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File:1905 Velikoe v malom - Serge Nilus - Title page - Facsimile - 1920.jpg

A reproduction of the 1905 Russian edition by Serge Nilus, appearing in Praemonitus Praemunitus (1920).

Template:Antisemitism The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a fraudulent antisemitic text purporting to describe a Jewish plan to achieve global domination. The text was fabricated in the Russian Empire, and was first published in 1903. The text was translated into several languages and widely disseminated in the early part of the twentieth century. Henry Ford published the text in The International Jew, and it was widely distributed in the United States. In 1921, a series of articles printed in The Times revealed that the text was a fraud, and some of the material was plagiarized from earlier works of political satire unrelated to Jews. The Protocols purports to document the minutes of a late 19th-century meeting of Jewish leaders discussing their goal of global Jewish hegemony. Their proposals to engender such include subverting the morals of the Gentile world, controlling the world's economies, and controlling the press. The Protocols is still widely available today on the Internet and in print in numerous languages.

Forgery and plagiarism

The Protocols is a fabricated document, and is entirely fictional. It was originally produced in Russia between 1897 and 1903 (perhaps motivated by the First Zionist Congress, held in Switzerland in 1897), and was partially based on an 1864 French book Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu.[1] Implicated in the creation of the forgery was Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky, head of the Paris office of the Russian Secret Police during the same time period.[2][3]

The source material for the forgery was the synthesis of an 1864 book of fiction by French political satirist Maurice Joly, titled Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu or Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, and a chapter from an 1868 book of fiction entitled "Biarritz" by antisemitic German novelist Hermann Goedsche, which had been translated into Russian in 1872.[4]

Joly's book was written as a veiled attack on the political ambitions of Napoleon III. In the book, Napoleon III was represented by Machiavelli[5] and was depicted as secretly plotting to rule the world. Joly, a monarchist and legitimist, had been imprisoned as a direct result of his book's publication.

Comparison between The Protocols and Maurice Joly's Dialogue in Hell

The Protocols 1–19 closely follow the order of Maurice Joly's The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu 1–17. For example:

Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
How are loans made? By the issue of bonds entailing on the Government the obligation to pay interest proportionate to the capital it has been paid. Thus, if a loan is at 5%, the State, after 20 years, has paid out a sum equal to the borrowed capital. When 40 years have expired it has paid double, after 60 years triple: yet it remains debtor for the entire capital sum.
— Montesquieu,  Dialogues, p. 209
A loan is an issue of Government paper which entails an obligation to pay interest amounting to a percentage of the total sum of the borrowed money. If a loan is at 5%, then in 20 years the Government would have unnecessarily paid out a sum equal to that of the loan in order to cover the percentage. In 40 years it will have paid twice; and in 60 thrice that amount, but the loan will still remain as an unpaid debt.
Protocols, p. 77
Like the god Vishnu, my press will have a hundred arms, and these arms will give their hands to all the different shades of opinion throughout the country.
— Machiavelli,  Dialogues, p. 141
These newspapers, like the Indian god Vishnu, will be possessed of hundreds of hands, each of which will be feeling the pulse of varying public opinion.
Protocols, p. 43
Now I understand the figure of the god Vishnu; you have a hundred arms like the Indian idol, and each of your fingers touches a spring.
— Montesquieu,  Dialogues, p. 207
Our Government will resemble the Hindu god Vishnu. Each of our hundred hands will hold one spring of the social machinery of State.
Protocols, p. 65

In addition to mentioning Vishnu, improbable in the Jewish religious literature, and the lack of Talmudic citations that would be expected in it, textual references to the "King of the Jews", the semi-messianic idea that carries strong connotations of Jesus, further suggest the author was not well-versed in Jewish culture, as this term has been avoided in the Judaic tradition since the schism between Judaism and Christianity.[6]

In 1921, when Philip Graves published articles in The Times which showed the writers of the Protocols had plagiarized from the Dialogue, it became clear that the Protocols was not an authentic document.[7]

Literary forgery

The forgery contains numerous elements typical of what is known in literature as a "false document": a document that is deliberately written to fool the reader into believing that what is written is truthful and accurate even though, in actuality, it is not.[8] It is also one of the best-known and most-discussed examples of literary forgery, with analysis and proof of its fraudulent origin going as far back as 1921.[9] The forgery is also an early example of "Conspiracy Theory" literature.[10] Written mainly in the first person plural,[11] the text embodies generalizations, truisms and platitudes on how to take over the world: take control of the media and the financial institutions, change the traditional social order, etc. It does not contain specifics.[citation needed]

Maurice Joly

Elements of the text in the Protocols were plagiarized from the 1864 book, Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu (Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu), written by the French satirist Maurice Joly. Joly's work attacks the political ambitions of Napoleon III using Machiavelli as a diabolical plotter in Hell as a stand-in for Napoleon's views.[5] In the book, Machiavelli describes a series of steps that he intends to take to become ruler of the world.

