Modern Jewish History Lectures

The following list includes lectures given by George L. Mosse in the Spring of 1971.

This was the first course Mosse taught that was specifically devoted to modern Jewish history. The lectures were recorded by Mosse student Sydney Iwanter. Audio quality varies, but most of the content is audible. Summaries and transcripts of the lectures accompany the recordings.

Lecture #1

Lecture #1 - 45:34 - Lecture 1 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

Mosse begins the semester with Moses Mendelssohn and his “Jerusalem” of 1783. As a son of Enlightenment, Mendelssohn believed that religion should never be “enforced” and his work tried to balance the Enlightenment and Judaism. Convictions, according to Mendelssohn, could not be put under restraint, since they belonged to man’s cognition- the rational judgment of the mind. Judaism, he maintained, knew no forcing. Even Moses on Mt. Sinai never commanded - only appealed - to action. For Mendelssohn, what Moses did was to activate the “categorical imperative” of the children of Israel. Moses’ message was that man was never the means, only the end. Mendelssohn thus attempts to reduce Jewish law to rational truth.

Mosse comes back to a famous story from rabbinical literature, recounting how Hillel, when asked to explain Judaism to someone standing on one foot, responded: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” That is Judaism. The speaker’s sentiments, though, are the feelings of the Enlightenment. God only gave the ceremonial law to the Jews to preserve the purity of the minimum doctrine. The latter is necessary since amid heathens and fools, God must keep his message pure. To do so is the purpose of the ceremonial law. The law itself does not force men to thought, but merely prescribes deeds and acts. Yet, by prescribing deeds, it leads men to thoughts. The purpose of deeds is to keep man’s thoughts pure. Moreover, through ceremonial law, the Jews become a unity. Mendelssohn emphasizes that the Jew is the custodian of the Enlightenment in a way the Christians can never be because Christians have a belief in supernatural revelation. Thus, the “mission” of Judaism is to proclaim the Enlightenment. In “Jerusalem,” Judaism is the eternal wisdom of God recommended through man’s rational self. Secondly, it is a historical tradition. The reason for the existence of the Jewish nation is the covenant with God to keep his laws pure. Authority is entirely vested in God. Thirdly, these rules lead to happiness because they connect thoughts and life. They are in part preserved through tradition, in part in writing and can only be changed through a new revelation by God. God’s Law leads man toward a general rational attitude to life. (Mosse states that this is a Jewish apologia, written in German for an audience of philosophes).

In “Jerusalem”, the Jewish Law was meant to keep Jews separate as carriers of an eternal rationality. Though the children of Israel were chosen, this was soley because they were the children of the rational and universal God. Eventually, religion did become a separate sphere: a Jew is only a Jew in his observance of the Jewish Law, otherwise he is a part of enlightened humankind.

Turning to Mendelssohn’s biographical background, Mosse claims that Mendelssohn’s Hebrew writings were artificial and stilted. It was he who started the utter contempt for Yiddish, because it was “impure”, which hints at the classicist aesthetics of the Enlightenment that Mendelssohn shared. A proponent of the teaching of Hebrew, but above all German, Mendelssohn founded a Jewish preschool in Berlin, the first Jewish school in which German and Philosophy were taught beside Jewish subjects. Here, Judaism became indeed solely a religion, and Jews “Germans of the mosaic religion.” Judaism, then, was not in conflict with the Enlightenment; it also creates a common ground despite its separateness. Thereafter, even early socialists like Moses Hess shared the view that it was the “mission” of the Jew to stress reason and rationality throughout the world.

The problem was the ceremonial Law. For Mendelssohn, or as he was known “the little hunchback”, it was still an integral part, though it became less and less so. Being a harmonious personality, Mendelssohn thought separateness and Enlightenment reconcilable. Despite this view, all of Mendelssohn’s grandchildren converted to Christianity. Abraham, his son, assumed a universal rational religion based on the existence of a “divine instinct”. The outward form of religion was historical and changeable. Christianity was the “creed of all civilized people.” Mendelssohn’s progeny is an example for how difficult it was to hold this balance rather than slip into conversion. The balance of Judaism and the Enlightenment that Mendelssohn had in mind had two lasting effects: it would become the essence of the Jewish Reform movement, and secondly, it would lead to a persistence of Enlightenment ideas among Jews long after the outside world had long abandoned them. For example, in rejecting the rise of nationalism, Jews remained fifty years behind their time.

Enlightenment ideas are still apparent in the moral indignation of today’s Jewish intellectuals. Mosse raises the question: what did Jewish emancipation mean for the gentiles-since Jewish and European history are in general interplay? The year 1711, at the beginning of the Enlightenment, marked a crisis for Jews caused by the burning of the Frankfurt ghetto. The Christian historian of this fire approved of the Frankfurt City council’s decision to grant food and shelter to the Jews, and indeed condemned the harsh treatment and insults directed towards Jews by the mob. But, he asked, if you shelter a Jew, should he be allowed to pray in your house? His answer was ambivalent: Christians should shelter Jews, but keep apart from them and not take Jewish money for rent. The historian hoped that the Jews would not rebuild their synagogue, since the fire was obviously a punishment. New here is that Jews are human beings and thus deserve shelter; old patterns of thoughts and emerging ideas on the extension of charity coincide. In a way, this idea indicates the beginning of universalism. In 1781, Christian Wilhelm Dohm, a friend of Mendelssohn, published his book “About the Improvement of Jewish Citizenship.” If “Jerusalem” was to be a charter for Jews who wanted to be Jews and enlightened, Dohm’s book was a charter for the Christian reaction to it.

Questions and answers:

Q: What about theology in Mendelssohn?

Theology is in the ceremonial Law, but absent in the traditional way. In Judaism as a rational religion there are no more places for what Mendelssohn called the “hairsplitting of the rabbis.”

Q: Where was Mendelssohn’s circle of friends located?

In Berlin: This all happened in Berlin. For the first time, a wealthy Jewish aristocracy mixed on equal terms with Berlin’s intellectual aristocracy, and even with clerics. For example, Dohm was a cleric.

Q: How did Mendelssohn react to his children’s attitude and to his grandchildren’s conversion?

He did not live to see it. His wife did, but we do not know how she reacted. Mendelssohn’s descendants made great contributions to European civilization, for example the composer Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

Q: Did Mendelssohn’s children doubt the existence of God?

No, that was not yet an issue.

Q To what kind of Christianity did they convert? Was it theological in character?

The Christianity to which they converted was a romantic and theological Christianity. Their commitment was really to a kind of Romanticism. They rejected the ceremonial Law and the literal importance of the bible, so there was no reason for a Jew to remain the custodian of the ceremonial Law. They followed the Romantic theology of Hegel, Tieck, Schlegel and Schleiermacher.

? (Question inaudible).

In “Jerusalem,” Mendelssohn tries to disprove page after page the idea of the “stern Jewish God.” It was not the Jewish God of the Christian emancipation; rather, it was “the gentle persuader.”

Q: What about the effect on Jews outside the “intellectual aristocracy”?

The ideas of emancipation were going to affect, slowly, every Jew in the end, but in the beginning it was a matter of the elite. The whole Enlightenment was an elite affair, the mass of ordinary people joined evangelism, John Wesley.

Q: Did Mendelssohn ever live in a ghetto?

No, there were no ghettos in Prussia at all. The only Jews allowed into Prussia were Court Jews. Later, there were Jews in Prussia living in Posen. But the admittance of Jews to Prussia historically happened on the basis of wealth.

Q: Why couldn’t you assimilate? Why did you have to convert?

You wanted to be part of the larger scope of humanity, of the intellectual scene. Mendelssohn solved the problem: Enlightenment is in the custody of the Jews, therefore you have already joined the civilization. With the Romanticism of Schlegel and the new Christianity, this became impossible. If the Enlightenment had lasted, there would not have been a problem.

Q: How could the idea of an anti-Christ be reconciled with the admission of the Jews?

Because enlightened gentiles gave up the idea. They tried to free themselves from the superstitions of religion.

Q: In what way was the burning of the ghetto in 1711 a turning point?

It was a turning event only in one way; the change of attitude that was for the first time expressed by a historian. It showed a slight turn to the universalism of the Enlightenment, though still ambivalent: the historian still thought Jews to be usurers.


Lecture Transcript:
Lecture 01 – February 12, 1971

You can always, if you don’t understand anything, raise your hand during lecture. Please don’t hesitate to interrupt me. The other thing is, I will rephrase myself. Now to answer one question first. Yes… Jerusalem exists in print, Schocken Publisher. Unfortunately not a paperback. It’s a very small book, here in the original edition. And if you want to read it, it won’t take you long. It exists, but at the moment -- (to a student) I see you’ve taken the English out of the library, and I’ve taken the German out. (laughter) So, it exists. It’s a very small book.

Now, I would today like to come back to Moses Mendelssohn therefore, because I fear I did go much too rapidly for what followed and not deeply enough. And therefore, before I come to the Gentile view of emancipation, I want to come back to Jerusalem of seventeen-hundred and eighty three.

I want to come back, in other words, to that ¬¬balance I talked to you about. The balance of Enlightenment and Jews.  Now Mendelssohn as a true son of the Enlightenment believed that religion should persuade and teach but should never be enforced. This, of course, went for all religions, Christian and Jewish and everything.

For as he put it, man’s principle and his conviction cannot be put under restraint. They can’t be put under restraint because they belong to man’s cognition, to the realm of man’s cognition, and cannot be restrained. His principles and his convictions.  

For in the end, the only valid things are the rational judgments of the mind. And Mendelssohn and the whole eighteenth century believed that deeply. That principle, that conviction meant, in fact, the rational judgment of the mind. Therefore religion could not constrain it. Judaism knows no forcing, no command.

And then he [sees?] with Moses on Sinai. You remember – in case you’ve forgotten probably – that on Sinai, Moses, on the command of God, gave the tablets of the law. Mendelssohn’s [dwelt?] on this important event is as follows.

Even Moses at Sinai never commanded, he only appealed. He only appealed to the human will, he only appealed to action. Remember how important action was of the Enlightenment. You can put it this way, that what Moses did in Sinai was to activate the “categorical imperative” among the children of Israel.

He did not cause, he did not command. He activated the “categorical imperative.” His message was clear: that man is never the means, only the end. That man is a creature of rational self-determination. That was Moses’s message, and it activated the “categorical imperative.” Again, Mendelssohn reduces Jewish law to rational truth, to fundamental.

In the end, he says, “What is the fundamental?” And he comes back to a very famous story from the rabbinical literature – it’s the only time he mentions it. This is the story. A pagan of Rabbi Hillel, “Teach me the whole of the law while I stand on one foot.” And Rabbi Hillel said, “That is easy. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Moses Mendelssohn took that story and said, “That is it. That is Judaism. That is, in fact, its essence. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  Now this is one side. But what I must point out to you straight away: that the speaker Rabbi Hillel is a Jew, the sentiments are sentiments of the Enlightenment. That is what must concern us and what is important.

But there is, as I said last time, the ceremonial law. God gave it to the Jews in Leviticus. God gave it to the Jews, why? In order to preserve the purity of the doctrine. The purity of the minimum doctrine. The doctrine that Rabbi Hillel taught while you stood on one foot.

Why then is this law necessary? Why are these 316 commandments -  according to [NAMECHECK Gabriel?] (laughter) – necessary? Why are they necessary? Well, they are necessary for this reason, he tells us. For amidst heathens and fools, God has to keep his message pure. And as the world is full of these heathens and fools, including the people of Israel.

Moses, after all, didn’t really activate their categorical imperative. You may remember that he immediately made a golden calf and danced about it. So as the world is full of heathens and fools and weak people, it is necessary to keep the message pure. And to keep the message pure is the matter of the ceremonial law. The ceremonial law forces men to penetrate into the essence of the religious message. Why?

Law itself does not force men to thought. The Jewish ceremonial law merely prescribes deeds and acts. He says the Jewish ceremonial law –  right about this – just tells people what should be done and what shouldn’t be done. But, by telling people what should be done, by prescribing deeds and acts, it leads men to thought.

And he put it, and I quote, “Man must be driven to act, and then they will be driven to thought.” That is the essence of the ceremonial law. To put it slightly differently with him, the ceremonial law, all these commandments, link action and thought with- within Jewish spirituality. A spirituality always defined in rationalistic terms.

By doing all these ceremonies, you are linking deed and thought. You are becoming, in a way, for Moses Mendelssohn, a whole person. The ceremonies are to keep the thoughts pure, to keep you from building a golden calf. To keep pure the rational message, if you like.

It would not be unfair to say that, through the ceremonial law, the Jew becomes a unity, body and soul, through action, through deed. What is the end result? The end result is that the Jew is the custodian of the Enlightenment. That the Jew is the custodian of rationalism. He is the custodian of the Enlightenment. Jewish ceremonial law, through the message he keeps pure, through his separateness. He is the custodian of the Enlightenment.

The Christians can never be that, because they have to believe in supernatural revelation. So that it is Judaism which is really the custodian of the Enlightenment, and not Christianity, which can never be it by revelation. God and Moses proclaimed the universal rational law, clearly. In this, deism is integrated, the Enlightenment is integrated into Jewish separateness.

Jewish separateness gets a message, which will come to them. The mission of Judaism, the mission of Judaism is to proclaim the Enlightenment. It gets a message. What that is, Judaism, let us sum it up with Moses Mendelssohn. In Jerusalem, he sums it up completely.

First, it is the eternal wisdom of God, not forced on anybody but merely recommended. It is the recommended eternal wisdom of God, recommended to your rational self, to your categorical imperative. That’s one.

Secondly, it is the historical condition. I has to be, because it has to take account of the ceremonial law, its existence. The reason for the existence of the Jewish nation is its covenant with God. Alright, [congently?]. What does this covenant with God say? God has given to Jews a special rationale, because it’s given to Jews this kind of religion…

…and the ceremonial law to keep them separate and to keep them pure among a world of fools and weakness. Here, he says, there is authority. The authority of God, not the authority of man. Here, for once, he allows authority.

Thirdly, these laws and commandments lead to happiness. They are partly written in the Bible and partly tradition. And I come now to tradition, and the question you asked me, “Does Moses Mendelssohn refer himself to the later Jewish literature?” The answer is no. And the reason it is no I will come back to.

This is a Jewish apologia. He was writing, after all, not only for Jews, but mainly also for Christians. And so he does not refer himself at all to the Talmud or to the later Jewish teachings, except for this Rabbi Hillel story that I gave.

Laws and commandments lead to happiness. Why? They connect thought and life. And so he sums it up finally, “I do not see how those who are born into the house of Jacob can discard the ceremonial law. We can think about it, but that is all. The only thing that can change the ceremonial law is a new revelation of God.”

That is, a repetition of the events in Sinai. Nothing else can change it. But the ceremonial law makes it quite clear. The ceremonial law is merely an outward call. It leads you to think. It leads you, in fact, to a general, rational attitude toward life. That is really its purpose.

Now, if this is a Jewish apologia – it is written in German not in Hebrew, back to that in a minute, for an audience of the philosophes – but the book became a charter of freedom rather than one along the long line of Jewish apologia. The law then, was a vital part in keeping Jews separated, but separated them as carriers of eternal rationality.

Moses Mendelssohn believes that the children of Israel were chosen, but they were chosen because they were the special children of a rational and universal God. The covenant was symptomatic of this and so was the ceremonial law. Now this, I think, will deepen for you the balance, which I talked about last time.

But to this, I must add something else. For eventually, of course, in this kind of ideal, religion did become a separate sphere from human activity. Why? This is very important. Why? The Jew was a Jew only in his observance of the ceremonial law. In everything else, he was a child of the Enlightenment.

A Jew was a Jew only when he ate, when he married, when he kept himself separate. And to Moses Mendelssohn, the essence of separation is, as he put it, that Jews cannot eat with Christians and that they cannot marry Christians. This he stresses again and again. But only in these acts is a Jew a Jew. Otherwise, he is a part of the Enlightenment. Indeed, a leading one. Just as are other autonomous human beings.

Here it’s very important that Moses Mendelssohn wrote German. And that when he wrote Hebrew, the Hebrew among his circle was artificial and stilted. That Moses Mendelssohn and his whole circle rejected the language of the ghetto – they rejected the ghetto generally. This means a more colloquial Hebrew, but, above all, Yiddish.

Moses Mendelssohn started, in a way, the utter contempt for Yiddish, which will be endemic of all of Western Europe. Why? Because Yiddish is impure. It is a mixture, too. It is a mixture between Medieval German and Hebrew, as you know. So it is an impure language, and therefore it is not to be used.

This is again an idea of the classicism of the Enlightenment, which is behind me, which I told you about. And this idea of impurity, as over against classical simplicity and order worked against Yiddish, for Hebrew, but above all for German.

Moses Mendelssohn founded in Berlin a Jewish preschool, the first school for Jews or attended by Jews, in which, besides Jewish subjects, German was taught and philosophy. Now here you can see what inevitably happened.

While the ghetto civilization was saturated to every act of life with, if you like, Jewish theological concerns, here Judaism became indeed a religion. And to separate itself from the ghetto, it even got a new name, which will last. You were not a Jew. You were, in fact, “of the mosaic religion.” That will last. We’ll come back to it.

And I remember my own shock, which wasn’t until I came fairly old to America, and somebody actually called himself a Jew rather than “of the mosaic religion.” I thought that was deeply shocking and vulgar. So in fact it was a matter of the mosaic religion, because Judaism was in fact separated out.

You were a person of general humanity. Judaism tended to become a religion, like the kind of hour in school you had on that subject. So in spite of his ideal of thought in action, he did separate Judaism into a Jewish religion – or better, we must call it “mosaic religion” – to sever all ghetto connections and the world in general.

This is also part of the balance of being a Jew and an enlightened European. To summarize, Judaism then not only does not keep anything in conflict with the Enlightenment, as Christianity did, but it also makes possible an equality, a common ground. And yet a separateness. And yet a separateness.

These ideas became formulae in what has been called or what was called a “mission” of Judaism. The mission of Judaism was what? The mission of Judaism was to spread rationality and the Enlightenment. That went on. That went on. Even as early socialists like Moses Hess, for example, Marx’s great friend, will believe, for example, that it is the mission of the Jew to strengthen reason throughout the world.

The trouble with this mission is clear. The ceremonial law, what about it? That was, for Mendelssohn, an integral part, but it soon of course became less and less so. There is no doubt that Mendelssohn, the little hunchback, was a thoroughly-- (laughter) He was. -- was a thoroughly harmonious personality. Thoroughly harmonious. That for him the balance indeed was between separateness and Enlightenment. Harmonious, harmonious.

Whether it worked for his descendants, we shall have to see. But as you have asked me questions about the Enlightenment, I want now to read a letter which his youngest son Abraham wrote to his daughter, the favorite sister of the composer, Felix Mendelssohn. And that letter, I think, will again repeat what you noted what had happened. You noted that the ceremonial law dropped away.

The daughter, and of course as you will see, converted to Christianity. All of Moses Mendelssohn’s grandchildren converted to Christianity. All of his sisters did --- (laughter) Don’t laugh, because they were serious, and if you like, in many ways, had valid reasons why they had to do so. Quite valid. Quite clearly.

Now this was a letter he wrote to his daughter on the occasion of her Christian confirmation. That is to say, the sister of Felix Mendelssohn in 1820. Abraham his son, the son of Moses. “Does God exist? What is God? He is a part of ourselves [sic]. And does he continue to live after the other parts have ceased to be? And where and how?

“All this I do not know. And therefore I never taught you anything about it. But I know that there exists in me and in you, and in all human beings, an everlasting inclination toward all that is good, true and right, and a conscience which warns and guides us when we go astray. I know it, I believe it. I live in this faith, and this is my religion.

“This I could not teach you, and nobody could learn it, but everybody has it who does not intentionally and knowingly cast it aside.” Then he gives as an example that the girl’s mother [converted? INAUDIBLE]. “The outward form of religion your teacher has given you is historical and changeable, like all human ordinances.”

You see what’s become of the ceremonial law. If the ceremonial law, like all human origins, is changeable, and no longer directly given by God as his father thought, then the balance falls, then Jewish separateness has indeed no sense at all.

“Some thousands of years ago, the Jewish form was the reigning one, then the heathen form, and now it is the Christian. We, your mother and I, were born and brought up by our parents” – that’s Moses Mendelssohn and his wife – “by our parents as Jews, and without being obliged to change the form of our religion have been able to follow the divine instinct in us and in our conscience.

“We have educated you and your brothers and sisters in the Christian faith, because it is the creed of most civilized people and contains nothing that can lead you away from what is good and much to guide you to love, obedience, tolerance, and resignation, even if it offers nothing but the example of its founder, understood by so few and followed by so fewer.”

Which we’ll come back to, the phenomenon of conversion, but I am reading this now to show you how, in a way, difficult the balance was. That once you believed that the ceremonial law was no longer given by God, then indeed it became changeable, then indeed Christianity became the form of religion of indeed most civilized people, then indeed you slid into this conversion, which, after all, in 1820, affected the chief and perhaps the greatest intellect among Jews.

So that’s what you had therefore here. If a balance was perhaps a precarious one, I must also say that… You are amused by the balance, but remember that the balance of Moses Mendelssohn, of Jew and Enlightenment, of Enlightenment and the special custodian of Jews, the special hand of the Jews, has two effects which will last.

First of all, it will be the essence of Jewish reform. It is the essence of the tenuous links which will cause Zionism, bound most of your parents to Judaism. Secondly, it will mean eventually, it will mean eventually indeed a persistence of Enlightenment ideas among Jews when the outside world had long, long abandoned them.

It will make, as the Zionist once said, the Jews 50 years behind their time in thought. Without any judgment, this is true. This is true. Because these Enlightenment ideas would reject, of course, Zionism, would reject nationalism, even in the Enlightenment. Man is universal. There’s no room here for Zionism.

Will reject Zionism, will reject all irrationality. This will be a Jewish tradition, which will last and which will find its final flowering together with a goodly dose of moral indignation in the reign of Jewish intellectuals of our time. Recognize yourself, in fact. So you shouldn’t laugh when I talk about Moses Mendelssohn. He is, in a sense, very much a part of you.

Now then, I think I have said a little more to make the balance a little clearer about which we are going to talk. And now that we’ve seen a little more of how a Jew faced the possibility of assimilation, we must now go to the gentile, who trumped it. For the two things interplay. I told you at the beginning, Jewish history is part of European history in general.

What did it mean for the gentile? A more complex question. I want to start it by going back to 1711, the beginning of the Enlightenment, and to look for a minute by the crisis produced by burning of the Frankfurt ghetto, which happened in 1711. The ghetto in Frankfurt is one of the largest and most famous, associated in Europe – mind you, of the Rothschilds, we have that in common I’m sure – with other less desirable people. (Laughter)

The Frankfurt ghetto in 1711. The Rothschilds had no great difficulties. The historians, the Christian historians of this awful fire approve of the Frankfurt City council which gave shelter and food to the Jews. And now, in fact, condemned now in 1711, the insults and harsh treatment of the Jews, by the mob. The mob, of course, took the opportunity of the burning of the ghetto for insults and harsh treatment and for an anti-Jewish riot.

That’s not what is interesting. What is interesting is when this Christian historian, at the beginning of the Enlightenment, faces a knotty question: Should Christians shelter Jews? And still more knotty, if you shelter a Jew, should he be allowed to pray in your house?

These questions go, after all, to the essence. Not only should Christians shelter Jews, but should they be allowed to pray in your house? That really gets to the essence. What is the answer in 1711? What is the answer? It is, as yet, an ambivalent answer. You are as yet at the beginning of the Enlightenment.

Christians should shelter Jews, but keep apart. In no case should they take Jewish money for rent. He hopes that the Jews will not rebuild their synagogue, for the fire is a judgment passed upon them for doing the work of the devil. So you still have the other traditional idea of Jews as the burden of humanity’s sin, together with witches, the unreformed church, which I told you about.

The synagogue, the Jewish religion, is condemned, a condemnation which will remain, as you will see, throughout the Enlightenment. Nevertheless, it is recognized too, and this is new, that Jews are human beings, and therefore that you should shelter them. You shouldn’t accept their tainted money, you shouldn’t allow them to pray in your house. But you should give them shelter.

And the social measures, the first of their kind in Europe, toward Jews, which the Frankfurt city council took – largely for economic reasons to be sure – which the city council of Frankfurt took were approved. Here then, centuries-old pattern of thought are clear once more. But also an emerging idea – what should I call it? – an emerging idea of charity, that charity must be extended to Jews as well as Christians.

This makes this account, by Jacob Schudt, whose name you don’t have to remember, of the burning of the Frankfurt ghetto rather important, even in the history of the Enlightenment. Makes it important to the history of the Enlightenment for an extension of the idea of charity. And the extension of the idea of charity is, in a way, the beginning of the ideas of human universalism, which I have told you before.

Now let us skip the century. Let us go to 1781. For in 1781, things were different. The Enlightenment had worked. And now appeared one of the other most famous books in the history of modern Jewry a book written by a Christian, Christian Wilhelm Dohm. A book with the title of About the Improvement of Jewish Citizenship. 1781. Jerusalem, 1783. Dohm, 1781. About the Improvement of Jewish Citizenship.

A century had passed since the burning of the ghetto. If Jerusalem was to be important as a Jewish reaction to emancipation, a charter for Jews who wanted to be Jews and enlightened, Dohm was to be the charter for the gentile reaction, the favorable gentile reaction to assimilation which also will set the tone for much of the next century.

Christian Wilhelm Dohm was a man of the Enlightenment, a close friend of Moses Mendelssohn. Indeed he was in what we might call the Mendelssohn circle. What had happened here in the similarities and the contrasts to the attitude of 1711 is indeed illuminating. I think I must stop here a minute to ask you if you seem to be very tried, what questions you might have.

Friday will be from now on question time, dialogue time, will not be lecture time. It’s just this time, because you haven’t gotten into the material very deeply yet, so I thought that I’d advance it a little. (laughter) But some questions might have arisen, so I don’t want to do it yet.

Q: [What about theology in Mendelssohn?]
MOSSE: You mean in Mendelssohn? The theology is there in the ceremonial law. It is absent in the traditional way, in the Judaism as the rational religion. It isn’t theology, it is the universal rationalism of the Enlightenment. There is nothing in Mendelssohn anymore about what he called the ‘hair-splitting of the rabbis.’

MOSSE: You see, that is what he rejected. God is a rational God. Let me put it this way, Mendelssohn’s God is the same as Voltaire’s God or Diderot’s God. They’re the same, except that the Jews are his chosen people, and Voltaire thought the intellectuals were his chosen people.

[Q: Where was Mendelssohn’s circle of friends located?]
MOSSE: In Berlin. This all happened in Berlin. This all happened in Berlin. His circle of friends – we’ll come back to it – rich Jews, bankers of course, because remember the people who lived longest among the gentiles were the bankers, the court Jews. Bankers by and large, a wealthy Jewish aristocracy, if you want to use that term. We have to use it later anyway.

MOSSE: A wealthy Jewish aristocracy, mixed in on equal terms, mixed in for the first time with the Berlin intellectual aristocracy as well, with the philosophes. And among them even clerics. Dohm was a cleric. Dohm was a protestant minister. Mixed in with clerics, but it didn’t matter.

[Q: How did Mendelssohn react to his children’s attitude and to his grandchildren’s conversion?]
MOSSE: He didn’t live to see it. They, as good children… Well, first of all, no, that’s not quite true. Let me come back to that. The girls of course made famous marriages, he no longer lived to see. Dorothea Mendelssohn, his daughter, eventually becomes Dorothea Schlegel and then is married to Schleiermacher the great theologian. This is very important we shall see.

MOSSE: His sons never converted, nominally, in order not to hurt their mother and father while they lived, but they educated their children as Christian. Moses Mendelssohn died fairly early and fairly young though, so he never witnessed this. His wife did, and I can’t tell you off hand what her reaction was about the sons. And the children of course converted completely.

MOSSE: They also, the girls made very important intellectual marriages into the center of German intellectual life. As well, Felix Mendelssohn was a composer, he is a concept to you, I am sure. All these were converted, and I’m going to deal with this career someday, because it is a case study of this kind of conversion which became very important.

MOSSE: They took another name too, you know. They become the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family. I’ll read you another letter why this was done a little later, and as Mendelssohn-Bartholdy they became a very famous banking family right up to 1933.

[Q: Did Mendelssohn’s children doubt the existence of God?]
MOSSE: Well he didn’t, because that wasn’t really a problem, you see. That wasn’t really a problem. We are really before the time when in these circles the doubts about the existence of God become very important. No, that was not yet – and I already made this clear – that was not yet an issue. None of his children doubted the existence of God, certainly not the composer Felix Mendelssohn, his grandchildren. No, no, that wasn’t an issue.

[Q To what kind of Christianity did they convert? Was it theological in character?]
MOSSE: That’s a very good question, and it’s my fault, because I went ahead to Schudt. Of course, you see, the Christianity to which they converted was a romantic, untheological Christianity. Their commitment was really to a kind of romanticism – that’s why I should have left it – to a kind of romanticism which was almost inseparable from a kind of romantic Christianity.

MOSSE: That commitment they did make. But what fell away is that there was no reason for them to have a Jewish commitment if they rejected the ceremonial law, if they rejected the literal importance of the Bible – which the Romantics rejected, but together, the literal importance of the Bible – there was no reason.

MOSSE: And once there was no reason for the ceremonial law, then what is going to keep the Jews as the special custodians of rationalism, I mean, within the universe I am discussing? You know? What is going to keep it? And the answer is nothing. And as Abraham Mendelssohn said, you might as well join the ranks of most civilized people.

MOSSE: And most civilized people are Christian, by which he meant again intellectuals, by the way. Most civilized people, that is, most intellectuals, important ones, were romantic Christians. Like Schlegel and Tiek and Herder and Hegel and Schleiermacher. You see? And to this, of course, we shall come. But you are coming in first to a period of very important conversion.

MOSSE: No, I don’t think there’s much to it.
MOSSE: I don’t want to get off what is today, that comes later. But the thing is, whatever is today, where things have changed somewhat – not as much as you think – where things have changed somewhat, Mendelssohn spends in Jerusalem page after pager disproving the idea of the so-called stern Jewish God.

MOSSE: God is not stern, he never commands. He only appeals, he never causes. So it isn’t the Jewish God of the Christian’s imagination. Calvin’ imagination, actually, is where it comes from. It isn’t the Jewish God of Calvin’s imagination, the stern law-giver. He is the gentle-persuader. Mendelssohn’s God in this balance is the gentle-persuader.  The rationalist philosopher, the gentle-persuader. That’s the point.

[Q: What about the effect on Jews outside the “intellectual aristocracy”?]
MOSSE: None. Again, I must say what we usually say, but I suppose which has to be articulated. Emancipation and the ideas of emancipation were going to affect every Jew in the end, obviously, but at the beginning, this was a matter of an elite.

MOSSE: The masses of Jews still lived in ghettos in Eastern Europe, would continue to do so. Not affected, affected only slowly. We shall talk about that. Affected slowly and starting to revolt, but slowly. At the moment it is an elite, of course, what will effect everybody. This is an elite intellectual circle. The whole Enlightenment was an elitist affair.

MOSSE: The ordinary people went to Mass, joined the Evangelical movement, emoted with John Wesley and so on, rather than read Voltaire. That is clear, but that is nothing, because you start with an elite and you end up, after all, with everybody.

[Q: Did Mendelssohn ever live in a ghetto?]
MOSSE: No, no, no, no. He never lived in a ghetto. There was, in fact, no ghetto in Berlin. No ghetto in Prussia at all. That’s due to previous historical development. The only Jews admitted to Prussia were Court Jews. And in the only part of Russia where there was a large Jewish population, which is where most German Jews come from, as you know, is Posen – Is there an English word for Posen? Well, the Polish word is Poznań – is Posen, in that district.

MOSSE: And the Mendelssohn family, like all our families, came originally from Posen. But there never was a ghetto, and that never applied to Prussia. There was never a ghetto in Prussia, you see? Because the admittance of Jews was really on the basis of wealth.

[Q: Why couldn’t you assimilate? Why did you have to convert?]
MOSSE: Because you wanted to be part of humanity, part of the intellectual scene. You didn’t understand the point. You see, Moses Mendelssohn solved the problem for you. Let me put it this way very briefly, Moses Mendelssohn solved a problem.

MOSSE: You wanted to be a Jew enlightened, and in fact, Moses Mendelssohn said, ‘Be a practicing Orthodox Jew and the Enlightenment is in your custody. You are in fact the pure enlightened. Therefore, you have joined civilization. You have joined up with the newest thought, the best.’

Well, similarly the conversions come this way. Because when the Enlightenment gives place to Romanticism, and a new Christianity, the problem becomes very difficult. How are you going to join with Schlegel and with Tiek and Schleiermacher or all the great romantics or with Hegel – which I’ll have to talk about Hegel at some length again. It’s going to be very important for the young Hegelian Jews like Marx.

MOSSE: The question is, how are you going to join this? That’s the problem. If the Enlightenment had lasted in Europe, there might not be a problem, but after it didn’t last. So how are you going to join? Romanticisim and Christianity, which from 1800 on, was certainly the dominant intellectual mode of sorts. That, you must look at it in this way. (To a student) Yes, in the back?

[Q: On Monday, you said an Anti-Christ is necessary to make the idea of Christ effective. How could the idea of an anti-Christ be reconciled with the admission of the Jews?]
MOSSE: Because they give it up. They gave up theology. Christianity was evil, Christianity was a superstition, and all that they left of Christianity was the categorical imperative. And perhaps Christ as example.

MOSSE: Christ as a kind of example of a good man of the Enlightenment. No, no. Remember, as I said last time, for Dohm and all of these, Christianity was indeed superstition. So was Judaism, as you will see in a minute when I talk about it. It was given up.

[Q: In what way was the burning of the ghetto in 1711 a turning point?]
MOSSE: The turning event only because of the attitude. I mean, ghettos burned quite a few places. But here you have in 1711 an historian who is writing about it, and, for the first time, a change of attitude, as you will see, culminated in Dohm with the connect with the Enlightenment.

MOSSE: The change in attitude, that I have said. Not only can you shelter Christians, but to extend to Jews the idea of charity. This may seem to you no big bit, but it was at the time a very big bit indeed, and indeed it goes into the universalism of the Enlightenment. But I said it also to make clear to you that some of the old still remains.

MOSSE: He hopes the synagogues wouldn’t be rebuilt, Judaism is a superstition, you mustn’t take the Jews’ money under any circumstances. Another old superstition, Jews are all usurers, so you mustn’t fall into the clutches of usurers, and you mustn’t take their money. So you have here a mixture, that is the important thing about the burning of the ghetto.

Well, I think we’re through. If you have any questions, do interrupt me during lecture as we go on.


Lecture #2

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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

Mosse emphasizes the breakthrough that Dohm’s 1781 “About the Improvement of Jewish Citizenship” constituted. Dohm was a clergyman, but also a man of the Enlightenment. Between 1711 and 1781, the Enlightenment triumphed among intellectuals and administrators. This new rationalism and optimism shines through Dohm’s book when he remarks that he cannot conceive of a human group that is incapable of improvement. Another argument Dohm takes from Adam Smith, who had held that the power of the state increases with the number of its productive citizens: At the moment, he pointed out, Jews are only consumers; if they were to be made productive they would be an asset to the state. For the Jews, this would be difficult because of the long history of their degeneration. Dohm was concerned about characteristics of the Jewish masses and saw some obstacles to Jewish emancipation: First, Jewish particularism-above all the idea of chosenness-was often interpreted as contempt for others. Moreover, their commercial structure was based on commerce instead of production. For Dohm, these obstacles were due to historical developments and constituted a general concern that was also evident in France. For example, in 1806, Napoleon submitted to the Jewish community a series of questions, concerning for example intermarriage, usury from Jews as opposed to non-Jews, and whether Jews considered the French to be brothers. In response, the tortured answers given by Jewish notables were casuistic rather than straight answers, a result of the separateness built into Jewish tradition.

The solution for Dohm depended on the environmentalism of the Enlightenment, based as it was on Lamarckian anthropology. The environmental explanation of evolution proposed that evolution could be controlled by controlling the environment. Dohm’s concrete solution was that Jews must leave their old professions and become farmers and artisans, since moral and civic improvement were dependent on Jews reforming their occupations. Dohm idealized the peasant and the artisans, who for him were the “noble savage.” Therefore, Jews had to leave the ghetto and the urban spaces and get in touch with the land. Dohm’s “arcadia” remained the ideal for many Jews and gentiles. It was the opposite of commercial and intellectual activity; peasants and craftsmen were the antitype of the puny, intellectual Jew. Jews consequently founded orphanages that aimed to make Jewish children peasants and soldiers. (Mosse remarks that Nordau’s later distinction between muscle and coffeehouse Jews, the idea that Jews must cease to be traders to abolish the Jew as the ghetto type, began here). Secondly, Jews had to learn the vernacular and expand their curriculum beyond religious instruction to include secular German or French subjects, as taught in Mendelssohn’s day school. Finally, military service was seen as the greatest school for citizenship. These general solutions were also forwarded by another religious figure, Abbe Gregoire, who based his work on Dohm.

What did this look like in practice? The Austrian empire was of vast importance here: Joseph II issued the famous “Toleranzpatent,” or act of toleration, of 1781 that covered the Jews of the Austrian Empire. It abolished a whole series of humiliating restrictions, such as the body tax. Also, theoretically all trade was opened to Jews, but in practice this was not quite true: no Jew could get into guilds which had a Christian oath. In effect, this meant limiting Jews to only opening new trades. Important in the edict is the program of reeducation. Another humiliating fact of Jewish existence (not only in Austria) was that every Jewish marriage had to be approved by the authorities; this was an effort to keep the Jewish population down. Joseph did not abolish it, but used it for his re-education program: Jewish marriages were henceforth only permitted if both partners had attended a state school. Furthermore, all Jewish business transactions had to be conducted in the German language. It is also significant that Jewish communal autonomy and rabbinic jurisdiction was abolished. Yet, even when toleration was used for the reeducation of the Jews, Vienna was still closed to them (though it should be kept in mind that it remained closed to Protestants as well). Vienna was kept Catholic. Finally, military service was made compulsory for Jews. This led to riots in Galicia, but was enforced under Dohm’s idea that military service was the best school for assimilation. In all German states, this meant the end of the Jewish middle ages.

Apprenticeships for young Jews became compulsory- except for Prussia, as Wilhelm von Humboldt disagreed with emancipation for reeducation: He favored using toleration to reeducate the Jews. For Humboldt, the state was a legal, not an educational institution. Individuals needed to be treated according to their individuality, not based on their religion and their origins. Yet how could you determine whether Jews had become better people, better citizens? Obviously, there was no answer to this question. Humboldt applied his general ideas on the limitations of state power to the Jewish problem. He believed in emancipation because the unnatural situation of the Jews demoralized the nation. With complete, unconditional emancipation, Jews would naturally become Christians. He moved among Mendelssohn’s children, who had all become Christians. Accordingly, the Hardenberg Edict (Prussia) was the only emancipation edict that did not have any educational program. However, opposition to it was so great that Hardenberg and Humboldt left it to the Prussian king to decide whether Jews should enter state offices. The king never decided. Complete emancipation also only applied to Jews who had lived in Prussia under royal protection. This meant that in 1812, 30,000 Jews were emancipated; while 3000 (those who lived in Posen and eastern parts of Prussia) were not. Those who were omitted became the “east Jewish problem” in Germany, creating a Jewish population that was essentially stateless.

The ensuing violent reaction to Jewish emancipation centered on question of whether Jews could educate themselves without enforced measures of education. The question whether Jews were “a state within a state,” first raised by Fichte, became a general question regarding the Jews. Napoleon’s actions made a tremendous impression on all opponents of emancipation: Napoleon, in reality, did not consider the Jews Frenchmen. He had his own “eastern Jewish problem” in Alsace and Lorraine. For that reason, Napoleon restricted Jewish commerce. In fact, he abrogated emancipation in France until 1815. The ghetto, central to France, was located in the borderland with Prussia. Louis XVIII was very friendly to Jews, but the fact that Napoleon treated them as a separate nation made a fateful impression on the Germans. In Germany, emancipation faced several problems from the very beginning. The stereotype of the Jew remained alive; the idea was to make the Jew cease to be a Jew. If he refused, he was in fact the stereotype.

Inward corresponded to outward stereotype; the 18th century was the beginning of the “Jewish nose” and similar physical markers. As for the Jews themselves, the terms of emancipation were from the beginning gladly accepted by many who strove to modernize Judaism. The ghetto civilization started to spill over, facilitated by the fact that there were no real frontiers until 1918; neither custom or passport officials. There was no awareness of how many people were in a state. Soon, little ghettos sprung up in most western cities. These spurred on the indigenous Jews to modernization, because they wanted a wall between themselves and the orthodox, unenlightened Jews of the east, seen by them as a remnant of the Middle Ages. The acceptance of the reeducation of the Jews by many Jews was connected to the idea that the uneducated ghetto-Jews were the cause of anti-Semitism. Western Jews and gentiles alike thought that the east European Jewish masses would not get out of their poverty until they had become modern and enlightened. It was generally thought that orthodox religion was an obstacle not only to enlightenment, but to prosperity. The name “Jew” was dropped. Until 1810, the Jewish journal “Sulamith” carried the subtitle “a journal for the promotion of culture and humanity among the Jewish nation.” After 1810, “Jewish nation” was replaced by “Israelites.” Then, “Israelite” was dropped and substituted with “mosaic.” Even rabbis had first of all to “preach the love of country.” In the new synagogue in Potsdam, the Prussian eagle was put up at the arc. Rabbis had to accept the conditions of emancipation, since those were the roads to emancipation and citizenship. Reeducation meant modernity.


Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 02 – February 15, 1971
… something of the change that the Enlightenment made about attitudes towards the Jews, leading to Jewish emancipation, and I talked last time about that event of seventeen-hundred and eleven, the burning of the Frankfurt ghetto and the reactions to that burning, which still mixes Medieval attitudes with emerging attitudes of the Enlightenment.

They still believed that you should take no money from Jews, that Jews shouldn’t be allowed to pray in your house, that they shouldn’t rebuild the synagogue, because it is a work of the devil. And yet, on the other hand, it extended the idea of charity now to the Jews as well. That is sheltering them and that kind of thing. But if you look at the end of the century, you have the break-through.

The break-through comes with a very famous work, the other famous work with dealing with Wilhelm Christian Dohm’s book, About the Improvement of Jewish Citizenship of 1781. Wilhelm Christian Dohm was a clergyman, but he was also a man of the Enlightenment, a close friend of Moses Mendelssohn, as a matter of fact. His book will be of vast importance. And what has happened in that century is very illuminating.

One thing that happens between 1711 and 1781 is that the Enlightenment has triumphed among these intellectuals and among the administrators of government. This rationalism and optimism shines, if you like, through Dohm’s remark: “I must confess,” he says, “that I cannot conceive of a human group which is incapable of improvement.”

That is a typically Enlightenment statement, that “I cannot conceive of any human group that is incapable of improvement.” That’s one argument. But there’s a second argument that he makes too, and that is taken from Adam Smith. And that also would have a long future before it, the theories of Adam Smith.

For Adam Smith had held that the power of the state increases with the number of its productive citizens. The more productive citizens you have, the greater the power of the state. The argument is therefore that the Jews must become productive citizens to increase the power of the state.

At the moment, the Jews are merely consumers. That is to say, they are merely traders, commercial people, usurers – to use the contemporary term. But Jews must be made productive in order to increase the power of the state. That is, as I say, an application of the ideas from Adam Smith. The idea that no group is beyond improvement is an application from the Enlightenment.

Dohm has both arguments within it. And yet he believes that, for Jews, this improvement was going to be difficult. For generations of oppression had made the Jews so utterly degenerate that it would need three or four generations until they could be brought to the level of other cultured human beings.

What Dohm was thinking of was not the wealthy circle around Moses Mendelssohn. Dohm was – indeed he’d have to be – concerned with the Jewish masses. That is why his statement about centuries of oppression. That is why his statement about degeneration. What he looked at was the ghettos. Degeneration. That is why he believed it would take three or four generations of improvement.

There were three obstacles to Jewish emancipation. Jewish particularism, and above all idea of the chosen people, did not fit in, of course, with the Enlightenment at all. Jewish hostility toward Christians, which meant that Jews could not eat at the same table with Christians.

This will be, in fact, a very big argument from now on in, that Jews could not even eat with Christians, which was interpreted as contempt for Christians. And finally, their commercial structure, that they were indeed parasites and not productive, because they went in not for productive trades – we’ll come back to that – but for commerce, for commerce and usually small-time commerce.

Now, these obstacles for Dohm were not the fault of the Jews, far from it. They were the cause of historical development. If they were the fault of the Jews, he would not argue for emancipation. They are, in the Enlightenment way, the lingering of historical superstition. Still they existed.

And here he captures a general concern, which I want to illustrate to you from France as well so that you can see how general it is. In 1806, Napoleon submitted to the French Jewish community a series of questions. A series of questions. What were these questions which Napoleon officially submitted to the Jewish community?

One concerned the possibility of intermarriage.  Do you believe it or do you reject it? The second was usury taken only from non-Jews. Are you allowed to take usury from Jews as well or only from non-Jews? And finally, to sum it up, do you consider the French as brothers or foreigners?

Now Napoleon’s questions are very similar to Dohm’s in direction. Jewish separatism is an issue in Napoleon’s question, “Do you consider the French as brothers or foreigners?” Intermarriage, usury, and in Dohm’s obstacles as well. The answer to that, the true answer to that, will of course come from your reading in Katz and you will get in Katz the answer from inside the Jewish community.

It is clear that the ques- the obstacles of Dohm and the questions of Napoleon have some footing in reality. The whole process of Jewish emancipation was geared toward overcoming these questions of separateness, and if you read the tortured answers which the Jewish notables gave to Napoleon, you will see that it is a very real question, for the Jewish notables were badly split in their answers.

And the answers that they gave in the end were highly cartelistic. In other words, they did not really give Napoleon a straight answer. They couldn’t, they couldn’t. Because this separateness, in a sense, was built in to ghetto civilization, and, in a sense, to the whole tradition. So that even that answer was extremely ambivalent.

Now, what was the solution? For Dohm, the solution is also the solution for everyone else, because his tract became normative, as you will see. Dohm’s solution was everyone else. They were based on what? They were based on the environmentalism of the Enlightenment.

The solution of Dohm was based, to be more specific, on the anthropology of Lamarck, which had captured the Enlightenment’s imagination. The anthropology of Lamarck was an environmental explanation of evolution. That is to say, evolution could be controlled by controlling the environment.

To tell you the most famous example which you always get, the giraffe’s neck became elongated because what it ate was so high up. So laugh, who knows the truth? I don’t. (laughter) So, what you have to learn is doubt. You really don’t doubt. You think you’re such great radicals, but you really don’t doubt. (laughter) Not anything really, you know. You really don’t doubt.

Certain truths, unfortunately, you accept on faith. Lamarck may well have been right. You don’t know, I don’t. But anyway, it’s this environmentalism, the explanation of evolution, which Dohm took up.
So what is his concrete solution? Of vast importance.

First of all, Jews must leave their old professions and became farmers and artisans. On this I must elaborate a little. Why must Jews become peasants and artisans? Dohm puts it as follows: “I believe that the problem of moral and civic improvement of the Jews would completely disappear within fifty years if it were possible to turn the majority of the Jews into farmers and artisans.”

At the same time, Dohm idealizes the artisan class. What does he say about the artisans? “His soul is troubled by neither nagging fears nor delusive hopes. He enjoys the present with a pure and perfect joy. His strenuous labor keeps him healthy. He is modest and just.”

The artisan and the peasant are for Dohm the noble savage. You will find in general that
by the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, the artisans and the peasant have replaced Rousseau’s so-called “noble savage” as the ideal of happiness.

Therefore Jews must become artisans and farmers to get contact with the earth, contact with nature, to renew themselves in the whole ideal of the Enlightenment, to leave the ghetto, to leave the town and the urbanism – “the filth of the ghetto,” as they would put it – and small- time luxurious commerce, and get in touch with the land and the earth. Become peasants and artisans.

That was the “Arcadia” for Dohm, and for many Jews, this was to remain so, for many Jews and gentiles. Let me make that clear. For it is the opposite of commercial and intellectual activity. What Dohm proposed, out of the ideas of the Enlightenment, would become for Jews the antitype. The peasants and the craftsman are the antitype of the puny, intellectual Jew.

Throughout the century, you find the following phenomenon, when rich Jews found charity for orphans, orphans’ homes. These orphans’ homes, throughout the 19th century, are geared toward making the Jewish orphans into peasants or soldiers – I’ll come back to the soldiers in a minute – into peasants or soldiers.

Throughout the century, that is the idea, to make the young Jews, the orphans, into peasants or soldiers. This solution, out of the Enlightenment, foreshadows of course the Zionists’ much no doubt much later distinction, famous distinction between muscle Jews and coffeehouse Jews. A distinction that will become of vast importance.

But this is where it begins, in the Enlightenment – and this, of course, will remain also in Zionists – the idea taken from this Arcadia, taken from this ideal, that life on the soil makes you especially moral because you are cleared to nature. And at the same time, this is about as far as you can flee from the ghetto.

This is the antitype, the Aryan Jew, behind the plow. (laughs) Where have you seen that before? (laughter) Which I’ll come to that. But what I want to make clear to you now – I don’t want to go ahead with it, I’m just saying, because we’ll come to this eventually. What I’m saying to you now is that that solution to emancipation became a solution not only for Christians but for Jews as well.

The Jew must cease to be a trader, a man without trade. And indeed, for Karl Marx, as you know, Judaism and usury were the same eventually, as we shall see. But so it was for Dohm, so it was for many enlightened Jews. Jews must cease to be traders, and they must be farmers and artisans. For, in that case, you would abolish the Jew as a type, as the ghetto type.

Secondly, Jews must break out of their Hebrew culture, learn German or French, accommodate their schools to the German curriculum. Now, Dohm would not touch religious instruction, but, like Moses Mendelssohn in many ways, Jewish religious instruction is just one now among many subjects in school. And most subjects are what we call secular German or French subjects.

In other words, school must have the same curriculum as Mendelssohn’s Jewish preschool did, as I mentioned last time. And therefore, religion becomes just one subject of instruction, that is clear. And certainly, and in a way crucial, military service is the greatest school for citizenship. Therefore Jews must be able to take part in military service.

That had an echo, because, as I said later, the orphans, Jewish orphans, were trained either as peasants or as soldiers. Military service as a school of citizenship. Now, these proposals were general. For example, when the Abbe Gregoire submitted to the revolutionary French assembly his law, which was adopted eventually, emancipating the Jews in France, the basics of his own work was Dohm’s work.

In other words, he took a draft from Dohm. And all that the Abbe Gregoie’s drafts are to the French revolutionary assembly is, in many ways, Dohm translated into French. Now I have taught the theory. How did the practice look like?

And that we must come to now. What did it work in practice? And here, the Austrian Empire – with its nearly a million Jews, most of them living, as you know, in Galicia – was of vast importance. In 1782 – one year before Mendelssohn’s tract, one year after Dohm – the Emperor Joseph II, who thought of himself as an Enlightened person, issued his famous Toleranzpatent, that is, his famous Act of Toleration.

The first, the first. His famous Act of Toleration of 1781, for the Jews of the Austrian Empire. Now what is this Act of Toleration like? It abolished a whole series of humiliating restrictions. Above all, it abolished that famous restriction that whenever Jews went into a city, they had to pay the tax, a city tax, like animals. They had to pay a city tax.

They had this famous thing preserved in the city of Berlin, where it said one day, they were taxed an entrance to the city: five cows, three steers, and five Jews – among them, by the way, Moses Mendelssohn. So that’s what you have is the abolishing of this perhaps very humiliating tax on Jews’ movement.

Also all trade was open, but this is always not quite true, because most traditional trades were controlled by the guilds. The guilds were religious, Christian associations. And no Jew could crash a guild. They had a Christian oath for entrance, and therefore opening all trades to Jews meant, in effect, new trades. That had a lot to do with the social composition of Jews from then on.

New trades, not the old, established, guild-bound trades. So that opening trades to Jews meant only in effect allowing them to establishing new trades on the margins of the economic system, because the guilds controlled the essential trades as yet into the 19th century, and the guilds from the Middle Ages were religious organizations, with, after all, a Christian oath of entry.

But what is important in the edict is the program for re-education, for the edict, for the charter to re-educate Jews. Now, another humiliating fact of Jewish existence, not only in Austria, was that every Jewish marriage had to be approved by the authorities. This was to keep the Jewish population down. Every Jewish marriage had to be approved by the authorities.

Joseph II did not abolish it, but he used it for his purpose of education. Permission for marriage will now be granted to automatically, provided – provided – both partners had visited a German-Jewish elementary school. In other words, there would be no Jewish marriages permitted unless both partners had in fact attended a state school and had gotten out of Jewish schools with Jewish curriculums.

Secondly, all business transactions had to be made in the German language, not Hebrew. That would force Jews to learn German, that would force them to learn German. That would in fact all business transactions must be kept in the German language.

And finally, Jewish communal autonomy and Jewish rabbinical jurisdiction was abolished. That to say, the Jewish community itself as a self-contained unit, with Jewish rabbinical jurisdiction over it, that was abolished. However, even when toleration for Jews, as it was used here for the education of the Jews, Vienna was still closed to them.

No Jew could settle in Vienna, but neither could any Protestant. No Protestant and Jew could settle in Vienna, for Vienna was Catholic, and Catholicism was the dominant religion of the empire. So Vienna, the chief city, was kept totally kept Catholic, as a symbol of Catholicism. No Protestant and Jew could settle.

And finally – finally – military service was compulsory for Jews. There you see it again, at last. This led to riots in Galicia. This led to serious dis-alarm. The military service led to serious disturbances in Galicia, but it was enforced under Dohm’s educational ideas. Military service is the best education for citizenship.

We must summarize, therefore, by saying that Joseph II’s Toleration was in fact as all Jewish toleration edicts a matter of education. The basis was Dohm and the Enlightenment, which I hope I have more or less explained. But there were exceptions to this. In all German states, therefore, between 1791 and 1812, that meant the end of the Jewish Middle Ages. That’s what it meant from the Jewish standpoint. In the West it meant the end of the Jewish Middle Ages, in Eastern Europe they continued.

Education was stressed everywhere. The education edict of the French Revolution also stressed education. It said that Jews must become artisans, especially apprentices to artisans. In fact it made it almost compulsory for young Jews to become apprentices to an artisan trade. So you have the same thing then in France with Abbe Gregoire.

But the exception is Prussia. The exception is Prussia. That exception is rather interesting. For the exception in Prussia comes from the great Prussian statesman Wilhelm von Humboldt. Wilhelm von Humboldt who disagreed with using toleration for educational purposes. The founder of the University of Berlin disagreed with that erratically.

For Humboldt said that in using toleration to re-educate the Jews, as Dohm said – and, in fact, I can quote it again. He ends his book by saying, “Let Jews cease to be Jews.” That’s, of course, the clue. “Let Jews cease to be Jews,” by which he meant abrogate the type, abrogate the ghetto. Let Jews become civilized people, by which he meant people of the Enlightenment, peasants and artisans. That’s what they had to be.

Humboldt disagreed with that, for he said – quite rightly, I think – the state is a legal not an educational institution, and the state must not be transformed, as Joseph the II did it, from a legal institution to an educational institution. Men must be treated according to their individuality not to their religion and their origin. His critique is, I think, very clear.

He said, ‘These people like Dohm and Joseph II, are people of the Enlightenment. They believe in individualism, and yet they treat the Jews as a group. There is a contradiction here. People must be treated as individuals and not, after all, by their religion or their origins.

And then he ask- he raises a very sensible question. How can one judge whether the Jews have become better people? How are you going to judge the results? How are the results going to be judged? And, of course, there is no answer to that question, obviously. Clearly. Humboldt here applied his general ideas of the limits of state power to the Jewish problem.

He believed in emancipation, for, as he puts it, “the unnatural position of the Jews demoralizes the nation.” He hopes eventually in a complete emancipation of the Jews without preconditions, and then, he said, Jews would inevitably become Christians. This is not as far-fetched when we come back to conversion, as we will. This is not far-fetched.

Eventually, he said, with complete emancipation, Jews will become Christians. Von Humboldt moved in a circle of Mendelssohn’s children who were all baptized and married into the elite of the Romantic movement. So they will all become eventually Christians, but you don’t have to educate them that way.

The Prussian emancipation edict of 1912 [sic] – known now and then by the name of the Prussian prime minister at the time, the Hardenberg Edict – was the only emancipation edict which did not have any educational power to it. The Hardenberg Edict was indeed a complete emancipation, with one exception.

The opposition was so great that Hardenberg made one--- Hardenberg and Humboldt made one concession to the opposition. They left it to the king to decide whether Jews should enter state offices, whether they could be state officials like judges. Lawyers were state officials. Professors, officers in the army.

They left it to the king to decide. Now, as a matter of practice, as you will see, the king never decided. And so, as a matter of fact, how it worked out, it was a complete emancipation except that Jews could not become state officials. Which meant, in fact, professors, judges, and officers in the army.

The army officers had a Christian oath. That was one of the problems. So that they could never become officers. But otherwise the emancipation was more complete in Prussia than it was anywhere else.
But there was another catch. It applied only to Prussian Jews. What does that mean?

It applied only to Jews who had lived in Prussia under royal protection. That is to say to those who had begun as court Jews living outside the ghetto and those who had been permitted to live in Prussia under royal protection. In practice, what did that mean? In 1812, it meant – to give you the facts – that about thirty thousand Jews were emancipated and three thousand were not.

Three thousand were new-comers who lived mostly in the eastern corner of Prussia. That is to say, in Posen. In Poznań as it is called today. It’s really Posen, suppose that’s my greatest claim on it. I come from there. (laughter)

So what you have there is that it applied to thirty-thousand and not to three-thousand. By 1914 [sic?], with the rapid rise of the Prussian Jewish population, it applied to about a hundred-and-twenty-three thousand and fifty-two thousand were omitted. Now, I mention this for a reason, ‘cause those who were omitted were in fact going to be the east Jewish problem in Germany.

The way the emancipation came about created in Germany a Jewish population that was essentially stateless, that didn’t have any nationality, an essentially stateless population. But the vast majority were emancipated. Because the Hardenberg decrees were total, the reaction to it is equally violent, violent. And the reaction to these decrees centered around the problem, Can Jews reform themselves?

