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A Year of Crisis 1935

A few years ago, the Arge Danzig published several documents that reflected life in the Free City during the mid-thirties. The regulations, provided by Arge member Herr Schaffrath, offered a side of the Depression era that is seldom discussed in literature. The Arge account states “. . .the emigration was said to have been accompanied by a tearful farewell. To what extent this is true, the reader may judge for himself. Leaving the city was probably not a pleasant experience for anyone.” Since Pat Rothnie had once volunteered to do a bit of translating, we sent him the text and awaited his reply. The task was quite involved, so Pat asked his friend, Doctor Wolf, of the German Department of Aberdeen University, to help out. Their combined efforts are printed below, with thanks from all of us. This look into daily events of 1935 is extremely interesting, but the motive behind the emigration declaration didn’t make total sense until we found some answers in a book that has proven helpful in the past. This will be discussed at the end of the translation.

The Senate of the Free City of Danzig P.Z.I. 2150 Danzig, 17 July 1935

The special emergency in the Free City, clearly set out by the President of the Senate in his speech to Parliament, compels us to take special measures. As a first priority, we must do everything to free the city from the burdens she bears as a result of the large number of persons of Danzig citizenship who are entitled to public assistance.

We are in a position to promise you, that on emigrating to Germany (emigration to be completed by 31st December 1935), you would receive payment of your Danzig public assistance at a rate of 123 Gulden to 100 Reichsmarks, but with the provision that in place of the Danzig regulations on the granting of compensation allowances and lodging allowances, the German regulations on the granting of special allowances and lodging allowances would apply and that the total payments of public assistance so calculated would be subject to the reductions which obtain under the German regulations.

If you transfer your permanent residence to Germany by 30th September 1935, an allowance for the costs of removal will also be payable, the individual amount to be ascertained from the regulations. On the basis of one removal, the allowance for removal is calculated on a maximum distance of 500 km.

In conclusion, we would emphasize that we urge you to take the decision to emigrate - difficult though we recognize that decision to be - because we cannot guarantee to continue to continue payment of public assistance much into the future. Further information can be obtained from Herr Zimmerinann, Chief Inspector of Posts Danzig, Langgasse P.O., Main Entr., left, Stair 1, Room 88.


Danzig Report Vol. 1 - Nr. 75 - April - May - June - 1992, Page 7.

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