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The Tragedy of Georg Brandes

July 28, 1926
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[The purpose of the D###gest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our re###ders. Quotation does not indicate approval. Editor.]

Georg Brandes, the veteran Danish Jewish critic, author of “Main Currents in Nineteenth Century Literature”, is, at 85, a lonely and profound pessimistic man who sees his idea of Europe shattered, according to Claire Price, Copenhagen correspondent of the New York “Times” magazine.

“Beneath its scintillating surface, there exists to this day in Copenhagen a resentment against Georg Brandes. It was a generation of elderly jingoes that once made the Danish capital too uncomfortable for him to live in. It is a new generation of young jingoes, a generation peculiar to this riven nationalistic Europe, that warns foreign visitors today that Georg Brandes is not to be accepted as a representative Dane,” the correspondent writes.

“To some Danes, there is a suggestion of something slightly satanic in the two streams of white hair that arch back from Georg Brandes’s forehead; something mandarinlike and foreign in the tufts of thin white hair at the ends of his upper lip. Men who will not compromise are never popular, not compromise are never popular, not even in Copenhagen. And it may even be that ‘good Europeans’ are no longer wanted in Europe,” she writes.

“‘Europe !’ Brandes exclaimed. ‘Does the idea of Europe still exist? We have a European civilization in the sciences, but it is questionable whether we have a European culture. Knowledge is no longer regarded as supreme. Stupid and insipid things are praised today. The nations dislike one another. Classes, political parties, religious denominations distrust one another. Justice remains an ideal. The peace palace at The Hague remains empty and desolate. The demon that rules us is the World War and is consequences,’ he declared.

“‘Nationalism characterizes our present age,’ he said ‘The nations have fallen into the stupid habit of praising themselves. Almost every nation thinks itself the first in the world. This love of self, this habit of praising one’s self, has spread from Europe to the United States. Nationalism has taken root in the United States, although, with the exception of Switzerland, no country in the world would seem to be less national in its composition. It population has been recruited from countries of widely varying types. But by barring its doors to immigration, the United States has turned nationalist.

“‘The result of nationalism is a nervousness that stifles legitimate criticism. The political life of England and of the United States has always been so strong that foreign criticism has never seemed to touch it; but in Continental Europe the nervousness that existed before the war has been increased beyond belief. The Germans and the French have always been nervous in the face of foreign criticism. Since the war the French and the Poles especially have suffered through their desire for foreign admiration. France and Poland have gone so far as to suspect as enemies foreigners who have failed to yield them the admiration they demand. Lovers and admirers of both these nations today do not dare express their opinions for fear of being misunderstood.’ he declared.”


Sharp criticism of the London Rothschild house for joining the London bankers group to arrange a $12,500,000 loan for the Hungarian government is voiced by “The Day” of New York, who terms this action a “national treason.”

“When the Czaristic government 20 years ago sought a loan in the American money market, the late Jacob Schiff, who was not known as a devoted Zionist, declared at that time that every Jew who lends the Czaristic government of Russia one cent commits thereby national treason to the Jewish people,” the paper states.

“The present date Hungarian government under Horthy can be compared to the erstwhile Czaristic Russia. It is just as autocratic and just as Jew-baitinfi Despite this, there is a Jewish banker who lends that government as much as ten million dollars. That banker is not merely a man of money little known in Jewish circles. He has the reputation of an important Jewish social leader and for a certain time even made advances toward Zionism. He is Lord Rothschild of London.

“If the ten million dollar loan to the anti-Semitic government of Hungary cannot he termed a national treason to the Jewish people, then Jacob Schiff did not know what he was talking about and the conception of treason has no meaning.

“For it is certain that the loan will strengthen the anti-Semites in Hungary. The Hungarian government, which was recently so discredited because of the discovery of the counterfeiting plot involving the highest officials in the state, will now be able to tell its citizens that it still enjoys some prestige in the world and here is the proof. It obtained the loan. If there ever was a small possibility that the present Hungarian government, discredited everywhere, would finally fall and make room for a government of the liberal elements of the Hungarian people, there comes the loan of the London Rothschilds to make this possibility less. The Jew-baiting regime is strengthened. The numerus clausus remains in full power, the forces of the liberal government are beaten. These are the results of the Rothschild loan to Horthy. The Jews of the world had right to expect of the Rothschilds a totally different use in the huge fortune left by the pious. Godfearing Anschel This use of the Rothschild fortune in Hungary, if it be true that it will bring profits to the banking firm, will not bring them any honor or respect from the Jewish people,” the paper concludes.

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