Don’t we need enforced measures of education as you had in Austria and in France? Do we not need enforced measures of education? And, because we do not have enforced measures of education, aren’t the Jews then a state within a state? This accusation of a state within a state – which you can now see from separatism – was first raised by Fichte, as rector of the newly-founded University of Berlin.

But it became – and we shall come back to it as such – a general accusation. Why? And here we must look at France again for a minute, at Napoleon, what he did. For Napoleon did not accept the emancipation of the French Revolution. For Napoleon insisted on treating the Jews as a nation.

What Napoleon did and what made a tremendous impression on all those opposed to emancipation, he called the Jewish notables together once more and called them the Sanhedrin, that is after the old biblical Jewish court. He revised the Sanhedrin, in a sort of mixture of Romanticism, but also – also – because he didn’t accept emancipation in reality, Napoleon.

He treated the Jews as a nation, calling the Sanhedrin and asking the same questions that he asked before. Are the French your brothers or foreigners? The same kind of questions he asked. And why? Why? Because he had his own “eastern Jewish problem.” His eastern Jewish problem was called Alsace and Lorraine.

For in Alsace and Lorraine resided the majority of French Jews. And they resided in Alsace and Lorraine under ghetto conditions so that, in effect – I’ll come back to that – while the Germans had the ghetto in the frontier region, France had the ghetto centered in Alsace and Lorraine.

And it is for that reason, that it was always present, that Napoleon refused, not only refused emancipation but indeed put new restrictions upon the Jews, mostly upon Jewish commerce. He really believed that Jews were usurers, Napoleon. And so he promulgated a series of so-called ‘anti-usury’ legislation, which hit only Jews and which was designed with Alsace and Lorraine in mind.

So when we look at Napoleon, the fact that there in France emancipation was for a period, in fact, abrogated – in fact abrogated – it is because there, in a sense, the ghetto was central and in Germany, it was on a frontier.

It is only in 1815, when the Bourbon monarchy was restored, that emancipation was restored to the French Jews. This may seem to you at the moment odd, I know, because the Bourbons are reactionary in common parlance. But there is – and I must say this now – no necessary connection between reactionary and anti-Semitic.

There is not a necessary connection, and there wasn’t with the restored Bourbons, not at all. Louis XVIII was very friendly to Jews. And it is almost of his own free will that he restored a Jewish emancipation in France. But – but – the fact that Napoleon treated the Jews as a nation still at that late date made a tremendous impression to our Fuhrer.

And [the fact that Napoleon] he himself abrogated emancipation is going to be very fateful in the end to our Fuhrer. It also made a tremendous impression. Clearly, in emancipation  - and to summarize it – there are several problems involved from the very beginning.

First of all, the stereotype of the Jew remains alive. The idea is to cease to be a Jew – that means as far as the stereotype is concerned. If you refuse to cease to be a Jew, you are in fact the stereotype. I shall come back to the stereotype a little later, but the stereotype-- I mean the outward and inward stereotype.

The 18th century is the century, for example, of the development of the Jewish nose and other stereotypes. So the stereotype remains. The stereotype remains. And you will see, when we come to it, that the 18th century, as a matter of fact, has the stereotype in great measure and even develops it. That will remain because of the group idea, because of the idea of re-education. That must be clear. It will remain.

This is Voltaire, he didn’t hate the individual Jew, but he hated Jews. It was to be changed by education. There is – and I might make that clear now – no racism involved, and there won’t be ‘til the end of the century. The Jew must cease to be a Jew, but those who remain, deepen the stereotype. They are lost. Because it’s a matter of individual volition now. Volition. They are lost. They are the stereotype.

Secondly, but what about the Jews themselves? What about their balance again? For I’ve given you now an idea of the terms of emancipation. What I’ve said to you today are the terms of emancipation. You had nothing to say with these terms. These terms were laid down. You could not argue with them, needless to say.

The terms of emancipation, what about them? It must be said from the very beginning, that many Jews in the west accepted them gladly, for they fit it in with their own idea of the Enlightenment. They attempted, therefore, what we might call to modernize Judaism. To modernize Judaism.

And, in this, they were encouraged by the ghetto civilization, which, from the beginning of the century, was slowly spilling over. You must remember something. Frontiers don’t exist until 1918. There were no frontiers until 1918. No customs official, no passport official. That didn’t exist ‘til 1918. I must make this clear or you won’t understand what happened.

There were no way of keeping people out of your state because there were no frontiers or passports until 1918. So that the ghetto civilization constantly spilled over, and you soon had little ghettos in  most of the western cities, in Paris, in Berlin, in most of the western cities.

And the presence of these little ghettos spurred on, if you like, the indigenous Jews – spurred on the indigenous Jews – to modernization. For they, of course, wanted to put a wall between themselves as civilized, 19th century enlightened people and those who had spilled over from the ghetto and who kept the orthodox Jewish observance.

The orthodox dress, that is to say the caftan, the pious, the earlocks and all of that, which seemed to any enlightened man, whether Jew or gentile, a survival of the Middle Ages. And they wanted to be abreast.

So that, in this modernization, in this acceptance of Dohm’s ideas, in their acceptance of education and the idea that Jews must be re-educated to peasants and craftsmen, the West European Jews saw some sense, for he too faced a problem. These ghetto Jews, in Alsace-Lorraine, in the Polish pale, spilling over into the city, they were making anti-Semitism. For them. I’m telling it from their view. For them.

And therefore they faced the same problem. The only way to face it was the modernize, modernize, and modernize. And perhaps you will not only be accepted, but perhaps you might also bring – and I quote from a contemporary doctrine – “the masses of Jews of Eastern Europe to the culture standards of the west.”

And because, in the Enlightenment, there was a definite yoking, a definitely binding up between economic prosperity and cultural standard. The western Jews and gentiles thought that the east-European Jewish masses would not get out of their poverty until they had become modern and enlightened.

In other words, it was generally thought that orthodox Jewish religion was an obstacle not only to enlightenment but also to prosperity. So that you have these two things bound up, and therefore you have, among Jews themselves, the urge now to modernize, the acceptance of these conditions of emancipation, the acceptance of emancipation.

Let me summarize it this way, ‘cause that will make it clear to you. The western Jews now were just as happy and embarrassed in gentile society as, let us say, in England, the first fellows from working class background who came into an Oxford or Cambridge carnival. Much the same thing. It’s the same parallel.

They were just as embarrassed in gentile society, the newly emancipated Jew, as a chap from working class origin in Oxford and Cambridge. Much the same idea and much the same reaction. They made every effort. First of all, as I told you before, the name Jew was dropped.

For example, until 1810, the Jewish journal Sulamith carried the subtitle, “A journal for the promotion of culture and humanity among the Jewish nation”. After 1810, it promoted culture and humanity among the “Israelites.” Seminally as I said, the word “Jew” was dropped and the word “mosaic” was substituted.

You know, one of the most interesting things in teaching this course which I enjoy hugely is your reactions. You know? Really? It is going to be very interesting as I go on. Because I come from this background that I am telling you, and I’ve never understood American Jews, maybe I will now. (laughter)

The question is--- your reaction will be very interesting. Really. “Israelite” was dropped and “mosaic” was substituted. I told you the shock I had when I found somebody first calling themselves a Jew. Really, truly.

All over the west, even in Poland, the very center of the Jewish religion, the office of rabbi was changing – was changing – under this imparlance of modernity. In treaties from Poland, from Nuremburg, of 1823 tells us, what must a rabbi do? A rabbi must, first of all, preach the love of country. The willing response of everyone to military service.

And it is here that you have this famous symbolism, under which I was brought up. Namely, when the new synagogue in Potsdam was built, the Prussian eagle was put over the arc. This Prussian eagle over the arc on the Potsdam synagogue will be a symbol which will last and will have some importance into the Nazi times.

… will have some importance to the attempted Nazi-Jewish understanding, to which I will come later. In other words, this was the modernization. The rabbi must--- The acceptance of the conditions of emancipation. The rabbi must first preach love of country and military service, and you can see why.

You can see why. From your perspective, it doesn’t make sense. From the perspective of 1823, it makes a great deal of sense. That is to say, those were the roads to citizenship, those were the roads to acceptance, those were the roads to assimilation. So that we must say finally, therefore, that what happened is that western Jews accepted these conditions of assimilation.

For them, re-education meant modernity. Re-education meant modernity. They accepted it. They furthered it. They tried to modernize their institutions, but to modernize in certain ways. And to that response-- I will go on with that response next time. But I want to see – and I’ll answer questions next time – but I want to see now anybody who is a graduate student or---

Lecture #3

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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

One of the results of Jewish acceptance of the terms of emancipation laid down by the state was a change of attitude towards the community itself. A new kind of rabbi emerged, one who preached the love of country and extolled military service and duty. One leader of German Jewry wrote in 1815 that there was only one form of baptism: the baptism of blood in the common battle for liberty and the fatherland. The duty of military service was seen by many Jews and gentiles as the final pinnacle of integration. This idea of patriotism must not be confused with a support for reaction. Gabriel Riesser wrote in an article that the progress of Jewish emancipation was intertwined with the German fight for freedom and unity. Riesser himself is an interesting case study: his ambition was to be the first Jewish state representative. Active citizenship meant for him active involvement in politics. Riesser suffered many humiliations before he finally took a leading role in the Frankfurt Assembly in 1848.

But Riesser was not alone. 1848 (The Revolution of 1848) was a milestone for German Jewish emancipation. Liberal Jews, wealthy lawyers for the most part, sat in the Frankfurt parliament. Another example was Heinrich Marx, Karl’s father, who involved himself as a lawyer in the movement for liberal parliamentary reform in the Rhineland. Their involvement with politics and military service was patriotism, reeducation and their fight for freedom- a continuation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. As Johann Jacoby, another one of those men, said. “Just as I am a Jew and a German, at the same time, so the Jew in me cannot be free without the German, nor the German without the Jew. Our messiah is progressive in time which ever more shakes the bond of old prejudice.” His attitude was an obvious continuation of the Enlightenment. As Boerne claimed: “Because I was born a bondsman, I love liberty more than you.” These quotations go to the essence of the process of emancipation.

Yet these rather wealthy Jews were not typical for all of Jewish society. Jewish bankers and those in commerce attempted political neutrality, while Orthodoxy was hostile to liberalism and linked itself to the reaction. But without people like Jacobi and Riesser, emancipation would not have advanced. They were leaders in their community. (Mosse reminds us that there was as yet no real separation between Judaism and Jews. If one was a Jew, one had to come to terms with Judaism.) But with the changing cultural climate of Europe, a new kind of Christian revival became the hallmark of civilized people that was different from Mendelssohn’s time. To be sure, if the Christian revival had happened earlier, there would have been neither emancipation, nor belief in progress and reeducation. Instead, Revivalists regarded the Enlightenment ambivalently. Typical of that trend was Schleiermacher, who revived Christianity as a non-theological romantic religion. “There is a peculiar danger in the Enlightenment”, he stated. “It might lead to a common Jewish-Christian religion of reason.” In this case, according to Schleiermacher, the idea of Christian salvation would be undermined from within and Christianity would relapse into Judaism. The Enlightenment was condemned as anti-Christian. Judaism, regarded as a legalistic religion with a vengeful God, was taken to be the opposite of Romanticism, of the true emotion and pathology of souls. Therefore, the true religion of the spirit could not flourish. For Hegel, Christianity was the mediating synthesis, the true spirituality. He and Schleiermacher stressed the gospel of St. John, which treated Judaism as a foreign, atavistic religion. The latter is important for the later history of anti-Semitism.

St. Paul was a Jew who changed his name and established Christianity. It was Paul the Jew who perverted Christianity into a legalistic religion. The group condemnation of Judaism by Christians is carried on in Romanticism and deepened: what is bad in Christianity is now blamed on the Jews. Kant shared this attitude. For him, Judaism and the categorical imperative are mutually exclusive; the Jewish faith typified mere statutory law upon which a state was founded. Therefore, Judaism was no religion, but a community living under a law. In fact, it is a state within a state. The concept that the Jewish question is a question of ethics began now. Naturally, this called for a response on the part of the Jews: in response to the accusations of the Romantics, changes occurred in the Jewish community. The word for the Jewish service is important in our context: the “Judenschule” (Jew school). Mosse reads a definition from a dictionary of 1808: Jewish Service: a Jew school, where disorder, gesticulation and chaos reigns.” The word “Judenschule” became a part of the European vocabulary, a virtual synonym for chaos. It can be found in dictionaries to this very day. Jewish religious service, which allegedly had no dignity or spirituality, was linked to the general condemnation of Judaism. A response was the famous order for religious service of 1810 in the Jewish consistory of Westphalia, calling for order and solemnity. Whereas there are no priests necessary in an orthodox service-everyone participates, leading the service was now given over to a cantor, though German was not yet mandated. Also, the reading of the scroll of Esther was abolished. Exclusivist thought, and messianic hopes for a return to Zion in the liturgy were altered. This was the beginning of the Jewish reform movement.

The implementation of the Jewish Reform Movement in Germany was given over to the wealthy bourgeoisie-bankers and merchants. It was inspired by the rationalism of Mendelssohn, but also by Romanticism. The rabbi now becomes in effect a minister and a social worker. Stress is put on ethics as taught by the prophets. The standard reply to anti-Semitism was now not only grounded in rationalism, but in ethics. A second kind of reform was conservative, the neo-Orthodoxy reform founded by Samson Raphael Hirsch. It was centered on the torah and corresponded to Protestant biblicism. A national interpretation of scripture was rejected by all reform movements and replaced with the notion of a “Jewish mission” to demonstrate ethical monotheism. Mendelssohn defended Jews not as the chosen people of God, but as custodians of rationalism in the world. This rationalism is ethical monotheism. (This stress on the mission of Jews will remain; the greatest Jewish philosopher of the 20th century, Hermann Cohen, would restate it). Nationhood was a transitory state in Israel’s history that had nothing to do with the mission of Israel. If Jews talked about nationhood, they meant a spiritual conception. When Hirsch, in his “Nineteen Letters” of 1836 claims that we must support the state, he meant the ethical state. But if this was Judaism, then it was in fact just another confession of belief in the state.

Neo-Orthodoxy was triumphant, while the old orthodoxy was kept alive only by immigration from the east. On the other, more radical side of Reform stood Abraham Geiger. Geiger stressed the need to “break with the age of darkness” that lasted from the bible to the age of Mendelssohn. The ceremonial law was definitely dropped in favor of an emphasis on the ethics of the prophets. Geiger’s prayer book of 1854 is the basis fpr all Reform. It omits all references to Zion, to a personal messiah, and to sacrifice. Mosse points out that as we look at this reform, we see in it the reaction to assimilation, a transformation of the conception of Judaism as it had existed up to that time. This attitude made another important contribution: the need for separation, for aloofness, was changed into it’s very opposite. The service, centered on ethics, was in form a Protestant service. But Jews who wanted identification needed a stronger background. This raised the problem of tradition in a very important way and was solved in the same way the Romantics solved theirs: through emotionality, by going to history. Part of this change in the Jewish community was a new sense of history that paralleled that of the Romantics. Indeed, the new idea of the history of the Jews comes from Hegel and his students. The form it took, namely, the Science of Judaism, has been controversial. In a way, it was one of the solutions with which Reform responded to the problems of Judaism and therefore difficult from a Zionist point of view. Finally, Mosse asks his students to put themselves in the position of that generation; a generation that had still lived in the ghetto and wanted to get away from it. The attraction of the high standards of European civilization exerted a great pull for everyone. The “Promised Land” was philosophy, history, literature, and culture, first that of the Enlightenment, then that of Romanticism. Out of that, we must understand the modifications that took place. (What Mosse has tried to explain in this lecture was, first, why Jews accepted the conditions of emancipation, and secondly, that emancipation coincided with a change of European opinion from Enlightenment to Romanticism that brought about a new attitude towards the Jews.)

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 03 – February 17, 1971
... Then, as I said, gladly accepted the terms of emancipation, the terms of emancipation that were laid down by the state and of which the work of Dohm – which I talked about last time – were such a good example. One of the results was a change in the whole attitude towards the community itself.

All over the west and even into Poland, the rich leaders of the community furthered a new kind of rabbi, who, as a treatise of 1823 tells us, preached the love of country and the willing response to military service as the chief duties.

Indeed, one leader of German Jewry wrote as follows in a Jewish paper in 1815: “There is only one form of baptism which makes for national unity, and that is the baptism of blood in the common battle for liberty and the fatherland.” Obviously the duty of military service was seen by many Jews, as well as by gentiles, as the final pinnacle of integration.

Now, this idea of patriotism, which involves this preaching love of country, this military service, must not be confused with a support for reaction. For example, another famous leader of German Jewry – whose name you don’t have to remember, Gabriel Riesser – in an equally famous article, saw the progress of Jewish emancipation intertwined with the German fight for freedom and for unity.

In fact, Riesser is an interesting case study. His ambition was to be the first Jewish parliamentary representative in a German state. He believed, as did many, that active citizenship was as important as military service in the road to emancipation, and active citizenship meant active involvement in politics.

To be sure, Riesser suffered many humiliations. He did not make it. But finally, he took a needed role in 1848 in the famous all-German Frankfurt Assembly. Riesser was not alone. The Frankfurt Assembly of 1848 is also a milestone in Jewish emancipation. For in that famous all-German assembly during the Revolution of 1848, seven Jews sat in that parliament, all liberals – some more radical than others, but all liberals.

For such men – wealthy lawyers, for the most part – crashing politics was their way of integration. Another famous example is Heinrich Marx, Karl Marx’s father – to his baptism I will come back later – Heinrich Marx, Karl Marx’s father, who involved himself as a lawyer in the movement for liberal parliamentary reform in the Rhineland, but he took the consequence of baptism, as you will see, which the others did not.

These men, they were liberals, and you must not confound patriotism and reaction. In their eyes, their involvement with politics and with military service was both patriotism, re-education, and a fight for freedom, a continuation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Let me quote two leading people who were in that tradition.

Johann Jacoby, another Jew who sat in the Frankfurt Parliament, who said in 1832, “We shall sacrifice all our other interests and work towards a constitution, freedom of the press, and an assembly truly representative of the people. These general benefits will surely bring our emancipation in their wake,” by which he meant Jewish emancipation.

 “Just as I am a Jew and a German at the same time, so the Jew in me cannot be free without the German and the German not without the Jew. Our Messiah is progressive time which evermore vigorously shakes the bond of old prejudice.” In these quotations you have an obvious continuation of the Enlightenment.

You have an obvious idea that freedom is now indivisible, German freedom and Jewish freedom, on the part of these wealthy lawyers who crashed German politics and who were the first to crash politics anywhere as far as Jews were concerned.

And finally a quote from Boerne, the famous liberal writer, “Because I was born a bondsman, I therefore love liberty more than you. Yes, because I have known slavery, I understand freedom more than you. Yes, because I was born without a fatherland, my desire for a fatherland is more passionate than you.”

These quotations go to the very essence of the protest of assimilation as it was developing, especially this quote from Boerne that “because I have known slavery, I understand freedom more than you. Because I was born without a fatherland, my desire for a fatherland is more passionate than yours.”

These active, rather wealthy Jews, lawyers for the most part, were not, however, typical for all of Jewish society. By and large, Jewish bankers, in commerce especially, attempted political neutrality. And Jewish Orthodoxy, a minority movement, as you will see, was hostile to 1848, was hostile to liberalism and linked itself to the reaction.

Yet, without the attitude of such people, emancipation would not have advanced, and indeed they are the most important agent of its advancement. What about that? The attitude of such people, leaders in their community as they were, leaders in their community to Judaism and themselves as Jews. For we must remember – and it is, I think, of essence for us to remember – that there is as yet no real separation between Judaism and Jews.

If you were a Jew, you still had to come to terms with Judaism. This is not the future. Eventually this will be no longer necessary, obviously. But now it is necessary. Judaism and Jew were still part of a common identification and not yet split asunder. But with men like Riesser, like Jacoby I quoted to you, Mendelssohn’s balance was in peril.

Not just because of the slender nature of this balance – we’ve said enough of that, so you can understand it – but because the cultural climate of Europe was changing. The cultural climate of Europe was changing. To put it in short hand, by 1800, the Enlightenment had given way to Romanticism.

The change in the cultural climate of Europe meant, in fact, a revival of Christianity after the Enlightenment. You must remember that, in Romanticism, Christianity and a Romantic attitude went together, both as a reaction to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. A new kind of Christian revival, a new kind of Romantic attitude now became the hallmark of civilized people.

When Moses Mendelssohn had talked about civilized people and the Jews joining civilized people, he had meant the Enlightenment. When people after 1800 talked about Jews joining the civilized people, they meant Romanticism, and they had to mean Christianity as well, for Christian revival goes hand in hand with Romanticism.

To be sure, if the Christian revival would have happened earlier, there would have been no emancipation. For neither Romanticism nor the Christian revival believed in progress, believed in the possibility of re-education, and, therefore, if Romanticism and the Christian revival would have come earlier, I think there is no question that there would have been no Jewish emancipation.

For instead, Romanticism believed, as some of you know, in the pathology of souls, especially in intellectual circles. The whole of emancipation was therefore regarded as ambivalent at best. Typical for that is Friedrich Schleiermacher, who stands at the center of Romanticism. Friedrich Schleiermacher who married the eldest daughter of Moses Mendelssohn, Dorothea Mendelssohn – who married her eventually.

Schleiermacher revived Christianity as a non-theological, Romantic religion. But he revived it nevertheless. He was a clergyman not in the 18th century fashion but in the fashion of a revived Christianity. That is what is important to remember. That is what he was. And therefore, when he came to look at Jews, he said the following: “There is a peculiar danger in the Enlightenment. It might lead to a common Jewish-Christian religion of reason.”

That is not un-perceptive. That we have already seen. There were great elements even in Moses Mendelssohn which would lead to a common Christian-Jewish religion of reason. But in this case, said Schleiermacher, the idea of Christian salvation would be undermined from within.

Not only would the idea of Christian salvation be undermined, but, as he put it finally, Christianity would relapse into Judaism. In other words, the Enlightenment is not condemned as – what it was, in fact – anti-Christian. Christianity would relapse into Judaism.

Now, because Christianity revived in this manner, it was, of course, now said not only to surpass Judaism, but the condemnation of Judaism of the Enlightenment was deepened. Judaism, after all, was not taken to be the opposite of Romanticism, of the true pathology of souls, of the true emotion, truth of inner emotional man, a truth which now corresponded not to reason but to Christianity. Emotional truth, in other words.

For Judaism was, after all, a legalistic religion. And not only that, a religion with a vengeful God. Moses Mendelssohn, in “Jerusalem,” as I told you before, had spent a lot of time disproving that the God of the Jews is a vengeful God. And there seemed in Judaism no room for emotion. Recall the 360 ceremonial laws. And therefore no Jew – or whatever the hell it is. (laughter)

And therefore, and therefore, the true religion of the spirit could not flourish. Before you laugh at me, ask yourselves whether you’re keeping them all. Huh? (laughter) For Hegel, for example, Christianity, after all, for Hegel, was the mediating synthesis, the true spirituality. Truly enough, Schleiermacher and Hegel stretched the gospel of St. John.

I feel greatly tempted to ask you why he would stretch the gospel of St. John, why that is important, to see how cultured you actually are, but I shall restraint myself. (laughter) The gospel of St. John is that gospel, which, as you may remember (laughter) is that gospel where Judaism is treated as a foreign religion. In fact, the gospel of St. John is known in general as the anti-Semitic gospel, which, in fact, it is.

It is the gospel where Judaism is treated as a foreign religion. Judaism tended, therefore, to be viewed by Hegel, by Schleiermacher, as a fossil, as atavistic. And to go one step further, the unemotional Christianity, the established Christian churches, were viewed as a product of Judaism.

Now, this becomes important later in the history of anti-Semitism, but I must mention it here. For they blamed all laws and regulation and establishment in Christianity on St. Paul – rightly, by the way. Christianity doesn’t exist. It should be called “Paul.” He made it – on St. Paul. But St. Paul, as you know, was a Jew who changed his name – you know all this.

Therefore, therefore, their condemnation of established Christianity was connected with their view of the Jews. It was from Paul, the Jew, who had perverted Christianity into a legalism. Now what has happened here is fairly simple, is fairly simple. The group condemnation of Judaism by the Enlightenment is carried through to Romanticism, for the Enlightenment had taken a similar view of Judaism, as a deep superstition. We went over that, and you remember it.

It is carried on in Romanticism and deepened, but the weapon is now not deism and rationalism. The Enlightenment thought Judaism and Jews as a group were an obstacle to a rational world. Now the condemnation is put back to Christianity. That is to say, Judaism is opposed to Christianity, it is a puzzle, and what is bad in Christianity is indeed the fault of Jews.

It is very important that Kant, the great philosopher, shared this attitude. For, in a sense, Kant stands at the beginning of the 19th century like a giant. Anything that he would say about it is of the greatest importance for the future. For Kant explicitly held that Judaism and the categorical imperative are mutually exclusive.

The categorical imperative is a moral idea, Judaism is a legalistic puzzle. They are mutually exclusive. As Kant says it, the Jewish faith typifies mere statutory law, upon which a state was founded. Jewry is no religion, but a community living under political laws. It is, in fact – and I always come back to that – a state within a state.

Therefore, therefore, Judaism had no spiritual or moral quality. What Romanticism said is the chief accusation against Jews and Judaism of the entire 19th century. As somebody said eventually, the Jewish question is a question of ethics. Jews who believe in Judaism can have no ethics in their statutory and political religion.

Ethics are the categorical imperative, ethics is the Romantic Christianity. I wish you would remember, for the future, this concept which now begins, that the Jewish question is now a question of ethics. This needed more response from Jews than just calling oneself “Israelite” or “mosaic” instead of Jews.

And so, in a combination of in light of emancipation and meeting the Romantic accusation, we start the changes in the Jewish community. And they’re in double threat – emancipation and accusation of the Romantics, as I have outlined it. You get the beginning of the reform.

Now, what had been the outward accusation? Judaism is a fossil, it cannot have emotion, true emotion is impossible, it’s an ethical question. And then they said, ‘Look at the Jewish service.’ The word for Jewish service is very important in our context. It is called the “Judenschule,” the Jew School.

I will now give you a definition of Jewish religious service from a dictionary, Compass Dictionary of 1808. “Jewish Service: a Jew School, where disorder, gesticulation, and chaos reign.” What it meant – and don’t underestimate semantics – what it meant is that the word “Judenschule” became a part of the European, and especially central European, vocabulary and is it to this day.

It became another word for chaos and disorder and ugliness and gesticulation. Still today, this is a general word. If there is a chaos, it is a “Judenschule.” This is a general word, and as such you will find it in dictionaries to this very day. This was, of course, implied: a religious service which had no dignity, which had no spirituality, and which linked with the general condemnation of Judaism as a legalistic, mundane kind of religion. That must be clear.

What was the response? The response is, in a famous order for religious service of 1810 by the Jewish Consistory of Westphalia, “Order and solemnity must be introduced into the Jewish service in imitation of Protestantism.” And, as a result, parts of the Jewish service in which the congregation participated –

I don’t know how many of you have been to an Orthodox Jewish service – but in an Orthodox Jewish service, there are no priests. Everybody participates. These parts were now given over to the cantor. That is where the modern idea of the cantor occurs. This in strict imitation of Protestantism.

The noisiest and most undignified festival of the Jewish calendar, the reading of the scroll of Esther on Purim, that reading of the scroll of Esther which is the occasion of a great deal of merry-making was abolished. That was abolished and banned. Yet, in that service, German was not yet required.

Such reforms spread like wild fire. They were, therefore, at once a means of emancipation, like patriotism, and a reply to accusation. It meant, very soon, the omission of the adoration. That is to say, the adoration in the Jewish service, with its exclusivist tendency to see God as the God of Israel.

Just so, it was no longer, in the new service, the Messiah who would lead Israel back to Palestine, but God who will redempt [sic] Israel and all mankind. The emphasis was now on all mankind. The universalism was stressed. This reform is the beginning of what we call the Jewish Reform Movement.

The impetus to that reform were given by what we might call the haute bourgeoisie. That is, the wealthy lawyers and bankers – about whom I have talked before, who wanted to crash politics – the wealthy bankers and merchants, the leaders in all West European communities, who gave the impetus, inspired by the rationalistic half of Mendelssohn’s ideas.

But also inspired now, without doubt, by the Protestant example. The rabbi now undergoes a further transformation. Not only is he to preach patriotism and love of country, but he becomes in effect a minister, and the essence of his preaching concerns Jewish ethics. Why? As a reply to accusations, but also as a carrying on the process of assimilation and emancipation.

The stress is now on Jewish ethics. Theologically, this means the stress is on the prophets. The stress is on the prophets and on Jewish ethics. What did the rabbi become? He became a social worker or a scholar on the Science of Judaism – the Science of Judaism, I shall come back in quite a big way a little later.

The emphasis on ethics, therefore, was central. And here, not only rationalism, but also the anti-Semitics accusation. Indeed, more and more, we find the replies to anti-Semitism grounded on ethics. For example, in 1880, in the big wave of anti-Semitism – which we will, of course, deal with eventually – in the 1880s, what was the Jewish reply?

The reply of the Vienna Jewish community was to get out a book on Jewish ethics. This becomes the standard reply of Jewish ethics. Now what about the reform movement? It had two wings, a radical and a more conservative. The more conservative, called the “neo-conservative wubg,” which was to be the dominant Judaism of the West. All of the West.

Its founder was Samson Raphael Hirsch. What can we say about the Neo-Orthodoxy, as it is called – really, Jewish reform, moderate reform – of Samson Raphael Hirsch, its founder? It centered on the Torah. That is to say, it centered on the Bible. It corresponds to Protestant Biblicism. It centered on the Bible. Here again a kind of correspondence to Protestant Biblicism.

The law, the ceremonial law, the famous one, is modified, and its ethical contents are stressed. But what about Israel? All reform rejected, of course, a national interpretation. That would be counter to this whole thrust in every way. For Hirsch, Israel had a mission, and here we begin the famous mission of Judaism, mission of Jews. To live a Jewish life among the people.

Why? To demonstrate the ethical monotheism in which he believes. Now, what has happened? What has happened? In the 18th century, as I have told you before – in fact, in Moses Mendelssohn, if you can remember back that far, I hope you can – in Moses Mendelssohn, the Jews were defended not as the chosen people of God but as the custodians of a rational view of the world.

Because they are chosen people, they are chosen by a rational and universal God, as chosen people. Therefore Jews are custodians of rationalism in the world. What is added here is that this rationalism is ethical monotheism. And Judaism must be preserved. The mission of the Jews is to spread an ethical – by which they meant moral – and rational monotheism.

This stress on the mission of Jews will remain. The reverse side is, of course, that Christianity is not monotheism. As it isn’t. There’s Christ, there’s the Trinity, there is all that. The mission of Judaism in a way continues, as Moses Mendelssohn had put it, but it becomes now a part of an ethical monotheism. As such, it will remain into the 20th century.

And the greatest Jewish philosopher of the 20th century, Hermann Cohen, would again restate this. He will again restate that, in the 1920s, that the mission of the Jews is, in fact, ethical monotheism. But that mission is also a reply to accusations against Judaism, which I hope I’ve made plain.

Nationhood. What do you do? It Is, after all, in the Bible you know. Children of Israel walk around, and they have a nation. Nationhood is a transitory state in Israel’s history. A merely transitory state. Nothing to do, as a transitory stage, with the mission of Israel.

Hirsch advocated assimilation to the state, patriotism. We must further the ends of the state and not consider our own well-being separated from that of the state. This is not contrary to Judaism. For Judaism has always looked at its own nationhood in a spiritual and religious way.

Land and soil were never part of Israel’s unity, never. A transitory state of history, that is all. But if Israel talks about nationhood, it is a purely spiritual conception, a spiritual conception which is part of the mission of Judaism. Far from blood and soil, Judaism is connected to an ethical imperative.

Jews must remain Jews because it is their mission to spread the ethical imperative, the ethical monotheism, throughout the world. This is opposed to blood and soil. When Hirsch says we must support the state, he means – and this should be clear to you now – the liberal state, a state which was conceived by him as it was conceived by the quotation that I have given you earlier.

Indeed, it is the mission of the Jews to make the state into an ethical state. And it is the special mission of the Jews, because of their ethical monotheism, to make the state into an ethical state. This idea, of vast importance, was revived by Hermann Cohen in the 1920s. That this is the special mission of the Jews.

It has nothing to do with the soil whatsoever. These ideas are in Hirsch’s so-called “Nineteen Letters” of 1836. But I point out to you: if this is Judaism, then Judaism is, in fact, just another religion in the state. Then Judaism is, in fact, another confession of the state like Protestantism or Catholicism or any other, for that matter.

Neo-Orthodoxy was triumphant. Orthodoxy itself, the old Orthodoxy, was a minority, kept alive only by immigration from Poland and from the masses of East European Jewry. But even in the end, Orthodoxy, the old Orthodoxy, joined. In 1870, in Germany, for example, one Orthodox paper boasts that Orthodoxy was capable of giving a German answer to the problems of the world, just as reform was capable of doing it.

Now Hirsch is one side of reform. The other is connected with Abraham Geiger, which is the more radical side of reform, the other side, which went still further. He stressed the dynamic of tradition, the need to break with the “Age of Darkness,” as he called it.

And when did the age of darkness last? From the Bible through Moses Mendelssohn. That was the age of darkness, which had to be repudiated – which had to be repudiated. But even in the Bible, much was excluded, and the ceremonial law is now definitely dropped.

Moses Mendelssohn’s balance in Abraham Geiger is definitely destroyed, the ceremonial law is definitely dropped, and the emphasis here is squarely on the ethics of the prophets. Jewish ethical monotheism, which means the ethics of the prophets.

His prayer book of 1854 is the basis of all Reform, and if any of you are Reform, that’s what you are using today, basically. That book omits all references to Zion, all references to a personal messiah, and all references to sacrifice.

It is very typical that Geiger was one of the seven Jews who sat in the Frankfurt Assembly. He was one of those who crashed politics, who sat in the Frankfurt Assembly and even in the Assembly of his state. Even there. Geiger held that love for Germany, despite all discrimination, was a nerve which must never be severed.

Now, as we look at this reform, we see in it reaction to assimilation, which transformed the concept of Judaism and therefore the concept of Jew and the concept of community as it had existed up to that time. The reorganization of the service was crucial at a time when there was not yet a separation between Jew and Judaism, but we cannot leave it here.

This attitude made one other very important contribution – that change from the past with which Katz ends on page 40 – could not be greater. The need for separation, for aloofness, was changed, in a way, if you like, into its very opposite. For the most important consequence was this.

The service was centered on ethics, on the prophets. It was, in form, a Protestant service, in very many ways. The dignity, the cantor, the end of the Jew School. All of this, Protestant. But those Jews who wanted identification needed a stronger hold, a stronger background. It raised the problem of tradition.

If you said, as Geiger did, that between the Bible and the Enlightenment, the Jewish tradition had gone wrong, then it raised the problem of tradition, and it raised it in a very important way. How was that solved? That problem of tradition?

It was solved in the same way that the Romantics solved their problem of tradition, for they had one too. They had emotionality, this de-theologized Christianity. That’s also a problem of tradition, if you de-theologize Christianity, where is your tradition?

For Schleiermacher also thought that, between Christ at Galilee and his own time, Christian history had gone wrong. You solve it by going to history, and so did the Jews. Part of this change of the Jewish community is a new sense of history, a new sense of history among Jews which paralleled the new sense of history among the Romantics. Which paralleled it, that same urge.

It tried to solve the problem of tradition. For in the gentile world, you now had the beginning, of course, of historical schools of thoughts. Hegel, you all know. Niebuhr’s “Roman History.” And indeed, the new idea of the history of the Jews comes under Hegel’s influence and from students who lived in Hegel’s shadow.

What I’m coming to now is the founding of something very important and very controversial, the Science of Judaism. You will see why it is controversial. At its origins you will see why. But it is also, by the way, one of the solutions, which goes with Reform, to the problem of tradition. The Science of Judaism, to which I now come, is still controversial.

Last summer in Jerusalem, in a conference on the history of Jews, especially German Jews, the most controversial session, which still raised real passion, was the session on the Science of Judaism, ‘cause there are things involved that are both difficult from any religious point of view and, of course, very difficult, I should of thought, from a Zionist point of view. So you have both together.

Because the Science of Judaism is a part of what I have tried to explain to you. Let me summarize it this way, before I go on to the Science of Judaism. First of all, I tried to explain to you why Jews accepted the conditions of emancipation. Secondly, that emancipation coincided with a change in the European opinion from the Enlightenment to Romanticism.

This meant new accusations against the Jews and Judaism. Not new, the same ones of the Enlightenment, but now in a new, Christian, if you like, a little deeper, basis. Therefore, emancipation had to take account of that. And therefore you get the development of emancipation in the direction of Reform…

… a Reform that tries to adjust Judaism to the dominate Protestantism of the north – we shall come to the South later – the dominate Protestantism of the north which destroyed Mendelssohn’s balance in favor of the ethics of the fathers- of the prophets and which, of course, denied Jewish nationality in any territorial or folk sense. That is clear.

And which instead deepened Mendelssohn’s mission of Judaism. It deepened it, because it put away the ceremonial law and left stand naked the ethical monotheism which it connected to the state, the state to which the Jew must be loyal –

…military service, active citizenship, the roads to emancipation – but the state within which the Jew, as Jew, had a special duty, namely to bring to bear upon the state the ethical monotheism of his religion, which would mean a liberal state, which would mean the kind of liberalism that I quoted to you earlier in this hour. A liberal state.

Finally, I would like you all, if you can, to put yourselves in the position of that generation. For much that I am saying now comes to your ears as very foreign, and it sounds foreign to your ears partly because the Jews among you are assimilated, and, yet, in America, totally unassimilated. So that’s what you have in the peculiar American situation.

This generation, however, still had lived in the ghettos. They wanted to get away from them. These were the solutions. These were the options. That, you must never forget. The attraction of the high standards, to them, of European civilization is great. It would be great for all the people of the ghetto, for the Zionists or everyone want to come up to what to them, rightly or wrongly – probably wrongly, but this is neither here nor there at the moment – was the standard of the Promised Land.

The Promised Land was, to them, from the ghetto – and what they thought was a narrow religious culture – the Promised Land was philosophy, was history, was literature. The Promised Land was the way. The Promised Way was the culture. First the Enlightenment, then Romanticism.

The forbidden reading in the ghetto, the forbidden reading in the ghetto was the Promised Land. This was the Promised Land. That you must never forget. This was the Promised Land, physically and intellectually. And it is out of that you must understand the modification of a tradition which seems barbaric and medieval.

Therefore, Reform and its attitudes swept away, swept away. Therefore Reform and its attitudes will go on. Now, remember that on Friday, I would very much like to have a discussion with you here then at this hour. And will all of those – I’m sorry again – graduate students and honor students --




Lecture #4

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Lecture 04 – February 19, 1971
There are obviously many ways to emancipate. Assimilation is one way of emancipation, but please don’t confuse the two things, emancipation and assimilation. And second of all, I’ve been told there seems to be some difficulty with the categorical imperative. Let me dispose that quickly too.

The categorical imperative is simply the distilled ideal of the Enlightenment that mainly, within you, within every person, there is the faculty of rational judgment. And the faculty of rational judgment is a faculty of rational self-determination. And that faculty means that no man must be an instrument of another man…

… every man is autonomous, and that every man must live the kind of – and can live – the kind of rational autonomous existence which is an example for all other men. That is what the categorical imperative means. The term categorical imperative is no longer familiar to you, for it is a construction of Latin grammar, which would be familiar to every cultured person in the 20th [sic] century, but is unfortunately no longer familiar to you.

That’s where the term comes from. Some of you. Excuse me. It’s familiar to the more cultured of you, and not so familiar to those who are not. It is, however, a Latin construction. Alright. Now, I’ll open it up now then to any questions you may--- You better speak loud because the acoustics aren’t all it’s cracked up to be.  

[Q: You’ve been lecturing on what’s been going on in the West. What was going on in the East?]  

Now, I have divorced Eastern and Western Europe for a miracle idea, because historically they were. We have a whole unit in there on Eastern Europe. In Eastern Europe, the ghetto would slowly disintegrate and slowly, but very slowly, Western ideas – the ideas that I have discussed – were disintegrating the ghetto.

But at the same time, very slowly but with a snow-balling effect, there was immigration, a constant flow of immigration, with a snow-balling effect, from Eastern Europe to the West. And Eastern Europe was still the ghetto, the Pale. It was, remember, ruled by Russia, except for Galicia, and I did deal with Galicia. Galicia came under the Tolerance Edict of Joseph II.

It might help all of you if you looked at the map occasionally, by the way. I just say that because I have a feeling that you are very hazy where Galicia is, which is too bad.
[Q: Jews didn’t know where to align themselves during the 17th century. Did the Jews of Eastern Europe that reached the west have an alignment?]

By and large, we shall deal with that. The immigration from the ghettos to the West affected two classes of Jews. One, the one who had read the enlightened literature in the ghetto, against great opposition, and who came to the West in order to assimilate, who gladly, therefore, took military service and all the things I have told you about.

But together with this, there was an increasing immigration to the West which was simply on economic conditions. That is to say, because economic conditions in the West, we will see, were merely subsistence economics at best. The West was also the economically Promised Land.

And the more the immigration went on, the more Jews from the East who came to the West who tended to recreate in the Western city the Eastern ghettos they had left. For them, military service was a problem, but not really a problem, because, when they got citizenship eventually, of course, they had to serve.

Most of them – and this is why I went into the emancipation in Prussia, as you may remember – never got citizenship. Therefore, these Jews were the first to be imprisoned or deported whenever there were political disturbances, ‘cause they fall in large, what later would be called state-less elements within the Western cities. So it’s double really.

Q: Two questions – Under Joseph II’s Act of Toleration, the third or fourth point - if the Jew was based in an elementary school, he would automatically have permission to marry. Your interpretation of this is an exclusive one rather than exception one? And I was wondering if this means you could get an annulment? (?)

Yes, Jews were forced to go to elementary schools with a German curriculum. This was a very serious matter, because the Austrian Empire was a multinational empire. So Joseph II used the opportunity to further the Germanic part of the Austrian empire. But that applied to Jews, whether they lived – that is to say – in the Czech part or in the Hungarian part, for that matter.

They had to go to a German elementary school. This would have very great consequences, for eventually the Jews would be the pioneers of German culture in Eastern Europe. And the way the Jews became the carriers of German culture in Eastern Europe was largely through that root, regardless where they lived in the Austrian Empire. They, at any rate, had a German education and a German curriculum, which many others didn’t have.

[Q: Secondly, in the Middle Ages, what I understood the concept of it, any money-lending for profit and getting back a return was usury.]

No, not any. That goes by percentages, and I don’t want to bore you with that. Not any, not any. That goes by percentages. But by and large, the Jews have to take a higher percentage usually than the usual permitted one. This was because they were outside the general banking system.

In other words, for an ordinary loan, you’d go to a bank, but for what they called an emergency loan, you would go to Jews. So Jewish percentages were higher than the ordinary percentages, which, under scholasticism and other ideas that I won’t bore you with, are permitted.

 [Q: Was German education available to the Jews [INAUDIBLE]]

Well, it was made available in state schools. Together with that, you had to have the founding of state schools in all ghetto areas. That founding of state schools took place in all ghetto areas, against great opposition, sometimes riot conditions.

But it did take place together with the institution – to which we’ll come later – of the so-called government rabbi. ‘Cause this was forced on them from above, you know. The school question would be, in the ghetto areas, an extremely important question.

[Q: What was the situation of the Jews in England?]

In England, they had been readmitted, and their position on the whole was much the same as everywhere else in the West, except that England did not get a great emigration from Eastern Europe as soon – because of its geographical position – as soon as the rest of Western Europe got it.

But they had been readmitted, as you know, under Oliver Cromwell. And, by and large, Jewish society in England was like Jewish society all over Western Europe. That is to say, the descendants of Cromwell officially admitted Jews, which meant a wealthy Jewish society.

Until the immigration – perhaps I’d better say this – until the immigration from Eastern Europe, you do not get – that means until the 1820s or so – you do not get, in most of Western Europe – in all of Western Europe – Jewish poverty.

Because all these people – some of you asked about it – like Moses Mendelssohn and the others, were descended from Court Jews, that is Jews that had gotten permission, since the 17th and 18th century, to settle outside the ghetto, because they were useful to the cause and to the monarchy.

That meant they were bankers, by and large. They were bankers. Traders at times, but mostly bankers. Jewish society in the West was a wealthy society, and you don’t get anything approaching Jewish masses or Jewish poverty until you get the immigration in the 19th century – not really until the 1820s and later – of Jews from Eastern Europe, who then go into marginal economic activity…

…and who begin to be, if you like, a Jewish proletariat in the West. That is unknown in the period we’re talking about. There is no Jewish proletariat. You may wonder why there are so many. Well, when a Court Jew got a patent to settle – and this was by royal patent or privilege – usually his relatives also got a patent and privilege.

That is how the Western Jewish communities were established. First they were the relatives of the Court Jews, and then it began to branch out after that, so that it was, on the whole, a very wealthy society. Upper-middle-class in status, decidedly upper-middle class in status. And the poor Jewish masses don’t really mean to be meaningful until the mid-19th century, not really completely meaningful until the end of the 19th century.

Jewish poverty, Jewish proletariats in the West did not really exist, I would say, in any quantity in Paris, Berlin or anywhere else until the 1870s, 1880s, when you have the accelerated emigration from Eastern Europe. Otherwise, you must remember, this played in a very wealthy circle.

[Q: How did a ghetto Jew in poverty become a Court Jew?]

You mean in the early period? Well, that could be done in several ways. It could be done by financial skill – the monarchs had to borrow, after all - by financial skill. There were many of them who were wealthy enough in the 17th century, in the ghetto itself – because there were ghettos all over the West – wealthy enough in the ghetto itself to make the jump, because the government started to borrow from him –

For example, the house of Rothschild is a good example – started to borrow from him. And the next step for such wealthy people is to get a patent or privilege to settle where no Jews had settled, which was usually the capital of the country. On the whole, Jews were never allowed to settle in the capital by and large. Paris is an exception. In the capital. London is later an exception. But Berlin is not. In the capital. And it comes about in this particular way. To wealth, to influence a court, you know? That way.

[Q: I don’t understand your use of the idea of the categorical imperative as part of Romanticism. I see that as part of the Enlightenment.]

Yeah, that’s right. No, no, it doesn’t reappear in Romanticism. I didn’t want to give you that impression. No, no. In Romanticism, something remains. But the point is that, in Romanticism, for the categorical imperative, the soul and emotions are, in a way, substituted, I supposed you might say.

And, but for Jews, in spite of the Romantic movement, the categorical imperative would remain important when it’s no longer important for all of the rest of the population. That’s all the point I wanted to make, that eventually the Jews would be sixty years behind the times, perhaps even a hundred years behind times.

By the 1930s, they’re probably a hundred years behind times in Europe, ‘cause the categorical imperative was still alive in Jewish society, while in gentile society, Romanticism, the new nationalism, all of that had long ago triumphed. But among Jews, the categorical imperative was still qualified.

I didn’t mean to say that it continued. Only among Jewish circles and only among certain Jewish circles. You will see, next week, others in which it did not continue. But if it did not continue, it usually led to baptism, as you will see next week when we come to baptism.

[Q: You asserted that Israel was a religious idea. What are we supposed to do with this idea?]

No, no. No, no. On the contrary. There is a mission of Judaism, which I said. That idea – Israel is an idea. Israel is the idea of ethical monotheism, you know, ethical belief in one God. This again connects to the categorical imperative in all of this. Israel is the rational religion, if you like, in a way.

And therefore your duty is, as a believer in this rational ideal, in the ideal of ethical monotheism, to do your best to transform the state in which you live – I mean the nation state in which you live – towards an ethical state, toward the state that corresponds to what they call Jewish ethics, which were really, in a sense, the ethics of the Enlightenment, if you see what I mean. Ethical monotheism.

[Q: Along the same lines, I understood this mission as a two-fold mission. One was to lead a Jewish life and two was to spread an ethical monotheism. Was there any missionary activity? If not, why not?]

No, no, no. Missionary activity in Jews is a very difficult subject. But, by and large, with emancipation, missionary activity was rejected, because it was, of course, one of the Christian accusations against the Jews, of missionary activity. This is in Dohm, very strong, ‘cause the condemnation of Judaism to have missionary activity on the part of Judaism was, of course, to extend the evil. So that, by and large – all Jewish reform, at any rate – positively rejected the missionary activity.

[Q: But it doesn’t follow. If you’re dealing with the spreading of an ethical good, it would be reasonable then to go out and try to convert people.]

No, No. You are the example. No, because— No, that wasn’t reasonable to them. Because you’re an ideal. You’re the example of ethical monotheism. And if they had missionary ideas it would have come into another problem. Then they— This is why Jews have to be Jews, in order to have, to be examples of this ethical idea, in order to be examples.

Now, they never really went into why they don’t missionarize [sic] in this sense. But it was constantly a burden that Judaism has never been a missionary religion. This was another part of, if you like, assimilation. Another part of keeping Jews separately, really, of keeping them separately. With something with ethical monotheism, and if you discard the ceremonial law, it’s not easy to do.

[Q: I had a question on the concrete options of spreading ethical monotheism. What other means were open?]

What the rabbis in Reform and all over the West – if we talk of Reform, we’re talking about Western Judaism, period – what they all did, they exhorted you to go into politics, exhorted you to active citizenship. That was the role, active citizenship. That was the role. That is what you would be exhorted do. Active citizenship, of one way or another. Ethical dealings personally.

That, of course, when we come to anti-Semitism, is very important. Because what you must not forget – and I’m separating it here for our purposes, but it was never really separated – is that all this is written on the basis of very anti-Semitic waves – to which we shall come, that you must not forget – which are very similar, because they all have the similar accusations.

But with in a way, if you like, increasingly rapid anti-Semitic waves, which came increasingly frequently starting with the first big one, started by students – they were mostly started by students, we’ll come to that – in 1819, the student anti-Jewish riots of 1819 which on and on and on. And you mustn’t forget that. Therefore, again, you couldn’t missionarize.

[Q: With the seemingly opposite trends of Enlightenment and Orthodox, do you think it’s plausible (INAUDIBLE… something about the Jewish Identity or was it lost?)]

I mean, this Reform was a matter of Jewish identity. We shall come into a little more when we come to the problem of baptism next week, but, yes, this was a new kind of identity, if you like, which already leads us to a Jewish identity that is divorced from religion.

After all – and perhaps I should have made that clearer – the main problem of identity of any group is always how to maintain it if you get rid of its traditional basis. So the problem was, how can you maintain Jewish identity and get rid of the traditional basis – which you know from Katz – was religion.

I mean, you know, a very explicit, ceremonial religion, with all the commandments, with a theocracy. Really a kind of theocratic identity. And now you’re getting rid of the traditional, basic identity, then you are in trouble. You mustn’t forget something else, too – which some of you read back much too far, as you will see – ideas of race are not yet on the horizon. They’re much too early yet.

Ideas of race don’t become important ‘til the ‘80s and ‘90s. You have to have developments of anthropology, which are not yet on the horizon. So race is not yet a problem, or does not yet exist. So the problem is always— You can think of it this way, to answer your question: If you get rid of the traditional base of identity, what identity is there left. Right? Yes.

Well, I have been telling you what identity, first of all, Moses Mendelssohn – who still stands at the crossroads – wanted to keep. And now you have the identity of Reform. The identity of Reform is, I suppose, the mission of Judaism. That is the identity.

And the identity of a religious service – of a religious service – but a religious service which still had many Jewish elements – don’t forget, ‘cause we’ll come later on to the erosion even of many of those – but which still has many Jewish elements, but which makes a certain adjustment to Protestantism and to Protestant service.

But you still have that as well. You mustn’t exaggerate, in other words, within the Protestant service, the erosion of the essential Jewish elements, you see what I mean?

[Q: Very well then. Who are in the Jewish circles in the 1920s and ‘30s, then? Are these people who profess Judaism?]

In the 1820s you mean? [No, the 1920s.] Oh, well, all has changed by the then. All has changed by then. That’s the Jewish Establishment then, the anti-Intellectuals. That has changed by then. I don’t want to go that far ahead. But in the 1820s and ‘30s, those would be exactly the kind of people I’ve been talking about: Abraham Geiger, Hirsch and all that tradition, the Jewish Reform.

Even by the 1920s and ‘30s, Western Judaism was Jewish Reform. I must always emphasize that. It’s Reform. It’s Reform, always now. Orthodoxy only among the immigrants. Orthodoxy only among the immigrants. Politically unimportant, politically fringe. The center of the communities then are Reform.

[Q: A follow up, By the time we get to the end of this period we see the Jewish community (INAUDIBLE)]

Right, right. But that was already, as I said, implied in all of that, as I tried to illustrate. In the schools, Jewish religion was one subject among many. In other words, the permeation of life which you have –  let us say, now – in the ghettos, in your Katz reading. That’s really part of your Katz reading. The details aren’t so important in Katz.

What’s important is you get the idea of the permeation of all life with this theocracy. Judaism becomes a confession of faith in France and everywhere else, as you know, just as Protestantism and Catholicism.

[Q: Certainly. The only thing that comes up is the problem of putting people like Karl Marx in the Jewish tradition.

No, no, don’t. (laughter). Don’t. That’s highly misleading. And wait with that, because I’m going to talk next week about Marx’s father a little. I’m going to use Heinrich Marx as an example. The only problem in Marx is why baptism waited until he went to school, which I’ll talk about. But as for Marx and the Jewish tradition, you get outside of history to a kind of ethnic idea, which is very vague.

You get into that kind of thing that I want to avoid – because I think it’s silly – that Jews have a special predilection to being doctors or lawyers. But that’s a social phenomenon: “my son the doctor,” “my son the lawyer.” That’s not an ethical or an ethnic group. So I don’t want anything to do with that kind of an idea.

As far as the other silly thing that you always hear, that Jews are continuing the ideas of the Prophets and all that sort of stuff. That’s similarly vague and meaningless. That depends on the Sunday school curriculum, and it depends how much people took to the Sunday school curriculum, not much. So that’s equally vague and silly.

[Q: I was wondering, the idea and conception of Judaism, … question about the relationship between the Jewish community and the outside world]

Yes, yes, because eventually – but we’ll come to that – eventually we come to this problem by the end of the century in a very aggravated form: what is a Jew? You see, a question that never would have been asked during the ghetto period and that is now coming out. I think religion is rejected. What are you left with?

Well, that’s what the course will be about eventually, you know? But I mean, I don’t know. Eventually you use kind of myths to keep a kind of cohesion, the myths of Jewish aptitude for medicine, or the myth of Jews as liberals. You see, that myth has historical basis, as I told you why the Jews who went into politics went into liberal politics. It’s quite easy, and you don’t need a myth. That’s quite logical.  

But you use a series of myths then, see? And eventually, of course, the myth is the soil, but that is of no importance as yet for the majority of Western Jews, whatsoever. But eventually-- Better hold it together somehow, you know? And some hold it together, you know… I don’t know by what, you know? Better than I, perhaps, some of you. What it eventually comes to.

But we are very far removed. We are as yet – and I must make this clear – very, very far removed from either the idea that certain food habits hold Jews together or the idea – you know, I don’t know what, the ideas in American Jewish community – that contribution to Israel is all that holds Jews together. (laughs) We are far removed form that. That kind of reduction to an absurd minimum.

[Q: Could you reiterate the difference between Geiger’s Reform and Hirsch’s Reform, and were these two parties antagonistic?]

Yes, they were antagonistic. That didn’t mean that Geiger and Hirsch’s thoughts were that far removed from one another. Geiger gave up more of the tradition, he gave up almost everything as a tradition. The chief difference is that with Hirsch, you still have a great reliance on the Bible and on Biblicism.

A part of difference on the ceremonial laws. But Hirsch’s followers even kept a great many of the ceremonial laws, while Geiger gave up all this. And it becomes a dynamic tradition, which is constantly changing and really stresses only the Prophets from the Bible. So that is the difference. That Hirsch, yet you have the keeping of certain ceremonial laws.

For example, Hirsch’s followers kept the dietary laws. In Hirsch, women and men worshiped separately at the synagogue. In Geiger, all this was no longer of any importance.

[Q: Katz had a chapter on the Hasid or whatever that is, but I didn’t get anything out of it.]

Well, to that we shall come. That’s an Eastern European phenomenon, not a Western European phenomenon at all. And I would like to leave the Hasidim aside until we come to Eastern Europe. Then you will hear a great deal more about it.

It is – to put it in one word is very difficult. It is a Jewish religious sect of Eastern Europe, which is – well, I don’t like to say, you know, semi-mystical means nothing, really – semi-mystical. But semi-mystical, but really, it is a sect tied to what we call wonder-rabbis.

It is tied to certain rabbis, taught by certain rabbis, but otherwise we shall have-- We shall talk about it at length. It is very important indeed, in the whole thing. It is really – let me put it this way – an 18th century revival of Judaism, which is not parallel to the revival of Christianity, the evangelical movement and things of this nature – because 18th century was also a time of religious revival.

It is a religious revival of a peculiar sort in Judaism, and I wish you would just put it aside until we come to Eastern Europe where it is important. In Western and Central Europe it will not be important at all. In fact, they will know as little about it as you do, or as I do.

[Q: You’ve been discussing this problem of Jewish identity. And for the most part, your discussion has been a treatment of an elite group, intellectuals, of wealthy people and bankers.]
MOSSE: Yes, Western Europe Jews.
[In this early period, this period of the early 19th century, is there any distinction, a class distinction that could be made? In other words, did the people of the middle-middle class, lower-middle class--]

MOSSE: There was, in Western Europe, among the Jews, no lower-middle class. That doesn’t exist, as I said.
[Then the people of the middle-middle class---]
MOSSE: That hardly existed too. You see, even--- It’s quite different. You cannot apply class ideas to Jews at this stage. For if you had middle-middle class Jews at this time in the West, they were related by family to upper-class Jews.

It is just as, let us say, you live in a swanky part of America, yes? And let us say, let me put it this way, all Western Jews were a gigantic Scarsdale. (laughter) In a Jewish sense. And you have poor relatives. I mean, poor relatives, alright, they move to New Rochelle or somewhere, but they’re not class-separated from you. They’re not class-separated.

