Norman Cohn's book Warrant For Genocide - putting the case that the Protocols of Zion is a Forgery. Peter Myers, September 21, 2002; update May 22, 2007. My comments within quoted text are shown {thus}; write to me at contact.html.

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Who is Norman Cohn?

For a critique of Cohn and his method, see hiding.html.

A more detailed argument against the case put by Bernstein & Cohn is in the Protocols of Zion Toolkit at toolkit.html.

Whereas Bernstein and Cohn want to "shut the door" on the Protocols, I want to leave the question of its genuineness open. That is, I do not believe it possible to prove it genuine, but I argue that it has not been proved a forgery.

Norman Cohn, Warrant For Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Pelican, Harmondsworth, 1970.

{p. 14} It is perhaps hard to accept that scholarly study, and all the time and energy which that implies, can appropriately be lavished on a ludicrous fantasy such as the Protocols or on obscure figures such as the hack novelist Hermann Goedsche, the cheap swindler Osman Bey, the half-crazy pseudo-mystic Sergey Nilus, and the rest. Yet it is a great mistake to suppose that the only writers who matter are those whom the educated in their saner moments can take seriously. There exists a subterranean world where pathological fantasies disguised as ideas are churned out by crooks and half-educated fanatics for the benefit of the ignorant and superstitious. There are times when this underworld emerges from the depths and suddenly fascinates, captures. and dominates multitudes of usually sane and responsible people, who thereupon take leave of sanity and responsibility. And it occasionally happens that this underworld becomes a political power and changes the course of history. It is an incontestable fact that the forgotten eccentrics described in the first half of this book built up the myth which, years later, the masters of a great European nation were to use as a warrant for genocide.

Not, of course, that myths operate in a vacuum. The myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy would have remained the monopoly of right-wing Russians and a few cranks in western Europe, and the Protocols would never have emerged from

{p. 15} obscurity at all, if it had not been for the First World War and the Russian Revolution and their aftermath. And they would never have become the creed of a powerful government and an international movement if it had not been for the great slump and the utter disorientation it produced. On the other hand all these disasters together could never have produced an Auschwitz without the help of a myth which was designed to appeal to all the paranoid and destructive potentialities in human beings. I have tried to do justice also to those aspects what one might call the sociological and the psychopathological aspects - of this extraordinary and terrible story.

The book ends in 1945, but that does not mean that the myth died then or that the Protocols went out of circulation. Though they are far less prominent than they were and are almost forgotten in the advanced countries of western Europe, they still flourish in other quarters. In his struggle against Israel President Nasser has come out publicly in support of the Protocols; large quantities of Protocols-type material are produced in Cairo, largely with the help of Nazi emigres, and distributed in many countries, and notably in South America, also with the help of Nazi emigres. The debates of the Vatican Council on the attitude to be adopted towards Jews stimulated a spate of antisemitic propaganda from Spain, including a luxurious new edition of the Protocols with abundant commentaries. Stalin in his last years produced a new version of the conspiracy-myth, in which Jews figured as agents of an imperialist plot to destroy the Soviet Union and assassinate its leaders; this was used to secure the execution of Rudolf Slansky and his Jewish colleagues on the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist party in 1952, and it also formed the basis for the story of the 'doctors' plot' in 1953.

{Stalin was murdered soon after: death-of-stalin.html.

Stalin stole the conspiracy of the Jewish Bolsheviks: lenin-trotsky.html

and Stalin resisted the 1946 Baruch Plan for World Government: baruch-plan.html.

There had been a similar attempt at World Government at the Peace Conference of Versailles: wells-lenin-league.html.

Our benevolent rulers would rather us not know too much about the above.

Cohn considers such matters irrelevant.}

{p. 30} In its modern form the myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy can be traced back to a French cleric, the Abbe Barruel. As early as 1797 Barruel, in his five-volume Memoire pour servir a l'histoire du jacobinisme, argued that the French Revolution represented the culmination of an age-old conspiracy of the most secret of secret societies. As he saw it, the trouble began with the medieval Order of Templars, which had not really been exterminated in 1314 but had survived as a secret society, pledged to abolish all monarchies, to overthrow the papacy, to preach unrestricted liberty to all peoples and to found a world-republic under its own control. Down the centuries this secret society had poisoned a number of monarchs; and in the eighteenth century it had captured the Order of Freemasons, which now stood entirely under its control. In 1763 it had created a secret literary academy, consisting of Voltaire, Turgot, Condorcet, Diderot, and d'Alembert, and meeting regularly in the house of the Baron d'Holbach; by its publications this body had undermined all morality and true religion among the French. From 1776 onwards Condorcet and the Abbe Sieyes had built up a vast revolutionary organization of half a million Frenchmen, who were the Jacobins of the revolution. But the heart of the conspiracy, the true leaders of the revolution, were the Bavarian Illuminati under Adam Weishaupt - 'enemies of the human race, sons of Satan'. To this handful of Germans all the Freemasons and Jacobins of France already owed blind allegiance; and it was Barruel's view that unless it was stopped, this handful would soon dominate the world.

{Leon Trotsky corroborated the role of the Illuminati, which he studied when in Odessa prison. The following is from his autobiography My Life: The Rise and Fall of a Dictator, Thornton Butterworth Limited, London 1930; the paperback edition is My Life, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1975.

{hbk p. 106, pbk p. 124} It was during that period that I became interested in freemasonry. ... {hbk p. 107} In the eighteenth century freemasonry became expressive of a militant policy of enlightenment, as in the case of the Illuminati, who were the forerunners of the revolution; on its left it culminated in the Carbonari. Freemasons counted among their members both Louis XVI and the Dr. Guillotin who invented the guillotine. In southern Germany freemasonry assumed an openly revolutionary character, whereas at the court of Catherine the Great it was a masquerade reflecting the {pbk p. 125} aristocratic and bureaucratic hierarchy. A freemason Novikov was exiled to Siberia by a freemason Empress. ... {hbk p. 108, pbk p. 126} I discontinued my work on freemasonry to take up the study of Marxian economics. ... The work on freemasonry acted as a sort of test for these hypotheses. ... I think this influenced the whole course of my intellectual develop- {p. 127} ment. {end quote from Trotsky}

No time need be wasted on the claim that the French Revolution was produced by a conspiracy reaching back to the fourteenth century. As for the obscure German group known as the Illuminati, they were not Freemasons at all but rivals of the Freemasons and had in any case been dissolved in 1786, Further, the role of the Freemasons was also fantastically oversimplified and exaggerated. It is true that the Freemasons shared that concern for humanitarian reform which is commonly associated with the Enlightenment - for instance

{p. 31} they contributed to the abolition of judicial torture and of witchcraft trials, and to the improvement of schools. On the other hand at the time of the revolution most Freemasons were Catholic and monarchist - indeed King Louis XVI and his brothers were all Freemasons; while during the Terror Freemasons were guillotined by the hundred and their organization, the Grand Orient, was suppressed.

The fact is that Barruel himself never noticed any Masonic influence at work while the revolution was in progress. The idea was presented to him some years later, in London, by the Scottish mathematician John Robison, who was himself preparing a book called Proofs of a Conspiracy against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the secret meetings of Freemasons, Illuminati and Reading Societies. Barruel felt inspired to produce a book on the very same subject, if possible before the imprudent Robison. And he succeeded - his Memoire forestalled Robison's by a year, it was translated into English, Polish, Italian, Spanish, and Russian, and it made its author a rich man.

Nevertheless at the time when he wrote his five volumes Barruel still imposed certain limits on his imagination. Though he was more than willing to blame the revolution on the Freemasons, he scarcely mentioned the Jews - understandably enough, since no Jew played any significant part either in the revolution itself or in the philosophical revolution that preceded it. Others, however, were less inhibited than Barruel. In 1806 he received a document which seems to be the earliest in the series of antisemitic forgeries that was to culminate in the Protocols. This was a letter from Florence ostensibly written by an army officer called J. B. Simonini, of whom nothing else is known and with whom Barruel himself failed to establish contact. {footnote 2} After congratulating Barruel on

2. The Simonini letter will be found in Le Contemporain, Paris, issue of July 1878, pp. 58-61. It has been reprinted in many antisemitic works, e.g. N. Deschamps, Les societes secretes et la Societe, Avignon-Paris, n.d., Vol. III, pp. 658-61, and A. Netchvolodov, L'Empereur Nicolas II et les juifs, Paris, 1924, pp. 231-4. Internal evidence shows that it does indeed {footnote continued on p. 32}

{p. 32} having 'unmasked the hellish sects which are preparing the way for Antichrist' he draws his attention to 'the Judaic sect' - surely 'the most formidable power, if one considers its great wealth and the protection it enjoys in almost all European countries'. The mysterious Simonini goes on to reveal some extraordinary information which he claims to have obtained by a ruse. He once pretended to some Piedmontese Jews that he himself had been born a Jew and, though separated from the Jewish community in early childhood, had always retained his love of his 'nation'. Thereupon the Jews showed him 'sums of gold and silver for distribution to those who embraced their cause'; promised to make him a general if only he would become a Freemason; presented him with three weapons bearing Masonic symbols; and revealed their greatest secrets.

These were indeed surprising. Simonini learned, for instance, that Mani and the Old Man of the Mountain were both Jews (though in reality neither of them was); and that the Order of Freemasons and the Illuminati were both founded by Jews (though their founders are known, and were not Jews). More surprising still, he discovered that in Italy alone more than 800 ecclesiastics were Jews; these included bishops and cardinals and would shortly, it was hoped, include a pope. In Spain much the same state of affairs obtained; and indeed everywhere Jews were disguising themselves as Christians. Equally menacing were their political and economic stratagems. Already certain

{footnote continued from p. 31} date from around 1806. M. Leon Poliakov, in a private communication to the author, has argued convincingly that it was fabricated by the French political police under Fouche with the object of induencing Napoleon against the Jews at the time of 'the Great Sanhedrin'; see below, pp. 35.

{p. 33} countries had granted full civil rights to the Jews and soon the remaining countries, harassed by plots and seduced by money, would do likewise. That accomplished, the Jews would buy up all lands and houses, until the Christians were completely dispossessed. Then the last stage of the plot would be carried out: the Jews 'promised themselves that in less than a century they would be masters of the world, that they would abolish all other sects and establish the rule of their own sect, that they would turn Christian churches into so many synagogues and reduce the remaining Christians to a state of absolute slavery'. Only one serious obstacle remained - the House of Bourbon, which was the Jews' worst enemy; and the Jews would annihilate that.

Barruel once remarked that if the Simonini letter were published it might provoke a massacre of Jews, and on that occasion he was talking sense; for in embryo the letter does indeed contain the whole myth of the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. But the letter also points very clearly to the circumstances which gave birth to that myth. Needless to say it had nothing to do with the real relationship between Jewry and Freemasonry, which was tenuous. In the eighteenth century the Freemasons were on the whole hostile to the Jews (and so, incidentally, were the Bavarian Illuminati). At the time of the Simonini letter many lodges were still reluctant to accept Jewish members. At no time have Jews, or persons of Jewish descent, played a disproportionate part in Freemasonry. These are the sober facts. But facts such as these have never deterred anyone who wished to believe in a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. Had not Barruel shown that the French Revolution was the work of a conspiracy of Freemasons? And had not the Jews benefited from the revolution? No more was required to establish that Freemasons and Jews were closely associated, in fact practically identical.

It is true that the French Revolution, like the American Revolution before it, really did help the Jews. Since it proclaimed 'the rights of man' and championed the principles o liberty, equality, and fraternity, it was logically bound to

{p. 34} grant civil rights to French Jews. And not only this - wherever Napoleon's power extended the Jews were emancipated; in the Simonini letter one can hear the crash of the Italian ghettos as they fell before the French armies. This was quite enough to convince reactionaries that Napoleon was the ally of Jewry, if not a Jew himself. Those who identified themselves with the ancien regime had to account somehow for the collapse of a social order which they regarded as ordained by God. The myth of the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy supplied the explanation they craved.

Then, in 1806, Napoleon summoned an assembly of prominent French Jews - mostly rabbis and scholars - at Paris. The Emperor's motives were of course purely political and administrative; he was interested in stamping out the money-lending which, as a legacy from pre-emancipation days, was still practised by Jews in Alsace, and he also wanted to satisfy himself that the Jewish population was as submissive as the rest of France. But he called the assembly 'the Great Sanhedrin', after the supreme Jewish court of antiquity - and this automatically suggested that a Jewish government had been secretly in existence down the centuries. Above all, in the eyes of many of Napoleon's enemies the calling of this 'Sanhedrin' established him once and for all as that Antichrist who, in the last days of this earth, is to appear as the Messiah of the Jews. The journal of the French emigres in London, L'Ambigu, commented: 'Does he hope to form, from these children of Jacob, a legion of tyrannicides? ... Time will show. It remains for us only to watch this Antichrist fight against the eternal decrees of God; that must be the last act of his diabolic existence.' In Moscow the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church thundered: 'Today he proposes to reunite the Jews whom God's wrath had scattered over the face of the earth, to urge them on to overthrow the Church of Christ and to proclaim a false messiah in his person.' The Simonini letter, with its mention of Antichrist and

{p. 35} its prophetic tone, fitted perfectly into such an atmosphere. Barruel duly passed it round in influential circles in France, with the express object 'of forestalling the effect which might be produced by the "Sanhedrin".'

The Simonini letter seems in fact to have given a new direction to Barruel's own thinking. Just before his death in 1820, at the age of seventy-nine, Barruel opened his mind to a certain Father Grivel - and what emerged was the myth of the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy, elaborated far beyond the hints in the Simonini letter. He had written a vast manuscript, which he destroyed two days before his death, to show how a revolutionary conspiracy has existed down the ages, from Mani to the medieval Templars and thence to the Freemasons. As for the Jews; he believed them to have made common cause with the Templars and to have occupied commanding positions in the conspiracy ever since. At that moment Europe was covered by a network of Masonic lodges, penetrating into every village in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany; and the whole organization was rigidly controlled by a supreme council of twenty one, which included no less than nine Jews. This council had no fixed residence, but wherever the statesmen of the great powers met in congress it was to be found somewhere in the background; in addition, its individual members travelled a great deal, under the pretext of pursuing business interests or attending learned conferences but in reality to direct the activities of the organization. The supreme council was not, however, the ultimate authority in Freemasonry; it appointed an inner council of three, which in turn elected a Grand Master, who was the secret head of this secret International.

{In contrast to Cohn's sarcasm and ridicule, note the statement by Benjamin Disraeli in his "novel" Coningsby, written in 1844 (5th edition, published by Peter Davies, London, 1927): 'You never observe a great intellectual movement in Europe in which the Jews do not greatly participate. The first Jesuits were Jews; that mysterious Russian diplomacy which so alarms western Europe is organised and principally carried on by Jews; that mighty revolution which is at this moment preparing in Germany, and which will be, in fact, a second and greater Reformation, and of which so little is as yet known in England, is entirely developing under the auspices of Jews, who almost monopolise the professorial chairs of Germany. ... ' (p. 264).

Disraeli, writing in 1844, is referring (four years in advance) to the revolution of 1848, launched shortly after the appearance of The Communist Manifesto. More from Disraeli at disraeli.html. Such candour by Disraeli is at such odds with the meek image presented by Cohn, that corroboration from another eminent Jewish source, Benjamin Ginsberg, is warranted: ginsberg.html. By now the reader should be noticing that Cohn, despite his powerful intellect and persuasive arguments, is omitting contrary evidence, as a propagandist might.

