THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION (Russian : Протоколы
сионских мудрецов) or THE PROTOCOLS OF THE MEETINGS OF
THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION is an antisemitic fabricated text
purporting to describe a
Jewish plan for global domination. The
forgery was first published in
Russia in 1903, translated into
multiple languages, and disseminated internationally in the early part
of the 20th century. According to the claims made by some of its
publishers, the Protocols are the minutes of a late 19th-century
Jewish leaders discussed their goal of global Jewish
hegemony by subverting the morals of Gentiles , and by controlling the
press and the world's economies.
Henry Ford funded printing of 500,000 copies that were distributed
throughout the U.S. in the 1920s. The Nazis sometimes used the
Protocols as propaganda against Jews; it was assigned by some German
teachers, as if factual, to be read by German schoolchildren after the
Nazis came to power in 1933, despite having been exposed as
The Times of
London in 1921. It is still widely
available today in numerous languages, in print and on the Internet,
and continues to be presented by some proponents as a genuine
* 1 Creation
* 1.1 Political conspiracy background
* 1.2 Sources employed
* 2 Structure and content
* 3 History
* 3.1 Publication history
* 3.2 First
Russian language editions
* 3.2.1 Conspiracy references
* 3.3 Emergence in
* 3.3.1 Krushevan and Nilus editions
* 3.3.2 Stolypin\'s fraud investigation, 1905
* 3.4 The Protocols in the West
* 3.4.1 English language imprints
* 22.214.171.124 United States
The Times exposes a forgery, 1921
* 3.6.1 The
Berne Trial, 1934–35
* 3.6.2 The
* 3.7 Germany
* 3.7.1 German language publications
* 3.8 Italy
* 3.9 Modern era
* 4 See also
* 5 Notes
* 6 References
* 7 Bibliography
* 8 Further reading
* 9 External links
Part of a series on
History of antisemitism
* Gaza War
* Nation of Islam
* Kosher tax
* Z.O.G. conspiracy
On the Jews and Their Lies
On the Jews and Their Lies
La France juive
La France juive
* Protocols of the Elders of Zion
The International Jew
* The Secret Relationship
Between Blacks and Jews *
The Turner Diaries
The Turner Diaries
(William Luther Pierce) *
Culture of Critique
Culture of Critique
Antisemitism on the Web
* Ghettos in Europe
Community Security Trust
Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)
Stephen Roth Institute
* Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC) *
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC)
* Union of Councils for
Soviet Jews (UCSJ)
* Swedish Committee Against
Antisemitism (SCAA) *
The Protocols is a fabricated document purporting to be factual.
Textual evidence shows that it could not have been produced prior to
1901. It is notable that the title of
Sergei Nilus 's widely
distributed edition contains the dates "1902–1903", and it is likely
that the document was actually written at this time in Russia, despite
Nilus' attempt to cover this up by inserting French-sounding words
into his edition.
Cesare G. De Michelis argues that it was
manufactured in the months after a Russian Zionist congress in
September 1902, and that it was originally a parody of
meant for internal circulation among antisemites until it was decided
to clean it up and publish it as if it were real. Self-contradictions
in various testimonies show that the individuals involved—including
the text's initial publisher,
Pavel Krushevan —purposefully obscured
the origins of the text and lied about it in the decades afterwards.
If the placement of the forgery in 1902–1903
Russia is correct,
then it was written at the beginning of the anti-
Jewish pogroms in the
Russian Empire , in which thousands of Jews died or fled the country.
Many of the people whom De Michelis suspects of involvement in the
forgery were directly responsible for inciting the pogroms.
POLITICAL CONSPIRACY BACKGROUND
The antisemitic works of Osman Bey (pen name of Frederick Millingen)
The Conquest of the World by the Jews and the subsequent Russian
Hippolytus Lutostansky 's The Talmud and the Jews had
claimed in the 19th century that Jews wanted to divide
themselves. (Incidentally, in a 1904 edition of The Talmud and the
Jews, Hippolytus directly quoted verbatim the first, little-known 1903
edition of the Protocols. )
Source material for the forgery consisted jointly of Dialogue aux
enfers entre Machiavel et
Montesquieu (Dialogue in Hell Between
Montesquieu ), an 1864 political satire by Maurice
Joly ; and a chapter from Biarritz, an 1868 novel by the antisemitic
Hermann Goedsche , which had been translated into
Russian in 1872.