Class distinctions are idiotic in most cases anyhow, but they are more idiotic here than usual, because they’re not that separated. First of all, probably you’re supporting these poor relatives who slid off from the upper into the middle class. That makes all sorts of problems. So you can see, you only get this at the very end of--- and you never really get, it you know.

I mean, Jewish structure, social structure, in the West is abnormal, because Jewish social structure in the West will never have a laboring population or an artisan population – in the West, I’m talking about. Not in the East, that’s totally different. In the West – will never have a laboring population, much of an artisan population or anything.

However, the trouble is that Jewish social structure in the West is very lop-sided, and then you get underneath it the immigrants from Eastern Europe, but they won’t be laboring people either, and they won’t be artisans either. They will be small merchants and peddlers. Again, a very odd economic structure.

So you mustn’t forget that. You can’t just apply class there.

[Q: Well, in terms of your analogy that you just drew, as I took it from American society, that putting it on Western European society---]
MOSSE: Yes, well, of course different that Scarsdale.
[I think that, to draw that analogy, if people were to really look at modern American, I mean, I have documented proof of many families in Chicago which are in the lower-class, on welfare and all these other thing---]

MOSSE: Well, that didn’t exist.
[Yes, but this exists in American today. And your distinction between Western European and Eastern European, it’s just, it’s the same thing as living in Scarsdale as to living in Brooklyn.]
MOSSE: Well, it becomes important in American only – and we’re not concerned with that – only when you take— You know, somebody wrote a book about it, the so-called American-Jewish, German-Jewish elite, who were just the same social structure as the people I’m talking about, the Schiffs and the Adler and the Solzbergers.

That’s the kind of people I’m talking about, that kind of social statrum. Because Western European Jewry was that kind of social stratum. That is the point. And if there were poor Jews, eventually, as there were, not until the ‘70s and ‘80s, and then their charity is taken care by others, other Jews. And it was never that numerous, never that numerous in the West, really.

[Q: Is the Alsace-Lorraine area considered part of this?]

That is an exception, because, as I told you, Alsace-Lorraine was the Eastern Europe of France. And Alsace-Lorraine had a large, poverty-stricken Jewish population, the same as the Pale. That is to say, Jewish population that, in our period, still lived in ghettos, a Jewish population that really lived, as in Eastern Europe, on the margin of subsistence. That is to say, economic life was subsistence. That is usually small, very small scale commerce.

[Q: So when you’re saying West, I assume you mean large metropolises?)]
No I mean all of the West except Alsace-Lorraine. Alsace-Lorraine is very exceptional. It’s very exceptional, but it determines a lot of French policy towards Jews, like Napoleon. Germany and Central Europe, to be sure. Austria had their Galicia too, that’s true. But in the rest, this would not be true. It would be on the borders, but not inside.

[Q: Then why is Alsace-Lorraine an exception?]

Because, historically, the Jews were chased from Alsace-Lorraine for certain reasons I don’t want to go into. They had to do with principalities, as they had everywhere else. In other words, when the Jews were expelled from France for a hundred years, they were not expelled from Alsace-Lorraine.

[Q: You haven’t mentioned Italy…?]
No, but I will in a few minutes. ‘Cause in Italy we have a social problem which is very, very peculiar, and I’ll have to go into it. Italy has a totally different structure of the Jewish community then the rest of Western Europe. Well, as you may know, in Italy, Jews become generals. That doesn’t happen anywhere else.

Including Mussolini’s chief of staff at the outbreak of the Second World War. In Italy, the Jewish structure is so relatively different that, next week, I’ll talk about Italy somewhat separately. There are historical reasons. It’s quite different, quite a different structure.

[Q: Can you give just an idea of the Jewish population distribution between East and Western Europe?]

Oh, I can just give you a rough one. I would say perhaps, of all the Jews in Europe, one-tenth were in the West and ninety, eighty to ninety percent were in the East, in the period we’re dealing with.

[Q: Is this not relevant to the---?]

No, it isn’t at the moment, because the ideas in the East came from the West. And the ideas that will make the difference in Eastern Europe came from that ten percent. History has nothing to do with majority. Very few things, if anything, to do with majority. Nothing at all.

And the ideas that were to be important for the ghetto, we are dealing with now. And the ideas that will be important for the founding of Zionism, we’re dealing with now, all of that. Because eventually it is the Western Jews who will become intellectually, in many ways, dominant – partly because of their wealth too, I’m not doubting that – but dominant.

For as I said, for Eastern Europe, we’re now dealing with the Promised Land, for many of them. Don’t forget that. So when we come to Eastern Europe, we will see these ideas. Don’t forget too that the Eastern European Jews eventually become the pioneers of German culture.

That’s what made National Socialism a double tragedy for them, because they were pioneers of German culture, above all, the Eastern European Jews. So, as usually, majorities had nothing to do with anything except rights.

 [Q: Was there anything at all to do with Warsaw…]

Yes, yes, we’ve coming to that. There are lots of things going on in Warsaw, lots. Or Wilna. Above all, Wilna. But we’re coming to that. Quite separate, quite separate. But what was going on in Wilna, you will see, comes partly as the influences from the West come into Wilna. You know?

And bright young Jews began to read Moses Mendelssohn and others, and then you’re in trouble.

[Q: When you talk about German Orthodoxy in this period, you’re not talking about the same Orthodoxy as today, are you?]

The Neo-Orthodoxy that we’re talking about is the Hebrew Union College. That’s what I’m talking about. Yes. What is Neo-Orthodoxy in Germany? I’ll come to that next week, because it has something to do with the Science of Judaism. It eventually leads to the founding, in this country, of Hebrew Union College. Hebrew Union College, in fact, was founded by German Jews, as you know.  Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. That is what we are talking about.

[Q: I don’t quite understand what you mean by majority being irrelevant?]

The thinking of the majority, first of all, we’ll never know. But, by and large, the majority in Eastern Europe was Orthodox, as you know. The Hasidim had a certain influence on it, but I haven’t seen any statistics on that. But what is going to change Jewish History and move Jewish History will be, as always, elites…

…And the thought of elites and the action of elites, which will eventually move forward Jewish history, not the thought and action of the majority. The majorities were peddling on the street of Warsaw, Orthodox, sometimes Hasidim – but even for Hasidim, the thought wasn’t set by those majority. Surely.

Especially for the Jews, this is true. Especially for the Jews, were thought to be manipulated, I would say, by elites of various sorts. And what were influences on them were utterly outside. But inside elites, as we shall see, would be especially important there. So I don’t know what you mean here by majority, by majority at all.

It will always be elites. First it’ll be the Ashkana elite, the Hasidim elite, then it will be the Zionist elite – which was always an elite – and things like that. They’ll build up mass movements, this is quite true, but it is first elites who will build up the mass movement. But no part, let us say, Jewish assimilation is a product of – and I’m not calling assimilation-- That’s after all-- If you look at Jewish history, what’s the important thing?

The important thing isn’t Hasidism in the long run, certainly. The important thing, in the long run, are problems of assimilation. Right? And problems of assimilation were pioneered by the people we’re talking about. That’s what’s going to determine--- and the reaction to it.

And this is only ten percent, but these are going to determine the reactions to assimilation. And it is not just for any group living in society. Assimilation is all-important. I don’t really care whether it’s one percent. Moses Mendelssohn is only one man, you see? So masses mean very little in history. They only mean something when you want to manipulate. That’s not quite true, but nearly.

So--- and for Jews especially. Jews are a matter of elites, more than almost anything else. Well. I think I better leave it here today.  

Lecture #5

Lecture #5 - 45:45 - Lecture 5 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

In the beginning of this lecture, Mosse tries to answer the question repeatedly raised by the students “why Jews accepted the terms of emancipation with such enthusiasm.” He answers that on the whole, there is no “answer” that he can “give” to explain this to them; they just have to accept it as a fact that Jews wanted to assimilate, that emancipation and the conditions of emancipation were well worth it to them, and that many of the enlightened members of the Jewish community agreed with these conditions.

Last time, Mosse talked about the idea of a “mission of Judaism”, which came out of the acceptance of the terms of emancipation and was in fact an adjustment to it.
As Abraham Geiger stated in 1864: “The essence of Judaism is reason. God indeed works through a beam of divine reason. This beam of divine reason ennobles man, awakes in him the longing to rise to ever greater heights of reason. But what is crucial is the moral course awakened in man through that beam of divine reason. For what Judaism wants is to bring the essence of this morality to all mankind. And the essence of this morality is justice and mercy. Justice and mercy is the idea of Judaism.” Geiger and others who shared his views were Hegelians, believing that the idea of justice and mercy was the idea of Judaism. To this ethical monotheism, the “Science of Judaism” was added. It would become the concrete expression which affected everyone in the community all over the West and in Eastern Europe, too. For the Science of Judaism was in a sense a product of Romanticism rather than radicalism. It took up the romantics’ new sense of history that went side by side with the idea of reason, to which history was now added. Also in Christianity, the “historical Christ” dissolves much of Christian Orthodoxy.

Young Jews were under the direct influence of Hegel. In 1819, the “Verein fuer Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden” (Association for the Culture and Science of the Jews) was founded. It was to have far-reaching consequences. Its leading spirit, Leopold Zunz, was the first Jew admitted at the new University of Berlin. Eduard Gans, another founder, was a personal disciple of Hegel. A more famous member was Heinrich Heine. The paper it published during the 1820’s outlived the club. This influenced a number of new Jewish institutions that followed, like the first newly founded rabbinical seminary in Breslau in 1854, then the Berlin Jewish Seminary (Lehranstalt) in 1872, the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1875, and other rabbinical seminaries throughout Europe. Rabbis were trained as teachers for the community. The “Wissenschaft’s” manifesto of 1822 maintained that its basic aim was to claim the idea of Judaism after centuries of darkness as a part of the progress of the human spirit.

The Science of Judaism” was an attempt to go back through history to antiquity. The history of Judaism as they saw it was a history gone wrong. What must be done was to use the new sciences, natural and historical, to break through the weeds of a ceremonial past that a thousand years of habit had made mechanical and lifeless. Judaism’s spiritual essence could only be recovered through the science of history, which had to be studied scientifically. The new sciences of the 19th century treated the object of science for its own sake rather than any special purpose and intention. They were not concerned with the final results, but strove to be self-sufficient.

The purpose of the Association was the study of Judaism in its historical and literary horizons, and the statistical study of Judaism in relation to present-day Jews scattered throughout the world. First, Judaism should be depicted from a historical standpoint, then philosophically, according to its inner essence and ideas. Textual knowledge preceded both methods of study. A philosophy of Judaism that depended on history was to be the climax. This approach was problematic, because it trained generations of rabbis in this ethical monotheism that is not subject to Zionism or Orthodoxy. Not free of all values, it was in fact Hegelian, the application of Hegel onto Jewish studies. (Over half of the young men who founded the club and drew up the manifesto converted to Christianity).

The Association was one of several steps that paralleled the edicts of toleration and the state idea of emancipation and interacted with what was going on in the general world: the Enlightenment, Romanticism, the ascendancy of Hegelian philosophy - all of these developments were reflected in the adjustment that Jews as a community made to them. Germany was the center of this development. The German Jewish elite became the leading Jewish elite throughout the nineteenth century, up until the emergence of early Zionism. French Jews, in contrast, had been fully emancipated by the July Revolution; the Jewish religion was officially supported by the government from 1831 on. In France, the rich bourgeoisie went the same way as in Germany and entered politics. But the Reform movement never made much stride. Reform and the Science of Judaism were German, not French affairs because of the role of the Orthodox Jews in Alsace and Lorraine. The French consistories struggled for a balance between Reform and the Orthodoxy of the masses, which paralyzed French Jewish intellectual life. Austria, too, had masses of orthodox, ghettoized Jews in Galicia. Austrian Jews were doubly paralyzed, because in that country even the liberalism of a Cremieux hardly existed. Jews were tied to a monarchy that encouraged pro-Jewish attitudes and anti-discriminatory measures. Living in a multi-national empire and being were both Jews and Germans, they supported the German side. Their security was anchored in the Habsburg dynasty.

Mosse states that it should be clear from what he has said that emancipation and reaction were not the same all over Europe. The great exception was Italy with its papal state, the papacy, and the kingdom of Sicily and Naples; symbols of reaction. The papacy tried to abrogate everything that had to do with the French Revolution. In the papal state, a reverse development as in Eastern Europe took place: Jews were forced back into the Ghetto and forbidden to have Christian servants. There and in the Kingdom of Sicily and Naples, ancient restrictions were reintroduced. A curious phenomenon, the overrepresentation of Jews in the Carbonari and Mazzini’s “Young Italy”, becomes explicable in this situation: Italian unification would mean emancipation. Indeed, the only state that did not introduce Jewish restrictions was Cavour’s Piedmont and Savoy. Unification was reached in Italy in 1860, though in the papal state Jews remained ghettoized until 1870. Jews were bound up with the Risorgimento more than with the German unification movement because of Mazzini’s liberal, humanitarian nationalism. As a result, from the beginning Jews integrated in Italy as in no other nation. If Dreyfus was a rarity in France, this was not the case in Italy: The greatest category of employed Jews in Italy was found in public service. Another factor facilitating Jewish integration in Italy was the lack of immigration from eastern countries to Italy. Though the Science of Judaism penetrated into Italy, Reform Judaism did not, perhaps, Mosse suggests, because there was no Protestantism to adjust to. The ceremonial was taken for granted in Catholicism. The Jewish reaction to emancipation therefore had national variations, but what never varied was the underlying problem of how close Jews were to get to Christianity and to the state. Only closeness to the state was widely affirmed.

The path to Christian conversion could exist on several levels. First, there was the purely utilitarian one: Conversion opened doors to all professions and was especially tempting before the rise of racialist ideas. Secondly, conversion could result from an instantaneous vision of faith, as a deep commitment. Thirdly, some Jews converted to Christianity under the impetus of Romanticism and the Enlightenment, which was really a conversion to philosophy, to Hegel, Kant, and to the larger culture.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 05 – February 22, 1971
…why Jews accepted, with such enthusiasm, the terms of emancipation. It’s true that they were more enlightened than the Enlightenment people, but that is no answer. I can just answer with a question. Why is the young working class chap in England so keen to crash the Oxford common room?

In other words, that’s something I really cannot explain to you. That you find it difficult to understand is very interesting, I think, and quite significant. But, on the whole, there’s nothing here I can explain to you. You just have to accept it as a fact that Jews wanted to assimilate, and that emancipation and the conditions of emancipation were worth it, and that many of them who were enlightened even agreed with these conditions.

I think it may be a little easier for you when I come to the ghetto and the meaning of the ghetto for the West. I think that is something you don’t have, that is something you forget. But when I come to the meaning of the ghetto for the West, you will see that that was a constant impetus, to accept the conditions of emancipation, which some of you find so difficult to accept.

Now, last time, I talked about the “mission of Judaism,” which came out of this acceptance of the conditions of emancipation, and which, like all of the things I have talked about, was an adjustment to the conditions of emancipation.

As some of you have some difficulty, let me just sum up this mission of Judaism, and let me sum it up through the words of Abraham Geiger, which he wrote down in 1864, and which would hold for Neo-Orthodoxy and for his most strongly Reform movement.

As Geiger put it, the essence of Judaism is reason. God indeed works through a beam of divine reason. This beam of divine reason ennobles man, awakes in him the longing to rise to ever greater heights of reason. But what is crucial is the moral course awakened in man through that beam of divine reason.

For what Judaism wants is to bring the essence of this morality to all mankind. And the essence of this morality is justice and mercy. Justice and mercy is the idea of Judaism. All else is accretion. In other words, these people were Hegelians.

I’m not going to give a lecture on Hegel, but these people were Hegelian, and they believed that the Hegelian idea was really the idea of Judaism: justice and mercy in this state, all else is accretion. To this ethical monotheism, as I called it last time, the so-called “Science of Judaism” was added.

It becomes the concrete expression, which will affect everyone in the community quite directly, all over the West and in Eastern Europe too. For the Science of Judaism is, in a sense, a product of Romanticism, rather than radicalism. What it takes up for Jews is what the Romantics took up in general.

That is, a new sense of history. And that new sense of history went side-by-side with the idea of reason that I have just described, with the idea of the divine beam of reason. To that, history was now added. Indeed, history took some of the place of Orthodoxy.

It is a general thing in all religions – whether Christianity or Judaism, whether Orthodox Christianity or Orthodox Judaism – that a historical standpoint dissolves the Orthodoxy. Some of you know this from Christianity. The historical Christ becomes a historical figure that dissolves much of Christian Orthodoxy, as you know.

So when history was introduced into, if you like, Judaism, as it now was, it further dissolved Orthodoxy. It substituted not only reason but also history for the former traditional orthodox foundation. And that at a time when the Science of History was being founded in Germany, again, not only by Hegel himself, but of the first historian of Rome, Niebuhr, and others.

Indeed, the young Jews, who met in 1819, were under the direct influence of Hegel once again. Again, the penetration of Hegelianism into Judaism is what is involved in the Science of Judaism. These young Jews, in 1919 [sic] founded a club, if you like, for the culture and scholarship among Jews – the German is “Verein für Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden” – a club for culture and scholarship among Jews.

The title took over a German concept and applied it to the Jewish heritage. Here, the so-called “Science of Judaism” was born – that is the “Wissenschaft des Judentums,” the “Science of Judaism,” – a German achievement with far-reaching consequences. The term “Science of Judaism” was first used here.

Typically enough, the leading spirit among the young Jews was Leopold Zunz, and Leopold Zunz was the first young Jew in Germany to go to a University. He was the first Jew ever admitted in the new University of Berlin. It is there that he got his historical and philological training.

The second moving spirit was Eduard Gans. Eduard Gans was a disciple of Hegel, a very close, personal disciple of Hegel. Zunz and Gans, both of them, were members. A more famous member was the poet Heinrich Heine who also joined the circle. Heine, Gans, Zunz, these were the leading spirits.

The club itself did not last very long, but the paper it published, through the mid-1920s, set the tone, and that club became the origin of a movement that influenced Jewish institutions. That is where it became very influential. First it influenced the first, newly founded rabbinical seminary in Germany, the seminary in the town of Breslau, known as the Breslau Rabbinical Seminary.

From then it went on to determine the more famous Berlin Jewish Seminary, the famous – it’s really an institution for teaching – the Lehranstalt in Berlin, founded in 1872. And, through Berlin, it influenced the founding of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1875.

From that small group of young Jews of 1919[sic], these other radiating-out institutional connections, from the Breslau Seminary of 1854 to the Berlin Seminary of 1873 to Hebrew Union College. But that was not all. The rabbinical seminaries in Rome, in Budapest, in London, they all felt this impulse.

So that, indeed, the Science of Judaism became central to the training of rabbis and teachers for the community. What was this “Science of Judaism?” What was this attitude? With that question I want to go directly to the Manifesto drawn up in 1822.

And if we look at that Manifesto, I think things will become a little clearer.  First of all, the basic idea was Geiger: to set free the idea of Judaism after centuries of darkness. The idea of Judaism must again become a part of the progress of the human spirit, a part of what we would call the Hegelian idea.

Therefore, you had to go back to history, and you had to see what went wrong. This is what went wrong, and I read from the manifesto: “Excluded from public life, restricted to certain spheres of activity, the Jews were more and more pushed back into their own unique world, handed down to them by their fathers and forefathers.

“But the life of this world – that had been preserved from antiquity – became more and more constricted and hollow, for the living spirit could no longer move freely within it. Since then, and until the present day” – that’s 1822 – “the rabbis confined themselves to their scholastic preoccupations.

“But that is the nature of scholasticism, to follow the letter of a tradition assumed to be holy and inviolable, to develop from within it every aspect of human knowledge in all directions, and thus to hamper every free individual and living movement of the human mind and to preclude any rational and independent understanding of infinite truths.”

Thus the Jews in general now live – and, most of all, their scholars – in hollow isolation.” The Science of Judaism, therefore, was an attempt to go back to history. From antiquity, the history of Judaism was a history gone wrong, that must be clear from the excerpt that I just wrote [sic] to you.

It was history gone wrong. What then must be done? The new sciences must be used together with history, the parallel to the new science and rationalism. For history to them was also a science, and thus preoccupation with natural or historical science will change Judaism again.

But the great spirit of science breaks through the weeds of a ceremonial that a thousand years of habit have made mechanical and lifeless, and, within it, sees the self-same idea of God that was formally revealed in all its clarity. Where external pressure has ceased, the spirit can begin to develop more freely.

And, here now you come to the Hegelianism again. The idea tries to free itself from the unyielding walls in which it has been imprisoned. It must once again reveal itself in its own inner, spiritual essence. That own inner, spiritual essence can only be re-captured through the science of history. For you have to go back to antiquity to get a Judaism without rabbis, a Judaism without scholasticism.

And you have to study history scientifically to realize the hollowness, and Jewish history gone wrong, gone wrong into a mechanical way which has obliterated the Hegelian ideal. What sort of a study of history? And here again, to this study of history, science was applied.

Science, the new scholarly science of the 19th century. The Science of Judaism, what does it? It treats the object of study in and for itself, for its own sake, and not for any special purpose and intention. It begins without any pre-conceived opinion. And is not concerned with the final results.

It is, in other words, a science, and self-sufficient. This must be true of the Science of Judaism as it is true of the natural and historical sciences everywhere, indeed. The aims, therefore, of the club are the following. First, study of Judaism in its historical and literary right, just as I have said, with these ideas.

Secondly, statistical study of Judaism in relation to present-day Jews scattered throughout the world. The aim will be to depict Judaism first from a historical standpoint, as it has gradually developed and changed, and then philosophically, according to its inner essence and idea. Here again, you have to have an impartial historical investigation before you can re-capture the essence and the idea, which is the monotheistic ethical idea I talked about.

The textual knowledge of the literature of Judaism must precede most methods of study. Thus we have first the textual study of Judaism, secondly the history of Judaism, thirdly a philosophy of Judaism. The climax is, however, the philosophy, the philosophy which depends on history and which gives us the idea of God without the idea of the accretions of centuries.

The ethical monotheism, the mission of Judaism, is now part-- an integral part of the Science of Judaism. This, then, was its attitude, and its attitude is problematical, as Gershom Scholem – himself a product of this – and everybody realizes. Why is it problematical?

Because it trains generations of rabbis in this ethical monotheism, and it does not bend. It is not subject to Zionism, it is not subject to Orthodoxy. That is why the problem of a whole generation in Israel today, an older generation, including the president of the state of Israel, Zalman Rubashov.

All of them, all of them come from the “Science of Judaism.” All of them went through the Berlin Seminary, by and large. And the conflicts which come from this approach – and, of course Zionism – which are mutually incompatible. That is why this approach is problematical for later Zionism and, of course, for Orthodoxy.

For the history of Judaism ends up in an ethical monotheism. It is not free of all values. It is, in fact, Hegelian. It is, in fact, the application of Hegel to Jewish Studies.  It is important to realize that all of these young men who gathered in 1919 [sic], over half converted to Christianity, including Eduard Gans.

Leopold Zunz seriously played with this idea. The young man who drew up this Manifesto from which I read you, Immanuel Wolf, left behind Judaism also to come to a purely rational religion. He took the last step, only conscience and reason counts. Only that counts. He took the last step, the young man who drew up this Manifesto.

Heinrich Heine, of course, converted to Christianity as well. This shows you, perhaps, some of the problematic in the Science of Judaism. From the point of view of emancipation and assimilation, the Science of Judaism culminates in development. That development I have now tried to at least analyze for you very briefly.

It goes, therefore, in several steps, parallel with the Edicts of Toleration, with the state idea of emancipation. First of all, you have, as you well know, the idea to keep the balance with Moses Mendelssohn. Then you have, evermore, the rationalism coming out in ethical monotheism, in the religious reform…

…which also, remember, adjusted the service from a Jew School to a kind of parallelism to Protestantism. Finally you have the Science of Judaism, the historical dimension in it. All of these interact with what was happening in the general world: the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and the ascendancy of Hegelian philosophy.

All of these are here reflected in the adjustment which Jews, as a community, made to emancipation. For, in the end, in the West, the community servants will be trained and come from seminaries which accept fully the Science of Judaism. That one must not forget.

So that, in the end, this adjustment, through the Science of Judaism, affected everyone, affected indeed the whole community. I have stressed Germany up to now, for Germany was the center of this development. There this was pioneered. There was the center, because it was the center of Romanticism as well. And, therefore, the German-Jewish elite became, in a sense, the leading Jewish elite…

… and will, in a sense, remain so throughout the 19th century, even in the early history of Zionism. You may well ask, “Why not France?” And there is a reason of why the Jews in France, equally wealthy, equally prominent, equally accepted emancipation did not play such a leading intellectual role.

In France, the July Revolution of 1830 had brought full emancipation, and, indeed, from 1830 on – something that was not true in Germany – the Jewish religion was an official cult, officially supported by the government. That is, rabbis were financed by the government as every other clergy.

But 1831, after the July Revolution, Judaism became an official cult. That will not happen in central Europe, but it happened in France very early. But here, also, the rich bourgeoisie went the same way. If we take one of the leaders, Issac Adolphe Crémieux – a very famous name in France – he did the same thing that these wealthy cultivated people did in Germany.

He went into politics and, in 1842, was the first Jew to enter the Chamber of Deputies. And yet, in France, the Reform movement never made much stride – made some stride, but never that much stride – and the Science of Judaism was a German not a French affair, though it was also accepted in the French theological seminaries. Why?

The main reason is something that we mentioned before, we mentioned in discussion Friday: the body of Orthodox Jews in Alsace and Lorraine. Something that Germany just did not have, the body of Jews in Alsace and Lorraine, Orthodox, ghettoized, if you like. So that, from the beginning, the French Consistoire, the central governing body of French Judaism, had to have a balance, had to have a balance…

… a balance between Reform – which people like Crémieux personally adopted – and Orthodoxy, of the masses of French Jewry, which came into Paris and elsewhere from Alsace and Lorraine. Therefore, French Jewish intellectual life was really paralyzed. This you didn’t have have in Germany. There was no such Orthodox body of Jewry.

All German Jewry was wealthy, upper-class, haute-bourgeoisie, and cultured. In France, this was, on the whole, not the case. The cultured elite were surrounded by masses of Orthodox Jewry, at least at the beginning of the century. So that French Jewry made very little contribution, and that, in fact, will remain so.

Now, there is one other European country that had the same problem: Austria. For Austria also had masses of Orthodox, ghettoized Jewry in Galicia. And the Galician Jews – that is, that part of Poland that came to Austria in the 18th century, Galicia. And in Austria, you have something quite similar, as a matter of fact.

The Austrian Jews also were, you might almost say, paralyzed. They were doubly-paralyzed. With them, even the liberalism of Crémieux and the Germans hardly existed. The Austrian Jews, from the beginning, were closely tied to the Habsburg dynasty, especially the Jewish elite. Why? Two reasons.

One, Francis Joseph, who came to power in 1848, when all Jewish discriminatory legislation was dropped. Francis Joseph was Philo-Semitic. That is to say, throughout his long reign, until 1916, he always enforced, or tried to enforce, pro-Jewish attitudes, and, not only that, he always tried to enforce the anti-discriminatory measures.

So that the Habsburg dynasty was indeed, from that point of view, pro-Jewish. That’s one reason why the Jewish elite in Austria never went in a liberal direction. And the second is that they lived in a multi-national empire. It wasn’t only being Jews, it was also being German. They were both, Jews and German.

And, therefore, they became patriotic in the sense of supporting      the German Austrians against the other nationalities. So, then, in Austria, you have a picture of Jews assimilating more thoroughly than anywhere else, not believing – which we’ll come back to that – not believing even in the presence of anti-Semitism, really…

… never doing anything about it until very late, because they felt a security in the dynasty. And they felt as Germans. Because the Germans were pressed in the multi-national empire and not only the Jews. So they felt as Germans as well.

It is clear, from what I have said, that emancipation and reaction were not the same, all over Europe. The great exception is Italy. And about Italy, I must now say a special word, for Italy was to be an exception. You can see that, in all the others I have discussed, there are similarities.

But Italy is an exception, because Italy is an exception in Europe. For in Italy there is the Papacy, and in Italy there are the Papal states, and in Italy there are the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples, the symbol of reaction. It made it different.

The Papacy sought, after the French Revolution, to abrogate everything that had to do with the French Revolution. And that meant that, in Italy – in the Papal States, and Sicily, and Naples – after 1815, there was a reverse development that only happened in Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe and the Papal States, I meant the same.

There is a reverse development, where Jews were emancipated in the West, discriminations were clamped down in the Papal States and, as you will see, in Eastern Europe, in the same way. For, being against the French Revolution, the Papacy undid Jewish emancipation straight away.

Jews were forced again to live in the ghetto. They were again sorted out, forbidden to have Christian servants. They had to have permission travel and for marriage. Pope Leo XII – from 1823 to ’29 – Pope Leo XII introduced again the ancient restrictions. But this was true not only in the Papal States, but also in Sicily and Naples, also in certain states in Northern Italy.

Florence was a certain exception, a certain exception. Now what was the result? The result was that young Jews immediately entered radical politics, not liberal politics but radical politics. For they saw what was happening elsewhere in the West and what was happening to them. It isn’t like living in Poland and being ghettoized there by the anti-Jewish laws of 1805. That was away from the West.  

But, in Italy, you knew immediately what was happening in France and Germany, and so Jews joined radical parties rather than liberalism. Therefore you get a curious phenomenon. Jews were over-represented in the secret society for Italian unity – violent and secret – known as the Carbonari.

They were over-represented also in Mazzini’s organization called “Young Italy.” Now, why? Because it was clear that Italian unification would mean Jewish emancipation, and you couldn’t have Jewish emancipation as long as the Papal States existed, as long as Naples and Sicily existed.

And therefore young Jews joined these violent organizations, the Carbonari, and indeed became leaders in the Carbonari – the ancestors of a new organization that, I am glad to say, now exists in the state of Israel, which calls itself the Jewish Black Panthers. It’s the ancestor of that Israeli organization.

Violence, all of that. But they’re not modeled on the Carbonari. Jewish history’s barely taught in Israel. They’re modeled on the Black Panthers, they know more about that. But, anyway, there is a Jewish precedent in the Carbonari for all of this.

They were over-represented in this violent, secret organization. They were over-represented also in Young Italy. Nowhere was the fate of Jewry so bound up with the fate of emanc- of national unity as in Italy. And indeed, the only state that did not introduce Jewish restriction was Piedmont and Savoy.

And so, with the leader of Piedmont and Savoy, with Cavour, Jewish faith was intimately linked. Jews became pre-eminent in that struggle for national unification, as they did nowhere else. That national unification was accomplished, as you know, by 1860, except for Rome. And in Rome, the Jews lived in the ghetto until 1870, until the Papal regime fell. Until 1870, the ghetto of Rome was maintained.

This different picture in Italy, then, was due in large matter to the Church – which became the bastion of reaction both before 1848 and after 1848 – and certain Italian states which followed the lead of the Church. Jews and national unity were linked here. Jews therefore were bound up with the Risorgimento –

– that is to say with the movement of Italian unity – as they were not bound up with the movement for German unity or anything like that. Moreover, the movement for Italian unity was a humanitarian nationalism. That is to say, Mazzini’s nationalism, defining itself against reaction, against Catholicism, against the Pope…

… was a nationalism which was liberal and humanitarian and not aggressive. They were linked with that. What is the result? From the beginning, Jews were integrated in Italy as they were in no other nation, not only in liberal politics but, for example, in the army, which was true nowhere else.

Typically enough, in 1902, General Giuseppe Ottolengho [sic - Ottolenghi] was the first Jew ever to become a Minister of War. There was only one other Jew who became a Minister of War in modern history, in the late 1930s, Hore-Belisha in England, in the Chamberlain cabinet. But he was a civilian.

Jews in Italy became generals, and several Ministers of War. We can go further. For example, the military commander of Rome in 1922, General Emanuele Pugliese, who made Mussolini’s seizure of power possible – he was the military commander of Rome – he was a Jew. Mussolini’s Chief of General Staff was a Jew.

In other words, I am telling you this to make clear to you that kind of integration. Now, France had a Captain Dreyfus, but that was a rarity. The whole Dreyfus Affair case arose because it was a rarity to have a Jew as a captain in the army. In Italy, it was not, because of this background.

Moreover, the largest category of employed Jews in Italy was in the public service. Now that is very telling for integration, because, in Germany, they couldn’t enter public service. You remember what I said. Much of public service was banned. In France, they entered it occasionally.

In Italy, the greatest category of employed Jews is in state service, in public service. Now, one other fact I must throw in. In Italy, there was less emigration from Eastern Europe than in the other countries. That will be important. And the forty-thousand Italian Jews – something between thirty and forty-thousand, in our period now –

… thirty of forty-thousand Italian Jews, then, achieved the kind of integration that was not achieved anywhere else in Eastern Europe for these historical reasons. In Italy, also, otherwise, the signs of Judaism penetrate, but Reform movement never penetrated to that extent, never penetrated at all, in a way.

Why? Difficult to say, I have no answer really. But in a Catholic country – again, there was, after all, no Protestantism to adjust to. That is also an answer why they never made it in France very much. In a Catholic country, there is no Protestantism to adjust to. In a Catholic country, ceremonial is taken for granted in religion, as it is not in Protestant countries.

So the penetration of Reform, certainly in France and Italy, has something to do with the fact that these were Catholic and not Protestant countries. It didn’t. The signs of Judaism, to some extent, Reform, by and large, didn’t.

The Jewish reaction to emancipation, therefore, had national variation. But what never varied, what remains constant is the underlying problem: How close to Christianity? How close to the state? Reform? So to answer the first – how close to Christianity and how close to the state – was universally answered in the affirmative.

And, yet, there is one part of this missing to which I must now come,
the part that we can call “going all the way,” the part of Christian conversion. For, after all, the conversion to Christianity, the kind of barriers which Katz describes, are no longer operating. What about conversion?

Conversion can exist on several levels. And I must start with a general thing. Now, I know that I am running in here again to a problem. It’s the first problem I ran into, that you couldn’t understand why Jews should accept emancipation – it really seems to me obvious, but to you, apparently not – why Jews should accept emancipation.

If that was difficult for you to understand, it’s still more difficult for you to understand why Jews should accept conversion to Christianity, perhaps because Christianity doesn’t matter very much today anymore. But we’re now in a period where it mattered very much indeed, and that is something that you must always bear in mind. You must always bear in mind.

There are three ways of conversion. One – the one you probably think is always operative, but it is not – the purely utilitarian one. It did open all doors. This is always a bastion, but with emancipation, it is especially tempting. It was a total escape. There is no racist ideas yet. It doesn’t exist.

So conversion is a total acceptance. For better employment, for advancement, for status. Jews could become state officials, professors, anything they like. Gans converted in order to get an academic chair – come back to Gans’s conversion a little latter – to get an academic chair. You could be anything.

And the answer is not, I think, historically, “Why conversion?” but, “Why the hell not?” In other words, why not go the whole way? Why not be accepted as an equal? Why not have every profession open to you? That is the kind of idea that you must get into your head, because that is the way it was envisaged.

It was astonishing if it didn’t happen. It isn’t astonishing if it did happen. Second – very important, I’ll talk about it – conversion as an instantaneous vision of faith.  Conversion as, indeed, commitment. Well, in our day, you may have heard of Simone Weil. In the day that I will talk about, I will talk about Cerf Beer, Ratisbonne.

You all know – some of you have been to Israel – you know the Ratisbonne Monastery – now it’s cheap student housing – you don’t know what’s behind it. Ratisbonne in France. Instantaneous conversion, thanks to a religious vision.

And thirdly – perhaps for us, in the end, the most important conversion – conversion to Christianity under the impetus of Romanticism and the Enlightenment, which is really basically conversion to philosophy, rather than to Christianity. Basic, really, conversion to Hegelianism, to philosophy, but also – put it this way perhaps – conversion to culture.  

That’s perhaps the best way to put it. Because the conversions we shall study – and they are very important – are conversions to be part of the on-going culture and not to be apart from the on-going culture, which was Romanticism. But Romanticism included Christianity, included an un-dogmatic Christianity.

Thus we have, if you like, a three-fold typology of conversion: the utilitarian one, the one that we might call “conversion and commitment” which however starts usually with a religious vision – as you will see, Cerf Beer had a vision of that nature before he became Ratisbonne – with a religious vision, and thirdly, the conversion which is clearly a part of emancipation and assimilation, a conversion to culture, to be abreast of culture.

These three are the three kinds of conversions. And why not? As Schleiermacher said – who moved in an emancipated Jewish circle, who married Moses Mendelssohn’s daughter – as Schleiermacher said about Judaism, “Those who yet wear its livery are only sitting lamenting besides the imperishable mummy, bewailing its departure and its sad legacy.”

That will be the conversion to philosophy. And with that, I will go on on Wednesday.


Lecture #6

Lecture #6 - 46:01 - Lecture 6 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)


As an interesting case study of Jews who converted under the influence of the Enlightenment and Romanticism-which was a kind of cultural conversion, Mosse refers to the family of Moses Mendelssohn. Schleiermacher’s wife, Dorothea Mendelssohn, who had been married to a Jew, first converted to Protestantism, then, together with Schleiermacher, to Catholicism. Catholicism, Mosse claims, was the most attractive denomination for Jews, especially during Romanticism. All of Mendelssohn’s children but one and all of his grandchildren converted. One brother-in-law of Abraham Mendelssohn, Itzig, changed his name to Bartholdy, and convinced Abraham, who believed he was fulfilling the wishes of his father, do the same.

Like Abraham Mendelssohn, Heinrich Marx was still influenced by the Enlightenment. (Young Karl grew up reading Rousseau.) Henriette Herz, who had a famous salon in Berlin, also converted. All of these were people at the center of intellectual life. Conversion made sense for them, since Christianity and Romanticism went together, but Romanticism had little theology; it could be combined with Enlightenment. In a letter to Abraham Mendelssohn, Itzig asked him if he did not believe anymore anyway why he did not convert for the sake of his children,. For Abraham Mendelssohn, Judaism was an ethical idea, but now detached from monotheism. Itzik employed the historical argument- the changes of religion, the lack of certainty over the course of history- to convince Mendelssohn.

The dilemma Jews faced was formulated by Moses Hess in 1862: “From the viewpoint of the Enlightenment, I see no tenable reason for the continued existence of either Judaism or Christianity. The Jew who does not believe in the national regeneration of his people has only one task: to labor like the enlightened Christian for the dissolution of his religion. I understand how one can hold such an opinion, but what I do not understand is how it is possible to believe simultaneously in the Enlightenment and in the mission of the Jews. In other words, how it is possible to believe at once in the ultimate dissolution and the continued existence of Judaism.” Reform, in this view, was merely a “half-way house”, an idea that continues into our time and was voiced, for example, by Franz Rosenzweig: Only a very slight push was needed to sway Jews toward conversion, since all surrounding culture was Christian. But the most refined of people remained Jews.

Genuine converts thus sought to transcend Judaism, but without any Jewish self-hatred or utilitarianism; it yielded no gain, neither material nor status, for people like the Mendelssohns. However, there were many mixed cases: Heinrich Marx would have had to give up his profession as a lawyer according to Prussian law. Karl was probably baptized so he could enter the school of his choice. Unlike them, Theodore Cerf Berr, the brother of a noted French-Jewish brother, took the name of Ratisbonne after a vision of the virgin Mary. He then founded an order, “Our Lady of Zion” in Jerusalem in 1856, whose function was to convert Jews. (Today, the monastery provides student housing for the Hebrew University). A third type of conversion was the purely utilitarian conversion out of cynicism. Eduard Gans converted to get an academic appointment. The state was given its due, and no questions were asked. We therefore have conversion to culture, by vision, and of cynicism.

Mosse then cites another case study illustrating conversion to philosophy, to an abstract idea of a universal god and humanity. His example is Ferdinand Lassalle. Lassalle first joined Reform and attended Geiger’s synagogue. But Reform did not go far enough for him, and he wrote (to his orthodox mother) about the ugliness and lack of beauty of Judaism-even before Marx did so. Lassalle was a passionate Hegelian. For him, Judaism had to end, because the idea, ultimately the socialist idea, must triumph. In all these conversions, we find one contradiction: the converts did not leave the Jewish orbit and were still regarded as Jews. Conversion no longer meant integration because the social barriers were too strong. Also, due to the outside pressure of the existing Orthodoxy, assimilated Jews had to distance themselves from the “Half-Asia” (Karl Emil Franzos) of the impoverished Jewish masses. Indeed, the stereotype of the ghetto was a considerable outside pressure for Western Jews to assimilate. German culture meant civilization for the ghetto. The history of Western Judaism, Mosse asserts, is a flight from the ghetto. Yet many immigrants retained their “peculiar” appearance, which embarrassed assimilated Jews. By 1930, Western Jews had more in common with their gentile compatriots than with eastern Jews. When Theodore Herzl wrote about the reasons for anti-Semitism, he meant the eastern European Jews. For him, Zionism was largely the abolition of the ghetto. Eastern Jews pulled back into the ghetto at exactly the same time western Jews were emancipated, so that eastern and western Jews grew apart because the countries in which they lived developed in different directions. The other pressure was the resurgence, of anti-Semitism but also the emergence a new type of anti-Semitism. 

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 06 – February 24, 1971
…a general idea of what - why people to convert to Christianity – in this case, a kind of typology of conversion – and we must start our discussion of conversion today by the last of that. That is to say, people who converted under the impetus of Romanticism and the Enlightenment…

… who converted not for utilitarian reasons – that is, economic or status reasons – who converted not because they had a vision, but who converted because of Romanticism anti-Enlightenment. As I said last time, a kind of cultural conversion. Here, the interesting case study is the family of Moses Mendelssohn…

… which both penetrated to the heart of Romanticism and to the heart of the Romantic establishment, and whose conversion is important from our point of view. Last time I quoted the theologian Schleiermacher, the Romantic theologian, and Schleiermacher’s wife was Dorothea Mendelssohn, Moses Mendelssohn’s daughter…

… who first married Schlegel, the famous Romantic philosopher, then Schleiermacher, converted to Protestantism, and, in the end, as so many, went all the way to the Catholic church. This is a phenomena of Jewish conversion on which I do not want to dwell at length, that eventually Catholicism is for Jews the most attractive.

The reason is, I think, rather simple: theology as a liturgy, Catholicism has a liturgy, Catholicism has a very definite theology. It is a more definite thing to convert to, by and large, especially this Romantic Protestantism. All of Mendelssohn’s descendants converted, children and grandchildren.

Abraham Mendelssohn, his son, baptized all his four children, including, of course, the composer Felix Mendelssohn. And in this, typically enough, he followed the advice of his brother-in-law, his brother-in-law who came from the wealthiest, most prestigious family of Berlin Court Jews – that is to say, who had been Court Jews and who became wealthy bankers – the family of Itzig.

It was his brother-in-law who admonished him to do that, and he followed his brother-in-law’s advice. Moreover, typically enough, his brother-in-law gave him another advice. His brother-in-law changed his name from Itzig – which, granted, isn’t exactly a thing of beauty – to the name of his Prussian estate. The Prussian estate’s name was Bartholdy.

And, indeed, Mendelssohns adopted, after their baptism, the name of this Prussian estate. And from then, to this day, still one of the wealthiest banking families will be known as Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Why? Because, as Abraham Mendelssohn wrote, they adopted the new name of Bartholdy not to force upon the children a life of martyrdom.

The father of Karl Marx, Heinrich Marx, argued in the same way. But what is interesting here, before we come to Heinrich Marx, is that Abraham believed that he was fulfilling the wishes of his father, that what he was doing to the baptizement, to the adoption of the other name, was a tribute to the laws of the Enlightenment.

He now believed, in Dohm’s sense, that you have to choose. The ceremonial law has dropped away. And the father of Karl Marx, Heinrich Marx – same generation – shared this. You now had to choose. Heinrich Marx, like Abraham Mendelssohn, was still wholly of the Enlightenment, even in the 1830s. The young Karl Marx was brought up reading Rousseau, above all.

So you can see, again here, the idea. There is no sense in a life of martyrdom if there is nothing behind that martyrdom, if you have no reason for that martyrdom.  Now it is clear that women like Dorothea and the other famous woman, the wife of the banker Herz, Henrietta Herz – who most of you know, of course, in another connection.

Henrietta Herz had the famous Romantic Salon in Berlin. Every Roamntic philosopher was a guest in the Salon of Henrietta Herz. She was right in the center of things, the wife of another wealthy banker. She also converted after her husband’s death. She also converted. Again, people, Dorothea, Henrietta Herz, were at the center of intellectual life…

… and therefore it makes sense for them to convert, for they were at the center of Romanticism. And Romanticism and a Romantic Christianity went together, an integral part of this culture. Moreover, the price of entry was very easy, for you could do two things – and they did.

You could use the Enlightenment as a price of entry – the rationalism, as Abraham Mendelssohn did – and with it you could combine Romantic religion, which had very little theology in which you had to believe, which stressed the Romanticism rather than the theology. The Universal God remained, but the abstract ethic could be combined with Romantic religion…

… and both were a repudiation of Judaism. The kind of balance – which, as I told you before, the Jewish Reform movement had tried to maintain – was now abolished. Listen now to what Abraham Mendelssohn writes to his brother-in-law, Itzig. I’m sorry, I was wrong again. Which means what his brother-in-law wrote to Abraham Mendelssohn. (laughter) We’ll come to him next?

What his brother-in-law wrote to Abraham Mendelssohn to persuade him to take these steps, to persuade him, above all, to adopt the name Bartholdy: “When you say you owe it to the memory of your father,” – that is to say, to keep being a Jew, you owe this to the memory of your father, Moses Mendelssohn.

“But do you think you’ve done something bad in giving your children the religion which appears to you to be best? It is the justest homage you or any of us could pay to the efforts of your father to promote true light and knowledge, and he would have acted like you for his children.

“You may remain faithful to a repressed, persecuted religion. You may leave it to your children as a prospect of lifelong martyrdom, as long as you believe it to be the absolute truth. But when you have ceased to believe that, it is barbarism. I advise you to adopt the name Mendelssohn-Bartholdy as a distinction from the other Mendelssohns.

“At the same time, you would please me very much, because it would be means of preserving the memory of the estate long in my family. Thus you would gain your point without doing anything unusual, for in France and elsewhere it is the custom of adding a name like that,” – which is actually true.

Now you can see the argument. It is plain, it is simple, and, I think we must say, from the point of view of the culture of the Enlightenment and Romanticism, it is convincing. Why a life of martyrdom for your children if you no longer believe what you are martyred for is the truth? For the universal God is the god of all of us.

And, moreover, Christianity is the true expression of culture, of Romanticism. That is the argument. What, then, does it come down to? It comes down to a letter from Abraham Mendelssohn which I read to you before in another connection: “Does God exist? What is God? He is a part of ourselves, and where and how?

“All this I do not know, but I know that there exists in me and you and in all human beings an ever-lasting inclination towards all that is good, true and bright. And a conscience which warns us when we go astray.” For Abraham Mendelssohn, Judaism also was an ethical idea, but it was an ethical idea now detached from Jewish ethical monotheism.

The universalism of the Enlightenment was now generalized. “The outward form of religion your teacher has given you is historical and changeable, like all human ordinances. A thousand years ago, the Jewish form as the reigning one, then the heathen one, now it is Christian.”

In other words, the historical argument, so important in the Science of Judaism, as I told you last time, enters again. “We have educated you and your brothers and sisters in the Christian faith, because it is in the creed of most civilized people, and contains nothing that could lead you away from what is good and much that guides you to love, obedience, tolerance,

“… even if it offers nothing but the example of its founder, understood by few and followed still by fewer.” The dilemma is clear. If Judaism as a religion no longer has meaning, what then has meaning? Why then the martyrdom? Why not join the civilized people – that means, in terms of the times, the people most oppressed of all culture?

This remains. I point out to you – in your Zionist Idea, page 128 – Moses Hess makes the same argument, and he solves it by going to Jewish nationalism, as yet, in our period, unknown. For what does Moses Hess say, even in 1862, a man who comes from that tradition? On page 128, you can read it, of your Zionist Idea.

“From the viewpoint of the Enlightenment, I see no terrible reason for the continued existence of either Judaism or Christianity. The Jew who does not believe in the national regeneration of his people has only one task, to labor like the Enlightened Christian for the dissolution of his religion.

“I understand how one can hold such an opinion, but what I do not understand is how it is possible to believe simultaneously in the Enlightenment and in the mission of the Jews.” In other words, how it is possible to believe at once in the ultimate dissolution and the continued existence of Judaism?

What you will read then, in page 128, is a critique of Jewish Reform, of the “halfway house” for these people. But the final expression of this kind of idea goes much further, it goes into our time. It is best expressed and summarized in the 1920s, that late, by most important Jewish theologian – anti-Zionist theologian and the most important one, about whom you will hear much more later – Franz Rosenzweig.

And Franz Rosenzweig has a letter to a friend which summarizes, which summarizes. He had a friend called Hans Ehrenberg who tried to get some relation to Judaism – as so much of this generation no longer had – and went to a rabbi, a Jewish theologian, and this is Rosenzweig’s criticism, and it is the same thing that I’m talking about. 1909 is the date.

“About Hans, we simply don’t see eye-to-eye. What you say about the three visits to a Jewish theologian won’t hold water. Not even three hundred visits would have changed matters. We are Christians in everything, we live in a Christian state, attend Christian schools, read Christian books.

“In short, our whole culture rests entirely on a Christian foundation. Consequently, a man who has nothing holding him back needs only a very slight push to make him accept Christianity. In Germany today,” – Reform, Reform, he’s talking about – “the Jewish religion cannot be accepted. It has to be grafted upon circumstances, dietary observance and Bar Mitzvah.”

That could be said for American Jews as well. “…dietary observance and bar mitzvah. Christianity has a tremendous advantage over Judaism. It would have been entirely out of the question for Hans to become a Jew. A Christian, however, he can become. To let you know how serious I am about this, I myself counseled Hans strongly in this direction” – that is, conversion – “and would do so again.”

This letter of Franz Rosenzweig – which, if you like, you can read in Nahum Glatzer’s Franz Rosenzweig, a pocket book, on page 19 – this letter is, again, the same kind of thing. That, in other words, if everything is Christian – and, again, as Abraham Mendelssohn put it, the most civilized people – why, then, remain a Jew? Reform Judaism here is again no solution, no solution.

And this criticism comes from a Jewish theologian who will renew Jewish theology in many ways, as you will see. Now I think I have said enough to make it clear that the Enlightenment Jewish atmosphere led to this Christian Romanticism. Such conversions were frequent, as the Mendelssohn family. We must call them genuine conversions.

They accepted the progress of the spirit. They sought to transcend Judaism, but without any Jewish self-hate – that must be clear – moreover, without any utilitarian idea. The Mendelssohns and the Itzigs were wealthy, wealthy people. They gained nothing by this, in status and in commerce, nothing whatever, nothing whatever. The utilitarian element here in non-existent.

You can, of course, have a mixture of this Enlightenment Romanticism and quest for status. Heinrich Marx, the father of Karl Marx, is such a problem. He baptized his children and converted himself, largely out of the same impetus to be abreast of the Enlightenment, to be abreast, in certain ways, of Romanticism as well.

But in Heinrich Marx, there is an extra thing. By the new legislation of Prussian Emancipation, he could not be a state official. That is, not a lawyer. The Rhineland had just come to Prussia. Prussian edicts were now enforced in the Rhineland. Thus Heinrich Marx, if he stayed a Jew, would have to give up his legal profession. Because, remember, that is one of the terms of Prussian emancipation.

By his baptism, he remains to stay a lawyer. There is about this very famous baptism-- that is, first of all, the Enlightenment. It is a letter to his son Karl, eventually, talking about his baptism. He re-affirms his belief in God, but he adds, it is the God of Newton and John Locke. No doubt that played a part in his baptism, but the status too to remain a lawyer.

But the baptism of his children is a puzzle. Because Karl Marx was not baptized until he was to enter school. We do not know why this is. The only guess is that he entered the Protestant school, which was the best school in the city of Trier. And to enter the Protestant school, it was easier if you were baptized.

It is probably that Karl Marx was eventually baptized – and baptized at such late a time – probably has to do with his entering school and the school he wanted to enter. But it’s very puzzling, because Karl Marx was baptized very late in the day. The other children were baptized earlier, and so was the father, but, as I say, we really do not know why this is.

Now if this is one, and the most important, type of conversion, we must now add to it the conversion that was a true Christian commitment, in the traditional sense, the conversion that begins with a vision. The most famous case in our period is the case of Cerf Beer, brothers…

… after their baptism took the name of Ratisbonne. The more important of these two brothers Cerf-Berr, Theodore, became converted in 1842 by a vision of the Virgin Mary during a visit to Rome. He joined the Jesuits, and, in 1856, did something rather famous.

He founded a new religious order. The order of Our Lady of Zion, founded in 1856, was a religious order founded to convert Jews. This, by the way, remained its function until recently, when Pope John XXIII transformed it to an order of dialogue with Jews, from conversion with Jews.

But the order of Our Lady of Zion became a very powerful and spreading one. Those of you who have been to Jerusalem know two things, ‘cause in 1855, Ratisbonne departed for Palestine and lived out his life there. You know two things of its power and importance. You know the Ratisbonne Monastery and you know the convent of Our Lady of Zion.

If you have been in Jerusalem in Christmas, and you have known me, that is where we go for Christmas Mass in the old city, ‘cause I have good friends there. But Our Lady of Zion is powerful order, and you can see its remnants in Jerusalem today. Obviously it has declined, with the decline of Christianity, and even the members of the order in the old city now seem to be mostly in their 70s.

The monastery in the new city, the famous Ratisbonne Monastery, has become student housing. That is quite a change. I mean, for the Hebrew University. Best student housing there is, if you go. Excellent. Recommended. (laughter) Now-- There are still a few monks there to keep you aware of the religious idea, that’s also good.

So what you have then here is a conversion by vision, which led to the founding of a new Catholic order to convert Jews, Our Lady of Zion. The third type of conversion is the one that you all think about, the conversion of cynicism. Here we can take Eduard Gans, one of the founders of that circle of men of the club for Jewish culture and learning, you may remember.

Eduard Gans, who converted in order to get an economic- an academic learning appointment. This is how he describes his conversion, and notice how different it is from Abraham Mendelssohn’s description of it. Eduard Gans says the following, “I might as well convert to get an academic post, for the Minister” – academic posts were appointed by the Prussian Minister of Cults and Education –

“… for the Minister of Education realizes I don’t mean it, I know I don’t mean it, and thus the state has been given its due.” (laughter) Now, this is what we might call, similarly honest – why not? – similarly honest, but, you might say, a conversion for a job, a conversion for status. Such conversions, of course, were frequent, and the state made it easy, through religious indifference.

After all, all you needed to do to convert is to find some clergyman who would do it. There was not, I mean, you know -- There isn’t a long thing attached to it. You could find a clergyman who could do it in short order, without many lessons. I mean, there is no circumcision or anything attached. It is a very easy affair, really.

And the state furthered it, and the state furthered it, because the state was – in a sense, on this, of course – extremely friendly, extremely friendly. This was in the interest of the state, and so everything was made easy, no questions were asked, and indeed, the cynicism of Eduard Gans corresponds to the cynicism of the church, in a sense, and the cynicism of the state.

You have, therefore, then, three kinds of conversion. The conversion to culture – which is the most important, from our point of view, because it is the most important intellectuals who chose that road – by vision, that will continue, and the cynicism, that will continue. But I want to point out to you that the conversion by culture will also continue.

That, I want to point out to you as well. It will continue, perhaps in a slightly changed form, in a slightly changed form. It will continue, not so much under the impetus of Romanticism and the Enlightenment, but it will continue in the same way under the impetus of radical democracy and socialism. It will be much the same idea of a universal God…

… much the same idea of transcendence – and you can put it perhaps slightly differently – much the same conversion to philosophy, much the same conversion to philosophy, always encouraged by the dominance of Hegel and Hegelianism, by the dominance of historical and idealist philosophy, by the idea expressed in Mendelssohn’s letter that Judaism is a fossil and that Christianity is the next higher expression of philosophy.

So you have that kind of conversion continuing as well. In that case, we also have, in a way, a case study, to which I want to come in this regard. And that case study is another famous man. The conversion to philosophy, we might put it, because a conversion to Christianity is then no longer needed. Romanticism has run its course. There’s no need for a conversion to Christianity. You can now convert to pure philosophy…

… that is to say, to abstract ideas of a Universal God and the Enlightenment. The example I want to take here is the example of Lassalle. Lassalle, the founder, as you know, of German socialism. In case you haven’t heard, Marx is not the founder of German social democracy. He’s not even the most influential man, properly speaking.

But Lassalle is the founder of German social democracy and probably the most influential person in its history, though he died very early. Let us take Ferdinand Lassalle, an interesting example, for Ferdinand Lassalle believed in the Enlightenment, in the autonomy of human self-consciousness, and so he first joined Reform.

He attended Geiger’s sermons and Geiger’s synagogue. But that did not go far enough for him. And, in the end, joining the circle around Karl Marx – in 1843, a year before Marx did so – he wrote about the ugliness, the lack of beauty of Judaism – here again you see a shadow of Romanticism still – the ugliness, the lack of beauty of Judaism.

He wrote this to his Orthodox mother. (laughter) The end of Judaism was to come. The end of Judaism must come, in fact. But it comes now through what? Not through the Enlightenment, but through Hegelian philosophy. Lassalle was a passionate Hegelian. This was the most important influence in his life, as it was in Marx’s life in the 1840s.

So through Hegelian philosophy, Judaism must end, because the idea will triumph, and the idea surpasses Judaism and Christianity, though Christianity is even a higher state. In the end, the Hegelian idea surpasses both Judaism and Christianity, and becomes for him, of course, the socialist idea. This is a course we will follow when I talk next week on Marx’s pamphlet on the Jewish question of 1844.

Now, in all these conversions, there is one contradiction and one outside pressure. The contradiction is plain. None of these people ever left Jewish social circles. The social discrimination was so strong that the Mendelssohn-Bartholdys had only Jewish friends and were regarded as Jews by everyone else, really. And the same was true of Lassalle. And the same was true for Eduard Gans.