It is instructive at this point to compare another Jewish intellect, J. L. Talmon. In his acclaimed book on the French Revolution, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, there is no mention of Jews as revolutionaries, whatsoever. Yet, some years later, he wrote a book Israel Among the Nations, on that very theme - the leading role played by Jews in revolutionary movements: "{p. 1} It has for a long time been almost an axiom that The Revolution was the ally, some were even wont to say saviour of the Jews, and that the Jews were the natural standard-bearers of the revolution. ... Those who should be most interested, revolutionaries of Jewish extraction, or revolutionaries in general, tend to deny the very legitimacy of the juxtaposition, 'Jews and revolution'. It is, they argue, men, classes, peoples who rise in revolt against oppression, that many revolutionaries have {p. 2} been of Jewish ancestry is quite irrelevant and the very desire to see it as relevant arises out of a sinister intention to discredit the cause of revolution itself ... Then there are those Jews who are unable to ignore the intimate relation between Jews and revolution, but wish they had never heard of it. ... {p. 69} Three years later the Tsar and all his family were helpless prisoners guarded by a Jew and a few Latvian assistants. ... - 'in the fact that the chief executioner of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in the Ekaterinburg cellar was a Jew', Jacob Yurovsky". More of Talmon at talmon.html.

Now back to Cohn; the above discursion has been necessary, in order to caution the reader not to rush into acceptance of Cohn's argument}

Around the figure of the Grand Master, Barruel weaves a truly lurid tale. The Grand Master takes all decisions, and he

{p. 36} takes them 'as despotically, as irrevocably, as the Old Man of the Mountain'. Disobedience to his orders is punished by death; every Freemason is bound by oath to assassinate any member of the order, even the members of the inner council, if the Grand Master so ordains. This is the explanation of almost every apparently inexplicable assassination. And of course the sole true aim of Freemasonry is to produce revolutions. Orders to this end are sent out by the Grand Master in code, and are carried across Europe by relays of Freemasons, all of them on foot. 'And so,' concludes Barruel,

{quote} from neighbour to neighbour and from hand to hand the orders are transmitted with incomparable speed, for these pedestrians are delayed neither by bad weather, nor by the mishaps that normally befall horsemen or carriages; a man on foot can alvays get along when he knows the country, and that is the case here. They stop neither to eat nor to sleep, for each one covers only two leagues. The mail-coach takes ten hours from Paris to Orleans, stopping for an hour; the distance is thirty leagues. Fifteen pedestrians, replacing one another, can reach Orleans from Paris in nine hours, using short-cuts and above all never stopping. {endquote}

Clearly the supreme council, even though only partly Jewish, already possessed that superhuman capacity for organizing vast and invisible manoeuvres that later generations were to attribute to the Elders of Zion.

Barruel's fantasies and the Simonini letter found little echo in the first half of the nineteenth century. Antisemitic propaganda, though it existed, was neither abundant nor influential at that time, and the myth of the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy in particular passed into oblivion even among antisemites. The first important reference to the idea appears not in antisemitic propaganda but, in the form of a rather naughty joke, in Disraeli's novel Coninsby, which was published in 1844. In chapter fifteen of book III there is a passage here the rich and aristocratic Jew Sidonia describes how, when raising

{p. 37} a loan for the Russian Government, he travelled from country to country - Russia, Spain, France, Prussia - and in each capital found that the minister concerned was a Jew. And he ends his tale with the comment: 'So you see, my dear Coningsby, that the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.' It is a passage which was later to be quoted by innumerable antisemitic writers - for did it not after all come from a famous Jew who was later himself to be prime minister? What was not mentioned, and was perhaps seldom realized, is that the various ministers named - who include Napoleon's marshal, Soult, and the Prussian Count Arnim - were not in fact Jews;

It was around 1850 that the myth of the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy reappeared - this time in Germany - as a weapon of the extreme right in its struggle against the growing forces of nationa1ism, liberalism, democracy, and secularism. Writing under the immediate impact of the risings of 1848, the publicist E. E. Eckert describes how the Freemasons are organizing not only all revolutionary movements but also the situations that produce revolutionary movements - how they deliberately plunge the masses into moral barbarism and religious despair and finally into economic desperation. This points forward unmistakably to the Protocols, save that Eckert makes no mention of Jews. The gap was filled by the Catholic periodical Historisch-politische Blutter, of Munich, which in 1862 published a protest signed 'A Berlin Freemason' but which was manifestly not written by a Freemason at all.

After complaining of the growing influence of Jews in public and political life in Prussia, the anonymous correspondent describes an (entirely imaginary) association in Germany which, while employing the symbols and rituals of Freemasonry, in reality pursues secret aims - aims that have nothing to do with Freemasonry and that threaten the security of all states. This association is governed by 'unknown superiors' and consists mostly of Jews. Nor are such machinations confined to Germany. In London 'the Grand Master' Palmerston presides over the forces of revolution in Europe - but behind Palmers-

{p. 38} ton are two pseudo-Masonic lodges consisting entirely of Jews, and whose threshold no gentile can ever cross. Another such Jewish centre is in Rome - the struggle for the national unity of Italy is nothing but a Jewish plot in which Mazzini and his colleagues are puppets in the hands of 'unknown superiors'. During the annual fair at Leipzig an exclusively Jewish lodge functions uninterruptedly, though in deadly secret. German Freemasons feel themselves being impelled hither and thither by unknown forces, although the oath of secrecy prevents them from comparing notes and thus penetrating the fearsome secret.

A few years after this extravaganza there appeared, also in Germany, a document which in due course was to become the model for the Protocols themselves. The author of this prototype of the most famous of all antisemitic forgeries was one Hermann Goedsche, who had formerly been a minor offlcial in the Prussian postal service. In the reaction following the revolutionary upheavals of 1848 this man had made an unfortunate miscalculation. In order to incriminate the democratic leader Benedic Waldeck, whose politics were proving inconvenient to the King of Prussia, Goedsche produced letters which if they had been genuine would have unmasked Waldeck as conspiring to overthrow the constitution and assassinate the King. In the event it was quickly proved not only that the letters were forgeries but that Goedsche knew them to be so. His career in the postal service being at an end, Goedsche joined the staff of the newspaper Neue preussische Zeitung, popularly known as the Preussische Kreuzzeitug, which was much favoured by conservative landowners; he also began to write novels, the more sensational under the pseudonym of Sir John Retcliffe. One of these novels, Biarritz, contained a chapter called 'In the Jewish Cemetery in Prague'. It is a piece of straight fiction of the most romantically sensational kind, but it was nevertheless to become the basis for a very influential antisemitic forgery.9

9. Sir John Retcliffe (pseudonym of Hermann Goedsche), Biarritz, Berlin, 1868, Vol. 1, pp. 162-93.

{p. 39} The chapter describes a secret nocturnal meeting which is supposed to have been held in the cemetery during the Feast of Tabernacles. At eleven o'clock the gates of the cemetery creak softly and the rustling of long coats is heard, as they touch against the stones and shrubbery. A vague white figure passes like a shadow through the cemetery until it reaches a certain tombstone; here it kneels down, touches the tombstone three times with its forehead and whispers a prayer. Another figure approaches, it is that of an old man, bent and limping; he coughs and sighs as he moves. The figure takes its place next to its predecessor and it too kneels down and whispers a prayer. A third figure appears - a tall, impressive figure, clad in a white mantle; as though unwillingly, he too kneels down at the tombstone. Thirteen times this procedure is repeated. When the thirteenth and last figure has taken its place a clock strikes midnight. From the grave there comes a sharp, metallic sound. A blue flame appears and lights up the thirteen kneeling figures. A hollow voice says, 'I greet you, heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.' And the figures dutifully reply: 'We greet you, son of the accursed.'

The assembled figures are in fact meant to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The additional member of the party represents 'the unfortunates and the exiles'. Under the chairmanship of the representative of the house of Aaron, these various personages report on their activities during the century which has elapsed since the last meeting. The Levite announces that after centuries of oppression and striving, Israel is rising again, thanks to the gold which has fallen into her hands. The Jews can now look forward to a future, not far off, when the whole earth will belong to them. The representative of Reuben reports that through the stock exchanges the Jews have managed to place all the princes and governments of Europe in their debt and are thereby able to control them. Simeon outlines a scheme for breaking up the great estates and getting all land into Jewish hands, so that the workers on the land will become workers for the Jews. Judah shows how independent artisans are being reduced by Jewish machinations to the status of factory-workers, who can then be controlled ...

{p. 50} In France Gougenot des Mousseaux found a worthy successor in the Abbe Chabauty, cure of Saint-Andre at Mirebeau in Poitou, honorary canon of Poitiers and Angouleme. In 1881 this man published a 600-page volume called Les Francs-Maons et les juifs: Sixieme Age de l'Eglise d'apres l'Apocalypse, in which he argued that Satan, through the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy, was preparing the way for the Jewish Antichrist and the world-dominion of the Jews. In his most influential book, Les Juifs nos maitres (1882), Chabauty did more than re-hash his predecessor's arguments, he added an important discovery of his own. He had found, in the Revue des etudes juives for 1880, two letters which seemed to him to be full of the most sinister significance, and which were indeed later to acquire a sinister significance in the history of antisemitism. They are known as The Letter of the Jews of Arles (or, in some versions, of Spain) and The Reply of the Jews of Constantinople; and they read as follows:

{first letter} Honourable Jews, greetings and blessings!

This is to tell you that the King of France, who is again master of Provence, has ordained by public proclamation that we must become Christians or leave his territory. And the people of Arles, Aix and Marseille want to take away our belongings, they threaten

{p. 51} our lives, they wreck our synagogues, they cause us much vexation; and all this makes us uncertain about what we ought to do to keep the Law of Moses. This is why we ask you to be so good as to let us know, in your wisdom, what we ought to do.

CHAMOR Rabbi of the Jews of Arles the 13th of Sabath, 1489 {end of the first letter}

{second letter} Well-beloved Brethren in Moses, we have received the letter in which you tell us of the anxieties and adversities you are suffering. The advice of the grand satraps and rabbis is as follows:

You say that the King of France demands that you become Christians: do so, since you cannot do otherwise, but keep the Law of Moses in your hearts.

You say that you are forced to surrender your belongings: then make your children merchants, so that, little by little, they may strip the Christians of their belongings.

You say that attempts are made against your lives: then make your children doctors and apothecaries, so that they may deprive Christians of their lives.

You say that they are destroying your synagogues: then make your children canons and clerics, so that they may destroy their churches.

You say that the people are vexing you in many other ways: then see to it that your children become advocates and notaries, so that you will get the Christians under your yoke, you will dominate the world, and you will be able to take your revenge.

Do not depart from this order that we give you, for you will see by experience that, from the abasement in which you now find yourselves, you will attain the summit of power.

V.S.S.V.F.F. Prince of the Jews of Constantinople the 21st of Casleu, 1489 {end of the second letter}

From the point of view of the literary historian these 'letters', which date at least from the sixteenth century, are not without interest. Probably they were originally written in Spain, as a satirical comment on the Marranos - the Spanish

{p. 52} Jews who claimed to have been converted to Catholicism but who were suspected, often rightly, of remaining Jews at heart. What is certain is that they were meant as a joke - the signature Chamor, for instance, is simply the Hebrew for donkey. For Chabauty, however, there was no possible doubt as to their authenticity - after all, as he pointed out, was not the Revue des etudes juives, which reprinted them, founded by the Baron de Rothschild?

{Cohn's "certainty" deftly sidesteps the point.}

And indeed thanks to these 'letters' the enterprising cure stumbled on an idea which had not occurred to any of his predecessors. He convinced himself that a single, secret Jewish government had existed throughout the Dispersion, that it was pursuing an unchanging plan for world-domination, and that all Jews owed it absolute obedience. He was also concerned that 'Bismarck, William and the other ministers and sovereigns of Europe and America are only the docile and often the blind instruments' of the hidden Jewish government. By such imaginings he not only prepared the way for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion but established the Letter of the Jews of Constantinople as an important 'document' in its own right. When, half a century later, the Protocols became a world-famous work, this 'letter' was republished again and again, often in the same volume as the Protocols, as confirmatory evidence. And not one editor realized that the signature V.S.S.V.F.F., which looks so cryptic and sinister, is simply the name Ussuff, i.e. Joseph!

Chabauty found his first imitators in Italy. In the mid-1880s Pope Leo XIII embarked on a fresh struggle against Italian Freemasonry; and although he himself never stooped to antisemitic propaganda, he permitted others to do so. The Jesuits associated with La civilta cattolica, in particular, considered it perfectly legitimate to discredit Freemasonry by presenting it as part of the Jewish world-conspiracy. Two of these reverend gentlemen, Father R. Ballerini and Father F. S. Rondina, waged a campaign which lasted right through the 1890s. According to them all the afflictions in the modern world, from the French Revolution to the latest Italian bankruptcies, were simply fruits of two thousand years of Jewish conspiracy. La

{p. 53} civilta cattolica portrayed Italy as in the grip of violence, immorality, and general chaos - all thanks to the Jews; it described Jewry in terms that Hitler was to use - as a giant octopus squeezing the world; it even printed the tales of ritual murder which were later to grace the pages of Der Sturmer. It is not surprising that, with such an illustrious example before their eyes, provincial Catholic newspapers demanded a repeal of Jewish emancipation and the confiscation of all Jewish property.

{Cohn would depict all those opposed to Jewish political action, as defacto Nazis; but he must not be allowed to get away with this. Alexander Solzhenitsyn is a reminder of another sort of resistance, not militarist or racist but intellectual}

It is true that the campaign failed to undermine the tolerant outlook of most Italian Catholics - how could they, after all, forget that the whole of Italian Jewry numbered barely 30,000? - but that does not mean it had no influence at all. The time was to come, after the First World War, when two successive popes were to honour the Frenchman Mgr Jouin for his life-long struggle against the mythical entity, the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy; in one case, when he was already celebrated as an editor of the Protocols. La civilta cattolica can certainly take some credit for the outlook that made that possible.

In France, too, the theme of a Satanic world-conspiracy of Freemasons, or of Jews, or of both together, continued to inspire a prodigious amount of nonsensical propaganda throughout the 1890s. There it appealed above all to the country clergy - nearly all of them sons of peasants or of village artisans, poorly educated, infinitely credulous. What they were prepared to believe beggars description. In 1893 that great hoaxer, Leo Taxil, had no difficulty at all in persuading them that the head of American Freemasonry had a telephone system invented and manned (if that is the word) by devils, and so was kept in constant touch with the seven major capitals of the world; or that beneath the Rock of Gibraltar squads of devils were at work, concocting epidemics to destroy the Catholic world. And if Taxil confines his attention to Free-

{p. 54} masons and makes no mention of Jews, others were less restrained. La Franc-Maconnerie, Synagogue de Saan, by Mgr Meurin, Archbishop of Port-Louis, Mauritius - which also appeared in 1893 - insists on the contrary that 'everything in Freemasonry is fundamentally Jewish, exclusively Jewish, passionately Jewish, from the beginning to the end'.