Hermann Goedsche

Hermann Goedsche's 1868 novel, Biarritz (in English as To Sedan) contributed another idea that may have inspired the scribe behind the Protocols. In the chapter, "The Jewish Cemetery in Prague and the Council of Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel", Goedsche wrote about a nocturnal meeting between members of a mysterious rabbinical cabal, describing how at midnight, the Devil appears before those who have gathered on behalf of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to plan a "Jewish conspiracy". His depiction is also similar to the scene in Alexandre Dumas, père's Joseph Balsamo, where Cagliostro and company plot the affair of the diamond necklace. With Biarritz appearing at about the same time as The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, it is possible that Goedsche was inspired by the ideas in Joly's pamphlet, especially in detailing the outcome of the cabal's secret meeting.[12]

"Goedsche was a postal clerk and a spy for the Prussian secret police. He had been forced to leave the postal work due to his part in forging evidence in the prosecution against the Democratic leader Benedict Waldeck in 1849."[13] Following his dismissal, Goedsche began a career as a conservative columnist, while also producing literary work under the pen name Sir John Retcliffe.[14] In 1871, the story was being presented in France as serious history. In 1872, "The Jewish Cemetery in Prague", translated into Russian, appeared in St. Petersburg as a separate pamphlet of purported non-fiction. François Bournand, in his Les Juifs et nos contemporains (1896), reproduced a speech from the chapter as that of a Chief Rabbi "John Readcliff".

Structure and content

The Protocols purports to document the minutes of a late nineteenth century meeting attended by world Jewish leaders, the 'Elders of Zion', who are conspiring to take over the world.[15] The forgery places in the mouths of the Jewish leaders a variety of plans, most of which derive from older antisemitic canards.[16] For example, the Protocols includes plans to subvert the morals of the non-Jewish world, plans for Jewish bankers to control the world's economies, plans for Jewish control of the press, and - ultimately - plans for the destruction of civilization.[17] The document consists of twenty-four "protocols", which have been analyzed by Steven Jacobs and Mark Weitzman, and they documented several recurrent themes that appear repeatedly in the 24 protocols,[18] as shown in the following table:[19]

Protocol Title[20] Themes[19]
1 The Basic Doctrine: "Right Lies in Might" Freedom and Liberty; Authority and power; Gold = money
2 Economic War and Disorganization Lead to International Government International Political economic conspiracy; Press/Media as tools
3 Methods of Conquest Jewish people, arrogant and corrupt; Chosenness/Election; Public Service
4 The Destruction of Religion by Materialism Business as Cold and Heartless; Gentiles as slaves
5 Despotism and Modern Progress Jewish Ethics; Jewish People's Relationship to Larger Society
6 The Acquisition of Land, The Encouragement of Speculation Ownership of land
7 A Prophecy of Worldwide War Internal unrest and discord (vs. Court system) leading to war vs Shalom/Peace
8 The transitional Government Criminal element
9 The All-Embracing Propaganda Law; education; Masonry/Freemasonry
10 Abolition of the Constitution; Rise of the Autocracy Politics; Majority rule; Liberalism; Family
11 The Constitution of Autocracy and Universal Rule Gentiles; Jewish political involvement; Masonry
12 The Kingdom of the Press and Control Liberty; Press censorship; Publishing
13 Turning Public Thought from Essentials to Non-essentials Gentiles; Business; Chosenness/Election; Press and censorship; Liberalism
14 The Destruction of Religion as a Prelude to the Rise of the Jewish God Judaism; God; Gentiles; Liberty; Pornography
15 Utilization of Masonry: Heartless Suppression of Enemies Gentiles; Masonry; Sages of Israel; Political power and authority; King of Israel
16 The Nullification of Education Education
17 The Fate of Lawyers and the Clergy Lawyers; Clergy; Christianity and non-Jewish Authorship
18 The Organization of Disorder Evil; Speech;
19 Mutual Understanding Between Ruler and People Gossip; Martyrdom
20 The Financial Program and Construction Taxes and Taxation; Loans; Bonds; Usury; Moneylending
21 Domestic Loans and Government Credit Stock Markets and Stock Exchanges
22 The Beneficence of Jewish Rule Gold = Money; Chosenness/Election
23 The Inculcation of Obedience Obedience to Authority; Slavery; Chosenness/Election
24 The Jewish Ruler Kingship; Document as Fiction