In other words, no longer did conversion mean integration. We shall see why next week. But now I must mention that the social barriers were so strong that, conversion or not, these converted Jews remained within the Jewish orbit, for their friends were Jews, for they were regarded as Jews, even into the fourth or fifth generation, regardless of their intermarriages.

That is the first thing that you must notice. And the second thing you must notice is what I call the outside pressure. The outside pressures are two in number, really.  One outside pressure is the pressure of the existing orthodoxy. For it existed on Germany’s border, in Alsace and Lorraine.

Therefore, the Western Jews always had the problem to distance themselves from the masses of un-assimilated, strange-dressing and strange-praying Orthodox Eastern Jews. This was made still more difficult by a different Jew, which was written by East European ghetto Jews who had fled from the ghetto and who hated every part of it.

To give you a most famous title to which we shall return, Emile Franzos’s “Half-Asia.” The famous anti-Semitic term, that the Jews are Half-Asia, was coined by a Jew who had fled the ghetto, who wrote a famous novel – which, if it were translated, I would have had you read – called Half-Asia, about the ghetto, about the ghetto itself. But there were many others.

The stereotype of the ghetto was a considerable outside pressure for Western Jews, a considerable outside pressure to assimilate. For the ghetto meant what it means, in fact, in Singer’s Family Moskat. It meant dirt, poverty, all of these sort of things. It meant, in fact, “Half-Asia,” and, as you will see, in The Family Moskat, especially page 27 of your edition, German culture meant, for the ghetto, civilization.

In other words – let’s not misunderstand that – the young, sensitive Jews who wanted to escape the ghetto, they looked to the Western Jews, they looked to Germany, they looked to advanced culture. In other words, the advanced ghetto Jew and Abraham Mendelssohn agree on what was civilization, on what was advanced culture – you mustn’t forget.

And so, when they fled to the West or came to the West, those who were articulate would write books condemning the culture which they had fled, [books] for civilized people, as they would put it – that is, for the Western culture, for the Enlightenment, for Romanticism. Then the ghetto civilization was “Half-Asia,” but there is also the concrete, the visual, which, you must not forget…

… which was, to say the least, embarrassing to the West, embarrassing mainly that the immigration from Eastern Europe retained its peculiar dress – that is to say, the caftan, hats – its peculiar appearance – by them, very peculiar, for Western Jews and others, the side-locks, the pais, the beards, all of that, the yarmulkes, otherwise. This was an embarrassment.

This was a rejection of culture, as far as these people were concerned, quite obviously, a rejection of this kind of emancipation that I have talked about. But, in turn, this was a pressure and a very considerable pressure – please remember that – for assimilation and, in the end, even for conversion.

For it is quite true that, by the 1830s, the Western Jews of this nature had more in common with their gentile compatriots than they had with the Eastern European Jews. Therefore it follows that the history of Western Judaism now is, as it has been, a flight from the ghetto. And this will be true for the Zionists as well.

When you read Herzl– the part that you don’t read, because this is edited, the Zionist Idea. That’s edited according to Zionist ideology and it leaves out embarrassing things. I’ll tell you one thing it leaves out right now, from Herzl, which we shall come back to. When Theodore Herzl writes eloquently about the Middle Ages in the midst of Europe, which is the reason for anti-Semitism…

… he means the East European ghetto and the East European Jews. Happily cut out of your anthology. That’s what Herzl means. That’s what Herzl means, that you can see that, even for a man like Herzl – especially, perhaps, for a man like Herzl at the center of European culture in one way or another – this Zionism, for him, was certainly, largely at first and for known now almost totally, the abolition of the ghetto, the rich embarrassment.

After all, what’s Herzl’s vision, in the end – also cut out of your reading? The final vision of Herzl is that Palestine is heavily settled by Jews and Arabs living in harmony and rich Jews coming and inspecting the place. Well, that’s happened, actually, hasn’t it? (laughter) If you’ve ever lived there, you’ll agree with me. It happened in a slightly different way.

But what you have here is, of course, again, the flight from the ghetto. The flight from the ghetto will characterize Western Jews and will characterize many ghetto Jews – in Herzl’s phrase from the Middle Ages, “in the midst of Europe,” – who, in the Enlightenment way, should be transformed into productive people again. And Palestine, that sort of vision, becomes a general vision.

For example – one example of this rapidly, to make it clear to you again – the Jewish community of Konigsberg in Eastern Prussia wanted to help the poverty-stricken Jews of White Russia – which were right at their border, after all – and set up a committee. And the finding of the committee is as follows, in the 1860s…

… that, before we can make them economically prosperous, we must raise their level of culture. They now have no culture. We must first raise their level of culture, and then perhaps we can make them economically prosperous. This was the official Jewish community of Konigsberg in Eastern Prussia.

That was the attitude, a complete misreading of ghetto culture – that goes without saying, that misreading is not true – a complete non-understanding of ghetto culture, because, since emancipation you have western Judaism veering away. For we must remember – and I mention it again before I come to it at length – that for Eastern European Jews, the development had been inverse.

Where Western Jews were emancipated, Eastern Jews, in the same time, were put back into the ghetto. Remember the anti-Jewish legislation of 1804 which did all this in Eastern Europe, while in Western Europe, this is the age of emancipation.

That is to say, these two branches of Judaism grew apart because the places in which they lived underwent quite different developments.  Emancipation in the West, ghettoization and urbanization – forced ghettoization and forced urbanization – in Eastern Europe. That we must not, after all, forget.

Now, one outside pressure, then, one outside pressure was the ghetto and all that that meant. Again, it is perhaps for you, in a more tolerant age, difficult to understand, but I remember still the shock I had as a boy, when I was shown, out of our chauffeur-driven limousine, the Eastern Jews peddling in the street to which the chauffeur should not have driven, and he was much mauled afterward…

…because I was not supposed to see that sort of thing, because it would lead towards anti-Semitic, and on the chauffeur’s part no doubt as well. However that was-- I still remember the shock. These were creatures of God from another planet. Were these Jews?

These weren’t Jews in the Reform temple who drove up in the German equivalent of Cadillac – Maybachs, they were called – Maybachs, so that you needed three traffic policemen on Sabbath – Sabbath nobody went – on the high holidays. (laughter) You needed three Sabbath policemen, eventually, of course, a hundred to prevent attacks by anti-Semites.

But first you needed at least three, even in my youth, to direct the traffic on the high holidays. These weren’t that kind of Jews. They were un-understandable. They were different creatures. If Hitler reacted to Eastern European Jews as he says in Mein Kampf – and got it right, ‘cause he saw what he had never seen in Linz…

… because all they had saw there were assimilated Jews – Jews in caftans and ear-locks and strange faith. This can be generalized, I think, to most of Western Judaism. This was strange. This was strange and un-understandable. And the enthusiasm for East European Jews, when it comes among Zionists – and it comes late – has even a word to it:

“Ostjuden enthusiasmus,” the enthusiasm for East European Jews. So strange that, in Germany, it even got a phrase. Because the Zionists suddenly discovered them, and that was a great discovery in the West. That doesn’t come until the 1890s.

So all of this was one pressure which you must remember. What was the other pressure? The other pressure was the great thing that we have omitted up to now. The other pressure was anti-Semitism, and the nature of anti-Semitism.

What I have done up to now – and some of you said I have gone to fast, so I tried to slow down, quite understandable – is to deal with the internal history, if you like, with the history of Jews as a community. But in dealing with the history of Jews as a community, I have always strived to deal with it in general terms…

… and, for some of you, it might be well to look in a textbook of European history, ‘cause Jewish history is just a part of European history. It’s nothing special. That is all. And therefore you have to know European history, and if you don’t, look at a textbook, please.

But, as it is a part of European history, European history incurred at every angle. It made emancipation possible, but it also made, together with emancipation, not only a resurgence of anti-Semitism – that always had existed – but a new type of anti-Semitism, and that had not always existed.

A new type of anti-Semitism, which is quite different from the old, a new type. We must therefore now, starting next week, pass to the second segment of your assignment sheet, the segment “Anti-Semitism.” And what we must see is the birth of the new anti-Semitism and the decline – or at least not the growing – of the old anti-Semitism, that is really what we will see next week.

But what I will do on Monday is I will, first of all, ask you if there are any questions, since we cannot have a discussion this Friday, ask you on Monday---



Lecture #7

Lecture #7 - 49:02 - Lecture 7 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)


Mosse reminds us that according to Arthur Ruppin’s statistics, by 1933 there were as many doctors as tailors among German Jews. 46 % were independent businessmen. Significantly, in contrast to Eastern Europe there were a low percentage of Jewish workers and domestics. Among the ten greatest fortunes in Berlin, eight belonged to Jews. Of these, four were baptized, yet they were still perceived and identified as Jews. Four were bankers; one was the founder and proprietor of the biggest Silesian coalmine; one dealt in heavy steel in the Rhineland; one, finally, was Rudolf Mosse, a newspaper proprietor, who happened to be Mosse’s grandfather. Yet riches were relative. The richest persons in Germany in 1911 were the Krupp family, owning 137 million Gold Mark, whereas the richest Jewish Berlin family had 40-43 million. A final statistic concerns income tax, of which Jews paid about twice as much as the Christian population. Very few Jews were poor. In Eastern Europe, the whole picture would be utterly reversed. Differences existed also in France, which had many more poor Jews than Germany. 

After a short Q&A period, Mosse gets back to the issue of anti-Semitism he had started to address. Though it was partly due to a clash between cultures, the history of anti-Semitism is much more than that. Hatred of Jews was not only connected with the European reaction; above all, it had to do with the democratic impulses of the 19th century. Anti-Semitism was part of the protest against emancipation by the conservative European reactionary right: these were people who disliked the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. But this conservative reaction was never violent against the Jews; instead, it was a refined reaction by those who feared violence and mass movements and believed in hierarchy, in the status quo, and in the Christian state. For them, Anti-Semitism, as a mass movement, might lead to loss of control, and to violence. Instead, conservatives wanted legal restrictions and social ostracism aimed against Jews. These conservatives were Christians who never believed in doing away with the Jews; rather, they believed that Judaism was modernity, and they wanted was to stop the encroachment of modernity on the status quo and the traditional hierarchies. In 1848, the leading conservative, Adam Mueller, had this to say: “The Jewish messiah, the Antichrist, has come to earth in the guise of the steam engine, and this in order to speed up the end of the world.” Baptism was the answer to the steam engine, the baptism of the Jew. Julius Stahl, a convert to Christianity, became a leading member of the Christian establishment whose answer was never violence but rather, baptism or exclusion.

For example, the Prussian aristocracy opposed national socialism as much as violent anti-Semitism. Yet, Mosse states that anti-Semitism that we might call populist or democratic will be of great importance to us. It is linked equally to the left and right-to the new nationalism, but also to certain tendencies in socialism. A most notable aspect of this anti-Semitism of the future was that anti-capitalism and anti-Semitism were deeply intertwined; in fact, they had been connected since the middle-ages. The Jew was the anti-producer for both Marx and Father Jahn. Finance capitalism and banking were important-the kernel of reality- and since many Jews were in finance capitalism, left and right could unite here in opposition. Finance capitalism lends itself to conspiracy theories, such as that of the “international Jewish banker.” A second difficulty was the stock exchange, which, as Mosse remarks dryly, was obviously a Jewish conspiracy as well. But anti-capitalism had moved since the middle-ages: Jews were no longer small money lenders. Now, wars were fought because of international finances. The new anti-capitalism connected the Jew to secrecy and conspiracy and fuses with the accusation that the Jews were a state within a state. Lastly, the ghetto-image played a part in conspiracy theories, leading to fantasies that mixed rabbis and Rothschilds, who meet in the Jewish cemetery in Prague in “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” and were equally frightening and mysterious to the left and right.

In “Les juifs, rois de l’epoque” by Toussenelle, Jews are the “king of the epoch” through finance capitalism and control of the stock exchange. This kind of anti-Semitism was built on the de-mythologizing of Christianity. Its precondition is the attack on Christianity, especially by the Young Hegelians. Christians did not want to do away with Jews, but keep them alive to be witnesses of the wrath of God. Yet, in essence, the Enlightenment was anti-Christian. By the 1840s, to many thinkers the Christian barrier against doing away with the Jew was gone. Jews had to cease to be Jews; after all, the reasons for their existence had been de-legitimized. To the Young Hegelians especially, the concrete reasons why Jews still existed was money. As Moses Hess wrote in the 1840s in his “On the Essence of Money” (before his turn to Zionism): money is the symbol of human alienation. Those who invented money and manipulated it were the Jews; therefore, they are the symbol of alienation. End the tyranny of money, and Jews will cease to exist. The emphasis here, like in the Enlightenment, was on the overcoming of Judaism.

For Dohm, Jews had to be made productive and re-educated. For Young Hegelians, including Marx, overcoming the Jew was ending alienation. For Marx, the Jewish religion was the objectification of commercial transaction. Because God was always covenanting with somebody, the Jew was poisoned from the beginning, for his very religion was a commercial transaction. Marx’ anti-Semitism was duplicated on the right, but its essence came from the Young Hegelians. Jews were in fact a stereotype. However, Mosse thinks self-hate did not influence Marx and Hess, because their social worldview was a totality.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 07 – March 01, 1971
… which becomes very important for assimilation and otherwise. These statistics you will find in the works – or any statistics about Jews you want before the First World War – you will find in the works of the man who founded Jewish statistics, Arthur Rabbin, which are in the library in translation, and you will find it, and you'll find sorts of statistics.

I want to be brief. By 1933, for example – and this is probably the most meaningful thing about social distribution – among the German Jews, there were as many doctors as tailors. Now that is very significant if you think about the distribution in Eastern Europe and even, to a certain extent, in France, where the tailors would out-number the doctors ten-to-one or more than that.

Among German Jews there were as many doctors than tailors, yes that’s neat, I agree. (laughter) Forty-six percent were independent businesses, and the thing about those businesses are, again, forty-six percent independent businesses where the rest of the family did not help. That means businesses which were larger, not little family businesses.

The distribution in Eastern Europe and in France to a certain extent were small independent businesses where the whole family helped, as you will know from The Family Moskat or from your own history. In Germany, forty-six percent of Jews had their own business where the rest of the family did not help or participate. Eight percent were workers and one percent were domestics.

Some other statistics. Among the hundred richest Jews in Prussia, twenty-three were Jews, but, as Jews, were settled in Berlin. (laughter) That's very high for a denomination which, among a population of ten million, had a hundred thousand. That's very high. But it's still higher.  For among the ten greatest fortunes in Berlin – I told you the concentration was in Berlin – among the ten greatest fortunes in Berlin, eight were Jews.

They were led by the descendants of Moses Mendelssohn, the bank house of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Of these eight, four were baptized Jews but taken by everybody else as Jews, like Mendelssohn, for example. Four were bankers, private banking. The richest, the bank house of Mendelssohn. The third richest, the bank house of Arnhold in Dresden.

One, two were industry. Very extraordinary. Only in Germany did Jews important in heavy industry [sic]. One, the second-richest man in Berlin, was the founder and proprietor of the greatest Silesian coal mine and indeed dominated the entire Silesian mining industry.

The second richest- the second industrialist was heavy steel in the Rhineland, heavy steel in the Rhineland. One was a newspaper proprietor but who made his money in advertising, introduced advertising to Germany. Well, you might as well know, he was my grandfather. (laughter) There’s nothing left of that. Now, these riches are relative, and I'll give you a final one. The richest person in Germany, not surprisingly, in 1911, were the Krupp family, hundred-and-thirty-seven million gold marks.

The richest Jewish fortunes in Berlin were between forty- and forty-three million gold marks. I stress that, for today that would be ten times the value in dollars. So between the Krupp and the Jewish fortunes, there was quite a difference. A final statistic, which was just dug up for me, is income tax.

Income tax in Berlin in 1900– I have to take Berlin here. There are no Jews who did not pay income tax, first of all. And the percentage of income tax paid for a Jew is about twice as much as the percentage of income tax paid for everyone else. It's broken down in Protestant, Catholic, and Jew. It's about twice as much.

Twenty-four thousand, four hundred and eleven Berlin Jews paid thirty percent – no, I'm sorry – forty percent of the entire Berlin income tax, and that were not just the big fortunes, who by and large managed to pay very little income tax in those days. That is more your independent shopkeeper.

Now, these statistics, I think, make clear what I mentioned, by the way, that the structure of the German Jewish community was lop-sided, that until the second half of the 19th century, when you had the immigration from Eastern Europe, it was a singularly wealthy outfit, a singularly wealth outfit in every way, from Moses Mendelssohn's time until the 1920s-- 'cause inflation and depression will take their toll.

But until the 1920s, as I say, out of the ten greatest fortunes in Berlin, eight were Jewish. And, indeed, the income tax again shows you that there were very few poor Jews, only nine percent. You can add eight percent of workers to one percent of domestics, and you get nine percent of, what you would say, people who were poor.

But in Eastern Europe, the whole picture would be utterly reversed, utterly reversed, and in France – I don't know, Mr. Weinberg (?) knows all about the façonniers – the picture would be also quite different. I think in France there would be the big Jewish fortunes, probably the same thing, but there would be much more poor Jews than in Germany, right?

Much more, I think, a much higher percentage. This all has to do with the acceptance of Reform again, Orthodoxy, and all of this. But as some of you questioned it, [I] decided to do a little research, and give you some statistical answer, at any rate.

Now, I said second of all that I would answer some questions today, as we have finished with emancipation and assimilation, or would you rather wait 'til Friday? Would you rather have me go on with anti-Semitism, or begin with anti-Semitism? I see the sigh of relief. Now that I get to anti-Semitism, it'll be something a little easier for you, (laughter) 'cause it's not that complex as the other. The other was very strange to you. This won't, I think, be so strange to you.

[Q: Were the income taxes in Germany at the time considered progressive?]

The income tax that existed, nominally, was progressive, but only mildly so, and, as far as the rich were concerned, they could get out of it by making charitable foundations. But the charitable foundations which they made were never entirely for Jews, they were always for Jews and Christians.

[Q: You made the statement that, because Jews paid forty-percent of the income tax, therefore the Jews made more money. Isn’t there an alternate conclusion that therefore Jews paid their income tax, making more money?]

No, no, no. I have family history. They were as dishonest as everybody else. (laughter) There’s no evidence for that whatsoever. Whatsoever. For example, if I may be personal, my grandfather who’s among these eight largest Berlin fortunes, paid very little income tax but founded many institutions for Jews and Christians, specifically for Jews and Christians. Orphans, apprentices.

Still today, whenever I go to Berlin, I have to visit them. I’m an honorary visitor for such institutions. The bad food smell is dreadful. (laughter)

[Q: Did the institutions have to be for Jews or for Christians?]

No, they were made up as part of emancipation. It was bad form to found something only for Jews. It is quite true that these rich people, as I told you before, gave some money to Jewish orphanage institutions, so that the Jewish orphans who there were – and in Germany, there weren’t that many – could be trained to be peasants and soldiers.

Yes, yes, they all gave that. There’s a very famous one in Haarlem which still exists. To train them to be peasants and soldiers. But their main charitable foundations were charitable foundations which were inter-confessional. As I take from this example, a hospital, a home for apprentices, and an orphanage, a mixed orphanage, which exists to this very day.

And there are many such foundations. The Nazis took down the pictures, that’s all. I mean, the pictures of the founders.

[Q: In your lecture last week, you said that the Austrian Jews… (INAUDIBLE)…]

They are both, and in their own way. (laughter) To some degree. Italy and Austria were more emancipated, but the Italian Jews, as you will see, never had to cope with much anti-Semitism, while the Austrian Jews had to cope with a great deal of anti-Semitism and a great deal of other problems because of the great emigration from Galicia.

So that the original Austrian Jews, with their patriotism, were soon very deceived. We shall come into that when we come to the [WORDCHECK Rolling?] Incident, to a very famous anti-Semitic incident, which the native Jews did not want to fight at all, but they were under pressure from the immigrants from Galicia.  

The Italian Jews never really had any anti-Semitic pressure, never. Not since 1830, really.

[Q: is there a distinction that can be made between political and social emancipation?]

There is and there isn’t. The people who wanted or accepted emancipation wanted both, but in reality, as I said last time, the Mendelssohn family was always thought Jewish. You’ll see why when I go on now. Social emancipation, after the Romantic movement was never a success again. That is to say, during the Romantic movement, until 1840, it must be said to be a success.  

Moses Mendelssohn’s children moved in the really German cultural society, and intermarriage and all this. But after 1840, it wasn’t anymore a success, and, indeed, anybody would include the bank house of Mendelssohn or the bank house of Arnhold under Jewish bankers. You see what I mean?

And, in effect, the social circle of these people was entirely Jewish. You know, in those days – you don’t do this anymore – but in those days, people kept guest books – Is that still a concept to you? – where people who came visiting wrote. And they have the guest books of all these circles, and, by and large, Jews visited with Jews, whether baptized or not, especially from 1850 on, yes, you’ll see.

It was never as exclusive as it is in America. That is to say, never anywhere in Europe did you have Jewish clubs like Rosengrens or, indeed, this kind of division, obviously. That, you didn’t have. It was more an unspoken thing. Jewish country clubs didn’t exist. Country clubs did exist. The Jewish country clubs didn’t exist. (laughter)

But there wasn’t any other exclusion, except that you couldn’t become a state official and an officer. But otherwise, there were no exclusively, nominally exclusively Jewish institutions, social institutions, or nominally exclusive gentile social institutions. It just worked out that way.

[Q: The only literature we’ve had about Galicia is Katz. You don’t have anything more on (WORDCHECK) or the Mendelssohns or anything similar?]

Unfortunately, Mendelssohn is conflated, as I said, to Jerusalem. It’s, however, quite expensive. It’s not a Schocken paperback, it’s a Schocken hardback. And you can read that. There is a book by a man called Meyer – M-E-Y-E-R – called The Making of the Modern Jew, which is about German assimilation, which I think is not really that good, but it gives you the essence of it.

That’s the other book in English, I said. Meyer? What’s his first name? You know, I forget. M-E-Y-E-R. It’s not bad, it will give you an idea. It has some good quotations in it anyway. Now, about France, in English, I think there’s nothing, nothing at all. About Italy, the passages of Cecil Roth, R-O-T-H, History of Italian Jews, the final chapter.

Would tell you a little about it, but not much. Again, the only good thing good there is in Italian. There’s nothing in English. I’m sorry to tell you, Mr. [Schatz? NAMECHECK], that the difficulty that we have, that the English and American branch of Jewry – and I lump them together - for certain reasons have been the most anti-intellectual branch of Jewry.

Therefore, you don’t have hardly anything in English. You see what I mean? (laughter) I’m sorry, it’s true. It’s true. It’s true. It would be impossible in Europe to go into a Jewish house and not find books, but I have been in houses in America of Jews – in Chicago suburbs not in Madison (laughter) – in Chicago suburbs and elsewhere, with the white [WORDCHECK] before the door but not a book in the house. That’s impossible. That doesn’t exist. It’s just unknown.

[Female student: Well come to our house, ‘cause we’re overflowing with books.]

Well, good, good. (laughter, brief applause) But it is nevertheless true that the American Jewish community and the British Jewish community – that’s very interesting, and we’ll come to that – are, of all the Jewish communities, the least intellectual. That may be because of their surroundings. (laughter)

It’s true, I’m just telling you the truth. You want to engage? You want to change it? That’s why you’re in this course. I want you to change it. So, anyway, however that might be, I think I’ll postpone the rest of the questions then to Friday – ‘cause otherwise I’ll never get after the 1939 at all – and begin therefore with the thing we have left out…

… the pressure of anti-Semitism as reflected in the problem of assimilation, which is related, as I said before, to the Jewish type symbolized by the ghetto. But if we view the history of modern anti-Semitism, we see in it more than merely a clash between cultures. The clash between cultures, which I talked about, undoubtedly existed.

But the history of anti-Semitism is more than the clash between cultures. We realize that the hatred of the Jew is not merely connected with the European reaction, but it’s above all connected with the democratic impulses of the 19th century.

We know that anti-Semitism was part of the protest against emancipation, of the European reaction, of those who disliked the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and whom we call the conservative reaction. But this conservative reaction, which opposed emancipation, was never violent against the Jews, never.

Instead it was a refined resistance. For the aristocracy of Europe, which made up this reaction, feared violence, feared mass movement, believed in hierarchy, in the Christian state, in the status quo. Therefore they did not encourage public anti-Semitism, which they viewed with singular distaste as a mass-movement…

… as something that might lead to violence. Instead they advocated legal restrictions. Instead they went into, in for social ostracism. These conservatives, these conservatives were Christians. That is to say – and I will come back to that – they never believed in doing away with the Jews.

They believed in separating him out, but they never believed, of course, in any kind of a “Final Solution.” Conservative anti-Semitism, then, has a Christian base. It is designed to stop encroachment upon the status quo, upon the traditional hierarchies. The idea was that Judaism corrupted Christianity, that Judaism was modernity…

… and now I’m giving you the best quote I’ll ever give you throughout this course. So if you care to make a contribution you can. 1849, in 1849, the leading conservative of the day, Adam Mueller, had this to say, and it is very typical. It is also a wonderful quotation for this type of outlook in 1849.

“The Jewish messiah, the Antichrist, has come to earth in the guise of the steam engine, and this in order to speed up the end of the world.” That links it for you, that the Jewish messiah, the Antichrist, has come down to earth in the guise of the steam engine and that to speed the end of the world.

In other words, the Jews stand for modernity, “the end of the world,” in conservative talk. For conservatives, the state was the Christian state, whether Protestant or Catholic. The monarch was a Christian institution created by God. Obviously here the Jews have no place. But what is the answer? The answer is the Christian answer, baptism.

Baptism washes away corruption, washes away the steam engine. So it comes about that the leading conservative Christian theoretician in Prussia was a Jew, Julius Stahl –  you’ll hear more about him later – Julius Stahl, whose maiden name I have now forgotten, but it was [Golson, Lügel [sic]], it was [Golson].

Julius Stahl, who converted from [Golson] and became, in fact, the leading conservative Christian theoretician in Prussia and who was accepted by the conservative party in Prussia as a leading member of their leadership. Baptism is the answer, we must not forget that. Conservative and Christian anti-Semitism was never violent.

It was exclusion. And that exclusion could be ended by baptism. What one did was avoid a Jew, but that was all that one did. And that will continue into National Socialism. The Prussian aristocracy, the real old Prussian aristocracy opposed National Socialism – a mass movement, a democratic movement, a violent movement, a potential attack on the status quo, on hierarchy –

… and it opposed equally violent anti-Semitism and Nazi anti-Semitism, because that was also mass and violent. All that one did about the Jews, one avoided them. That is all, nothing more. That is the conservative anti-Semitism. It will accompany us, it will last.

It will last, but it must be sharply distinguished from that anti-Semitism which will be really important to us, that anti-Semitism that to us will be of prime importance, that anti-Semitism which we might call linked to democratic or populist movement. For the future is in this democratic anti-Semitism, not in the conservative anti-Semitism.

This democratic anti-Semitism was linked equally to left and right. It is linked to the new nationalism, but it is also linked to certain tendencies in socialism, to both. That is why, this time, reading is important here. For the first thing that we must notice about this democratic anti-Semitism, the anti-Semitism of the future, is that anti-capitalism and anti-Semitism were deeply intertwined…

… and that this intertwining of anti-capitalism and anti-Semitism – which was valid for the left as well as for the right – has the future before it. For both left and right, both the growing socialism and the new nationalism, shared anti-capitalist feeling, if in different ways, if on a different basis.

The Jew was the anti-producer. He was the anti-producer, as you will see in a minute, for Karl Marx, for Proudhon, and for Father Jahn in Germany. In other words, the Jew as anti-producer runs from Proudhon over Marx to the new Nationalism, to Father Jahn as well. It runs the whole gamut.

Now what has happened here? Finance capitalism is involved, banking especially, and, again, there was here a kernel of reality. Anti-capitalism and anti-Semitism have been the same since the Middle Ages, since the Jew was the money-maker. But now it was true that finance capitalism was pioneered by Jews…

… names that you all know: Rothschild – now, I gather, a sort of culture hero. Not then – the French family of Péreire – similar, right? similar – and there were many others, the Mendelssohn family. Finance capitalism. Banking. Now, why is that so serious? Why is that so serious?

You say, “Some of my best friends are bankers.” Very serious, very serious. First of all, because left and right could unite here. Both were against finance capitalism. The right was not against other forms of capitalism, but everybody was against finance capitalism. But the other thing is it lends itself to conspiracy theory, for who knows what international bankers do?

You use it today. International bankers then were what you call “American corporate capitalism.” Terrible conspiracy, you know? Shudders go around your back when you say “American corporate capitalism.” “It’s invading something.” Well, that’s the international banker in our period. Similar. Why? Nobody knows what they do. (laughter)

It’s a very refined and technical thing. They have their big buildings, and they deal in money, and there are wars and peace they are said to determine. So, before you had this wonderful slogan of “American corporate capitalism,” it was the international banker. And it was the international Jewish banker, because they were mostly Jewish, so why not?

This plays into the second difficulty, the stock exchange. Now, not most stock exchange people were Jews, but a hell of a lot of Jews were stock exchange people. Another thing, another good conspiracy thing, for who knows what really goes on there? There are all these Jews shouting back and forth, prices rise, prices fall, and international bankers sit there. So obviously this is a Jewish conspiracy.

But I want to make clear to you is that the anti-capitalism has moved. First it was, in the Middle Ages and so on, the Jewish money-lender. That’s not very frightening. You go to a little Jew, and he sits there and he counts out his rubles. That you can understand. He charges perhaps too much interest, but that’s something you can understand.

That doesn’t lend itself to conspiracy theory. But now, prices rise, prices fall, wars are fought, innocent people are slaughtered because of international finance. There were, remember, crashes in which people lost their money. The stock exchange is similarly shrouded with secrecy.

That result is that this new anti-capitalism connected the Jew straight away with secrecy and conspiracy. This comes out of the nature of Jewish financial activity, international banking and the stock exchange. After all, the man on the street doesn’t understand that. To him, it’s a conspiracy.

This fuses with the accusation – to which I shall come back – that the Jews are a state within a state. That accusation – to which I’ll come back – fuses with this idea of conspiracy. And lastly, the ghetto image fuses. For, from 1860 on, from a literature to which I’ll come, the international Jewish conspiracy…

… this mix of rabbis, Rothschilds, Péreires, stock exchange people meet in the Jewish cemetery in Prague. Why? Because the ghetto stereotype comes in. This is mysterious, this is frightening. I don’t know how many of you have been to the Jewish cemetery in Prague. How many have visited it?

Well, you you visit it at dawn or at dusk when you don’t see the buildings around it, which are new. It’s frightening. Didn’t you think so? It’s mysterious, it’s odd. So that makes a great deal of sense, again, in this sense. That’s where the international banker and the rabbis met.

When we come to the great documents of this conspiracy, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” when we study that a little, you will see that that enters into it. Anti-capitalism then becomes, again, of the greatest importance, and that again must be quite clear, in that regard. It took in the left and the right.

The great and fundamental book, unfortunately not translated, was written by a socialist, by a follower, in fact, of Fourier, about whom you will read. It was written by a Fourierist – Fourierism was very anti-Semitic – Toussenel, with the famous title, “The Jews, the Kings of the Epoch,” “Les Juifs, rois de l’époque,” of 1854.

And it’s typical for this common bond of left and right that this book by Toussenel, “The Jews, the Kings of the Epoch,” was promptly reprinted in Germany where it was used by all sorts of rightist movements, and was used, in fact, across the board, from France to Germany, everywhere else.

The thesis of Toussenel is what I just told you: the Jews are the kings of the epoch through what we would call finance capitalism. But that makes it, of course, very sophisticated: to be an international banker and controlling the stock exchange and therefore being a state within a state.

That is Toussenel, and it went all over Europe. I now want to devote some time to socialism– I’m sorry. I want to devote some time to socialism and anti-Semitism a little later. But I want to say some things about it right now, before I come to the details, because it fits in with what I have just said.

For this kind of anti-Semitism, socialist or of the right, is built on the demythalizing [sic] of Christianity. In other words, the ideological pre-conception, pre-condition, are the attack on Christianity, above all, of the young Hegelian. That is, Strauss’ book on Christ, getting the myth out of Christianity, attacking Christianity. That is it.

Now, this attack on Christianity, which came in the 1840s, as some of you may remember, by the young Hegelians, was meant to lead to the radical emancipation of Jews, to be sure, for many of them, at least at first. But in reality, it removed any barrier to a deepened collective stigma.

What do I mean? Christianity was never violent against the Jews in the sense of doing away with them. Conservatives didn’t want to do away with Jews. They were Christian, and no Christian wants to do away with Jews. It is the Enlightenment which has the slogan, “Cease to be a Jew,” and the Enlightenment was anti-Christian.

Why cannot Christianity ever have a “Final Solution”? That is built into Christian theology. After all, the Jews must be kept alive as witnesses to the wrath of God. The Jews must be kept alive as witnesses to those who rejected Christ.

If there were no Jews, the Easter Mass would be incomprehensible, the Easter Mass with its famous phrase, “the Jews as the damned people” – Now taken out, after Vatican II. Everything is being eroded. (laughter) But, in the Easter Mass, the Jews are the damned people, from time immemorial. You had to keep them artificially as witness.

That is why the ghetto, that is why the Papal idea of ghetto. You separated out Jews, but you did not exterminate either Jews or Judaism. But now that Christianity was under attack in the 1840s, that barrier was being removed.

What might lead to radical emancipation – because Jews must cease to be Jews – could also eventually lead to radical extermination, for, after all, the Christian barrier was gone for many of these thinkers, left and right. The idea was that Jews must cease being Jews, a fundamentally un-Christian attitude, fundamentally not possible in Christian theology, through baptism too.

But the part of Jews must remain as witnesses. Therefore the new anti-Semitism played into, or is based in a sense, on this attack on Christianity. The result was that the reasons for Judaism’s existence are now secular. It is one thing to say, “Jews exist because God had wanted them to exist. Jews exist because God wants an example…

“… and they must have a miserable existence to show how miserable are the people who reject Christ. But they still have an existence that is beyond anything in this world.” Once Christianity was attacked, by the young Hegelians especially in the 1840s, you could say, “Why do Jews exist? Jews exist for concrete reasons.

“Alright, remove these concrete reasons and Jews will cease to exist.” You see what I’m talking about, quite a different attitude. What are the concrete reasons? No longer God. The concrete reason why Jews exist I want to say with one word: money. It is based, both left and right, on this idea, when Jews were the international banker.

Here let me take the normative document, which comes from no less than Moses Hess, before his Zionism, as well, obviously. Moses Hess wrote in the 1840s as a young Hegelian a famous piece, an essay on money, and the point that Moses Hess made is a point on which Marx based his themes on the Jews, to which I will come in a minute.

The point of Moses Hess is as follows. It is called “On the Essence of Money.” I come here again to a difficulty. Very little of this has been translated, and to make an anti-Semitic reader would be a difficulty, I think. Very little of this has been translated and of course that part of Moses Hess-- “Shhh! He’s a purview of Zionism.” That’s forgotten. But it’s nevertheless important.

You can’t get it anywhere, this essay on money. I have a copy. If you read German, I’ll gladly let you read it. Now, what is Moses Hess’s point? That, to summarize what they’re getting into here, the point is that money is the symbol of human alienation. Well, not very uncommon, but [WORDCHECK].

And what is money? Money is the Jew. Who invented money? Who deal with money? Who manipulate money? The Jews are the people of money, as Hess puts it, and as I’ve translated it, “the people of money.” The Jews are therefore the symbol of alienation.

But it also follows: if you end the tyranny of money, you end the Jew. Because they are the people of money, end the tyranny of money, and Jews will cease to exist. This is Hess before, if you like, his turn to Zionism. This is more important, the influence of this group of young Hegelians who were, again, attacking Christianity and Judaism as Christianity and Judaism had been attacked in the Enlightenment.

They emphasized the over-coming of Judaism. From this point of view, I think, what is important for you at the moment: that Marx and Hess based themselves on the Enlightenment tradition, on the Dohm tradition – you’ll remember I talked to you about Dohm. Jews must cease to be Jews. They must become productive and therefore be reeducated. That we have been over, have we not?

But this is now deepened among the young Hegelians. For Hess and for Marx, ending the Jews also ends alienation. Let us look for a minute at something we’ll get back to, Marx’s 1844 tract on the Jews. Marx’s 1844 tract on the Jews was based directly on Hess, his friend, and “The Essence of Money.”

But what Marx says is the same thing. The Jew typified the worst aspects of capitalism: the fetishism of goods-- He goes one step further. The Jew typifies not only money but the fetishism of goods, love of money, devotion to commerce. And, indeed, for Marx, what is the Jewish religion?

The Jewish religion is the objectification of commercial transaction. For, as Marx put it, and many others, the Jewish religion is full of bargains, of covenant. God is always covenanting with somebody, remember? And so the Jewish religion is, for Marx – and will be for all of socialism to this day – the objectification of commercial transaction.

That is to say the Jew was poisoned from the beginning, for his very religion is merely a commercial transaction, and from then on, everything he does is a commercial transaction. He is a creature of the fetishism of goods and all of that. Marx, therefore, wrote with several things in mind, which lead us again to this anti-Semitism, and it can be duplicated on the right, as I will do so very soon.

First of all, the idea that there is now a secular cause which produces the Jews, meaning Jews can be abolished if you remove the cause that produces them. This you couldn’t do in Christian anti-Semitism. Can’t remove God. Secondly, the secular cause is connected to the delinking of Jews and money – again, from the Middle Ages –

… which is deepened by the development of finance capitalism, which was indeed dominated by Jews and the stock exchange. Thirdly, this led to conspiracy theory. For, unfortunately, these are financial matters not easily understood by the naked eye and therefore lend themselves to conspiracy theory.

Lastly, as far as socialism is concerned, the essence comes with the young Hegelians and with the attack on Christianity once more, as there had been an attack on Christianity in the Enlightenment. But now it is deepened. The Jew must be re-educated, Judaism will cease – the Enlightenment had believed that – but now Jews are squarely the people of money.

Their religion is in the form of a commercial transaction. They have the fetishism of goods. They are, in fact, a stereotype, and the shadow of the ghetto lies over this again, because we know that Marx shared the ghetto stereotype. Marx, in his letters, had a vocabulary which was always anti-Semitic in the way that it was anti-ghetto.

What Marx did have to say about Eastern European Jews – if you’re a Marxist, you better not read that – he had things to say about Eastern European Jews that were pretty bad. In other words, he had the ghetto stereotype, and how, in all his letters. That is quite clear.

Jews free from Judaism will become productive. For all of these anti-Semitisms took over the idea of productivity from the past. Money is not productive. Productive, as for the Enlightenment, is manual work, is work is good, is something you can see, not money. That’s a very old prejudice but still very strong, strongest among the early socialists, who were very archaic in this regard, that money is not productive.

The Jews must become productive. Now let me make clear finally: we don’t have self-hate here. I am going, for your benefit, to devote a considerable section later to the problem of Jewish self-hate. We don’t have self-hate here with Marx. We don’t have self-hate here with Hess. Why not? Because the Jews were part of a total worldview. Individual Jews were not hated.

Marx had nothing but Jewish friends, for that matter. It is rather that Jews, Judaism, as a group, as a religion, comes in to a totality of the socialist view of the world, and what I just have told you about Jews will remain part of socialism. To Trotsky – to whose Jewish question we shall come – it will remain a total commitment on the part of the communist. (bell rings) That is the background for Soviet anti-Semitism that I have just given you. But with that I will continue next time.


Lecture #8

Lecture #8 - 46:27 - Lecture 8 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

In this lecture, Mosse focuses on democratic anti-Semitism. The anti-Semitism of Marx and Hess was integrated with the socialist worldview and would continue with Kautsky and Lenin. Since Nationalism was also anti-capitalist in its democratic guise, anti-Semitism became a mass-movement on the left and the right. This is worth remembering, because it is the reason for the last stage of anti-Semitism. Though the early historical reason for anti-Semitism was Christian theology, the reason that now came to the fore was the connection of anti-Semitism with modern politics and mass movements. Anti-Semitism, Mosse contends, is just as built into these as into Christian theology. The first serious anti-Jewish riot during emancipation occurred in 1819 and started at the University of Wuerzburg. Beginning as a student riot against an older professor who had lectured favorably about the Jews, the students were soon joined by the petty bourgeoisie and others-they joined in order to plunder. Soldiers had to intervene. The riots were a mix of youth revolt, of economic rivalry, of democracy, and basic wrath against Enlightenment rationalism. They riots spread, and by 1820, especially in Frankfurt, they became known as “Hep, Hep” riots. (“Hep” had been a shout against Jews since the middle-ages.) Throughout Germany, the student movement became involved both with nationalism and democracy, both of which were the theme in the founding of the Gymnast movement in 1811, from which Jews were not always excluded.

The man who laid the foundation for a new kind of philosophy of anti-Semitism was Jacob Fries, the favorite student of Kant. Unlike Kant, Fries was a passionate democrat. He figured as an eminent speaker at the Wartburg Festival of 1817, which included the burning of books against democracy. Fries believed in the categorical imperative, but thought it had to come from the people themselves. He also believed in self-government- from which the Jews were excluded because they were by definition exploiters of other men. Anti-capitalism and the anti-Jewish theme intertwined in Fries, as they did in Marx. Both the coming socialism and nationalism shared a view of the Jew as exploiter, conspirator, and medieval usurer. The difference between left and right began to emerge after 1850: for the left, the Jewish question could be solved but this also meant also the disappearance of the Christian. For the nationalists, this was never really the case. Jews were excluded from culture and language, though some Jews could still join in the “German soul” and appear to be “German.” For socialists, the Jew vanishes (eventually in the Soviet Union to Birobidjan). For nationalists, this was always a difficulty.

In the anti-Jewish riots of 1819 and 1844, the economic situation played an important, but not a total part. The economic crisis ensued because of the lifting of the continental blockade a cause in part for the 1819 riots. Yet most Jews were marginal to the overall economic activity. A few Jews however, were high visibility. Though Marxists believed in the rationalism of crowds, if we look at the behavior of the rioters, we will see that symbols were much more important for them than ideas. After all, Mosse reminds us, there was no bread in the Bastille. Why was the Jew such an important symbol? If anti-Semitism became an essential ingredient of the modern mass movement, the Jew had to be a symbol. Though it had nothing to do with reality, it instigated action and “got the crowd going.” Symbols have to have several qualities: they have to be general, but also concrete. Without any direct connection with reality, they will not work. The Jews were singled out whether they were involved in grain shortages or not, because they existed separately and were visible. Second, they were a generalized symbol. This meant several things: the symbol appealed to historical memory; the Jew was already “known” from the Catechism. It was also known that the Jews were a people of conspiracy. Usury and high visibility made Jews into a symbol that had everything it needed to rouse the masses and activate their subconscious.

Christian inhibitions were removed (though the Epistle of St. John, chapter 19, or the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13, are the normative passage of grass roots of anti-Semitism). This kind of Christianity, obviously played a basic part in the popular imagination, and it was now secularized. Whatever the cause, it is the Jews from the 16th century on who are attacked and killed. In the Wuerzburg riots of 1819, we do not really find any of the reasons. There, the attitude of the old professor who had been favorably inclined toward the Jews and the Enlightenment conflicted with the mindset of the students. Because Jewish emancipation had from the beginning been tied to rationalism and liberalism, Jews found themselves on the wrong train; their train remained in the station, while the other train took off. Attacks on liberalism and rationalism are therefore also attacks on Jews as Jews. But Jews could still live as exceptions; racism did not exist yet.(The Jewish stereotype did not arise before the 18th century.) The idea that somebody “looks” Jewish is a result of a developing stereotype of the 18th century.

The accusation that the Jews are a “state within the state,” first used against the Freemasons, then the Jesuits, was a serious accusation at a time of rising nationalism. With emancipation, it was transferred to the Jews. The first to put it forward was Fichte, who claimed that a separate group existence was absurd for an emancipated group. New here was an aggressive tone that assumed what neither Dohm nor anybody else had assumed: that Jews want domination as part of the “Jewish conspiracy.” Clearly, this accusation easily combined with the idea of the Jew as a parasite. Both were inspired by the new scientific interest of the 19th century. Scientific vocabulary in fact becomes very important; eventually, the Jews are termed parasites and exploiters. Exploiters can have no categorical imperative, no soul. Therefore they are not human, but rather parasites in human guise. Translated into a symbol, the Jew embodies the idea of ugliness that clashed with the prevalent idea of human beauty of the classical revival. Mass politics is symbolism; all modern politics is esthetic politics.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 08 – March 03, 1971
… started to talk about. That is to say, the one that is connected to the democratic impulse rather than to a Christian conservatism. It does not mean self-hate, even when Jews – like Marx, let us say, or Moses Hess – joined in with it. For as I said, in the last period, this anti-Semitism is integrated to a larger, in this case, socialist view of the world.

And it will remain so, and pretty constant through Trotsky and Lenin as well. The idea is, of course, an attack on religion. That is to be sure. But the Jewish religion here is closely linked to the commercial nature, to the fetishism of goods, to the finance capitalism that I talked about last time.

This, of course, will also fuse very easily with Romanticism and nationalism, both which were also anti-capitalist – anti-finance capitalist – in their democratic guise. The whole point is that anti-Semitism became a deep ingredient in modern mass movements of the left and of the right in an age of mass politics.

And as I go on, I think this is something worth remembering, because it is actually the reason for the lasting of anti-Semitism. Why did anti-Semitism last? Why does it last? Why has it lasted? There are, for this, real historical reasons.

I would say the early historical reason is Christianity and Christian theology. The reason that comes to the fore now is the connection of anti-Semitism with modern politics and modern mass movement. Those are the reasons that anti-Semitism has lasted. They are not written in the stars, but they are concrete, historical reasons.

But we must be concerned with, therefore, that anti-Semitism became, in this way. An ingredient and, in the end, a necessary ingredient to modern mass movement and intimately tied up, therefore, with modern mass politics. And, as all modern politics is mass politics, anti-Semitism became as firmly built into modern politics, as you will see, as it was built into Christian theology.

Let us take now some concrete examples, for I have been talking in very general terms. Let us first see the first serious anti-Jewish riot after emancipation, the riot of 1819, which spread throughout Germany. And these are very typical, and it will be a pattern that will continue.

The riot started at Wuerzburg. The reason – you don’t know where this is anyhow – but the reason isn’t that important. How many people know where Wuerzburg is? One. And there are some graduate students in here who’ve passed their pre-lims. I must say, we’re really getting soft, all over. (laughter).

It began at the University of Wuerzburg, which is in south-central Germany, and it began, typically enough, with students. It began as a student riot against an older professor who had done two things in his lecture: he had made favorable remarks about the Enlightenment and favorable remarks about the Jews.

Once the riots started at the University, against this professor, the petit bourgeoisie joined in. Jewish shops were plundered. In the end, others joined in, for it was a free day to plunder. Soldiers had to restore order, and what happens next?

The city council asks for the expulsion of all Jews – they were with the students, in this case – the expulsion of all Jews. This pattern is important, because the mix will remain. It is an important mix for the future. A mix of youth – in this case, nationalist youth – [and] of economic rivalry, the petit bourgeoisie which joins in.

A mix of democracy – for in a sense, these riots condemned all privilege – and a basic thrust against the Enlightenment rationalism. These riots spread, and by 1920, especially in the community of Frankfurt, they had become known as the “Hep, Hep Riots.” “Hep, Hep” was the traditional shout against Jews.

What “Hep, Hep” means is very simple to explain: “Hierosolyma est perdita,” “Jerusalem is lost.” “Hierosolyma est perdita,” if you contract it, makes “Hep.” And “Hep” remains, from the Middle Ages to modern times, the shout against Jews, both individual Jews on the streets, and, in mass riots, it was the slogan, the traditional slogan, which has, of course, a Christian base in it.

“Hierosolyma est perdita,” “Jerusalem is lost.” The riots are known therefore as the “Hep, Hep Riots” of 1819, or the Hep, Hep Riots of 1840 as well. The student phenomena will accompany us up to 1933 and even later. Throughout Central Europe especially, the student movement became involved, from the very beginning of the century, both with nationalism and democracy.

This was the founding of the fraternity system in 1811, the founding of the Gymnast Association. All had these overtones, both democratic and nationalistic, both of these. Yet, as we shall see, Jews were not wholly excluded, not from the fraternities, until the end of the century.

This mix that I have just talked about can be illustrated again on another level. For the mix is both nationalism, democracy, anti-capitalism, youth, and we must add philosophy, for eventually, of course, this was bound to get its own new and modern anti-Semitic philosophy.

The man who founded it can well explain to us this kind of mix somewhat further. Jacob Fries was, in fact, the favorite student of Kant, Kant’s favorite student, Kant’s most eminent disciple. Unlike Kant, Fries was a passionate democrat.

And it was this disciple of Kant, this democrat, who really laid the foundations for a new kind of philosophy of anti-Semitism, which took in this entire mix. But it is typical, on one level, that this impassioned democrat was one of the two chief speakers at a very famous festival, the Wartburg Festival of the student organization.

This festival – which you will read about in the Crisis book, so I don’t have to go into much deeper here, just mention it – the Wartburg festival of 1870 was a national festival by the student organizations at the Wartburg with its Germanic, Lutheran association. A festival, in which there were singing but also the burning of books…

… that is, the burning of books against nationalism, against democracy. Here again, the distinction between left and right is difficult to maintain. Fries’s fellow speaker was none other than Jahn, the founder of the fraternity system and much else in German nationalism. Jahn, whom you will read about in the Crisis book, was his fellow speaker.

And indeed, Fries’s whole theory was very similar to everything that we have studied. Fries believed in a revival of the categorical imperative, obviously. He was a Kantian, a disciple of Kant. But he believed that this must come from the people themselves, from the law…

… and that what was hindering the revival of human goodness and the categorical imperative was the government, the government of the reaction, any kind of government. He was therefore a democrat. That is to say, he believed in universal suffrage. He believed in self-government and in all of that.

From this, the Jews were excluded, for the Jews are, by definition, exploiters of other men. After all, the fetishism of goods, the finance capitalism, made for this result. Jews are exploiters. They must be excluded. In Fries, in the 1830s, we have again the anti-capitalist and anti-Jewish themes intertwined, which you have also, if you like, in Marx.

Left and right are difficult here to set apart. Let me make this quite specific, because it will be of vast importance for the future. First of all, both left and right – by which I mean the coming socialism and nationalism – share a view of the Jew as the exploiter, as the conspirator of finance capitalism, as the man of the fetishism of good, as, in other words, the medieval usurer writ large. This they share.

There is no difference between Fries – who became a socialist, a young Hegelian and then a socialist, not much difference – and Karl Marx and Father Jahn. On this, they would agree, across the board, first. Second, what is then the emerging difference between the socialists, or young Hegelians, and the nationalists?

That difference only begins to emerge after 1850, and that difference is this. For the left, the Jewish question could be solved by the The Vanishing of the Jew – a book to which we shall come, the only communist book ever written on the Jewish question, published in the 1920s. It’s called The Vanishing of the Jew. Radical assimilation.

And you must say that the “Vanishing of the Jew” here also means the vanishing of the Christian, but especially it means the vanishing of the Jews, clearly. That is to say, if you like, radical assimilation, Dohm pushed to its ultimate extent. For the nationalists, this was really never the case.

A German or an Austrian German or a Frenchman was defined by culture and language, and here most Jews were, in fact, excluded, though some could always join. We shall come to that. If you had the right looks, that is, the right stereotype – because I now talk in nationalist terms – if you had the right soul, you could join. Not racism yet. We are far from racism. You could join.

And eventually we come to Jews who did join. So that was possible always in nationalism, but nationalism never could accept the radical assimilation, because, for it, most Jews were excluded. You had to have a German soul, you had to have a German appearance – or Austrian or French, you can do that to any nation – …

… and if you didn’t, then of course you were excluded and, I point out to you, excluded without a solution. For the socialists, the solution is there. The Jew vanishes. Eventually he’ll vanish to mere [WORDCHECK] – we’ll come to that. The Jew vanishes. As a communist tract puts it – a Leninist tract puts it – of the 1920s, “The Jew will finally have horny hands, hands with blisters, though he will still gesticulate.”

That’s the Leninist view of the Jewish question, in one nutshell. But it can be, after all, finally abolished. It can be abolished. That’s the point. For the nationalists, there was always a difficulty: what to do with the Jews. A difficulty wasn’t there for the left, but it was always there for the nationalists, and that will be a very important, a very important thing, indeed.

In the anti-Jewish riots of 1819, as well as in the ones in 1844 – the two main anti-Jewish riots of the period with which we are now concerned, it runs to mid-century – the economic situation played an important but not a simple part.

The lifting of the continental blockade against England in 1815 had produced the economic crisis of 1819, together with bad harvests in 1816 and ’17. But the problem is that you now have, in these first Jewish riots, the “Hep Hep Riots,” an economic crisis, produced by the lifting of the continental blockade, much earlier.

But the problem is that, without a reality, it would not have worked. The Jew was indeed the middle man. His economic distribution was in marginal economic activity and in high finance. There were, on the one hand, the Rothschilds and, on the other, the Hessian cattle dealers.

What I’m saying is that the Jews, economically, had high visibility, had high visibility, so that the economic crisis does play into it, but not simply. For we must now, for a minute, see how these mobs behaved. Because that is central, as far as the Jews were concerned – How did these mobs behave? – and that is also bound up with the economic crisis.

Now the great studies of crowds – which we have and which some of you have read, I’m sure – are by George Rudé. And George Rudé’s thesis about crowds as follows: that there are certain self-evident things about a rioting crowd which, for him, would be evident in the French Revolution and in the anti-Jewish riots.

Grain riots, for example, riots against grain shortage tend to take place on market day and are directed against the millers and the grain merchants. The crowds he deals with are 18th century crowds, about Rudé believes, essentially, in the rationalism of crowds – he has to, he’s a Marxist, so quite obvious.

You have to believe in the rationalism of crowds – that is to say not only that the crowds knew what they wanted but they also went about in a rational way. Grain riots come on market day. They’re directed against grain merchants. All this makes a great deal of sense.

Unfortunately all of Rudé has just been thrown out the window by the research of Mr. [Richard] Cobb, a very important book on the police in France during the Revolution. And it seems to be true that, as a matter of fact, the correspondences of a crowd are not that simple. If the correspondence of a crowd, action of a crowd, were as simple as Rudé tells us…

… then the Jews would rather be well off, because the crowds would go against the grain traders – which for many reasons the Jews weren’t at all - against the millers, which the Jews were, or whatever else is the issue at the moment. In Rudé’s idea, there’s not any explanation why crowds are directed against Jews.

But if you examine, let us say, the “Hep Hep Riots” of 1819, you come upon a realization. What is that realization? That symbols are much more important for a crowd than reality. That should really not greatly astonish, because the crowd that rioted for a hunger riot, really, in the French Revolution, in the end, stormed the Bastille. And there was no grain in the Bastille, it wasn’t the grain storage area.

So, in other words, what is important for crowds is, in effect, the symbolism which awakens them to action, the symbolism on which they can, in a way, if you like, play their demoniac qualities. Now, why the symbolism of the Jews? This is now very important, for, again, all modern politics is mass politics.

And therefore what the masses are must concern us. If anti-Semitism became an essential ingredient of modern mass movement, then it became so on the level of symbol, on the level of symbol for the masses. This I don’t have to explain any longer, you know it from contemporary action.

The kind of thing the masses goes after is symbolic. It may have nothing to do with the reality, but it is symbol that, in a way, awakens them, that gets them going. But it may have nothing to do with reality. I don’t want to be so contemporary, but obviously such symbols have several qualities.

They have to be general, but they also have to exist. They have to be both general but also specific. You have to have a specific target, because you cannot arouse a mass against a generality. That’s it. You have to have a specific one.

And secondly, it has to have some connection with the historical memory, as we say, with activating the subconscious. It has to have some connection with this, in one way or another, or it won’t work. You can, if you like, figure this out from your own life. Why do you storm the mass research center? It’s all the same kind of symbol, because everything, in a sense, is a symbol, and has nothing to do, really, with the reality, a great deal.

But I suggest to you that that monster of corporate capitalism will not activate anymore. On this, you have a good symbol for it. You have to have a good and concrete symbol. You have, in other words, to have a Bastille to storm. Tough, tough I know, we don’t have many. Nevertheless, I’m concerned with this at the moment.

The Jews were singled out, whether they were involved in grain shortages or not. They became symbols. Now, why? There are several reasons, and again this ties in with what I have said. First of all, the Jews existed – I don’t mean this in any joking form – and they existed separately, ‘cause emancipation was new and the Jews of Eastern Europe were visible.

In other words, they existed as a separate entity, most of them even with separate dress and separate– well, with the usual features. But it seemed to them anyway a matter of separation, both by dress and otherwise. Second of all, it was a generalized symbol, because what it actually meant are several things.

It is a symbol that appeals to historical memory, first of all. ‘Cause the Jews as Antichrists is learned in catechism, and unlike you, everybody had been to Sunday School. Everybody had learned the catechism, that’s sometimes forgotten. So in the catechism, they knew already that the Jews had not only killed Christ but rejoiced – I’ll come back to that in a moment – that they knew already.

This is the historical memory. But secondly, they also knew that such a people - separate in their mind, separate in their mind – who is damned at Easter Mass and otherwise – [INAUDIBLE] – is also a people of conspiracy. And here it was, of course, connected again with finance capitalism, with usury – the ancient anti-Jewish accusation which was, of course, true – …

… with usury – Jews were money-lenders – and the high economic visibility. All this made Jews into a symbol which fulfilled every part of the kind of symbolism that you need to arouse the masses. The anti-capitalist longings, the longings for change could here be focused.

Crowd action, then, needs activating of the sub-conscious, historical memories and associations. The Antichrist, even in secularization, to be sure – and I must make that clear again. The Christian inhibitions were removed, except for conservative anti-Semitism that I talked about last time. The inhibitions were removed.

The basic prejudices were always there, from the catechism, from the Mass, the basic thing. After all, all they read about the rage of the Jews against Christ, to which Pilate gave in-- The normative passage here is the Epistle of St. John, Chapter 19. That is the normative passage.

That is the passage of the grassroots of anti-Semitism. If I were to give you one passage for the grassroots of this anti-Semitism, then please look at the Epistle of St. John, Chapter 19, or at the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 13. In the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 13, it is the Jews who stone St. Paul and Calvin adds, in his important commentary, told nothing but lies.