This extraordinary work seems indeed to have been one of the most immediate sources of the Protocols which, as we shall see, were fabricated at just about that time. Like so many of the devotees of the Protocols after him, the Archbishop was convinced that the whole of human history could be interpreted in terms of a Jewish conspiracy which was now within sight of its goal. He also knew the means by which this plan was being carried out: 'Some day history will tell how all the revolutions of recent centuries originated in the Masonic sect under the supreme command of the Jews.' And not only that - whatever the appearances, it is the governments themselves that foment the revolutions, because they too are controlled by Jews:

{quote} The fact that all revolutions are made in the depths of the Masonic back-lodges would be inexplicable, if we did not know that the ministries of all countries ... are in the hands of Freemasons who in the last analysis are controlled by Jews. {endquote}

The Archbishop has something else to tell about these mysterious 'back-lodges': they consist of Freemasons and Jews 'of the thirty-third degree' - just as the Protocols themselves end with the words 'Signed by the Representatives of Zion of the thirty-third degree'. It is quite clear where this idea came from. There really is one particular Masonic system which has thirty-three grades: 'the old and accepted Scottish rite', which was instituted in the United States at the beginning of the nineteenth century and spread to many countries. So far from concerning itself with political and economic

{p. 55} strategies, this branch of Freemasonry has specialized in symbolism and in philanthropy; and in no sense does it control the whole of Freemasonry. But these facts were of no interest to the worthy Archbishop, or to the fabricator of the Protocols; for them, the Freemasons of the thirty-third degree are the heart of the conspiracy to set up a Jewish king as ruler of the world. ...

The Archbishop calls on the rulers of Europe to league themselves against the Jewish conspiracy before it destroys them. Although he declares that he will be satisfied if Jews are excluded from banking, commerce, journalism, teaching, and medicine, his final outburst is dramatic indeed:

{quote} Do not hope, O Jews, to be able to escape the calamity that once more threatens you. ... The day when you are crushed will see the Church, your victim, enjoying a vital expansion such as has never been seen.

We do not wish to be slaves of the Jews, and we will not be such. ... We shall forget our political differences to stand united and firm against the impudence and insolence of the enemies of God {endquote}


The Protocols and the Dialogue aux Enfers

THE nineteenth-century transmitters of the myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy then are a varied crew. They include Barruel and the 'Simonini letter' at the beginning of the century; and much later, in the last third of the century, Goedsche in Germany, and The Rabbi's Speech; the Frenchmen Gougenot des Mousseaux, Mgr Meurin, the Abbe Chabauty, Edouard Drumont; the Russian Brafmann, the Pole Lutostansky, and the Serb Osman-Bey. Together these people prepared the way for the famous forgery which was to survive long after their own writings had faded into obscurity.

'Around 1840', wrote Osman-Bey in his World Conquest by the Jews,

{quote} a Jewish parliament was summoned at Cracow. It was a sort of Ecumenical Council, where the most eminent leaders of the Chosen People met to confer. The purpose of summoning them as to determine the most suitable means to ensure that Judaism should spread safely from the North Pole to the South ...

Suddenly a clear voice rang out and automatically imposed silence. It was the voice of a recognized authority, a man of overwhelming intelligence, whose name we unfortunately do not know ...

His words had a startling effect on the assembly; people saw that an oracle had spoken, that a new illumination had dawned upon their minds, to give a firm direction to their efforts ... {endquote}

This fantasy provides the framework for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For the Protocols consist of lectures, or notes

{p. 67} for lectures, in which a member of the secret Jewish government - the Elders of Zion - expounds a plot to achieve world-domination.

In the standard version the 'protocols', or lectures, or chapters, are twenty-four in number; together they fill a booklet - about a hundred small pages in both British editions. They are not easy to summarize, for the style is turgid and diffuse, the argument tortuous and illogical. With perseverance one can however distinguish three main themes: a critique of liberalism; an analysis of the methods by which world-domination is to be achieved by the Jews; and a description of the world-state which is to be established. {the role of the finance system being a major theme of all three} These themes are interwoven in a most confusing manner, but on the whole it can be said that the first two themes predominate in the first nine 'protocols', while the remaining fifteen 'protocols' are devoted mainly to a prophecy of the coming kingdom. And if one insists on reducing the argument to some sort of order, it comes out roughly as follows.

The Elders base their calculations on a particular view of politics. As they see it, political liberty is only an idea - admittedly an idea which has great attraction for the masses, but one which can never be translated into reality. Liberalism, which attempts this impossible task, results merely in chaos; for the people are incapable of governing themselves, they do not know their own mind, they are easily deceived by appearances, they cannot choose rationally between conflicting counsels. When the aristocracy ruled it was right that aristocrats should have liberty, for they used it for the general good; it was in their own interest, for instance, to care for the workers from whose labour they lived. But aristocracy is a thing of the past, and the liberal order which has succeeded it cannot last but must inevitably lead to despotism. Only a despot can ensure order in society. Moreover, since there are more evil men than good in the world, force is the only appropriate means of government. Might is right; and in the modern world the basis of might is the possession and control of capital. Today it is gold that rules the world.

{p. 74} It was Nilus's version, not Butmi's, that was to become a force in world history. That did not even begin to happen in 1905, nor when further editions of The Great in the Small were published in 1911 and 1912. It happened only when the book reappeared, somewhat revised and enlarged. under the title He is Near, At the Door ... Hcre C0~71es Antichrist and the Reign of the Devil on Earth. And then it happened because of the moment: 1917.

When one is confronted with a highly secret document ostensibly recording a series of lectures one naturally wonders who delivered the lectures to whom and on what occasion, and also how the document came to be seen by eyes for which it was obviously not intended. The various editors of the Protocols have done their best to satisfy such curiosity, but unfortunately their answers are anything but clear or unanimous.

Even the earliest edition, that in Znamya, plunges us into confusion. While the translator tells us that the document was taken from 'the Central Chancellery of Zion, in France', the editor admits that 'we do not know how, where or by what means the minutes of these meetings, which took place in France, could be copied down, nor above all who copied them ...' And that is not all. The translator, in a postscript, warns us sharply against confusing the Elders of Zion with the representatives of the Zionist movement - but that does not prevent the editor from claiming that the Protocols reveal the menace of Zionism 'which has the task of uniting all the Jews in the whole world in one union - a union which is more closely knit and more dangerous than the Jesuits'.2

2. Znamya, St Petersburg, issue of 26 August 1903.

{p. 75} For Butmi too the Protocols are 'extracted from the secret archives of the Central Chancellery of Zion'; but he has a more colourful tale to tell:

{quote} These minutes or 'protocols', being secret documents, were extracted with great effort, in the form of detached pages, and translated into Russian on 9 December, 1901. It is almost impossible to penetrate a second time into the secret archives where they are kept; that is why they cannot be confirmed by precise indications as to the place, day, month, and year, that is to say as to where and when they were drawn up. The reader who is at all famillar with the Masonic mysteries will be convinced of their authenticity when he learns of the criminal plan exposed in these 'protocols'. {endquote}

Nilus is still more communicative - so much so, in fact, that he ends by contradicting not only Butmi but also himself. In the 1905 edition the Protocols are followed by a note:

{quote} These 'protocols' were removed from a whole book of 'protocols'. All this was obtained by my correspondent from the secret archives of the Central Chancellery of Zion which is at present situated in France. {endquote}

This tallies well enough with Butmi; but unfortunately in the samne edition the Protocols are also preceded by a note, saying that they were 'stolen by a woman from one of the most influential and most highly initiated leaders of Freemasonry, after one of the secret meetings of the "initiated" in France, that nest of Masonic conspiracy'. And in the 1917 edition Nilus confuses the issue still further:

{quote} ... only now have I learned authoritatively from Jewish sources that these Protocols~are nothing else than a strategic plan for the conquest of the world, putting it under the yoke of Israel, the struggle against God, a plan worked out by the leaders of the Jewish people during the many centuries of dispersion, and finally presented to the Council of Elders by 'the Prince of the Exile',

{p. 76} Theodor Herzl, at the time of the first Zionist congress, summoned by him at Basel in August 1897. {endquote}

There could hardly have been a worse choice. The original manuscript of the Protocols was in French, but at the first Zionist congress there was not a single French delegate and the official language was German; Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, was an Austrian; and the entire proceedings of the congress were held in public, while the town of Basel overflowed with journalists who would hardly have overlooked so extraordinary a meeting. But in any case Nilus himself, in his edition of 1905, had categorically stated that the lectures were delivered not in 1897 but in 1902-3.

As though the confusion was not already sufficient, the editors of various later translations of the Protocols invented still further stories. The editor of the first German edition (1919), who passed under the name of Gottfried zur Beek, maintains that the Elders of Zion were simply the members of the Basel congress; he explains too just how their machinations were unmasked. According to him the Russian government, always anxious about Jewish activities, sent a spy to observe the congress. A Jew who was entrusted with taking the minutes of the (non-existent) secret meetings from Basel to the 'Jewish Masonic lodge' at Frankfurt am Main was bribed by this spy to lend them for a night at an unnamed town on the way. Fortunately the spy had with him a whole squad of copyists. Writing frantically, these men managed during that night to copy many of the minutes, which were then sent to Nilus for translation into Russian.

Thus Gottfried zur Beek; but Theodor Fritsch, 'the Nestor of German antisemitism', took an entirely different view of the matter in his edition of the Protocols (1920). For him too the document was a Zionist production - indeed he called it The Zionist Protocols - but it was stolen not from the Basel congress but from an unspecified Jewish house by the Russian police. Moreover it was not in French but in Hebrew - so the police passed it for translation to 'the orientalist Professor

{p. 77} Nilus' (who in reality was neither a professor nor an orientalist - nor, as we shall see, a translator of the Protocols). Different again is the tale told by Roger Lambelin, the editor of the most popular French edition: according to him the Protocols were stolen from a cupboard in a town in Alsace, by the wife or fiancee of the leader of the Freemasons. After such picturesque stories it is a sad anticlimax to learn from a Polish edition that the Protocols were simply talcen from the flat of Theodor Herzl in Vienna.

A Russian-American lady, sometimes known by her maiden name of Lesley Fry and sometimes by her married name of Mrs Shishmarev, wrote much about the Protocols from 1922 onwards. Her major contribution was to argue that the author of the Protocols was none other than Ascher Ginzberg. who wrote under the name of Achad Ha-am (i.e. 'One of the People') - in reality as unpolitical and unworldly an author as may be imagined. According to Miss Fry the Protocols were written by Ginzberg in Hebrew, read by him to a secret gathering of initiates at Odessa in 1890 and then sent, in a French translation, to the Alliance Israelite Universelle at Paris and thence to the congress at Basel in 1897 - where, one must assume, it would have had to be translated into German for the benefit of the delegates. A complicated hypothesis, but one which found influential adherents nevertheless.

Between the various writers on the Protocols there is then almost no agreement. Even the conviction that the Elders of Zion are the same as the leaders of Zionism is not shared by them all. As we have seen, the unknown Russian translator of the original French manuscript, as quoted by Krushevan and Butmi, explicitly states that the Elders are not to be confused with the representatives of the Zionist movement. For Nilus, until his belated discovery, the 'Central Chancellery of Zion' was the headquarters of the Alliance Israelite Universelle in Paris; and Urbain Gohier, one of the first editors of the Protocols in France, was equally convinced that the Elders were members of the Alliance. Others, following in the footsteps of Miss Fry, have attempted to combine the two beliefs

{p. 78} no easy feat, since the Alliance, a purely philanthropic and unpolitical organization which set all its hopes on the assimilation of the Jews to their gentile compatriots, was as hostile to Zionism as could be. Then of course there were the Freemasons, so frequently named in connexion with the Protocols. ... Meanwhile in 1921 something came to light which conclusively proved the Protocols to be a forgery. The Protocols are such a transparent and ludicrous forgery that one may well wonder why it was ever necessary to prove the point. The fact remains that in the years immediately after the First World War, when the Protocols were emerging from obscurity and becoming a world-famous document, multitudes of people who were by no means insane took them perfectly seriously. To realize this one has only to consider what The Times had to say on the matter in its issue of 8 May 1920:

{quote} What are these 'Protocols'? Are they authentic? If so, what malevolent assembly concocted these plans, and gloated over their exposition? ... Have we, by straining every fibre of our national body, escaped a 'Pax Germanica' only to fall into a 'Pax Judaeica'? {endquote}

A year later, on 18 August 1921, The Times devoted a resounding editorial to admitting its error. It had just published, in its issues of 16, 17, and 18 August, a lengthy dispatch from its correspondent in Constantinople, Philip Graves, revealtng that the Protocols were largely copied from a pamphlet directed against Napoleon III and dated 1865. Philip Graves wrote as follows:

{quote} I must confess that when the discovery was communicated to me I was at first incredulous. Mr X, who brought me the evidence, was convinced. 'Read this book through,' he said, 'and you will find irrefutable proof that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is a plagiarism.'

Mr X, who does not wish his real name to be known, is a Russian landowner with English connexions. Orthodox by religion, he is in political opinion a Constitutional Monarchist. He came here as a refugee after the final failure of the White cause in South Russia.

{p. 79} He had long becn interested in the Jewish question as far as it concerned Russia, had studied the Protocols, and during the period of Denikin's ascendancy had made investigations with the object of discovering whether any occult 'Masonic' organization, such as the Protocols speak of, existed in Southern Russia. The only such organization was a Monarchist one. The discovery of the ky to to the problems of the Protocols came to him by chance.

A few months ago he bought a number of old books from a former officer of the Okhrana {footnote 9: Okhrana: the secret police in Russia} who had fled to Constantinople. Among these books was a small volume in French, lacking the titlepage, with dimensions 5 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. It had been cheaply rebound. On the leather back is printed in Latin capitals the word Joli. The preface, entitled 'Simple Avertissement', is dated Geneva, 15 October 1864. ... Both the paper and the type are characteristic of the sixties and seventies of the last century. These details are given in the hope that they may lead to the discovery of the title of the book ...

Mr X believes it must be rare, since, had it not been so, the 'Protocols' would have speedily been recognized as plagiarism by anyone who had read the original. That the latter is a 'fake' could not be maintained for an instant by anyone who had seen it. Its original possessor, the old Okhrana officer, did not remember where he obtained it, and attached no importance to it. Mr X, glancing at it one day, was struck by a resemblance between a passage which had caught his eye and a phrase in the French edition of the Protocols. He followed up the clue, and soon realized that the Protocols were to a very large extent ... a paraphrase of the Geneva original ... Before receiving the book from Mr X I was, as I have said, incredulous. I did not believe that Serge Nilus's Protocols were authentic. ... But I could not have believed, had I not seen, that the writer who supplied Nilus with his originals was a careless and shameless plagiarist. The Geneva book is a very thinly veiled attack on the despotism of Napoleon III in the form of a series of 25 dialogues. ... The speakers are Montesquieu and Machiavelli ... {endquote} 10

10. The Times, issues of 16, 17, and 18 August 1921.

{p. 80} Before publishing the dispatch from its Constantinople correspondent The Times carried out some research at the British Museum. The name 'Joli' on the book's cover provided the clue. The mysterious volume was quickly identified as the Dialogue aux Enfers entre Montesquieu et Machiavel, by a French lawyer called Maurice Joly; it was first published at Brussels (though with the imprint Geneva) in 1864.

