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The History of a Lie - 'The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion'
by Herman Bernstein
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[Transcriber's Note: This text has many notes in [square brackets] which are in the original. Added for this electronic edition are labels for footnotes and illustrations; the actual contents of such are original. Also added are transliterations into the Roman alphabet (using the GOST system) of the Cyrillic facsimile pages. An XHTML version with the original facsimile images is also available.

Any translations appear in the original paper edition.

Bold and italic passages are transcribed per this example.]



THE HISTORY OF A LIE

"The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion"

"Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all." —OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.

A STUDY BY HERMAN BERNSTEIN

AUTHOR OF "WITH MASTER MINDS," ETC.

NEW YORK

J. S. OGILVIE PUBLISHING COMPANY 57 ROSE STREET

COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY J. S. OGILVIE PUBLISHING COMPANY



FOREWORD

This is the history of a Lie—of a cruel and terrible Lie invented for the purpose of defaming the entire Jewish people. Given out as fiction, by a German anti-Semitic writer, involved in the Waldeck forgery case, who concealed his identity under the pen-name of an Englishman, it was gradually changed and elaborated, and finally groomed as fact. Agents of the Russian secret police department and of the unscrupulous "Black Hundreds" then utilized this fiction as the framework for the "protocols" through which they sought to crush the Jews and prop up the tottering Russian dynasty.

Tsarism destroyed itself, but the agents of Tsarism, still dreaming of their past glory and of a restoration of their privileges, are at work again, both here and abroad.

Out of the scrapheap of Russian autocracy, they have exhumed their old weapons and are striking at the Jews again. Upon the structure of the old myths they are striving to erect new falsehoods in order to intensify everywhere chaos and confusion and dissatisfaction so that they may attain their own dastardly and selfish ends.

In the war's aftermath the Jews are being blamed by the minions of autocracy and reaction for all the ills that have befallen mankind. Some blame them for the war, and others for the peace. Some attack them for the defeat of the German military machine, and others for the victory of the allies. In Germany they are attacked by the Junkers for having opposed the submarine warfare and thus assured Germany's defeat; while in some of the allied countries the Jews are denounced for constituting "the brains of Germany." All the revolutionary leaders of Germany are credited to the Jews, and bolshevism, which has as little in common with Judaism as it has with Christianity, is branded as a Jewish movement; and there are Jew-baiters who in their blind madness have gone so far as to declare that ex-Kaiser Wilhelm was not only influenced by the Jews but is himself of Jewish descent, and for this reason did not defend Germany as loyally as he should have done. He conspired against the Hohenzollern dynasty and undermined it. He destroyed his own throne because he was serving the secret Jewish world organization.

On such absurdities have people been fed, since the armistice, in civilized countries by antisemitic agitators and their dupes, while Jews have been slaughtered in the Ukraine, in Poland and in Hungary.

I submit in this little book the documentary evidence showing how the so-called "Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion" on which this new crusade is predicated, were forged.

HERMAN BERNSTEIN.

New York, February, 1921.



CONTENTS

PAGE FOREWORD 3

CHAPTER ONE THE MYSTERIOUS PROTOCOLS

The Lie of a Jewish World Conspiracy—Is There a Jewish Conspiracy?—Anonymous Accusations—The Mysterious "Protocols" of Sergei Nilus—How did "Nilus" Secure Them?—Contradictory Explanations—Who is "Nilus"? How his Sponsors Disagree—What Russian Publicists Say 7

CHAPTER TWO THE STORY FROM WHICH THE PROTOCOLS WERE FABRICATED

Essence of "Protocols" Was German Fiction of "Sir John Retcliffe"—Who Was "Retcliffe"?—His Infamous Record—His Bloodcurdling Story—The Meeting in the Cemetery—An Avowed Myth—Meeting Every Hundred Years Attended by "Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel"—The "Son of the Accursed" Also Attends and Provides Comic Interludes 16

CHAPTER THREE FICTION FORGED INTO "FACT"

The Lie in its Second Stage—The Tale Becomes "Fact"—The "Rabbi's" Speech—Its Authenticity Vouched for by "Retcliffe"—An Illuminating Footnote—A Dedication to The Russian "Black Hundreds"—The Imaginary "Speech" Bears Witness to Authenticity of "Protocols," Themselves Based on "Speech"—Three Stages of the Lie 43

CHAPTER FOUR THE RUSSIAN SPONSORS OF THE FORGERY

Nilus on the Protocols—Only "the God-Anointed Tsar of Russia" Can Save the World—Passages from Nilus Omitted by Translators—On Tolstoy—On the Emancipation of Women—On the "Sanhedrin" and "its Faithful Ally, England" 55

CHAPTER FIVE FORGERS DISAGREE

The Butmi Protocols—"Representatives of Zion" Not to be Confounded with "Zionists"—Butmi Contradicts Nilus—Plan for World Conquest Conceived 929 B. C. E.—The "Symbolic Snake"—Universal Suffrage a Jewish Device—Every Jew Familiar with Plot 59

CHAPTER SIX THE BLACK HUNDREDS, THEIR DUPES AND CRIMES

Russia in 1905—The Unsuccessful Revolution—The Reaction and the Reactionaries—Lutostansky and His Work—The "Symbolic Snake" According to Lutostansky—Who Plagiarized?—Lutostansky on the English People—Are the English the "Lost Tribes"?—How the Protocols Were "Doctored" by Butmi—Conclusion 63



CHAPTER ONE

THE MYSTERIOUS PROTOCOLS

The Lie of a Jewish World Conspiracy—Is There a Jewish Conspiracy?—Anonymous Accusations—The Mysterious "Protocols" of Sergei Nilus—How did "Nilus" Secure Them?—Contradictory Explanations—Who is "Nilus"?—How his Sponsors Disagree—What Russian Publicists Say.

Is there a Jewish conspiracy against the world or is there a conspiracy against the Jews? What are the so-called "Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion?" Who is "the Russian mystic," Sergius Nilus, the sponsor of the Protocols? What forces are behind the anti-Jewish propaganda that is international in scope and that seeks at this time to spread all over the world the poison of prejudice and hatred against the Jews, reviving long-exploded mediaeval legends?

Many Americans have asked these questions ever since the publication of "The Cause of the World Unrest," "The Protocols and World Revolution," "The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion," and the anti-Jewish articles in Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent.

In 1919 a translation of extracts from what purports to be a book by one Sergius Nilus was published in Germany. During 1920 a translation was published in England under the name of "The Jewish Peril," and under various titles, in different versions, it was reproduced in the United States, France, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and even Japan. The Japanese edition is in the Russian language. In all these books "the Russian mystic," Sergius Nilus, is given as the sponsor of a number of secret "documents" by which it is intended to show that the Jews are responsible for all the ills that have already befallen the world and that are still to come.

The method is simple. Was there a revolution in Russia? Blame the Jews. Was there a revolution in Germany? Blame the Jews. Who made the French Revolution? The Jews. Who caused the World War? The Jews. Who profited by the war? The Jews. Is there anywhere an industrial crisis? The Jews are, of course, the cause of it. Has the World War brought forth Bolshevism? The Jews are naturally the fathers of it. First the Jews engineered the war, and then they pulled the strings behind the scenes of the Peace Conference. They secured special privileges at the Peace Table, because, according to the Protocols, they control the gold of the world, the press of the world, the rulers of the world. And if, as a result of the World War, millions of Jews have suffered untold agonies, persecution, starvation, and pogroms, it is no doubt only part of their deep-laid plot to gain control of the world for Zion through poverty and suffering!

Are governments just to the Jews, giving them equal rights? Then it is obvious that Jews are either at the head of such governments or are hidden behind the present rulers. If the Jews cannot exert sufficient influence over the rulers themselves, there are Jewesses in high places, through whom the cause of Zion is served—and all this is done by the Jews with but one aim in view—to dominate the world, to become its autocratic masters, to break down the moral power of Christendom and set up Israel as "the despot" over the peoples of the earth. According to the Protocols, all this is engineered with the aid and through the instrumentality of the Freemasons.

The propagandists everywhere, in Germany, England, France, the Scandinavian countries, Japan and the United States, basing all their arguments on the "Protocols" vouched for by "the Russian mystic" Sergius Nilus, see in the present chaotic conditions the absolute fulfillment of the prophecies outlined by the so-called "Wise Men of Zion" years ago. The propagandists are violent and vicious, foaming at their mouths, appealing to the basest passions, insinuating, accusing, pointing their fingers at "the source of all evil"—at the Jews who constitute but a fraction of one per cent of the world's population, and who are in Europe to-day, after the close of the World War, more wretched and miserable than ever before,—persecuted, hounded and starved.

What are these mysterious Protocols? How did they come to "the Russian mystic" who revealed them in 1905, and which have now been exhumed from obscurity for the purpose of enlightening the world, and which point to the Jews as the cause of all unrest, chaos and confusion?

