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Daily Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

March 7, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

[The purpose of the Digest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.–Editor.]

Nero was an anti-Semite and Baron de Hirsch, founder of the Ica, an organization which was always opposed to Zionism, was a Zionist–so writes Poultney Bigelow in his book “Seventy Summers.” which contains a number of frankly anti-Semitic utterances, some of which have already been quored in this column.

In referring to Nero, Mr. Bigelow gives expression to his opinion that persecution of minorities is justified when the “public sentiment” is behind it. He writes thus:

“Nero was probably something of an anti-Semite–much as the Emperor Constantine was pro-Christian. Each employed assassins as part of their police machinery; it is hard to say whether the Christian or the Pagan caused the greater suffering…. If Nero rid Rome of Jews and Christians. It was perhaps from some such mixed motives as induced the Spanish monarch to drive Moors and all other heretics from Granada. Nero receives all the odium heaped upon him by Suetonius and Tacitus, to say nothing of his portrait in the Apocalypse; but should we not indict the whole of Rome as participes criminis? Nero alone could not have popularized persecution of a harmless and helpless body of saints. They must have been odfous to the masses, or the masses should not have applanded the frequent autos-da-fes that brightened Rome in his reign. Tyrants can do much, but they have never yet stopped the mouth of indignant mobs or extorted applause when outraging public sentiment. And therefore we are inclined to think that if Roman stadiums, holding 50,000 people, could be persistently crowded with people cager to see Judeo-Christianism extirpated, there may have been behind it all a public sentiment which we democrats who preach the gospel of sanetified popular majorities should treat with some respect.”

As for Baron de Hirsh, we read:

“This Hirsch called himself Baron de Hirsch. and be enterrained the Prince of Wales, gave to Jewish charities colonization societies, Zionist committees and other agencies for helping Hebrews an amount estimated by Lucien Wolf as close upon $100,000,000.

“And yet we hear Jews complain on the score of being persecuted!”

“Zionism was one of Hirsch’s fads. Personally he felt comfortable enough in Paris. London, Frankfort or Vienna, but he had to rid himself of sarplus money, and looked about like Rockefeller. Carnegie and other philanthropists, for a noble means of doing so. He decided to transport all persecuted Jews from the scene of their alleged misery to Palestine.”

Mr. Bigelow also takes occasion to comment on the Ku Klux Klan which he terms “a simple but forcible reminder that this is by right of conquest a white man’s country, and that there are yet men of the Anglo-Saxon race who protest against its being surrendered to any other breed–African. Hebrew or Hibernian.”


The Jewish interests of Dr. Louis I. Harris. Health Commissioner of New York City, are touched upon in an article in the “Jewish Tribune” of March 4, wherein Dr. Harris outlines his health program for the city in an interview with Leon Savage.

“Dr. Louis Harris is genuinely and intensely interested in matters Jewish,” writes Mr. Savage. “He reads both Yiddish and Hebrew and he is well versed in matters of Jewish history and culture. Maimonides is his favorite. The Zionist ideal finds an ardent enthusiast in him, and he gives himself freely to various philanthropic, fraternal, social and cultural activities of Jewish life in New York.”


The question of the Marrano Jews in Portugal has been taking a dominant place in the Jewish community of that country, we learn from an article in the London “Jewish Guardian” by Samuel Schwartz, Fellow of the Archaeological Association of Portugal and author of “Os Christaos-Novos em Portugal no Secolo XX.”

Mr. Schwartz describes in the course of his artilce the recent visit to Portugal of Mr. Lucien Wolf, Secretary of the Joint Foreign Committee, who came there to study the situation of the Marranos.

“The scientific object of Mr. Lucien Wolf’s visit to Portugal,” says the writer, “was matched by a practical object. The little Jewish community in Lisbon has been stirred by the plight of our Marrono brethren. The President of the Sephardic community, Moses Bensabert Abzalak, member of the Portuguese Academy, and a well-known writer on Jewish history and bibliography, and its Secretary, Adolphe Benarus, author of “Israel” and other works, addressed appeals to the Jewish communities in London, Paris and New York, asking for financial aid in the propagation of Judaism among the Marranos. Mr. Lucien Wolf was commissioned to study on the spot the needs and uses of such financial aid, as well as the programme devised for the re-education of the Marranos in Judaism.

“By this term, ‘Jewish-Marrano’, I refer to those of our Marrano brethren who still preserve a Jewish family tradition, who are acquainted with Jewish prayers, practice some Jewish observances, and still maintain a consciousness of their Jewish descent.

“Mr. Wolf was able to visit the Jewish-Marrano settlements at Belmonte, Cevilha, Caria and Guarda, where we were received with cordiality and hospitality. At Belmonte, one of the most important colonies, we happened to arrive on the day of a Fair, and so had the opportunity of meeting most of the Marranos of the district, who were on trek to the centre, just as happens in a small Polish town. Moreover, we came across a little group there of travelling merchants (Pedlars)–one sees them everywhere!–who seemed to be doing good business. I mention this fact in passing, because it occurred to me that the establishment of a few Jewish families in the Marrano centres of the Portuguese province might serve as an excellent means for judaising our Marrano brethren.”

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