Publication history

File:1905 Velikoe v malom - Serge Nilus - Title page - Facsimile - 1920.jpg

1905 ed., Facsimile of Title page in Praemonitus Praemunitus (1920) by Harris A. Houghton

The Protocols appeared in print in the Russian Empire as early as 1903. The anti-Semitic tract was published in Znamya, a Black Hundreds newspaper owned by Pavel Krushevan, as a serialized set of articles. It appeared again in 1905 as a final chapter (Chapter XII) of a second edition of Velikoe v malom i antikhrist (The Great in the Small & Antichrist), a book by Serge Nilus. In 1906 it appeared in pamphlet form edited by G. Butmi.[21]

These first three (and subsequently more) Russian language imprints were published and circulated in the Russian Empire during 1903–1906 period as a tool for scapegoating Jews, blamed by the monarchists for the defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and the 1905 Russian Revolution. Common to all three texts is the idea that Jews aim for world domination. Since The Protocols are presented as merely a document, the front matter and back matter are needed to explain its alleged origin. The diverse imprints, however, are mutually inconsistent. The general claim is that the document was stolen from a secret Jewish organization. Since the alleged original stolen manuscript does not exist, one is forced to restore a purported original edition. This has been done by the Italian scholar, Cesare G. De Michelis in 1998, in a work which was translated into English and published in 2004, where he treats his subject as Apocrypha.[8][22] As fiction in the genre of literature the tract was further analyzed by Umberto Eco in his novel Foucault's Pendulum in 1988 (English translation in 1989), and in 1994 in chapter 6, "Fictional Protocols", of his Six Walks in the Fictional Woods.

As the 1917 Russian Revolution unfolded, causing white Russians to flee to the West, this text was carried along and assumed a new purpose. Until then The Protocols remained obscure;[23] it was now an instrument for blaming Jews for the Russian Revolution. It was now a tool, a political weapon used against the Bolshevikis who were depicted as overwhelmingly Jews, allegedly executing the "plan" embodied in The Protocols. The purpose was to discredit the October Revolution, prevent the West from recognizing the Soviet Union, and bring the downfall of Vladimir Lenin's regime.[8][22]

First Russian language editions

Conspiracy references

According to Daniel Pipes,

The great importance of The Protocols lies in its permitting antisemites to reach beyond their traditional circles and find a large international audience, a process that continues to this day. The forgery poisoned public life wherever it appeared; it was "self-generating; a blueprint that migrated from one conspiracy to another."[24] The book's vagueness — almost no names, dates, or issues are specified — has been one key to this wide-ranging success. The purportedly Jewish authorship also helps to make the book more convincing. Its embrace of contradiction — that to advance, Jews use all tools available, including capitalism and communism, philo-Semitism and antisemitism, democracy and tyranny — made it possible for The Protocols to reach out to all: rich and poor, Right and Left, Christian and Muslim, American and Japanese.[25]

Pipes notes that the Protocols emphasizes recurring themes of conspiratorial antisemitism: "Jews always scheme", "Jews are everywhere", "Jews are behind every institution", "Jews obey a central authority, the shadowy 'Elders'", and "Jews are close to success."[26]

The Protocols is widely considered influential in the development of other conspiracy theories, and reappears repeatedly in contemporary conspiracy literature, such as Jim Marrs' Rule by Secrecy. Some recent editions proclaim that the "Jews" depicted in the Protocols are a cover identity for other conspirators such as the Illuminati,[27] Freemasons, the Priory of Sion, or even, in the opinion of David Icke, "extra-dimensional entities."

Emergence in Russia

File:1912ed TheProtocols by Nilus.jpg

The front piece of a 1912 edition utilizing occult symbols.

The chapter "In the Jewish Cemetery in Prague" from Goedsche's Biarritz, with its strong antisemitic theme containing the alleged rabbinical plot against the European civilization, was translated into Russian as a separate pamphlet in 1872.[4] In 1921 Princess Catherine Radziwill gave a private lecture in New York. She claimed that the Protocols were a forgery compiled in 1904-1905 by Russian journalists Matvei Golovinski and Manasevich-Manuilov at the direction of Pyotr Rachkovsky, Chief of the Russian secret service in Paris.[3]

In 1944 German writer Konrad Heiden identified Golovinski as an author of the Protocols.[27] Radziwill's account was supported by Russian historian Mikhail Lepekhine, who published his findings in November 1999 in the French newsweekly L'Express.[28] Lepekhine considers the Protocols a part of a scheme to persuade Tsar Nicholas II that the modernization of Russia was really a Jewish plot to control the world.[29] Stephen Eric Bronner writes that groups opposed to progress, parliamentarianism, urbanization, and capitalism, and an active Jewish role in these modern institutions, were particularly drawn to the antisemitism of the document.[30] Ukrainian scholar Vadim Skuratovsky offers extensive literary, historical and linguistic analysis of the original text of the Protocols and traces the influences of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's prose (in particular, The Grand Inquisitor and The Possessed) on Golovinski's writings, including the Protocols.[29]

