We have just come upon an interesting little booklet, “World Judgment on Hate for Jews.” It is published in German by Michael Kacha in Prague and contains the views of some of the famous characters of history with regard to the Jewish question. It is principally composed of comment from many current sources of intellectual achievement.
Napoleon Bonaparte had this to say in a letter to the Chief Rabbi of Dusscldorf in 1808: “All men are brothers before God, which has always been their (the Jews’) religious belief. I am not happy over this, that Jewish communities exist within my people, since through their ethnical peculiarities they form a foreign body within a united popular group of the nation. I am not happy that they retain their ethnical peculiarities and avoid assimilation. But I cannot subscribe to their persecution because of their race and religion.”
Nietzsche, who has written much of the Jews, at various times attacked and defended them. His theory may be summed up best in these quotations: “For what does Europe thank the Jews?-For many things, good and bad, and before all things for one which is at the same time the best and worst: the greatest conception of morality, the fruitfulness and majesty of unending progress, infinite significance, the entire romanticism and exaltation of questionable moral practices-and because of this, the most attractive, the most insidious, and the most sought out part of any color, play and seduction of life, which today glows in the heavens of our European culture like an afterglow-perhaps waning. We artists, as spectators and philosophers, are therefore thankful to the Jews.” This Gertrude Steinian soliloquy marks many of Nietzsche’s writings on the Jews. He gives them credit and discredit profusely. Nietzsche during his later years was one writer who received substantial payment for every word that came from his pen.
Lenin’s philosophy toward the Jewish question is well known. Unlike Hitler and so many other dictators of the past and present, Lenin gained power while bettering the lot of persecuted Jews, while others have made anti-Jewish programs one of their principal planks in bidding for national mastery.
He once wrote: “Enmity against the Jews is endured only where landowners and capitalists through selfishness hold the workers and farmers in the deepest ignorance. Only thoroughly oppressed and entirely ignorant people can believe the lies and propaganda against the Jews.”
Heinrich Mann, at present persona non grata with the Hitler government, says of anti-Semitism: “Hate for the Jews is an ancient, unchecked propaganda forced upon the people. It has absolutely nothing to it. This propaganda was spread throughout the provinces earlier than in Berlin. National Socialism is a revolution by a small proscribed part of the people against those who have been better civilized. No leading National Socialist comes from Berlin.”
Theodore Hartwig, former chairman of the International Proletarian Freethinkers, cannily remarks, “We are beginning to see clearly the economic background of the anti-Semitic movement. The Jews for the past century have been crowding certain economic positions, having been forbidden by the laws and traditions of the middle ages to enter most of the trades and professions. The casting out of Jewish elements from certain offices extends right up to the present era. The so-called equal rights of citizens is a fact only on paper.”
Jean Marestan, a French writer of Marseilles, says that “The source of anti-Semitism lies in the variety of religious conceptions. The Christians cannot forgive the Jews, who have judged and condemned their Messiah as a fraud. On the other hand, there lies between the psychology of the Jews and ‘Aryans’ a great difference.”