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Foreign News: Law on the Screen

3 minute read
TIME

In his personal newsorgan Der Angriff, learned Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda & Public Enlightenment, last week taxed “twelve American billionaires” with owning or controlling two-thirds of the U. S. national wealth, referred to more equitable times “when it was in the hands of 1,200 millionaires.”

“American photographers,” scathingly continued Der Angriff,”do a good business with pictures of salesgirls whose dresses are being torn from them while they are being transported from, sit-down strikes to police stations. Thousands and thousands of farmers now are tramps and as such permanent guests of American highways. This is the democracy of 20,000,000 unemployed, and those working in the industrial field toil terribly for the same wages as before the dollar value was cut in two.”

Germans who own property, Dr. Goebbels hoped last week, may take warning from such “horrible American conditions,” and thus reconcile themselves more easily to a revolutionary change which the Nazi State is about to make—the fundamental change of rewriting German law “so as to give the German people a new conception of property rights.” While the text of Adolf Hitler’s coming new Law of Property is a state secret, the journal German Common & Economic Law last week carried official predictions that soon in German law “there will be no need and no room for abstract rights of property.” As an example of how this is going to work out, anxious German property owners were advised last week to see a new Nazi cinema play, The Autocrat, starring Emil Jannings who last week in Austria spent half an hour displaying his collection of 500 live birds to the Duke of Windsor.

The Autocrat is the story of a German steel tycoon, a character suggesting Krupp, who comes to the conclusion that his heirs scarcely deserve to inherit the vast works he has built up and it must go to the stalwart Nazi workmen who have toiled for him all these years. According to German Common & Economic Law, in such cases “considerations of proximity” shall rule—that is, if the heirs by blood are all splendid Germans of ”pure race” and patriotism, the estate may rightly go to them, but should they be otherwise the “superior proximity” of the Nazi workmen to their boss in a great German enterprise is to make them his successors, “as Nazi principles of the “the commonweal take precedence over private interests.”

In Germany today, movie productions like The Autocrat are as much the work of the State as the law itself, and last week Nazis saw nothing incongruous in this method of introducing to Germans via the screen what is soon to be a basic change in German rights of property and inheritance.

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