In his book The Non-Existent Manuscript, Italian scholar Cesare G. De Michelis studies early Russian publications of the Protocols. The Protocols were first mentioned in the Russian press in April 1902, by the Saint Petersburg newspaper, Novoye Vremya (Новое Время - The New Times). The article was written by a famous conservative publicist Mikhail Menshikov as a part of his regular series "Letters to Neighbors" ("Письма к ближним") and was titled "Plots against Humanity". The author described his meeting with a lady (Yuliana Glinka, as it is known now) who, after telling him about her mystical revelations, implored him to get familiar with the documents later known as the Protocols; but after reading some excerpts Menshikov became quite skeptical about their origin and did not publish them.[31]

Krushevan and Nilus editions

The Protocols were published at the earliest, in serialized form, from August 28 to September 7 (O.S.) 1903, in Znamya, a Saint Petersburg daily newspaper, under Pavel Krushevan. Krushevan had initiated the Kishinev pogrom four months earlier.[32]

In 1905, Sergei Nilus published the full text of the Protocols in Chapter XII, the final chapter (pages 305–417), of the second edition (or third, according to some sources) of his book, Velikoe v malom i antikhrist, which translates as "The Great within the Small: The Coming of the Anti-Christ and the Rule of Satan on Earth". He claimed it was the work of the First Zionist Congress, held in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland.[33] When it was pointed out that the First Zionist Congress had been open to the public and was attended by many non-Jews, Nilus changed his story, saying the Protocols were the work of the 1902–1903 meetings of the Elders, but contradicting his own prior statement that he had received his copy in 1901:

In 1901, I succeeded through an acquaintance of mine (the late Court Marshal Alexei Nikolayevich Sukotin of Chernigov) in getting a manuscript that exposed with unusual perfection and clarity the course and development of the secret Jewish Freemasonic conspiracy, which would bring this wicked world to its inevitable end. The person who gave me this manuscript guaranteed it to be a faithful translation of the original documents that were stolen by a woman from one of the highest and most influential leaders of the Freemasons at a secret meeting somewhere in France — the beloved nest of Freemasonic conspiracy.[34]

Stolypin's fraud investigation, 1905

A subsequent secret investigation ordered by Pyotr Stolypin, the newly appointed chairman of the Council of Ministers, came to the conclusion that the Protocols first appeared in Paris in antisemitic circles around 1897–1898.[35] When Nicholas II learned of the results of this investigation, he requested: "The Protocols should be confiscated, a good cause cannot be defended by dirty means."[36] Despite the order, or because of the "good cause", numerous reprints proliferated.[32]

The Protocols in the West

File:1934 Protocols Patriotic Pub.jpg

A 1934 edition by the Patriotic Publishing Company of Chicago.

In the United States The Protocols are to be understood in the context of the Red scare, the First Red Scare (1917–1920). The text circulated in 1919 in American government circles, specifically diplomatic and military, in typescript form, a copy of which is archived by the Hoover Institute.[37] It also appeared in 1919 in the Public Ledger as a pair of serialized newspaper articles. But all references to "Jews" were replaced with references to Bolsheviki as an expose by the journalist and subsequently highly respected Columbia University School of Journalism dean Carl W. Ackerman.[38]

In 1923 there appeared an anonymously edited pamphlet by the Britons Publishing Society, a successor to The Britons, an entity created and headed by Henry Hamilton Beamish. This imprint was allegedly a translation by Victor E. Marsden, who died in October 1920.[37]

Most versions substantially involve "protocols", or minutes of a speech given in secret involving Jews who are organized as Elders, or Sages, of Zion,[39] and underlies 24 protocols that are supposedly followed by the Jewish people. The Protocols has been proven to be a literary forgery and hoax as well as a clear case of plagiarism.[40][41][42][43][44]

English language imprints

On October 27 and 28, 1919, the Philadelphia Public Ledger published excerpts of an English language translation as the "Red Bible," deleting all references to the purported Jewish authorship and re-casting the document as a Bolshevik manifesto.[45] The author of the articles was the paper's correspondent at the time, Carl W. Ackerman, who later became the head of the journalism department at Columbia University. On May 8, 1920, an article[46] in The Times followed German translation and appealed for an inquiry into what it called an "uncanny note of prophecy".

United States
File:The Protocols and World Revolution.pdf

Title page of 1920 edition from Boston.