A major source for the Protocols was
Der Judenstaat by Theodor Herzl
, which was referred to as Zionist Protocols in its initial French and
Russian editions. Paradoxically, early Russian editions of the
Protocols assert that they did not come from a Zionist organization.
The text, which nowhere advocates for
Zionism , resembles a parody of
The Protocols is one of the best-known and most-discussed examples of
literary forgery , with analysis and proof of its fraudulent origin
going as far back as 1921. The forgery is an early example of
"conspiracy theory " literature. Written mainly in the first person
plural, the text includes generalizations , truisms , and platitudes
on how to take over the world: take control of the media and the
financial institutions, change the traditional social order, etc. It
does not contain specifics.
Elements of the Protocols were plagiarized from Joly's fictional
Dialogue in Hell, a thinly veiled attack on the political ambitions of
Napoleon III , who, represented by the non-
Machiavelli , plots to rule the world. Joly, a monarchist and
legitimist , was imprisoned in France for 15 months as a direct result
of his book's publication. Scholars have noted the irony that Dialogue
in Hell was itself a plagiarism, at least in part, of a novel by
Eugène Sue , Les Mystères du Peuple (1849–56).
Identifiable phrases from Joly constitute 4% of the first half of the
first edition, and 12% of the second half; later editions, including
most translations, have longer quotes from Joly.
The Protocols 1–19 closely follow the order of Maurice Joly's
Dialogues 1–17. For example:
DIALOGUE IN HELL BETWEEN MACHIAVELLI AND MONTESQUIEU
THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION
How are loans made? By the issue of bonds entailing on the Government
the obligation to pay interest proportionate to the capital it has
been paid. Thus, if a loan is at 5%, the State, after 20 years, has
paid out a sum equal to the borrowed capital. When 40 years have
expired it has paid double, after 60 years triple: yet it remains
debtor for the entire capital sum. — Montesquieu, Dialogues, p.
A loan is an issue of Government paper which entails an obligation to
pay interest amounting to a percentage of the total sum of the
borrowed money. If a loan is at 5%, then in 20 years the Government
would have unnecessarily paid out a sum equal to that of the loan in
order to cover the percentage. In 40 years it will have paid twice;
and in 60 thrice that amount, but the loan will still remain as an
unpaid debt. — Protocols, p. 77
Like the god Vishnu, my press will have a hundred arms, and these
arms will give their hands to all the different shades of opinion
throughout the country. — Machiavelli, Dialogues, p. 141
These newspapers, like the Indian god Vishnu, will be possessed of
hundreds of hands, each of which will be feeling the pulse of varying
public opinion. — Protocols, p. 43
Now I understand the figure of the god Vishnu; you have a hundred
arms like the Indian idol, and each of your fingers touches a spring.
— Montesquieu, Dialogues, p. 207
Our Government will resemble the Hindu god Vishnu. Each of our
hundred hands will hold one spring of the social machinery of State.
— Protocols, p. 65
Philip Graves brought this plagiarism to light in a series of
The Times in 1921, the first published evidence that the
Protocols was not an authentic document.
"Goedsche was a postal clerk and a spy for the Prussian Secret Police
. He had been forced to leave the postal work due to his part in
forging evidence in the prosecution against the Democratic leader
Benedict Waldeck in 1849." Following his dismissal, Goedsche began a
career as a conservative columnist, and wrote literary fiction under
the pen name Sir John Retcliffe. His 1868 novel Biarritz (To Sedan)
contains a chapter called "The
Jewish Cemetery in Prague and the
Council of Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel ." In it,
Goedsche (who was unaware that only two of the original twelve
Biblical "tribes" remained) depicts a clandestine nocturnal meeting of
members of a mysterious rabbinical cabal that is planning a diabolical
Jewish conspiracy." At midnight, the Devil appears to contribute his
opinions and insight. The chapter closely resembles a scene in
Alexandre Dumas ' Giuseppe Balsamo (1848), in which Joseph Balsamo
Alessandro Cagliostro and company plot the Affair of the
Diamond Necklace .
