for Wood Green, had claimed in the Commons that ‘there are British born Jews in this to far too great an extent. I don’t want to go further than that. ‘ He added that he was appealing to the Jewish community to ‘bring every pressure to bear rather than to bring upon themselves those things which are bad for them and unworthy of this nation.’2

Britain was supposedly fighting a war against Nazism and fascism, but much of the British elite, media and public retained strong anti-Semitic views and readily believed rumours that Jews were profiteering from shortages in food supplies.  In February 1945, the English novelist George Orwell, noted that ‘it is generally admitted that antisemitism is on the increase, that it has been greatly exacerbated by the war, and that humane and enlightened people are not immune to it.’3


[ 6 March 1894 ]

According to a Reuters telegram ‘Major Madden, commander of the West Indian troops, started with a flying column from Busumbala to Bakamar at six (in the morning),’ adding that ‘he encountered no resistance on the march except near Bakamar which was well fortified and stockaded. When the place was reached heavy firing commenced on all sides, and Major Madden threw shells and rockets into the town, setting the houses on fire. The enemy thereupon retreated, but kept up a heavy fire all round the bush. The town was taken after an hour’s fighting. Bakamar being destroyed, the column returned to Busumbala.’4


  1. Jozef Goebbels quoted in Bernard Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe: 1939-1945, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, 1988 p. 119.
  2. Beverley Baxter quoted in ‘Appeal to Jews,” The Daily Record, 4 March 1942, p. 6.
  3. Goerge Orwell quoted in Bernard Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe: 1939-1945, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, 1988 p. 119.
  4. ‘The Gambia Campaign: Native Town Captured,’ The Western Mail, 8 March 1894, p. 5.

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