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A Refugee Looks at Anti-Semitism Here:
The Difference between European and American Patterns

- Abstract

One day in the late 1930′s, so the story goes, a newly-arrived refugee couple entered the grocery store of a small New England town and asked for oranges.

“For juice?” inquired the clerk.

“Did you hear what he said?” the woman whispered to her husband in German, hustling him out of the store. “For Jews? You see, it’s beginning here, too . . .”

Together with some more of its kind, that sad joke used to be told among refugees in those days, and evoked wan smiles.

Of course Europeans had always known that anti-Jewish feeling was far from negligible in this country. But, at some point or other, this knowledge had been buried under the wishful hope that the bestiality of German anti-Semitism had so aroused the abhorrence of American Gentiles as to purge them of it altogether. In daydreams, the fugitives may even have expected to meet a kind of warm-hearted equality.

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