In 1872 a Russian translation of "The
Jewish Cemetery in Prague"
Saint Petersburg as a separate pamphlet of purported
non-fiction. François Bournand, in his Les Juifs et nos Contemporains
(1896), reproduced the soliloquy at the end of the chapter, in which
the character Levit expresses as factual the wish that Jews be "kings
of the world in 100 years" —crediting a "Chief
Readcliff." Perpetuation of the myth of the authenticity of Goedsche's
story, in particular the "Rabbi's speech", facilitated later accounts
of the equally mythical authenticity of the Protocols. Like the
Protocols, many asserted that the fictional "rabbi's speech" had a
ring of authenticity, regardless of its origin: "This speech was
published in our time, eighteen years ago," read an 1898 report in La
Croix , "and all the events occurring before our eyes were anticipated
in it with truly frightening accuracy."
Fictional events in Joly's Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et
Montesquieu, which appeared four years before Biarritz, may well have
been the inspiration for Goedsche's fictional midnight meeting, and
details of the outcome of the supposed plot. Goedsche's chapter may
have been an outright plagiarism of Joly, Dumas père, or both.
STRUCTURE AND CONTENT
The Protocols purports to document the minutes of a late-19th-century
meeting attended by world
Jewish leaders, the "Elders of Zion", who
are conspiring to take over the world. The forgery places in the
mouths of the
Jewish leaders a variety of plans, most of which derive
from older antisemitic canards. For example, the Protocols includes
plans to subvert the morals of the non-
Jewish world, plans for Jewish
bankers to control the world's economies, plans for
Jewish control of
the press, and – ultimately – plans for the destruction of
civilization. The document consists of twenty-four "protocols",
which have been analyzed by Steven Jacobs and Mark Weitzman, who
documented several recurrent themes that appear repeatedly in the 24
protocols, as shown in the following table:
The Basic Doctrine: "Right Lies in Might"
Freedom and Liberty; Authority and power; Gold = money
Economic War and Disorganization Lead to International Government
International Political economic conspiracy; Press/Media as tools
Methods of Conquest
Jewish people, arrogant and corrupt; Chosenness/Election; Public
The Destruction of Religion by Materialism
Business as Cold and Heartless; Gentiles as slaves
Despotism and Modern Progress
Jewish People's Relationship to Larger Society
The Acquisition of Land, The Encouragement of Speculation
Ownership of land
A Prophecy of Worldwide War
Internal unrest and discord (vs. Court system) leading to war vs
The transitional Government
The All-Embracing Propaganda
Law; education; Freemasonry
Abolition of the Constitution; Rise of the Autocracy
Politics; Majority rule; Liberalism; Family
The Constitution of Autocracy and Universal Rule
Jewish political involvement; Freemasonry
The Kingdom of the Press and Control
Liberty; Press censorship; Publishing
Turning Public Thought from Essentials to Non-essentials
Gentiles; Business; Chosenness/Election; Press and censorship;
The Destruction of Religion as a Prelude to the Rise of the Jewish
Judaism; God; Gentiles; Liberty; Pornography
Utilization of Masonry: Heartless Suppression of Enemies
Gentiles; Freemasonry; Sages of Israel; Political power and
authority; King of Israel
The Nullification of Education
The Fate of Lawyers and the Clergy
Lawyers; Clergy; Christianity and non-
The Organization of Disorder
Mutual Understanding Between Ruler and People
The Financial Program and Construction
Taxes and Taxation; Loans; Bonds; Usury; Moneylending
Domestic Loans and Government Credit
Stock Markets and Stock Exchanges
The Beneficence of
Gold = Money; Chosenness/Election
The Inculcation of Obedience
Obedience to Authority; Slavery; Chosenness/Election
Document as Fiction
List of editions of Protocols of the Elders of Zion
The Protocols appeared in print in the
Russian Empire as early as
1903, published as a series of articles in Znamya , a Black Hundreds
newspaper owned by
Pavel Krushevan . It appeared again in 1905 as the
final chapter (Chapter XII) of the second edition of Velikoe v malom i
antikhrist ("The Great in the Small it now became an instrument for
blaming Jews for the Russian Revolution. It became a tool, a political
weapon, used against the
Bolsheviks who were depicted as
overwhelmingly Jewish, allegedly executing the "plan" embodied in The
Protocols. The purpose was to discredit the
October Revolution ,
prevent the West from recognizing the
Soviet Union , and bring about
the downfall of
Vladimir Lenin 's regime.
