Protocols of the Elders of Zion

   Originating in Russia and evidently plagiarized by the Tsar's secret police from a little-known French satirical attack of 1864 on the despotism of Louis Napoleon, the Protocols out-lined in twenty-four lectures a mysterious Jewish conspiracy to subvert and control the Christian world. Posing as the secret writings of the learned elders" of international Jewry, they were tailored for a Russian audience under various titles between 1903-1907. Upon the collapse of tsarist Russia, the documents were filtered to the West by White Russian refugees, some of whom hoped that the Western powers might view Bolshevism as a Jewish plot to subjugate the world. It was apparently through two such refugees, Pyotr Nikolaevich Shabel-sky-Bork and Fyodor Viktorovich Vinberg, that Captain Ludwig Müller received his first copy of the Protocols. An ardent anti-Semite, Müller translated the documents and published them in January 1920 as Die Geheimnisse der Weisen von Zion.
   Although a journalist for the London Times proved in 1921 that the Protocols were a forgery, they retained their German market, and anti-Semites persisted in taking them seriously. Among those convinced of their authenticity were the deposed Kaiser and Erich Ludendorff*; meanwhile, the racist publisher and Reichstag* member Ernst zu Reventlow, knowing that they were fraudulent, championed their authenticity. In the wake of Walther Rathenau's* assassina-tion* (June 1922), the writings were publicly denounced by the SPD; labeling them "gross falsifications," the SPD laid part of the blame for Rathenau's death on the Protocols. But by the time Hitler* seized power, Müller's translation was in its thirty-third edition, and the sales of numerous titles providing commentary on the Protocols were in the hundreds of thousands. The forgery was promoted and widely circulated throughout the Third Reich.
   REFERENCES:Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide; Niewyk, Socialist; Parkes, Anti-semitism.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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