Nilus, "the Russian mystic," is credited with several versions of how he had secured the Protocols, and his stories flatly contradict one another. In 1905 he said that the Protocols were given to him by a prominent Russian conservative whose name he did not mention, and who in turn had received them from an unnamed woman who had stolen them from "one of the most influential leaders of Freemasonry at the close of a secret meeting of the initiated in France." Then, several years later, Nilus wrote that his friend himself had stolen the Protocols from "the headquarters of the Society of Zion in France." Several years afterwards, in a new edition of his book, Nilus said that the "Protocols" came from Switzerland and not from France. This time he named his Russian conservative friend, Sukhotin, who had died in the meantime. He added that the Protocols were not Jewish-Masonic but Zionist documents secretly read at the Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897.

Then followed a new edition of the Nilus book bearing the date of 1917. A translation of this edition has recently appeared in this country, containing a brand-new explanation as to how the Protocols were rescued and given to the world. This explanation is taken from the German version published in Charlottenburg. The introduction to that edition says that the Protocols, having been read from day to day at the Basle Congress, were sent as read to Frankfort on the Main. The disclosure of them came through the infidelity of the messenger.

The 1917 edition is published with a prologue and an epilogue, like a drama, which indeed it is, with all the ingredients of melodrama—a villain, a mysterious woman, a Grand Duke, a conspiracy to destroy the world, and a saint—Nilus, who convicts himself in his own writings of falsification in the giving of these various accounts of how the Protocols came into his possession.

Nothing is known of Sergius Nilus. Russian standard reference books and encyclopedias contain no mention of his name.

The anonymous American editor of the Nilus book gives the following information about Nilus:

"Serge Nilus, in the 1905 edition of whose book was first published the Zionist Protocols, was, as he states, born in the year 1862, of Russian parents holding liberal opinions. His family was fairly well known in Moscow, for its members were educated people who were firm in their allegiance to the Tsar and the Greek Church. On one side he is said to have been connected by marriage with the nobility of the Baltic provinces. Nilus himself was graduated from the University of Moscow and early entered the civil service, obtaining a small appointment in the law courts. Later, he received a post under the Procurator of a provincial court in the Caucasus. Finally, tiring of the law, he went to the Government of Orel, where he was a landowner and a noble. His spiritual life had been tumultuous and full of trouble, and finally he entered the Troitsky-Sergevsky Monastery near Moscow. 'In answer to his appeal for pardon, Saint Sergei, stern and angry, appeared to him twice in a vision. He left the Monastery a converted man.'

"From 1905 until the present, little is known of his activities. Articles are said to have appeared from time to time in the Russian press from his pen. A returning traveller from Siberia in August, 1919, was positive in his statement that Nilus was in Irkutsk in June of that year. Whether his final fate was that of Admiral Kolchak is not known."

The American editor of Sergius Nilus's book containing the "Protocols" is hiding behind anonymity. The name of the traveller from Siberia who was so positive in his statement that Nilus was in Irkutsk is also concealed. And Serge Nilus to whom Saint Sergei "appeared twice in a vision" "is said to have written articles in the Russian press" of which nobody has knowledge.

In Germany, Nilus is described as follows:

"Sergius Nilus was an employee of the Russian secret police department, of the okhrana, connected with the Church, especially relating to 'foreign religions.' He lived for some time at the Optina Pustina monastery. In 1901 he published a book entitled 'The Great in the Small and the Anti-Christ.' According to the Lutsch Sveta, Nilus claims to have received in 1901 a copy of the text of the Protocols from the secret archives of the Main Zionist organization in France, but he published the 'protocols' only in 1905. A second edition appeared in 1911, and finally another edition was brought out in the beginning of 1917, but all copies are said to have been destroyed."

"The Cause of the World Unrest," an anonymous book published in England and reprinted in this country, speaks of Nilus and the "Protocols" as follows:

"In the year 1903 a Russian, Serge Nilus, published a book entitled The Great in Little. The second edition, which was published at Tsarskoye Selo in 1905, had an additional chapter, the twelfth, under the heading 'Anti-Christ as a Near Political Possibility.' This chapter consisted of some twenty pages of introduction followed by the text of twenty-four 'Protocols of Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion,' and the book ends with some twenty pages of commentaries on these protocols by Nilus.

"Directly after the protocols, comes a statement by Nilus that they are 'signed by representatives of Zion of the thirty-third degree.' These protocols were secretly extracted or were stolen from a whole volume of protocols. All this was got by my correspondent out of the secret depositories of the Head Chancellery of Zion. This Chancellery is at present on French territory."

In the edition of 1917 Sergius Nilus wrote:

"My book has already reached the fourth edition, but it is only definitely known to me now and in a manner worthy of belief, and that through Jewish sources, that these protocols are nothing other than the strategic plans for the conquest of the world under the heel of Israel, and worked out by the leaders of the Jewish people—and read by the 'Prince of Exile,' Theodor Herzl, during the first Zionist Congress, summoned by him in August, 1897, in Basle."

It will be shown later that the so-called Butmi edition of the "protocols" published in 1907 contains the definite statement of the man who claims to have translated them into Russian from the French in 1901 that the Elders of Zion mentioned in the Protocols are not to be confounded with the Zionist movement.

In the 1917 edition Sergius Nilus wrote:

"In 1901 I came into possession of a manuscript, and this comparatively small book was destined to cause a deep change in my entire viewpoint as can only be caused in the heart of man by Divine Power. It was comparable with the miracle of making the blind see. 'May Divine acts show on him.'

"This manuscript was called 'the protocols of the Zionist Men of Wisdom,' and it was given to me by the now deceased leader of the Tchernigov nobility, who later became vice-governor of Stavropol, Alexis Nikolayevitch Sukhotin. I had already begun to work with my pen for the glory of the Lord, and I was friendly with Sukhotin. He was a man of my opinion, that is, extremely conservative, as they are now termed.

"Sukhotin told me that he in turn had obtained the manuscript from a lady who always lived abroad. This lady was a noblewoman from Tchernigov. He mentioned her by name, but I have forgotten it. He said that she obtained it in some mysterious way, by theft, I believe.

"Sukhotin also said that one copy of the manuscript was given by this lady to Sipiagin, the Minister of the Interior, upon her return from abroad, and that Sipiagin was subsequently killed. He said other things of the same mysterious character. But when I first became acquainted with the contents of the manuscript I was convinced that its terrible, cruel and straight-forward truth is witness of its true origin from the 'Zionist Men of Wisdom,' and that no other evidence of its origin would be needed."

Feodor Roditchev, one of Russia's most famous liberals, a member of the nobility, a former member of the Duma, writing recently of the Nilus protocols and of Sukhotin whom Nilus described as a man of his own opinion, says:

"For months I hear on all sides about the Nilus book and its success in England, and I am asked, Who is Nilus? There was a Nilus, an associate justice of the Moscow District Court. It is said that the manuscript was given to Nilus by Sukhotin, the notorious zemstvo official of Chernsk.

"The Berlin edition contains no mention of Sukhotin, but in that edition Nilus said, 'Pray for the soul of the boyar Alexis.'

"The name of the notorious Alexey Nikolayevitch Sukhotin means nothing to the present generation. But there was a time when his name attracted attention.

"Sukhotin arrested the peasants of a whole village for refusing to cart manure from his stables because the animals there were infected with glanders. Judge Tsurikov released the peasants. Tsurikov was removed for this, while Sukhotin justified his act by writing to the Minister of the Interior, Durnovo, that he had arrested the peasants not because they refused to cart his manure but because they dared disobey him as a zemstvo official. The reactionary Chernsk nobility made Sukhotin marshal of nobility. So it was this man who furnished the protocols of the secret meetings of the representatives of Zion! But how did Sukhotin get the protocols? An unknown friend had brought them to him. They were given to him by an unknown lady who had received them from an unknown but energetic participant in the Basle Congress. Is this credible? Well, then, there is another version of the origin of the protocols—but that is for the German readers. The Russian government sent a spy to the Basle Congress. He did not go to the Congress himself, but bribed one of the participants. He was carrying the protocols from Basle to Frankfurt to the local masonic organization. He stopped on the way in a little town, and gave the protocols to the spy. He engaged copyists who worked all night and copied the protocols.

"In the first Russian version the protocols were supposed to have been brought to Russia in French. According to the German version, the protocols were copied, consequently they were in German, but the most important thing is that the protocols are not protocols at all, but a monograph—which could be called 'the dream of a member of the Black Hundreds.'"