In the United States, Henry Ford sponsored the printing of 500,000 copies, and, from 1920 to 1922, published a series of antisemitic articles titled "The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem", in The Dearborn Independent, a newspaper he owned. In 1921, Ford cited evidence of a Jewish threat: "The only statement I care to make about the Protocols is that they fit in with what is going on. They are 16 years old, and they have fitted the world situation up to this time."[47] In 1927, however, the courts ordered Ford to retract his publication and apologize; he complied, claiming his assistants had duped him. He remained an admirer of Nazi Germany, however.[48]

In 1934, an anonymous editor expanded the compilation with "Text and Commentary" (pages 136–141). The production of this uncredited compilation was a 300-page book, an inauthentic expanded edition of the twelfth chapter of Nilus's 1905 book on the coming of the anti-Christ. It consists of substantial liftings of excerpts of articles from Ford's antisemitic periodical The Dearborn Independent. This 1934 text circulates most widely in the English-speaking world, as well as on the internet. The "Text and Commentary" concludes with a comment on Haim Weizman's October 6, 1920 remark at a banquet: "A beneficent protection which God has instituted in the life of the Jew is that He has dispersed him all over the world". Marsden, who was dead by then, is credited with the following assertion:

It proves that the Learned Elders exist. It proves that Dr. Weizmann knows all about them. It proves that the desire for a "National Home" in Palestine is only camouflage and an infinitesimal part of the Jew's real object. It proves that the Jews of the world have no intention of settling in Palestine or any separate country, and that their annual prayer that they may all meet "Next Year in Jerusalem" is merely a piece of their characteristic make-believe. It also demonstrates that the Jews are now a world menace, and that the Aryan races will have to domicile them permanently out of Europe.[49]

This quote occurs on page 138. On the previous page, the nameless commentator has the following: "There has been recently published a volume of Theodor Herzl's Diaries, a translation of some passages of which appeared in the Jewish Chronicle of July 14, 1922". Accordingly, the commentary must have been written at least two years after Marsden's death.

The Times exposes a forgery, 1921

File:TheTimes exposes TheProtocols as a forgery.jpg

The Times exposed the Protocols as a forgery on August 16–18, 1921

In 1920-1921, the history of the concepts found in the Protocols was traced back to the works of Goedsche and Jacques Crétineau-Joly by Lucien Wolf (an English Jewish journalist), and published in London in August 1921. But a dramatic exposé occurred in the series of articles in The Times by its Constantinople reporter, Philip Graves, who discovered the plagiarism from the work of Maurice Joly.

According to writer Peter Grose, Allen Dulles, who was in Constantinople developing relationships in post-Ottoman political structures, discovered 'the source' of the documentation ultimately provided to The Times. Grose writes that The Times extended a loan to the source, a Russian émigré who refused to be identified, with the understanding the loan would not be repaid.[50] Colin Holmes, a lecturer in economic history of Sheffield University, identified the émigré as Michael Raslovleff, a self-identified antisemite, who gave the information to Graves so as not to "give a weapon of any kind to the Jews, whose friend I have never been."[51]

In the first article of Graves' series, titled "A Literary Forgery", the editors of The Times wrote, "our Constantinople Correspondent presents for the first time conclusive proof that the document is in the main a clumsy plagiarism. He has forwarded us a copy of the French book from which the plagiarism is made."[52] The New York Times reprinted the articles on September 4, 1921.[53] In the same year, an entire book[54] documenting the hoax was published in the United States by Herman Bernstein. Despite this widespread and extensive debunking, the Protocols continued to be regarded as important factual evidence by antisemites.[citation needed]

Middle East

A translation made by an Arab Christian appeared in Cairo in 1927 or 1928, this time as a book. The first translation by an Arab Muslim was also published in Cairo, but only in 1951.[55]


The Berne Trial, 1934–1935

The selling of the Protocols (edited by German antisemite Theodor Fritsch) by the National Front during a political manifestation in the Casino of Berne on June 13, 1933[56] led to the Berne Trial in the Amtsgericht (district court) of Berne, the capital of Switzerland, on October 29, 1934. The plaintiffs (the Swiss Jewish Association and the Jewish Community of Berne) were represented by Hans Matti and Georges Brunschvig, helped by Emil Raas. Working on behalf of the defense was German anti-Semitic propagandist Ulrich Fleischhauer. On May 19, 1935, two defendants (Theodore Fischer and Silvio Schnell) were convicted of violating a Bernese statute prohibiting the distribution of "immoral, obscene or brutalizing" texts[57] while three other defendants were acquitted. The court declared the Protocols to be forgeries, plagiarisms, and obscene literature. Judge Walter Meyer, a Christian who had not heard of the Protocols earlier, said in conclusion:

I hope, the time will come when nobody will be able to understand how in 1935 nearly a dozen sane and responsible men were able for two weeks to mock the intellect of the Bern court discussing the authenticity of the so-called Protocols, the very Protocols that, harmful as they have been and will be, are nothing but laughable nonsense.[32]

Vladimir Burtsev, a Russian émigré, anti-Bolshevik and anti-Fascist who exposed numerous Okhrana agents provocateurs in the early 1900s, served as a witness at the Berne Trial. In 1938 in Paris he published a book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Proved Forgery, based on his testimony.