Now it is obvious that this kind of catechism, this kind of Bible, this kind of basic Christianity, played a big role in the popular imagination. It could not help so. This is all that most people ever read, so obviously it played – I dare say it still does play – a great part in the popular imagination. But several things have happened.

First of all, this is now merely a base, merely a base of historical memory, subconsciously, in many times. The “other” is now secularized, with the Jew as the exploiter. The second thing that has happened is that all this has become connected to mass movements, not only mass riots, as we shall see – mass riots first – but mass movements.

For against Rudé’s interpretation, we find quite clearly that, whatever the cause, from the 16th century on and before, it is the Jew who the popular fury goes for first. Third, lots of people who may actually be guilty – lots of Jews. Economic reasons? Yes. Money lenders and so on.
But very often, like in Wurzburg, not really any of the reasons, not really any of the reasons whatsoever.

This again has to do then with the vanishing impulse of the Enlightenment. For remember that at Wurzburg the old professor had been not only kind to the Jews but to the Enlightenment. And that today, in the 1830s on, for youth and especially for student youth, especially for student youth, conflicted with their essentially anti-rational revolt. Whether they were early socialists or indeed nationalists really does not matter.

The problem for Jews, from the beginning, was that their emancipation was tied to rationalism and liberalism, and, as the mass movements – nationalism, socialism – were opposed to a certain degree to rationalism and in every way to liberalism, the Jews from the beginning of emancipation had gone aboard the wrong train.

Their train remained in the station, the other trains took off. This again is of vast importance, for it will be the Jewish bourgeoisie which almost alone upheld the tradition of rationalism and liberalism, by the 1920s. You study Sigmund Freud sometime. It’s a very good example of all that. That’s what Freud is all about.

That’s what Freud is all about, upholding-- You talk about it. It’s all he’s all about. Because psychoanalysis comes from his social position and his ideological position. Here was a man who upheld, no matter what, liberalism - the state is a legal state. Repression is necessary in order to adjust to the laws – who upheld that, who upheld rationalism.

The idea is to adjust the ego to what he thought was a rational society. The last, the last. And even Freud in the end was quite isolated. That’s why there are hardly any Freudians around who still believe in Freud, in the real Freud. There can’t be. Freud’s whole world picture doesn’t exist. Or it exists only in America, where some still uphold the wonderful ideas of rationalism and liberalism. I should damn well hope.

That’s your heritage! If you don’t uphold these ideas, you’re in trouble, as Jews. You’re in big trouble as Jews. For the only ideas that have made Jewish existence possible in the West are, in fact, the ideas of liberalism and rationalism, and don’t you forget it. You do forget it. You will forget it. (laughter) You’ll forget it and history will go on, as usual.

Well, now the attacks, therefore, the attacks on liberalism and rationalism are attacks on Jews as Jews. That must be clear. But I also want to make it clear that, until the 1880s, the individual Jew could always be an exception. We are not yet, in any way, in racial times, not yet in any way there.

Now, what I have talked about is the growth of such anti-Semitic attitudes. What I must do now is again be specific. What I have done up to now is to try and explain to you – and you have questions on Friday – how this became connected with mass meetings, the importance of the symbolism, the importance of the Jewish stereotype.

But we must now see what were the specific accusations, for language is important. Language is important. And the specific accusation will be of vast importance for the future and will deepen what I have said. For, in the end, the Jew became a stereotype. That is to say a type both that was known, if you like, both internally and physically.

So what we must talk about now, in a sense, is the actual accusation. And then I must say something about the arising of the Jewish stereotype, for that is something new. That is something new. I’ve told you already: no Jewish nose before the 18th century. Now, no other Jewish features before the 18th century.

There are reasons for that, and the reasons that make the emergence of the Jewish type are clear. Now, I know I am again running into an obstacle. You have adopted, all of us have adopted, from this development, a phrase which you use, I bet, as well as I have used it, unfortunately, now and then. You say somebody “looks Jewish.”

Impossible before the 19th century, wouldn’t have been said, didn’t exist. It’s a result of a developing stereotype in a century when many stereotypes developed. What then about the accusation? The basic accusation that goes with this anti-Semitism is that the Jew forms a state within a state. What is the genesis of this accusation?

‘Cause we can learn something when we go into the genesis of these matters. The formula was first used against the Freemasons, because of their secrecy in the 18th century. It was then used, in the 18th century, against the Jesuits, for the Jesuits, remember, the 18th century disapproved of. They were a secret organization, therefore they were a state within a state, just as the Freemasons seem to be a state within a state.

These were serious accusations at a time of rising nationalism. At the end of the 18th century, with emancipation – please learn to think a little dialectally – with emancipation, that was now transferred to the Jews. The Jews were thought to be a state within a state. It was Fichte who first put this forward.

For the idea was, of course, that the Jew, if he really wants to be a citizen, must not have a separate group existence, that a separate group existence would be absurd. So the first accusation runs as follows – and I want to contrast it.

This is what is said in France. This follows Dohm. This is what was said by the National Assembly in France in that accusation in 1789: “Everything should be denied to the Jews as a nation. Everything should be granted to them as individuals. They are obliged to become citizens. Some argue they do not want to be.

“Let them say this themselves, and let them then be expelled. It is impossible for them to be a nation within a nation.” This summarizes Dohm. This summarizes for you, once again, almost everything I have said. Now, alright. This is Enlightenment. Easy to get around it, easy to get around it to become a citizen. You do, you react, you accept the terms of the Enlightenment.

Alright, again, I run into flags. You say, “What’s wrong with this?” Remember, these people wanted to accept these terms. The accusation was a very difficult accusation and a very basic one, a very basic one. But look how it changes. By the end of the century, the same accusation is now made…

… but look at the changed tone. Look what has happened. As for Dohm, talking about the Jews: “And for those who would prefer to remain, for any reason whatever, in our midst, in Europe, they must from now on cease constituting a state within a state. They must forego their dreams of absolute dominion.

“Let them honestly make their peace with Christian civilization. Let them assimilate with us. Let them merge with us and become one with us in body and soul, a single nation.” Now look at the changed tone. It is now an aggressive tone, obviously.

It is assumed now, as neither Dohm nor anybody else assumed, that a state within a state means domination. That this is a part of the Jewish conspiracy. This is now assumed, but not always. The door is still left over, even in 1878. Racism is in the future, the door is still left open.

But only for a few who can do it body and soul, never, of course, the East European Jews. Clearly, clearly, this accusation combined with the lack of ethic. Clearly this accusation combined with the idea that the Jew was a parasite, the other important linguistic accusation.

The idea of parasites was borrowed from the new scientific interest of the 18th century and was conferred this time to nobody else, not to Freemasons, not to Jesuits, but straight to the Jews. A parasite has certain qualities based in science and therefore, in the transference.

The parasite, they meant, sucked blood. That always goes together. Parasites suck blood. Parasites, in other words, suck the blood of Europe. How do they suck the blood? Well, now, you come again to finance capitalism and all of that sort of thing.

The Jew, therefore, is a state within a state, but it is a parasitic state. It is a parasitic state. That I think needs not much longer explanation. Scientific vocabulary becomes very important in all of this, becomes important, in a way, and not only important but primary. Eventually, eventually, the Jews become the parasites, the exploiters, and that takes in a whole iceberg of meaning.

For I come back to priests. Exploiters can have no categorical imperative What does it mean? Exploiters can have no soul, can have no soul, can have no compassion. What does that mean? They are not human. They are, in fact, parasites. They are parasites in human guise, to use the contemporary 19th and 20th century formulation.

They are parasites in human guise. It is clear, therefore, that we have here laid the basis of a stereotype. For the first thing about the stereotype is, not only is it conspiratorial, it is also without a soul. How do you translate being without a soul into symbolism?

How do you translate being without a soul, being exploiters, parasites into symbolism? How do you translate that into symbolism, so you can aggravate the masses, so you can make them into mass movements? Well, you do it by putting forward an idea of ugliness.

What sort of an idea of ugliness? An idea of ugliness that contrasts with the prevalent ideal of beauty. What was the prevalent ideal of beauty? Here I go back to the Enlightenment again. The idea of beauty of the 19th century – and I’m now talking about human beauty – the idea of human beauty came from the classical revival, came from the classical revival.

The beautiful human being was something that some of you call yourselves anyway, a Greek god. You still say that, don’t you? I do. “I’m as beautiful as a Greek god.” Maybe you don’t… happy hour [INAUDIBLE]. The idea of beauty therefore was a Greek idea of beauty. What is the stereotype? The opposite.

So that what we must come to now is a consideration of beauty and ugliness and the Jew. Beauty and the Beast? Beauty and the Jew. Very important. Very important. Why? Because, from what I have said, I hope you have gathered one thing. That mass politics is aesthetic politics That at the center of mass politics is symbolism.

And symbolisms mean ideas of beauty and ugliness. That’s all modern politics is aesthetic politics. That the kind of stereotype to which we come, the stereotype to which we come, will be a political act. Just as the negro stereotype in America is a politic thing, so the Jewish stereotype, as it grows up, is a political thing, matching with this vast anti-Semitism. (bell rings) To that I shall go next time. Friday discussion.

Lecture #9

Lecture #9 - 48:07 - Lecture 9 Audio (mp3)
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Bibliography and Q&A (poor sound quality)

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 09 – March 05, 1971
    ** Very bad sound quality, very hard to understand **

The one book that covers emancipation and Moses Mendelssohn and so on and so forth – but, as far as I know, it’s not in pocket book unfortunately – it is a book by Meyer called The Making of the Modern Jew. I mentioned that, I think, the other day already.

The best article on it is in a series which we have at the library, which I recommend to you anyhow, called “The Yearbooks of the Leo Baeck Institute.” “The Yearbooks of the Leo Baeck Institute” are devoted to modern Jewish history, largely German, but not entirely. And what I can recommend you is an article by H.D. Schmidt – H.D. Schmidt – called “The Terms of Emancipation.”

And that article, “The Terms of Emancipation” is in the “Yearbook of the Leo Beack Institute” for 1956. It is yearly for 1956. The best short discussion of Dohm is in a book by Klaus Epstein called The Genesis of German Conservatism. And that book by Klaus Epstein, The Genesis of German Conservatism, you will find the best short discussion of Dohm.

Finally the book you might look at on the rise of anti-Semitism, which is in pocket book, is Peter Pulzer’s, called The Rise of Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria, in a Wiley paperback. Pulzer’s The Rise of Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria is pretty good. It will give you the chronology, and it is in paperback.

The other books are in German. I don’t know whether it’s worth mentioning this to you, but I will, to give us a scholarly personnel of some sort. There are excellent books in German on this subject, I can’t help that. One is by a man called [Heinz Mosche] Graupe, Die Entstehung des modernen Judentums, “The Rise of Modern Judaism,” which is an intellectual history.

The other is the best political study of political involvement of Jews by a man called [Jacob] Toury called “On the Political History of Jews” – largely in Germany again – Die Politischen Orientierungen Der Juden in Deutschland. The best intellectual history of modern Jews is unfortunately also in German by Hans Liebeschutz called “Von Georg Simmel” – the great sociologist – “zu Rosenzweig,” whom I’ve mentioned already and will mention later.

Nahum Glazer – G-L-A-Z-E-R, that is in English – has edited Rosenzweig’s main work together with his quite revealing letters. This is just called Franz Rosenzweig, edited by Glazer. The modern magnum opus on Jewish history – which, again, if you don’t know German, you’ll never be able to read – is by – I feel duty-bound to mention it – by Zechlin – not a Jew –

… by Zechlin, with the name German Politics and Jews in the First World War [Deutsch Politik und Juden im Ersten Weltkrieg], but it’s much more than that. It is really one of the best modern history of the Jews up to 1918, by Egmont Zechlin of Hamburg. That is about the bibliography I can give you. Its paucity really symbolizes the paucity of work on that particular subject.

Now I’m open for questions, but before that, I want to say one more thing. The main difficulty you are having is with chronology. I’m aware of that, but I’m glad that you articulate these things, because what we’re doing is experimental, and I never know what the difficulties are, of course, until I’ve given this thing once here. So I’m glad you articulate it.

But let me wait with that ‘til Monday when most people are here, because I’ve had some complaints about these discussion sections already, ‘cause it’s only a three-credit course. Not for religious reasons on Friday, I’m sure. I’ve had some complaints. So I don’t want to do that now, but I want to say two things.

First of all, it must be done in the sections. It can be done in a way better than I can do it here, where I can just say a few things. The second thing is the dates on your assignment sheets, which more or less confines the period with which we deal, not quite but more or less. I will be a little more careful about chronology.

I think the main problem is that I have proceeded by general statements and then by examples, and that may not have made it easy for you, as you don’t know how the examples fit in. But the idea was to have some general ideas about the whole period and then the examples.

So I’ve used the Mendelssohn family as one example of conversion, ‘cause their letters are available, and it’s the easiest thing to do from the document. I have used, let us say, the 1890s Jewish riots as an example of anti-Semitism, but in this, there is no follow-through. I mean, these riots were sporadic, therefore there is no follow-through, and that may have been a little difficulty.

But I think the section may be the best place for straightening some of that out, I think. But I realize that you’ve had trouble with that. As for something elsewhere, if you’re not familiar with European history, as some of you may not be, the best thing is just to take any textbook and see what is happening elsewhere, any kind of textbook and see, you know, what is happening. Okay? Well, now I’m open to anything you want to do.

[Q: About socialism... you made a distinction between the ideas and feelings of the original socialist thinkers and the people who followed (Jung)…]

No, I didn’t make that distinction, because, at the moment – and this is, again, a matter of chronology – at least until the ‘80s – since we have no means by the 1980s [sic] to have taken it up to roughly 1850s. We’re not in the 1880s --- there were hardly any followers.

So that this really doesn’t arise. You see what I mean? It may be a problem later, and we shall see, but now there were hardly any followers, and it doesn’t really arise. Or let me put it this way, the followers were so intermixed with followers of the new nationalism. But the issue was not socialism, it was democracy…

… the universal suffrage, which even for Marx in 1848 was the issue. So that’s to say it was intermixed, and I used, again, an example of the Wartburg festival and Fries’s appearance at the Wartburg festival together with Jahn to show you how intermixed it was in the early period. See what I mean?

I don’t mean to say that it won’t go on. It will go on. Don’t want to confuse you. But it would go on. The same attitudes will go on. But what I told you about are the basic socialist attitudes to the Jews. The change comes with social democracy in the 1920s, but it never comes in bolshevism or in communism. You see? So actually I’ve laid a foundation for general socialist attitudes towards the Jews. I will come back to it.


No, no, you’re going too far ahead chronologically. And I don’t want to do that particularly now. You’re talking, first of all, intellectuals, which I didn’t really. And when you come to intellectuals, the matter will be a little different and more complex, but you really only come to that in the 1880s. You see?

[Q: About the Wartburg festival there was burning of books… In my mind, the burning of books is tied to National Socialism…]

People burn books all through history (laughter). Very nice form. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Not associated with National Socialism.

The only association is that when the National Socialists did it in 1933, it was on demand of the German student association. The book burning you think of in 1933 was again a student affair. That is the common denominator, but burning of books is very frequent, it’s very traditional. It is an obvious thing to do if you are against certain ideas.


Well, the foundations are now appearing, of course, very recent. And this is, again, one problem we run into— Obviously, I can’t go into these movements as movements. I always have to go into them as regards to the Jews. But it’s a fairly recent movement, from the end of the 18th century on. It starts with the rediscovery of ballads and fairytales and with the French occupation of Europe.

But, it’s fairly recent. But it starts with ballads and fairytales, but largely has nothing to make a poem. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm haven’t you, all of you? You weren’t brought up on Grimm. God knows what you were brought up on. (laughter)


Yes, unfortunately, I am aware of that. But I don’t know what you read at the ages of, let us say, seven to ten. I don’t know. But whatever you read, we read Grimm’s fairytales. Now Grimm’s fairytales, to answer your question, are not meant for children. They are a symbolic fairytales, having to do with the German past.

I don’t want to go into it, but “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” is a fairytale about the Germanic gods, essentially. And there is a fairytale in there too which is a longtime past Christian anti-Semitism, “The Jew among the Thorns.” That’s usually cut out of editions, the Jew who dances among the thorns, that is killed among the thorns.

The symbolism, which is very ancient, is Christ’s crown of thorns, of course. You see? So the fairytales and the ballads all add to that stream of anti-Semitism, but they are part of the essence of the rise of the new nationalism. It was recent. It coincides, in fact, with emancipation. That’s one of the points.

[Q: Do you believe that early socialists ignored our edge-of-the-world concept of finance capitalism? [Mosse: I think they were correct.] In other words, they viewed the role of finance capitalism … (INAUDIBLE) … acted exactly the same as the people who were being oppressed… ?]

Not quite. Yes, in a way, yes, because the role of the Jews in finance capitalism will be abrogated when capitalism is abrogated, and Jews will vanish. But the other half of the coin, which becomes important, is that finance capitalism is of the essence of Jews, where it is not of the essence of the others.

It isn’t on the essence of Jews not through racial ideas – which, of course, they rejected – but through Jewish historical development. Through Jewish historical development, it has become so much of the essence of Jews that any emancipation in the 18th century, say, is no good.

Jews have to be emancipated from Judaism. In other words, religious toleration is no good, obviously, right? Religions have to be banished. So you’re right, in a way. Except that you have to say the other thing, that Jews, by their nature, the essence of Judaism, is the fetishism of goods. Let us put it that way, with Marx’s actual phrase, “the fetishism of goods.”

[Q: Before fascism… (INAUDIBLE)]

Well, I said that, I’m not sure I remember them now, but democracy, nationalism, carried by youth – those were the main points.

[Q: … Marx on the Jewish question. (INAUDIBLE) What he says about Judaism being the theology of the fetishism of goods, is for me Christianity. (INAUDIBLE) But what you just said is that finance capitalism is the essence of Judaism…]

No. Let me answer that first, then you can go on. No, not final. Because no one has terminated Christianity, and no Christianity must be abolished. This fetishism of goods, this was of the essence of Jews as Jews. It was not of the essence of Christians as Christians.

And I must make this very clear, because there are Christians who have left Christianity “others” right? Certainly nothing applied to them. Does it apply to Christians if they remain Christians? In Marx, I think you are largely right and in Moses Hess too. Then it is of their essence.

But the point is – and the point is important, because I don’t want to go ahead – it is repeated by Engels and then by Trotsky – we shall go into this in some length – and it then becomes normative socialist theory, that the Jew as Jew – as Jew – the essence of him, is the fetishism of goods. And as Trotsky later says, urbanism. We shall come to that.

This is, in the end, of vast importance, because, in the end, the problem is one that socialists never discuss toward Christians. They never do. It is, again, a re-education effort, a re-education effort. And the problem is that what they were thinking about and what Marx was thinking about is again the ghetto society.

As you know Marx’s stereotypes of the ghetto Jew were very strong, and that is what he was thinking about. Therefore, from the first, in degree, it gets something quite different than with Christians. This is very important for the future, when we come to it.

[Q: I think what Marx’s saying there is (INAUDIBLE) but what I’m wondering about is how that anti-Semitism or that method of characterization towards Jews… reached… groups. Marx had no popular following… (INAUDIBLE)]

There, I don’t want to repeat what I said on Wednesday, but I can say in general – because this is important for all of you. What I said a minute ago is that, yes, you have to think of Marx as a socialist in the 1840s in a sectarian way. You change that only in the late 1840s, but, in fact, early socialism is so intermixed with democracy that you can’t say it.

For example, Fries, who I talked about, was very close to Marx, you know? This only begins to emerge in the late 1940s [sic] – that is, the intermixture. And second of all, left and right are intermixed, as I said, in two things, and they are different in one.

They are intermixed in their stereotypes of Jews, which are the same and, in fact, will remain the same stereotypes of Jews. That will remain. Secondly, they are the same in their opposition to finance capitalism – in other words, the universal Jewish conspiracy over capitalism. You have it on the right, but you have it even in Trotsky, you have it even to a certain extent in Lenin – we’ll come to it –

… and you certainly have it in the communist party in the 1920s, very strongly. Certainly, this becomes important later, because the communists especially – not social democrats – will try to compete for the nationalist masses with the right. And that is very easy for them to adopt anti-Semitism, which the communists will adopt in Germany and even in France.

To compete with the masses, that was the easiest thing for them to adopt. They also adopted nationalism in a great measure, many means, but anti-Semitism. Well, they’re different, as I said it, that for the socialists, it will be the vanishing of Judaism – the title of the famous book we shall come to, the only communist book ever written about Jews – the vanishing of Judaism.

For the nationalists, it could never vanish, ‘cause they had to reject, in the end, the complete assimilation, the complete assimilation. It is an open question, and we shall come to that, whether socialists, in the end, did accept the complete assimilation – the communists did, social democrat communists always did –

… whether the Trotsky tradition did, in fact, accept complete assimilation. But that is bound up by Zionism and other things to which we shall come, but after socialism, later on. But I will say at the moment, that is the difference. That is the difference, the vanishing. But there’s no difference in the stereotypes, and from the point of view of spreading of anti-Jewish feelings, the stereotype is, of course, of prime importance. Well, we shall see how the stereotype arose next week, but it is important.

[Q: …anti-Jewish feeling (INAUDIBLE) briefly to spread a host ideals. I think that, in many respects, in most respects that this was (INAUDIBLE) complete misunderstanding (INAUDIBLE) but in a way that was (INAUDIBLE) 1844.]

No, no, no. You’re partly right and you’re partly wrong. You’re right, I would say, up to 1914. You’re wrong after 1918, but I don’t want to go ahead. For example, after 1914, the first thing that the young communist party republished was Marx on the Jewish question. It becomes extremely important.

It is equally important before 1914 if you examine some of the more popular literature. But, by and large, I would say that, as far as the development of socialism is concerned, that this rather vanishes into the backdrop actually until the 1880s, when we take it up again – but don’t worry – when we take it up.

And there is a split about it in the socialist movement, there is a split about it. And it becomes quite strong in the 1920s. It’s a chronological affair. In the 1920s, it is undeniable. I’m never saying it is as strong as on the right – it isn’t – but it is there, and at times it is as strong as on the right.

For example, in the German communist party from 1930 to 1933, it is as strong, if you like. It is, in fact, the basis for Soviet anti-Jewish politics that we are talking about. It doesn’t come from the sky but has a very really basis in one socialist tradition.  

I’m sorry to distress you in this way, but all you have to examine – and in my sad state, if you do – is, let us say, communist newspapers and all sorts of sources and that’s why I’m going to come back to that. They will split traditions, with Engels’s side and [NAMECHECK] side, who was very important in this.

Engels on the side of the social democrats. Oh, I’m sorry, I talked about that when I taught this course [INAUDIBLE]. I have to make things powerful to you regardless whether I believe in it or not. You understand that, don’t you? All the [INAUDIBLE] .


Leave me that for later, because I have a whole section about Jews and socialism. Yes? That’s too complicated. It’s a whole section. All I said – in order not to have any misunderstanding – is that there is nothing to do with the Jewish phenomena of self-hate to which I want to devote a special section, or at least a special lecture.

That’s something else. Because, for Marx, as a socialist, there was a solution. It was part of a social theory. So all I was interested in now is that you shouldn’t confuse it with self-hate, Jewish self-hate, which is very important, in the end.

[Q: … Jewish power …(INAUDIBLE)… rise of anti-Semitism. Now, since Jews were involved in finance capitalism and they have that tradition, would a company (INAUDIBLE)...]  

There are two things that I want to say. First of all, one, how I thought it would be difficult for you, but it will be easier when I’ve lectured a while on anti-Semitism. Second of all, the thesis that anti-Semitism is a concomitism [sic.] of the decline of Jewish power is questionable, but it applies only – if it does apply – from around in the 1890s or 1900s on.

Until about 1900, such Jewish power as there was – which you rightly said depended on finance capitalism, Bismark’s banker, for example, [Gerson von] Bleichröder and so on – is still very much there, and it only begins to erode with the erosion, let us say, of financial capitalism as over against heavy industry and things of this nature, in which Jews were not much represented.

But that really does not begin until 1900. So until 1900 and even later, that basis of Jewish power such as it was, such as it was, cannot be said to have been eroded, no, no. That thesis – which is to be questionable anyway – doesn’t really arise until the 20th century. Because Jewish power doesn’t really vary very much.

Jewish power comes from involvement with international finance. I mean the real clout, you know, comes from that and not really from much else.

[Q: … concerning Marx’s views… (INAUDIBLE) … letters… (INAUDIBLE)]

Well, that gets us into psychoanalysis, because yes, Marx, in a sense, was in a way obsessed with the question, you know. Himself, his self-image, his honest self-image was, of course, not at all a Jew. I mean, transcending Judaism, vanishing, abolishing, enlightened. His very early senses, but that vanishes once he’s a little along in school.

But, of course, his letters are full of Jewish in-reference – he makes it to Engel, who was not a Jew – but Jewish in-reference. Whenever, he says, a Jew he didn’t like – and, as he didn’t like most people, there are a lot of Jews he didn’t like, Lassalle for example, Itzig, who was a very disagreeable person – he immediately gives him a Jewish stereotype thing. Lassalle and Itzig, Lassalle Itzig.

And so it goes on and on through Marx’s letters. All the Jewish stereotypes, apparently formed in him really, because he can never reject pounding onto any Jew he didn’t like.

[Q: The reason I ask is because... (INAUDIBLE)… Marx… (INAUDIBLE)… knowing anything about Jewish past?]

No, no, why should he? He wasn’t educated that way, no.

[Q: And I think that’s true still. Everyone we’ve been talking about since Mendelssohn. There’s no knowledge of the problems of the Jewish identity, no experiences whatsoever, no living in the Jewish community.]

Why should they live in the Jewish community? The Jewish community was in the ghetto, of course. They had to stay in the ghetto, don’t you see? So, in a sense, you’re right, they resisted the past, and what they knew of the past was, for them – I’ll come back to that a little later – awful.

It was ghettoized such as Singer describes in The Family Muskat. Now, have any of you started The Family Muskat yet? I wish you would, because I wonder what you feel about it, in the end. His description of the ghetto would be in fact to you awful, awful – I mean, for anybody for the West – awful. It’s dirty, the people are puny, most of them are sick, the women are slovenly. It is against any Western idea of culture, really. I don’t know how correct or incorrect you are.

[Q: What I’m trying to get to is that the people we’ve been talking about, since we’ve been talking about Moses Mendelssohn, seems to be not the history of Jews but the history of Europeans marked as Europeans. … have been rationalizing that label put on them, due to the reality they lived in, knowing nothing of the past, having no resources to get out of the reality with which they lived…]

Oh, no, they knew something about the past, because you’ve forgotten what I said about the Science of Judaism.

[Q: That Science of Judaism is a conceptualization … (INAUDIBLE)...  anachronist.. ]

What is the West? What is the past? All you really said is they rejected the religious part, the Orthodox religious part, and that sort of thing. Yes, of course..

[Q: I’m trying to make the point that they didn’t reject it, they had nothing to reject, because they had nothing of the past...]

Yeah, I know what you mean. But most people reject the past without knowing anything about it, so that’s not, you know, that’s not very original. But we must not fall into two problems, and one of them you’ve said and the other somebody said to me the other day, I think it was you. And I’m glad to have the opportunity to correct that.

First of all, don’t look at it that way. These people thought of themselves as Jews – many of the ones who I’ve treated being and who accepted emancipation – and therefore they are Jews as far as we are concerned. They must be. Other people thought of themselves as Jews as well. In fact, they were Jews. On your criteria, most of us are not Jews, on your criteria. That is one criteria.

We can’t take it, because historically that just hasn’t been true. And the other thing is, I never meant to give you the impression of fault-finding anywhere, because, while it is true that anti-Semitism has a kernel of reality in it – Jews were in finance capitalism, I suppose even some Jews looked Jewish, I don’t know. So I don’t you to get the opinion that that’s a matter of fault.

We’re in a historical situation. Fault or not fault. It’s clearly beside the point. These come out of historical circumstances, and that is what we must remember. But please wait another month or two before you draw any conclusions about the role of the Jew in anti-Semitism, or the role of the Jew in this or in that. You’re quite entitled to your own ideas, there’s nothing I can do about them in any case.

But let us take a historical definition. A Jew is somebody who thinks of himself as Jew and who everybody else thinks of as a Jew. And this becomes very important later. Whether he goes to synagogue or not, whether he even knows what a [WORDCHECK] is – until a few weeks ago, I didn’t know myself really what it was – but if he really knows what it is, that’s really beside the point.

What is true among, among you think, they didn’t know much about it, many of them through the Science of Judaism knew a lot about them, and it just depends upon your point of view. But our point of view here must be historical, it must be historical.

[Q: How do you define cultural (INAUDIBLE) historical (INAUDIBLE)… ]

No, that’s what we’re about.

[Q: Well, what I’m saying is that it’s a different kind of historical interpretation than Mueller]

Probably. (laughter)

But historical interpretation. There is no difference. Historical interpretation that leaves the Jews I have dealt with out of Judaism, unless it is a sectarian one. That is possible. That’s always possible. They’re always sectarian. On this model, there are no other interpretations whatsoever.

Because of, I believe you will say, something revolutionary, you know? I mean, not even the most impassionate Zionist said people who weren’t Zionist aren’t Jews – some of them come close to it, I agree – but not even they would say that. So it’s just historically nonsense. These people were all Jews. They thought of themselves of Jews. They had versions of Judaism you may not agree with, but it was a version of Judaism nevertheless.

I am here not trying to defend them. I am just saying that, historically, that’s where it is. And if you want to write hate speech on the point of view of a sectarian point of view, you can do it for Judaism and for Christianity, for that matter. But it is not here. Here in this and later, all these people were Jews, even Karl Marx in a sense, and we shall come to the problem when we come to Jewish socialists, like Rosa Luxemburg.

But even there, there you may have a great escape, in Rosa Luxemburg, especially some things she wrote, but we shall have to come to that. Up to now, when I’ve talked about Jews, I’ve talked about Jews. And you cannot view them from the perspective of the ghetto. They made already the mistake of viewing the ghetto from their perspective, that was bad enough.

[Q: How aware were the Jews of the new nature of anti-Semitism and what did they do about it?]

Well, now we come to this nice question, yes. Oh dear. First of all, again, I am going to come to it next week. I have to discuss a case that comes up. The answer is, of course, largely nothing. Look, let’s get this straight now. It’s worse lecturing on this in Jerusalem than here.

This was a small minority. What the hell did you want them to do? You wanted them to run out on the street and beat up the anti-Semites? They were bigger than they were. Moreover, that really went against the grain – we’ll talk about that – against the grain of their whole acceptance of emancipation.

They did [INAUDIBLE], we’ll talk about that, it depends. A Jew, yes, many. We shall talk about that a little bit later. I don’t quite know what you expect them to do. You really have to tell me what you expect them to do. The question, you see, is of a small minority. A small minority always delivers to the big majority, always delivers to the big majority.

What do you want them to do? I mean, really. I don’t get this excited In Jerusalem, this is a very tough question, because they don’t understand it at all. “Why didn’t they go out and fight?” Well, good Lord!

Let us say, you see, there were suddenly anti-Semitist waves in the state of Wisconsin. What would you do? Organize the foreign brigade? (laughter) I mean, really. I’m just trying to make it clear to you. It’s not really a very easy thing to answer. What would you do? What can you do?

If you have a little patience, we shall come that, because it becomes very important. For it becomes the question why there was no Jewish resistance, even later, and there was no Jewish resistance until the ghettos in the war. There was none. You didn’t live together. Don’t forget – I might say this now – that in Europe there isn’t even a proper authority.

In other words, Jews lived scattered throughout the city – that’s quite important – so that they were a small minority in history. In Berlin, there were some more or less, but it isn’t like in America where you settle in certain regions. That doesn’t exist, there wasn’t even that.

[Q: The anti-Semitism was based on the symbolism of Jews as money-lender. Did they ever consider maybe trying to alter that perception, maybe alter their financial practices. [INAUDIBLE] corporations today [INAUDIBLE] that image, they’re trying to do something about that…]

No, what do you mean, “their practices”? In reality, there were some practice, but by and large their practices were fine. Remember something that you forget. Most of these were private practices, they’re small operations. The Rothschilds and [INAUDIBLE] were the exception. Most of them were fine gentlemen who ran private banks.

There wasn’t really nothing to alter. What they did do eventually-- we shall come to that. The issue centers on Jewish ethics. What they tried to counter was the accusation of crooked business practices, and you will get – it’s largely and we shall come to that – a pamphlet on Jewish ethics.

But, what is more, you don’t expect them to give up their banks? I mean, you know, they didn’t do that, obviously, or real crooked practices. These things are by and large real honorable as you can find, honorable as you can find. So, encountering the tract on Jewish ethics.

You also think-- and I must say a thing about that. Look, you think that all these Jews are so affected. You’ve lived through some riots, haven’t you here? Haven’t you been here during the riots? You must know one thing about riots. Riots are highly localized. There can be a riot on Bascom Hill, and I can be in the library and know nothing about it.
And so, the riots, the anti-Jewish riots were highly localized. This anti-Semitism did not affect many people that directly. You forget that. It affected the small shopkeeper perhaps, people like that, but it certainly did not affect the private banker in the West End. Careful, you know. You mustn’t forget that.

To be sure, if you went to school, somebody would throw a stone at you or make anti-Semitic remarks, but, though disagreeable though it may be, what do you do? I mean, what do you do? You are a small minority. You are probably one or two kids in a school, yes? And there are anti-Semitic remarks. What would you do?

Hmm? Be a man! (laughter) Be a man, but that depends on your physical prowess, does it not? These would have to be big bullies.

[Q: … great swindle… [INAUDIBLE] … lower-middle class and the lower class…]

Yes, well, I’ll come to that again. That is the Panama Canal Swindle, in the 1890s. We’ll talk about that. Yeah, Jews were involved. This had to do with financing the Suez Canal and then financing the Panama Canal. And that financing was done by Jewish firms in France.

And therefore, when the collapse came, it was Jewish firms who were behind it. Yes, that would be a scandal, probably crooked. I mean, Hurst and [Reiner? NAMECHECK], these people were probably involved in crooked deals. But not in Germany. In Germany there never was a financial collapse of this nature, and yet you get the same anti-Semitism.

In Germany, no Jewish establishment collapsed in 1930, in 1928, ‘til the economic depression, and yet you get the same thing. So you must always think that reality is only fringe in these matters. I mean, even if all the Jews, as you said there, would have given up finance capitalism to become good peasants and artisans, I really don’t know what else was done to anti-Semitism.

[Q: ...emancipated…(INAUDIBLE)]

The people who – Prussia had [WORDCHECK] sometimes – people who were emancipated in Prussia were Jews who had lived in Prussia for about a hundred years. And those who were excluded were recent immigrants, above all, from Poland into East Prussia. East Prussia had a Polish minority, and so did Posen, where most German Jews come from.

Posen had a minority too. These were excluded, and they were only about a fourth of the totals at the moment. The others were all emancipated. It was a matter of the length of residence.


The ones who were excluded they know it, because by and large, they were quite harmless little peasants in East Prussia and in Posen, certainly integrated into the population, very integrated. You mustn’t exaggerate it.

For example – I can take a personal example – my great-grandfather was a country doctor in Posen in 1848, led the rising on behalf of the Poles – believe it or not, and that’s a case that is surprising (laughter) – on behalf of the Poles. On behalf of the Poles, he led the rising, he led the liberty, he was eventually condemned to ten years in a fortress, in the [Prussian] fortress of Kiistrin.

… and then left for Holland, fled to Holland eventually. I’m just telling you that to tell you how integrated they were. The ones who play a role were the ones who stuck together, that is the immigrants from Eastern Europe into the big cities. They could be naturalized, eventually, but most of them were not. In other words, the immigrants from the ghetto in the big city. And you’re not going to get much of a stereotype, ‘cause people who are scattered through the countryside.

But you are going to get it if they take over whole streets and blocks in a city. That’s the point. Not in the country, there’s nothing there. It is a problem we come to because – let me remind you here of something I said before – it’s peculiar to German Jews that sixty percent of German Jews lived in towns under 10,000 population.

They were that integrated in the little towns, in the little towns, with the minimum of anti-Semitism, and therefore in the little towns – this we know, with the minimum of anti-Semitism, in our experience, with the minimum. If it spread that way, it’s a different matter. It’s a different matter. They were village Jews, and village Jews were different from town Jews.

Village Jews can become stereotypes – and we shall see that – if they’re all cattle dealers and bankers and have high visibility. But most of these village Jews were store-keepers, things of that nature. And the anti-Semitism was minimum. Well, some of you are village Jews, aren’t you, from small towns in Wisconsin. There’s one up there [ Richland Center? WORDCHECK]. Probably too big to be a village. That’s another matter.

Yes, we have time for one more. No more questions? You’re all perfectly fine? Then please, in the section, spend some time on chronology. It’s-- I know it’s a difficulty.

Lecture #10

Lecture #10 - 49:00 - Lecture 10 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

So far, Mosse has lectured on the period of emancipation from about 1780 to about 1820 through the edict of emancipation. He then focused on how the problem of emancipation was worked out, roughly from the 1820s to the 1850s. After that, he discussed the rise of modern anti-Semitism, going back in time and taking it up to 1860, with one special episode from 1876. In addition, a guest lecturer lectured on Eastern Europe. Now, Mosse moves to the events and developments from 1870 onwards as an entity “because this history belongs together.”

Last time, Mosse related how the rise of anti-Semitism became connected with mass movements in the 19th century, with democracy and opposition against privileges. This went hand in hand with the building up of a Jewish stereotype and this is important for two reasons: the importance of esthetic symbols which are linked here, in defining a new reality, a new perception, a kind of unity through symbols. These kinds of symbols are connected with ideas of beauty and ugliness, in which politics is turned into drama, a theater essential for mass politics. Symbols integrate visual, that is, objectified, ideas of beauty and ugliness that followed the great revival in the 18th century of the Greek idea of beauty. The latter depended upon proportion, but also on a kind of external appearance that was popularized from Michelangelo onwards. The Romantic Movement coincided with the revival of classicism. Symbols are objectified, but stand for internal qualities; outside and inside must be in harmony. This ideal symbolized a kind of behavior which had become normative in the 19th century, one of honesty, bravery, family life, and middle class virtue. The Jew became the counter-symbol through his appearance and the inner qualities that this appearance symbolized: cowardice, dishonesty, shiftiness.

It is important to note that the most dangerous enemies of the Jews from around 1800 on were the educated rather than the uneducated classes, the urban population rather than the superstitious peasant class. Foremost was a group of writers who proclaimed themselves the champions of the oppressed. The anti-Semitic riots of 1819 and the 1840s are no longer medieval terrorism, but a popular revolt, and they would continue to have this character. Apart from Toussenelle’s book, the perhaps most popular play of the time was “Our Acquaintances” of 1816. It unleashed and introduced the anti-Jewish caricature that fixed the stereotype, linking Jewish finance capitalism with the outward symbol of language that had been the essence of nationality since Herder. (For example, from now on, Jews “mauscheln” in all anti-Semitic pamphlets, mispronounce Mozart “Mossart”, and the like.) The internal capacity of language was made visible by physiognomy and other external markers. The image of the Jews as an oriental, desert people goes back to the middle ages. Coupled with the “Jewish smell,” this was a four-dimensional stereotype: internal and external; it reaches out. With the 19th century, it begins to be generalized and fleshed out, while the stereotype was not yet fully developed before 1820.

As we go deeper into the stereotype, the order of the idea is reversed: in a dictionary of 1808, the Jew is the ancient Israelite, but also the “money Jew.” The next entry is “Judengesicht”, a Jewish face, which is roguish or knavish. Entries about Jews take up two pages. (Since dictionaries standardize, Judengesicht etc. were standardized expressions already in use by 1808.) Jews thus represented the anti-idea to the idea of beauty, the direct opposite to the proportions of Greece. With nationalism, the notion of manliness and virility arose. The Jew, however, has a “feminine” form. A book by Otto Weininger, “Sex and Character”, published in 1903 summarizes much of this problem. (In “The Family Moskat” by I. B. Singer, one character reads this book to emancipate himself from the ghetto). The masculine is redemption, the feminine is sin. Woman has no ego because she is empirically minded and cannot grasp the categorical imperative. This was translated to apply to the Jew. Jews and women live only as species, not as individuals. Weininger’s book was enormously influential and popular, because it fed into the adoration of masculinity, and because of its “transformation of values”. (Weininger’s suicide in Beethoven’s bedroom contributed to his popularity). Another very influential book was Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe.” Its male Jewish character is unpleasant, but Rebecca, the female, is “exquisitely symmetrical” and darkly beautiful. Rebecca is a different stereotype; she begins what we might call the cult of the Jewess. The Jewess is beautiful yet strange, mysterious yet beautiful, something that never applied to the male Jew. Rebecca becomes a standard character in literature, thanks to her love for the gentile hero. She loves and nurses a disinherited knight. When she cannot marry him, she goes and serves humanity, transcending her Jewishness through love of a gentile.

The growing nationalism had a peculiar picture of woman: the virtuous, virginal woman, the future mother of the race, “das keusche Weib.” The “Jewboy”, on the other hand, was a direct challenge to the male ideal and male society. It becomes linked up with sexual fantasies, for example in Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, but already in Father Jahn. The stereotype that deepened in Germany fantasized about the Jew’s smell and his weird sexuality. The Jewish female is the exception. In the beginning of the 19th century, we encounter a male orientation of society. Woman, in the idea shared by Weininger and Nietzsche, had no ego; she was just a reflection of men. (Mosse insists that we must take that stereotype seriously, because it would last, and have profound impact). Unlike the Enlightenment’s historicization of the Jewish type, the stereotype now becomes essentialized and loses more and more of its religious meaning. Rather, it is a modern, esthetic, sexualized, politicized stereotype. The last building block is science. It is the science of psychology from the 1850s on, especially the concept of degeneration, which becomes closely associated with the Jew. We have proceeded from an esthetic stereotype to the literature that supported it, and to the scientific concept of degeneration. All this may seem amusing, but millions died because of it.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 10 – March 08,1971
... [chronology] has puzzled a great many of you, I’m told. To say something briefly about chronology, and then you can work that out perhaps better in the section. Now, what we’ve done up to now, briefly, chronologically considered, I have taken the story up roughly to the 1850s, emancipation and the problems of emancipation roughly to the 1850s.

In the rise of modern anti-Semitism, I will go a little beyond the 1850s, as a matter of fact, to 1876, but not beyond that. So that we will have treated emancipation and the problems of emancipation and the rise of modern anti-Semitism separately. After we’ve done that, we go to Eastern Europe, again up to the 1870s, and then – I’m going to change the assignment sheet around, by the way – we shall then start with the 1870s and take the problem of assimilation and anti-Semitism together as one unit…

… and then the rise of Zionism after that, because they are, so closely connected. If you want to put it more specifically, you can put it this way. The first thing we studied is the period of emancipation, from about 1780 – that is Mendelssohn’s Jerusalem – to about 1820, through the edicts of emancipation.

Then, secondly, we went to the working out of the problem of emancipation, which took us roughly from the 1820s, after the edicts, to roughly 1850, roughly 1850. Then we went to the rise of modern anti-Semitism, which means going back in time ‘cause modern anti-Semitism, as I told you, arose together with emancipation.

And we shall take it up, really, to 1860, but, for one special episode, we shall go up to 1876. So that is it. Then we go to Eastern Europe, and, finally, from 1870 on, we take it together, because, by that time, it belongs all together. The other details you can work out – and you should work out – about this, in your sections.

Now, last time I talked about how the rise of anti-Semitism became connected with the longings, if you like, inherent in 19th century mass movement, with the anti-capitalism, the nationalism, the democracy, the opposition of privileges of all sorts. And I mentioned, at the end, how this goes hand-in-hand with the building up of a Jewish stereotype and that this is important for two reasons, which come into it.

First of all, the importance of symbols in politics-- and these symbols are aesthetic symbols so that politics and aesthetics are here intimately linked. As [Caletti? NAMECHECK] puts it, the examination of symbolic structures is a work not of reduction but of integration, of integration. A symbol, and a political symbol especially – though it might hold for religious symbols as well –

… expresses simultaneously several meanings and puts these meanings into a kind of unity. It gives a kind of new reality through these symbols, which have several meanings but are integrated and, in a way, synthetic in that sense.

You can reduce them to a single pre-existent expression, and from that single pre-existing expression, you can, in fact, discover a kind of process. Now these kind of symbols which you have, which is immediately aesthetic, connect with the ideas of beauty and ugliness, because, in the modern political symbolism –

… that is to say again, I think, symbolism connected with mass movements especially, and with any kind of modern politics –  it transforms all politics into a drama, into a theatre, which is essential for all mass movements and all mass policy. But that drama, that theatre depends, to a very large extent, on a symbolism which integrates…

… which integrates, which is visual – that is objectified, concrete – and which is linked to ideas of beauty and ugliness. The ideas of beauty and ugliness to which the symbolism in the 19th century became linked are ideas of beauty and ugliness which come from the Greek revival of the 18th century, from which Winkelmann, in a famous history of art, called “the beauty that is Greece, the glory that is Rome.”

What that meant is an ideal of beauty which is a Greek ideal of beauty. In the Greek ideal, beauty depends upon proportion, upon proportion, above all upon proportion, but also upon a kind of external appearance that was popularized from the Renaissance onward, with its statues – Michelangelo’s David may be familiar to you, but other statues of this kind –

… a kind of beauty  which, in the last resort, is a beauty of proportion but which is also a beauty of general appearance. This kind of beauty means, then, proportion, ideal measurements, but, in as much as the Romantic movement coincided with the revival of classicism and the preoccupation of man’s soul, man’s internal composition…

… coincides with the rise of classicism, the outward is linked to that. The symbols are outward, objectified, but they stand for internal qualities. A symbol must always be a whole, never a part. It must be an integrated whole, and therefore it must have outside and inside in one harmony.

Therefore, the symbol of Greek beauty also stood for a symbol of behavior. It stood for the symbol of behavior which had become normative – if you want to use that word – which had become normative in the 19th century: honesty, bravery, family life, the middle class virtue.

Now, in as much as this symbol, both as an idea of beauty and an idea of middle class virtue to it, both these ideas--- Therefore the Jew becomes the counter-symbol, not only through his appearance – to which I shall come back in an a minute – but also to the inward quality which this appearance characterizes.

Not, of course, honesty, bravery and the middle class virtue, but instead, cowardice, dishonesty and shiftiness. How was this stereotype bred? It is clear, in an examination which has been made from the year 1800 and on, that the most dangerous enemies of the Jews were the educated, rather than the uneducated class –

… that would also be true, by the way – the urban population rather than the superstitious peasant class. I have illustrated that already by talking about Toussenel, by talking last time about Fries, all highly educated people. The most virulent animosity comes, therefore, by a group of writers who proclaimed themselves the champions of the oppressed.

For it must be clear, and I must mention it again, that anti-Semitic riots like those of 1819 and 1814, which I have mentioned, are no longer, after all, medieval terrorism, but they have the character of popular revolt. And these anti-Semitic writers- these anti-Semitic riots will continue to have the character of popular revolt, not of medieval terrorism.

The popular work by such writers spreads the stereotype, and in that way it becomes a symbol associated with mass movement, in that way. Apart from Toussenel – whom I’ve mentioned before and whom you’ll read in Lichtstein – apart from Fries, whom I talked about last time…

… perhaps the most popular vehicle and the burden for spreading the stereotype was a play by a man who called himself Sessa a play called “Our Acquaintances” [Unser Verkehr] of 1816. That play is important. For again, it is important in the spread of the stereotype. The play unleashed a veritable flood of anti-Jewish caricatures.

In fact, it introduced a veritable flood of anti-Jewish caricatures, which served to fix the stereotype. The play puts Jews on the stage as an integrated symbol, both in looks and personality. The personality: cowardice, vanity, love of money. As a father says in the play to a son, as follows:

“Let people tread on you, let yourself be accused by them all, let yourself be beaten up, but you must become rich.” In other words, this is the general characterization, and it links, again, with what I said before, the Jewish conspiracy, the finance capitalism, all of that. But the play has another factor which becomes very important, the factor of language.

Here is the personality – the love of money, the cowardice, the shiftiness – but it also has outward symbol, first of all, of language. Now you must realize how important language was to the rising nationalism. That language, ever since Herder was the essence, in a way, of nationality.

Therefore the accusation that the Jews cannot speak the German language properly was enormously important and really helped make the play more effective. For what the Jews speak in the play and what they will speak from now on in all anti-Semitic pamphlets, to our day, is a mixture of Yiddish and German. There is a German word for it - English has no equivalent – which is the word “mauscheln.”

This is a specific word attached to a specific mixture of German and Yiddish which Jews are made to speak from now on. Thus, for example, their superficial assimilation can be characterized. The characters in the play talk about Mozart, but they can’t really pronounce it. They call it “Mossart.” And things of that nature suffuse the play, if you like.

The language is important since Herder in the 18th century, a sign of culture. But certainly, it’s not only internal personality and language, it is external appearance as well. As the play puts it, as a character puts it in the play, “By his hair and physiognomy, the Jew clearly shows how great the difference is between him and us, not less is also the spiritual distance which separates us.”

Now, this will remain. Later on, the anti-Semite, influential – we shall come to him – Drumont, will repeat it in the 1880s, how he will put it is still more spectacular and still more normative. Drumont will say, in 1902, in fact, “the Jew has the soul of a Bedouin who burns down a city in order to cook his eggs.”

This statement by Drumont – that “the Jew has a soul of a Bedouin who burns down a city in order to cook his eggs” – brings up another factor already in Sessa. The Jew is so different because he is an oriental desert people. The Bedouin in that quotation has this level of symbolism, a desert people.

Lastly, it is not only internal, external, language. It is, if you like, four-dimensional, for there is the matter of smell, as well. This goes back into the middle ages, what – there is even a word for it – in the middle ages, the “foetor judaicus,” “the Jewish smell.” It now becomes associated in Sessa with the eating of garlic.

This will remain. Now, you will ask me sooner or later, “Why garlic?” I have no explanation. But it will be very important in the most popular German book of the ’80s, Wilhelm Busch’s comic books. The Jew is always associated with the smell of garlic. Perhaps some of you who are better acquainted with Jewish cooking will have, perhaps, an explanation. But I just don’t know why the garlic. But I just mention it.

The stereotype, therefore, is what every symbol must be: four-dimensional. It is internal, external, and it reaches out. That is its great strength. It is all-dimensional. This was, indeed, new, and that also is of the greatest important. The Jewish stereotype grew up of relatively modern origin.

For the 19th century, you have, at first, a caricature, but not in the general picturing of the Jews. If you look at a medieval Jewish picture, there’s nothing special except the dress, the yellow hat and so on. But there’s nothing special. But with the 15th and 16th century, it begins only in caricature.

With the 19th century, it begins to be generalized. For example, a National Socialist examination of anti-Semitic literature, to 1820, to 1820, is surprised, is surprised, that until 1820, there are so few mentions of the physical appearance of the Jews. In other words, the stereotype was not yet fully grown.

Even by 1820, he is surprised that all of that is not yet out, though it was out in Sessa’s play, “Our Visitors.” That is important to realize. As we go a little deeper into the stereotype now, you must always remember that it reverses the order of the ideal. It took both outward appearance and character, and it reverses the order of the ideal. And here, I want to a document straight away to make it quite clear to you what it means.

I will go to the first – and again German – dictionary of the German language of 1808, by a man called Campe. The important thing for you to remember about Campe dictionary is that it’s one of the great 18th century dictionaries of language, that Campe was a man of the Enlightenment – not even a Romantic – a man of the Enlightenment.

And there are certain entries I want to read and translate for you which will show you the emergence of the stereotype. The entry under “Jew” is clear. It is the ancient Israelites, but also, “at times, one calls Jew a usurer, one who cheats in commerce, a money-Jew, a grain-Jew.”

Then, also – and notice – then also “a man who looks like a Jew, especially if he has a long beard.” We go on. And what is the next entrant? The next entrant is a “Judengesicht,” a Jewish face. What is the definition of a “Jewish face” in Campe? “The face of a Jew or Jewess, particular to Jews in its contour, especially any person with such a face is apt to be called a Jew.”

Definition, in most Jews “a roguish or knavish face.” We go on, we go on. Even beyond this particular, if you like, the entrants of Jews take up two pages in Campe, no less, but the entrants are in this kind of vein. Another one I quoted to you already, “Judenschule,” “Jew school”:

 “Synagogue, unlovely service where everybody talks and there is no dignity.” That is his entrant on the Judenschule. Now, what I point out to you about this, dictionaries standardize, and therefore expressions like “Jewish face”, “Jew School” for synagogue, were standardized expressions already in 1808.

And they meant, in fact, what I have tried to illustrate to you. They meant, in fact, the anti-ideal, the anti-ideal to the ideal of beauty that I have said – shifty, ruthless, and ugly – the anti-attitude. Instead honest, dishonest; bravery, cowardice; proportion, lack of proportion.

How is the Jew described? Usually now in Sesse and on, and it is the direct opposite to the proportions of Greece. Short legs, high shoulders, awkward gait, gesticulation, short body. That is the description.

Now if you look at these descriptions – short legs, high shoulders, awkward walk, gesticulation, short body – what’s wrong with them? Lack of proportion, lack of proportion, lack of the Greek proportion. This is the opposite of the statue of David by Michelangelo. We must add, therefore, it is the anti-type. Puniness instead of stature. To virility I will come in one moment. (laughter) Perhaps right now.

For virility becomes here all important. Why? You must remember something else: that with nationality you get the rise of the cult of manliness and virility. That from its beginning, under Father Jahn – but not only in Germany – under Father Jahn, the rise of nationalism is associated, as I told you before, with the fraternities and the Gymnastic organization.

That is to say, the rise of nationalism is associated with self-defense, but self-defense becomes virility and an ideal of virility. Therefore the idea here is quite clear. The Jew has a feminine form – not a masculine form, but a feminine form. And in illustrating this, I am now going outside your chronology.

 ‘Cause I might as well use the most craven illustration of all of this. The illustration is a book by a young Jew called Otto Weininger in Vienna by the name of Sex and Character, Geschlecht und Charakter, Sex and Character, a book published in 1903 which summarizes as much, and which I’m using for another reason.

When you read The Family Moskat, you will see that Herschel reads Weininger. That’s one of the books that he reads to emancipate himself from the ghetto. That’s one of the books that is specifically mentioned, Weininger’s Sex and Character. Now what is this? What is this? It is an exaltation of the masculine over, above the feminine, the exultation of the masculine, which comes form the beginning of the century, associated with nationalism, by and large.

The feminine is sin, the masculine is redemption. The feminine transforms all value, woman transforms all value, because woman has no ego. Therefore, love with her becomes lust, honesty becomes shiftiness, woman has no ego. Why? Because she is empirically-minded. Weininger was influenced by Kant, by the way.

Only the masculine can penetrate to the categorical imperative. (laughter) Woman remains on the surface, woman is empirically-minded. It has no ego, therefore it has no soul. Immediately, this quite usual thought is translated to the Jews. The Jews have a feminine form-- something which arose first, after all, in opposition to the Greek ideal. That’s the anti-ideal, the David of Michelangelo.

The anti-ideal is feminine, rounded forms, not classical forms, proportionate forms, but the Jew has feminine, rounded forms. Therefore the Jew, it also lacks an ego. He is empirically-minded. In the Old Testament, there is no life beyond death. Finally, Jew and woman live only as species, not as individuals, because they can have no ego, they live only as species, not as individuals.

This comes out of the realm of what we call German idealism. The usual accusations are transplanted here into the sexual realm. The Jew is the feminine principle. And therefore, to put it again, the man is the sun and woman is the moon, for the moon is merely a reflection and has no ego of its own. It reflects the sun. Man is the sun and woman is the moon.

The Jews are the moon, and so you get a large literature about the Jews as moon people, by which they didn’t think of astronauts. They thought of it in these categories. The book by Weininger was enormously popular and enormously influential. Why?

Because it hit two nerve centers: the nerve center of the worship of masculinity – you will read more about that in The Crisis of German Ideology – the worship of masculinity, and secondly – and also, I think very important – the transformation of value. This transformation, Weininger himself added to it.

Weininger committed suicide in the same room in which Beethoven had died. This was the final repudiation of his Jewishness. That, of course, made the book all the more popular. He was 21 or 22. I think he was 22 when he did this. In Beethoven’s death room, he committed suicide. That’s splendid, I think. (laughter)

However that might be, Weininger was of vast importance, and, as I said, he occurs in the Family Moskat. He was read by Jews and gentiles, and I will come back to him when I come to the problem of Jewish self-hate, which is, we might say, a little involved.

Yet, there is one thing to which Weininger is not typical, and to that we must come. ‘Cause the normative idea of a Jewish male and a Jewish female tend to differ. The Jewish male, puny, feminine, shifty, all of the stereotypes – and you might say that that is so because of a sexual rivalry. After all, the same stereotype is applied to the Negro, because of a kind of sexual rivalry.

But the Jewish woman, it is different. The basic document here comes in 1819, and it is a book most of you have read, Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, probably one of the most influential books of the 19th century. How many of you have read Ivanhoe? Ooh-Wee! (laughter) That’s a surprise. Congratulations.

Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. And here you get Sir Walter Scott’s portrait of the masculine Jew. Isaac of York is stereotypical. That is to say, it already had the stereotype. As he says, as he says, in a kind of way, Isaac – that is, the man – had adopted the national character in which there was much, to say the least, mean and unamiable.

To be sure, Sir Walter Scott’s descriptions of Isaac’s appearance are not yet fully fledged, but almost. But now look at Rebecca. Let’s look at Rebecca. What does he say about Rebecca? That becomes normative. “The figure of Rebecca might indeed be have compared to the proudest beauties of England, even though it has been judged by as shrewd a connoisseur as Prince John.” Forget about that. (laughter)

“Her form” – listen – “Her form was exquisitely symmetrical and shown to an advantage by a sort of Eastern dress, which she wore according to the fashion of the females of the nation. Her turban of yellow silk suited well with the darkness of her complexion. The brilliance of her eyes, the superb arch of her eyebrows, her well-formed, aquiline nose, her teeth as white as pearl…

“…and the profusion of her sable tresses, which, each arranged in its own little spiral of twisted curls, fell down upon as much of her lovely neck and bosom as that might be compared to the richest of Persian silks.” She also wore such silks, “exhibiting flowers in their natural colors” embossed upon a purple ground of “loveliness, which yielded not to the most beautiful of the maidens who surrounded her.” Hardly the stereotype.