A distinguished Russian publicist says of the sponsor of the "protocols" as follows:

"In Russia the problems of Christianity and Judaism have been studied by such men as Vladimir Solovyov, Professor Troitzky, Professor Kokovtsev, Kartashov, Bulgakov, Berdyayev—men of profound intellect and a living conscience. In them the counterfeit ravings of the ignorant monk (Nilus) evoked but a smile of contempt. The low level of the circles in which men like Nilus moved and worked is only too well known. It was the world of police denunciations, divorce perjuries, monastic servility and feigned, blasphemous piety. In order to attract attention, Nilus's 'Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion' had to emigrate from Russia. And the further away they went, the better they fared."



CHAPTER TWO

THE STORY FROM WHICH THE PROTOCOLS WERE FABRICATED

Essence of "Protocols" Was German Fiction of "Sir John Retcliffe"—Who Was "Retcliffe"?—His Infamous Record—His Bloodcurdling Story—The Meeting in the Cemetery—An Avowed Myth—Meeting Every Hundred Years Attended by "Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel"—The "Son of the Accursed" Also Attends and Provides Comic Interludes.

The query now naturally arises, what is the origin of these much heralded "Protocols" which were published in Russia by Sergius Nilus in 1905, and a copy of which, it is triumphantly announced, is now in the British Museum?

The anti-Jewish propagandists everywhere content themselves with the "history" of the origin of the "Protocols" as given by the "Russian mystic" Sergius Nilus. But fortunately "murder will out," and the criminals who perpetrated the stupendous forgery for the purpose of slandering the Jews have left behind clues that enable one to visualize the very process that they pursued in the perpetration of their crime.

In 1866-1870 there appeared in Berlin a series of novels entitled "Biarritz—Rome" purporting to have been written by "Sir John Retcliffe," the pseudonym of Herman Goedsche, a German novelist with an unsavory past. To conceal his identity and to convey the impression that the antisemitism with which his writings abounded emanated from English sources, he selected "Sir John Retcliffe" as his pen-name.

According to Meyer's Konversations Lexikon (Sixth edition, 1904, Volume VIII, page 77), Herman Goedsche was born in February, 1815, in Trachenberg, Silesia, and died on November 8, 1878, at Warmbrunn. He was employed in the postal service, but as he was implicated in the Waldeck forgery case, he left the service in 1849, and devoted himself to literary work. Under the name of "Armin" he published a number of works of fiction, but he was best known under the name of "Sir John Retcliffe," having published a series of sensational novels describing the Crimean war, "Sebastopol," "Rena-Sahib," "Villafranca," "Puebla," "Biarritz," in 1866. A new edition of these works appeared in Berlin in 1903-4.

Brockhaus' Konversations Lexikon (supplement volume XVII, 1904) refers to Goedsche, the novelist, known under the name of "Sir John Retcliffe" (formerly "Armin"), as having played an infamous role in the Waldeck forgery case. He was compelled to leave the postal service, and later became a member of the staff of the Preussische Kreutz Zeitung.

The chapter of the Goedsche-Retcliffe novel which on even a cursory reading will be found to contain the very essence of the Nilus Protocols was published as a separate booklet in a Russian translation in 1872, avowedly as a work of fiction. I have found a copy of this little volume in the Russian Department of the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.

An examination of this chapter, entitled "The Jewish Cemetery in Prague and the Council of Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel," will disclose the fact that every substantive statement contained in the Protocols and elaborated in them is to be found in the Goedsche-Retcliffe novelette.

We are thus supplied with an early draft of the so-called Protocols, which have now been given worldwide publicity by anti-Jewish propagandists, and which were first introduced to the world in the form of a clumsy piece of blood-curdling fiction of the dime-novel variety.

In substantiation of this statement I now present a translation of this chapter of the Russian version of this novel found in the Library of Congress in Washington, published in St. Petersburg nearly fifty years ago.



[Transliteration: EVREJSKOE KLADBISHHE V PRAGE

i

SOVET PREDSTAVITELEJ

DVENADCATI KOLEN IZRAILEVYH.

* * * * *

S.-PETERBURG. TIPOGRAFIJA TOVARISHHESTVA "OBSHHESTVENNAJA POL'ZA",

po mojke, u kruglago rynka, N 5.

1872. ]

Translation of Title Page

THE JEWISH CEMETERY IN PRAGUE And THE COUNCIL OF REPRESENTATIVES Of The Twelve Tribes of Israel

ST. PETERSBURG Printed by the Association "Obschestvenaya Polza" On the Moika, at the Round Market, No. 5 1872



[Transliteration: PREDISLOVIE.

Opisanie evrejskago kladbishha v Prage i legendarnyj razskaz o sobranii predstavitelej dvenadcati izrail'skih kolen zaimstvovany iz istoriko-politicheskago romana Sera Dzhona Redkliffa "Do Sedana", pomeshhennago v zhurnale, izdavaemom Nikolaem Stepanovichem L'vovym.

Soderzhanie legendy ne est' vymysel odnogo Redkliffa; skoree Redkliff, s svojstvennym emu fantasticheskim voobrazheniem, sobral chasti v odno celoe i okrasil vse poeticheskimi kraskami, porazhajushhimi, mozhet byt', chrezmernoju jarkostiju, no tem ne menee predstavljajushhimi interes.

* * * * *

Dozvoleno cenzuroju, S.-Peterburg, 17-go maja 1872 goda. ]



(Translation)

FOREWORD

"The description of the Jewish cemetery in Prague and the legendary story of the meeting of the representatives of the twelve tribes of Israel are borrowed from the historico-political novel by Sir John Radcliff, 'To Sedan,' published in the magazine edited by Nicholas Stepanovitch Lvoff.

"The contents of the legend are not the invention of Radcliff himself; rather Radcliff, with his characteristic fantastic imagination, collected various parts into one whole and painted all with poetic colors, which strike one perhaps by their excessive gaudiness, but which are nevertheless interesting."

* * * * *

Passed by the Censor, St. Petersburg, May 17, 1872

This product of "Radcliff's fantastic imagination," the work of one experienced in the perpetration of forgeries, will now be permitted to tell its own story. It requires no commentary. It clearly foreshadows the protocols, with all its accompaniment of melodrama, not even omitting the Devil, himself.

THE JEWISH CEMETERY IN PRAGUE

and

The Council of Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel

"The Jewish quarter of Prague represents a remarkable labyrinth of crooked and narrow streets; it is situated in the outskirts of Prague which witnessed numerous bloody episodes of Bohemian and German history. The dwellers of the dirty and dilapidated houses of this quarter are engaged in petty trading and profiteering in their own as well as in other parts of the city. Prague is the only city in Germany where the Jews live entirely isolated from the nation whose name they have taken in order to avail themselves of the privileges of the city population and to exploit it for their own purposes. The Jewish quarter in Prague is the same as the rag-fair in Vienna and the Temple in Paris. In these places deals amounting to thousands are transacted daily.

"If you take a few steps along this dirty, foul market-place, you will suddenly come upon an old, high, decayed wall which surrounds a space of from two to three acres. Elder-trees and other wild shrubbery wind around this wall. Old Jewish houses are crowded all along near this wall, threatened with destruction at any moment. The strange circle formed by this wall has an unwelcome, puzzling appearance.

"This is the city of the dead—the renowned Prague cemetery.

"In this abode of rest may be seen the spirit of the nation, whose bones found shelter here after long wandering,—here is stamped all its history, full of sufferings, struggles and resistance.

"It seems as though at any moment these tombs, overgrown with shrubbery, are ready to open, these stones growing for thousands of years are ready to raise themselves, and to let out into the world the restless wanderer with a pack upon his shoulder, with a staff in his hand, in order to go again to strange peoples,—to cheat and combat them and to seek a new Canaan—his dominion! The Jewish cemetery in Prague is the very oldest cemetery known. It was closed by order of the government a hundred years ago. For foreigners it is a historical landmark; for the Jews it is a sacred place. The impression of this deserted spot is intensified by its surroundings. Amidst the closely crowded tombs and monuments, overgrown with moss, only a narrow passage remains which is almost entirely covered with shrubbery of thorn-bushes and mat-weed.

"During the inspection, the watchman will tell the visitor the history of the death of Rabbi Ben Manasseh, the great conqueror of death, and Rabbi Loewe, the most learned Rabbi of the 17th century; he will speak of Simon the Just and of the Polish princess Anna Shmiless. He will then lead the visitor to the monument of Anna Kohn on which can be read the mysterious figure 606, which shows that the Jews, more than twelve hundred years ago, had buried their dead here, in the legendary times of Lyubush and her daughters.

"If we are not to believe this figure, we must nevertheless agree with the opinion of the Jews that this is the oldest settlement and the first Jewish community in Europe.

"Silently the Jewish guide and the curious foreigner go by one place where under an old lilac bush a heap of stone stands out, and when the foreigner asks, 'What is this?' the guide gives an evasive answer——

"'Beth Chaim—the house of life.' Thus is the cemetery called. Yes, indeed, this place of rest is a house of life, for from here is given the mysterious impulse which makes the exiles masters of the earth and tyrants of nations,—the impulse which directs the golden calf to the chosen tribe.

