J.R.R. Tolkien: Not A Jew


In 1938 J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit was achieving great publishing success in English, and a German publishing company subsequently sought the rights to translate it into German. But before they could go ahead with the translation and publication, they asked Tolkien to affirm that he was of Aryan descent, i.e. not a Jew.

Tolkien, a linguist and philo-Semite, was disgusted, and wrote an angry letter to the publishing company decrying their request: “If I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.” He also cautioned that, “if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.”

Tolkien was actually such a fan of the Jewish people that he even based his depiction of dwarves in The Lord of the Rings trilogy on the Jews. The Nazis should have known better than to mess with a guy who had a Gollum at his disposal.

Watch Tolkein and his son discuss if his stories were allegories:

Check out Gollum:

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