Notice, symmetrical. Notice the proportions. Rebecca begins what we might call the “cult of the Jewess.” You will find it repeated from now on. The “Jew-boy” is one thing. The “Jewess” is something else. (laughter) How can we – come now, this is very serious – How can we describe it?

The Jewess is beautiful yet strange (laughter), mysterious yet beautiful. But such a thing would never be applied, in a million years, to the male. You have therefore, beginning with Sir Walter Scott, in a very important way, Rebecca becomes a standard character. Rebecca now runs through literature back and forth, back and forth. I’m sure many of you have read about many Rebeccas.

[Student: (INAUDIBLE) (laughter)]

What is this? I’m also told by connoisseurs – my eyes are very bad, I’m sorry, I hardly see you these days beyond the third or fourth row – but I’m told by one person, who thinks he’s a connoisseur, that there are more beautiful girls in this class that in any of my previous classes. (light applause)

So, this may be true or not. My eyes aren’t too good, I wouldn’t venture to judge it. Nevertheless, however that might be, whether this class is full of Rebeccas – you certainly don’t wear the right kind of mysterious dresses (laughter) – I don’t know. What is important for us therefore is that, from this enormously influential book, Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe…

... you get the idea of the Jewess who transcends her Jewishness. And how does she do it? For there’s one thing I have omitted. With the love for a gentile, a love for a hero. Remember Ivanhoe. Rebecca loves the disinherited knight. She loves him, she nurses him. Eventually, when she is accused of witchcraft, the disinherited knight becomes her champion and vanquishes the man who would ravish her.

But in the end, of course, she is made more beautiful still by obligation. She doesn’t consummate an intermarriage, that would have been rather impossible in those days. Novel. She doesn’t consummate an intermarriage. Rebecca lets her disinherited knight marry his gentile lady while she herself, more beautiful and pale than ever, goes to serve humanity. (laughter)

Now, I realize that’s not what Rebeccas do in real life. But this is neither here nor there. We’re dealing with symbolism, not with reality. Remember that. In other words, there is the stereotype, the other stereotype, the stereotype of Rebecca. There is the stereotype of Rebecca, Rebecca who transcends her Jewishness through love of a gentile and who has therefore all these kinds of characteristics…

… appealing, the right proportions, and yet mysterious and oriental, with depths which go back to the deserts of Sinai. Mm-hmm. (laughter) Well, never mind. However this might be, if you’re interested, re-read Ivanhoe. (laughter). Now, now the interesting thing here is that this goes again to the idea of virility.

Those of you who know anything about the growing nationalism know that it has a peculiar concept of woman, that in all nationalist pictures, up into the 20th century, men are nude, women are clothed. That the idea of the woman is always the idea, in nationalism, of a virginal woman, of a virginal woman – which comes from Romanticism – a virginal woman, the future mother of the race, the Earth mother.

And therefore, you get on one point, the virility – the nude male with his Greek proportions – and you get, on the other hand, what we call in German “das keusche Weib,” the virginal woman, the virginal woman, always dressed in pictures and otherwise.  So that you have this stereotype again playing into that kind of reality.

To sum up, you have, therefore, stereotypes and anti-stereotypes. But the anti-stereotype is confined to the Jew boy, not to the girl. The girl will always be different, and will be annexed ever since Sir Walter Scott. For the “Jew-boy” was considered a direct challenge to the virility of the male society…

… the male society that was now prized in fraternities, in gymnast, in art, in everything else – as you will read in the Crisis book – in the male society. And therefore the “Jew-boy,” from the first, becomes linked up with sexual fantasy. This is especially clear in Hitler’s sexual fantasy in Mein Kampf, where the “Jew-boy” enters as a rapist.

There is this sexual fantasy, the Jew as a challenge to Aryan virility. But you have it already in Father Jahn and earlier. The male society, there the Jew becomes involved as the anti-male type. Now I realize that there is a direct parallel, in all I have said, between the Jew in Europe and the Black in America.

Everything I have almost said is true as a parallel. We therefore come, in the stereotype, into a generalized thing, deepened in Germany and central Europe and in France towards the Jew, but a generalized thing. For even with the Black, you have the “Negro smell,” just as with the Jew who have the “Jewish smell.”

You have the sexual fantasy about white- about black men, just as you have the fantasy – not only in Hitler, before – this idea of virility, regarded as a challenge to, let us say, the gentile virility. All this has definite parallels, and therefore we must say, it is almost part of a pattern, part of a pattern of minority, of minority, in that stage. For you have it too generalized not to be.

And the answer of why that should be is really rather simple. A minority becomes a symbol, and symbols, as I said at the beginning today, must be four-dimensional. Therefore you cannot only talk about the Jew and the Negro, about his appearance, you also have to talk about his internal qualities, his reach out, his smell as well. You have to talk about all of it, all of it.

And here again, the female is an exception, and that has to do with society, which are really male-oriented. From the beginning of the 19th century, certainly in most of Europe, it becomes a virile, male-oriented society. Again, you can do it from the beginning with Father Jahn, but you can do it at the end with Nietzsche.

After all Nietzsche, if anything, is male-oriented. And if you laugh about Weininger, I don’t see why you don’t laugh about Nietzsche. For the idea of woman, not just Jews, but of woman, is shared by Weininger and Nietzsche. As Nietzsche says in that fervent passage, “you must take the whip to women.” Why, essentially? Because women have no being, they have no ego, they are just a reflection, a reflection of man.

They are like a shallow water which every pebble stirred up. So, you have therefore, then, as I said, this stereotype. Finally, we must really take that stereotype very seriously indeed. We must take it seriously indeed, because, as a stereotype now, it will last. I wish somehow I could make you understand the popularity of Weininger and the popularity of that kind of thought –

… ‘cause you’ve got to understand it, it is very important indeed – and the accusation about the Jews which is brought in here. So far, then, we have built the stereotype on, what we might call, political symbolism, aesthetic symbolism, part of the symbolism of a male-oriented, nationalist society. That goes together, a male-oriented, nationalist society.

The Jew emerges from this as un-changing symbol. That is to say, a symbol has to have depth. You cannot say, as the Enlightenment says, the Jew became that way through history or historical forces. Thus was the Jew, thus he will always be. Because, you must understand, as I’m sure you do, that we cannot change symbols. Once symbols become with mass movement, you cannot just change symbols at will.

Symbols tend to be, if I can put it that way, eternal. They tend, at least, to be that way. There are two more building stones, therefore, which we have to put in. First of all, I said that this was first spread by plays and novels, by highly educated people who posed or who were, thought themselves to be, the champions of the oppressed.

But, together with this, we must never forget the proximity of the ghetto, the strange culture of the ghetto, which gave upward wind to this stereotype. The ghetto people, from Eastern Europe, dressed differently – different beards and hairdos, different culture, different habits, taken as dirty by the West. All of that you must never forget.

You must never forget, and that this becomes more and more crucial with the immigration from the ghetto into Western movement. But, as this happens, the stereotype loses, more and more, its religious meaning – more and more, its religious meaning. Indeed, Drumont, to quote him again, can say, in 1886, truly say…

“I never insulted a rabbi. Religion must not enter. It is enough that the Jew brings desolation wherever he goes.” That is to say, the religious factor now fades and fades rapidly. This stereotype does not need it. It is based on a secular, political symbolism. That is to say, a modern political symbolism, because that is what you mean when you say secular, a modern political symbolism…

… which is based upon classics, upon aesthetics, upon matters of this nature, but which is not based in this regard upon religion as such. Finally, the last building block is science. For obviously, here, science must enter as well, but not, as yet, the science of anthropology, not ‘til later – we’re not yet in racism. Anthropology only comes there – but instead, the science of psychology.

It is the science of psychology which enters now and provides, from the 1850s on, from the1850s on, the scientific veneer, and it does it under a slogan, the concept, which becomes closely associated with Jews in the end, the concept of “degeneration.”  

So that, and I want to make it clear again, we have proceeded from aesthetics and the culture type, through the differences between Rebecca and Isaac, which are always there, through the literature, through the ghetto, which tended to support it – and, if you like, objective reality,

… which always must be there for any symbol – which tended to support it in objective reality, and from there, we get to the scientific part of it. And the scientific part has to do with degeneration and degeneration is an early but important, if you like, scientific concept.

Now, finally, I do- I am quite aware that what I’m lecturing on now and on Wednesday seems to you all very kooky, but remember, millions died because of this. That’s what I want to make clear to you. Without this, there could be no Holocaust. Millions died, so it is not quite as kooky as you think it is. Okay.

Lecture #11

Lecture #11 - 48:55 - Lecture 11 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

Mosse stresses again that with the stereotype of the Jew, he is giving the students the essential key for understanding the Holocaust. It spread through pictures and dictionaries, and also in German fairy tales, like “Das Knaben Wunderhorn.” Symbols are by nature irrational and contradictory, but integrative. Another thing is important: the differentiation between biblical and post-biblical Jews that is prevalent in all romantic Christian discourse. The differentiation is illustrated by Cardinal Faulhaber’s sermons that emphasized the distinction between the people of Israel before and after the death of Christ. With secularization and the biblical criticism of, for example, Renan and Strauss, Christ is historicized and de-mythologized, while the Old Testament is reduced to nothing more than the legends of the ancient Hebrews. The de-mythologizing of the Bible took the Jews out of the scheme of salvation. This had modern consequences (it is one of the reasons why so many Protestant clergymen support Al Fatah). What comes now is history, but no longer the divine mission that suffused the bible. King David can now be treated like a modern Jewish stereotype. Protestantism destroyed the scheme of salvation, and the stereotype of the Jews was read back into the past.

Mosse now turns to the scientific stereotype of degeneration of the 1860s that became a standard term of pre-Freudian psychology. Introduced by Morel, it was standardized in 1863 by Cesare Lombrozo. In short, it claimed that the inward disturbances of the soul are visible in the physical form. Since there was no cure for the habitual criminal, Lombrozo was for the death penalty. Both body and psyche in criminals showed retrogression; the criminals’ ugliness was atavistic. In the idea of beauty and normalcy, the normal is the idea of beauty. (For example “The All American boy” is a liberal idea of normal beauty). Lombrozo was a committed Jewish liberal. The standard of normalcy was in fact middle-class behavior. The importance of this is that degeneracy became the scientific explanation for all that was out of the usual. Here, again, the inward and outward go together as in the stereotype. From the 1860s on, the “Jew” was connected with degeneration. The Fin-de-siecle tried to repudiate liberal and positivist society. To cite an example from 1871, Drumond said that the Jews exemplified the degeneration of society. Also, Celine in “Journey to the End of the Night” sees the decadence of the world as the fault of the Jews. Jews were seen as decadent because of their alleged formlessness at a time of a search for clear form in industrial civilization. The degenerate is atavistic; it does not have a form at all. The rise of modern anti-Semitism marked the emergence of a largely secular stereotype that is the symbol for mass politics and associated the Jew with criminality and degeneration. Among the conservatives with their mostly Christian orientation, it was at first not prevalent, until they linked themselves to new anti-Semitism rather unexpectedly in 1871, when a Catholic professor, August Rohling, at a Catholic university in France published a book called “The Talmud Jew.” He leveled accusations that had been forgotten since Eisenmenger, claiming that the Talmud was extremely hostile to gentiles, preached usury against gentiles, and allowed sodomy on non-Jews. Above all, he accused the Talmud of obliging Jews to commit ritual murder. Its impact was felt especially in Austria and Vienna. Rohling taught the Talmud in connection with ritual murder at the same time that a ritual murder case was going on in the Hungarian town of Tiszla Eszlar. The accusation had never died out in the East, but it had in Western Europe. The accusation goes back to pagan time and was first made against the early Christians, then exclusively against Jews. The earliest explanation for it was that Jews crucify a Christian child before Easter; another claimed that Jews need blood for their Passover bread. Because Jews were doctors throughout the Middle Ages, and medicine was associated with magic, Jews were associated with blood in two ways: medical/magical, but also through the host: Jews not only slaughtered Christian children, but they desecrate the host. The expulsion of the Jews of Spain was connected with this story. This accusation had fallen out of fashion in Western Europe for 200 years - until Rohling’s book and the blood libel of Tiszla Eszlar in the Austrian Empire.

This was the beginning of a whole series of ritual murder cases in Austria and Germany. (In Austria, at the end of the nineteenth century, a Jew was actually convicted of the crime and imprisoned for 19 years-until 1918). The Xanten case in Germany led to a discussion in the German Diet. The Jew as symbol was once again linked to medieval accusations. This climaxed with the Nazis.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 11 – March 10, 1971
I would like to see him afterwards. If there is anybody here who can read and translate, I guess that goes together, some Yiddish, I would like to see him afterwards. Finally, I want to tell you again that if you have any special questions, our office hours are posted in 4123 Humanities. And my own office hours are, to give you again, are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 to 11:30. I am giving you that again, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, from 10:00 to 11:30.

One more thing. I wonder how many of you would like to have every Friday discussion, as you will have this Friday, or how many of you would like a lecture now and then on Friday. This has to do with how far we get. So if I can have a kind of show of hands. How many of you would not mind a lecture on Friday now and then? Alright. How many would mind, rather? Well, most of you didn’t raise their hand, so will I start again. How many of you would not mind a lecture on Friday now and then… [Microphone cuts]

… for the stereotype. And I want to make clear again – because some of you are worried that we aren’t modern enough – that what I’ve given you, of course, is the essential prerequisite for the Holocaust, eventually. That must be clear. I talked about some basic documents to illustrate it, Sir Walter Scott and Sessa’s “Our Acquaintances”…

… but I also made clear that that stereotype was spread through pictures, through dictionaries, such as Campe’s dictionary. Obviously I am only proceeding by example. Instead of Sir Walter Scott, if I wanted to go to Germany, I could have used a collection of German fairy tales, a very famous one, “Des Knaben Wunderhorn,” “The Boy’s Horn of Plenty,” where you have a similar Rebecca-Isaac situation, which I talked to you about last time.

But some of you pointed out something else, at the end of the last lecture, which goes into the essence of what a symbol really is. You said, quite rightly, that the Negro stereotype in America is one of virility and not one of puniness. But symbols and fantasies concerned with symbols have contradictions built in. They are, by their nature, irrational.

For otherwise, how do you explain that the puny and ugly Jew presented such a challenge to gentile virility? That’s obviously a contradiction. But these symbols and stereotypes, with their irrational foundations, obviously had such contradictions built in. Another problem was raised by you at the end of the-- some of you at the end of the last lecture.

What about ideal figures in the classic mold – like Michelangelo’s David, as I mentioned in particular – was he not a Jew? Well, there are two things that must be said. It really doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. During the Nazi times, there were constant instances where a young blond boy was called up in front, and his measurements were taken, and they were Aryan measurements, and they said, “What’s your name?” and he said, “[Moises? NAMECHECK].” That happened all the time.

But the problem is, it really doesn’t matter. Because a symbol is an integrated thing, and therefore, if there are exceptions, this mattered not at all. But here, in the factor whether David- Michelangelo’s David was a Jew or not, another thing is important. A trend, or, rather, two trends, which I mention right here, and which I meant to mention anyhow.

For, in the secularization, which we have talked about, the winning, for a while, of the Christian anti-Semitism, something else is involved: the differentiation between biblical and post-biblical Jews. This is involved in all Romantic Christianity, to start out with. As Schleiermacher, to quote you the most important Romantic clergyman, whom we’ve talked about before,

“The dialogue between man and God ends with the Old Testament, and what remains is an empty shell.” This differentiation between biblical and post-biblical Jews is going to be a very important trend. Let me illustrate it to you through something going forward. Let me illustrate it to you through the famous sermons of the German Cardinal, called Faulhaber, gave when the Nazis had been in power a few months in 1933.

And these sermons – to be taken wrongly at the time as a defense of Jews – were not really, because they continued that trend. “So,” he says, “that I may be perfectly clear and preclude any possible misunderstanding, let me make this distinction. We must distinguish between the people of Israel before and after the death of Christ.

“After the death of Christ, Israel was dismissed from the service of Revelation. She had not known the time of her visitation. She had repudiated and rejected the Lord’s anointed, had driven him out of the city, and nailed him to the cross.” So there’s obviously a distinction, which is one trend, which is important for us to remember, between biblical and post-biblical Jews.

But the main distinction, which comes with secularization, is still another one. For this comes with the biblical criticism of the 19th century, the biblical criticism, associated, I hope, in some of your minds with Strauss’s Life of Jesus in Germany and with Renan’s Life of Jesus in France. And what this biblical criticism of Strauss and Renan did in the 1840s was that it demythologized Christ and Christianity.

That is to say, as Renan said, but Strauss too, Christ was really a brilliant man. And it demythologized it. It applied history to it, history which we’ve seen reviving in so many other ways in our discussion. The result is that the Old Testament is nothing more than the legends and stories of the Hebrews.

To be sure, the New Testament is only the story of a very brilliant man, set in history and historical circumstances. There is, therefore, no divinity, a secularization. The result is that the Jews are written out of the scheme of salvation, and that the Old Testament becomes merely folk tales of the Hebrews, but nothing that is important anymore in the scheme of salvation, which is destroyed.

That means that even the biblical Jews become simply a desert people with a Bedouin soul, and that that remains. In other words, that secularization is very important for the stereotype to have remained constant in history. As I told you, a symbol or a stereotype must be something constant and not fleeting in anyway.

Therefore the demythologizing of the Bible took the Jews out of the scheme of salvation and thereby made possible the stereotypes, back into biblical times, the Jew as a desert person with a Bedouin soul. This has modern consequences, for example the destruction of the scheme of salvation. And the taking out of the Jew of the scheme of salvation is important in the long run.

It is the reason why so many Protestant clergymen support Al Fatah. Biblically, they couldn’t do so. Biblically, they would have to support the restoration of Israel. There is, in the Bible, no doubt about that. But because, from the 1840s on, one part of Protestantism really destroyed the scheme of salvation, really largely Christian salvation as well as Jewish salvation—

You can see that in the fact that modern Protestant clergymen climb on any bandwagon, by and large, as long as it is fashionable and radical enough. In other words, theology has gone by the board, and that is the long-range consequence of taking the Jews out of the scheme of salvation, the last consequence of this Biblical criticism of Strauss and Renan, the long-time consequence of that.

But what is important for us is that secularization prevails, that the stereotype can now be read backward in history, that what comes now is history. That means environment, national character, but no longer the divine mission which should suffuse the whole of the Bible – and did – the Old as well as the New Testament.

That is something you must remember, if you think “but David was a Jew.” David may have been a Jew, but he is no longer a part of the scheme of salvation, therefore David can be treated like a modern Jewish stereotype. You have, therefore, a double-thrust here. One is to make a distinction of biblical and post-biblical Jews.

This is largely Catholic. This is largely Catholic, where theology had a much greater hold than it did in Protestantism. But, by and large, Protestantism destroyed the scheme of salvation, really, for the Jews –  many ways there also therefore for Christ – and, in the end, you have the stereotype read back into the past.

But together with this comes also a scientific idea, the scientific idea of degeneration, an idea that really comes in in the early 1860s, the idea of degeneracy. Now, what do we mean by degeneration? And again here we come to a difficulty, because you use it generally, and it was used totally specifically.

Degeneration became a central concept of the pre-Freudian psychologists. The word was first used by Morel in the ‘60s, more standardized by Lombroso in the 1860s as well. It was standardized in a famous book by Lombroso called Genius and Folly, Genio e follia, of 1863. Now what is this theory, and what is the importance of the theory of degeneration?

And, above all, Lombroso publicized this in 1863, Genius and Folly. It means that body and soul are one and that the outward- that inward psychological disturbances have outward signs, that you can tell through the outward construction of a person his inward, in this case, psychological disturbances.

It means, to be more specific, that body deformation, the deformation of bodies, also symbolizes psychological illnesses. The belief, in other words, that body and psyche are one. That is why Lombroso asked, for example, for the death penalty of habitual criminals. Because, if body and psyche are one, there is really no cure for a habitual criminal, because you cannot restructure him, bodily, after all.

Perhaps to make it still clearer, I should that say that Lombroso, in his work, gave precedence to weighing, to measuring over clinical observation. More important to him was measuring, weighing, the outward than clinical observation. He believed that the body-build, the union of psyche and body in disturbed people, was essentially atavistic.

That is to say that both the body and the psyche, essentially, showed signs of retrogression, retrogression into childhood, retrogression—at  any rate, marks of a kind of retrogressive ugliness, which he called atavistic. These ideas of Lombroso were general, before Freud. As you may remember, Freud wrote with these kind of ideas, with that kind of psychology.

Which Lombroso was the most famous and celebrated man before Freud, without any doubt. Underlying this idea is what? Is again an idea of beauty, that everything depends on your measurements, on your body. The idea of simplicity and clarity, the liberal idea, beauty and normalcy, are readily understandable.

And the normal is the idea of beauty which is the consensus. In other words, we end up with Lombroso again in the normal being defined as what we would call today, I suppose, the “All-American boy.” That is the normal for Lombroso’s theory, and that is what is important, was a liberal theory. And Lombroso, who himself was a Jew and believed in complete emancipation and assimilation – he wrote on this as well –

… was a committed liberal like so many or most, as I told you before, of the Jews who accepted emancipation and assimilation. And that liberalism made for a standard of normalcy, a standard of normalcy which was in fact middle class behavior, which was in fact, if you like, ideas of looks, decent or as, Freud would say, clean – ‘cause he even believed in that too of course –

… clean looks, decent and clean. I don’t have to explain, you all know what the all-American boy looks like. Do I see somebody in the class to whom I can point?  I don’t see too good (laughter), but it would be really very difficult to point at somebody. There, yeah, you look like an All-American boy. There’s one there. There are a few scattered around.

But that is the liberal ideal, the liberal ideal. Now, what is the importance of this? Degeneration becomes the explanation, the scientific explanation, for all that is out of the usual. Here again, the inward and outward go together in a stereotype, and we find, from the 1860s on, the Jew connected with degeneration, even in a liberal concept, connected with degeneration.

The science, therefore, comes to the aid of the stereotype here, and this is aggravated towards the end of the century. For remember that the era of the 1880s and ‘90s, which we call the end of the century, the fin de siècle, the end of the century, tried to repudiate liberal and positivist society.

And the young people who tried to repudiate liberal and positivist society transferred the word “degeneration” to that society, transferred the word “degeneration” to that society. So while the liberals used it against people who revolted against liberalism, the people who revolted against liberalism used it also against liberal society.

Let me give you a concrete example from 1871 what I mean, and let me use, again, the anti-Semitic pamphlet here, Drumont, to illustrate it for you. What Drumont says: “I still earlier believed society was worth defending, but which institutions, which social class is worth defending today? All is degenerate, and it is the Jews that exemplify this degeneration.”

The best, more recent example of the use of this idea is a very famous book, which I know some of you have read – others haven’t – Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night, Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night, where, in 1936, he finds such decadence throughout the world.

Africa, Asia, the United States, everywhere, everywhere, he says, the poor have only one right. That is to die, either by hunger in time of peace or violently in time of war. This decadence, for a whole generation, became inbearable [sic], and the reason, again, are the Jews.

They must be killed before things can be righted. And here Céline used an accusation which goes together with decadence, that sort of ties together what I tried to say up to now. Why are the Jews decadent? Why are they tied in with decadence? Because they are formless, and the main thing is to give form. Now, what does that mean?

It may not mean much to you, as I just say it just like this. But liberalism, the idea of beauty, what were they all? They were a search for form in an industrialized, mass civilization. Look at the classical idea of beauty, harmony, and symmetry of the stereotype, the ideal type, the Aryan type, the gentile type. What was it but a search for form in industrial civilization?

The liberal use of “degeneracy,” what was it but a craving for clear form? The degenerate is atavistic, he is tired in form, he doesn’t have a form at all. Therefore, clean-cut, clean form – again, orienting oneself, really, on the classics.

The Jew as the anti-type is physically and morally degenerate. That means, of course, lack of ethics, on the one hand, as we said, certain looks on the other. But, above all, it means that the Jew lacks form, lacks clarity of form. He is the anti-type. This makes him the carrier of degeneration.

This is what attracted many writers to anti-Semitism. This is the anti-Semitism not only of Céline but also of T.S. Eliot and of a great many writers, that looking for form in a formless society. The Jew came to stand for degeneracy for anti-form, and that is not unimportant in an industrial and frightening mass society.

Thus we must say decadence becomes a serious word of accusation. It takes in all of society again, and the foil becomes the Jewish stereotype once more. Let me summarize, then, what I have tried to say up to this point about the rise of modern anti-Semitism.

In the rise of modern anti-Semitism, then, we have seen the emergence of a largely secular stereotype. We have seen that bolstered by mass politics, that is the symbolism and aesthetic symbolism of mass politics. Beyond that, we have seen it bolstered also by science now, a concept of degeneration –

… which was bound to associate the Jew with criminality, by the way, because degeneration was so closely associated, in this psychology of Lombroso, with criminality. So it was bound to associate and disassociate the Jew with criminality as well. Where then has Christian anti-Semitism been?  Among the conservatives, always, as I told you at the beginning, among the conservatives, with their hierarchical Christian orientation.

And yet, it becomes again much more than that. For in 1871, Christian anti-Semitism made a spectacular breakthrough in the West and will serve to link the old and the new. Christian anti-Semitism makes its spectacular breakthrough in the West in 1871. That breakthrough will continue to serve as the link between the old and the new.

What is this breakthrough? What is this break? That breakthrough comes suddenly, unexpectedly. In 1871, a professor at the Catholic University of Prague – I have to stress this, you’ll see why – at the Catholic University of Prague by the name of August Rohling, published a book with the name of The Talmud Jew, one of the really important books in history.

August Rohling published a book called The Talmud Jew. In this, he took accusations against the Talmud from the 18th century, from a very famous tract by a man called Eisenmenger in the 18th century, of which, really, Rohling was a copy. He copied. Eisenmenger, very largely, toward the beginning of the 18th century, had made much the same accusation in 1711.

The Jewish historian [NAMECHECK] calls this the “old, long forgotten accusation.” It is quite true, that since Eisenmenger in 18- in 1711, that accusation had been forgotten. Why? Because of secularization, because, as I said, the whole process of secularization. Now Rohling resurrects it. What does he resurrect?  For it is never to be forgotten again, it becomes very central.

What does he resurrect? He claims that the Talmud asserted that all people of the world belong to Israel – that is to say, the universal world conspiracy, not as finance capitalism, but as part of the basic Jewish religious document, the Talmud, the conspiracy accusation now in religious guise.

The Talmud advocates taking usury from gentiles only and never from Jews, a very old accusation, which goes back into the 12th and 13th century. Moreover, the Talmud classes Christians as image-worshippers, as worshippers of Bale.

And finally, it allowed sodomy to be practiced by Jews on non-Jews. It encourages, in fact, sodomy to be practiced on non-Jews. The thrust of it is this: that non-Jews are to be regarded as objects of exploitation, and this was the thrust of this pamphlet called The Talmud Jew, of 1871, by August Rohling…

… this by a Catholic scholar, a book that has never disavowed by the Catholic church. The book had a great impact, especially in Austria and especially in Vienna, where the Galician Jews were immigrating in large numbers. Popular speeches. At one workers’ gathering, for example, the workers were told…

“Do you know what the Talmud says? All Christians are donkeys and swine.” And everybody knew what the pig meant to Jews, so that Jews saying Christians are swine is something of a special dimension, because everybody knows how much Jews hate swine.

But all this would not have been to think- There is another accusation in the Talmud Jew which is more serious still, and that is the accusation that the Talmud exhorts Jews to ritual murder. And, about this, I must say something more, because the Rohling accusation of ritual murder coincided with a ritual murder case which was going in Hungary, the case of Tiszaeszlar, a village in Hungary where ritual murder accusations were made.

In other words, Rohling brought the Talmud in connection with ritual murder at the same time that a ritual murder case was making sensation, the case of Tiszaeszlar. Now, what, then, is this ritual murder? Why exactly was that such a special and important matter? Why? Why?

Now, first of all, it must be made clear, as I will eventually, that ritual murder accusations had never died out in Eastern Europe, that there is, in Eastern Europe, in Russia, no decay with this degree of ritual murder accusation. But in the West, it was now unknown, and it had been unknown for two centuries.

This goes, again, with the secularization. So that the accusation in the West, together with a case that is a spectacular case – I’ll come back to it – of Tiszaeszlar in Hungary, made it all the more grievous, as far as the Jewish community were concerned. What then is ritual murder?

And, again, I must say something, for it will never die out again, it will serve to link the old and the new anti-Semitism, as the Talmud Jew book linked the old and the new anti-Semitism. I’ll remind you that this was either the accusation that Jews perform human sacrifice…

… and that the human sacrifice which Jews perform is to slaughter a Christian child and drink its blood. This is basically what ritual murder is, the slaughter of a Christian child in order to drink its blood. The origins of such accusations go back to pagan times, pre-Christian times, and indeed, the accusation of ritual murder was made against the early Christians as well.

It was, therefore, hardly anything new. It goes back to pagan times, it was made to the early Christians. But from the 12th century, it was exclusively directed against the Jews. Now why? For there’s more to it than the simple skeleton that I have given you. There’s more to it than that. Why? Why?

The earliest explanation which goes with ritual murder and which will persist is that Jews crucified a Christian child in Passion Week, before Easter. For many years and centuries, ritual murder by Jews was associated with Passion Week – that is to say, the week of Christ’s passion before his crucifixion, the crucifixion which takes place on Easter.

Now, why? Because the Jews do it to mock Christ’s crucifixion. In other words, ritual murder was a species of a Black Mass. It was, in fact, a mockery of Christ’s crucifixion, at the very time of Passion Week and Easter.

This explanation, however, by our period, had given way to another. For ritual murder is now associated with the Jewish festival of Passover, and the accusation is now much more specific, namely that Jews slaughter a Christian child, drink its blood, and mix that blood in the unleavened bread for Passover. How are we to explain this legend? How are we to explain this?

It is explained specifically through the fact of the unleavened bread, through the fact of the special ceremonies of Passover, which were believed to have an anti-Christian direction. But, moreover, it is explained still more by the fact, the medieval fact, the medieval fact that Jews were associated with medicine and magic.

Now remember that throughout most of the Middle Ages, the Jews were the doctors, the Jews were the doctors. And remember also that medicine and magic were very closely linked. The Jewish doctor was familiar, a familiar sight, and magic was associated with medicine.

Therefore it follows that the Jew was associated with a certain kind of magic. That magic, being associated with medicine, associated the Jew also with blood and associated him with blood in two ways. First of all, through this connection of magic and medicine, which is obviously an association with blood.

But secondly, through a theological thing, namely through the Host. For with ritual murder always goes another accusation, these are unseparable [sic]. Jews not only slaughter a Christian child, et cetera, they also take the Christian Host and get it away from its own sacramental involvement.

What I mean by that is that Jews steal the Host from the church. Remember that the Host is Christ’s body and Christ’s blood, and remember that, after the priest has performed the miracle of turning the bread and wine into Christ’s body and Christ’s blood – a ceremony closely associated with Passover, closely associated originally with the Jewish Passover - that he puts it in a specially classified container.

The Jews were said to steal the Host, so consecrated, to destroy it. But it is also said that the Host, so destroyed, still bleeds. In other words, the Host, so destroyed, performs a miracle, the Miracle of the Bleeding Host. And, in many European churches, you can still see plaques to this Miracle of the Bleeding Host.

But once again, the Jews are associated with blood, they are associated with sacrifice. I will say, just by the way, that such acts, a supposed de-sanctification of the Host, served the reason for the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. When the Jews were expulsed- expelled from Spain in 1492, the reason was such a Bleeding Host, or the Miracle of the Bleeding Host and the Jews.

Now, this accusation of ritual murder had obviously – had obviously – in the West no great pull during the Enlightenment. Whatever stereotype the Jew had during the Enlightenment, surely this would be the deepest Christian superstition. In the Russian Empire, everywhere such accusation. In the West, none, for reasons that must be clear.

None, except now, for Rohling’s book had made it clear that the Talmud encouraged ritual murder, and, at the same time, right next door, you have the case of Tiszaeszlar, a typical case. In 1882, a girl disappeared from the village. The Jews were accused. It is always that way. You’ve all seen The Fixer, haven’t you? I don’t need to talk too much about this.

Have you all seen The Fixer? [INAUDIBLE] a ritual murder accusation. You haven’t, I can’t help you. 1882, a girl disappeared. The Jews were accused of having murdered her, in order to use her blood to bake unleavened bread.

This was a sensation, for this happened in the Austrian Empire, not in backward Russia, not in backward Poland or former Poland. Everybody knew Russia and Poland were backward. But this happened in the Austrian Empire, for all intents, in the West.

The Jew was arrested, there were anti-Jewish riots, and he was acquitted. But the acquittal was not believed. The day of Scharf’s, the name of the man’s acquittal, there were some of the most serious anti-Jewish riots- rioting all over the Austrian Empire. It was, of course, never believed.

Now, this was the beginning of a whole series of ritual murder cases in Austria and Germany. Most important, most important is the so-called Hilsner case in Austria, important because the Jew was actually convicted of ritual murder. The Hilsner case of 1899, important, as you all know, because who was the defender of Hilsner? Masaryk, the man who founded the Czech state eventually.

Masaryk defended HIlsner. But Hilsner, in 1899, was in fact found guilty of ritual murder. He was imprisoned, in fact, until 1918, and when he was acquitted in 1918, there were serious riots against the founder of the Czech state. Masaryk was founding Czechoslovakia in 1918, ’19…

… and, in spite of his great stature as the founder of Czechoslovakia, we have serious anti-Semitic riots against Masaryk just as he founded the state because of the acquittal of Hilsner after 19 years in jail. But that is not all.

Germany was not spared. The ritual murder in [WORDCHECK] in 1903 – we are now in the 20th century – the ritual murder of [S- WORDCHECK]. The Jew was acquitted, but it was debated in the German Diet for three or four days, that seriously was it taken. It led to a very large debate in the German Diet.

There is one more ritual case in Germany thereafter, before 1914, a case in Konitz, where the man was first convicted. Now I am telling you all this so that you can see two things. Firstly, the importance, the very great importance of Rohling’s tying the Talmud not only to anti-Christianity – “the Christians are pigs and swine” – but also to ritual murder.

How Rohling’s tying up the accusations to ritual murder linked with the actual ritual murder accusations, the first in the West for two centuries, Tiszaeszlar, then Hilsner, [WORDCHECK], Konitz – all of these now come in a series – what is the importance? The importance is clear.

The old anti-Semitism is now linked to the new. The Jew as a symbol and stereotype is once again linked to the ancient, medieval accusation of the de-consecration of the Host, and not only the de-consecration of the Host, but also ritual murder.

The climax of this comes during the Nazis – and I mention this just by the way – with the 1936 ritual murder number of the paper, Der Stürmer, which devoted, eventually in 1936, a whole number to ritual number. It will never, as it were, go down in the West, while, in the East, it had never, of course, vanished at all.

Now what about the Rohling matter itself? What about the Rohling matter itself? And here we must notice the attitude of the Vienna community. What was the Vienna community going to do in this time of accusation? What would you expect it to do? [Student speaks] Yes, that’s about right.

You would expect it, as he said, to join the foreign brigade. But, still, what was the Jewish community of Vienna going to do? What was its attitude? This, of the Jewish community of Vienna, its reaction, adds another dimension to the Rohling case, adds another dimension to the whole thing, a dimension of a dilemma.

For here now, in the Year of the Lord (laughter) 1882, when you believe that you’re liberal in progress, in progress, you were suddenly confronted with accusations that you thought were long dead and buried. You were suddenly confronted with the spread of these accusations, even in working man’s clubs, everywhere.

What were you to do? This is now a very important matter. And here we must remember the nature of the established Viennese community. A long time ago, when we talked about emancipation, I told you that this community has a special feature, patriotic, loyal to the Habsburgs, a special feature of a German patriotism in the empire. [Bell rings]

Well, the Rohling case I will conclude on Monday. Now if there’s anybody who knows Yiddish, I’d very much like to see you.

Lecture #12

Lecture #12 - 48:28 - Lecture 12 Audio (mp3)
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Questions and Answers.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 12 – March 12, 1971
I would like to do one other thing before I start. I don’t usually make announcements of one sort or another, but this time I do want to tell you that [Arthur? NAMECHECK] is in town. And if you’re interested in radicalism and Judaism, he’s just been attacked in commentary, which must be an honor of some sort. I can arrange for you to see him after class and talk to him after class. So, if you’re interested in discussing the problem of radicalism in Judaism, I guess he is the chief one whom you should talk to.

I don’t think that anybody who was so upset about Marx last time is here today, but that is this kind of thing. So if you would like to meet him afterward, you can speak to me after class, and I will arrange it, probably right after class.

[Student: Also (INAUDIBLE) Hillel tonight at 9:00, speaking on that which (INAUDIBLE)]

So you might do that, and we shall come to this eventually in one way or another, but it’s a little early for us to come to it here in this course, anyway. The other thing that I wanted to say, since some of you were having trouble – perhaps if I taught it again, I would put a prerequisite on it, at least some knowledge of history – but as some of you don’t have it and talk to me, I must say again what I said last time.

Please look at a textbook, any textbook. I obviously cannot give you a course in  modern Europe and a course in modern Jewish history at the same time. If you find it difficult to read and you want to hear about it, you can come to 120 at 8:50 on Monday and Wednesday, which is a course on modern European history in general, since 1815, but you’ve already missed a great deal of the 19th century.

But If you want to do that, that’s alright. But I realize the difficulty, but I’m putting it on your back to do something about it. Okay, now, we’re open to any questions that you might have. I guess that’s what we’re here for.

[Q: Hannah Arendt discounts the scapegoat theory (eternal) (INAUDIBLE) hatred theory. Could you explain, do you see any problems with this (WORDCHECK) it altogether?]

Yes, well, Harrah Arendt's thesis – I’d like to remind you, as some of you are having a little difficulty with reading Hannah Arendt at all – her theory depends, in very large state, upon the separation she sees between the state, on the one hand, and society on the other hand, and that Jews become involved in this, because Jews become the target, because they come to stand for authority, for the state and thing of that nature.

Now I believe that her view certainly has something to it. Some Jews did come to stand for authority of the state, and, in a sense, when I talk about democratic anti-Semitism – yes? – I'm talking about society against the state. When I say that anti-Semitism is really a movement of revolt, I’m saying something that is not that different than Hannah Arendt there.

I’m really saying that this is a movement of society against the state and that the Jews became targets. I have myself not put forward to you a scapegoat theory. In fact I don’t think I ever used that word, did I? I didn’t mean to. I’m pretty sure I never used that word, and that was done on purpose, because it is a kind of meaningless word, and it is a dangerous word. A “scapegoat” means, literally, the goat used in ancient time on which people put all their sins. That’s what it means.

So, that is, to say the Jew is a scapegoat, you actually say that the Jew is blamed for everything. Well, that jut isn’t true. In the first place, it’s not blamed for everything, You also say, underneath, that there is no reality to any of this, and, as I hope I have made clear, there is some reality to this. The Jews were exposed economically, they were in finance capitalism, there must be a reality, you see.

Where I did disagree with Hannah Arendt – but not that much, really –  is in seeing the very important to anti-Semitism, it being connected with mas movements and with modern mass politics. But she does too, though, in a way, when you read what she says about the Dreyfus Affair. She does too, in a way, no?

But what she, in my opinion, underestimates, is the irrational component in this, the irrational component in anti-Semitism. And she would not – I don’t really know why –  put such great stress as I did on the link between the old and the new anti-Semitism, that is to say the revival of ritual murder, you know, in the Rohling case, which  I talked about, and this now remaining as- and the link between the old and the new anti-Semitism.

To Hannah Arendt  anti-Semitism is a part of the nation-state and a problem of the nation-state. In fact, you might say it’s a specific problem which comes with the rise of the nation-state. I would say it is a somewhat broader problem which comes with the need of political symbolism of all sorts, which had a deep Christian component in it and which is connected with minority status much more than it is with the nation-state.

I mean, it wouldn’t be a minority problem even if there were no nation-state-- by which I do not deny that part of the problem of Jews was their identification with the state of authority, an identification you will read about in Arendt but which comes from emancipation. Do you see what I mean? So the thing is fairly-- It's not that simple -- Yes?

[Q: Are there any references in any Jewish, what do you call it, works- (INAUDIBLE) referring to ritual murder? I was reading (WORDCHECK) book. He had some-- It was some Russian Orthodox priest going on and on- quoting from some place, I don’t know if it’s the Bible or the Talmud on ritual murder.]

No, but don’t you see, Mr. Hoffman, that is just what I was talking about, in a sense. This is Rohling, which you read about too, The Talmud Jew. This was an accusation which Rohling said was in the Talmud. It is not in the Talmud, but he said it was in the Talmud through the reinterpretation of certain Talmudic passages. So what your Orthodox priest cites is in fact from an addition of Rohling, ‘cause Rohling’s Talmud Jew was translated in all European languages.

You see what I mean? So, no, you do not find it, of course, in the real Biblical literature, but you find it, as I said-- People read it into the Talmud. But that’s just a pretense. Its real thing, as I said – and it goes back to pre-pagan antiquity –  its real thing was the mockery of Christianity, which was important, and the association of Jews with blood, which is the second thing. You see?

[Q: Can you summarize quickly what Arendt was saying about (vice? WORDCHECK)?]

No, no. Arendt has another thesis – and to this, I agree with her, but to this I shall come later. You’re reading a little ahead in Arendt –

… that part of the acceptance of Jews is, in a sense, the acceptance of vice. And that is actually a thesis I would totally agree with, namely that, as at the end of the century, the interest was in the rediscovery of the unconscious, in ideas, if you like, of vice. People who were titillated by a revival of sex and all of that sort of thing.

The Jew in society was a titillating element. Let met explain it to you this way. It’s much the same as if you invite a black to your party. Yes? The same, a titillating element, and a piece of vice really, in there, which is titillating. Now if you’ve read Proust and Swann’s Way, that is the role of Swann. In the Parisian high society, Swann plays a role, it is the same role in Proust that homosexual plays.

Both the homosexual marquis and Swann the Jew are on the same level in Proust. They are both, as it were, exotic in a time which praised the exotic. They are titillating. They add spice to your party, as it were. And therefore, they are allowed to say everything which other people are not allowed to say. I mean, it is really much the same as when many invite a Negro now.

He is allowed to say what nobody else is allowed to say or would get away with,  because he is thought to be foreign and exotic and an object, if you like, of vice. And she uses the term vice, ‘cause at the end of the century, that is the kind of thing that was reviving. Greater sex, greater emphasis on the unconscious, greater emphasis on all of this. And the Jew was a kind of vice.

You like to have a little vice in your parties, don’t you? That’s it. That’s it. That’s it. You see? And if you ever read Swann’s Way, which you must read if you want to be a civilized person or if you have fantasies – perhaps you don’t – but if you want to be a civilized person and have not read Proust, you are not civilized. Simple, and that is, I think, beyond discussion.

That’s one of those great things one simply has read. There are other great things, Thomas Mann, [Horace?], Céline. All sorts of things that one has read if one wants to be cultured. Maybe you don’t want to be cultured. Maybe some of you out there just want to be uncultured physicians. Maybe. (laughter) But if you haven’t read Proust, you’d better. Yes?


No, because she's not concerned with it. What she means by the old anti-Semitism, I think I have explained. It’s the old Christian anti-Semitism. It is based on Christianity, on the crucifixion of Christ, and ritual murder is, from the 12th century, a part of it. You know? And the bleeding Host, which I talked about last time, is a part of it. And what you have, therefore, is a Christian anti-Semitism, a catechism.

If you’re interested, have any of you— any Christian catechism accessible? Do you have any friends who go to Christian Sunday school? If you have, which is possible, look at their catechism sometime. It hasn't changed. And you will see then what Christian anti-Semitism is based upon. It’s based upon the catechism. It may have changed in somewhat Catholic places but in most of them it does not. [INAUDIBLE]

[Q: I’m just wondering, we’re talking about (INAUDIBLE). And I was wondering if, by any chance, Freud ever wrote anything on it?]

Oh, a great deal. He was very concerned with this. But, oddly enough, he never really wrote any sustained theoretical work on anti-Semitism, no. But he wrote bits and pieces on anti-Semitism. He considered it a part of individual sickness but, above all, crowd sickness.

You'll find most of it in his analysis of mass movement. And he thought that this illusion was normalcy. He was a liberal – I'll come back to that in another connection later – and so he believed that the way to cope with anti-Semitism was to strengthen your ego, so it could cope with this.

But he despaired in this, eventually, ‘cause it was Freud’s misfortune always to live surrounded by anti-Semitic mass movements, such as [Karl] Lueger to which we shall come, and then of course the Fascists, and the National Socialist ones. So that in the end he really despaired. And Freud very much considered himself a Jew and was quite aware of something we shall talk about eventually, that psychoanalysis was a Jewish sect.

… and in many ways that remained a Jewish sect. And there are reasons for that. But he despaired. It was, for him, part of the irrationalism, which, he said, “I just can’t cope with. I just can’t cope with it.” Just as he said, “I can’t cope with artists, creative people. I just don’t know how to get them rationally.” So he didn't know how to make with anti-Semitism rationally, because, with Freud, it was always doing something rationally.

[Q: (INAUDIBLE) it appears there might be ego-building (INAUDIBLE) enlightened to the idea of (WORDCHECK) masculinity, which you mentioned?]

No, because ego-building for Freud, building is really a bad word. It means ego-adjusting, suppression, transference. That sort of thing is what he means. Because he believed that good society was a liberal society-- He was typical of the Jewish bourgeoisie, that's why I’ll come back to him. He believed that good society was a liberal society which was clean and all this, and it is built upon suppression and transference.

No, no, nothing he could draw with this masculinity affair. That he couldn’t understand, for, as Freud said, he'd never been able to read Nietzsche, for example. He’d never been able to read Nietzsche, so obviously he couldn’t understand it. No, no, a different word, a different word.

[Q: You keep mentioning the fact that, at this particular period, the development of stereotypes has no racial overtones. I don’t understand.]

Because, there are always exceptions, of course. That is to say, conservative movements, all movements, accepted Jews, Jews who looked right, Jews who had, for them, the right kind of soul.

So that, up to now, anything I said about the stereotype, there were always leeway left for the Jew who could be accepted, who – as you would say about the blacks – could pass. Always, in everything I’ve said.  So that we are not yet in race. Race is recent.  It’s a short episode, not 'til 1918. You could always pass. There isn’t a rightest anti-Semitic movement which didn’t have Jews in it. Doesn’t exist.

[Q: Do you find the subhuman stereotype in non-Western societies?]

My dear, I know absolutely nothing about non-Western societies, absolutely nothing. I have flown over it, I spend my vacations there. (laughter) I know absolutely, I’m afraid, nothing about it.

[Q: Last week you said that anti-Semitism didn’t really (WORDCHECK) mass politics, then you went on to say that (INAUDIBLE) a necessary (INAUDIBLE). Do you believe that (WORDCHECK) politics could never have arisen without anti-Semitism or (INAUDIBLE) another symbol? ]

Well without another symbol maybe it could never have arisen, but it’s difficult to see what that other symbol could have been, because you need a symbol that is integrated, you need a symbol that can be objectified. And I just don’t know who that other symbol could have been. There was no black population in Europe, in spite of the--

People now write about this. That’s very funny. There are lots of books about blacks in Europe, but there are three or four. You know, it’s a popular subject, I guess. But there were none, really, and those who were were treated very well, because they were the kings and princes of the empire, and no nation that has an empire can treat its population badly.

I went to school in Cambridge with black princes and black princesses. They were treated very well. There’s no racial question ever, because it was a matter of the empire. So if blacks didn’t exist, who existed? No, no. I mean, I'm not going to speculate and say that if a Jew didn’t exist, he had to be invented. That fact's going a little far.

But it is still true that it's difficult to see another similarly integrated symbol. That's all I meant to say. I mean, you can quarrel – not so much with the symbol – but you can quarrel with the fact of the necessity of the symbol. That’s another matter. But as long as you think a symbol is necessary for mass movement, then it’s very difficult to see what else.

But you had better quarrel with it, because you haven’t apparently thought out the implications of what I've been saying, otherwise some of you would have been much happier. ‘Cause the implication is, of course, that any mass movement is, by definition, anti-Semitic, or has anti-Semitic tendencies and dangers. That’s really that I’ve really been telling you.

But nobody has really thought through this, and I was very discreet about it. But my analysis leads to that inevitable conclusion, yes? So what you must quarrel with is the analysis of mass movement, if you want to quarrel. You see, because if you go one step further, then, from what I have said, then no Jew should ever really be a member of a mass movement.  This is my personal opinion, in any case, for the reason I have said. But you can quarrel. You see what I mean?

[Q: What about a Jewish mass movement?]

(Laughter). You mean that exists only in Israel. Doesn’t really exist in that sense. I suppose so, but there you have another minority, so think about it quite different. So, you know. Otherwise, Jewish mass movements don’t exist in Europe, hardly exist here in that way.

To the Bund we shall come, but the Bund was not a mass movement in that sense. The Bund was a labor organization, that’s something quite different. I don’t know what movement you would be talking about.

[Student: Zionism?]

It’s not a mass movement in that sense, but a movement founded and managed by the elite, and the masses have very little to do with it, at least for a long time. By a mass movement, I mean a political mass movement, you see what I mean? I don’t mean Jewish youth roaming or wandering in Jewish youth movements, I don't mean that kind of movement. And I don’t mean labor movement, that’s another one. We must keep it separate.

[Q: Is China a mass movement, with (INAUDIBLE)?]

I know nothing about the Third World, we’re talking about Europe. I am not interested in China, there are no Jews in— I take it back. (laughter) In China, there are probably some.

[Mosse or Student?: Doesn't interest (me/you). No Jews in China.]

They had something else, I don't now enough about it. I don’t take any pretensions to know something about something I don't know anything about. And the Third World, I don’t know anything about. I shall be in Papua next year to tell them about fascism. Apparently they think that's relevant, because they’ve asked me to lecture on it. But apart from that, no.

[Q: How did the sort of mysterious and beautiful image of the Jewess contribute to anti-Semitism?]

No, no no. Doesn’t contribute? Yes it does, and it doesn’t. It contributes to anti-Semitism by the distinction I tried to make between the Jewish male and the Jewish female. This, in a way, heightens the stereotype of the Jewish male, you see? That you can say. But Rebecca, which I read you, others, do not contribute to—

Well, what they keep alive also is the oriental, mystical tradition of the Jews. You see, don’t underestimate this, that the Jew is oriental, that the Jew is mystical. This was especially strong in England, during [Benjamin] Disraeli and after, but I don’t know, Marc, whether you ever read detective stories. No, you're beyond that. You don’t read detective stories.

Okay. The best detective or one of the detective stories are written by a woman called Agatha Christie. That means nothing to you. They are nice because the butler did it and not somebody of our class, they’re awful. (laughter). So, on the whole, Agatha Christie-- These detective stories, written now, very often have a mysterious Jew in it, right now, a Jewish figure, usually a Jewish banker –

… this goes throughout the British detective stories – a Jewish figure, a Jewish banker, who is mysterious and oriental, and he usually gets murdered, they end on that. Mysterious, oriental figure. See what I mean? So that is very strong, to this very day, the idea of mystery and the orient and all of this, you see?

[Q: Did that stereotype go back (INAUDIBLE) Shakespeare in the Merchant of Venice... ]

Yes, it goes back very far. But the anti-Semitism of Shylock is the old anti-Semitism. It is Christian anti-Semitism, not the new one.

[Q: Wasn’t his daughter a Rebecca?]

Yes, she’s a Rebecca. Yes, it goes back. I should have mentioned that. Though, immediately, in the 19th century, it isn't Shakespeare. Remember something: Shakespeare was hardly read in the 18th and early 19th century. The revival of Shakespeare, it comes not ‘til the mid or late 19the century. Remember that. So that what people read is Scot.

[Q: There's some discrepancy in (INAUDIBLE) Disraeli. Can you clear that up?]

I don’t know what discrepancy you mean.

[Student: Well, between the belief that Disraeli-- (INAUDIBLE) that it was just Disraeli putting a (WORDCHECK) on, when he wrote that book and said that he was (INAUDIBLE) that he didn’t believe in them.]

Well, he did believe in them-- Well, that I can’t resolve. I am inclined to think he did believe in all of this, yes. But it is also his way of getting accepted, you see. Disraeli is another example like Swann or vice, if you like. You know, one Jew who is accepted. They needed him, you know? They needed him. The conservative party was bankrupt.

Indeed, as you will see, from the 1880s on, the role the Jews played in politics is, in fact, usually the kind of Kissinger role. Which means you don’t have to be elected, which was very difficult for a Jew. It doesn’t really happen until 1918. But still these politicians seem to put a great prize on that sort of thing. And Disraeli, you see, made it out, from the beginning, in the beginning, a kind of Kissinger thing, in fact, made it, you see?

Because he was baptized, don’t forget that. He was baptized. He would never have made it, obviously, because no Jew could yet sit in Parliament because of the oaths, which were Christian oaths. So he was baptized, you mustn’t underestimate that. He did go to Church. Don’t you see?

[Q: What was the position of the church during the 19th century concerning anti-Semitism?]

On the whole, it was for it. I mean, first of all, the position of church is the catechism, which was never changed and which has all these things in it about Jews crucifying Christ, some of the things that I read you, in fact, from that. And, as I told you, the Catholic Church never repudiated Rohling and the ritual murder charge. You know?

Some folks opposed it in public, others did not. But by-and-large, by-and-large, anti-Semitism in this period was built in to the Catholic churches. For one thing, they disliked the Enlightenment. Therefore they disliked emancipation, you see, and all that goes with. No, no, no, no, no. The fact that that will vanish, in a sense, is a very recent, post-World War II age, really. That’s very recent.

 I’m not saying all churchmen agree – there were always the exceptions – but, by and large, the old anti-Semitism is built into Christian theology, and it is very difficult indeed to get it out. ‘Cause it is in the Bible – there’s nothing much you can do about that – especially, as I told you, in the Epistle of St. John, which I recommend you to re-read. You can also not be a cultured person and not have read the Bible, because all European thought is based so much on the Bible.

That's what everybody read [past-tense]. If you want to be a person of the people, you’d better read the Bible. That’s what people read [past-tense] and read [present-tense]. But I dare say very few of you have read the Bible, so ‘cause we don’t even teach it in Sunday school any more.

Anything else that’s on your mind in this regard? You mean it’s all that very clear? Straight? It is very simple once you get the hang of it, I agree. But is it really that clear and simple with you? There’s nothing else that is on your mind?

[Q:  If we can be a little more current – it's just something that’s on my mind - what are the possibilities of a mass movement of anti-Semitism in the US. Let's say (WORDCHECK) were to come out and say it's the Jews…]

Well, is it from the left or the right that this threat is? I would have told you that the threat isn't from the left much more than from the right, at the moment. That is no threat, that is just the European reaction. The European reaction was never any threat, nor could it ever get a mass movement started. That's more – as we shall talk about – like Franco or Salazar. Not much anti-Semitism there, hardly any.

So that, on the whole, from that kind of people, no, not at all. As for a rightist moment, you’d better mention Mr. Wallace. Because the threat of anti-Semitism comes from populism, but there’s as much populism on the left as there is on the right. So I should think a combination of Wallace and the left – which is quite possible in the United States –  that would be the threat, yes, perhaps, perhaps.

See what I mean? But there are too many other factors involved in all of this. It is, at the moment, very fringe, in any case, in the left or the right. You know? It depends how much anti-Zionism becomes anti-Semitism, and there, I am by no means convinced that that is necessarily the fact at all. It might and it might not, see what I mean? But the danger is there, yes. I don’t think it’s there in the slightest from people like Mr. [Adam? NAMECHECK], not in the slightest. But Wallace is another matter.

[Q: When Lombroso expounded his idea of (WORDCHECK), did he have Jews in mind?]

No, no, he was a Jew himself. No, he didn’t.

[Student: It's just a negative application?]

Yeah. What he expounded was a very important psychoanalytical theory before Freud. As I told you, that is the psychoanalyst before Freud. But this was then taken. The next great exponent didn't apply to the Jews either, because he was a Jew, then a leading Zionist – we’ll talk about it much longer – Max Nordau who wrote the most famous book on it, degeneration.

So it is by no means necessarily applied. Nordau applied it to all modern arts, all modern literature. Everything, in fact, that was modern Nordau applied it to. You see? And therefore it is Nordau who made that famous distinction that I have already mentioned: muscle Jews and coffeehouse Jews. And the thing he had against coffeehouse Jews was they lived on their nerves, and therefore were degenerate.

There he does mention, in the general picture, the Jews who sit in coffeehouses. And therefore his idea as a Zionist leader – this was very difficult for all Zionism, of course – wanted to make muscle Jews. See? That’s his phrase, coffeehouse Jews verses muscle Jews. That was his great alternative, with Zionism being muscle Jews. Well? Alright then.

[Q: Any mass movements that are started on certain demands that were not met – say bread, food, water – how does that relate to the “symbol”?]

Well, it was thought by Marxists, as I said, by [George] Rudé in particular – without very big archival work – that crowds know what they want. If there is a panic, they will go after the makers of bread. You know? If there's a grain shortage, they go after the grain traders. But a little closer examination that the crowd actually did – pre-industrial crowds, this is – is that that is not at all the case...

… that though there is a grain shortage, they won't go after the grain trader. They will go after the symbol to them of what is wrong, what has become the symbol, or what the leadership manipulates as the symbol. See what I mean? So they would go after the Jews, after the Bastille. And the Bastille in the French Rev— The riot for the Bastille started out as a hunger riot, but there was no bread stored in the Bastille. Everybody knew that, you see? It was a symbol, that’s all.

So a crowd riots against symbols, not against the realities. You see? On the whole, on the whole. You see? That doesn’t exclude – don’t make things so either/or – that doesn’t exclude that, in modern times, when you riot against the war, you don’t storm the draft office. That is a rational thing. That’s a one-to-one correspondence. Or ROTC. But these are very potent and existing symbols, don’t you see? They are better than the grain merchants, if I can put it that way.

[Q: Did the left in the 19th century, hold up sort of like the corporate state as a symbol as they do today, or did they just organize around the Jew?]