On November 1, 1937 the defendants appealed the verdict to the Obergericht (Cantonal Supreme Court) of Berne. A panel of three judges acquitted them, holding that the Protocols, while false, did not violate the statute at issue because they were "political publications" and not "immoral (obscene) publications (Schundliteratur)" in the strict sense of the law.[57] The presiding judge's opinion stated, though, that the forgery of the Protocols was not questionable and expressed regret that the law did not provide adequate protection for Jews from this sort of literature. The court refused to impose the fees of defence of the acquitted defendants to the plaintiffs, and the acquitted Theodor Fischer had to pay 100 Fr. to the total state costs of the trial (Fr. 28'000) that were eventually paid by the Canton of Berne.[58] This decision gave grounds for later allegations that the appeal court "confirmed authenticity of the Protocols" which is contrary to the facts. A view favorable to the pro-Nazi defendants is reported in an appendix to Leslie Fry's Waters Flowing Eastward.[59] A more scholarly work on the trial is in a 139 page monograph by Urs Lüthi.

The Basel Trial

A similar trial in Switzerland took place at Basel. The Swiss Frontists Alfred Zander and Eduard Rüegsegger distributed the Protocols (edited by the German Gottfried zur Beek) in Switzerland. Jules Dreyfus-Brodsky and Marcus Cohen sued them for insult to Jewish honor. At the same time, chief rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis of Stockholm (who also witnessed at the Berne Trial) sued Alfred Zander who contended that Ehrenpreis himself had said that the Protocols were authentic (referring to the foreword of the edition of the Protocols by the German antisemite Theodor Fritsch). On June 5, 1936 these proceedings ended with a settlement.[60]


The Protocols also became a part of the Nazi propaganda effort to justify persecution of the Jews. It was made required reading for German students. In The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry 1933–1945, Nora Levin states that "Hitler used the Protocols as a manual in his war to exterminate the Jews":

Despite conclusive proof that the Protocols were a gross forgery, they had sensational popularity and large sales in the 1920s and 1930s. They were translated into every language of Europe and sold widely in Arab lands, the United States, and England. But it was in Germany after World War I that they had their greatest success. There they were used to explain all of the disasters that had befallen the country: the defeat in the war, the hunger, the destructive inflation.[61]

Hitler refers to the Protocols in Mein Kampf:

... To what extent the whole existence of this people is based on a continuous lie is shown incomparably by the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, so infinitely hated by the Jews. They are based on a forgery, the Frankfurter Zeitung moans and screams once every week: the best proof that they are authentic. [...] the important thing is that with positively terrifying certainty they reveal the nature and activity of the Jewish people and expose their inner contexts as well as their ultimate final aims.[62]

Hitler endorsed it in his speeches from August 1921 on, and it was studied in German classrooms after the Nazis came to power. At the height of World War II, the Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels proclaimed: "The Zionist Protocols are as up-to-date today as they were the day they were first published."[63] In Norman Cohn's words, it served as the Nazis' "warrant for genocide".

German language publications

The first and "by far the most important"[64] German translation was by Gottfried Zur Beek (pseudonym of Ludwig Müller von Hausen). It appeared in January 1920 as a part of a larger antisemitic tract[65] dated 1919. After The Times discussed the book respectfully in May 1920 it became a bestseller. "The Hohenzollern family helped defray the publication costs, and Kaiser Wilhelm II had portions of the book read out aloud to dinner guests".[63]

Alfred Rosenberg's 1923 edition[66] "gave a forgery a huge boost".[63]

Modern era

See also: Contemporary imprints of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and New World Order

The Protocols continue to be widely available around the world, particularly on the internet, as well as in print in Japan, the Middle East, Asia, and South America.[67]

While there is continued popularity of The Protocols in nations from South America to Asia, since the defeat of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy in WWII, governments or political leaders in most parts of the world have generally avoided claims that The Protocols represent factual evidence of a real Jewish conspiracy.

