Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Ex-kaiser Dead at 82, Turned Anti-semitic After Germany’s Defeat

June 5, 1941
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

While having many Jewish friends before the World War, ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II turned completely anti-Jewish after the war when he lost his throne and was compelled to live in exile in Doom, Holland, it was recalled here today in connection with the death of the ex-ruler of Germany at the age of 82.

The ex-Kaiser blamed the Jews for his defeat. “I shall not leave the throne to please a couple of hundred Jews and several thousand workers,” he was reported to have said to Dr. Drews, German Minister of Interior who conveyed to him on Nov. 3, 1918, the request of the German Government that he abdicate.

Prior to his abdication he had among his personal friends such German Jews as Walter Rathenau, Albert Ballin and Maximllian Harden. He received Dr. Theodor Herzl in 1898 for a full hour during which he expressed himself as convinced that the Jews would embark on colonization of Palestine if they knew that he would take them under his protection. Dr. Herzl, at that audience, asked the Emperor to intervene with the Sultan of Turkey for a Jewish Palestine as “a Chartered Company, under German protection.” The Kaiser explained to Dr. Herzl why the Zionist movement attracted him. The considerations, as Dr. Herzl immediately observed, were essentially anti-Semitic.

Kaiser Wilhelm visited Palestine during the same year and met Dr. Herzl at the Jewish settlement, Mikveh Israel. “Your movement is based on a sound idea,” the Kaiser told Dr. Herzl when receiving him as head of a Jewish delegation in Palestine on Nov. 2, the exact date on which the Balfour Declaration was issued nineteen years later.

When Hitler came to power in Germany, the Kaiser praised Hitler’s work as “marvelous” in an interview with the London Daily Mail given to Randolph Churchill, son of the present Prime Minister of England. He was reported to have disapproved of Hitler’s anti-Jewish outrages, but his wife denied it. In a statement to the Rev. J. Lloyd Thomas of London she stated in Doom that the ex-Kaiser approved of Hitler’s treatment of the German Jews. “Before the war, my husband had no anti-Jewish feelings, but the Jews did him mischief during the war and he has not now a good word for them,” she said.

Recommended from JTA