[Student: The left, the socialists.]

Do you know what socialism is, it has nothing to do with the corporate state. The Jew is a very unimportant thing. The Jew is a very unimportant thing in socialism. I mean, the Jewish question is very minor. I don’t quite know what you mean.

[Q: It seems to me that you could-- that you would hold that-- When you talk about the Jew being used (INAUDIBLE), you're talking about the Jew being held up as a symbol for those people to organize around and sort of protest or demonstrate against. ]

First of all, these socialists didn’t have a mass movement. Second, when they have, they have quite different symbols. So no. They had ideas about the Jew, and I told you what these ideas were, the vanishing of the Jew, you know. But that is just part of a whole iceberg of socialist thought. And though the Jew came to stand, there too, for the fetishism of goods..

… this fluctuates. And, early on, it’s there very much, as you will see when you read the [WORDCHECK] article in the [WORDCHECK]. You see? But then you will realize it’s just one part of the iceberg. You see what I mean? It wasn’t a one-issue thing. Socialism was never a one-issue. In other words, “Get rid of the Jew, you get rid of capitalism.” It’s really the other way around. If you get rid of capitalism, you get rid of the Jew. It’s a big difference. You see what I mean? It was never addressed that way.

We have time for one more. (long pause) Otherwise we have a quicker meeting. Good for you. We never get time for quiet contemplation, I'm afraid, or not enough time for quiet contemplation. I sometimes think we should have a course called “Contemplation,” maybe you could come contemplate for 50 minutes. That would be probably very healthy.

[Student: (INAUDIBLE)] (laughter)

If I could see what was going on in your head, that would be wonderful. I don’t know what’s going on in your head, unfortunately. Now, when is the exam? (Students murmuring) It is a week from Monday?

[Students: Yes]

So next Friday is the last time if you are trying to ask general questions. The examination will be in two parts-- that will interest you. One part is essay and the other is identifications from your readings. So, we’re being very old fashioned about it, very, at the six weeks anyway, very old-fashioned. So may I urge you to do your readings, please, yes? I think that is really quite important. Very well.

[Recording cuts to (00:40:00) of Lecture 11, March 10, 1971]

Lecture #13

Lecture #13 - 32:06 - Lecture 13 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

In this lecture, Mosse turns to the Jewish population of Eastern Europe: Even after the mass emigration of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, in 1925, there were still 14 million Jews in Eastern Europe. (The Jewish population grew more rapidly than the general European one). Its stereotypical image, like any stereotype, is partly true: These were Orthodox, traditional Jews. The collapse of Poland in 1772 meant that a vast number of eastern Jews were now in Russia. Emancipation in France coincided with restriction of Jewish rights in the East. Jews had been quite prosperous in Poland, but Russia immediately decreed the expulsion of the Jews from the countryside; the Jews then moved to the Western frontier. In 1835, the “Pale of Settlement” was established in the areas gained after the Napoleonic war. By the 1860s, the Pale had factories, but Jews were not employed. Even Jewish factory owners did not employ Jews because due to their particular occupational structure, they did not have the skills. Class struggle was hopeless during that time; there was no industrial proletariat, only an artisan proletariat. A reverse development occurred in the East and West. In the West, military service was integral and important for Jewish emancipation. But in Russia, from 1827 on, military service was different, basically taking the form of forced service for Jewish children with a conversionary aim. Russia had no Enlightenment of any importance. Another example is the constant ritual murder accusations in Russia. Though life went on in the ghetto, Jews became ever more dependent. A government school system and government rabbis were forced upon the Jews in the 1860s in an attempt to destroy the authority of Jews in that region. The emancipated Jews in the West underwent a reverse development: While Russia had a compact Jewish settlement “the Pale”, the “Pletztl” of Paris and other Jewish neighborhoods in the West were merely continuations of the East. While the conservative community in the ghetto was fighting the intrusion of the government, the Jewish family structure was changing in the West; in the East, it remained intact and tied to religious Orthodoxy. The religious Orthodoxy was the symbol of the rejection of a hostile world. Yet just as the court Jews evolved into Mendelssohn’s family of international bankers, so there were Jews in Russia who lived outside of the pale in wealth and influence. The perhaps most famous was Baron Gunzberg, who owned the largest investment bank in Russia and had houses everywhere, much like Rothschilds. This class - influential, but not large - certainly existed. It was part of an international class of Jewish financiers. Unlike in the West, the Jewish population in the East really lacked a middle class. It must be clear that the Westerners by and large, from their contact with the Eastern Jews, realized that there was indeed a Jewish question. The real contact came during the First World War, and with it, the awakening of the Jewish question.

Together with the Haskalaha and young people willing to westernize and accept the terms of Emancipation, a spiritual revival known as Hassidism arose in the East from the 18th century on, a revival that would never penetrate into the West. The Hassidim reached the West only in the 1920s, when Martin Buber popularized them – or rather, his version of Hasidism. Buber invented the Hassidim as a kind of forerunners of Jewish nationalism he liked. They come to the West as part of a national, not religious revival, through Buber.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 13 – March 15, 1971
… 3.4 million lived in Eastern Europe, 72 percent in 1850. And even after the immigration, even in 1925, of now 14 million Jews, 7.6 million lived in Eastern Europe. That is 51%. But in our period, it is up to 70% of the Jews. The Jews multiplied more rapidly than the European population as a whole during the Industrial Revolution. There were, in the 18th century, two-and-a-half million Jews in the world.

By 1914, roughly, there were 14 million Jews in the world. Everybody multiplied, but Jews more than everybody else. Don't ask me the reason. I do not know. We don’t even know why it happened for the rest of Europe. Now the image given in the West is, of course, like any stereotype, as you must know by now, partly true and partly a distortion.  

For the ghetto civilization of millions of Jews was never so unified, never so much a picture of the decay as you have it, of course, in The Family Moskat. But it contained a vibrant culture, all the more vibrant for the dissolution of Orthodoxy, about which Katz talks and you have read. I am not now here to speak about the discovery of Eastern European Jews, which was a Zionist affair.

Towards the end of the century, the young Zionists discovered the Eastern European Jews, and there’s even a word for that, Ostjudenenthusiasmus, enthusiasm for Eastern European Jews. I’m not talking about that. We can talk about that later in Britain. Western Zionists who wanted to make contact with the masses that’s where the masses were. [INAUDIBLE], others didn't.

It was, in Eastern Europe, a poor and miserable existence, but that does not necessarily reflect on spiritual or intellectual life. The development for Eastern Europe is inverse from that in the West. The collapse of Poland in 1772 meant that a vast number of Jews were now in Russia, something Russia had always tried to avoid in the past.

The result is that, from 1772 on, when you get emancipation in the West, you get restriction in the East, a growing restriction during the very age of emancipation in the West, which made for a different development. Jews had been quite prosperous in Poland before that, quite prosperous. They controlled much of Polish agriculture, above all, much of Polish agriculture.

But Russia immediately decreed the expulsion of the Jews from the countryside. In 1804, we have a statute, which meant that the Jews had to leave the countryside within three years. They were removed from within 35 miles of the Western frontier, ostensibly to halt smuggling operations. But the main law comes in 1835, the high point of emancipation in the West.

The “Pale of Settlement” was created. That Pale of Settlement was a clearly defined area. Now I can tell that means nothing to you. But you must look it up on the map. If we find you don't know this geography, we shall slip in Monday a geography question. The Ukraine, Vilna Russia, Lithuania, and the Polish territory added after the Napoleonic Wars, some Baltic areas. That was the Pale of Settlement. The Ukraine, Vilna Russia, Lithuania, the Polish territory added after the Napoleonic Wars, some Baltic areas.

Now what was the result? The result was a forced urbanization. That's really what the ghetto was, a forced urbanization. And therefore, an occupational structure of a particular sort and of a fatal sort. Over suddenly, the Jews became driven out of the countryside, forced into the Pale of the Settlement, countryside of course, became artisans overwhelmingly, tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, bakers, and butchers.

These were all tiny establishments, what we would call today “family enterprises.” And because this was the only way to make a living, catering to the direct necessity of the population, there was no advanced training, no technology, not even technical schools of one sort or another. Thus the occupational structure remained as it was.

To be sure, by the 1860s, factories proliferated, but the factories, mainly owned by Christians, did not like to hire Jews, not just because they were Jews but because they lacked the skills necessary. Even Jewish factory owners were not able to hire Jewish workers, because, there again, the skills were not there...

… and it is interesting to observe that Jewish factory owners lagged in modernization much behind the Christian factory owners. So that what you get is a static economic and social system. And it is no wonder that the early members of the Bund, the socialist organization to which we should come eventually, believed that the class struggle was hopeless among that kind of population...

… among a population whose proletariat was not an industrial proletariat, but whose proletariat was indeed an artisan proletariat, that is a proletariat of small family enterprises, living at the level of subsistence, whose technical training was nil and even whose factories lagged behind their Christian counterparts.

They despaired of the class struggle.  What might be called the reverse development of East and West, symbolized best by military service. Now you remember that in the West during emancipation, military service was greatly coveted, that rabbis preached about it, that military service was an entrance to citizenship...

… that therefore military service was prized, and that eventually Jews rose to generals – not only in Italy, but also, by the way, in France – that Jews rose to generals, that you have therefore a certain attitude toward military service that goes with this emancipation. But in Russia, from 1827, also military service was decreed, but this was something totally different.

Jewish recruits were recruited at an early age, up from the ages of 12 to 14. They were put in separate schools and institutions, for Russian military service was designed to convert to Christianity, was designed to solve the Jewish question, and to solve the Jewish question in, if you like, still a medieval way, by converting Jews to Christianity, at the same time when the West was given way to Enlightened ideas.

For Russia had no Enlightenment of any real importance, that is important for you to remember. Russia had no real Enlightenment – that was fatal to the Jews – of real importance, of real depth, not at all, not to compare Western Europe, of course. Another example by Rohling, which I talked about and which you'll remember with The Talmud Jew, was an episode in the West and didn't come 'til 1871 at that.

Ritual murder accusations were constant in Russia. There's a famous case in 1816, there's a famous case in 1817, there is a famous case in 1823. And even if the Czar at the time did not believe in it, Czar Nicholas I did believe in it. In other words, what you have is even some Czars believing in it.

But whether believed in it or not, there are constant accusations of ritual murder. So what you have is, indeed, what Nordau would have called atavistic development. Russia was, in a sense, an atavism, looked at from the West, not only its treatment of Jews, but in its superstitions, in its effort to make military service not an entrance into citizenship but a matter of conversion to Christianity.

All this did not obtain in the West, at all, of course. Religion had nothing to do with military service there, military service was an entrance ticket into emancipation, and assimilation. Now, to be sure, this must not be exaggerated. Life went on, of course, in the ghettos, under such conditions. But life went on evermore defensively, for the Russian authorities attempted indeed to destroy Jewish autonomy.

That is to say, the Jewish settlement in the Pale, with all its urbanism and atavistic social and economic structure, was not allowed to become a Jewish state. That was far from the idea of the Russian government. Instead, it tended to destroy any Jewish autonomy that remained from the past.

It tried, eventually, by the '60s, to force upon the Jews, a government school system – that is a secular school system – and government rabbis, that is to say rabbis appointed by the government, loyal to the government, and indeed government officials. So that the defensiveness of the Jewish community of the ghetto, but was against the government, not only because of its attempt at conversion, which went on all the time...

… but because of its attempt to destroy the autonomy of the Jews in that region. Now, autonomy was no problem in the West. The emancipated Jews of the West did not want autonomy. But here you have a different and reverse development. Here the Jews were together in a mass.

 I make clear to you often enough, when you always raise this thing about anti-Semitism, “What did the Jews do?” In the West, the Jews were not together, they weren't even together the way they are in America. Any European Jew who is coming to America is shocked, as I was shocked, by the fact that American Jews live in the same portion of town, have the same country club, and all of that sort of stuff.

That was unknown, you mustn't forget that, you mustn't project that. That was unknown. But in Russia, you did have a compact settlement, which you no longer had in the West. All you had in the West only were Eastern Jews immigrated. When Eastern Jews immigrated into the West, they did make a compact settlement in Western towns, greatly to the distress of the established Jewish community.

So that you have the London East End or the Marais in Paris, the “Pletzl,” as they called it, the Marais in Paris, now very fashionable but then the ghetto. You had this. But these were East European immigrants continuing their social pattern and not the Western Jews which did not have this social pattern.

The community therefore was defensive, and the result is that not only do you have the social structure archaic, but indeed, all other structures were archaic. That is to say, you end up with a conservative community, which believes that conserving the old form is the way to fight the intrusion of a hostile government. Therefore you get, in the ghetto, after all, the family structure intact, when it is not intact anymore among Jews in the West, as we shall soon see.

In the West, the family structure was dissolving in the 1880s – Western Jews were part of this – but in the East, the family structure remained intact. Not only that, but religious orthodoxy played into that. Religious orthodoxy, after all, remained intact, as you know from reading your Family Moskat.

The result was that what you have in Eastern Europe is a community in which the vast number of Jews lived. I gave you the statistics. Between 70, near 70 percent of the Jews of the world lived in the Pale. The result was that, in the Pale, you have, first of all, then, a forced urbanization, and this kind of total distribution, artisan proletariat, an artisan proletariat.

Very unusual. The Bund were proud. It played into the trouble that Lenin had with the Jewish Bund, 'cause Lenin never understood that, he never understood that the Bund had to cope with an artisan proletariat. That's something quite different than coping with an industrial proletariat. But Lenin never understood that. Amazing, he never understood that.

The second thing that you must remember is that this community was, from the very beginning, on the defensive, that therefore it clung to institutions which were long gone in the West, not only occupational – they didn't have much to say about that – but the family and, above all, religious orthodoxy, which was the symbol of the rejection of a hostile world.

And after all, please do me a favor. Get the proportions right. We've been talking about anti-Semitism in the West. It's going to be important, was important, but it wasn't that important. In the West, for all the anti-Semitism we've been talking about – and I call this the rise of anti-Semitism, I didn't call it the flowering, the rise –

… most Jews lived as comfortable a life as most of you have lived in your suburbs. In other words, it wasn't much of a problem, it wasn't much of a problem. So that, on the whole, you mustn't forget that. But in the East, but in the East, this is something quite different.

There, the hostile government, not only capitalized through military service, economic restriction, but also, from the 1860s on, through definite attacks upon the community as a whole, secular schools, the government rabbi. All of this were definite attacks on the community.

Now it is clear, matters did not always stay the same over the centuries, unnecessary to say. There were in Russia halfhearted attempts to ease the situation, above all in the 1860s, halfhearted government attempts to ease the situation. But the important thing is that these attempts never really got anywhere. They eased them, but eventually it would tighten up again.

There's one thing that I have not yet mentioned. Eastern European Jewry also had its aristocracy. For in Russia, there had been always Court Jews. And just as the Court Jews of Western Europe evolved into the Moses Mendelssohns, the international bankers, so there were Jews in Russia who were Court Jews, who lived outside the Pale and who indeed lived in great wealth and with some influence.

This aristocratic class is like the whole aristocratic class of the financiers. For example, it contained the most famous of them, Baron de Gunzburg. The de Gunzburg family are one of the most famous of the-- Typically enough, he owned the largest investment bank in Russia, and typically enough, like his fellow bankers, the Rothschilds, the Pereires, all of those, though he lived in Russia, he was very international.

Typically enough, the Barons de Gunzburg spent part of their time in St. Petersburg, part in Paris, part in London. They would have houses everywhere just as the Rothschilds and the Pereiras and the other great bankers of the 19th century, Jewish bankers. This class certainly existed, and it was not large but influential.

For the masses in the ghetto, in the Pale, they were helped only by philanthropy. Such philanthropy as there was, of course, came from this class, this wealthy class of international Jewish financiers. But I must make clear, for reasons that will become apparent later, that that class of financiers existed in Russia as it existed in Germany or Austria and France.

In fact, they were all ennobled. It was the Baron de Gunzburg, just as it was, let us say, Baron Hirsch, whom we shall come to later, or Baron Rothschild. They were also all ennobled eventually. So that there was indeed a great class differentiation, but the class differentiation among Jews in the East lacked, clearly, a middle class.

It was a differentiation between the haute bourgeoisie – or I don't know what you would call these international financiers, they were more than haute bourgeoisie – and the rest. But this differentiation did not exist in the West either, where. between the great banking houses and the international financiers, there had grown up a middle class Jews.

Middle class Jews are doctors and lawyers and professionals and medium merchants, but that middle class is missing in Eastern Europe as well, so that you have these masses, on the whole, and those kind of financiers which really did not touch them.

Now if this is the environment in which all of this played. There are two more things that must be said about them. First of all, it must be clear, I think, how this impacts the West. To this we shall come back, but there's one more thing I must say about that, and that is this.

The Westerners, by and large, got their idea of the existence of a Jewish question not so much from the anti-Semitism, which was only writing, but from their contact with the Eastern European masses. We have a great deal of evidence of what an eye-opener it was for a Western Jew to come in contact with them.

I'll give you one more example from 1911 – and again, a socialist one, because I think those are those most panicked – by Felix [Stamper? NAMECHECK] who was then a leading Social Democrat and, for two decades, editor of the [WORDCHECK], the German democratic paper. This is how it is for him, for example.

“He went to Lodz, a new world of dirt, misery and neglect. For the first time, I saw the Jews as a mass,” - that underlies what I just told you. “For the first time, I saw the Jews as a mass and realized that there was indeed a Jewish question.” That could be said by a Western Jew in 1811 [sic.].

That gives you some more ideas of keeping anti-Semitism in the West in perspective, keeping it in perspective as over against the East. The real contact came during the First World War. Above all, when Germany occupied that part of Poland, that is when the real contact came.

We have come to a certain degree already with the immigration, but the real contact for most, the awakening of the West to the Jewish question comes in contact not with Western anti-Semitism – except perhaps in the Dreyfus Affair for Herzl – but it came, by and large – let us remember this, with the exception of the Dreyfus Affair – in the contact with East European Jewry.

That is how the awakening came about, and, of course, the literature that I have talked about. But secondly, we must remember that all this, all this, we should not take for [INAUDIBLE their point?]. That is to say, there is no linkage between economic conditions and the flowering of cultural life. There is no linkage.

For as you know, from your Family Moskat, cultural life did flourish in the ghetto, but if the linkage isn't between economic conditions and the flowering of cultural life, it certainly is between economic, political, social conditions and the kind of spiritual life which flowered. What then was the kind of spiritual life which flowered?

And that, of course, is of importance. Never in the West – again you have an isolation – never in the west. For the two great movements, communism and the Haskalah, never came to the West. The Haskalah was not applicable to the West anyhow. It was a movement which you will read about in Weininger.

That is the movement of young people to get up to date with Western culture, to Westernize themselves, that is to accept the culture of emancipation. So that in Weininger [sic – The Family Moskat] you have Asa Heschel, however crazy he was, reading, for example Weininger. I talked to you about Weininger's Sex and Character, one of the most read books.

It was read in the ghetto of Warsaw, it was read everywhere, Weininger's Sex and Character. It [WORDCHECK] anti-Semitism, or, let us say, he [WORDCHECK] anti-Semitism, even in the ghetto. So Weininger's Sex and Character, Asa Heschel reads. Nietzsche, he reads, all the newest things of the West which were kept out of the Pale by the Orthodoxy, by the conservatives.

But together with Haskalah, you get, from the 18th century, a spiritual revival, the spiritual revival known as Hasidim. And that spiritual revival, again, will never penetrate in the West. Oh, there may have been a few Westerners here and there, the crazy people who took it up, just as there were, in the West, a few Kabbalists, like later on Oscar Goldberg, who is the first new-left Kabbalist, and we shall talk about him later.

He combined new new-leftism in the '20s with the Kabbalah, not yet quite the Kabbalah, that's later. Don't laugh, my friend Gershom Scholem tells me his book [that his book?] on the Kabbalah sells well in the United States. But it's obvious, they put psychedelic cover on it and it appeals to this kind of subculture, that is clear.

But the Hasidim, the Hasidim, on the whole, did not penetrate to the West. They penetrated to the West – and I want to say that now –  only by the 1920s, only when Martin Buber popularized it. And what Buber popularized had little to do with the Hasidim you are going to hear about.

But what Buber popularized was a mythical Hasidim which was a new Jewish nationalism. In other words, he had a problem-- you will see, all Jewish nationalists have great problems, and one great problem is to find the right kind of nationalism. All new nationalism has its problems of course, Jews not excluded.

I mean, you go to Africa for black. It's all very difficult. You have to invent it almost. Well, Buber invented the Hasidim as a kind of forerunner of the kind of Jewish nationalism he liked, not by any means universally accepted. But the Hasidim come to the West, is very particular, and I think it's entirely difficult.

They come to the West not as a religious revival. They come to the West as part of a national revival. That's very important to realize, that the Hasidim to not come to the West as what they were, a religious revival. That's what they were. But they come to the West through Martin Buber, almost single-handed by the way, as a national revival...

… and they stay in the West, as scholarly work has told us, and others, as a national thing, not as a religious thing. The spiritual life in the East, therefore, was based on the revolt against the conservatism and Orthodoxy, that must be clear. In that regard, the second was of prime importance, that I have said.  

But from the second, we must now come to this religious revival. We must now come to Hasidism [sic] first and the Haskalah second. But unfortunately, there lies a week between them. More than that separates them as movements, but I'm sure you won't want to hear about the Haskalah on Friday.

You'd rather discuss. But that is to discuss we cannot discuss, yes? We cannot afford to waste time, otherwise I'll never get up to the end. I'll never get up to the end of this course anyhow, It doesn't really matter. It’s up to you. (laughter)

You can put it all together in the end. I don't think I'll get up actually, totally, but we'll see. Alright, you want to still discuss on Friday, you haven't changed it? Alright, so Mr. [Borber? NAMECHECK] will talk next time because he is the great expert on Hasidim, and then he will talk to you on Haskalah. You must be very grateful, because they're two things that I know nothing about and he knows a great deal about.


Lecture #14

This lecture is unavailable.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 14 – March 17, 1971     * Guest Lecturer*
… but I think, towards the end, there'll be some sort of connection. We'll try to find it together, hopefully. But, after spending five to six weeks of the semester talking about secularization of Jewish life, talking about the problems of Jews in the '30s coming into Europe in modern times, this morning we're forced to go back and think of Jews not being in modern times...

… of Jewish life not having a confrontation with secularism, of Jews living what writers call a “whole life,” or life with people, this concept of religion permeating all aspects of life. If I can recall to your minds to the presentation in Katz, the early classes on the role of the Talmud in Jewish life, the role of the teachings in the Talmud, the rabbi. Then, again, we refer back to Katz, moving into the later medieval period, looking toward Eastern Europe.

In fact, in the 11th and 12th in particular, he talked about the Jewish intellectual curves and trends moving more inward. What Katz is talking in the early medieval period, the 12th, 13th centuries, the Jewish-gentile confrontation, the Jewish-gentile polemic, the Jews and gentiles thinking about these problems, especially Jewish thinkers thinking about confrontation.

As Jews moved further and further East, as they become more and more encamped in the ghettos, Jewish thought moves more inward. Katz told us, in Chapter 12, about these mental attitudes. I think that's very, very important in Jewish intellectual thinking, because, as it's moving east, and as the problem's no longer a confrontation with the outside world – the problem becomes the definition of the Jews with the non-real outside world,

… the outside world is only known through stereotypes, through misreadings of other sources - the division between the Jew and Jewish thought and the outside world grows. At the same time, at the same time, we have a new transformation. [INAUDIBLE]. Whereas the Talmud was the main source of Jewish knowledge in the medieval period, the Talmud was the source constantly referred to, as the Jews are moving into Eastern Europe...

… at the end of the 16th and 17th century, the rabbi, as the interpreter of the Talmud,  becomes the main source of Jewish life – not a source so much as the authority. If you follow it, both in Katz and probably in section, you heard so much about the Jewish communal organization, about how the communal affairs were run, Jewish life, all sorts of organizations, all sorts of committees.

The rabbi sat at the center of this, with the rabbi interpreting all decisions, legal, judicial types of decisions, economic decisions. And his Jewish life, became, instead of a large Talmud, becomes a rabbinical type of life definition with this problem. Now, Jewish society, at the same time, was becoming a very caste type of society. The fluidity of moving up and down was gone.

The rabbis, the Talmudic scholars, the people sitting in study halls, were at the top of the system, with, of course, the regular read people being at the bottom, in this very, very rigid social structure. Now, this is a process that you see it in Katz, a process that you heard about, read about in some of the readings this semester.

You especially can see it in The Family Moskat. The Family Moskat is talking about Jews in the 20th century, on the eve of World War I, and you still see this among the rabbis, the veneration of religious aspects of life. The secularization still has not come, especially when you think about Asa Heschel's background. There's a wonderful chapter there where Asa Heschel comes back to visit his grandfather...

… and he comes back into the shtetl. It's a completely different world than the Warsaw Jewish ghetto. But now, we're still in the 17th century, and as the 17th century is very, very important for us, it was because the effect of the year, 1648, the Khmelnytsky attacks. The Ukrainian uprising forced serious economic dislocation in Jewish life, especially those Jews who were living closer to the Ukraine, or in the Ukraine, or living in the Southern part of Poland, Moldavia.

And we have this serious economic dislocation, physical dislocation. Many Jews were killed, many Jews were forced into [INAUDIBLE –the results?]. Katz treats this, in terms of martyrology, but what we're about to see here is another aspect of this, in terms of serious attacks upon traditional Jewish life, a Jewish life that had moved inward and now is being attacked physically from the outside.

Also in the 17th century, we have the beginnings of Jewish mysticism. Coming into Eastern Europe from Spain, studied the Kabbalah, a different interpretation of man and God, the goal of the messiah. Towards the end of that century, we have the first messianic movement in Judaism, the Sabbatean movement, headed by a man called Sabbatai Zevi – the word is up here, Sabbateanism.

With the problems of the Jews in Poland at this time, in the Ukraine, physical problems, spiritual problems, again the masses being dislocated from the Rabbis, the Talmudic readers, the interpreters, there's an emerging – mysticism together with messianism was telling you – it was the emergence of this messianic movement to bring redemption in our time.  

Again, you must think of this in religious terms. These are not people who are secularized, this is people who constantly live in exile, to whom exile is a living thing, every day, that the only solace that they find in life comes with the Sabbath. After six days of work, the Sabbath becomes supreme. Then someone comes up and you have this fantastic attack, physical attack, on the community, with this loss, this spiritual loss and then the beginnings of this messianic movement...

… such as the Sabbatean movement. This had serious problems for the Jewish people in this Polish portion of Eastern Europe. The Sabbatean movement is dated around 1665, 1666, and it is mostly those-- It comes out of Turkey, the Turkish Empire. It's located in those areas of Eastern Europe that--  the [Dobi? WORDCHECK], which was under the Turks until 1699.

The movement itself becomes a sect. It moved far away from traditional Judaism, from practices, from beliefs. And it's excommunicated by the rabbinate. But it has a deep effect on people, because again, it combines and mysticism had refined a yearning for some sort of redemption. And so, at the beginning of, let’s say, the 18th century, we have this situation where Jews who were still living a religious life are socially on the bottom of a very rigid caste system...

… are intellectually divorced from their leadership, because, at the same time, or in the same influence the Talmud is becoming a very involved study in which scholars sit, look for contradictions in texts, try and solve the contradictions, look for other contradictions. This whole thing becomes mental exercise, mental exercise in order to sharpen the mind …

… which of course has nothing to do with the Jews living someplace in the [Dohm? WORDCHECK], living in a shtetl, who had-- can barely read. He can read the prayer book, but that's a lot. Then, around 1740, we have the appearance of a man called Yisroel Baal Shem Tov, Yisroel Baal Shem Tov, who-- Baal Shem Tov means “worker of good deeds,” and he's called, in traditions, a “Besht.” Baal Shem Tov appears as an illiterate Jew, not as a rabbi, but a simple person who studied, studied mysticism.

It's significant that [NAMECHECK], many writers pointed out that the strongest place for Hasidism took the greatest root were those places where the Sabbatean sect also had great roots. Like Moldavia. And they searched, certain scholars searched for the interrelationship between the Sabbatean sect and early Hasidism.

Anyway, Yisroel Baal Shem Tov, around 1740 – and it's not [INAUDIBLE] for - around 1740, becomes an itinerant preacher, a faith healer, goes around from community to community, starts preaching a new type of Judaism, that's not at all a new type of Judaism, but a Judaism of a type which has different emphases. [INAUDIBLE] devotion to God.

It's very, very important to people who, for the last 50 years, have been attacked physically, have had whatever hopes they might have had in a messianic redemption destroyed by the Sabbatean movement becoming a a sect itself --Sabbatai Zevi, the head of the movement himself converted to Islam. And so a man comes and he starts preaching this idea of devotion to God, but a type of God who is a good God...

… a belief in the goodness of God, not a God who allows suffering, a God of vengeance, but belief in a good God. And then the most important aspect of this is that the possibility of communion with that god through faith and devotion, through prayer specifically. Now, this becomes very important to people who dissent, who do not occupy themselves all day long with studying, with solving intricate Talmudical problems.

And the fact that the Besht speaks in a mystical type of language, speaks in terms of a magic – he is a faith healer, he goes around and heals people through faith, and he talks in terms of the goodness of God, talks about the individual being able to commune with God – becomes very very significant.  

But, what happens is that this is very, very narrow. There are many mystical movements, strictly associated with the Besht himself with some disciples that he's picked up. The main aspect of his teaching becomes this emphasis on emotional prayer, a test to reach the communion, and the thought that there is an interaction between this world and the next world.

It becomes very, very important later on, this concept of interaction between worlds, this world and the next world. Early Hasidism, possibly the last twenty years of the Besht's life, 1740 to 1760, becomes this narrow small group of followers with their teacher who no longer go around from place to place but have now established some sort of small court where they sit, where they think about these problems, people come to them.

The importance, though, of Hasidism, though, is not in this small group of a few people sitting and talking. What happens is, after the death of the Besht, around 1760, his disciples come together, and it is at this point that Hasidism becomes a mass religious movement. And this is only through emphasis of this aspect of the Besht speaking of interactions of worlds.

Because now we have the emergence of the figure of the Tzadik, the name of the [WORDCHECK]. Tzadik means a “righteous person.” And it is believed that the righteous person, because he is touched by God, [INAUDIBLE], because he has this deep faith, because he can commune, can be an intermediary for the people who might-- who extended their faith as the Besht. He can be the intermediary between the people and God.

And the disciples of the Besht, of the Baal Shem Tov, go out and become the original Tzadikim, the original righteous. What they do is they go to the community, they establish a communal type of society. In other words there is-- They assume a responsibility for the members of the community. Again, remember in The Family Moskat, if you've gotten that far...

… where Aaron,  the son of – the son of Leah, Leah's son, remember, he comes a Tzadik and then takes over – and this is before WWII – he comes back from Palestine, comes back to Poland to evacuate his followers. There's a sense of responsibility between the Tzadik and the people, the Tzadik and his followers. The Tzadik moves out, moves into the community, establishes a court.

The Tzadik then in turn becomes a type of non-messianic messiah for people who are interested in the redemption, in the final redemption. The Tzadik represents this type of a messiah who-- In this world, we have someone whom we can go to directly.  But what happens is that, since there are so few teachings in this thing, it's a strictly Orthodox approach. Unlike the Sabbatean movement, there are no deviations from [WORDCHECK]. There are small changes, small occasions, but there are no serious deviations.

It is still extremely Orthodox, still devoted to all the precepts of Orthodox theology, but now the emphasis is no longer on learning as much as it is on faith, prayer, devotion. And it becomes a mass movement, literally. Between the years 1772 and 1800, Hasidism spread through most of southern Russia. 1772 marks the first partition of Poland, by 1800, all of Poland had these partitions.

Hasidism has spread through most of southern Russia. It did not get to the north. There was one group of Hasidim in White Russia, who were a variable, a different than the type of thing I'm suggesting now. But I cant really say more about that. And Hasidism never made great inroads in Lithuania at all, for other reasons.

But between these years, we have this great spread, and it is spread mostly on this aspect of devotion, of faith, of the individual being able to reach communion with God, the individual being able to have religious salvation without having spent his entire time studying, without following the traditional path laid down in the centuries of Talmudism, of the contradictions in texts and this type of studying.

Now the Tzadik himself is an interesting figure, because, the Tzadik, because he has no intellectual basis to his being named Tzadik. He is strictly made Tzadik on the basis of the fact the original ones had contact with the Besht. After that, it becomes hereditary. So the Tzadik himself is the person who spends his whole time here thinking about God, the glories of God, who accepts people.

Here again, if you have read The Family Moskat, you recall how the people come to the Tzadik's court, how people come and ask him-- [INAUDIBLE] Moskat comes to the Tzadik and asks the Tzadik to draw up the marriage contract of his grandmother in Russia. The Tzadik has patrons, the Tzadik has followers, again, in the community and beyond the community, people leave and still have relations with the Tzadik.

The Tzadik himself, the problem in Hasidism – and once we get into the 19th century, the middle of the 19th century - the problems in Hasidism becomes corruption at the Tzadik. You can well imagine that something that is so narrow - it is not based upon learning, it's strictly heredity - that many times the person who was due to become the next Tzadik is really unfit for the post, is not sincere, looks upon the post [INAUDIBLE] himself..,

… looks upon the post as a way of getting money and going off someplace with the money and taking advantage of his followers. The Tzadik, at the same time, is expected to perform miracles. Now, originally, this goes back to the personality of Baal Shem Tov, the Besht. The Besht himself was a miracle-worker, therefore those people whom he touched, those disciples of his, are also expected to be miracle-workers.

And it was a part of the Hasidism's growing of legends, of stories about individual Tzadikim who could perform miracles, who do these things. The point at which we are right now in this course, the specifics of 19th century, Hasidism had made this fantastic convert, mostly poor, socially lower Jewish communities.

But the reason it hadn't done so well in the north again goes back to Khmelnytsky uprising of 1648, where the community itself wasn't as impoverished as the north, wasn't attacked by the Cossacks coming through. And what happens around the turn of the century is that there's a counter-movement against Hasidism. Hasidism, as a revival force, has touched a lot of people...

… it has destroyed much of elitism of the rabbinate, and the rabbinate itself is coming back around with its own opposition to Hasidism. This is, by the way, called the Misnagdim, the opposition group. This movement is not that important now, but I want to talk a little bit about that when I talk about Haskalah. But, by 1800, there's almost a stalemate.

Communities that had fought over what is to be a Hasidic community as opposed to a non-Hasidic community, things had been pretty well settled by 1800. It still carries over pertaining to certain places in Lithuanina where there are instances of both parties, the Hasidim and the Misnagdim, the opposition movement to the Hasidism, go to the government and slander each other in order to gain control of the community.

But by 1800, we have Hasidism firmly established. We have masses who are among the illuminated among the Hasidim, in the movement. We have what initially was an anti-intellectual movement into the 19th century starts moving again toward study. They did not maintain this type of Pietism, emotionalism within [prayer? WORDCHECK], again slowly back into study.

At the same time, the oppositionist Rabbinical party is reforming its own methods of study. So by about 1820, 1815/1820, we have a convergence, with Hasidism moving towards study, the opposition movement reforming its elements, methods of study, and introducing the Reform into the schools of learning. At the same time, we had no real serious change in the social life, in Eastern Europe.  

Hasidism is mainly an internal regenerative force. [INAUDIBLE] that said that something was very, very necessary, needed by people. But Hasidism didn't introduce any differences in life, in social life. The same communal establishments that we saw in the 17th century, the beginning of the 17th century, the Kabbalah, still remained in the 19th century. The same communal organization still remained.

But what happens is that in those districts that Hasidism has conquered, those are now Hasidic communities. Those are now controlled completely by Hasidim. In other words, the Tzadik now is at the center where, formerly, it would have been the rabbi, or the [WORDCHECK] was run by some sort of oligarchic group. What is also happening now in the 19th century is that the Tzadik, the further we get away from the office, and the part, and the role of the Tzadik have become institutionalized...

… the Tzadik, we had this growing, growing corruption. We will see that the Haskalah movement starts out as a reaction to this corruption within the Tzadik. What they do is they point to all the aspects of the whole concept of the Tzadik which required reform, outrages as far as taking money from poor people and lending it to the Tzadikim, who are living very, very high, who have wealthy courts, spend their vacations in Western Europe, where they are looking for husbands for their daughters.

And it's this aspect of Hasidism that, in the 19th century, is mostly intact. But, again, there is no real change. With Hasidism, there's no real change in the social and economic patterns of life in Eastern Europe. It is strictly a spiritual regeneration, and a very important spiritual regeneration, but with no new change to social life.

It establishes this office, this concept of a righteous, of a devout person who, at first, is far away from learning, is divorced from the concept of being a Talmudical scholar, but who has magical powers. This concept would last through the entire 19th and 20th centuries, seen itself in The Family Moskat, on the eve of World War II. The Tzadik is still around, the Eastern European Tzadik.

Another important aspect of Hasidism is by its attack, attack on the Talmud, not a direct attack on the Talmud, but an attack on the method of learning and studying the Talmud and an attack on the place of the Talmud in the life of the Jew. The Hasidism, you did not have to be a scholarly Jew, you did not have to study the Talmud in order to be a good Jew, in order to be a righteous Jew.

But in this attack on this system, what we see is really the replacement of the Talmud and the Torah, its study, by the Tzadik. We see in many, many communities where the Hasids themselves, the regular man who the Hasid is working, is following, adheres to the Tzadik, does not spend time studying, but rather goes off in the court. We have the example of The Family Moskat again, where people leave their families for months at a time, going off with the Tzadik's court...

… eating at the Tzadik's table, grabbing for whatever food the Tzadik has out, because, again, this mystical, magical element about the Tzadik, whatever he touches becomes holy, whatever he parcels out becomes holy. So the people spend all their time at the Tzadik's court, abandoning their families. But, at the same time, there's this negative aspect put on the study of the Talmud.

This becomes very important later, because the Haskalah also, the men of the Haskalah, the enlightened, will also be attacking the study of the Talmud. And it becomes, when we talk about the secularization of life, the modernization of Eastern European Jewry, this aspect of attack on the Talmud, attack on traditional values, traditional study, attack on the traditional pattern of study, is very, very important.

It comes from both sides, the Hasid and the men of the Haskalah. The method of popularization, the method of popularization of Hasidism is very interesting because, again, you have a movement without any scroll – I don't know – text, without any theology or tome. The whole thing becoming kind of vague.

The first thing that I should point out, because the personality of the Besht is very important to spreading this, the Besht himself and all the stories about him. The Tzadik becomes the heir to the Besht, he assumes all the powers the Besht had. But the second aspect, the second aspect of this becomes the story. The Hasid doesn't spend time studying, learning, but he teaches through the moral of the story.

And I wanted to conclude by reading you a small story, reading a small story showing both aspects of this. It comes from Gershom Scholem's Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, showing you both the aspect of the Hasid, and the workings of the Hasid, showing how Hasidism is spread through stories. The story goes, “When the Baal Shem has a difficult task before him, he goes to a certain place in the woods, lights a fire, and mediates in prayer.

“What he had set out to perform was done. When, a generation later, a disciple of his is faced with the same task, he would go to the same place in the woods and say, 'We can no longer light the fire, but we can still speak the prayers,' and what he wanted done became reality. Again, a generation later, another discipline had to perform the same task, and he too went into the woods and said, 'We can no longer light a fire, nor do we know the secret meditations belonging to the prayer, but we do know the place in the woods to which it all belongs, and that must be sufficient.' And sufficient it was.

“But when another generation had passed, and the Tzadik was called upon to perform the task, he sat down in his golden chair in his castle and said, 'We cannot light the fire, we cannot speak the prayers, we do not know the place, but we can tell the story of how it was done.' And the story-teller adds, the story which he told had the same effect as the prayer itself.” Thank you.

If there are any questions on Hasidism, aspects of Hasidism, in the remaining time, I will try to answer them. Otherwise, good luck on your examination. (Students begin bustling.)

[Student: Could you...]

One second, one second.

[Q: Could you explain Haskalah (INAUDIBLE)]

I was hoping to explain Haskalah next week, if... One second please!

[Q: Were the Tzadikim addressed as Rebbe, (INAUDIBLE – were they the same thing?)]

What I alluded to once before – since I do have quite a bit of time left – what I alluded to once before was the small group in the generalized version of the Hasidism in the Ukraine. There's a small group of Hasidim in White Russia who are outside of this regular trend, pattern. Those are the Hasidim called the Chabad.

The Chabad group, because of their proximity to the opposition group to Hasidism in the Lithuanian rabbinate, had more of an emphasis constantly on learning, whereas, in this period from 1770 to roughly 1780, Hasidism is making great movement, mass movement, without this aspect of learning, emphasis on learning. The Chabad movement maintained learning.

The word itself “Chabad” stands for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. And Chabad itself still maintained a more rational approach to the whole concept of Hasidism. It's an extension to the southern variety that I was discussing before.

[Q: If you would you like to stress this concept of the righteous one (INAUDIBLE) Hasidim. In my observation of the Hasidim in the 20th century, I have noticed that they have-- I've noticed two things. One, they seem to have very joyful conception of religion. Two, they seem to have simultaneous desire to preserve traditions i.e. they dress in black clothing, they wear their hair and their beards long, they have these customs where I think they shave the head of the wife.]

Those customs you're referring to are strict Orthodox customs that a non-Hasidic following in the 17th and 18th century also. I think the idea of shaving one's wife's head--- You don't have to be a Hasid in the 20th century to have your wife's head shaved. I mean, it's not indigenous to Hasidism.

[Q: It's not? Did it become so later on?]

Well, as we get the secularization of Eastern European Jewry, one aspect of secularization becomes the shedding of traditional garb, the shedding of traditional appearances. Hasidim, as you point out, were conservative in this respect in that they did not shed--

Now, I mention Chabad, the Chabad group, does not wear the peyos.  They-- You get Hasidim who wear the peyos behind their ears or long dangling peyos. The Chabad does not do that. So, when we talk about the phenomenon of the secularization of Eastern European Jewry, which goes along with the clothing, the peyos, the shaving of the wife's head, the woman's wearing sleeves--

What I'm saying is that some Hasidic groups had not accepted the full secularization going all the way to the dress.

[Q: Are you suggesting, then, that thing that distinguished the Hasidim from the Orthodox in the 17th and 18th century is this opposition to the Talmud, to scholarship, and their replacement of that concept with the notion of joy and revivalism?]

Right, right. What I'm specifically [INAUDIBLE] everything clear. What I'm specifically saying is that it appears there is no difference in appearance between the Hasid and the Orthodox Jew in the 17th and 18th century. It's just this emphasis on communion with God. That’s again part of what I was trying to say about the caste system, that the person to rise in the caste system in the traditional sense…

…  you have to go to school, be a brilliant prodigy at the age of 12 or 13, be married off at 14 - to a rich girl - and their father will support him for the next few years ‘til he can teach himself. Hasidism rejected this type of thing. In the 19th century, the Hasidim is doing the same thing, but in the 17th and the 18th century, parts of Hasidism rejected the same thing.

They rejected the concept of a man must be Talmudically brilliant in order to be accepted by God. This becomes very important in terms of the individual and his religion. In a society in which religion is the dominant factor, the single most important factor in a man’s life, if a man feels that he’s estranged from the pinnacle of his religion because he’s not learning…

I think Hasidism becomes very important by telling the man, “No, you’re not estranged. You are, in the eyes of God, equivalent to the most learned scholar.” And I didn’t emphasize this aspect of joy and worship, but I guess it’s this—I’m being influenced by St. Patrick’s Day but this is a part of the mysticism associated with Hasidism…

… that devotion and prayer go together, that, again, you achieved God through prayer and devotion. The only way you can really achieve it is through, by the ecstasy of your prayer. We have stories, and again, in the-- When men of the Haskalah started criticizing Hasidism, what they do is to start criticizing the holy rolling aspect of Hasidic prayer.

Something in this course we’re talking about, you remember the concept of Judenschule. When the early reformers and the reformed, the men of the Haskalah in Eastern-Europe started criticizing types of worship, they’re specifically referring to this ecstatic, violent type of prayer that includes all type of holy rolling. They wanted to make it much more uniform, much more… with more decorum associated.

[Q: In The Family Moskat there are scenes in which (INAUDIBLE) immigrate to Israel, to Palestine. I was wondering if you could talk about that. It occurs to me that generally, in that book, that immigration is described as a nationalist project, not at all a religious one. (INAUDIBLE) centered around worldliness.]

Well, again-- I don’t know if it’s possible to generalize for all Hasidim. Again, taking the largest Hasidic people around now, Chabad, the Hasidim. The head of the Chabad movement, the Tzadik of the Chabad, moved to Brooklyn. The Hasidim, the members of Chabad, live all over the world. There are Hasidim that-- As a matter of fact, the Rabbi, the Tzadik in Brooklyn supports schools in Israel.

There’s no [WORDCHECK – equity?] between where you live now. For other groups, there are other Hasidim which refuse to go to Israel, refuse to have any to do with Israel until the Messiah takes them there. So I don’t think you can generalize and say, you know-- Which Hasidim? What is it? You see, the concept of Israel for a religious person, being Hasid or non-Hasid, is odd.  

He can say to himself that, “I can be more religious in Israel, because, in Israel, I have more opportunity to fulfill more of the commandments of the religion.” In other words, “While I live in exile there are certain commandments, certain aspects of the religion I can’t fulfill. In Israel I can fulfill these.” These deal with aspects of land and with crops, and these type of things. I wouldn’t want to generalize across borders with Hasidim.

[Q: There’s this whole (WORDCHECK) that the country of Israel (INAUDIBLE) recognition of the fact that the lower Jewish classes around Germany and in Eastern Europe still had access at that time, although they did believe the (WORDCHECK) of all countries leading to the (WORDCHECK) Jewish identity, and this was a fact that (INAUDIBLE) allowed the Jewish to adopt (WORDCHECK - harmony?) in (INAUDIBLE)]

I would agree with the first part, not the second part. I would agree that-- If I gave the impression that Hasidism is anti-Talmudic, it’s not true. Hasidim [INAUDIBLE] the Talmud, the men of the Haskalah would [INAUDIBLE] the Talmud, instead [INAUDIBLE].

The Hasidim don’t do that. They accept the Talmud. What they’re opposed to is imposing the social categories in the Talmud into society. But as far as, when you talk about the reform in education, the reform in education is only-- It starts out in Vilna. It starts out in Vilna. They-- By [WORDCHECK].

As far as Chabad is concerned, it seems to me that Chabad had a hard time being - other than what it was - except where they came close into contact with the rabbinate. In other words, in order to get--What I’m saying is that, in order to get it seems in order to make in-roads, Chabad could not completely disregard education, disregard the Talmud educational commitment.

Now I’m not saying that-- When it comes to the aspect of Talmud Chabad, you know, who is in a different type than the Besht-- The Besht is not a Talmudic scholar. [INAUDIBLE] the Chabad, [INAUDIBLE] did. He studied the Talmud. I mean, it’s a different thing. I mean, [INAUDIBLE]. I don’t know if you can talk about Chabad and generalized Hasidism.

But as far as educational reform, educational reform comes later, comes later. It comes in the 19th century already. With Hasidism itself, Hasidism in itself, once they were in trad-- They were in traditional patterns of life. They still maintained the peyos. They still maintained [INAUDIBLE], even through this entire period.

So what happens is they had to go back to school. If they don’t go back to school there’s no way they can perpetuate Judaism. They read the parables. So I don’t know what to tell you. With the passage of time and with reform of education, the two come together, I think it’s just a necessity of them to go back to education, to go back to--

They never abandoned the Talmud. If I gave you the impression that they abandoned the Talmud, that’s not so. What they’re abandoning is a social status manner, a manner of [INAUDIBLE]. Does that help?

[Q: The parallel between (INAUDIBLE). Could you tell me, what is the position (INAUDIBLE) towards the (INADUIBLE) synagogue (INAUDIBLE)]

I didn’t hear the second part. The attitude of the Hasidim to the ritual?

[Q: Any kind of ritual or any kind of idea of a place or synagogue (INAUDIBLE)]

There are very small reforms in early ritual-- in Hasidism. Those reforms are mostly the type of prayer, orderof the prayer, which-- There’s  no abandonment of the synagogue.

The synagogue in Eastern Europe, there’s two types. There’s the house of study, where you pray in, and there’s also the separate place, where the synagogue that you then pray in. With Hasidism, the emphasis on the house of study, the tradition of-- Pre-Hasidism, men would sit around the house of study at all times, studying, then have a prayer, get up and pray, and go back to studying.

Hasidism, by moving away from this aspect of sitting around the whole time studying, the prayer house is important to them, but not the studying aspect. The reform in liturgy are reforms of certain prayers at certain parts of the day, which thing would be said at a certain time. Also the time of day you would pray. So there are very slight reforms.
But there’s no emphasis, there’s no real emphasis on the prayer as such.

For example, there’s another story in Hasidic, you know, story-tellers of, you don’t have to pray in traditional form. It’s the depth of your emotion that counts. The synagogue exists, you have the prayer book, you can come and pray, you can achieve deep devotion through those prayers in there, but if you’re out in a field someplace, if you’re a shepherd out there, you’re some sort of worker out in the field, you can just stand in your spot and think real hard and be praying.

Lecture #15

Lecture #15 - 42:26 - Lecture 15 Audio (mp3)
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Guest lecturer.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 15 –  March 24, 1971 – Guest Lecture [same lecturer as on March 17, 1971]
… Hasidism this week, we’ll deal with the other large movement that's been associated with Eastern Europe, the Haskalah, on the blackboard. The other word with Haskalah, Maskilim, are the men of the Haskalah, those adherents of Haskalah called Maskilim. I think it'd be worthwhile to start off with the word itself, exactly what does it mean? What does it entail?

Those of you who know a little bit of Hebrew or a little bit of Yiddish will notice the root of both Haskalah and Maskilim meaning “sekhel” or – I guess someone knows the word – common sense, logics, reason. And, as you can tell, the whole movement deals with such concepts, common sense, reason, logic. Again, we are involved with the concept of Talmud, a movement against Talmudics.

We are concerned with an attempt to move away from Orthodox Jewish texts, our sources for study of Judaism. The Haskalah itself, the word Haskalah, is usually also associated with such things as higher education. And a part of the policy of the Maskilim, the men of the Haskalah, becomes associated with education –

… education of Jews, but not the education of traditional patterns, the Talmudic patterns, but also through secular subjects. Introduces the study of languages, mathematics, science, into Haskalah. Now, the term--- Becoming an all-encompassing thing. Jewish historiography---

People start writing about the Haskalah, start someplace at the end of the 18th century, continues throughout the entire 19th century. People even put Zionism onto Haskalah. This is legitimate, because what we're doing now is dealing with a type of Jewish thought that, again, does not focus on traditional Jewish scholarship, Talmudics. And Zionism itself also moves away.

The original Maskilim were interested in Talmudics plus something else, and, as you'll see through the course of the lecture, I hope, this moves away gradually and gradually. So I think it's fair to say, when we talk about Zionism later on, Zionism comes as some sort of stepchild to the Haskalah movement.

It begins with the secularization of Jewish studies, the secularization of the concept of Jew in Eastern Europe, in this respect. Again, I want to recall to your mind the dominant system of thought at the time, the idea of Talmudics, which had not been shaken up by the Hasidic movement. Remember, Hasidism itself did not posit a different system of study.

Hasidism was more of a revolt against the social stratification and the study of the Talmud and what this meant, being a Jew of the Talmud. It wasn't that it replaced the Talmud with anything else. Also, as you recall, by the 1820s, Hasidism also had returned to the fold in its stress on the study of the Talmud. It had moved back into the Talmudic study.

Now, the question that concerns us first: what is the source of Haskalah in Eastern Europe? Because, you recall, we have these roughly two million Jews in Eastern Europe who are cut off from Western thought. We talked about intellectual currents of Jews in Germany, talked about Mendelssohn and Geiger, some of these people in Germany.

They are in a place where you have such things as Enlightenment. You have the impact of Western thought on Jewish communities, especially the early community where there is no ghetto, where there are freer associationships [sic]. In the East, we have these Jews who are tied off. They're in this large ghettos, this Pale of Settlement. And so the question is, where do they turn? How does Haskalah enter into their lives?

And we look for two real sources, internal and external, from Jewish life itself and from the outside. Internally, you recall, talking last week about Hasidism, I started mentioning that there was a movement in opposition to Hasidism. There's a Hebrew word for it that just means the opposition, the opposition to Hasidism. And I guess by just looking at the word itself, you can see how great the impact of Hasidism is if the movement against it has to define itself in negative terms, that is the opposition.

But in any case, the opposition is associated with one of the most brilliant Jewish Talmudical scholars of the 18th century, in the city of Vilna, called Rabbi Elijah. He's given this term, this name of “the Goan,” which is the great scholar, because of his great abilities to swallow knowledge, literally.

In Talmudic thought, in Talmudic educational system, we study the Talmud first, we study Jewish scripture and Jewish commentaries first, and, after you've exhausted all that, then, if you still have time in your life, you can move over to secular subjects. You can start studying languages, start studying sciences.

But within this system, Elijah mastered ten languages. Elijah had already moved into geometry and calculus. He was reputed to know the entire Talmud by heart. He's one of these outstanding minds. But at the same time, he's an aristocrat, as far as a rabbi's concerned, and he is firmly opposed to Hasidism.

He's excommunicated Hasidim in Lithuania and I-- If you recall just how difficult it was for Hasidism in Lithuania. But, at the same time, he realizes there's something wrong with this system, with the educational system. And he himself became a learned man in more than one area, Talmudic area, begins to relax some of the boundaries for study.

And so, during the time of Rabbi Elijah-- His date is from 1720 to 1797. You can see he comes in in that period, just at the end, when Hasidism has made its greatest leap forward. But so, Elijah relaxes some of these restrictions against outside study. In the late 1780s, there's a Hebrew translation of Euclid, Euclid's geometry, published in Lithuania.

It has gotten to the point where things are tolerated, outside sources of knowledge are tolerated. Elijah goes even further. Recall last week I was describing this system of thought where you invent contradictions, looking for contradictions, trying to resolve them. Elijah goes further, and he denounces this type of study, and he says that we shouldn't worry about these hair-splitting systems rather than study the Talmud and study the Talmud as it is there.

Now, one of the problems is that the Talmud's written in different languages, so Elijah agrees you can study outside languages. And, given this impetus, a group of men in Lithuania, in Vilna especially, who start moving into secular subjects. Now, this doesn't mean they're abandoning Orthodoxy, but they're studying Orthodoxy within-- with outside sources, most particularly study of grammar.

In the Talmud itself, in the composition of this – this was originally done by hand –  there are sometimes mistakes described, maybe a mistake in grammatical construction. If you accept every single word of this is handed down at Sinai or its being an oral tradition that's handed down from Sinai, not changed later, then, you know, you can't have mistakes, you can't start tampering with the grammatical construction.

But at this time there were men who start studying grammar and who start resolving these controversies on the basis of grammar, on the basis of what is Hebrew grammar and on the assumption that there's a mistake somewhere in the transcription of this. But this is a movement that is in Orthodox circles. It is not frowned upon. It is advocated by the leading scholar of the day.

This is the internal springs of Haskalah. Externally, we look to two sources. The first one is Galicia. In Galicia, this town of Brody, there's a large Jewish wealthy class, group of merchants. And, as we had also in the West, these merchants are the same time-- You recall again that Galicia is under the Austrian domination, in the Austrian Empire.

Recall also the Edict of Toleration. And in Galicia, there's this movement towards education. The merchants themselves are more influenced by Western thought, are supporting Jewish scholarship, non-heretical scholarship, but Jewish scholarship that is emphasizing reason, rationalism. And there's several great scholars who come out of this tradition, names such as, if you can remember them, Krochmal or Perl or Rapoport.

But the point is that these men are doing serious scholarly work within the Orthodox tradition, but at the same time, the same time, are not sticking to their original sources. There are-- Krochmal himself writes, based upon Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed, Krochmal writes a very important work called Guide to the Perplexed for our Time.

Now, what happens is that, as internal Russian empires opened up, many of these merchants from the city of Brody, many of them, some of their descendants, start moving into the southern part of the Russian Empire, most particularly to Odessa. And, as they're moving into Odessa, they're bringing with them a German culture at the same time this Haskalah type of thought, books by Krochmal.

And in this way, Odessa becomes a source, or a center for German cultural activity in the south of Russia. Odessa itself is a brand of city in the 19th century. The Russians had just taken Ukraine at the end of the 18th century and had just opened up the port on the Black Sea. So Odessa's a brand new city. Its international flavor – There are Greeks in Odessa, there are Romanians, Moldavians really. And there is this Jewish community, not Russian Jews, but Galician Jews, who move into Odessa.

The other outside source for Haskalah is itself German Jewry and, most particularly, Moses Mendelssohn. The figure of Mendelssohn – who is Orthodox, alright? Sorry to mention this, but you recall the balance of Mendelssohn? (laughter) Orthodoxy and, at the same time, living in a secular culture – becomes a very, very impressive figure for men sitting in Vilna who are living in this small ghetto, and here they have this example of a man who lives in these two worlds at the same time.

You must realize that early Maskilim are not opposed to Orthodoxy, are only looking for other aspects of Orthodoxy, saying Orthodoxy must not be so rigid, it must also take advantage of other studies. So that the Mendelssohn himself, as a personality, as his lifestyle, the balance he has set up, this type of thing, becomes very influential – not that it was studied so closely, but just this vision far off in Berlin.

Before the time of Elijah Goan, Jews from Vilna, from Lithuania who wanted to study could always head to Berlin, just as Mendelssohn himself had gone to Berlin. Mendelssohn was not born in Berlin, had gone to Berlin to study. An example of this, those of you who are reading The Family Moskat have come cross Asa Heshel Bannet.

Asa Heshel Bannet is a representative figure of a type Jew who has abandoned everything and gone off to study. And the man who this is most believed to be modeled on, Salomon Maimon, who leaves Lithuania, goes to Germany, studies Kantian philosophy – I think he leaves a wife at home, family – he’s on the verge of conversion, never does convert, and passes away very almost dissolute, impoverished, cynical type of person.

And this becomes a model for the Jewish Maskilim, the Maskilim who has moved out of the tradition, has gone away, but this is all before. The second thing, coming from Berlin, over the years 1780 to roughly 1811, the descendants of Mendelssohn, the intellectual descendants of Mendelssohn, started publishing a Hebrew periodical, called Collector.