The exception to this is the Middle East, where a large number of Arab and Muslim regimes and leaders have endorsed them as authentic, including endorsements of The Protocols from Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat of Egypt, one of the President Arifs of Iraq, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya. The 1988 charter of Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group, states that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion embodies the plan of the Zionists.[68] Recent endorsements in the 21st century have been made by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sa'id Sabri, and the education ministry of Saudi Arabia.[69]

See also


Pertinent concepts
Related or similar texts


  1. Jacobs, p 15
  2. Speier, Hans "The Truth in Hell: Maurice Joly on Modern Despotism" Polity, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Autumn, 1977), pp. 18-32
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Princess Radziwill Quizzed at Lecture; Stranger Questions Her Title After She Had Told of Forgery of "Jewish Protocols." Creates Stir at Astor Leaves Without Giving His Name-- Mrs. Huribut Corroborates the Princess. Stranger Quizzes Princess. Corroborates Mme. Radziwill. Never Reached Alexander III. The Corroboration. Says Orgewsky Was Proud of Work.". New York Times. March 4, 1921. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Segel, Binjamin W. A Lie and a Libel: The History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (translated and edited by Levy, Richard S.), p. 97 (1996, originally published in 1926), University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-9245-7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ye'r, Bat: Miriam Kochan; David Littman Islam and Dhimmitude Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, U.S. (December 1, 2001) ISBN 978-0838639429 p. 142 Google Books Search
  6. See INRI, Jewish Messiah, Judaism's view of Jesus
  7. Bein, Alex (1990). The Jewish question: biography of a world problem. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 339. ISBN 9780838632529. and See "The Truth about the Protocols: A Literary Forgery", The Times, 16, 17 and 18 August 1921.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 The Non-Existent Manuscript, Cesare G. De Michelis, (Lincoln and London: University on Nebraska Press, 1998, 2004).
  9. A Hoax of Hate
  10. Svetlana Boym, "Conspiracy theories and literary ethics: Umberto Eco, Danilo Kis and The Protocols of Zion": Comparative Literature, Spring 1999.
  11. The text contains 44 instances of the word "I" (9.6%), and 412 instances of the word "we" (90.4%). See The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, translated by VE Marsden, pub
  12. This material was originally exposed by Philip Graves in “The Source of The Protocols of Zion” published in The Times, August 16–18, 1921, and the exposure has since been expanded in many sources.
  13. Keren, David, Commentary on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, 10 February 1993. Republished as accompanying introduction to The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion translated by Victor E Marsden. The quotation is from page 4 of the pdf file.
  14. Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World-Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elder of Zion (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1966) 32–36.
    • Chanes, p 58
    • Shibuya, page 571
    • Chanes, p 58
    • Shibuya, page 571
    • Chanes, p 58
    • Shibuya, page 571
  15. Jacobs analyses the Marsden English translation. Some other less common imprints have more or less than 24 protocols
  16. 19.0 19.1 Jacobs, pp 21-25
  17. Titles from Jacobs
  18. The Non-Existent Manuscript, Cesare G. De Michelis, (Lincoln and London: University on Nebraska Press, 1998, 2004).
  19. 22.0 22.1 Cohn, Norman: Warrant for Genocide, 1967 (Eyre & Spottiswoode), 1996 (Serif) ISBN 1-897959-25-7
  20. [2 Norman Cohn]
  21. Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum (London: Picador, 1990), p.490
  22. Daniel Pipes (1997): Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From (The Free Press - Simon & Schuster) p.85. ISBN 0-684-83131-7
  23. Daniel Pipes (1997): Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From (The Free Press - Simon & Schuster) p.86–87. ISBN 0-684-83131-7
  24. 27.0 27.1 Forging Protocols by Charles Paul Freund. Reason Magazine, February 2000
  25. (Template:ISO 639 name fr)Éric Conan. Les secrets d'une manipulation antisémite L’Express, 16 November 1999.
  26. 29.0 29.1 Vadim Skuratovsky: The Question of the Authorship of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion". (Judaica Institute, Kiev, 2001) ISBN 966-7273-12-1
  27. Stephen Eric Bronner, A Rumor About the Jews: Reflections on Antisemitism and the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (Oxford University Press, 2003), p. ix, p.56, ISBN 0-19-516956-5
  28. Template:Ru iconT. Karasova and D. Chernyakhovsky. Afterword to the Russian translation of Norman Cohn's Warrant for Genocide