FIRST RUSSIAN LANGUAGE EDITIONS
Daniel Pipes ,
The great importance of The Protocols lies in its permitting
antisemites to reach beyond their traditional circles and find a large
international audience, a process that continues to this day. The
forgery poisoned public life wherever it appeared; it was
"self-generating; a blueprint that migrated from one conspiracy to
another." The book's vagueness—almost no names, dates, or issues
are specified—has been one key to this wide-ranging success. The
Jewish authorship also helps to make the book more
convincing. Its embrace of contradiction—that to advance, Jews use
all tools available, including capitalism and communism,
philo-Semitism and antisemitism, democracy and tyranny—made it
possible for The Protocols to reach out to all: rich and poor, Right
and Left , Christian and
Muslim , American and Japanese.
Pipes notes that the Protocols emphasizes recurring themes of
conspiratorial antisemitism: "Jews always scheme", "Jews are
everywhere", "Jews are behind every institution", "Jews obey a central
authority, the shadowy 'Elders'", and "Jews are close to success."
The Protocols is widely considered influential in the development of
other conspiracy theories, and reappears repeatedly in contemporary
conspiracy literature, such as
Jim Marrs ' Rule by Secrecy, which
identifies the work as a Czarist forgery. Some recent editions
proclaim that the "Jews" depicted in the Protocols are a cover
identity for other conspirators such as the
Illuminati , Freemasons ,
Priory of Sion , or even, in the opinion of
David Icke ,
"extra-dimensional entities ."
EMERGENCE IN RUSSIA
The front piece of a 1912 edition utilizing occult symbols.
The chapter "In the
Jewish Cemetery in Prague" from Goedsche's
Biarritz, with its strong antisemitic theme containing the alleged
rabbinical plot against the European civilization, was translated into
Russian as a separate pamphlet in 1872. However, in 1921, Princess
Catherine Radziwill gave a private lecture in New York in which she
claimed that the Protocols were a forgery compiled in 1904–5 by
Matvei Golovinski and Manasevich-Manuilov at the
Pyotr Rachkovsky , Chief of the Russian secret service in
In 1944, German writer
Konrad Heiden identified Golovinski as an
author of the Protocols. Radziwill's account was supported by Russian
historian Mikhail Lepekhine, who published his findings in November
1999 in the French newsweekly L\'Express . Lepekhine considers the
Protocols a part of a scheme to persuade Tsar
Nicholas II that the
Russia was really a
Jewish plot to control the world.
Stephen Eric Bronner writes that groups opposed to progress,
parliamentarianism, urbanization, and capitalism, and an active Jewish
role in these modern institutions, were particularly drawn to the
antisemitism of the document. Ukrainian scholar Vadim Skuratovsky
offers extensive literary, historical and linguistic analysis of the
original text of the Protocols and traces the influences of Fyodor
Dostoyevsky 's prose (in particular,
The Grand Inquisitor
The Grand Inquisitor and The
Possessed ) on Golovinski's writings, including the Protocols.
Golovinski's role in the writing of the Protocols is disputed by
Michael Hagemeister, Richard Levy and Cesare De Michelis, who each
write that the account which involves him is historically unverifiable
and to a large extent provably wrong.
In his book The Non-Existent Manuscript, Italian scholar Cesare G. De
Michelis studies early Russian publications of the Protocols. The
Protocols were first mentioned in the Russian press in April 1902, by
Saint Petersburg newspaper Novoye Vremya (Новое Время
– The New Times). The article was written by famous conservative
publicist Mikhail Menshikov as a part of his regular series "Letters
to Neighbors" ("Письма к ближним") and was titled "Plots
against Humanity". The author described his meeting with a lady
Yuliana Glinka , as it is known now) who, after telling him about her
mystical revelations, implored him to get familiar with the documents
later known as the Protocols; but after reading some excerpts,
Menshikov became quite skeptical about their origin and did not
Krushevan And Nilus Editions
The Protocols were published at the earliest, in serialized form,
from August 28 to September 7 (O.S. ) 1903, in Znamya , a Saint
Petersburg daily newspaper, under
Pavel Krushevan . Krushevan had
Kishinev pogrom four months earlier.