"The Jewish town has assumed a holiday aspect. The stands of the petty retailers have disappeared; Jewish boys and girls were strolling about in their holiday attire. The houses and windows were adorned with green branches. On the old benches sat men, talking seriously; in the alleys youths were chatting. From time to time men and women in their best Sabbath clothes were going to the synagogue, carrying prayer books in their hands; while poor Christian women whom need had forced to work in this quarter were running with keys and dishes in order to prepare for the feast.

"It was the last day of the Feast of Booths, the day of Assembly, and dusk was gathering over the narrow streets, while the Christian part of the city was still brightly illumined by the last rays of the setting sun. Two men (the older wore a black silk mantle, with long earlocks, which showed that he was a Polish Jew; the other was middle aged, in modern clothes, with diamond studs in his shirt and a heavy golden chain on his vest) walked along the narrow streets, without paying any attention to the crowd.

"The younger seemed to be the guide. Having come with his companion to the little house where the watchman of the cemetery lived, he knocked at the closed door, through a crevice of which the bright light of wax candles was seen, showing the watchman's holiday mood. It was a good summer—a large number of foreigners had visited the cemetery and were generous in their gifts.

"In the doorway appeared the thin face of the watchman, whose short-sighted eyes began to look fixedly into the darkness.

"'Come out into the street, Joel, somebody wants to talk to you!'

"'O, God of Justice,' said the watchman with amazement, as he came out of the door,—'One of the trustees! What is your pleasure to command me?'

"'This Rabbi desires to make a brief prayer in the cemetery; he is leaving to-morrow morning by train.'

"'In the cemetery? This evening? But you know yourself, Mr. Banker, that I am forbidden to open the gates after sunset, and to-night is also the holy Sabbath.'

"'First of all, there is no need for you to shout here about my calling,' replied the banker, displeased. 'Every Jewish rag-picker will know that banker Rosenberg was here to see you. As for the permit to open the gates, I myself, as a trustee, authorize you to do it. I will wait here until he has completed his prayer. The company in your house must not know what we are doing here. Arrange it so that the curious crowd will not rush in there.'

"The watchman disappeared in the house, but soon returned with a bunch of keys and opened the gates of the cemetery. He took a lantern along and was about to light it.

"'Don't!' said the Rabbi in a low voice. 'I don't need any light. Lock the gates from the inside!'

"'But, Mr. von Rosenberg——'

"'Lock it, I say!'

"The watchman obeyed.

"'Now lead me to the grave of the holy Rabbi Simeon-ben-Yehudah!'

"'Hold on to my coat, esteemed sir,' said the watchman. 'It is dark and you may stumble over the old graves.'

"'I can see better at night than in the daytime, my son!' answered the learned Polish Jew.

"'Here is the grave!'

"The old Rabbi reverently leaned over the tombstone. The watchman heard him pronounce a prayer in Jewish. He used so many words of ancient Hebrew, or some other words of a language he did not understand, that he knew only a few separate expressions, although he himself had been in the past a teacher at the Bohemian community.

"Having completed his prayer, the stranger turned to the watchman of the cemetery:

"'When you accepted the position from your predecessor, did he not give you certain instructions?'

"'Me?'

"'Yes, you! It was so from the day the first person was buried in this place.'

"'Well, and what if he did give such instructions,—how does that concern you? This the first time I am asked about this matter since I am employed here.'

"'Because this happens once in a hundred years, and human life rarely lasts as long as that.'

"'I see that you know about it, Rabbi,' said the frightened watchman. 'But I can obey you only if you mention the word which was given to me by my predecessor, because I took a sacred oath on the Bible.'

"The Polish Jew bent down and slowly pronounced a word of seven syllables.

"The watchman bowed respectfully.

"'You are the Rabbi!' he said. 'All will be done as you command!'

"'You will send away the friends who are feasting in your house before the clock strikes eleven. At the first stroke you will open the gates of the cemetery, and at the last stroke you will get into your house, lock the doors and windows, lie down in your bed and turn into a corpse together with the members of your household,—into a corpse that sees and hears nothing.'

"'I will neither look nor listen.'

"'The angel of death will leave your soul in your body and will force you to wander about among the graves to the end of time if you do not carry out my orders correctly. Now go, and remember that by virtue of your position you are the servant of the great Jerusalem synagogue. I need not tell you that you should not say anything to that vain, worldly man who brought me here.'

"Both returned to the gates, near which the banker was still on guard.

"'Well,' he said, 'your desire is fulfilled, Rabbi, and you may inform my friend in Warsaw that Rosenberg and Son are always ready to do a favor to a guest recommended by such a personage. Now let us go home; my wife is waiting for us.'

"'Let us go, my son,' replied the Rabbi. 'But relieve me of worldly pleasures. I shall spend the night in prayer!'

"The banker shrugged his shoulders and gave the watchman a gold coin.

"'Joel,' he said in a low voice, 'the other trustees of the community must not know about this violation of the rule.'

"The watchman nodded, and the companion again disappeared in the dark streets, which had already become deserted, while in the houses people talked merrily and the sounds of holiday festivities were heard.

"How poor, dirty and dark these little houses looked from outside! But it was quite different within! In the rear rooms of many of these houses the bright light of numerous wax candles was reflected in the splendid high mirrors, in expensive dishes and precious rugs. Girls and women, who in the morning perhaps walked with trays in their hands, now were seated at the tables in heavy silk gowns with golden chains and bracelets; their jewels and diamonds were glittering.

* * * * *

"The clock in the town-hall tower struck ten. In the chapel, near the statue of St. Nepomucenus, upon a stone bench, sat a large-sized man, with the pale serious face of Germanic type. Every physiognomist, looking at him, would have said that this man had devoted his youth to serious scientific work and that he had spent many sleepless nights over books.

"The clock had just struck ten when upon the bridge appeared a man in a light summer coat, of about the same age as the young scientist. His face was pale, of waxen color, without the slightest natural red in his cheeks; his particularly prominent nose indicated his Jewish extraction; his forehead was high and large, his head was strongly developed. He walked straight over to the man who was waiting and who quickly arose.

"'Good evening. I see you have received my letter. Have you it with you?'

"'Yes, I know it by heart, I have read it so many times. "My friend," it is written there, "I have promised to give you the key to the Caballah, if I ever find the opportunity to do so. Although I am not always in the habit of fulfilling my vows, I am ready to fulfil this one, if you will wait for me in the evening of October 8, in Prague, on the old Moldau bridge, under the statue of Nepomucenus." Then follows your name.'

"'Yes, that is correct. Have you not yet given up your desire?'

"'Less than ever before! You would render science an invaluable service.'

"'Listen, doctor, bend down a little over the rail; that of which we speak must not be heard even by the waves of the Moldau, if we wish to remain alive.'

"The young scientist looked in astonishment at his comrade, but did as he desired.

"'Three years ago, in Rome, when I promised to acquaint you with the mysteries of the Caballah, I did it more for the sake of boasting of a power and authority which, in reality, I did not possess. Although I had studied for some time the traditions of my nation, rather out of curiosity than because of the love of knowledge, I knew very well that I could hardly penetrate the corridor of those mysteries which I am still regarding as the sophistry and roguishness of exalted minds, invented for the purpose of holding fools in fear and subordination. But several accidental discoveries, made by me since then, have changed my views and have aroused in me a sense of curiosity.

"'You know, notwithstanding our brief acquaintance, that I am not the type of man who would abandon a clue or a conceived plan. What has caused me to make you my companion in satisfying my curiosity—that does not concern you. It is enough that now we have an opportunity to satisfy our mutual desire, and all depends on whether you will agree to accept the conditions upon which I can make you a partner in my investigation.'

"'If these are not against honor and conscience.'

"'In this respect you have nothing to risk, you are rather risking something else—your life. Do you feel that you are capable of facing a serious danger?'

"'For the sake of science, yes!'

"'Very well, in that case I must tell you that I will lead you to a place which we will not leave alive, if our presence is discovered. The slightest suspicion that we were uninvited witnesses of the secret will bring upon us persecution which will kill us sooner or later.'

"'You are whetting my curiosity, signor!'

"'That is all I wanted to tell you. The other thing—you know that I am a Jew by birth. Although the Jews have driven me from their midst and cursed me according to their custom and traditions because I adopted Christianity,—still I have my own reasons for stipulating a condition—your word of honor that you will be silent about all you will see and hear, until I authorize you to speak.'

"'I swear by my honor.'

"'Very well. You will recall in your investigations of the Caballah that in the mysterious books mention is made of a meeting of the heads or chosen ones of the nation,—a meeting which takes place from time to time?'

"'Yes, in the Yezire it is said very definitely, and if I understood correctly, such meetings take place every hundred years.'