{What Cohn omits to say, is that the change in editorial stance was created by the ousting of Lord Northchiffe, who had been a part-proprietor, as revealed by Douglas Reed in his book The Controversy of Zion (Veritas Publishing Company, Bullsbrook, Western Australia, 1985), pp. 295-9: {quote} {p. 296} He encountered one obstacle in the shape of Mr. Wickham Steed, who was editor of The Times and whose championship of Zionism Dr. Weizmann records. In this contest Lord Northcliffe had an Achilles heel. He particularly wanted to get the truth about Palestine into The Times, but he was not sole proprietor of that paper, only chief proprietor. Thus his own newspapers published his series of articles about Palestine but The Times, in fact, refused to do so. ... These facts, and all that now follows, are related (again, with surprising candour) in the Official History of the Times (1952). ... In May 1920 Lord Northcliffe had caused publication of the article about the Protocols in The Times. Early in 1922 he visited Palestine and produced the series of articles mentioned above. ... Lord Northcliffe wished that Mr Wickham Steed should resign. The editor, instead of resigning ... {p. 297} decided that Lord Northcliffe was "abnormal" (March 31, 1922), and informed a director of The Times that Lord Northcliffe was "going mad." ... {p. 299} Lord Northcliffe was removed from control of his newspapers and put under constraint on June 18, 1922. {endquote} More of Reed's account will be added to toolkit.html}

In the autobiography which he wrote in 1870 Maurice Joly has described how, strolling one evening by the Seine in Paris he suddenly conceived the idea of writing a dialogue between Montesquieu and Machiavelli. Montesquieu would present the case of liberalism, Machiavelli the case for a cynical despotism. Open criticism of the regime of Napoleon III was forbidden. In this way it should be possible, through the mouth of Machiavelli, to present the Emperor's motives and methods stripped of their usual camouflage of humbug. So thought Joly, but he underestimated his adversary. The Dialogue aux Enfers was printed in Belgium and smuggled into France for distribution, but the moment it crossed the border it was seized by the police and its author was quickly traced and arrested. On 25 April 1865 Joly was tried and sentenced to fifteen months' imprisonment; his book was banned and confiscated.

Joly's later career was equally unfortunate. Witty, aggressive, no respecter of persons, he proceeded from disappointment to disappointment until, in 1879, he committed suicide. He deserved a better fate. He was not only a brilliant stylist, he had a fine intuition of the forces which, gathering strength after his death, were to produce the political cataclysms of the present century. In his novel Les Aflames he showed a rare understanding of those tensions in the modern world which foster revolutionary movements, whether of the right or the left. Above all, in his reflections on the amateurish despotism of Napoleon III he arrived at insights which remain valid when applied to various authoritarian regimes of our own time. Moreover, something of Joly's insights even survived when the Dialogue aux Enfers was transformed into the Protocols

{p. 81} of the Elders of Zion; that is one reason - though, as we shall see, not the only reason - why the Protocols often seem to forecast twentieth-century authoritarianism. But that after all is a poor kind of immortality; and there is a cruel irony in the fact that a brilliant but long-forgotten defence of liberalism should have provided the basis for an atrociously written piece of reactionary balderdash which has swept the world.

{Cohn omits to mention that the Second Empire - the rule by Napoleon III - came just after the attempted Communist revolution of 1848, and was followed by another such attempt, the Paris Commune of 1871. Napoleon III's rule hardly compares, in despotism and death-toll, with the Bolsheviks. The Red Terror launched by Trotsky et. al. was incomparably more cruel, and Trotsky even wrote a book justifying it: worst.html. Therefore the Protocols seems much more related to the Bolsheviks' Terror, than to Napoleon III's regime.}

Joly's pamphlet is indeed an admirable work, incisive, ruthlessly logical, beautifully constructed. The debate is opened by Montesquieu, who argues that in the present age the enlightened ideas of liberalism have made despotism, which was always immoral, impracticable as well. Machiavelli replies with such eloquence and at such length that he dominates the rest of the pamphlet. The masses of the people, he insists, are simply incapable of governing themselves. Normally they are inert and are only too happy to be ruled by a strong man; while if something happens to arouse them they show unlimited capacity for senseless violence - and then they need a strong man to control them. Politics have never had anything to do with morality; and as for practicability, it has never been so easy as now to impose despotic rule. A modern ruler need only pretend to observe the forms of legality, he need allow his people only the merest semblance of self-government - and he will have not the slightest difficulty in attaining and exercising absolute power. People readily acquiesce in any decision which they imagine to have been their own; therefore the ruler has only to refer all questions to a popular assembly - having first, of course, arranged that the assembly shall give the decision he requires. The forces that might oppose his will can be dealt with easily enough: the press can be censored, political opponents can be watched by the police. Neither the power of the Church nor financial problems need be feared. So long as the prince dazzles the people with his prestige and by winning military victories he can be sure of their support.

Such is the book that inspired the forger of the Protocols. He plagiarized it shamelessly - just how shamelessly can be seen by skimming the selection of parallel passages at the end

{p. 82} of the book. In all, over 160 passages in the Protocols, totalling two fifths of the entire text, are clearly based on passages in Joly; in nine of the chapters the borrowings amount to more than half of the text, in some they amount to three quarters, in one (Protocol VII) to almost the entire text. Moreover with less than a dozen exceptions the order of the borrowed passages remains the same as it was in Joly, as though the adaptor had worked through the Dialogue mechanically, page by page copying straight into his 'protocols' as he proceeded. Even the arrangement in chapters is much the same - the twenty-four chapters of the Protocols corresponding roughly with the twenty-five of the Dialogue. Only towards the end, where the prophecy of the Messianic Age predominates, does the adaptor allow himself any real independence of his model. It is in fact as clear a case of plagiarism - and of faking - as one could well desire.

{Cohn's arithmetic is incorrect. The word-count of the parallel-passages from the Protocols, as listed by Bernstein (at, is 4,361, while the word-count of the Protocols is 26, 496. That is, the parallel passages comprise 16.45% of the Protocols; this is substantial, but still less than one sixth of the total. What Cohn especially omits to mention, is the Protocols' extensive coverage of the world finance system}

The forger constructed his argument out of the two conflicting arguments in the Dialogue: that of 'Machiavelli', in favour of despotism, and that of 'Montesquieu', in favour of liberalism. His borrowings are mostly from 'Machiavelli'. What Joly put into the mouth of Machiavelli, the forger put into the mouth of the mysterious lecturer, the nameless Elder of Zion - but with certain important differences. Whereas 'Machiavelli', representing Napoleon III, is describing a state of affairs which already exists, in the Protocols this description is recast in the form of a prophecy for the future. Again, 'Machiavelli' argues that a despot may find in democratic forms a useful cover for his tyranny; in the Protocols the argument is reversed, so that all democratic forms of government are shown as being simply masks for tyranny. But the forger also borrows certain passages from 'Montesquieu'; and here he makes it seem that the ideals of liberalism were invented by Jews, and are being propagated by them, for the sole purpose of disorganizing and demoralizing the gentiles.

Given sufficient leisure, it might be possible to construct a coherent argument out of such materials, but the Protocols

{p. 83} give the impression of having been concocted in a hurry. The Dialoges aux Enfers, for instance, distinguishes perfectly clearly between the policy of Napoleon III striving for power and his policy once power is firmly in his hands. The Protocols know nothing of such distinctions. At one moment the lecturer talks as though the Elders already hold absolute control and at the next moment as though they have still a centurv to wait. Sometimes he boasts that the gentile governments are utterly intimidated by the Elders, and sometimes that they have not discovered what the Elders are plotting or even that they exist. Other illogicalities arise from the fact that whereas the despot portrayed by Joly was concerned to dominate France, the Elders are supposed to be trying to dominate the world. The forger takes no steps to eliminate the resulting discrepancies - any more than he minds interrupting the argument with irrelevancies of his own, such as the threat to blow up recalcitrant cities from their underground railways.

More strangely still, the forger introduces whole passages which are devoted simply to attacking liberal ideas and to extolling the landed aristocracy as an indispensable bulwark of monarchy. These passages are so conspicuously un-Jewish in spirit that they have caused real embarrassment to the editors of the Protocols. Some editors have simply suppressed them, others have added comments to the effect that that fervent Russian conservative, Sergey Nilus, must have interpolated certain reflections of his own. Their uneasiness is understandable. Nilus was not himself the forger but, as we shall see, the invective against liberalism and the eulogy of the aristocratic and monarchical order do point to the real nature and motives of the forgery.


Secret Police and Occultists

AFTER Hitler came to power in Germany the Proocols were promoted and distributed throughout the world both by German Nazi associations and by Nazi sympathizers in other countries. A vigorous response to this provocation came from the Jewish communities of Switzerland, which brought an action against the leadership of the Nazi organization in Switzerland and against certain individual Nazis. The charge was of publishing and distributing improper literature; but the case, which was heard in Berne partly in October 1934 and partly in May 1935, became in effect an inquiry into the authenticity or spuriousness of the Protocols. Incredible as it may seem nowadays, this inquiry attracted world-wide attention and was covered by journalists from all parts of the world.

Much of the interest of the proceedings at Berne lies in the light which they threw upon the activities of tsarist secret police - the Okhrana - and their possible connexion with the Protocols. The plaintiffs called as witnesses several Russian emigres of liberal views. One of these was Professor Sergey Svatikov, a former Social-Democrat of the Menshevik wing. Under the Provisional Government which ruled Russia during the six months in 1917 between the Tsar's abdication and the

{p. 85} Bolshevik revolution, Svatikov went sent to Paris to dissolve the foreign branch of the Russian secret police, which had its headquarters there. One of the agents he interviewed was Henri Bint, a Frenchman of Alsatian origin who had been in the service of the Russians ever since 1880. According to Bint, the Protocols had been concocted on instructions from the head of his organization, Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky. Another witness, the celebrated journalist Vladimir Burtsev, gave evidence pointing in the same direction. He claimed to have been told by two former directors of the Department of Police, Lopukhin and Beletsky, that Rachkovsky was involved in the fabrication of the Protocols.

A great deal is known about Rachkovsky, the sinister and gifted head of the Okhrana outside Russia. 'If ever you meet him in society,' wrote a Frenchman who knew him,

{quote} I very much doubt whether you will feel the slightest misgivings about him, for nothing in his appearance reveals his sinister function. Fat, restless, always with a smile on his lips . . . he looks more like some genial, jolly fellow on a spree.... He has one rather noticeable weakness - that he is passionately fond of our little Parisiennes - but he is the most skilful operator to be found in the ten capitals of Europe. {endquote}

A Russian compatriot gave his impression in equally striking terms-

{quote} His slightly too ingratiating manner and his suave way of speaking - which made one think of a great feline carefully concealing its claws - only dimmed for a moment my clear perception of what was fundamental in this man - his subtle intelligence, his firm will, his profound devotion ... to the interests of imperial Russia. {endquote}

{p. 87} ... This born intriguer delighted in forging documents. As head of the Okhrana outside Russia his main concern was to cope with Russian revolutionaries who had taken refuge abroad. One of his favourite methods was to produce a letter or pamphlet in which a supposed revolutionary attacked the revolutionary leadership. In 1887 there appeared in the French press a letter by a certain 'P. Ivanov', who claimed to be a disillusioned revolutionary, asserting - quite falsely - that the majority of the terrorists were Jews. In 1890 there appeared a

{p. 88} pamphlet entitled Une confession par un vieillard ancien revolutionnaire (A Confession by an Old Man once a Revolutionary), accusing the revolutionaries who had taken refuge in London of being British agents. In 1892 a letter appeared over the famous name of Plekhanov, accusing the leadership of Narodnaya Volya of having published this 'confession'. A few weeks later came a further letter, in which Plekhanov in turn was attacked by other supposed revolutionaries. In reality all these documents were written by the same man, Rachkovsky. ...

{p. 90} There are then very good grounds for suspecting Rachkovsky of instigating the forgery that resulted in the Protocols. The evidence of Svatikov and Burtsev, the book Anarchie et nihilisme, Rachkovsky's activities as a militant antisemite and organizer of pogroms, his taste for forgery and for immensely complicated deceptions - all this seems to point to him. That being so, it is worth noting that at the very time when he was trying to create his antisemitic 'Russian Patriotic League', in 1902, Rachkovsky became involved in a court intrigue in St Petersburg which also involved the future editor of the Protocols, Sergey Nilus. It was an intrigue against a Frenchman called Philippe who, like Rasputin after him, established himself at the imperial court as a faith-healer and became the idol and guide of the Tsar and Tsaritsa. Rachkovsky and Nilus both took part in the intrigue against him, and on the same side.

{Here, Cohn refutes Bernstein's claim, from Stepanov's affadavit, that the Protocols was written in 1895, two years before the first Zionist Congress in 1897}

{p. 111} As for the date, internal evidence suggests that in saying he received the Protocols in 1895 and published them in 1897 Stepanov was erring no more than is to be expected after thirty years. There is for instance the remark, at the end of 'protocol' 16, that as part of the plan to stupify the gentiles one of the Elders' agents, Bourgeois, is advocating a program of teaching by object lessons. The reference is to Leon Bourgeois, a highly suspect figure in the

{p. 112} eyes of the French right wing since, as Prime Minister in 1895-6, he had included nine Freemasons in his cabinet. From 1890-96 he frequently spoke in favour of a system of teaching by object lessons, and in 1897 these speeches were published in a book, L'Education de la democratie francaise; in 1898, as Minister of Education, he issued decrees on the subject. A similar reference which points in the same direction is the passage in 'protocol' 10 where the Elders recommend the election of presidents with some 'Panama' in their past. This refers almost certainly to Emile Loubet, who was Prime Minister of France when the Panama scandal reached its climax in 1892. Though certainly not involved in the scandal itself, Loubet showed no eagerness to institute inquiries against those who were; and this made him a suspect figure. In 1895 Loubet was elected President of the Senate, which made him a candidate for President of the Republic, and in 1899 he was elected President of the Republic. The passage in the Protocols could have been inspired by either event.

As for the Paris underground, the Metro, plans for it were announced in 1894, but it was only in 1897 that the municipal council granted the concession, and it was in 1900 that the first line was opened. In view of the threat in the Protocols to blow up capital cities from the underground railways, it is worth noting that in 1897 Drumont's Libre parole was lamenting the number of Jewish shareholders in the Metro. Again, it was in 1896 that the Russian Minister of Finance Sergey Witte first proposed the introduction of the gold-standard in Russia, in place of the gold-and-silver standard then in force; and in 1897 it was in fact introduced. This too figures in the Protocols - in 'protocol' 19 there is the observation that the gold standard has ruined every state that has adopted it. But, above all, there is the title of the forgery itself. One would normally expect the mysterious rulers to be called Elders of Jewry or Elders of Israel. There must be some reason why they bear the absurd name of Elders of Zion, and there is in fact a very plausible one. As we have seen, the first Zionist congress at Basel was interpreted by antisemites as a giant stride towards

{p. 113} Jewish world-domination. Countless editions of the Protocols have connected that document with the congress; and it does seem likely that this event inspired if not the forgery itself, then at least its title. The year of the congress was 1897.