Sergei Nilus published the full text of the Protocols in
Chapter XII, the final chapter (pp 305–417), of the second edition
(or third, according to some sources) of his book, Velikoe v malom i
antikhrist , which translates as "The Great within the Small: The
Coming of the Anti-Christ and the Rule of Satan on Earth". He claimed
it was the work of the
First Zionist Congress , held in 1897 in Basel,
Switzerland . When it was pointed out that the First Zionist Congress
had been open to the public and was attended by many non-Jews, Nilus
changed his story, saying the Protocols were the work of the 1902–3
meetings of the Elders, but contradicting his own prior statement that
he had received his copy in 1901:
In 1901, I succeeded through an acquaintance of mine (the late Court
Marshal Alexei Nikolayevich Sukotin of Chernigov) in getting a
manuscript that exposed with unusual perfection and clarity the course
and development of the secret
Jewish Freemasonic conspiracy, which
would bring this wicked world to its inevitable end. The person who
gave me this manuscript guaranteed it to be a faithful translation of
the original documents that were stolen by a woman from one of the
highest and most influential leaders of the Freemasons at a secret
meeting somewhere in France—the beloved nest of Freemasonic
Stolypin\'s Fraud Investigation, 1905
A subsequent secret investigation ordered by
Pyotr Stolypin , the
newly appointed chairman of the Council of Ministers, came to the
conclusion that the Protocols first appeared in Paris in antisemitic
circles around 1897–1898. When
Nicholas II learned of the results
of this investigation, he requested, "The Protocols should be
confiscated, a good cause cannot be defended by dirty means." Despite
the order, or because of the "good cause", numerous reprints
THE PROTOCOLS IN THE WEST
A 1934 edition by the Patriotic Publishing Company of Chicago.
In the United States, The Protocols are to be understood in the
context of the
First Red Scare
First Red Scare (1917–20). The text was purportedly
brought to the United States by a Russian army officer in 1917; it was
translated into English by
Natalie de Bogory (personal assistant of
Harris A. Houghton , an officer of the Department of War ) in June
1918, and Russian expatriate
Boris Brasol soon circulated it in
American government circles, specifically diplomatic and military, in
typescript form, a copy of which is archived by the Hoover Institute
. It also appeared in 1919 in the Public Ledger as a pair of
serialized newspaper articles. But all references to "Jews" were
replaced with references to
Bolsheviki as an exposé by the journalist
and subsequently highly respected
Columbia University School of
Carl W. Ackerman .
In 1923, there appeared an anonymously edited pamphlet by the Britons
Publishing Society , a successor to
The Britons , an entity created
and headed by
Henry Hamilton Beamish . This imprint was allegedly a
Victor E. Marsden , who died in October 1920.
Most versions substantially involve "protocols", or minutes of a
speech given in secret involving Jews who are organized as Elders , or
Sages , of
Zion , and underlies 24 protocols that are supposedly
followed by the
Jewish people. The Protocols has been proven to be a
literary forgery and hoax as well as a clear case of plagiarism.
English Language Imprints
On October 27 and 28, 1919, the
Philadelphia Public Ledger published
excerpts of an English language translation as the "Red Bible,"
deleting all references to the purported
Jewish authorship and
re-casting the document as a
Bolshevik manifesto . The author of the
articles was the paper's correspondent at the time,
Carl W. Ackerman ,
who later became the head of the journalism department at Columbia
University . On May 8, 1920, an article in
The Times followed German
translation and appealed for an inquiry into what it called an
"uncanny note of prophecy". In the leader (editorial) titled "The
Jewish Peril, a Disturbing Pamphlet: Call for Inquiry", Wickham Steed
wrote about The Protocols:
What are these 'Protocols'? Are they authentic? If so, what
malevolent assembly concocted these plans and gloated over their
exposition? Are they forgery? If so, whence comes the uncanny note of
prophecy, prophecy in part fulfilled, in part so far gone in the way
Steed retracted his endorsement of The Protocols after they were
exposed as a forgery.
Title page of 1920 edition from Boston.
In the US,
Henry Ford sponsored the printing of 500,000 copies, and,
from 1920 to 1922, published a series of antisemitic articles titled
"The International Jew: The World\'s Foremost Problem ", in The
Dearborn Independent , a newspaper he owned. In 1921, Ford cited
evidence of a
Jewish threat: "The only statement I care to make about
the Protocols is that they fit in with what is going on. They are 16
years old, and they have fitted the world situation up to this time."
Robert A. Rosenbaum wrote that "In 1927, bowing to legal and economic
pressure, Ford issued a retraction and apology—while disclaiming
personal responsibility—for the anti-Semitic articles and closed the
Dearborn Independent in 1927. He was also an admirer of Nazi Germany
In 1934, an anonymous editor expanded the compilation with "Text and
Commentary" (pp 136–41). The production of this uncredited
compilation was a 300-page book, an inauthentic expanded edition of
the twelfth chapter of Nilus's 1905 book on the coming of the
anti-Christ. It consists of substantial liftings of excerpts of
articles from Ford's antisemitic periodical The Dearborn Independent.
