DIAMONDS COME TO AMERICA
Behind it all was the determination to encourage the cutting of small
diamonds in competition with Antwerp. Sometimes it did spectacular
jobs. It performed, as we already have seen, the most spectacular job
of all— the cleaving of the mighty Cullinan.
this might just as well have been a million years ago, as the suffering
of humankind since then is reckoned. The Germans came and there
suddenly was no Diamant Club in Antwerp or Diamond Exchange in
Amsterdam. The dealers began to flee for their lives. Even before the
Nazi armed forces moved into the Lowlands there was the Gestapo, who
went directly to the diamond marts of trade, seizing everything. They
went to the homes of the dealers. The latter tried to conceal their
stocks; they tried to flee to France, as did the pitifully few cutters.
Many of them got away.
all. They had families to consider. They watched while the Nazis piled
into their shops and their homes and took every item of jewelry away
from them. Some of them got to Paris, only to be trapped there. Here is
the story of one man, told to me personally. He now is a dealer
operating in the United States. To give his name would only mean
persecution of his relatives in German-occupied France.
man one night learned that the Germans were not far from Paris. I say
"learned" intentionally because the prostituted French press still was
duping and misleading its readers, even though Americans through their
free press had been despairingly aware of what was coming for some
days. This man had one of the leading diamond-cutting and wholesale
establishments in Paris. He had branches in Amsterdam and Antwerp. He
had moved away from Amsterdam two nights before the terrible bombing