All in all it is practically certain that the Protocols were fabricated some time between 1894 and 1899 and highly probable that it was in 1897 or 1898. The country was undoubtedly France, as is shown by the many references to French affairs. One may assume that the place was Paris and one may even be rather more precise: one of the copies of Joly's book in the Bibliotheque Nationale bears markings which correspond strikingly with the borrowings in the Protocols. So the job was done in the midst of the Dreyfus affair - somewhere between the arrest of Alfred Dreyfus in 1894 and his pardon in 1899, and probably at the very height of the great debate which so bitterly divided France. Nevertheless the forgery is clearly the work of a Russian and oriented towards the Russian right wing. Can one, then, be certain that it was done at the behest of the head of Okhrana in Paris, the sinister Rachkovsky?

As we have seen, there are very substantial grounds for this view - and nevertheless the question is less simple than it seems. Rachkovsky's political master and patron was Sergey Witte, the all-powerful Minister of Finance, and Witte's enemies were also Rachkovsky's enemies. And there is no doubt that Witte's enemies had a hand in the Protocols. When Witte took office in 1892 he took up the task begun by Peter the Great and largely neglected bylater rulers: the transformation of backward Russia into a country as modern as the countries of western Europe. During the following decade the production of coal and of iron and steel was more than doubled; the construction of railways, which at that time was the surest index of industrial development, proceeded at a rate attained in only one other country, the United States. But this rapid economic development brought grave disadvantages to those classes whose wealth was bound up with the traditional, agricultural order; and in these circles Witte was detested. More-

{p. 114} over in 1898 there came a serious slump which brought heavy losses even to those who had benefited most from the economic expansion. Witte was under heavy pressure to resort to inflation, even if this meant abandoning the newly adopted gold-standard. He resisted, and his unpopularity became still more widespread.

The Protocols have all the appearance of a weapon for use in the campaign against Witte. In the Protocols it is argued that slumps are used by the Elders as a means of getting control over all money and of fomenting unrest in the proletariat; and as we have seen, it is also argued that the gold-standard ruins the countries that adopt it. Moreover, if one compares the Dialogue aux Enfers with the Protocols one finds that the only economic and financial reflections which have been preserved from Joly's book are those which applied to developments in Russia under Witte {but the Protocols contains much more about finance than does the Dialogues}. The intention seems obvious enough: it is to present Witte as a tool in the hands of the Elders of Zion. ...

{p. 115} Who, in the end, forged the Protocols? Boris Nicolaevsky and Henri Rollin have argued that much of the Protocols could have come from the eminent physiologist and political journalist known as Ilya Tsion in Russia and Elie de Cyon in France. De Cyon certainly was a fanatical opponent of Witte, and many passages in his political writings do resemble those parts of the Protocols which are directed against Witte's policies. He even composed one of his attacks on Witte by the very same method employed in the Protocols, i.e. by taking an old French satire on a long-dead statesman and simply changing the names. Also, he was a Russian expatriate who lived

{p. 116} in Paris and belonged to the circle around Juliette Adam - who in turn was a close friend of Yuliana Glinka. But there is an important qualification to be made: if de Cyon really is the forger, what he forged cannot have been the Protocols as we know them today.

It is inconceivable that a person of such seriousness and intellectual calibre as de Cyon should have sunk to writing a crude antisemitic fabrication. Moreover he was himself of Jewish origin, and though converted to Christianity he never turned against the Jews. In his book La Russie contemporaine (1892) he shows a lively sympathy with the persecuted Russian Jews, demands equal opportunities for them, bitterly attacks antisemitic propagandists and instigators of pogroms. If de Cyon did indeed have a hand in the concoction we know as the Protocols, then somebody must have appropriated his work and transformed it, replacing the Russian Minister of Finance by the Elders of Zion.

And so we come back to Rachkovsky. For in 1897 Rachkovsky and his men, on instructions from Witte, burgled de Cyon's villa at Territet, Switzerland, and removed quantities of papers. They were looking for writings directed against Witte, and it may well be that they found an adaptation of Joly's book. It remains rather puzzling that Witte's devoted servant Rachkovsky should have propagated a document which, even when transformed, is still largely directed against his master's policies. Perhaps his intention was that the book should be generally ascribed to de Cyon? Such a manoeuvre would serve two purposes: antisemites would be able to claim that the Jewish world-conspiracy had been unmasked by someone who was himself of Jewish birth; and de Cyon would be cruelly mortified and at the same time quite unable to defend himself. And when one recalls that in Russia de Cyon was called Tsion - the same word as Zion - the title of the Protocols takes on an added meaning as a malicious private joke. All this would be very much in Rachkovsky's style.

All in all, the most likely hypothesis is that Joly's satire on Napoleon III was transformed by de Cyon into a satire on

{p. 117} Witte which was then transformed under Rachkovsky's guidance into the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But some mystery remains and it is unlikely ever to be cleared up now. The Okhrana archives at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, reveal nothing; and Rachkovsky's private archives in Paris (now lost) also revealed nothing when Boris Nicolaevsky inspected them in the 1930s. De Cyon's papers, which were kept by his widow in Paris until the Second World War, have disappeared. There is also the riddle of Tayna Yevreystva, which can hardly be attributed either to de Cyon or to Rachkovsky. And there one must leave the matter - to be pursued perhaps some day by a specialist in the 1890s with time and energy to spare.

As for the early editors of the Protocols, comparison with the fragments of the hectograph in the Wiener Library show Nilus's version to be the nearest to the original, even though it was not the first to be published. Sergey Nilus is in fact the key figure in the launching of the forgery. How it came into his hands remains, like so much else, uncertain. He himself said, in the preface to the 1917 edition of his book, that Sukhotin gave him a copy in 1901; while a letter from Filip Stepanov's son, now in the Freyenwald Collection in the Wiener Library, says that this was a mistake for Stepanov. In any case it is true that in 1901 Nilus was living fairly near to the estates of Sukhotin, Stepanov, and Glinka. But as we have seen, there is also good reason for thinking that Rachkovsky had some contact either with Nilus or with Nilus's copy of the Protocols.

Again and again, in trying to unravel the early history of the Protocols, one comes up against ambiguities, uncertainties, riddles. There is no need to take them very seriously. It was necessary to glance at the strange vanished world in which, a mere seventy years ago, the Protocols were born - the world of counter-revolutionary agents and pseudo-mystics that flourished on the decay of the Tsar's empire.

But what is really important about the Protocols is the great influence which - incredibly yet incontestably - they have exercised on twentieth-century history.


The Protocols in Russia

WHATEVER the origin of the Protocols, they were adopted and preserved and in the end launched on the world by pogromshchiki, professional instigators of pogroms. For the hundreds of local massacres of Jews which occurred in Russia between 1881 and 1920 were by no means spontaneous outbreaks of popular fury - they demanded long-term p1anning, careful organization, above all intensive agitation. Sometimes this work was carried out by the police, but sometimes private individuals - above all, unscrupulous journalists - took a hand. These were the people who made the Protocols their own.

{Alexander Solzhenitsyn has written a new book refuting such claims that the Jews are maltreated in nineteenth-century Russia; but this book has been strangely ignored in the West}

The first person to publish the Protocols, Pavolachi Krushevan, was a typical pogromshchik. Just four months before he printed the Protocols in his St Petersburg newspaper Znamya, his other newspaper Bessarabets succeeded in provoking a pogrom in his native province of Bessarabia - in fact in the provincial capital, Kishinev, where it was published. How this was achieved was established by Irish and American travellers who visited the town just after the massacre. They found a fertile and prosperous country where traditionally relations between the mass of the population and the large Jewish minority had been very good - so good in fact that in 1881-3 when the whole of south Russia was swept with pogroms, the Bessarabian peasants refused to take part: 'If the Tsar wills

{p. 119} that the Jews be slain,' they said, 'he has his army. But we will not strike the Jews.' The situation changed only in 1898, when Krushevan launched his local newspaper and began to publish fanatical attacks on the Jews. A group of journalists, civil servants, and other professional men was formed and, guided by Krushevan from St Petersburg, deliberately began to prepare the way for massacre. In 1902, at Easter - always the favourite time for pogroms - Krushevan announced that a Christian youth, found dead in a well, was the victim of a Jewish ritual murder. That time he was unsuccessful, as the real murderer was quickly identified; but the following year the murder of a boy at Dubossary enabled him to renew the charge, this time with success. He also put it about that an imperial ukase had been issued permitting Christians 'to execute bloody justice on the Jews during the three days of Easter'.

But this was not all. In preparing for the massacre Krushevan's men also made use of the more modern fantasy of the Jewish world-conspiracy. They distributed copies of The Rabbi's Speech, and they also elaborated on it. The delusions they fostered emerge clearly from the utterances of Krushevan's leading representative in Kishinev, an agitator called Pronin. At the farcical trial which was held - largely under pressure from abroad - some months after the massacre, this man stated in evidence that a meeting of Jews from all countries had taken place in the Kishinev synagogue just before Easter. The meeting decided to organize a revolt against the Government; whereupon the Jews attacked the Christian population, which merely defended itself. Pronin also published in Znamya an article in which he praised the rioters as true patriots who were concerned only to defend the Tsar and Holy Russia against a fearsome international conspiracy. All this when at Kishinev no single Christian had been injured but forty-five Jews had been killed and hundreds injured - almost all of them artisans, miserably poor and completely helpless - and some 10,000 reduced to destitution. Such was the milieu in which the Protocols began their public career.

Meanwhile the struggle to modernize and liberalize the

{p. 120} Russian political regime was reaching a new intensity. Particularly in 1904-5, against the background of the disastrous war with Japan, there was overwhelming pressure for fundamental reforrns, and notably for the establishment of a national representative assembly, freedom of speech, and guarantees of individual liberty. A nation-wide general strike in September 1905 forced the Government to yield, and in October the Tsar reluctantly issued a manifesto promising a constitution based on the principles of modern liberalism. But these developments did not, needless to say, go unopposed. The Tsar himself was surrounded by reactionary influences - notably his mother, some of the grand-dukes, the Procurator of the Holy Synod Pobedonostsev, the Governor-General of St Petersburg Trepov, not to mention the organization known as the Union of the Russian People, or more popularly as the Black Hundreds.

One of the freedoms granted by the Tsar's October manifesto was the freedom of association - and none were quicker to avail themselves of it than the extreme right-wing. On 4 November 1905 the Union of the Russian People was founded in St Petersburg by a doctor, A. Dubrovin, and a politician, V. M. Purishkevich, who was the driving force behind the organization. Like those other members of the Black Hundreds, Krushevan and Butmi, Purishkevich came from Bessarabiain fact he had graduated at Kishinev - and his political aim was precisely the same as theirs: to fight the liberalization of Russia by presenting it as a Jewish plot, and to get Jews massacred to show how real the plot was. Proclamations began to appear in towns and villages, of which the following is a fair sample:

{quote} The efforts to replace the autocracy of the divinely appointed Tsar by a constitution and a parliament are inspired by those

{p. 121} bloodsuckers, the Jews, the Armenians, and the Poles. Beware of the Jews! All the evil, all the misfortune of our country comes from the Jews. Down with the traitors, down with the constitution! {endquote}

And when the national assembly - the Duma of the Empire - came into being, the propaganda of the Black Hundreds concentrated on discrediting it as an instrument in the hands of the Jews. The elections to the first Duma in 1906 and to the second and third Dumas in 1907 were accompanied by a spate of pamphlets stating that most of the candidates were Jews, that the liberal parties were financed by the Jews, that the Jews were enslaving Russia through the Duma. Among the electioneering pamphlets published by the Black Hundreds Butmi's version of the Protocols, The Enemies of the Human Race - four editions in 1906-7 - finds its rightful place. ...

{p. 123} Then there is the story of the Lamsdorf Memorandum to show how even foreign policy could be affected by the outlook of the Black Hundreds. Faced with the advance of liberalism in Russia the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Lamsdorf, prepared in 1906 a secret memorandum in which he recommended that Russia, Germany, and the Vatican should take common action against the Alliance Israelite Universelle and its supposed instrument, France. The campaign to extend the franchise and liberalize the regime, he explained, was simply a trick to modernize Russia which, as 'a state of peasants, Orthodox and monarchist', still stood in the way of world-domination by the Judeo-Masons controlled from Paris. It is true that the Lamsdorf Memorandum was quickly buried by Lamsdorf's successor, Isvolsky (it was published only in 1918, by the Bolsheviks), but it is worth noting what the Tsar wrote in the margin: 'Negotiations must be started at once. I entirely share the opinions expressed here.'

In this atmosphere the Protocols enjoyed their first vogue.

{p. 124} How seriously they were taken in some quarters, and hovv blindly they were believed, is shown by an unpublished letter which a former conservative Russian journalist, I. Kolyshko, otherwise known as 'Bayan', wrote to Burtsev at the time of the Berne trial, when both of them were refugees in France:

{quote} 7 September 1934

Much esteemed Vladimir Lvovich,

You ask whether, as a former journalist ... I know anything about the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion ...

To help you evaluate my recollections, I think it necessary to tell you that at that time my sympathies drew me to right-wing circles in Russia ... to people who tended to be antisemitic ... as a result I paid most attention to what came to me from the antisemitic camp. I cannot deny that when they first appeared these Protocols made a really overwhelming impression in these circles, and on me personally. As you know, one believes what one wants to believe. The people amongst whom I moved began by believmg absolutely in the authenticity of this document. Then gradually the efforts of the Left {does he mean Trotskyist?} began to undermine this belief, we began to have doubts and the construction ... began to crumble, under the corroding effect of criticism (and of the facts); slowly at first, then more and more quickly. So far as I can recall ... it finally collapse at the beginning of the war. During the Great War I heard no mention of the Protocols in Russia, until after 1917 ...

Inside Russia the controversy came to an end. I was not interested in how or when it spilled over into the west - into France, England, and Germany. Because I regarded this matter as settled once an for all. ... There seemed no possibility that the Protocols wou ever again revive and upset mankind ...

With the greatest esteem and devotion,

1. Kolyshko (Bayan) {endquote}

The success of the Protocols before the war was in fact limited. Zhevakhov tells how in 1913 Nilus complained to hlm:

{quote} I cannot get the public to treat the Protocols seriously, with the attention they deserve. They are read, criticized, often ridlculed, but there are very few who attach importance to them and see in them

{p. 125} a real threat to Christianity, a programme for the destruction of the Christian order and for the conquest of the whole world by the Jews. That nobody believes ... {endquote}

{Does this not undermine Cohn's argument, that the Protocols were a forgery by the Government to stir-up anti-semitism? That the Russian people were ever-thirsty for Jewish blood?}

Years later 'Markov II', in a letter preserved in the Wiener Library, lamented that the Union of Russian People, by its half-hearted use of the Protocols, had failed to avert the Russian Revolution.

It must be borne in mind that in these matters everything depended on the attitude of the Tsar himself - and in the end the Tsar, however besotted by the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy had to recognize the Protocols as spurious. How this came about is described in a statement from General K. I. Globachev, one-time commandant of the St Petersburg division the Okhrana, which Burtsev produced at the Berne trial. Globachev describes how, after many unsuccessful attempts the Protocols were at last brought to the Tsar's notice in the revolutionary year 1905. 'Reading the Protocols', he continues, 'made a very deep impression on Nicholas II, who made them his handbook for politics.' Typical in this respect are the marginal annotations which Nicholas II made on the copy of the Protocols which had been submitted to him:

{quote} What depth of thought! - What foresight! - What precision in the realizatlon of the programme! - our year 1905 has gone as though managed by the Elders. - There can be no doubt as to their authenticity. - Everyvhere one sees the directing and destroying hand of Judaism. {endquote}

And so on. Keenly interested in the 'discovery' of the Protocols, Nicholas II gave his attention to the foreign branch of the Russian secret police and handed out a great number of rewards, decorations, and gratuities. ... The leaders of the Union of the Russian People, like Shmakov, Markov II, etc. addressed a request to the Ministry of the Interior, asking for authorization to use the Protocols on a large scale in the struggle against militant Judaism, and for subsidies for the purpose. But the Minister of the Interior, Stolypin ... entrusted.