"'Yes. The last meeting took place in 1760 and you recall that shortly afterward the movement of Judaism started. It is now 1787 years since the destruction of Jerusalem and this year is designated for a meeting of the Cabalistic Sanhedrin. This is the day of the meeting; the place is this city. I want to be present at this meeting in spite of the danger and am ready to take you along with me.'

"'But will it not be dishonest to listen, will it not be an unlawful interference with other people's secrets?'

"'Per Bacco! as we Italians say; with such hesitations you must abandon once for all the idea of fulfilling your desire. Or do you think that the people who guard the secret of the Caballah will bring it to you on a tray? As far as I am concerned, I shall discover the secret, at any cost!'

"After reflecting a few minutes, the scientist came to a decision.

"'I shall go with you, come what may!'

"'Very well. Now we have agreed. Let us go,—there is no time to lose.'"

* * * * *

"The tower clock of the town-hall struck eleven. At the first stroke a key clicked in the lock of the cemetery gates. Then followed profound silence which indicated that the cemetery was open. The lights in the Jewish houses were gradually dying out, and at the same time the sounds of the merry feasting also subsided.

"Mysterious silence reigned in that terrible place.

"The gates creaked softly; the rustling of long coats was heard, touching the stones and shrubbery; finally a vague white figure appeared and slipped by like a shadow along the pathways.

"This figure knelt before one of the tombstones; three times it touched the stone with its forehead and softly whispered a prayer.

"Along the path leading from the gates came an old man, bent, limping, sighing and coughing. He came over to the ancient tombstone, and lowered himself on his knees near the white figure that had entered before him, and he, too, whispered a prayer.

"Then heavy footsteps were heard, and a tall, impressive figure appeared on the road, clad in a white mantle, and he, too, fell down on his knees, as though unwillingly, in front of the tombstone.

"Thirteen times this was repeated. Thirteen old men came over to the tombstone. The doctor counted them, but he could not understand whether they were alive or dead. A shiver crept down his back, his heart began to beat faster from fright. He involuntarily recalled the terrible legend of the Day of Atonement in the tenth month, Tishri, in the synagogue of Posen when, during the prayer of Kol Nidrei, the congregation kept growing larger and larger; unknown people, pushing one another, wrapped in prayer shawls, came in, one hundred after another, until the terrified Rabbi lifted his hand as if to curse and exclaimed: 'He who has flesh in his cheeks, let him throw off the prayer shawl!' Hundreds remained covered, and when the prayer shawls were torn away from them, all saw the skulls of the dead who had come out of the graves to celebrate the Day of Atonement with the rest of the congregation.

"As there, it seemed to him that the prayer shawls had fallen off the heads of the praying old men, and a row of dead skulls appeared. At that moment the clock struck twelve. A sharp metallic sound rang out on the grave, after which a blue flame appeared and illumined the thirteen kneeling figures.

"'I greet you, Roshe beth Aboth (heads) of the twelve tribes of Israel,' announced a dull voice.

"'We greet you, son of the accursed.'

"'A hundred years have already passed. Where have the Nesiyim (princes of the tribes) come from?'

"'From the lands where the nation of Adonai has been scattered by the orders of our forefathers.'

"'Are you ready to fulfil the promise during the coming century?'

"'We are ready!'

"'Then say, whose representatives are you, and where do you come from? Tribe of Judah?'

"'From Amsterdam,' replied a strong, loud voice.

"'Tribe of Benjamin?'

"'Toledo!' came the dull answer.

"'Tribe of Levi?'

"'Worms!'

"'Tribe of Manasseh?'

"'Budapest!'

"'Tribe of Gad?'

"'Cracow!'

"'Tribe of Simeon?'

"'Rome!'

"'Tribe of Zebulun?'

"'Paris!'

"'Tribe of Dan?'

"'Constantinople!'

"'Tribe of Asher?'

"'London!'

"'Tribe of Issachar?'

"The answer came in a faint voice and could not be heard distinctly.

"'Tribe of Naphtali?'

"'Prague!'

"'And I am the representative of the unfortunate and exiles,' said the man who asked the questions in a dull voice. 'I am myself wandering about all over the world in order that I may unite you for the sake of the cause of redemption which has been promised to the seed of Abraham and which was taken from them by the sons of him who was crucified! Who is here of the house of Aaron, let him rise, scrutinize the heads of the tribes and gather the council.'

"The man who was the first to arrive rose and then seated himself upon the tombstone. One by one the others came over to him and whispered in his ear a seven-syllabled word, and each time he nodded in approval. After that all returned to their former places. 'Brethren,' said the Levite, 'our fathers formed a union which compels all those chosen as representatives of the tribes to gather every hundred years at the grave of the great teacher of Caballah whose doctrines give the chosen ones power on earth and supremacy over all the descendants of Ishmael. Eighteen hundred years the struggle has been conducted by the nation of Israel for supremacy which was promised to Abraham and which was taken away from us by the Cross. Trampled under foot by our enemies, under the terror of death and all kinds of humiliation and violence, the nation of Israel, nevertheless, has not abandoned this struggle, and as they are scattered all over the earth, the whole earth must belong to them! Our learned men are conducting this struggle for hundreds of years; the nation is gradually rising from its fall; its power is growing and spreading. To us belongs the earthly god, which was made for us with such sorrow by Aaron in the desert ... the Golden Calf which the backsliders are worshipping!'

"'We hear!' they whispered on all sides.

"'When all the gold on earth will be ours, the power will go over to us. Then will be fulfilled the promise made to Abraham. Gold is the ruler of the earth. Gold is power, reward, pleasure ... all that human beings fear and desire. This is the mystery of the Caballa ... the teachings concerning the spirit which rules the world, and about the future! Eighteen centuries we have belonged to our enemies. The future belongs to us. For the fifth time in the course of the thousand-year-old struggle to which we have consecrated ourselves, those who know of the existence of the secret union have gathered here to take counsel as to the means which are afforded us by the sins of our enemies, and each time, for five hundreds years, a new Sanhedrim, ordered the fiercest struggle. But, excepting Russia, not a single century has been crowned with such success as this one. Therefore we may think that the time for which we are striving is near, and we may say, "The Future is ours!"'

"'Yes, if persecutions against the Jews will not take place in the meantime!' pointed out one of the men with a bitter smile.

"'The dark days of such a danger are passed. The success of so-called civilization among the Christian nations may serve as the best protection for our endeavors. Before listening to the individual opinions, let us examine the material means, the pure capital possessed by the nation of Israel....'

"'But against the three and a half million Jews with their money there are 265 million enemies in Europe, or rather 500 million fists,' remarked one of these present.

"'The head will protect us against the fists, as in the past. Labor is the slave of speculation, and violence is the slave of wisdom. Who will deny that cunning is the distinctive trait of our nation?

"'Our nation is ostentatious and greedy, arrogant and pleasure-loving.

"'Where there is light there is also shadow. It is not in vain that Adonai our God gave his chosen people the tenacity of a snake, the cunning of a fox, the look of a falcon, the memory of a dog, the diligence of an ant, and the sociability of a beaver. We were in captivity on the rivers of Babylon, and have become powerful! Our temple was destroyed, but we have built a thousand new temples! For eighteen hundreds years we were slaves; now we have grown head and shoulders above all other nations.'

"All the twelve pronounced the concluding words—

"'Brethren,' said the Levite, 'the time has come when, in accordance with the laws of the founder of our union, we must determine ways and means by which the Jews shall attain their goal as soon as possible; our experience of a hundred years will help us in this. We who know must direct and guide the masses which are blind. We, the builders, will combine the dead stones into a pillar which must reach the sky.'

"'The Tower of Babel was destroyed by the hand of Him whose name I dare not pronounce,' said the sceptic.

"'Our structure rests upon the foundation of the promise made to Abraham. It is your turn to speak, representative of the tribe of Reuben! By what means will the Jewish nation achieve power and supremacy over all other nations on earth?'

"A shrill, unpleasant voice then spoke:

"'All the princes and the lands of Europe are at present in debt. The stock exchange regulates these debts. But such things are done only by movable capital; therefore all the movable capital must go over to the hands of the Jews. The foundation for this is already laid, judging from what we have heard here. If we will be supreme in the stock exchange, we will attain the same supremacy in the governments. Therefore it is necessary to facilitate loans in order to get them into our hands all the more. Wherever possible, we must take in exchange for capital, mortgages on railroads, taxes, mines, regalia and domains. Furthermore, the stock exchange is a means for the transfer of the belongings of the small people to the hands of the capitalists, by drawing them into stock gambling. Transactions in securities are a splendid invention of our nation. Although the stock exchange members cheat one another sometimes, it is the outsider who always pays in the end.'

"The voice which resounded on the Paris Bourse became silent.

"'Do the zekenim agree with the opinion of our brother?' asked the Levite.