  29. 32.0 32.1 32.2 "The Fraud of a Century, or a book born in hell". Archived from the original on 2005-12-17., by Valery Kadzhaya . Retrieved September 2005.
  30. De Michelis, Cesare G; Newhouse, Richard; Bi-Yerushalayim), Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (Universiṭah ha-ʻIvrit (2004-06-01). The non-existent manuscript: a study ... - Google Books. ISBN 9780803217270. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  31. Morris Kominsky, The Hoaxers, 1970. p. 209 ISBN 0-8283-1288-5
  32. Template:Ru icon P. Stolypin's attempt to resolve the Jewish question by Boris Fyodorov
  33. Template:Ru icon The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Proved Forgery by Vladimir Burtsev (Paris, 1938) p.106 (Ch.4)
  34. 37.0 37.1 Singerman, Robert: "The American Career of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion", American Jewish History, Vol. 71 (1980), pp. 48–78
  35. Carl W. Ackerman.Singerman, Robert: "The American Career of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion", American Jewish History, Vol. 71 (1980), pp. 48–78
  36. Rivera, David Allen, Final Warning: A History Of The New World Order, Chapter 5, self-published 1994, republished 1998 on and For table of contents, see
  37. Graves, Philip, The Truth about the Protocols: A Literary Forgery, The Times, 16-18 Aug 1921, Antisemitism: Documents Issue no. 1, Posted 22 March 2000. This web-page is 1 of 6
  38. Handwerk, Brian, Anti-Semitic "Protocols of Zion" Endure, Despite Debunking, National Geographic News, 11 September 2006.
  39. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Holocaust Encyclopedia "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", last updated 4 May 2009.
  40. David, What's the story with the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"?, The Straight Dope, 30 June 2000.
  41. The Skeptics Dictionary Protocols of the Elders of Zion
  42. Jenkins, Philip (1997). Hoods and Shirts: The Extreme Right in Pennsylvania, 1925-1950. UNC Press. p. 114. ISBN 0807823163.
  43. Henry Wickham Steed, "A Disturbing Pamphlet: A Call for Enquiry", The Times, May 8, 1920.
  44. Max Wallace, The American Axis St. Martin's Press, 2003
  45. Ford and GM Scrutinized for Alleged Nazi Collaboration by Michael Dobbs. The Washington Post 1998-11-30; Page A01. Retrieved March 20, 2006.
  46. Introduction to English edition by Victor E. Marsden
  47. Peter Grose, in Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles (Houghton Mifflin 1994)
  48. Poliakov, Leon (1997). "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion". Encyclopedia Judaica (CD-ROM Edition Version 1.0). Ed. Cecil Roth. Keter Publishing House. ISBN 965-07-0665-8
  49. Template:PDFlink by Philip Graves published at The Times, August 16–18, 1921
  50. The New York Times, September 4, 1921. Front page, Section 7
  51. Template:Gutenberg
  52. Lewis, Bernard (1986). Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice (First ed.). W. W. Norton & Co.. ISBN 0-393-02314-1.
  53. The main speaker was the former chief of the Swiss General Staff Emil Sonderegger.
  54. 57.0 57.1 Hafner, Urs (23 December 2005). "Die Quelle allen Übels? Wie ein Berner Gericht 1935 gegen antisemitische Verschwörungsphantasien vorging" (in German). Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
  55. Hadassa Ben-Itto, The Lie That Wouldn’t Die: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Chapter 11.
  56. Fry, Leslie. "Waters Flowing Eastward, Appendix II: The Berne Trials". Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  57. Zander had to withdraw his contention and the stock of the incriminated Protocols were destroyed by order of the court. Zander had to pay the fees of this Basel Trial. Cf. Urs Lüthi:Der Mythos von der Weltverschwörung. Die Hetze der Schweizer Frontisten gegen Juden und Freimaurer - am Beispiel des Berner Prozesses um die "Protokolle der Weisen von Zion".Helbing & Lichtenhahn, Basel/Frankfurt am Main 1992, p. 45 (ISBN 3-7190-1197-6).
  58. Nora Levin, The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry 1933–1945. Quoting from
  59. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf: Chapter XI: Nation and Race, Vol I, pp. 307–308.
  60. 63.0 63.1 63.2 Daniel Pipes (1997): Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From (The Free Press - Simon & Shuster) p.95. ISBN 0-684-83131-7
  61. Daniel Pipes (1997): Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From (The Free Press - Simon & Schuster) p.94. ISBN 0-684-83131-7
  62. Geheimnisse der Weisen von Zion (Charlottesburg: Auf Vorposten, 1919).
  63. Alfred Rosenberg: Die Protokolle der Weisen von Zion und die jüdische Weltpolitik (Munich: Deutscher Volksverlag, 1923).
  64. Jacobs, pp xi-xiv, 1-4
  65. "Hamas Covenant 1988". Retrieved May 27, 2010.
    "Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."
  66. Template:PDFlink at Anti-Defamation League

Further reading

External links

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