{p. 126} two officers of the corps of gendarmes, Martynov and Vassilyev, with a secret inquiry into the origin of the Protocols. This inquiry revealed clearly the spuriousness of the Protocols. The results of the inquiry were presented by Stolypin to Nicholas II, who was completely bowled over. And this is the resolution of Nicholas Il on the report concerning the employment of the Protocols for antisemitic propaganda: 'Drop the Protocols. One cannot defend a pure cause by dirty methods.'

This situation changed in 1917-18, when first the Tsar and then the Provisional Government were overthrown; the Bolsheviks seized power and the civil war began. Indeed, what launched the Protocols on their career across the world was above all the murder of the imperial family at Yekaterinburg (now Sverdlovsk) on 17 July 1918. Here chance played an extraordinary part. Some months before her murder at Yekaterinburg the deposed Empress had received from a friend, Zinaida Sergeyevna Tolstaya, a copy of Nilus's book containing the Protocols. It seems to have meant little to her, to judge from a letter which she sent to her great friend Anna Vyrubova on 20 March 1918: 'Zina has sent me a book: The Great in the Small, by Nilus, I am reading it with interest." This terse comment hardly suggests enthusiasm; and the Tsaritsa, though a stupid, superstitious, and hysterical woman, was in fact far less of an antisemite than her husband. In her correspondence one even finds her remonstrating with the Tsar over his antisemitic policy. There is therefore much irony in the fact that the Tsaritsa's death should, more than any other event, have brought world fame to an old and half-forgotten antisemitic forgery.

As luck would have it, the Empress took Nilus's book with her to her last home, the house of Ipatyev at Yekaterinburg. A week after the murder of the imperial family Yekaterinburg

{p. 127} was evacuated by the Bolsheviks and occupied by the 'Whites'; on 28 July the remains of the Tsar, the Tsaritsa, and their children, dismembered and incinerated, were discovered at the bottom of a disused mine-shaft in a nearby forest. Meanwhile the examining magistrate Nametkin was engaged in drawing up an inventory of the belongings found at Ipatyev's house. He found three books belonging to the Empress: the first volume of War and Peace, the Bible in Russian, and The Great in the Small by Nilus {i.e. the Protocols}.

{Does this not contradict Cohn's claim that the Protocols was unimportant to her?}

Another curious circumstance came to light: the Tsaritsa had drawn a swastika in the embrasure of a window in the room occupied by her and her husband. It is known that she had long had a special partiality for this ancient symbol {see footnote 14 below} - she wore a jewelled swastika and had swastikas engraved on the gifts which she sent to her friends. It is also known that for this profoundly superstitious woman the swastika was a talisman intended to bring good luck. But already then there were people for whom it meant something quite different. Well before the war the Austrian writer Guido von List had taught, in a whole series of popular books on 'the Germano-Aryans', that the swastika symbolized the purity of Germanic blood and the struggle of the 'Aryans' against the Jews. These ideas had penetrated to Russia, and to Russians who were familiar with them the discovery of the Empress's swastika together with the copy of Nilus came as a revelation from on high. This, they believed, was a testament from their dead Empress; and what it said was that the reign of Antichrist was beginning, that the Bolshevik revolution was the supreme assault of the Satanic powers, that the imperial family had been destroyed because they represented the divine will on earth - and that the forces of darkness were incarnated in the Jews.

It was all the easier to arrive at such a conclusion because some Jews really were playing a conspicuous part in the revo-

{footnote 14} The swastika is found in remains from the bronze age in various parts of Europe, and was also known in ancient Persia, India, China, Japan, and among the Indian tribes of north, central, and south America. Its commonest significance is as a symbol of good luck or benediction. {end of footnote}

{p. 128} lution. Among the officers in the 'White' armies, some failed to reflect that this might be connected with the oppression to which Jews had been subjected under the Tsarist regime; or that earlier Tsars had been assassinated also, and by pure-blooded Russians. ...


Here is Bertrand Russell's testimony that the Bolshevik government was run by Jews: russell.html. Russell saw the situation first-hand when he visited Russia shortly after the Revolution. Yet in his book about the new regime, The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, published in 1920 soon after his visit to Russia, he makes no mention of the Jewish connection; in the Preface of that book he even wrote, "The Russian Revolution is one of the great heroic events of the world's history" (Unwin paperback, London 1962, p. 7).

Why omit the Jewish connection? Because he was basically sympathetic to Marxism - he wanted it to work. In his book Roads to Freedom, published in 1918 before he had visited Bolshevik Russia, he wrote,

"If the Russian Revolution had been accompanied by a revolution in Germany, the dramatic suddenness of the change might have shaken Europe, for the moment, out of its habits of thought: the idea of fraternity might have seemed, in the twinkling of an eye, to have entered the world of practical politics; and no idea is so practical as the idea of the brotherhood of man, if only people can be startled into believing in it. If once the idea of fraternity between nations were inaugurated with the faith and vigour belonging to a new revolution, all the difficulties surrounding it would melt away, for all of them are due to suspicion and the tyranny of ancient prejudice. Those who (as is common in the English-speaking world) reject revolution as a method, and praise the gradual piecemeal development which (we are told) constitutes solid progress, overlook the effect of dramatic events in changing the mood and the beliefs of whole populations. A simultaneous revolution in Germany and Russia would no doubt have had such an effect, and would have made the creation of a new world possible here and now." (Unwin paperback, London 1977, p. 120).

During the Cold War, Russell remained a major advocate of World Government: russell2.html. He promoted it in speeches, in books such as Authority and the Individual (1949, p, 34), and especially in his book Has Man a Future?, pp. 17-18, 23, 24-5, 72-6, 87, 94-5, 97, 122-4.

Russell and Wells imagined that they were leading the movement for World Government; but behind the scenes were Rothschild and other minders: wells-lenin-league.html

end excursus}

When the Tsar and his family were murdered the civil war was still in its early stages. It continued for another two years, during which the Soviet Government was repeatedly on the brink of defeat, before the 'White' armies were finally routed in 1920. It was during those two years that the Protocols first showed their power to incite men to murder.

{what of the Red Terror - which gets not a mention from Cohn?}

The people behind the Protocols were still the same. As a unified organization the Union of the Russian People had hardly existed since about 1910, but now the former leaders attached themselves to the various 'White' armies, founded new political groups with names like the Union of the Russian National Communities or the Russian Assembly, and above a carried on a vigorous agitation in favour of pogroms. The Frenchman du Chayla, who was with the 'White' armies at that time, has described the zeal of these men in dissemmating the Protocols. A Moscow lawyer, Ismailov, and a lieutenant-colonel, Rodionov, combined forces to produce a new, cheap edition for the armies in the Don region; and thls was distributed to the troops by Purishkevich, a founder of the Black Hundreds, who had got himself a job in General Denikin's

{p. 129} propaganda department at Rostov. In the Crimea too, under the regime of General Wrangel, professors and journalists 'shouted at every street-corner about the menace of the Protocols and the Judeo-Masonic world-conspiracy'.

To this one may add that further editions of the Protocols were published in Siberia. One was printed at Omsk, for the army of Admiral Kolchak. The Admiral himself was obsessed by the Protocols; G. K. Gins, who saw much of him at that time, has recorded that he 'literally devoured the Protocols. His head was crammed with anti-Masonic ideas. He was ready to see Freemasons everywhere, even in his own entourage ... and amongst the members of the military missions of the Allies.' Other editions of the Protocols appeared in the easternmost parts of Siberia, such as Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. An edition was even published by 'White' Russians in Japan.

The interpretation that was now put upon the Protocols emerges clearly from the preface which was attached to the first of the new editions, that produced by the Moscow lawyer Ismallov and the Cossack offlcer Rodionov at Novocherkask under the tltle Zionist Protocols, Plan for World Conques by the Judeo-Masons:

{quote} The Protocols are a programme, carefully worked out in every detall, for the conquest of the world by the Jews. The greater part of this programme has already been realized, and if we do not take thought, we are irretrievably doomed to destruction. ... These Protocols are in fact not only the key to our first, unsuccessful revolution (1905), but also to our second revolution (1917), in which the Jews have played such a disastrous role for Russia. For us who are w itnesses of this self-laceration for us who hope to see Russia's rebirth, this document is all the more significant because it reveals the means employed by the enemies of Christianity to subjugate us. Only if we reach an understanding of these means, shall we be able to fight successfully the enemies of Christ and of Christian civilization. {endquote}

{p. 130} The Protocols were of course far too complicated and sophisticated to be understood by the common soldiers - most of whom were in any case illiterate. At the Berne trial of 1934 Chaim Weizmann recalled the first time he saw the Protocols. British officers attached to the 'White' armies brought to Palestine a document of four or five typewritten pages, and explained that such a document was to be found in the possession of every 'White' officer and N.C.O. On inspection it turned out to consist of extracts from the Protocols. From other sources it appears that material of this kind was distributed on a vast scale to literate members of the various "White' and Ukrainian armies, who used to read and explain it to the illiterate.

New forgeries were also produced to supplement the Protocols and bring them up to date. The most celebrated of these was a document said to have been found on a Jewish Bolshevik commander in the Red Army, of the name of Zunder. Copies of this document seem to have been circulated as early as May 1918; and in the winter of 1919-20, when the tide of battle was turning and the 'White' armies, hitherto victorious, were losing battle after battle, it began to figure in newspapers run by the 'White' arrnies - sometimes in new and considerably expanded versions. It read as follows:

{quote} Secret. To the representatives of all the branches of the Israelite International League.

Sons of Israel! The hour of our ultimate victory is near! We stand on the threshold to the command of the world. That which we could only dream of before is about to be realized. Only quite recently feeble and powerless, we can now, thanks to the world's catastrophe, raise our heads with pride.

We must, however, be careful! It can surely be prophesied that, after we have marched over ruined and broken altars and thrones, we shall advance further on the same indicated path.

The authority of the to us alien religions and doctrines of faith we have, through very successful propaganda, subjected to a merciless criticism and mockery. We have brought the culture, civilization, traditions and thrones of the Christian nations to stagger, wherein, among these nations, we found more men than

{p. 131} was necessary for our work. We have done everything to bring the Russian people under the yoke of the Jewish powcr, and ultimately compelled them to fall on their knees before us.

We have nearly completed all this, but we must all the same be very cautious, because the oppressed Russia is our arch-enemy. The victory over Russia, gained through our intellectual superiority, may in future, in a new generation, turn against us.

Russia is conquered and brought to the ground. Russia is in the agony of death under our heel, but do not forget - not even for a moment - that we must be careful. The holy care for our safety does not allow us to show either pity or mercy. At last we have been allowed to behold the bitter need of the Russian people, and to see it in tears! By taking from them their property, their gold, we have reduced this people to helpless slaves.

Be cautious and silent. We ought to have no mercy for our enemy. We must make an end of the best and leading elements of the Russian people, so that the vanquished Russia may not find any leader! Thereby every possibility will vanish for them to resist our power. We must excite hatred and disputes between workers and peasants. War and class struggle will destroy all treasure and culture created by the Christian people. But be cautious, Sons of Israel! Our victory is near, because our political and economic power and influence upon the masses are in rapid progress. We buy up Government loans and gold and thereby we have controlling power of the world's exchanges. The power is in our hands, but be careful - place no faith in traitorous shady powers.

Bronstein (Trotsky), Apfelbaum (Zinovyev), Rosenfeld (Kamenev), Steinberg - all of them are like unto thousands of other true sons of Israel. Our power in Russia is unlimited. In the towns the commissariats and committees of food, house committees, etc., are dominated by our people. But do not let victory intoxicate you. Be careful, cautious, because no one except yourselves will protect us.

Remember, we cannot rely on the Red Army, which one day may turn its warfare on ourselves.

Sons of Israel! The hour for our long-cherished victory over Russia is near; close your ranks! Make known our people's national policy! Fight for our eternal ideals! Keep holy the old laws, which history has bequeathed to us! May our intellect, our genius, protect and lead us!

{p. 132} Signed, The Central Committee of the Israelite International League. {endquote}

For all its absurdity, the Zunder document was a portent; for the idea underlying it - that the Bolshevik revolution was the result of a Jewish plot and fulfilled the age-old strivings of the Jewish people - was to leave its mark on history. Already at that time the idea had become an obsession with many of the 'White' Russians, later it was to become an article of faith with the Nazis, within a generation it was to influence the policy of the German Government at home and abroad. It is worth considering what basis, if any, it has in historical fact.

{Yet Stuart Kahan, a Jewish Zionist, writes in his biography of his uncle Lazar Kaganovich (The Wolf of the Kremlin, William Morrow and Company, NY 1987): {p. 80} Of course, word came down that it was the {p. 81} Jews who did this. After all, wasn't the revolution prepared and fashioned by Jews? Both of Karl Marx's grandfathers were rabbis, and Lenin's grandfather was also Jewish. And wasn't Yakov Sverdlov, the first chief of state, a Jew, as was Trotsky himself? But most people believed the Jews could be dealt with, as they always had been dealt with before. That Trotsky, unquestionably the most outstanding man among the Bolsheviks, was a Jew did not seem an insuperable obstacle in a party in which the percentage of Jews, 52 percent, was rather high compared to the percentage of Jews (1.8 per cent) in the total population. Lazar would have to keep a close eye on this. Would the people accept the revolution orchestrated by the Jews, or would they accept only one aspect and discard the other? Deep down, he already knew the answer; he had only to decide what he would do about it. For the time being he would ride along with the tide of change, trying desperate1y to stay on the crest. {endquote} kaganovich.html}

Until the last few generations, to be a Jew meant one thing only: to be an adherent of the Jewish religion. For Jews in this sense of the word the Bolshevik revolution meant not fulfilment but renewed peril. In the event religious Jews have been at least as much persecuted in the Soviet Union as have religious Christians. At the very time when the Zunder document was circulating in the 'White' armies, the Soviet Government was converting synagogues into workers' clubs, dissolving Jewish religious, cultural, and philanthropic institutions, and banning all Hebrew books, irrespective of their contents. Bolsheviks of Jewish descent felt not the slightest solidarity with religious Jews - on the contrary. When a deputation of Jews called on Trotsky and asked him to do nothing which could provoke the 'White' soldiery to pogroms, he answered: 'Go home to your Jews and tell them I'm not a Jew and don't care about the Jews or what happens to them.' Here is a gulf, and an unbridgeable one, which antisemitic propagandists have done their best to conceal.

