My inspiration to write more on this spiny subject came from one of the published Comments on this site. The Comment can easily be found under the subject heading Jewish History. One of my previous posts dealt with statistics connected with The Holocaust. The commentarist restricted himself to using American terminology inviting and requiring intimate oral relations. One assumes that the expression used – “Suck my dick” – indicates a certain disinclination to accept the usual 6-million-dead holocaust statistics. They were I admit wrong, because I had inadvertently left out figures of murdered Jews in Poland and many Soviet satellites, leaving a final figure that lacks substance and does not add up to 6 million.

There is hardly a country in Europe which has not experienced periods (of differing length) of open hostility to the Jews. Very often the hostility hides economic resentment by falsely insisting on religious conformity. But accompanying the steady growth of religious toleration, ‘opposition’ on these euphemistic grounds was replaced by naked racialist prejudice.

The Spanish ejected the Moors, though it took many centuries to do so, but they also removed Jews from Spanish territory, in a series of infinitely quicker moves. The Russians and Germans sopped up Jewish wealth by various unpopular and illicit means, before merely killing them.

Real anti-Semitism stems from the late middle part of the 19th century when a group of German writers, employing the linguistic distinctions ‘Semitic’ and ‘Aryan’ as racial terms, began to insinuate through their works, that the Jews belonged to a distinct and inferior race. In Germany huge resentment was felt against Jewish business people who had without doubt profited from waves of speculation in 1871 – 3.

Austria/Hungary needed no urging to join in, and in the Nineties anti-Semitism spread to France, where it was reflected in the whys and wherefores of the Dreyfus Case (1894) He was a Jewish officer serving with the French General Staff who was court-martialled for treason, duly degraded, and shipped off to Devil’s Island. His plight was lucky enough to attract the attention of Emile Zola and the politician Clemenceau, who openly denounced the General Staff; It was then found that the original accuser (Picquart) had used forged evidence. Dreyfus took ship back from his island and was partially acquited at Rennes in September, 1899, but the accusations of anti-Semitism against the Army and its General Staff stuck, as did the stigma against Dreyfus’ good name and religion. By now he had many followers, and in July 1906 the court martial verdict was quashed. Dreyfus had fought, and his followers had fought; Zola’s “J’accuse” had become famous, but this affair went deeper into French life than the press realised at the time (1898-9). Accompanying a violent press campaign there were clashes in the streets between the Dreyfusards, accusing the Anti-Dreyfusards (Army leaders and the Church) of discrediting the Republic, in search of a more authoritarian régime.

But the worst outbreaks of anti-Semitism were in Russia. In 1881 there were serious pogroms (devastation), leading to death. Anti-Jewish laws were passed there in 1882 which lasted for thirty years, and led to mass emigration – especially to the United States. Between 1905 and 1909 at least 50,000 Jews were killed in Russia by the Black Hundreds terrorist groups.

Between the Wars there was an outbreak of semi-Semitism in Rumania, Poland and Hungary, much fired by the press. It was not possible to open a newspaper without seeing a violently anti-Jewish cartoon, always depicting ‘some fat, greasy Levantine’ helping himself to ill-gotten gains. It all culminated in Adolf Hitler, who blamed the Jews for every ill that existed in Germany, and Germany’s history. He started a campaign in 1933 against Jews in all and any important positions. Many leaders managed to get out of Germany, not always into a country that was any safer, though Switzerland proved a secure haven. Meanwhile Hitler developed his dream of a super-Aryan race, a popular Teutonic myth. Cleverly, he used the composer Wagner a great deal, as well as the writings of an Englishman (naturalized German) called H.S. Chamberlain. As it turns out, he had borrowed extensively from a Frenchman called Gobineau.

A long time before the Holocaust the Nazis had codified the racial myth. Jews were denied German nationality, forbidden to marry an Aryan, and had their property (vast or diminutive) confiscated.

Since the Second War and the creation of the State of Israel, anti-Semitism has strongly continued among the Arab States and especially in Palestine, though it must be observed that the Palestinians have much to complain about. In Britain the people have always been mildly, in some cases strongly, anti-Semitic, but then the British have also always been essentially anti-foreigner anyway. Anti-Semitism in London society was rife during the 1930s, led by the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII) and a cabal of aristocrats led by the intensely anti-Semitic Duke of Westminster. In his case insanity did not help matters much, and poor Bendor seemed to be Anti-Everything except horse-racing and his own enormous wealth.

The French have always been anti-Semitic, and the recent political success of Jean-Marie le Pen (and his daughter) is significant. In the US anti-Semitism is controlled, though there are outbreaks in states where the Ku-Klux Klan owes its existence to a hatred of Blacks and Jews. There are sectors, such as Hollywood, where Jewish business people do the controlling, but that has always been known and accepted by America and the rest of the world, where people like to be entertained by movies, not made to think, as in Europe. 

About the Author:

‘Dean Swift’ is a pen name: the author has been a soldier; he has worked in sales, TV, the making of films, as a teacher of English and history and a journalist. He is married with three grown-up children. They live in Spain.

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