This 1934 text circulates most widely in the English-speaking world,
as well as on the internet. The "Text and Commentary" concludes with a
Chaim Weizmann 's October 6, 1920, remark at a banquet: "A
beneficent protection which God has instituted in the life of the Jew
is that He has dispersed him all over the world". Marsden, who was
dead by then, is credited with the following assertion:
It proves that the Learned Elders exist. It proves that Dr. Weizmann
knows all about them. It proves that the desire for a "National Home"
in Palestine is only camouflage and an infinitesimal part of the Jew's
real object. It proves that the Jews of the world have no intention of
settling in Palestine or any separate country, and that their annual
prayer that they may all meet "Next Year in Jerusalem" is merely a
piece of their characteristic make-believe. It also demonstrates that
the Jews are now a world menace, and that the Aryan races will have to
domicile them permanently out of Europe.
The Times Exposes A Forgery, 1921
The Times exposed the Protocols as a forgery on August 16–18,
In 1920–1921, the history of the concepts found in the Protocols
was traced back to the works of Goedsche and Jacques Crétineau-Joly
Lucien Wolf (an English
Jewish journalist), and published in London
in August 1921. But a dramatic exposé occurred in the series of
The Times by its
Philip Graves ,
who discovered the plagiarism from the work of
Maurice Joly .
According to writer Peter Grose,
Allen Dulles , who was in
Constantinople developing relationships in post-Ottoman political
structures, discovered "the source" of the documentation and
ultimately provided him to The Times. Grose writes that The Times
extended a loan to the source, a Russian émigré who refused to be
identified, with the understanding the loan would not be repaid.
Colin Holmes, a lecturer in economic history at
Sheffield University ,
identified the émigré as Michael Raslovleff, a self-identified
antisemite, who gave the information to Graves so as not to "give a
weapon of any kind to the Jews, whose friend I have never been."
In the first article of Graves' series, titled "A Literary Forgery",
the editors of
The Times wrote, "our
presents for the first time conclusive proof that the document is in
the main a clumsy plagiarism. He has forwarded us a copy of the French
book from which the plagiarism is made." In the same year, an entire
book documenting the hoax was published in the United States by
Herman Bernstein . Despite this widespread and extensive debunking,
the Protocols continued to be regarded as important factual evidence
by antisemites. Dulles, a successful lawyer and career diplomat,
attempted to persuade the
US State Department
US State Department to publicly denounce the
forgery, but without success.
A translation made by an
Arab Christian appeared in
Cairo in 1927 or
1928, this time as a book. The first translation by an
also published in Cairo, but only in 1951.
Berne Trial, 1934–35
The selling of the Protocols (edited by German antisemite Theodor
Fritsch ) by the National Front during a political manifestation in
the Casino of
Berne on June 13, 1933, led to the
Berne Trial in the
Amtsgericht (district court) of
Berne , the capital of
on October 29, 1934. The plaintiffs (the Swiss
Jewish Association and
Jewish Community of Berne) were represented by Hans Matti and
Georges Brunschvig , helped by Emil Raas. Working on behalf of the
defense was German antisemitic propagandist
Ulrich Fleischhauer . On
May 19, 1935, two defendants (Theodore Fischer and Silvio Schnell)
were convicted of violating a Bernese statute prohibiting the
distribution of "immoral, obscene or brutalizing" texts while three
other defendants were acquitted. The court declared the Protocols to
be forgeries, plagiarisms, and obscene literature. Judge Walter Meyer,
a Christian who had not heard of the Protocols earlier, said in
I hope the time will come when nobody will be able to understand how
in 1935 nearly a dozen sane and responsible men were able for two
weeks to mock the intellect of the Bern court discussing the
authenticity of the so-called Protocols, the very Protocols that,
harmful as they have been and will be, are nothing but laughable
Vladimir Burtsev , a Russian émigré, anti-
anti-Fascist who exposed numerous
Okhrana agents provocateurs in the
early 1900s, served as a witness at the
Berne Trial. In 1938 in Paris
he published a book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Proved
Forgery, based on his testimony.