{Yet Trotsky used to play chess with Baron Rothschild in Vienna. Joseph Nedava (a Jew and Zionist), writes in his book Trotsky and the Jews (The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 5732/1972): 'A Jewish journalist who knew Trotsky from the period of his stay in Vienna ("when he used to play chess with Baron Rothschild in Cafe Central and frequent Cafe Arkaden daily to read the press there") is even firmer on the Yiddish issue: "He [Trotsky] knew Yiddish, and if at a later date, in his autobiography, he pretends to know nothing about Jews and Judaism, then this is nothing but a plain lie. He who had visited at Cafe Arkaden for years on end must have mastered both these matters to perfection. The language in greatest use at that Cafe was - besides 'Viennese-German' - Yiddish."' (p. 36) nedava.html. Why didn't Trotsky take this chance to capture his supposed enemy Rothschild, as he later attacked the Czar?}

There was another reason why the great mass of Russian Jews could not conceivably support the Bolsheviks: they were mostly small shop-keepers and self-employed artisans. As such though mostly miserably poor, they were from the Leninist point of view class-enemies. Although these people were in-

{p. 133} evitably opposed to the tsarist regime which persecuted them, they were anything but Communist. During the short period when the free expression of political opinion was possible, they emerged mainly as supporters of the bourgeois reformist Constitutional Democrats. Under the Soviet regime they suffered even more than other Russians - in the 1920s more than a third of the Jewish population was without civil rights, as compared with five to six per cent of the non-Jewish population.

It remains true that Jews, in the sense of persons of Jewish descent, provided a disproportionate part of the leadership (though not of the total membership) of the two Marxist parties, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. The reason is not hard to find. These were people who had broken with the traditional Jewish community and abandoned the Jewish religion but who nevertheless suffered discrimination and persecution under the tsarist autocracy; and this was sufficient to lead them towards the parties of the Left. Moreover they were mostly former university students - and owing to the numerus clausus a Jew had to be of quite outstanding ability to get to a university at all. Once they had joined a political party such people were well qualified to rise to positions of leadership. It is a situation which has been repeated in other countries where Jewish intellectuals have had to cope with antisemitism without the support and consolation of religious faith.


But Benjamin Ginsberg, an American Jew and Professor of Political Science at John Hopkins University, writes in his book The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State (University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1993): {p. 1} Today, though barely 2% of the nation's population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks, and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation's largest newspaper chain and most influential single newspaper, the New York Times. In the late 1960s, Jews already constituted 20% of the faculty of elite universities and 40% of the professors of elite law schools ... {p. 2} That fully three-fourths of America's foreign aid budget is devoted to Israel's security interests is a tribute in considerable measure to the lobbying prowess of AIPAC and the importance of the Jewish community in American politics ... {endquote}. What does it say about "Jewish Internationalism" - that trademark Jewish concern for the poor?

end excursus}

Such Jews are usually idealists inspired by a vision of a society from which all forms of discrimination are banished. In general they make poor politicians and they tend to be ousted soon after a successful revolution. In Russia Jews were in fact far more numerous in the Menshevik than in the Bolshevik leadership; and these Menshevik leaders were all exiled or imprisoned or executed by the Bolsheviks. As for the Jews among the Bolshevik leaders, they too were almost all shot in the 1930s.

{But Mensheviks such as Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks; and, during the 1930, what about Kaganovich and Beria, and the many Jews manning the Cheka?}

Such are the facts. But fantasy does not wait upon facts, and the myth of the Judeo-Communist conspiracy was to prove even more potent than the myth of the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. ...

{But Benjamin Ginsberg continues: {quote} {p. 30} Three of the six members of Lenin's first Politburo - Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev - were of Jewish origin. ...Kamenev and Zinoviev became members of the triumvirate (along with Stalin) that ruled the Soviet Union immediately after Lenin's death in 1924. ... the special contribution of the Jews to the Bolshevik state involved the organization of coercion. ... {p. 31} Like Sikhs and Gurkhas in British India, Jews had traditionally been at the margins of Russian society and, hence, prepared to staff and direct the coercive instruments upon which the state relied to control its citizens. During the 1920s and 1930s, Jews were a major element in the secret police and other Soviet security forces. {endquote}. So much for Cohn's excuses; Cohn betrays no compasssion for the non-Jewish victims of the Jewish Bolsheviks.

Jewish Marxist Enzo Traverso wrote in his book The Marxists and the Jewish Question (tr. Bernard Gibbons, Humanities Press, New Jersey 1994), "In the course of the [Russian] civil war, the Jewish population rallied massively to the Red Army (often the only existing defense against the pogroms), and its intelligensia was recruited en bloc to the Soviet State apparatus. No longer an oppressed minority suffering discrimination, the Russian Jews were recognised as a nation with a modern culture. During the twenty years that followed the October Revolution, Yiddish culture - under all its forms, scientific, literary, and artistic - was encouraged and experienced a great development, although, parallel to this, the pluralism that had characterised Jewish life in the preceding period disappeared" (p.7). "The revolution transformed the Jewish intelligensia, this layer of pariahs, humiliated and persecuted by the former regime, into an elite called upon to play a role of the highest importance in the construction of socialism. The Jews entered the state apparatus, universities, and liberal professions on a massive scale. In 1927, ten years after the revolution, they made up 1.8 percent of the total population of the USSR but represented 10.3 percent of the civil servants in the Moscow public administration, 22.6 percent in the Ukraine and 30 percent in Byelorussia. The sociologist Victor Zaslavsky has defined the situation of the Jews in revolutionary Russia as 'the first historical example of the coherent application of the principle of 'positive discrimination' founded on ethnic affiliation.' The conquest of the intelligensia was a decisive element in inspiring the Jewish population in its entirety toward an attitude of support for the Soviet regime" (p.153).

And Nahum Goldmann, Israel's "ambassador to the world", wrote in The Jewish Paradox (London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978):

{p. 167} After the Revolution of 1917 there was a very intense Jewish cultural life in Russia, both in Yiddish and in Hebrew. It should not be forgotten that Israel's present national theatre, Habima, was created in Russia. All that intellectual activity, fed by newspapers and books in Yiddish, only disappeared when Stalin became a half-mad dictator haunted by the menace of an international Jewish conspiracy. And a Jewish life goes on in various other Communist countries. In Romania, for example, where there are eighty thousand Jews, there are synagogues, a Yiddish theatre and ritual foodstuffs. The ritual slaughterers in Romania have some trouble in emigrating to Israel because the rabbis need them where they are, and the authorities persuade them that it is their duty to provide kosher meat for the Romanian Jewish community. ...

{p. 171} Before the war, most Russian diplomats were Jews. {endquote}

Isaac Deutscher wrote in his book The non-Jewish Jew and other essays, ed. Tamara Deutscher, OUP, London 1968:

{p. 71} In the Lenin era ... The Jews were allowed, and even encouraged, to publish their newspapers and their literature in Yiddish, and to develop their theatre - and the Yiddish theatre was one of the best I have known. It is now probably forgotten that the first great Hebrew theatre in history, the Habima, was founded in Russia on the initiative of the Commissar of Education, A. V. Lunacharsky. (Incidentally, the Habima soon left Russia for Palestine.) {endquote}}

{p. 156} In June 1922 a handful of young fanatics murdered Walther Rathenau, the German Minister for Foreign Affairs. And they did so in the conviction not simply that he was acting for the Elders but that he himself was one of the Elders.

Rathenau was a man of extraordinary abilities, who made his mark in the applied sciences, in engineering, in philosophy,

{p. 157} in political and economic theory, in addition to being one of Gerrnany's greatest industrialists, an outstanding administrator, a remarkable Foreign Minister. His services to Germany were great. At the very beginning of the war he recognized the mortal threat represented by the British blockade. To counter it he built up, in an amazingly short time, a huge organization for administering raw materials - which did in fact enable Germany to hold out with raw materials right through the war. After the war he worked tirelessly to overcome Germany's isolation and to secure a lightening of the burden of reparations; at the same time he strove to unite the nations of Europe, still bitterly divided by the experience of the war, in a collective effort at reconstruction. In April 1922, as Foreign Minister, he signed the Rapallo Treaty with the Soviet Union, by which both sides renounced all claims arising from the war. ...

{this treaty was illegal under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles; it was a precursor of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, by which each recognized and built up the other}

{p. 158} Years earlier Walther Rathenau had written a sentence which was to have a long and inglorious history. In the Neue freie Presse for Christmas Day 1909 there appeared an article by him which was reprinted in his

{p. 159} book Zur Kritik der Zeit (A Critique of the Age) in 1922. It dealt with economic affairs and contained the following observation: 'Three hundred men, all of whom know one another, guide the economic destinies of the Continent and seek their successors among their followers.' There is no mention whatsoever of Jews; and the context shows what Rathenau intended - which was to deplore the fact that at that time the leading positions in finance and industry were largely the preserve of a hereditary oligarchy. It seems to have been Ludendorff who first suggested that the 300 men were in fact the secret Jewish government. The suggestion was snatched up by the professional antisemites, and they were quick to draw the obvious conclusion: if Rathenau knew the number of the Elders, that could only mean that he was one of them. Nothing more was required to complete the transformation of the Foreign Minister into a super-criminal. ...

{p. 165} More remarkable still, the Foreign Office saw fit

{p. 166} to publish in an official report the following obervations by a naval chaplain recently returned from Russia: '[Bolshevism] originated in German propaganda, and was, and is being carried out by international Jews'. Its aims are 'to buy up all nationalized banks and to open up everywhere branches of German Government banks ...' and also 'to preach the doctrine of the Socialistic form of managing enterprises amongst the working classes, to encourage their efforts to seize such enterprises and then by means of bankruptcies to get them into German hands', while at the same time 'sprea ing amongst the masses such views and teachings as may at any time be dictated from Berlin'. And of course this benefits the Jews: 'All business became paralysed, shops were closed, Jews became possessors of most of the business houses ...' {footnote 2}

The press could hardly be expected to be more cautious than the Foreign Office. By the end of 1919 even the correspondence columns of The Times were opened to a passionate debate as to whether the horrors through which Russia was passing could or could not be interpreted as acts of Jewish vengeance. It was a question on which the newspaper's special correspondent in Russia, Robert Wilton, had no doubts at all. Wilton was an Englishman who had been brought up in Russia and who had identified himself completely with the extreme right wing. In his book The Last Days of the Romanovs, published in 1920, he declared that the Bolsheviks were simply Jewish agents of the Germans and the revolution nothing but a Jewish- German invasion of Russia. Had not the imperial family been murdered by 'Magyar-Germans', acting on instructions from Jews, who in turn were acting on instructions from 'the Red Kaiser' of Germany? And had not a monument been erected in Moscow to that well-known Jewish hero, Judas Iscariot? Such was the source on which the most authoritative of British newspapers chiefly depended for its understanding of the Russian Revolution.

{Wilton presents plenty of evidence, but it's of no interest to Cohn: wilton.html. Clearly, in his mind, anyone who opposes Jewish political action is "far right"}

{footnote 2} Russia No. I (1919). A collection of reports on Bolshevism in Russia, p. 56. (Report from the Rev. B. S. Lombard to Earl Curzon.) For Lord Kilmarnock's report, ibid., p. 32.

{p. 167} Meanwhile the Protocols was being put into circulation, with the object in the first instance of persuading the Government to persevere with its policy of intervention in Russia. 'It is incredible,' wrote an observer in 1920,

{quote} but it is nevertheless a fact, that these crazy forgeries played a part behind the scenes in the international combinations for assisting the anti-Bolshevist reaction in Russia, which has filled so much of the public mind during the last two years, and which has cost this country close on £100,000,000. ... Russian intelligence officers, armed with doctored typewritten translations of the Nilus Protocols, with the anti-British passages carefully expunged, were sent to London ... where they circulated this precious literature confidentially among cabinet ministers, heads of public departments, and persons of influence in society and journalism. That this campaign was not fruitless is attested by many curious facts ... {endquote}

The campaign culminated in the publication of an anonymous English translation of the Protocols, with the title The Jewish Peril; this took place in January or February 1920, to coincide with the appearance of the first German translation. The book bore the imprint of Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd, and this was in itself a great triumph: Eyre & Spottiswoode, the publishers of the Authorized Version of the Bible and of the Prayer Book, carry the title of His (or Her) Majesty's Printers - and this enabled antisemites all over the Continent to proclaim, probably with more malevolence than ignorance, that the Protocols had been published with the authority of His Majesty's Government .

The same circles were delighted by the reaction of The Times, which on 8 May devoted a long article to the book. On the matter of authenticity The Times remained non-committal - but it did note that nobody had yet shown the Protocols to be spurious. Here was a work published in 1905,

{p. 168} which foretold in an uncanny way the situation of the world, and particularly of Russia, in 1920. An impartial investigation was necessary, for without it how could such a work fail to arouse the worst suspicions? A sombre paragraph reveals what suspicions were already afflicting The Times itself:

{quote} What are these 'Protocols'? Are they authentic? If so, what malevolent assembly concocted these plans, and gloated over their exposifion? Are they a forgery? If so, whence comes the uncanny note of prophecy, prophecy in parts fulfilled, in parts far gone in the way of fufilment? Have we been struggling these tragic years to blow up and extirpate the secret organizalion of German world dominion only to find beneath it another, more dangerous because more secret? Have we, by straining every fibre of our national body, escaped a 'Pax Germanica' only to fall into a 'Pax Judaeica'? The Elders of Zion', as represented in their 'Protocols', are by no means kinder taskmasters than William II and his henchmen would have been. {endquote}

The Times was not the only responsible journal to express grave perturbation. The following week the Spectator devoted not only a long review but also an editorial to The Jewish Peril; and though it did not altogether exclude the possibility of forgery, it had little doubt that the Protocols were a genuine document of Jewish origin. And what a document! Anyone who has spent long hours trying to make some sense of their nonsense can only feel baffled to read, in what was one of the most sophisticated of British weeklies, that 'the "Protocols" are of very great ability', 'brilliant in (their) moral perversity and intellectual depravity' and indeed 'one of the most remarkable productions of their kind'. {footnote 5: Spectator, issue of 15 May 1920.}

Yet in the first months after the publication of the Protocols there were hesitations and misgivings. Both The Times and the Spectator were inclined to acquit the majority of Jews of collaborating with the horrible Elders of Zion; and both published letters - not all of them from Jews - arguing against the genuineness of the Protocols. The right-wing newspaper the Morning Post, on the other hand, showed no such restraint.

{p. 169} Just as The Times was influenced by its correspondent in Russia, Robert Wilton, so the Morning Post accepted everything it was told by its correspondent in Russia, Victor Marsden. Like Wilton, Marsden was an Englishman who had lived many years in Russia and had adopted, with passion, the outlook of Russian right-wingers. And if Wilton could by imagination conjure up a Soviet monument to Judas Iscariot, Marsden went further and produced a new translation of the Protocols (it is still on sale in London today). It is not therefore surprising that in the summer of 1920 the Morning Post should have published a series of eighteen articles expounding the full myth of the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy, with of course due reference to the Protocols.