"A whisper of approbation was the answer to this question.

"'Representative of the tribe of Simeon, it is your turn now!'

"A serious, dull voice resounded after this order. Each word was pronounced slowly and thoughtfully:

"'Ownership of land is always the iron-clad, everlasting possession of every country. This in itself gives power, respect and influence. Therefore, the Jews should secure the possibility of acquiring real estate. It will not be hard to accomplish this, if we acquire movable capital. Therefore it is necessary to facilitate loans on land. Under the fear of scandal we will destroy land wealth and minimize its importance. Ownership of land should be mobilized, if lands are sold as other commodities. The more we help in the breaking up of estates, the more easily will they fall into our hands. Under the pretext of relieving the poor classes, it is necessary to levy all taxes of states and communities on the land owners. When the land is in our hands, the labor of the Christian workers and farmers will give us a tenfold income.'

"He who did not belong to any tribe laughed sneeringly.

"'This advice is good, but not new. Ask in Paris and in Vienna, who owns the houses there?'

"A whisper of approbation was heard again.

"'Tribe of Judah, your turn!'

"The voice that resounded was marked with conviction and reminded one of the sound of the Thaller.

"'Industry, the power of the burgher, which hinders the Jewish nation, must be paralyzed even as agriculture. The manufacturer should be no better than an ordinary worker. The means to accomplish this may be the unlimited freedom of trade. The manufacturer will take the place of the artisan as he does not have to work, only to speculate. The children of Israel can adapt themselves to all branches of work. Their capital and dexterity will be the substitute for right. Transforming the artisans into our factory workers, we will be in a position to direct the masses for our political purposes. Whoever resists this system will be destroyed by competition. The senseless and ungrateful masses will not support the artisans in this struggle, if commodities are reduced in price to a certain extent.

"A noisy approbation of the new Sanhedrin showed that the soundness of this advice had long been appreciated and even applied in practice.

"'Now it is my turn,' said the representative of Levi—'I speak in the name of the tribe of Aaron. The natural enemy of the Jews is the Christian church. Therefore we must try to humiliate it, we must instill into it free-thinking, scepticism, and conflicts. Therefore we will, first of all, start a war on the clergy, we will try to arouse suspicion against it and ridicule it. The main pillar of the church is the school. Therefore we must gain influence over the young. Under the guise of progress and the equal rights of all religions, we will destroy the study of religion in Christian schools. Then the Jews may become teachers in all schools; then religion will be taught at home. And as there is little time left for that, the spirit of religion will gradually decline, and eventually it will be destroyed altogether. Agitation for the appropriation of property belonging to the churches and schools, the transfer of church property to the state, or (what is the same) into the hands of the Jews, will be our reward!'

"Again approbation followed the words of the man who had spoken. Nobody contradicted him and he announced:

"'Representative of the tribe of Isaachar, it is your turn!'

"Now an old, trembling voice spoke:

"'Let our brethren strive for the abolition of armed force. The coarse military art is not for the sons of Israel. Not everyone can be a Gideon! The army is for the defense of the throne and the school of narrow patriotism. Not the sword, but reason and money must rule. Therefore at every opportune instance, it is necessary to help the downfall of the military class, to arouse suspicion in the masses against it, and to incite animosity against one another. It is enough for the soldiers to do police duty and to protect the wealthy from those who have nothing.'

"'The Lion of Judah has spoken,' said the stranger angrily. 'David conquered Goliath. The nations will soon wear long coats instead of military armour. A slap on the bourse will be equivalent to a lost battle.'

"It looked as though a storm was rising against this arrogant sarcasm, but one word from the eldest restored them all to calm.

"'This is the son of Baal! He may say whatever he pleases. But he will do whatever is decided by the council of the tribes.'

"'The tribe of Zebulun may speak!'

"A dull voice, like a storm in the distance, said as follows:

"'Our nation is conservative to its very root, and clings fast to what is old. But our interest demands that we participate, or, rather, direct the movements of nations. It is indisputable that ours is a time of many reforms, whose main purpose is the amelioration of the material condition of the needy classes. But for this the propertied classes must sacrifice their capitals. Capital is in the hands of the Jews. Therefore they must outwardly take part in the movement and try to divert it from social and political reforms. The masses themselves are blind and foolish, and permit the shouters to rule over them. Who shouts more loudly and more shrewdly than the Jews? Therefore our nation has been the first on the platform, in the press, and in all Christian communities! The more communities and meetings, the more dissatisfaction and idleness. From this it follows inevitably that the people grow poorer, that they become subjected to those who have money, leading to the enrichment of the latter. Besides, every movement makes us richer, for the smaller people are ruined and are contracting debts. The unstability of the foundation increases our power and our influence. Therefore the support of every kind of dissatisfaction, every revolution, increases our capital and brings us nearer to our goal.'

"This terrible speech was followed by prolonged silence. Every member of this secret Sanhedrim seemed to be thinking of its terrible meaning. The son of Baal again laughed hoarsely.

"'Are you afraid of blood? It isn't yours.'

"Then one member of the gathering expressed his approval, and all others followed his example.

"'Son of the tribe of Dan, your turn!'

"The answer bore the stamp of a Jew of the lower order:

"'Every business in which there is speculation and profit must be in our hands. That is our natural right. First of all, we must get control of the traffic in liquor, butter, wool, and bread. Then we shall have in our hands agriculture, farming. We can prepare bread everywhere, and if dissatisfaction and want should arise, we can easily throw the blame on the government. Petty wares, which give a great deal of trouble and yield very little profit, we can leave in the hands of the Christians. Let them work hard and suffer as the chosen people suffered for several centuries.'

"This speech scarcely needed approval. The Levite called on the next one.

"'Tribe of Naphtali?'

"The following words rang out shrilly and with assurance:

"'All governmental positions should be open to us. Once this principle is established, the cunning and flattery of the Jewish employees will help them to penetrate even there, and they will have real influence. I am speaking only of the posts which bring honor, power, and pre-eminence. Positions which require work and knowledge may remain for the Christians. Therefore the Jews may neglect positions of secondary importance. Justice is very important for us, the law is a great step forward. This occupation is suited to the cunning and skill of our people and gives us influence and power against our natural enemies. Why can't a Jew be Minister of Education as he has already been more than once Minister of Finance?'

"'Remember the scaffold of Haman, the fate of Shushan and Leopold!' said a warning voice.

"'Why does the raven croak about the past which is so distant and almost forgotten? More than one of our people has been a Minister in France and respected by the King himself.'

"Approval was expressed in a tone of satisfied pride; then the orator continued:

"'Our people must be among the legislators of the governments. The laws of the goyim against the children of Israel must be abolished. We will maintain the laws of our Fathers. We need no longer any laws that would protect us. No. We must concern ourselves about laws that will give us privileges. A mild law respecting bankruptcy, promulgated in the interests of humanity, would be a golden mountain in our hands. First of all we must see to it that the law regarding usury is abolished in all countries under the pretext that money would thereby become cheaper. Money is just such a commodity as others, and the law should give us the right to regulate its price according to our desire.'

"'Now is the turn for the tribe of Benjamin.'

"'What can I add to the counsel of such wise men? The Jew should also make use of honors, and should be at the head of all organizations that may give him honor without risks, and he should engage in science and the arts which are more adapted to the character of our people and which we can master more easily. We can become good actors and philosophers, because there is room for speculation in these domains. In the arts our people will look after the reception and will burn incense to ourselves. In science we will take up medicine and philosophy. These afford opportunities for theories and speculation. A physician penetrates the secrets of families and holds their lives in his hands.'

"'Tribe of Asher, your turn!'

"'We must demand free marriage between Jews and Christians. Israel will only be the gainer, even though there be an admixture of impure blood to a certain degree. Our sons and daughters will marry into renowned and powerful Christian families. We give money and thus have influence. The Christian relationship cannot have a bad influence on us, while we can exert a strong influence over them. That is one thing. Another thing is that we respect the Jewish woman and we enjoy the forbidden pleasure with the women of our enemies. We have money, and for money we can get everything. A Jew must never make a daughter of his own race his mistress. If he should desire to sin against the Seventh Commandment he should content himself with Christian girls.'

"'What is the use of employing the beautiful girls of the goyim in our stores if not for this?' angrily interposed the representative of the evil spirit. 'Whoever will not want to satisfy our desire will get no work, consequently no bread. Go to the large cities and you will see that they are not waiting for your wise men's orders. Substitute a contract for sacrament in the marriage of Christians and their wives and daughters will come to you still more readily.'

"The terrible cynicism of these words, touching such a delicate subject, must have produced a profound impression, especially since the views of the ancient doctrines were so strict on the topic of moral purity.

"'What does the law say?' asked one of the twelve.

"'For adultery with a woman of our own people—death; for seducing a girl—a fine, if she was not betrothed; if she was betrothed—death. But the law is not so rigorous with regard to one who lives with a slave—her body belongs to her master.'

