Reichstag Fire

On his release from the Gestapo prison in Munich, Tagore went to Paris, where he was active in the anti-Fascist movement. In September, 1933, a huge anti-Fascist rally was held in Paris, where well-known French leaders, Torres and de Moro-Gaifferi accused Goering, Goebbels and other Nazi leaders of having set fire to the Reichstag as a pretext for suppressing the Communists. Tagore also spoke at the meeting. The speech is reproduced here. (Sudarshan Chattopadhyaya)

Comrades, we have met here today at a definitive time of human history. Never before in the history of humanity has the human race been divided into such two sharply divided, opposing groups as in our time. Invincible forces of progress are at work and, at the same time. the most brutal and dark forces of reaction ever known in human history are howling on all sides like angry beasts. Reaction is rampant, and its howls are heard all over the world. But this reaction has no possibility of maintaining itself except by terror and provocation. Economic forces of the world are against reaction. Therefore, it must solely depend on terror and provocation for its existence. But nowhere has the pure and simple terroristic and provocative character of reaction been so clear as in Hitlerite Germany. Hitler’s Fascist dictatorship continues its existence by terror and terror alone. The burning of the Reichstag was organised by the morphinist Goering and that degenerate beast, Goebbels, only with the purpose of organising provocation. Goering’s “discovery” of the aeroplanes scattering Communist literature over Berlin was also nothing else but a crude plot of provocation hatched by this criminal.

I was arrested on the grotesque and false charge of having planned to kill Hitler. It was very well known to the German police who knew all my activities in Berlin that my political creed was absolutely against individual terrorism. But the reason of my arrest was the same as it was in the case of the Reichstag fire or in the case of the aeroplane raid over Berlin. Its aim was provocation. The Nazi papers, when bringing out the news of my arrest, betrayed the provocative character quite clearly. They described me as an individual of Herculean built and said that many suspicious materials had been found in the car in which I was travelling, when in reality nothing was found, as absolutely nothing was there. These long series of provocations manufactured by the Nazis have one purpose in view. Hitlerism has already worsened the condition of the German people and the condition of the German masses is sure to get worse and worse under Fascist rule. The more the Fascist regime fails in giving bread to the millions of hungry workers, the more it fails in solving the unemployment problem, the more will it take recourse to provocation. It will try to cover up its complete lack of economic programme and its complete failure in solving the economic crisis with continually hatched plans of provocation.

In Germany, anti-Semitism of the Nazis has two purposes to fulfil. One is to divert the class struggle of the working class into blind alleys of racial struggle; the second is to cover up the failure of the Nazi regime by making the Jews responsible for the economic misery of the German masses. This anti-Semitic racial cannibalism of the Nazis must be condemned and denounced  by every civilised individual in the world.

The Nazi criminal leaders shout about the “greuel” propaganda in foreign countries, but the victims of Nazi terror with whom I have lived in prison, have shown me the marks of brutal beatings on their bodies and have narrated to me shocking tales of brutalities of the Nazis. What I have seen and what I have heard exceed all the accounts of the brutalities that we come to know through newspapers.

Comrades, let me warn you all not to have any illusion about the imperialist governments. If you think that these governments would really do anything to put an end to the brutal Nazi regime in Germany, you are wholly mistaken. They will do nothing. Already the bourgeois press all over the world have become indifferent to Nazi terror in Germany. Do not expect anything from them. The t time for long speeches is over. The time for action has come, the time for the revolutionary action. Remember, comrades, that the chain that binds our comrades in Germany, binds, with its other end, us in all the countries of the world, and the prison-cells in which they sit in Germany exist invisibly round us also. Let us all remember this and carry on the struggle till we have smashed reaction not only in Germany but also all over the world.

Saumyendranath Tagore,
From “Hitlerism: The Aryan Rule in Germany” a collection of articles written in Paris in 1933

No comments:

Post a Comment