If the productions of Wichtl and 'Wilhelm Meister' reflect the resentment of German ultra-nationalists when confronted with defeat and revolution, these articles reflect the resentment of British ultra-nationalists at the stirrings of independence among the colonial peoples of the Empire. And just like Auf Vorposten, the Morning Post recognizes quite clearly that tales which before the war would have been dismissed with a shrug find believers now:

{quote} The war has produced a complete change of mentality, because we have had concrete proof of close connection between rebellion in Ireland, trouble in Egypt, disaffection in India, revolution in Russia, to mention only a ew of the disorders brought about by Germany. ... But it is becoming every day more evident that the conspiracy against civilization did not finish with the defeat of Germany. ... Behind the scenes was a 'formidable sect' using the Germans for their own ends instead of being used by them, and when Germany fell and German money disappeared, the conspiracy still went on unimpeded. {endquote}

Signs of the conspiracy at work were not hard to find. Who could doubt, for instance, that the assassination in 1909 of an eminent member of the Indian Civil Service, though carried out in London by an Indian, had really been engineered from Paris by a German woman and a handsome Jewess who, owing to the combined support of Jewry and of Continental

{p. 170} Freemasonry, wielded immense power? For of course at the heart of the whole world-conspiracy were Jews, and religious Jews at that: 'The fundamental notion of the "formidable sect" is the destruction of Christianity and all religion except the Jewish.'

It might be thought that such stuff would scarcely penetrate beyond the lunatic fringe on the extreme Right, but this was by no means the case. When in the autumn of 1920 these articles were reprinted as a book with the title The Cause of World Unrest, and with a preface by the editor of the Morning Post himself, they produced a noticeable heightening of tension. In October the staid Spectator, shedding all caution, produced an editorial which showed how things were changing:

{quote} There are nations who will avoid, if possible, submitting their political status to a searching diagnosis. The Morning Post, greatly to its honour, realizes that the function of a newspaper is that of the watchdog. ... The evidence that the paper brings to support its plea of conspiracy is clearly of enough substance and of enough importance to justify its action. ... We hold that a case for inquiry has been made out, and we most sincerely wish that some body of the nature of a Royal Commission could be appointed to inquire into the whole subject. {endquote}

The commission would investigate whether there existed a world-wide conspiracy under Jewish leadership and whether it was supported by the mass of religious Jews as a means of destroying Christianity. Should the answer be in the affirmative

{quote} we shall be justified in moving with great caution in our admission of Jews to the fullest rank of citizenship. ... We must drag the conspirators into the open, tear off their ugly masks and show the world how ridiculous as well as how evil and dangerous are such pests of society. {endquote}

The Spectator was seconded by Blackwood's Magazine, which insisted that if the country was to be saved from Bol-

{p. 171} shevism Jews must be immediately excluded from all influence, public or private, on government. A new weekly called Plain English was founded by Lord Alfred Douglas for the express purpose of antisemitic propaganda; it swore to the genuineness of the Protocols and even asserted that, on instructions from Jewish financiers, Winston Churchill had forged a telegram from Admiral Beatty, so as to enable the German fleet to escape after the battle of Jutland. Another journal, The Hidden Hand, was published by a group of professional antisemites called The Britons; it printed not only long commentaries on the Protocols but also the Zunder document, and proclaimed that the miners' strikes were all the work of Jews.

For a moment it looked as though antisemitism of the kind that was at work in Germany might become a political factor in Britain also, but in the end nothing came of it. In August 1921 The Times published on its centre page, on three consecutive days, the proofs that the Protocols were a forgery based on the Dialogue aux Enfers, and for good measure added a resounding leader entitled 'The End of the Protocols'. So far as Britain was concerned it was in effect their end. Eyre & Spottiswoode had already declined to reprint them, and now the reputable press stopped talking about them. They continued (and still continue) to circulate, but with the imprint only of that obscure body, The Britons. Lord Alfred Douglas argued that Maurice Joly was really Moses Joel, so the Protocols were Jewish after all; Baron Sydenham continued to proclaim that the Protocols proved the identity of Judaism, Pan-Germanism, and Bolshevism and to lament 'the failure of western minds to fathom the depths of eastern intrigue'; but these were isolated eccentrics. Even Nesta Webster's well-known books, which interpret all modern history in terms of a conspiracy of Illuminati and Freemasons, are rather noncommittal about the Protocols. And when, in the 1930s, the

{p. 172} British Union of Fascists came into being, it too found the forgery too thoroughly discredited to be much use. By British standards the triumphs of 1920 had been impressive, but they were never repeated.

{Nesta Webster's position on the Protocols was, like mine, that their aunthenticity is an open question. Nesta Webster's article on the Protocols is at toolkit.html}

Things were different in the United States, where the Protocols enjoyed a limited but lasting vogue. There too they were first put into circulation, in typescript, by Russian right-wingers who were concerned to influence government departments. Then, in October 1919, extracts from the Protocols were printed in a series of articles in the Public Ledger, of Philadelphia. The articles, with headings like 'Red Bible Counsels Appeal to Violence' and 'Reds Plot to Smash World in 1919', were sensational enough - but all references to Jews had been removed, so that the plot seemed a purely Bolshevik affair. By the spring of 1920, following the publication of The Jewish Peril in Britain, this interpretation of the matter was being discarded. 'Trotsky Leads Jew-Radicals to World Rule. Bolshevism only a Tool for His Scheme', proclaimed the Chicago Tribune on 19 June; and it continued:

{quote} For the last two years army intelligence officers, members of the various secret organizations of the Entente, have been bringing in reports of a world revolutionary movement other than Bolshevism. At first these reports confused the two, but latterly the lines they have taken have begun to be more and more clear.

Bolshevism aims for the overthrow of existing society and the establishment of an international brotherhood of men who work with their hands as rulers of the world. The second movement aims for the establishment of a new racial domination of the world. So far as the British, French and our own department's inquiry have been able to trace, the moving spirits in the second scheme are Jewish radicals ...

Within the ranks of Communism is a group of this party, but it does not stop there. To its leaders, Communism is only an incident ...

They are ready to use the Islamic revolt, hatred by the central

{p. 173} empires for England, Japan's designs on India, and commercial rivalry between America and Japan ...

As any movement of world revolution must be, this is primarily anti-Anglo-Saxon. {endquote}

For the United States antisemitic propaganda of this kind was something new, but it came at the right moment. Although the war had brought incomparably less suffering to the United States than to the European belligerents, it had proved a very disorientating experience - not least because of the abruptness with which it ended. Just when the nation was at last thoroughly roused to fight, when it had suffered no great losses and was in fact only beginning to feel its strength - suddenly there was no enemy left. It was not a state of affairs that could be easily accepted. The American Defense Society hastened to warn the public not to buy German products, on the grounds that they might be poisoned or deliberately infected with deadly bacteria. The Ku-Klux-Klan underwent a dramatic revival. Soon, however, fear and rage became concentrated on one foe: Bolshevism, along with every group that, rightly or wrongly, was suspected of sympathizing with it. ...

{p. 174} The time was indeed ripe for full editions of the Protocols, and they duly appeared - one in New York, with the title Praemonitus praemunitus (i.e. 'forewarned is forearmed'), and another in Boston, as part of a volume called The Protocols and World Revolution. Above all from May to October 1920 Henry Ford's newspaper the Dearborn Independent published a long series of articles which forms an American counterpart to the effort of the Morning Post; and in November these too were republished as a book, The Internatiollal Jew; the world's foremost problem. The Dearborn Independent had a circulation of some 300,000. As for The International Jew, thanks to a big publicity campaign and the prestige of Ford's name it made a powerful impact, particularly among the rural population for, just as in Europe, the myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy proved most attractive to people who were deeply attached to the traditional ways and values of the countryside and deeply disoriented by modern civilization. Half a million copies of the book were put into circulation in the United States. Moreover it was translated into German, Russian, and Spanish; in due course a shortened version of it was to become a stock item in Nazi propaganda. All in all The International Jew probably did more than any other work to make the Protocols world-famous.

The Protocols are indeed all things to all men. As interpreted here for an American public the world-conspiracy is a matter of Jew-Bolsheviks but certainly not of Freemasons; and the most horrible thing about it is that it undermines puritan morality. The ways in which the Elders seduce American youth are both unexpected and ingenious:

{p. 175} {quote} Every influence that leads to lightness and looseness in Gentile youth today heads up in a Jewish source. Did the young people of the world devise the 'sport clothes' which have had so deleterious an effect on the youth of the times? {endquote}

But the rot starts earlier still: under the cover of such socialistic pretences as public safety

{quote} children are hardly free to play nowadays except under playmasters appointed by the State, among whom, curiously enough, an astonishing proportion of Jevs manage to find a place. ... All this focuses up to the World Plan for the subjugation of the Gentiles ... {endquote}

Where this kind of thing can lead is seen in Soviet Russia; there sex knowledge is taught in schools, which means that the young are 'compulsorily drawn through sloughs of filth ... with consequences that are too pitiable to relate'. In this way the Jewish rulers are destroying the moral fibre of Russia. For all Bolsheviks are Jews: and we are given a picture of Lenin and his wife, who in reality were childless and had not a drop of Jewish blood between them {but see Volkogonov on Lenin's Jewish identity: lenin-trotsky.html}, chatting away in Yiddish with their little ones. It is a very strange book indeed; and one of the strangest things about it, considering how recently the United States had been at war with Germany, is that it adopts the German interpretation of the Protocols. Jewry, imagined as a closely organized, world-wide political power, is referred to as 'All-Judaan', which is a nonsensical name coined by German antisemites. And the secret government of 'All-Judaan' - in other words, the Elders of Zion - is supposed to be allied not with Germany but with Britain. The war was really a war of 'All-Judaan' against Germany; it was a triumph for the Elders that, by their control of the press, they had been able to drive whole nations to hate Germany; and the final victory was theirs alone. At the same time there is no doubt where the Elders found their most whole-hearted support: London was their

{p. 176} 'first capital' and Paris their second. With Britain in particular the secret Jewish government has a most useful agreement: 'its fleet is the British fleet which guards from hindrance the progress of all-Jewish world-economy. ... In return, All-Judaan assures Britain an undisturbed political and territorial world rule.'

At present the Elders are intent on obtaining dominion over the United States, and they are making astonishingly rapid progress. In the United States a few decades have sufficed for a campaign which in Europe lasted 1,500 years, and it is clear why: 'certain mistaken ideas of liberalism, certain flabby ideas of tolerance' have been put about by the Elders and are rapidly undermining the American will to resist. The United States would do well to study the cases of Russia and Germany; both countries have been brought low but both are now rising in revolt. Germany is already bestirring herself to bring Jewish power under control; as for Russia - 'when Russia turns, a shudder will run through the earth'. The United States must summon up the same ruthlessness; and quickly too, for with the subjugation of the United States the great conspiracy will reach its culmination, the establishment of the Davidic monarch as ruler of the world: 'As the Jew is a past master of symbolism, it may not be without significance that the Bolshevik Star has one point less than the Star of David.' For there is still one point to be fulfilled in the world programme as outlined in the Protocols - and that is the enthronement of 'our leader'. When he comes, the World Autocrat for whom the whole programme is framed, 'the sixth point may be added'.

Some facts are known about the origins of this extraordinary work. A Dr Edward A. Rumely, who had been a very active member of a German propaganda ring in the United States during the First World War, was a close friend of Henry Ford. This enabled him to find a place on the staff of the Dearborn Independent for a German, Dr August Muller; and it seems

{p. 177} to have been Dr Muller who wrote most of the The International Jew. Also associated with the undertaking was a Russian refugee, Boris Brasol. In Russia this man had served under the fanatically antisemitic Minister of Justice Shchegolitov, who organized the Beiliss murder trial, and he himself believed passionately in stories of ritual murder. In 1918 he was employed by the United States Government on secret service work, and this enabled him to introduce American intelligence officers to the Protocols. He did much to promote the Boston edition of the Protocols, which was the work of the daughter of a tsarist general, Natalie de Bogory: and he also established contact with Ford's secretary and passed him materials on the Protocols. From all this it emerges that The International Jew was far more a Russo-German than an American product.

The publication of this book and of the Protocols produced some sharp reactions in the United States. President Wilson, the former Secretary of State Lansing, the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, were among those who protested most vigorously. American Jews themselves refused to submit passively to these slanders and launched a campaign against the Dearborn Independent. Particularly active was the American diplomat Hermann Bernstein, whose book The History of a Lie (1921) is one of the earliest studies of the forging of the Protocols; some years later, despite the legal difficulties involved, he even krought a libel action against Ford for publishing such tales. And in the end the great industrialist did recant. In June 1927 he wrote to the president of the American Jewish Committee, Louis Marshall, disclaiming all responsibility for the articles in the Dearborn Independent and for the book they had become. ...

{p. 254} The Berne trial ended on 14 May 1935. Judge Meyer found that the Protocols were largely plagiarized from Joly's book and were indecent literature; he imposed a fine on the two main defendants. His comment could hardly have been sharper:

{quote} I hope to see the day when nobody will be able to understand why otherwise sane and reasonable men should have had to torrnent their brains for fourteen days over the authenticity or the fabrication of the Protocols of Zion. ... I regard the Protocols as ridiculous nonsense. {endquote}

And when Fleischhauer asked for a fee of 80,000 Swiss francs for his services as expert, the court promptly reduced the sum by nine tenths.

That however was not the end of the matter. The defendants appealed and the case was heard by the Court of Appeal in

{p. 255} Berne in the autumn of 1937. On 1 November the court ruled that as the Protocols were not salacious, the law concerning indecent literature could not be applied to them; the sentence was therefore quashed. This has enabled later editors of the Proocols to claim that the Court of Appeal refused to commit itself on the authenticity of the Protocols. In reality the court described the Protocols as trash, whose only purpose was the political one of bringing the Jews into hatred and contempt; and it asked whether, in the interests of social harmony, ways and means ought not to be found to forbid such 'absolutely unjustified and outrageous insults and defamation'. The court also refused to award damages to the defendants, on the grounds that 'Those who disseminate inflammatory writings of the greatest possible coarseness must pay their own costs.'

The Berne trial then achieved all it could reasonably have been expected to achieve: the proceedings had revealed the Protocols as a fabrication designed to cause persecution and massacre, and they had been reported at length in hundreds of newspapers throughout the world. It is hardly necessary to add that this made not the slightest difference to the Nazis and their accomplices. The Weltdienst conference of 1937, consisting of 'many experts, authors, and political leaders from more than twenty countries', passed a solemn resolution reaffirming the authenticity of the Protocols. Fleischhauer found himself suddenly famous and much in demand as a lecturer; when he lectured at Munich the rectors of the city's two universities did not disdain to appear as guests of honour. After all - as the German press insisted - who could doubt that the trial had been initiated and stage-managed, and the judges suborned, by the ever-resourceful Elders of Zion?

{end of quotes}

Cohn's title, Warrant For Genocide, implies that the Protocols - the book itself - is responsible. Does he want it banned? Burned? Yet, one cannot understand twentieth century history without this book: it's in leading university and national libraries. Whereas Cohn blames this book for genocide, others regard it as a dire warning to distrust the World Government our beneficiaries seem determined to bestow on us.

Herman Bernstein's case against the Protocols:

Maurice Joly's Dialogues in Hell:

More detailed arguments against the Bernstein & Cohn "forgery" claims are in The Protocols of Zion Toolkit at toolkit.html.

Cohn's work on millennialism is mainly directed against Christianity; Zionism is his "blind spot". Thus, for example, he has nothing to say about the Jewish mission to build the Third Temple as a "light for the world", a plan articulated even by the atheistic David Ben-Gurion: tmf.html.

Even so, Cohn's work on the apocalyptic/millennial tradition deriving from the Zoroastrian religion is important: zoroastrianism.html.

To buy Warrant For Genocide second-hand via Abebooks:

Write to me at contact.html.