On November 1, 1937, the defendants appealed the verdict to the
Obergericht (Cantonal Supreme Court) of Berne. A panel of three judges
acquitted them, holding that the Protocols, while false, did not
violate the statute at issue because they were "political
publications" and not "immoral (obscene) publications
(Schundliteratur)" in the strict sense of the law. The presiding
judge's opinion stated, though, that the forgery of the Protocols was
not questionable and expressed regret that the law did not provide
adequate protection for Jews from this sort of literature. The court
refused to impose the fees of defense of the acquitted defendants to
the plaintiffs, and the acquitted Theodor Fischer had to pay 100 Fr.
to the total state costs of the trial (Fr. 28'000) that were
eventually paid by the Canton of Berne. This decision gave grounds
for later allegations that the appeal court "confirmed authenticity of
the Protocols" which is contrary to the facts. A view favorable to the
pro-Nazi defendants is reported in an appendix to
Leslie Fry 's Waters
Flowing Eastward. A more scholarly work on the trial is in a 139-page
monograph by Urs Lüthi.
A similar trial in
Switzerland took place at
Basel . The Swiss
Frontists Alfred Zander and Eduard Rüegsegger distributed the
Protocols (edited by the German Gottfried zur Beek) in Switzerland.
Jules Dreyfus-Brodsky and Marcus Cohen sued them for insult to Jewish
honor. At the same time, chief rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis of Stockholm
(who also witnessed at the
Berne Trial) sued Alfred Zander who
contended that Ehrenpreis himself had said that the Protocols were
authentic (referring to the foreword of the edition of the Protocols
by the German antisemite Theodor Fritsch). On June 5, 1936 these
proceedings ended with a settlement.
According to historian
Norman Cohn , the assassins of German Jewish
Walter Rathenau (1867–1922) were convinced that Rathenau
was a literal "Elder of Zion".
It seems likely Hitler first became aware of the Protocols after
hearing about it from ethnic German white émigrés , such as Alfred
Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter . Hitler refers to the
Mein Kampf :
... are based on a forgery, the
Frankfurter Zeitung moans every
week ... the best proof that they are authentic ... the important
thing is that with positively terrifying certainty they reveal the
nature and activity of the
Jewish people and expose their inner
contexts as well as their ultimate final aims.
The Protocols also became a part of the Nazi propaganda effort to
justify persecution of the Jews. In
The Holocaust : The Destruction of
European Jewry 1933–1945,
Nora Levin states that "Hitler used the
Protocols as a manual in his war to exterminate the Jews":
Despite conclusive proof that the Protocols were a gross forgery,
they had sensational popularity and large sales in the 1920s and
1930s. They were translated into every language of Europe and sold
Arab lands, the US, and England. But it was in Germany after
World War I that they had their greatest success. There they were used
to explain all of the disasters that had befallen the country: the
defeat in the war, the hunger, the destructive inflation.
Hitler endorsed the Protocols in his speeches from August 1921 on,
and it was studied in German classrooms after the Nazis came to power.
"Distillations of the text appeared in German classrooms,
indoctrinated the Hitler Youth, and invaded the USSR along with German
Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels proclaimed: "The
Zionist Protocols are as up-to-date today as they were the day they
were first published."
In contrast to Hitler, Nazi leader Erich von dem Bach-Zelewsky
I am the only living witness but I must say the truth. Contrary to
the opinion of the National Socialists, that the Jews were a highly
organized group, the appalling fact was that they had no organization
whatsoever. The mass of the
Jewish people were taken complete by
surprise. They did not know at all what to do; they had no directives
or slogans as to how they should act. This is the greatest lie of
anti-Semitism because it gives the lie to that old slogan that the
Jews are conspiring to dominate the world and that they are so highly
organized. In reality, they had no organization of their own at all,
not even an information service. If they had had some sort of
organization, these people could have been saved by the millions, but
instead, they were taken completely by surprise. Never before has a
people gone as unsuspectingly to its disaster. Nothing was prepared.
Richard S. Levy criticizes the claim that the Protocols had a large
effect on Hitler's thinking, writing that it is based mostly on
suspect testimony and lacks hard evidence.
Publication of the Protocols was stopped in Germany in 1939 for
unknown reasons. An edition that was ready for printing was blocked
by censorship laws.
German Language Publications
Having fled Ukraine in 1918–19,
Piotr Shabelsky-Bork brought the
Protocols to Ludwig Muller Von Hausen who then published them in
German. Under the pseudonym Gottfried Zur Beek he produced the first
and "by far the most important" German translation. It appeared in
January 1920 as a part of a larger antisemitic tract dated 1919.