"'Are the goyim better than our slaves?'

"This explanation was followed by a whisper of approval.

"'The tribe of Manasseh may speak now!'

"The last of the orators lifted his hand and during his speech he raised and lowered it, as if desiring thus to make a stronger impression by his words. His voice was hoarse and unpleasant, but he spoke skilfully and with assurance.

"'If gold is the first power in the world, the press is the second. Of what value are all the opinions and advice given here without the aid of the press? We will attain our aim only when the press is in our hands. Our people must direct the daily publications. We are cunning, shrewd, and we possess money which we know how to utilize for our purposes. We need great political newspapers which mold public opinion—criticism, the literature of the streets and the stage. In this way we will crowd out the Christians step by step, and will dictate to the world what it should believe in, what it should respect, and what it should curse. We will repeat the sorrowful cry of Israel and the complaints against the persecutions which are directed against us. Then, even though each individual may be against us, the masses, in their stupidity, will always be for us. With the press in our hands, we can turn wrong into right, dishonesty into honesty. We can shake all foundations, and separate families. We can destroy faith in all that our enemies, until now, have believed. We can ruin credits and arouse passions. We can declare war; we can award fame or disgrace. We can uplift or ruin talent.

"'When Israel shall have gold and the press in his hands, we will be able to ask: "On what day will it please you to put on Atarah (crown) which belongs to us by right, to erect Shisse (?) and extend the Shebet (sceptre) over the nations of the earth?"'

"A noisy greeting followed these words and the agitated men who listened hardly understood for some time what was being said at the meeting. At last the voice of the Levite called upon all to be silent.

"'The Roshe-Bate-Aboth of the twelve tribes have uttered words of wisdom. These words will be as pillars for the times to come, if the son of him "who has not rest" will write these words upon his memory and spread the seeds among the nation of Israel in order that it may grow to be a mighty tree. They will be the sword with which Israel will strike down his enemies. Our posterity must share among themselves happiness, wealth and power as it shared misfortune and dangers. They must help one another. Wherever one of them places his foot, he must drag another—his brother—along with him. If one of them is unfortunate, others must help him, if he but lives according to the law of our nation.

"'He who was in prison for ten years, may become a rich man to whom princes will bow, if only our people will not forsake him. Where everybody is against us, all will be for us. After forty years of wandering in the desert, the hand of Jehovah brought us to power in the land of Canaan; the same hand will lead us after forty-five times forty years from our misfortune and miseries to rule over lands which are forty-five times vaster than Canaan. If Israel shall obey the decision here adopted by the Sanhedrin of the Caballah, our grandchildren, coming a hundred years hence to the grave of the founder of our union, will announce to him that they have indeed become the princes of the world and that the promise made to the nation of Israel has been fulfilled. Other nations will become his slaves! Renew our oath, sons of the golden calf, and go to all lands of the world.'

"The blue flame flared up brightly upon the grave of the Rabbi; each of the thirteen threw upon the tomb a stone which each carried under his cloak.

"It seemed to the doctor that on the top of the tombstone, in the bluish flame, there appeared a monstrous golden figure of an animal.

"Then he heard the same metallic sound that he had heard when the light first appeared. Then impenetrable darkness covered the cemetery.

"The white figures again slipped by among the tombstones. The gates creaked softly.

"The clock in the tower struck two past midnight. The last of the mysterious visitors knocked at the window and a hoarse voice said (as though the speaker knew that the watchman was not asleep):

"'Close the house of life, watchman of those who are awaiting the resurrection, and may your lips be sealed with the seal of Solomon for a hundred years.'

"The scholar still lay motionless; he was afraid to stir; all he had heard had made upon him such a dreadful impression.

"A noise near him indicated that his companion was rising.

"'To concentrate in their hands all the capital of the nations of all lands; to secure possession of all the land, railroads, mines, houses; to be at the head of all organizations, to occupy the highest governmental posts, to paralyze commerce and industry everywhere, to seize the press, to direct legislation, public opinion and national movements—and all for the purpose of subjugating all nations on earth to their power! No! I shall struggle against the golden calf and shall smash it to pieces as Moses smashed it in the desert.'

"'What we heard is a threat against all society. Here is my hand, I will be your comrade in this struggle against the power of gold.'

"The Italian shook his head, but accepted the extended hand. 'No,' he said, 'I want to act alone. There is a force which, if properly directed, is not weaker than gold. That force is poverty and her companion, labor. I shall call them out and lead them into battle. Proud Israel! Beware! I shall put against you the Artel (union) and Labor.'

"'And I,' said the scholar, with animation, 'all that is lofty and noble,—science, idealism, faith—I shall lead these against this materialism.'

"His comrade laughed:

"'Your ideals will crumble as clay striking against metal. Only the forces of poverty and hunger can be the fighters that will defeat the golden calf. Our ways part here; you will go one way, and I another. My promise is fulfilled; but remember your vow—be silent as to all that you have heard and seen here!'"

This is the weird, fantastic "thriller" from which sprang the Protocols. It is the first stage. According to this story not only were there present at a secret meeting in the Prague Cemetery, the representatives of the twelve tribes of Israel, ten of which totally disappeared nearly twenty-five centuries ago, but also the son of "the accursed one," the Devil, was there, making side-remarks from time to time. His assigned function was that of spreading the decisions of the Wise Men of Zion among the Jews in order that they conquer the world.

Dr. Herman L. Strack, professor of theology at the University of Berlin, one of the foremost Christian authorities on theological and religious literature, commenting on this Goedsche-Retcliffe concoction, says that this tale of the ghostly convocation in the Jewish cemetery at Prague, discloses no real knowledge of Judaism, that the reference to mixed marriages indicates gross ignorance of actual Jewish thought, and that the Hebrew words supposed to have been employed by the spokesmen for the various tribes appear to have been borrowed from a dictionary. He also points to Goedsche-Retcliffe's story and the "Rabbi's Speech" about to be mentioned as the sources of the Protocols.



CHAPTER THREE

FICTION FORGED INTO "FACT"

The Lie in its Second Stage—The Tale Becomes "Fact"—The "Rabbi's" Speech—Its Authenticity Vouched for by "Retcliffe"—An Illuminating Footnote—A Dedication to the Russian "Black Hundreds"—The Imaginary "Speech" Bears Witness to Authenticity of "Protocols," Themselves Based on "Speech"—Three Stages of the Lie.

A number of years after this Russian translation of the Goedsche-Retcliffe story appeared, Sir John Retcliffe, alias Goedsche, deeming it important for his purpose of adding fuel to the flame of anti-semitism that had been lighted in Germany, undertook to convert this work of fiction, this offspring of his imagination, into a statement of fact. This led him to adopt the simple device of consolidating into one continuous speech the dialogue contained in his shilling shocker, and putting the speech into the mouth of an imaginary Rabbi in such a way as to make it appear to be an address delivered by him to a secret convocation of Jews. And the very man who had invented the speeches set down in his work of fiction twenty years before, now vouched for the authenticity of the obviously fabricated speech which he attributed to a Rabbi who had his birth in the contorted mind of this notorious forger.

A translation from the Russian of the apocryphal "Rabbi's Speech," with the introductory note as published in Russia by G. Butmi, in 1907, in a book entitled "The Enemy of the Human Race," dedicated by the author to the Black Hundreds, will now be laid before the reader. A comparison of it, with the scene in the cemetery, will at once demonstrate the identity of authorship. Below is a facsimile of the title page of this book, a copy of which is in the Russian collection of the Library of Congress, in Washington, D. C.



[Transliteration: G. BUTMI.

OBLICHITEL'NYJA RECHI.

VRAGI

RODA CHELOVECHESKAGO.

POSVJASHHAETSJA SOJUZU RUSSKAGO NARODA.

Chetvertoe, obrabotannoe i dopolnennoe izdanie.

S.-PETERBURG.

Tip. Uchilishha Gluhonemyh Gorohovaja, 18.

1907. ]

THE RABBI'S SPEECH

To the Jewish People.[*]

[Footnote *: NOTE. (Toward the end of the last century there appeared a book in London by Retcliffe entitled "A Review of Political and Historical Events During the Past Ten Years." This work was translated into French. The French periodical press, without waiting for the complete translation of the book, reproduced certain parts of it because they were of special interest. Thus the French newspapers and magazines published translations from the English of an intensely interesting speech, most edifying for Russia (from the Hebrew), delivered by one of the Rabbis, THE AUTHENTICITY OF WHICH SPEECH IS VOUCHED FOR BY THE ABOVE-MENTIONED AUTHOR. This inimitable gem must in the eyes of Russians assume all the more importance since it is brought out by that "highly civilized" humane and practical country, England, which has given protection to the Russian Jews against the unsuccessfully invented persecutions on the part of the Russian government and people. This monstrous document was sent at the time in printed form, in the French language, to the editorial office of the Odessa newspaper "Novorosisk Telegraph" for those who might want to examine the accuracy of the translation published in No. 4996 of that newspaper, dated January 15, 1891, and reprinted in No. 21 of the Petersburg newspaper "Znamya," dated January 22, 1904. THE SPEECH RELATES TO THE TIME OF THE SANHEDRIN OF 1869.)]