The Times discussed the book respectfully in May 1920 it became
a bestseller. "The Hohenzollern family helped defray the publication
costs, and Kaiser Wilhelm II had portions of the book read out aloud
to dinner guests". Alfred Rosenberg's 1923 edition "gave a forgery a
Giovanni Preziosi published the first Italian
edition of the Protocols in 1921. The book however had little impact
until the mid-1930s. A new 1937 edition had a much higher impact, and
three further editions in the following months sold 60,000 copies
total. The fifth edition had an introduction by
Julius Evola , which
argued around the issue of forgery, stating: "The problem of the
authenticity of this document is secondary and has to be replaced by
the much more serious and essential problem of its truthfulness".
See also: Contemporary imprints of The Protocols of the Elders of
New World Order (conspiracy theory) § The Protocols of the
The Protocols continue to be widely available around the world,
particularly on the Internet, as well as in print in Japan, the Middle
East, Asia, and South America.
Governments or political leaders in most parts of the world have not
referred to the Protocols since World War II. The exception to this is
the Middle East, where a large number of
Muslim regimes and
leaders have endorsed them as authentic, including endorsements from
Gamal Abdel Nasser and
Anwar Sadat of
Egypt , the elder
President Arif of
Iraq , King
Faisal of Saudi Arabia
Faisal of Saudi Arabia , and Colonel
Muammar al-Gaddafi of
The 1988 charter of
Hamas , a Palestinian Islamist group, states that
The Protocols of the Elders of
Zion embodies the plan of the Zionists.
Recent endorsements in the 21st century have been made by the Grand
Jerusalem , Sheikh Ekrima Sa\'id Sabri , the education
Saudi Arabia , member of the
Greek Parliament Ilias
Kasidiaris , and Young Earth creationist and tax evader
Kent Hovind .
* Judaism portal
Wikisource has original text related to this article: THE PROTOCOLS
OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION
* Martin Heidegger and
Related or similar texts
A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century
* Protocols of
The Prague Cemetery
Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy to the Middle East
Warrant for Genocide
* ^ The text contains 44 instances of the word "I" (9.6%), and 412
instances of the word "we" (90.4%).
* ^ This complex relationship was originally exposed by Graves 1921
. The exposé has since been elaborated in many sources.
* ^ Jacobs analyses the Marsden English translation. Some other
less common imprints have more or fewer than 24 protocols
* ^ The main speaker was the former chief of the Swiss General
Emil Sonderegger .
* ^ Zander had to withdraw his contention and the stock of the
incriminated Protocols were destroyed by order of the court. Zander
had to pay the fees of this
* ^ A B Segel, BW and Levy, RS. A Lie and a Libel: The History of
the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. University of Nebraska Press
(1995), p. 30. ISBN 0803242433 ,
* ^ Michelis, Cesare G. De (2004). The non-existent manuscript : a
study of the Protocols of the sages of Zion. Lincoln: Univ. of
Nebraska Press. p. 65. ISBN 0803217277 .
* ^ Michelis, Cesare G. De (2004). The non-existent manuscript : a
study of the Protocols of the sages of Zion. Lincoln: Univ. of
Nebraska Press. pp. 76–80. ISBN 0803217277 .
* ^ Donskis, Leonidas (2003-01-01). Forms of Hatred: The Troubled
Imagination in Modern Philosophy and Literature. Rodopi. ISBN
* ^ "Ritual murder encouraged...". New York Times. August 27, 1911.
* ^ "Non-Existent Manuscript - University of Nebraska Press".
www.nebraskapress.unl.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
* ^ Jacobs & Weitzman 2003 , p. 15.
* ^ A B Segel, Binjamin W (1996) , Levy, Richard S , ed., A Lie and
a Libel: The History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,
University of Nebraska Press, p. 97, ISBN 0-8032-9245-7 .
* ^ De Michelis 2004 , p. 47.
* ^ De Michelis 2004 , p. 114].
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Jewish Protocols." Creates
Stir at Astor Leaves Without Giving His Name— Mrs. Huribut
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Mme. Radziwill. Never Reached Alexander III. The Corroboration. Says
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Hamas Covenant". Yale. 1988. Retrieved May 27, 2010. Today it
is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist
plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from
Nile to the
Euphrates . When they will have digested the region
they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their
plan is embodied in the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion', and their
present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.
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