[Paragraphs which are indented and parts in italics were omitted in the Butmi version, but are given in the French publication "Le Peril Judeo Maconnique—I. Les Protocols des Sages de Zion," by Jouin, Paris, 1920.]

"Our fathers ordained the chosen ones in Israel to gather, without fail, once every century, at the grave of our great Master Caleb, the sainted Rabbi Simeon Ben Judah, whose great knowledge is imparted to the elect of each generation to gain the power over the whole world and authority over all the descendants of Israel....

"It is already eighteen centuries that the war of Israel is being waged with the power which had been promised to Abraham but which had been snatched away from him by the Cross. Trampled under foot, humiliated by his enemies, ceaselessly under threats of death, of persecution, of rapine and violence of every sort, Israel has not succumbed; and if he is dispersed over the whole world it is because the whole world should belong to him.

"It has been for a few [eighteen] centuries now that our learned men have been fighting against the Cross with courage and persistence which nothing can break. Our people is rising gradually and, with each day, its forces are growing. It is to us that this God of the day belongs, which was erected by Aaron in the wilderness, this golden calf, this universal deity of the epoch.

"When we become, at last, the sole possessors of all the gold to be found on earth, the true power will practically be transferred to our hands, and the promises made to Abraham will be fulfilled. Gold—is the greatest power on earth; it is might, reward, the instrument of every authority, it is all man, both fears and desires. This is the sole mystery, the most profound science of that spirit with the aid of which the entire world is ruled. This is what the future holds in store. Eighteen centuries have belonged to our enemies; this century and the following must belong to us, the People of Israel, and will be ours, without fail. Here, for the tenth time during a thousand years of cruel and incessant struggle with our enemies, have assembled at this cemetery; at the grave of the great Master, Caleb, the sainted Rabbi Simeon Ben Judah, the elect of each of the tribes of the Israelite people, in order to discuss and agree upon, the means of making use, in the interests of our cause, of all the tremendous mistakes and errors, which our enemies—the Christians—have not ceased to commit. Every time the new Sanhedrin (assembly) proclaimed and preached merciless warfare against our enemies, but not once during the past centuries did our forefathers succeed in concentrating in our hands such an enormous quantity of gold [and consequently of power] as the nineteenth century has given us. We are therefore able, without any senseless illusions, to flatter ourselves with the hope of attaining our goal before long, and we can look forward with assurance into the very eyes of the future.

"Persecutions and insults,—these sombre and tortuous times, which the people of Israel bore with heroic patience,—have fortunately come to an end, owing to the progress of civilization among the Christians, and this progress is the best shield under which we can hide and scheme, in order that we may cover quickly and decisively the last leg of that distance which divides us from our supreme aim. Let us cast a cursory glance at the economic situation of Europe and analyze the resources which fell to the Israelites from the beginning of the present century, owing to the concentration in their hands of the tremendous capital which is in their possession at the present time. It turns out that in Paris, London, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Rome, Naples, etc. [and in all lands—the Rothschilds], that everywhere, the Israelites are the masters of the financial situation, being as they are possessors of many billions, not to mention localities of the second and third class where all the financial funds are in their hands and not mentioning that, without their direct influence, no financial operation, no work of any importance, could be carried out anywhere at any time. At present, all the emperors, kings and ruling princes are burdened with tremendous debts incurred in order to be able to maintain numerous standing armies [to sustain their tottering thrones]. The Bourse quotes and regulates these moneys, and we are the full masters of the Bourse in all the centres of the globe. The problem before us now is to facilitate even to a greater extent the means of contracting these loans and thus to become the sole managers of all valuables, after which the exploitation of all their railroads, mines, forests, large factories and industrial plants, as well as of all other (real property) including duties and taxes, will fall into our hands, as a security for the capital lent by us to the various States.

"Agriculture will forever remain the principal source of a country's wealth. The possession of large plots of land will pave for us even a broader way to honors and will strengthen our influence (over the highest officials of the country). From this follows, that our efforts will be directed towards inducing our brethren in Israel to make large agricultural purchases. We must, therefore, do our utmost to break up large estates into small parcels, in order to be able to purchase them in the easiest and quickest way. Under the pretext of trying to help the working classes, it is necessary to oppress the large landowners with taxation in all its severity. When these possessions will thus gradually be transferred into our hands, the whole labor of the Christian proletariat will become for us a new source of tremendous profits. Since the Christian Church is one of our most dangerous enemies, we must work tirelessly to weaken its influence, and in order to accomplish this, it is necessary to use all our efforts to implant in the Christian intellectual class ideas of atheism, scepticism, dissension and to call forth religious disputes among the newly-formed groups and sects of Christendom.

"Logically, we must begin by depreciating the ministers of this religion. Let us declare open war on them, let us provoke suspicions on their devotion, on their private conduct, and by ridicule and persiflage we shall be right in the consideration attached to the state and the costume of the priest.

"Every war, every revolution, every political and religious upheaval brings nearer the moment when we shall attain the great end for which we have been striving so long. Commerce and speculation—these branches, most plentiful in their fruits,—must never be suffered to slip out of the hands of the Israelites.

"... and once these branches have become identified with us, we shall, through the flattery and perspicacity of our executives, know how to penetrate to the prime source of true influence and power. It is understood that we are concerned only with those pursuits that entail honors, power or privileges, for all those that require knowledge, labor or disagreeable conditions, these can and should be left to the Christians. The magistrature is an institution of prime importance for us. The legal profession develops most the faculty of civilization and initiates one furthest in the affairs of our natural enemies, the Christians, and it is through it that we can subject them to our mercy. Why should not the Jews become Ministers of Instruction when they have so often been Ministers of Finance? The Jews must also aspire to the rank of legislators with the object of abrogating the laws made by the Goim, faithless sinners, against the sons of Israel, the true believers, in their invariable attachment to the holy laws of Abraham.

"Moreover, on this point, our plan is nearing the most complete realization, for progress has nearly everywhere recognized and accorded to us the same civic rights as to Christians, but that which it is of importance to obtain, that which must be the object of our ceaseless efforts, is a law less severe on bankruptcy. We shall make of it a gold mine more rich than were ever the mines of California.

"With this object in view the people of Israel must direct its ambition towards those high offices of authority which have the power to distribute honors and esteem. The most assured way of attaining such offices is to have weight and importance in the various industrial enterprises, financial and commercial operations, and to be on guard for all pitfalls and temptations which may lead to the prosecution of the sons of Israel in the country's courts.

"Our people, in deciding upon one operation or another, must be guided by wisdom and tact, which are the distinguishing traits of its natural gifts. We must not remain passive to anything that may aid us in gaining a place of honor in society; philosophy, medicine, law, political economy—in other words, all branches of science, art, literature—represent a wide field where even our smallest successes, developing our abilities, will be of great benefit to our cause.

"These vocations are inseparable from speculation. Thus the production of a musical composition, even though it be very mediocre, will furnish to our co-religionists a plausible reason for elevating on a pedestal and surrounding with a halo the Jew who will be the author of it. As for the sciences, medicine and philosophy, they must equally be a part of our intellectual domain.

"To the physician are usually confided the most intimate secrets of the family and he, therefore, holds in his hands the health and life of our ancient enemies—the Christians. We are obliged to encourage matrimonial unions between Israelites and Christians, for the people of Israel, risking no loss whatsoever from such contact, will only gain from such unions.

"... The introduction of a certain quantity of impure blood into our God-chosen race will not corrupt it. Our daughters will furnish us with these marriages alliances with Christian families that possess influence and power. In exchange for the money that we give, it is just that we obtain influence on everything that surrounds us.

"Our relationship with the Christians will not make us deviate from the path we have always been following; on the contrary, with a certain degree of artfulness and cunning, this relationship will gradually make us full masters of their destinies. It is desirable, that the Israelites refrain from keeping concubines of our holy faith and rather select Christian girls for the part. The substitution of the simple formality of a contract before some civil power for the church ceremony is of the greatest importance to us, because on this condition Christian women will overflow our camp.—If gold is the first power on this earth, then the second power is undoubtedly the press. But of what significance is the latter without the former? Since we cannot realize all the above-stated aims without the assistance of the press, it is absolutely necessary that the management of all the newspapers and magazines of all the countries, be in our hands. The possession of gold, of the press and of sufficient means for the satisfaction of certain qualities of its soul, will make us masters of public opinion and will subjugate to us the masses.

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