The Collector, this periodical, emphasizes ideas of some way to harmonize Judaism and rationalism, to spread education, secular education, to study language, especially the language of the country that you're living in. And this also is brought into Russia, into Lithuania. It's spread, it's absorbed, and it had a profound impact on the young people in Lithuania, in the Russian Empire.

So then we have what I think are these three different sources, internal, external, and the external is divided into two, one source comes from Galicia, one source coming from Berlin itself. This type of Haskalah, devoted to studying Orthodox Jewry, studying the Talmud, but also studying other aspects of life continues for approximate-- 1820s, early 1820s.

At this time, the split, the rift between the opposition and the Hasidism, the Hasidic movement, have gotten together. The rift is-- The Hasidim are no longer moving out, conquering the fields, the opposition from the north and Lithuania are not coming and trying to reconquer, or they've reached some sort of accord.  

Also at the same time, the great threats that the rabbis had given the Hasidism – giving up on the Talmud, not, you know, not looking at the Talmud – has passed. Hasidism have come back into the fold, have now moved  in toward study of the Talmud. So, with the two of them coming together, now the out-group are these Maskilim, because, at the same time, the Maskilim have been moving a little bit further and further away.

The more they're studying secular culture, the more they become absorbed into secular culture. What happens initially is that they start changing their dress, some of them. Some of them cut off the side locks. Soon, they're being dubbed “Berliners” by the other Jews, these men who are so under the influence of Berlin Jews that they start to look like Berlin Jews.

And so, we get a period, roughly in the 1820s, when Haskalah is beginning to be cut off. One of the reasons, other reasons, for this thing is the series of conversions in the West. Whereas before, you know, if you say, “Yes, you can study secular languages,” but, then, you take a look in the West, and there are Jews who are contemplating conversion, there are Jews who have begun proceedings to convert.

So you think, “Well, what is the use of this? We're losing the Jewish people.” And this is also indicated in an event when Napoleon has invaded Russia. He appeals to Jewish help against the Russians, pointing to all these edicts against the Jews. And the Hasidism on the path leading, with Napoleon going into Russia, the Hasidim on the path supported the Russians against the French.

And they explained it very simply that, with the French, you get assimilation. At least with the Russians, we stay together. So the fears for the Orthodox circles, the fear for these people, now became these conversions, now became excessive secularization, not studying of the language towards harmonizing sources, but excessive secularization.

So in the 1820s, we get Haskalah moving to a different path. And the representative figure is this man Isaac B. Levinsohn. Levinsohn, by some people, was called the Mendelssohn of Russia, 'cause he was really the first secular-- the first men to move apart from the traditions of Russia. I want to say a few words about Levinsohn.

He was born in Podolia, and, if you recall, Podolia is the home of the Besht, of Hasidism, so he was born in a very, very Hasidic and very unenlightened – put quotes around “unenlightened” – neighborhood, area. He goes off to Galicia where he meets people such as Krochmal. He studies in Galicia. He's influenced by the Galician Haskalah, by the movement of Galicia. And then he returns to Russia.

And he returns to Russia in the late 1820s. He writes one of his more famous works – The Instruction in Israel, it's called, The Instruction in Israel – where he thinks-- He presents a  four-point program, actually, and defending his type of study, the new Haskalah, the new movement.

He said, first of all, that to study the Bible and to study people Hebrew grammar is not contrary to Orthodox tradition, that it's completely in line with Orthodoxy, because if you point to the Goan, Elijah Goan, himself who studied these things. Again, he says that Judaism does not condemn the knowledge of foreign languages. He points to many Jews, and it becomes a joke among Maskilim.

They say, when David was wooing Bathsheba, they speak to her in Yiddish. In other words, he's saying whatever Jews were in whatever time, they always spoke the language in which they were living in. So why should all these Jews in Russia speak Yiddish? Either they should speak Russian or they should speak Polish if they're in a Polish sector or some sort of Lithuanian. But why Yiddish?

So he makes this argument for speaking the language of the country you're in. And then he moves on to the sciences, and he points to examples of Orthodox Jews, prominent Jews who knew science. And the most obvious example, of course, is Maimonides, [INAUDIBLE].

But then, he moves into another area. Haskalah is now, by the 1820s, no longer satisfied with thought. It's moving into economic and social areas also. And Levinsohn says that, in order to regenerate the Jewish community of Russia, we must change the economic and social way of life. He again--

You will recall Dohm talks about making them farmers, making them artisans, they must give up commerce, they have to move into a new type of life. As far as social way of life, he says that Jews should not be married at early ages. If you recall these population figures, this large, bulging Jewish population...

… well, Jews were being married at the ages of 15 and 16 at this time. Jews would marry at an early age, would move in-- a male would move into his father-in-law's home, would be financed by the family, and later, after he's finished studying, he'd move out. Levinsohn is saying this is detrimental to the Jewish community.

Early marriages, people cannot support themselves, then when they finally do finish this period of studying, what do they have? They're just another Talmudic scholar. You know, how great a scholar, you know, is never certain, but they're just another scholar. And he says that, at the same time, it's not-- Marrying young should also move into different handicrafts, different ways of life.

This book, of course, is condemned by the rabbi, by the Hasidim. Levinsohn approached the government with his book, the government, of course, found the book very, very interesting. Levinsohn then writes another book, called the House of Judah. This is at the end--- And you must recall what else is going on. This is roughly 1828, 1829, 1830.

This same time, the government of Nicolas I is conscripting Jewish boys at the age of twelve, taking them into the armed services, into the army, until the age of 25, when then they start serving their regular service. This is also the time in Russian-Jewish history when, in order to get boys into the army, there were these kidnappers. I mean, there are Jewish kidnappers, and there are non-Jewish kidnappers...

… but each little community has a quota to fill, so there are boys being impressed into service against their will. Many, many times, these people, of course, coming from the poorest sections of the city and town. So, here, Levinsohn is writing this thing and is approaching the government, looking to the government to act as some sort of  enlightened absolutism...

… which will help the Maskilim, help the enlighteners to enlighten Jewish people of Russia to change their patterns of life. In his book, House of Judah, he begins with a tracing of Jewish history, a tracing of Jewish philosophy, to defend it, because Judaism is coming under attack by the government of Nicolas I, to defend it. And then he moves into the areas where he thinks the government should help Jews.

The first thing he calls upon the government is to open elementary and secondary schools for Jews, saying that the school system, as it is set up now, is one which all you learn is the same thing that has been taught for 200 years. We needed different schools. We needed a secularized school.

 He calls for a chief rabbinate, the establishment of rabbis in the Eastern community, government rabbis. Recall the example of France. So he says the same thing. These rabbis who are ordained in Russia have too much power, they run the community, we need someone who is a government representative, a trained government representative who is also trained as a Jew.

Then, the next aspect, going back to his economic program, he calls for tracts of land to be set aside where Jews could become farmers, saying that the Jews who crowded into ghettos of cities, this big whole ghetto anyway, this Pale of Settlement, that they must be allowed out. Levinsohn never said anything about emancipation and movement...

… but he's saying that tracts should be set aside where Jews could learn the art of farming, become farmers. And with this book, this last book by Levinsohn, The House of Judah, we have a new relationship being put into progress now and set up. 'Cause what happens is that, again, the book is put on a-- Well, it's called heresy by the rabbis, it's not to be circulated, but the government subsidizes it.

Nicolas I paid seven-thousand rubles to have the book published and then dispersed. The book is very appealing to young Maskilim studying in schools. This is saying all those things, schools that they're interested in, rabbis – not some rabbi whose training is not along modern lines – and, finally, changing the economic patterns of life by introducing agriculture.

Again, with Levinsohn's book, we have the Maskilim moving further away from traditional Jewry, Orthodox Jewry. There's this force on the government to move into these areas that Levinsohn has suggested. You recall in the 1835 Charter of Disabilities – we mentioned that in relation to setting up the Pale of Settlement – but there are other aspects of this Charter of Disabilities of 1835.

The first is that there's a dress regulation. It's illegal for a Jew to travel anywhere in the Russian Empire unless he's dressed in Western clothing. If a Jew wants to travel, he gets travel permits, he still must change his attire. He can't travel dressed in with a long coat, with the hat, the Jewish hat. He must travel as a 19th century man.

Another aspect of the Charter of 1835 was the language. The official language in all Jewish government correspondence, the official language in all Jewish government relations must be the local language. Therefore, if you're living in a Polish area, it must be Polish. If you're living in a Russian area, it must be Russian. Hebrew and Yiddish are no longer served as a language of petition. Jews cannot write to a government official in Hebrew and Yiddish and expect that letter to be received.

There is a minimum age for marriage is set. No girl under 16, no boy under 18, could be officially married in the Russian Empire. I realize all of these things, there are ways of getting around them, ways of getting around them, but this thing-- But these are the advices. These are the propositions put forward by Jews, adopted by the government and enforced against other Jews.

What I'm saying is that there's now a great tension being built up. The tension that was there already is now being further enforced between the Maskilim and the rest of the Jewish community who may not want to be married and succeed or who may not want to travel around in Western clothing. But now because the Maskilim have asked, have petitioned the government, have suggested these type of reforms, is now law.

And while there are ways of getting around this issue, if you're caught, you're fined. If you're caught, and if you don't have legal papers, you could be sent off to the army for 25 years. And it sets up a great tension between the secularists and the rest of the body of the Jewish community. Also another aspect of this 1835 law was that there were tracts of land set off in Siberia for Jewish agriculture.

What happened, though, after two years, Nicolas felt that the Jews were a bad influence on the Siberian population, so this was canceled. But the point is, the point is that the government was willing to go that far, to set up Jewish colonization projects. It's not new, because also in the 1804 Charter for Jews, this is also set up in Southern Russia.

If you know a little bit about the history of the Trotsky family, you know that Trotsky's father was one of these Jewish colonists, it was a thing through the century setting up tracts of land to have Jews to work as farmers. The most important area that the Maskilim were interested, of course, was education. Now, the Maskilim were very much impressed by a school set up in Odessa in 1826.

Again, recall that the residents of Odessa are Galician Jews for the most part. 1826, and they set up a school, a Jewish school, in which all the people were Jewish, but which also taught secular subjects. The language of instruction was German. The mathematics was taught. Language, that being German, was taught. Other-- I think, history was taught. And then Hebrew was taught and religion.

And the Maskilim were very impressed. And they didn't take into account that this is a separate Jewish community in Odessa that is really very different than the other Jewish communities in Russia. But, they said, this type of thing should be extended into the rest of Russia. In 1840, a similar type of school was set up in Riga. Riga’s also a city with a very, very large German-Jewish population, not a Slavic-Jewish population but a German-Jewish population.

In the 1804 – again with the idea of education – in the 1804 Charter for Jews, Jews will have been invited to attend Russian schools, have been invited to attend Russian schools. Not many Jews went, of course. Perhaps in numbers, by 1840, out of 80,000 pupils in primary and secondary schools in Russia, only 48 of them were Jewish. Out of 80,000, 48 Jews. On the university level, it's a bit higher. There are 15 Jews out of 2,900.

In 1841, the government of Nicolas I decided that the only way to modernize the Jews was through an educational system. And what they did was they called in a committee of Jews to discuss what type of educational system should be set up. And by 1844, a system was set up called the Crown School, the Jewish Crown School system.

What had happened was that the primary, secondary schools were set up specifically for Jews. This is because of these numbers. Jews did not attend the Russian school system, set up in 1804, so they had to have a separate school system, which was financed by the Jews. Money for the system came out of Jewish taxes, specific Jewish taxes.

And it was set up in 1844. The moving light behind the school is another one of the Maskilim, not a Russian but a German-Jewish Maskil man named Max Lilienthal. Lilienthal himself was the principal of the Riga Jewish school. And the Russian administration was very impressed by him – he was 22 years old at the time – was very impressed by him, wanted him to head the whole system.

He went on a tour of the Pale of Settlement trying to convince Jewish leaders that this new school system would be the right answer towards modernizing Russian Jewry, and once Russian Jewry was modernized, of course, then emancipation, working in the future. The Russian government would not emancipate [them] until they were modernized, they were educated.

Lilienthal made his tour, he came back, the system was set up, but, within the first year, Lilienthal left. He eventually wound up in the United States as a rabbi. But in 1844, the school system is set up. And in addition to the schools in every large city, primary school and secondary school, the school system was set up such that secular subjects were taught and the religion taught in the schools would be Judaism.

And Hebrew would be taught. There would be a Jew who would teach religion and Judaism, and all the other teachers would be Christian. Lilienthal had proposed that teachers be brought in from Germany to staff the entire school system, but the government decided it would be better off to have Christian teachers, because they said there would be no disharmony.

They would teach secular subjects, it doesn't matter who the teacher is as long as the teacher for religion or the teacher for the Hebrew language would be Jewish. But Lilienthal leaves, and the schools are set up. Additional aspect of the Education Reform of '44 was that there are two rabbinical seminaries set up in 1844. The purpose of the seminaries was to train rabbis to become an official Crown Rabbi.

In other words, he's an employee of the government, he would be sent to every locality and every city, and he would be the official rabbi. No rabbinical paper could come out of that locality without that rabbi's signature on it. No decree, no political order could come out without that rabbi's signature on it. The rabbis would be trained in these seminaries the same the seminaries would train teachers move into the new school system also.

It's all set up in 1844. Another aspect of this Reform in '44 was that the traditional Jewish teacher who had been teaching all along, a time table was set up so, by the 1870s, any teacher who is teaching-- Because the council did not eliminate any other school system, it’s just that it gave an alternative to those people who wanted to study secular subjects. But so, the traditional teacher, by the 1870s, would have to be a licensed teacher.

Up 'til now, the Jewish teacher, the [WORDCHECK – teacher (in Hebrew or Yiddish?)], was not licensed, he was supported by the community. So it was set up through this Reform of '44 that, by the '70s, he would have to be licensed. And to be licensed, he'd have to pass an examination in Russian. Again, I remind you that Jews did not speak Russian.

Jews were speaking Yiddish. They wrote, they wrote mostly – the ones who could write and who wrote many things – could write Hebrew. Older populations speak Yiddish. Now, the period of the '40s is, as this thing is set up, the Haskalah moves toward a different direction now. Once the educational system is set up, Jews don't go to the schools.

Schools are set up, money is spent, teachers are hired, very, very few Jews go. Many Jews are enrolled, they never attend. And so Haskalah, now, in this period, men of the Haskalah, who are estranged from the Jewish community and who have been looking to the government, who have this system set up by the government, now turn toward Hebrew culture.

It's a unique type of phenomenon, because, you recall, in Germany, in Central Europe, the enlightened Jews started moving towards assimilation, started moving toward a secular, enlightened state. Mendelssohn spoke better German than he did Hebrew. The book Jerusalem is written in German. But the opposite occurs in Russia. The men don't move toward Russian, they don't move towards Russian. They don't move toward the further of Russification.

But the men of the Haskalah, of the '40s and '50s now, start looking toward Hebrew. They start writing Hebrew poetry, start writing Hebrew novels. It's not, you know, Modern Hebrew. It's not the type of Hebrew that one comes across now. It's mixture of Biblical Hebrew, the type of Hebrew found in the Talmud, with some new words based upon old roots, very difficult to read.

But it is some sort of secularization, the beginnings of Hebrew culture. The only way I can explain it-- I really don't-- The only way I can explain it is that the Jews, being in Russia, really were a nation within a nation. And the Jewish people, the masses, never moved in towards Russian culture at this time. And so what they did was they developed, I guess, their own culture, that they came into with Russia.

Again, you must realize that the problems of emancipation are not there because there's no thought of emancipation. The Russia of Nicolas I in the '40s and the '50s, especially after '48, is a very autocratic Russia. It's a Russia with still, with all the serfdom. There's no judiciary, no independent judiciary, no real progressive school system.

So the Jews did not move into this type of system. They remained-- They were exclusionary, remained exclusionary. The Jewish intellectuals, the non-religious intellectuals, the Maskilim, started moving in towards this Hebrew culture. We have a period of about 15 years, from '45, '46 to about '60, '61. There's a development of Hebrew culture within Russia.

Of course those people who know, who start arguing about the roots of the Zionist movement in Russia, of course, will point to this type of culture, development of Hebrew culture, Hebrew language, within Russia. By the '60s, by '56 toward '60, we start moving into a new Russia. We have what's called in Russian history “the Era of the Great Reform.”

Nicolas passed away in the middle of the Crimean war, his son Alexander II becomes the Tsar. It's a movement towards liberalization, because we know Russians, we know the whole series of reforms. The Maskilim, the men of the Haskalah, were certain that Jewish emancipation would follow any day within the '60s...

… were certain that the '60s, as it saw the emancipation of the serf, as it saw the institution of the local governments set up, judiciaries, independent judiciaries set up, what is left but emancipation of the Jews? So in the '60s we do get, we do get a program and policy of Russification.

This is born out by publication of Hebrew journals and Russian journals. The very first journal, published in Russia, Jewish brand of journal, was published in Russia language, published in 1860. This journal would only go for a year – internal problems.  Another one was published in 1861.

But at the same time, there's a carryover from that Hebrew culture of the '40s and '50s, because, when the government allowed Russian journals to be published, it at same time gave permission for Hebrew language journals to be published. And we had a Hebrew language journal being published in '60. There's a Hebrew language journal being published in '56, all the way back in '56, but it's published outside the Russian Empire for sale in the Empire – problems of getting a permit to publish.

There's another, there's one published in Odessa in '60, another in '61 in Vilna. And we have really two cultures going on here. We have this old Haskalah of emphasis of Hebrew and a new Russification policy among Jewish intellectuals starting roughly in mid-'60, '61, again with the object being that if we learn the language, if we go to school, if we become Russians, we will be emancipated.

Programs also characterized by '63--- You recall the name Baron Guenzburg, name that's on the blackboard, one of the rich Russian Jews. Guenzburg and several of the other Russian Jews, very similar to the Central European case, set up a committee called the Society for the Promotion of Culture among Jews –

… the word in Hebrew for culture they used was “Haskalah,” “The Society for the Promotion of Haskalah among Jews” – in which the objects were to publish as many books as possible into Russian. The society, for the first time, authorized some of the tracts that defined the move to Russia, the Hebrew Bible into Russian.

The society started translating German into Russian. The idea was to move towards a Russian culture, to move toward knowledge of Russian among the Jews. This aspect of Haskalah continues, but there are problems again, and these problems are the problems of Russian history. In '63, 1863, you must recall, there's a Polish revolt.

The outcome of the Polish revolt is a very severe, very tough policy of Russification on the part of the government. So we have these two policies of Russification overlapping each other. The government is trying to Russify all non-Russians, and the Jewish Maskilim, the radical Maskiliam are doing the same thing, trying to Russify.

At the same time, there's another ingredient added in. I'm sorry to be, you know, throwing these things so fast, but--- In 1863, out of nowhere, there's a Yiddish journal published, all of a sudden, again, published by a man who had formerly published a Hebrew journal, who has intended to publish a Russian journal. But, again, the idea is mass education.

And so he says, the only language the masses understand are Yiddish, so we must publish in Yiddish. Now, he ran into a lot problems from his fellow Maskilim-- So you know that Yiddish is a [INAUDIBLE], it's not a language. If you want to publish anything, publish in German with Hebrew script, which had been done before. So why publish in Yiddish?

It became a very, very popular journal, because this is what people could read. They could understand. The journal ran for about seven, eight years, until '79. And so we get this period of '63 to roughly '80 where we have quite a few currents movement within the Jewish community. We have radical assimilationists, radical Russificationists who are trying to make the language of the Jewish community Russian.

We have men carrying over from the old Haskalah movement who want to, who continue this idea of Hebrew culture. In the mid-'60s, you have controversy, conflict between the two of them. The only thing I want to draw from this, this idea of the Jewish community in Russia being pushed, pulled, and dragged towards modernization...

… because, at the same time, the Russians, at the same time of the Russian policy of Russification for the entire country, at the same time with the Russian movement toward industrialization, the Jewish community for the first time is being moved. The Jewish community is starting to move into different patterns of life. The economic patterns of life are changing, the intellectual patterns of life are changing, and the social patterns of life are changing also.

If I-- Again, I gave you the statistics on education. [INAUDIBLE] 1853 was one-and-a-quarter percent of all the students in schools at the university level were Jews. By the 1863, the number is 3.2 percent. This is just the beginning of this period of rapid Russification. By 1873, ten years later, it's jumped ten percent, 13.2 percent of all students are Jewish.

But this is really the period of great, great movement. And there are many, many strings pushing, pulling on the Jewish community. And you have one aspect, one part of the Maskilim who are counting on the government for emancipation any day, counting on that “We are going to school, look at the numbers,” counting on emancipation.

Another group is saying that we have our own culture, we have something of our own, and that we shouldn't assimilate, we shouldn't move into a different culture. So by 1881, Alexander II is assassinated, and a series of pogroms break out in southern Russian, after the assassination. We really have the Jewish community caught.

Those Maskilim who are counting on the government for everything were really at a point where they were rejected. Because the government had turned on them, the government hadn't protected them. And the Jews had been scape-goated partially for this assassination of Alexander II. What we do is then have these movements again towards assimilation, towards moving out of Russia, and movements away from Orthodoxy.

I have only a couple minutes left, if there are any questions before the end. Okay, remember there's a lecture on Friday, and the examinations will be delivered in section--

Lecture #16

Lecture #16 - 49:32 - Lecture 16 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

After two guest lectures, Mosse continues with the course.
Until the 1880s, there was no measurable emigration from Eastern to Western Europe. The Hasidim did not “touch” the west, and obviously, the Haskalah was a movement that came from the west to Eastern Europe, not the other way around. The greatest influence came from Germany rather than any other western country. The French Jewish community was very small- numbering some 80.000 Jews, while the German counted 200.000. Also, the Pale of Settlement bordered Germany. The influence of Germany on Jewish thought was a German phenomenon (remember Mendelssohn, Hegel), and later caused the famous language controversy in Zionism, pitting proponent of German against those of Hebrew (Hebrew won out, though Herzl did not know any Hebrew).

The question in the West, unlike the East, was not whether, but how far to be emancipated and, within the concept of emancipation, how to respond to the new anti-Semitism. The problem of Jewish identity was much more serious than in Eastern Europe. (Neither Hasidim nor the Haskalah concerned itself with it). The question “What is a Jew” did not come up until emancipation. From the 1870s on, the question of identity becomes intensified; this section of the course treats Jewish life and anti-Semitism together. So far, Mosse consciously did not address questions of Jewish identity or of Jewish survival. Both are strictly historical, not theological, questions that arose out of the concrete historical problems Jews had to face during the crisis of assimilation that spanned the years from 1870 to the outbreak of WWI. The problems of identity must be raised in the context of “good and bad times.” (Students, Mosse contends, have been brainwashed with the notion of Jewish history as a “continuous catastrophe.”) Yet 1870 to 1914 was a time of great capitalist development that saw the foundation of great Jewish fortunes. Immigration from the East came as a tidal wave, and threatening noises were as yet sporadic.

The forces of new threats interacted dialectically with the new feeling of security. The beginnings of anti-Semitic parties and mass movements and the penetration of anti-Semitism into the establishment and established parties produced a new crisis of Jewish identity and behavior-but this was an intermittent crisis. It produced Zionism (which remained unimportant at the time) and renewed attempts to cling to rationalism and reason, to continue the ideas of emancipation. Secondly, the idea to transcend being Jewish with socialism or nationalism took root. Its foundations lay in the first half of the 19th century. Jewish fate after 1870 became intimately involved with the crisis of liberalism. It is the Liberal Party by which Jews joined and tried to activate their new citizenship and penetrate into politics. The crisis of liberalism was connected with the rise of the new nationalism following the dissatisfaction with the kind of unification that came about in Germany; in France with the instability of the Third Republic founded in 1879. On the other side, it is connected with the new mass movements and mass politics that squeezed liberalism from the other side. As a result, liberalism itself changed after 1870, gradually making peace with nationalism and moving further to the right. A small minority within liberalism formed the Progressive Party. This was the party that Jews joined now.

Nationalism after the 1870s pushed the Jews into a weak political position, tied to what remained of the old liberalism. Until 1880, 70% of the Jews in German politics belonged to the ruling government party, a number that dropped to only 25% in 1914. The rest joined opposition parties. Still more disheartening, in 1878, 15 % of Jewish politicians were Socialists, while by 1914, 39% had moved to the Social Democratic Party. At the same time, less and less Jews participated in public life. These statistics show that Jews were being driven into the opposition. Mostly, they were not socialists but progressives, liberals that refused to become nationalists. Jews were losing their political weight at a time of rising nationalism and anti-Semitism. (The same shift also occurred in Austria.) Other political parties pulled into the same direction. Even the Christian and hierarchical conservatives that had so far simply avoided Jews changed after 1880s when they, too, had to become a mass party. Becoming a popular movement, they linked themselves with more active, violent anti-Semitism. To sum up: by the 1880s, the change of the political constellation was such that it eroded the political base on which Jewish emancipation and citizenship had been built. It penetrates into other parties, not only the liberals. This is connected with rising nationalism and rising mass-politics.

Now, Mosse comes to the new mass movements themselves. The Hep-Hep riots of 1819 had only been sporadic; a riot is not a movement and politically important only if it is a symptom that might eventually become a mass movement. Also, it might create ideas that will then produce novels, theories, and images. But singularly, riots are not much. The first movement that was not just a riot was the Stoecker Movement in Berlin. Just as the Nazi movement later did, it assumed a double form that was necessary, and that we have not encountered so far: a mass movement, it also succeeded within the establishment, becoming a “respectable” movement. Its leader, Anold Stoecker, was a member of the Conservative Party, an orthodox Protestant minister, and a preacher at the court of William II. Though a member of the establishment, he tried to do something for the poor and the workers: He started the “Innere Mission” (Inner Mission) and founded a political party for the workingmen. (Like Hitler, he especially attracted railroad workers). The motor of this movement was a paternalist socialism, tied to the establishment. When Stoecker started to rail against the Jews, he gained a large audience.

Like other movements of this kind, the Stoecker movement started with social concerns, but without a really radical program for change. Anti-Semitism as an “explanation” worked, because by then, it had become popular. The Christian Social Party appealed to the working class and the petty bourgeoisie. Stoecker went after modern, assimilated Jews-not the Orthodox, and put socialism in terms of Christian compassion, coupled with anti-Semitism. This was a Protestant movement; the Catholic German South was excluded. It used caricatures, flyers, playing cards and other means of mass propaganda for the first time. Opposition was eliminated because everything was annexed. Stoecker eventually failed due to poor organization and lack of support from the establishment, who feared mass movements. But in the 1890s, new Christian and anti-Semitic student movements were founded; the national student movement grew directly out of Stoecker’s agitation. Moreover, in the 1892 Tivoli congress, the conservatives adopted for the first time an overtly anti-Jewish claim: that it was necessary to roll back the undue Jewish influence in German life. Otto Boeckl made his debut and adopted what Mosse calls a “fully furnished house”, succeeding in founding a movement in which anti-Semitism was an integral part. At the height of the Boeckl movement in 1893, he pulled 290.00 people for his seat in the diet. His strategy was to cover everything: He organized consumer cooperatives, took factories under contract, organized touring lectures, mass movements in connection with cooperatives, Jew-free cattle markets, and the like. The Nazis recognized in him a precedent. The first modern mass movement that came to power was the Lueger movement in Vienna. The cynical term “I determine who is a Jew” was coined by Lueger. Both Boeckl and Lueger document the crisis of liberalism, the new importance of nationalism and mass movements and begin a formula that had a great future: one of social concern that was Christian and anti-Socialist, with the Jew as the explanation for the evils of capitalism. It was not a one-class movement, but crossed different classes. Mosse asserts that one cannot understand the problems of modern western Jewry without understanding that the Jewish fate became involved in the fate of mass politics and movements.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 16 - March 26, 1971
… quite different than in the West. And, moreover, until the 1880s, there was not a measurable immigration from Eastern Europe to Western Europe. Obviously, the Hasidim did not touch the West, and, equally obviously, the Haskalah was a movement that came from the West to Eastern Europe, rather than the other way around.

One word I should say about something that may have struck you about what Mr. [NAMECHECK – Borber? Horvath?] said last time, namely the undue influence from Germany rather than from any other Western country. That is due not only to the fact that, let us say, the French Jewish community was very small indeed, some 80,000 -

… the German Jewish community was much larger, some 200,000, not to speak of Austria - not only because the German influence came in through Galicia, which was a member of course of the Austrian Empire, but also the fact that Germany was near, and that, in effect - something we should remember for later -

… the Pale, the settlement of Eastern European Jews, was at the borders of Germany. We must also add to that, perhaps, the fact that, after all, in Germany, not only was political thought pioneered in the 19th century, but also that thought which affects the Jewish development, from Moses Mendelssohn to the Hegelian influences.

All these were German phenomena. The density of the German predominance among Jewish thought in general, you can see again by something that comes up later, when in 1907, you have the famous language controversy within Zionism. And that language controversy was whether the language of Zionism should be Hebrew or German.

And German lost out by a very narrow margin, something I have had the greatest reason to regret. (laughter) It lost out by a very narrow margin. So you can see that, within Zionism itself, in the end, how predominant German was to be. I do not have to tell you that neither Theodor Herzl nor Max Nordau knew any Hebrew whatsoever.

So that there too, the German influence, and we shall see more of that, as German was extremely dense. Now the question in the West, unlike the East, was never whether to be emancipated or not, but how far to be emancipated, and, within the context of emancipation, how to respond to the new wave of anti-Semitism.

For let us remember that, in the West, the Jews are not regarded as a nation - and indeed, were not - that they lived, as I have told you before, scattered among the Christian population. Thus the problem of identity is here a very serious one, much more serious than it will be Eastern Europe with its density of settlement.

Neither, really, the Hasidim nor the Haskalah raised the problem of identity to that extent. And here I must interrupt myself to answer a question which some of you have asked from the beginning. The question of identity, the question of, “What is a Jew?,” obviously does not come into focus until modern times.

It does not really come into focus until emancipation - it seriously cannot - which will be in the times with which we are now about to deal. It was not a problematic of Eastern European Jewry. But from the 1870s and especially the 1880s, that question becomes intensified.

And that is why now, in this section of the course, as it is on your assignment sheet, we treat Jewish life and anti-Semitism together as a whole. For we are now passing into the 20th century. I have quite purposefully not said anything about the problem of Jewish identity -

… for one thing, it is only now for it to be raised seriously - nor have I said anything about the other problem that you always want to know about, the problem of Jewish survival. For our purposes here, both questions - of Jewish identity and Jewish survival- are not theological questions, but strictly historical questions.

The answer comes to us from history, and therefore they come to us from the problems that we have discussed, and, above all, from the problems I am about to discuss. And if the problem of Jewish survival is soluble at all - about which I have my great doubts -

… and if the problem of Jewish identity is soluble at all - about which I have still greater doubts - then we must discuss it at the end of our endeavor, not at the beginning, or not at the middle. That is something for the very end of the course, because it arises out of the historical problem, the concrete historical problem that Jews had to face…

… and the problems of survival and identity do not at least occur, as our efforts are concerned, arise from any theological idea. That is not debatable. If you believe it, fine. If you don’t believe it, you don’t believe it. But for us, these are historical questions, which we shall try, in the end, to answer in a historical way.

The crisis of assimilation, then, spans the years from 1870 on, though the foundations, remember, are always lain by emancipation and by the rise of modern anti-Semitism, which we have discussed already. For the years which immediately concern us at the moment…

… from 1870 to 1914 - that is to the outbreak of the First World War - the problems of identity must be raised again in a particular context, namely Jewish survival in good as in bad times. For I must remind you, and I must remind you above all…

… because you have been nicely brain-washed with the idea that Jewish history-- or some of you have been brain-washed with the idea that Jewish history is a continuous catastrophe on which, of course, much Zionism has to be built. But if it isn’t a catastrophe, why go to Palestine eventually?  

So, that what you have been brain-washed is that it is a continuous catastrophe, which is, of course, errant nonsense. So the question is quite clearly the survival in good as in bad times, which needs to be explained. And its difficulty is that it is always stressed that there are only bad times.

For in one sense, the years from 1870 to 1940 are, of course, the time of great capitalist development, great capitalist prosperity. The foundation for the great Jewish fortunes were founded in fact in this age, and, indeed, many Jews got a new feeling of security in the West…

… while from the East, the immigrants took on a tidal wave. But this security was accompanied by what we might call threatening noises and events - as yet sporadic, as yet sporadic. But whatever the threatening noises and events were - with which we shall deal in a minute -

… it is clear that, among Jews, the force of emancipation, rationalism, and liberalism went on. Indeed, the forces of new threats interacted, in a way, dialectically, with the new feeling of security, the growth of racism - the beginning of racism, really - of anti-Semitic political parties, of mass movements, and above all, still more important…

… the penetration of anti-Semitism into established organs of government and established political parties, where it has not been before. All of that in effect produced a new crisis of Jewish identity and of Jewish behavior. But that crisis again tended to be intermittent. It is a long-range, not a short-range problem that really comes upon the scene now.

What were the products of this crisis? The immediate products, one was Zionism - unimportant, a tiny minority, without any importance really, at the moment. The more important products were the attempts, on the one hand, to cling to rationalism, reason, to really continue the ideas of emancipation in bad times - for what else were you going to do?

And here I will talk about the man who typifies it better than any other, I will talk about Sigmund Freud. Secondly, the idea to transcend being Jewish - for, as you will see, very good and sufficient reasons, in a sense - and you could transcend that into socialism, and you could transcend it into nationalism…

… not Jewish nationalism but German nationalism or French nationalism or whatever else. These are some of the things which must now occupy us, but occupy us always on the rock which we have laid in the first half of the 19th century. What is basic to this crisis - from which these changes arose, changes in Jewish behavior, of which some of you are the product--

Basic in all of this is something that was, as yet, thinly realized, but that, we can put it this way, this is the beginning of the rug being pulled out under. What was the rug on which the Jews had stood, stood, were going to stand, even when it no longer exists? That rug was liberalism.

Jewish faith now, after 1870, becomes intimately involved with the crisis of liberalism, for it is liberalism which took, for rationalists, emancipation and tolerance. And, as I showed you before, it is the liberal party which the Jews joined, through which they tried to activate their new citizenship.

And through which they penetrated into politics. It must be clear, therefore, that what we have here, then, is a crisis of liberalism. And that crisis of liberalism is connected with two things: first of all, a rising new nationalism, which comes both with German unification and the dissatisfaction with unification…

… the kind of unification that came about in Germany, a new a nationalism that comes in France with the instability of the Third Republic, founded in 1879. So it is the new nationalism that will produce, on one hand, on one side, the crisis of liberalism.

But on the other side, it is combined with the new mass movement and mass politics, mass movements and mass politics which squeeze liberalism from the other side. For the idea of rationalism, of enlightenment, of tolerance, could have very little place in mass movement and mass politics.

What was the result? The result was that liberalism itself changed after 1807. And liberalism gradually made its peace with nationalism, moved ever further to the right. And, as liberalism moved ever further to the right, one small minority within liberalism attempted to keep the old traditions alive.

That small minority after 1870s formed a political party, usually called the Progressive Party, the Freisinnige in German, the progressive party, which tried to keep it alive. This was the party now which Jews joined, into which Jews went. So that here, indeed, Hannah Arendt is quite correct.

The push of mass politics, the push of nationalism after 1870, pushed the Jews into a weak political position. By and large, they became progressives. Time now for what remained of the old liberalism, but what remained rather powerless.

And here I will give you some statistics. Until 1880, 70% of the Jews in politics in Germany belonged to the ruling government party. Now that makes sense, as you know from your reading from Arendt. But the change of the liberals made it quite different.

In 1914, you find only 25% of Jews belonging to government parties, the rest in opposition. Still more soundly, in 1878, 15% of Jewish politicians were socialists, that is, belonged to the Social Democratic Party. By 1914, it was 39% of Jewish politicians who belonged to the Social Democratic Party, that is more and double.

At the same time, there were less and less Jews in public life. From 68 deputies in the Diet who were Jews in ’78, 38 in 1914. It had dropped by more than 50%. What these statistics mean is quite clear.

The Jews were being squeezed and driven into opposition, for these reasons that I have tried to tell you. Mostly, they were not socialists but progressives, that is to say those liberals which refused to become nationalists - or “national liberals,” as we called them - nationalists or “national liberals.”

The Jews, therefore, were losing their political base at the same that you have a new wave of anti-Semitism. The same development that you have in Germany, you have in Austria as well. From the 1880s on, Austrian liberals became soft on anti-Semitism. There again you have the same shift of the liberals to the right, the same isolation of the Jews…

… the same losing of their political base and being driven to opposition, to government. Now this is important. For, at the same time that this is happening, the other non-socialist political parties were pulled in the same direction. For us, most important is the evolution of the conservative party.

For the conservatives, remember, were anti-Semitic, but negatively so. They avoided Jews. They did not have an active anti-Semitism. Their anti-Semitism was Christian and hierarchical, but never active. But after 1880, the conservatives, if they wanted to survive, also had to become a mass power.

And in this, like the liberals - only more so, of course - they became a popular movement and a [WORDCHECK – frightened? frightening?], and, at the same time, linked themselves with a more active, as you will see, and violent anti-Semitism.

Now, to be sure, the conservatives regretted this, in the end. And you will see that the anti-Semitic mass movements forced the conservatives, for the conservatives were never happy with the demons they had eventually raised. They were too aristocratic, too conservative, too hierarchical, to like any mass party.

And eventually they turned against the kind of popular anti-Semitic movement which they had, at first, furthered. But the important thing is that an established party furthered it, and it was indeed, if anything, ambivalent about it, from this kind of beginning. That is what is important.

To sum up, then, by the 1880s, the change of the political constellation, was such - and this you must now remember - to erode the political base on which emancipation had really been built - and Jewish citizenship - to erode it, both for the liberals, the conservatives, towards how this erosion now penetrates into other established parties…

… agrarian, conservatives, but not only those. For the liberals also were soft of anti-Semitism, especially when the Jews joined the progressives. The liberals no longer had a Jewish constituency of importance, and so they no longer had to pay any attention to this whatsoever.

As I said before, this is connected, first of all, to the rising nationalism and second of all to the rising mass politics, to both of these factors. How then did it express itself? And now we must come, then, to the new mass movement, attempted or otherwise, with which Jewish faith is and was so closely to be linked from now on in.

We have already seen something of it, the Hep-Hep riots of 1819 - on which many of you wrote so eloquently, if mistakenly - the Hep-Hep riots of 1918 [sic], you will indeed remember. (laughter) But these riots were only sporadic, they did not carry through.

A riot is not a mass movement. A riot is spontaneous. If you are five blocks away, what does it matter? But a riot, therefore, is politically important only for two reasons. It is politically only important, first, if it is a symptom, a symptom which might eventually become a mass movement. Then it is important.

And secondly, it can be important for creating slogans and ideas which then penetrate in various ways. These sporadic anti-Semitic riots, which we have studied, undoubtedly helped spread the Jewish stereotype. They produced flyers, they produced pictures, they produced novels, they produced theories, and, in this way, helped to spread the stereotype.

But by itself, it is obvious, as many of you have experienced in riots, that riots by itself is nothing. We must, therefore, begin our story with the first movement that wasn’t merely a riot, but the movement which seemed to show - if people had only realized it at the time - that anti-Semitism indeed had great possibilities for the age of mass movements…

… and that indeed it could be connected to respectable political parties. The eventual strength of anti-Semitism - and I might say that here-- The development which now comes with the Stoecker movement in Berlin, first of all, is that anti-Semistism, to be really effective, has to be double-pronged -

… we haven’t had that to now - had to have two parts to it - we haven’t had that up to now - had to have two parts: one, a mass movement, granted, but, the other, a movement within the establishment, that is a respectable movement, at least what many people think respectable.

So that you can get a double-pronged attack: people in top hats and morning coats on the one hand and mass movements and demagogues on the other. Only in this way can you get a broad-enough spread to make it effective. What I’m leading up, of course, here, is, in a sense, to the Nazi movement which had that two-pronged attack…

… the social respectability on one hand, in top hats and frock coats, and, on the other hand, the power of a mass movement. The case, of course, preacher Stoecker, from 1878 to 1890, is enlightening in this regard.

I won’t go into details because you will read it in my Crisis book, some of it, but there are some things that I want to point out. Adolf Stoecker was a conservative, a member, in fact, of the conservative party. Moreover, he was an Orthodox Protestant minister. He was a preacher of court.

You didn’t become a preacher in the court of Wilhelm II if you were a screwball - or as most of you think of Eastern European Jews. You know there are prejudices in your exams. Your prejudices are beyond belief. Because the consensus of the class is that Eastern European Jews are, to quote one of you - and I won’t tell who - “weirdos with beards and [suburbs? WORDCHECK]” is how he described it.

And that was your consensus. Hmm-hmm. Well, let’s never say that stereotypes don’t work. Now, you can’t say that either. Now Stoecker, then, Stoecker then, was, as it were, an orthodox minister, a member of the establishment, a member of the establishment. First of all-- That is the other important thing.

First of all, he tried to do something for the workers, for the poor. He started off as what we call in Protestantism, the “Innere Mission,” that is the workman’s missions, in charge of workman’s missions in Berlin. And he founded a party, a political party, if you like, that was to better the lot of the working man, was to better the lot of the working man…

… which attracted, it attracted petite bourgeois, but it also attracted workers, especially railroad workers. Here we come to something else I can’t explain, but I’ll say something later - Hitler also started the Nat-- You know, probably, the National Socialist Party started as a workers’ party, just like Stoecker, like Lueger in Vienna.

All these started as workers’ parties, Hitler started with 25 railroad workers. National Socialist ideas were first prominent among the working classes, not among the middle classes, among the working classes. So there was obviously a terrain here for the working class, and Hitler and Lueger and Stoecker and Böckel – who we’ll get to in a minute - all started out in this way…

… but they found something very soon - Hitler, Leuger, Stoeker, Böckel - they all found something: that you couldn’t get this movement going, really, with only a kind of paternal socialist program - for what they called socialism was really paternalism. And they found that you couldn’t really get an [WORDCHECK] with that kind of workers’ movement tied to the establishment.. .

… ‘cause it was tied to the establishment, after all. Stoecker was a court preacher, Lueger will be mayor of Vienna. It was tied to the establishment. It wouldn’t pull. And we have the statistics on how Stoecker began to change. The crowds dwindled on when he lectured on the workers’ problem, but once he switched over to preach against the Jews, the churches were filled.

Hitler had the same experience in Vienna in 1920, once he talked about his kind of wishy-washy workers’ problem, his audience dwindled, but once he got about the Jews, he could really do something with his 25 railway workers. And [NAMECHECK - Franz? (His name is Karl)] Lueger had the same experience in Vienna.

In other words, what you have here, then, is that these mass movements start with social concerns. They have, as always, a democratic premiere. They start with social concerns. But because their social concerns do not really have place from a radical social program of change - ‘cause essentially they are all tied to the establishment, they are establishment people -

… they soon find that the appeal to anti-Semitism is a dynamic and an explanation which will work, which will work. Now, you say, “Why?” And here I must remind you, we have laid the foundation for it. By this time, we must say that anti-Semitism had become popular, and if you go back to what we say about the rise of modern anti-Semitism…

… it had become popular precisely, precisely, as part of a democratic movement, precisely. So that Stoecker in Berlin first and then Lueger and later Hitler--- For Jews, this trend, which had penetrated to activate a movement, to make it dynamic-- The Jew pulled. The popularity of anti-Semitism-- There can be no doubt the foundation had penetrated.

As I said, Stoecker found that, when he preached on the Bible, small attendance, on the Jews, large attendance. And so he adopted the usual ideas: the Jews are guilty for finance capitalism, for the stock exchange. These people were no racists. Stoecker was a Protestant minister. Conversion put an end to it, conversion put an end to it.

But this was integrated with the push toward becoming a mass movement. Anti-Semitism and a concern for the poor were combined. His party was called the “Christian Social Party” and the Christian Social Movement, a conservatism which now attempted to translate its paternalism into a mass movement…

… appealing to the working class and the petite bourgeoisie. It concentrated on the Jew as symbol, the Jew as exploiter. Typically enough, Stoecker praised the Orthodox Jew, the Orthodox Jew. It was the modern assimilated Jew he was after, who he thought was finance capitalism, who he thought dominated the stock exchange.

It is the Jew as exploiter. This was to be a prototype for other anti-Semitic parties in the 1880s and afterward. These parties called themselves “Christian Socialist Parties,” because they used Christianity and defined their socialism in terms of compassion, in terms of Christian compassion, together with anti-Semitism.

But the weaknesses are here also apparent. There were meetings, preaching from the pulpit, putting up candidates for the Diet. But obviously, there was a difficulty. It was regional. This was a Protestant movement. The Catholic German south was excluded - always a problem in Germany, a problem for Hitler which he overcame, the others didn’t.

The Catholic south was obviously excluded from a Protestant movement. It had bad organization, and, we can say, a very bad organization indeed. But it tried out propaganda, caricatures, prints, like Sessa after Sessa’s play I mentioned earlier. And indeed, for the first time, it tried out mass propaganda.

Everything was annexed. There were anti-Semitic playing cards, anti-Semitic match books, anti-Semitic flyers. I’ll bring some in to show to you, I have a collection of these, of things. But the importance is that now the penetration was still greater, because everything was annexed on the road towards a modern mass movement, with this emphasis.

His propaganda was directed against the Jewish stereotype, and its main accusation was again the accusation of lack of ethics, which I told you about earlier. When Stoecker initiated the debate on the Jewish question in the Prussian Diet, he said that the Jewish question is, after all, a question of ethics.

What we have therefore in Stoecker is the attempt to break out of conservatism, the realization - important for you - that a conservative attitude, or even a Christian attitude, toward the workers’ movement is not enough, that if you combine it with anti-Semitism, you can get a movement of some dynamic started.

Stoecker failed. He failed for two reasons: first of all, his organization, which was poor, very, and secondly, because the establishment got frightened. Stoecker was repudiated by the conservative party. He was repudiated by the Emperor. He lost his position at Court. They got frightened ‘cause the establishment was rightly frightened by mass movements.

He was frightened. And yet, what was its effect? And again, here, you can see the ambivalence. The first was the founding, in the 1890s, of a new student movement, Christian and anti-Semitic, which became the most important student movement in Germany, the National Student Movement.

That was one effect, which grew out directly out of the Stoecker agitation. And secondly, in 1892, at its congress, held in the Berlin hall of Tivoli - therefore it is known as the Tivoli Congress - the big conservative party, which had rejected Stoecker and the mass movement---

Nevertheless, in 1892, the conservative party adopted, for the first time, an outwardly anti-Jewish plan, a plan which said that it was necessary to roll back the undue influence of Jews in German life. The Tivoli Congress of the conservative party of 1892 shows you what I am trying to say…

… namely that, though the establishment rejected the mass movement, was afraid, was ambivalent about it, it nevertheless meant that now these ideas penetrated where they had never penetrated before, above all the liberals and the conservatives at the Tivoli congress.

Now, Stoecker failed partly because of his bad organization. But could you have a good organization? What did you need to have a good mass movement? Could you have a good mass movement which was not socialist, but which was also Christian and anti-Semitic?

The man who finally, in the future - and whom the Nazis rightly erected a museum to eventually - was a man called Otto Böckel, who had made his debut with a book called The Jews, the Kings of the Epoch. Where did you get it from? You’ll know, you’ll learn it now, he got it from Toussenel. He made his debut - this is how these things go back and forth -

… he made his debut with this book, The Jews, the King of the Epoch, which he cribbed from Toussenel. But Otto Böckel shows us that to have this kind of mass movement, you need what I like to call a fully-furnished house, that you cannot have this as a partial movement, but a fully-furnished house.

And this Böckel set out to do in the state of Hesse - in the state of Hesse, a minor Hessian peasant - and to do successfully. At the height of the Böckel movement, in 1893, he himself pulled 290,000 votes for his seat in the Diet. What did he do? What did he do in the years 1887 to 1894?

He succeeded in forming a movement of which anti-Semitism was an integral part, a movement which crossed the Rhine in France, called so nicely a “politique à tout faire,” a politic which covers everything, a politic which gives indeed to men a fully-furnished home. What did he do?

He organized peasant cooperatives, consumer cooperatives. He took factories under contract. He organized consumers’ cooperatives that the peasants ran themselves. He organized touring lectures. He organized mass movements, frequently, in connection with these cooperatives. He organized credit institutes. He organized Jew-free cattle markets - very important in Hesse…

… where the Jews were the cattle dealers - Jew-free cattle markets. In other words, you didn’t ever have to go outside this movement. The movement took care of everything, your economic wants, you spiritual wants, everything.  There was a ladies’ auxiliary, all of that. It took place of all your needs and all your wants…

… built around what Böckel called a Peasant League, that is to say, this peasant organization. No wonder the Nazis recognized here a precedent. The collapse was not due to any inherent involved in the experiment. It was the personal failing of Böckel, his loss of nerve, and money matters which led to the failure.

But what we have here is anti-Semitism built in, in other words, the lesson, the lesson. If you want an on-going mass movement, you must provide a full-furnished house. If you combine the Christian appeal - and Böckel, like Stoecker, was an Orthodox Protestant - if you could combine the Christian appeal with the kind of anti-Semitism we have analyzed…

… then you could have a movement which will continue and not merely be a riot, but make, as it were, a go of it. And this movement by Böckel in Hesse pioneered to this great extent. But there is one movement which was to be more important, I think, than either Stoecker or Böckel, the first modern mass movement which was successful over a long period of time…

… and which came to power, the movement associated with Karl Lueger in Vienna. Now you remember, those of you who went around last term for me reading Mein Kampf, that Hitler admired Lueger more than any other man, and rightly, and rightly. Much more than Böckel, Lueger is the rehearsal for Jewish destruction…

… though no Jews, as you will see, were destroyed. And Lueger was cynical. The phrase “I determine who is a Jew” comes from Lueger. And though Lueger was cynical, this cynicism was only for the inner circle and not apparent to the outside world. What about Karl Lueger, then, whom Hitler so much admired?

Hitler realized that both Böckel and Lueger were the waves of the future, and, let me say again, they were the waves of the future, and Stoecker too then, for these reasons - and perhaps I better summarize them - for these reasons.

First of all, they document the crisis of liberalism. Secondly, they document the new importance of nationalism and the new importance of mass movements. They document, certainly, the depth of the stereotype, and they begin to use a formula which will have a great future before it, a formula of social concern -

… they were anti-socialists, though, as you will see in a minute, the social concern had its limits - of social concern which they put in the guise of Christian - and that was certainly anti-socialist, that was certainly a barrier to socialists - Christian social concerns and the Jew as explanation for the evil of capitalism, this combination.

But unlike Stoecker, Böckel and then the most successful of all, in Vienna, the Lueger movement, demonstrates that, unlike Stoecker, you need a fully-furnished house. You need a carry-all. For what is the difference between a riot and a movement? A movement has to work in good times and bad.

After a riot, you riot and then you go home and you talk about the riot, you bullshit about it. (laughter) Well, that’s really very harmless. That’s what I always say, why get excited about our riots here? They have no importance, really, to our-- You riot, you bullshit, but it’s not a movement. It’s not a movement.

So that Böckel and the others showed how to build a movement. Now, the importance of this is clear, is it not? That, for the future, to build a movement, you must combine social concerns, democracy, as we said - anti-Semitism was always a movement of revolt, was always tied up with a movement of revolt - social concerns, democracy, and anti-Semitism.

That is the formula to which the future of mass movements and mass politics belongs. And not just in Germany, but in all of Europe. A formula that was, in the end, so attractive that even the communist party tired to use it in 1923 and 1930 to ’33, so attractive, and so relatively successful.

For these movements were cross-class movements, not one class-movement, not restricted, but cross-class movements. I myself believe - it must be clear from what I said - that you cannot understand the problems, and let us say the tragedy, of Western Jewry in modern times without understanding, quite clearly…

… that the Jewish fate became involved with the fate of mass movements and mass politics, and that it became involved in rehearsal of destruction. [Bell rings] And now you see why I think that no Jew should really go in for mass politics and mass movements, no. But you can draw your own lessons. For the formula here has never been superseded. We shall go on with Lueger next time.

Lecture #17

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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

The crisis of liberalism after the 1870s was especially harsh for Jews, wedded as they were to liberal parties that continued the traditions of the Enlightenment. New anti-Semitic movements, which, unlike earlier ones, were organized mass movements, adopted a formula that combined Christian social concerns and anti-Semitism. If the conservative establishment repudiated the Stoecker movement, the latter was nevertheless very influential. Yet the most important agitator was not really Stoecker or Boeckl, but Lueger in Austria. The Nazis eventually heaped praise on Lueger, even if he was more monarchical than revolutionary. Lueger was mayor of Vienna from 1896 to1910: He was elected for the first time in 1895, but the previous mayor refused to confirm him. This was no longer possible by 1896. Lueger emphasized both the Christian and the social, demanded an end to child labor, comprehensive insurance, the eight-hour work day, but also the protection of private property. The Jew was his explanation for why these reforms did not come about. Lueger, like Stoecker, did not start out as an anti-Semite, but anti-Semitism proved to be “good cement.” At the same time, the cult that arose around the person of Lueger carried anti-Semitism into every kitchen. Indeed, the role of propaganda cannot be underrated. Lueger instituted better public housing, welfare, electricity and gas, all municipally owned and run. (He was probably the best mayor of his time). His limitations were similar: this was an urban movement; Lueger could never make the jump from Vienna into rural Austria.(Later Hitler was able to appeal to both urban and rural constituencies).

Lueger’s movement demonstrated how people like Freud or Schnitzler became so insecure, though there was as yet no active persecution under Lueger. In these political movements, whether Lueger, Stoeckel or Boeckl, the irrational forces were in the ascendance. (Mosse mentions that he does not believe the Dreyfus affaire was as central in Jewish life-Hannah Arendt maintains. Too episodic, it was not a “rehearsal for destruction.”) The Dreyfu “shock” was due to the fact that it happened in France, the country of the Revolution and the Enlightenment. But unlike Lueger, it did not point to the future. In France, only the Action Francaise, which never made a major breakthrough, became a political movement inspired by the Dreyfus affair. Stoecker and Lueger did not cause such a shock, but forged new weapons against the Jews in Germany: petitions, asking for reduction of Jewish influence in public, and similar efforts abounded. Because the Dreyfus affair was more violent too early, it was less important for the future. But after 1900, anti-Semitism changed. By that time, all these mass movements had in fact failed and as a consequence, political anti-Semitism after 1900 receded. This was attributable largely to the conservatives, who were still strong enough to fight these violent mass movements. After all, the anti-Semitic, social Christian movements fought against conservatives, not against the left. Theory became more important than practice after 1900. Political anti-Semitism seemed to have failed, but for the first time, racism really comes to the fore. The theoreticians were people on the fringes of society. They were either academic proletarians, who aspired to academic positions but could not get them for various reasons, or they were wandering prophets, who had nothing but their ideology.

What made them important is that from the beginning, these fringe people were linked to conservatism and agrarianism. Some were sponsored by the socialists. Anti-Semitic thought continued to speak for democracy. The nature of the Jew was now his racial nature. Accusation against the Jew changed: after 1900, political accusation changed to cultural ones that defamed the Jew as a materialist who dissolves culture. This was the essence of the works of Drumont, Duehring and Chamberlain. Drumont’s “La France Juive” and his newspaper “La Libre Parole”, were of vast importance in the Dreyfus Affair. Typical of the French right was its Catholicism. Drumont managed to become the leader of a vast anti-Semitic trade union movement, “Les Jaunes.” (France, Mosse remarks, is the only country where anti-Semitism became for the first time a working class movement, sponsored as usual by the railway workers). “Les Jaunes” organized strikes. In fact, the biggest strike in Paris was not organized by socialists, but by the “Yellows” whom the police thought much more dangerous than the Socialist party. Today, that movement is never mentioned in France, and it is difficult to get material on it. In France, unlike anywhere else, the Christian social movement penetrated the mass working class movement, though it did not last. With the resurgence of French socialism, the Yellows became weaker; the socialists defeated them by 1906/7. Through these movements, anti-Semitism penetrated France deeply, as it penetrated other countries. Yet in France, this was not to be a precedent. Neither Dreyfus nor the Yellows were as important for the future.

After 1900, the “problem with the Jew” changes to race and culture. It plays into the accusation of the Jew as an urban character who comes from the city, robs the peasant of his land, and builds a factory upon it. But political anti-Semitism never died, it went underground while cultural anti-Semitism gained strength. By 1900, anti-Semitism had become a mass movement; moreover, it had penetrated all classes. When analyzing the reaction of the Jews, two problems are of vast importance: the reaction of the community, of what we call the notables, and second, the individual reaction. Furthermore, Mosse asks, what was the Jew to do about mass movements, since he, like everybody else, wanted community?

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 17 – March 29, 1971
… we talked about the crisis of liberalism after the 1870s, that this crisis of liberalism, if you like, hit the Jews especially hard, wedded as they were to liberal political parties, which continued the traditions of the Enlightenment and emancipation.

And, as liberalism split – as I tried to explain to you last time – as liberalism split, the Jews were, by and large, deprived of a decent and meaningful power-base, at the same time that you have the rise of these anti-Semitic mass movements. That here, certainly, Arendt’s analysis is quite correct.

I then tried to illustrate what was happening to the movements associated with Stoecker and Böckel in Germany, about which you will read more in the Crisis book. At any rate, I tried to make clear that, unlike the earlier anti-Semitic movements, these were no longer spontaneous riots, but more or less well-organized mass movements…

… that they found a formula which was to be a successful formula for producing a mass movement from ‘70s and ‘80s, and that formula was a combination of Christian social concerns and anti-Semitism. And that, out of this combination of Christian social concerns and anti-Semitism, came the various Christian social parties, which tried to appeal to the lower classes.

If the conservative establishment was frightened by this and repudiated Stoecker, as I tried to make clear last time, still these movements had important effects. The Stoecker movement, for example, penetrated the student bodies and student movements, but it even penetrated the conservative establishment.

And I cited to you the so-called Tivoli Program of the conservative party of 1892, where, for the first time, the respectable conservative party called for a rolling-back of Jewish influence in German life. They were effective, and, though you have mass movements, you now have a two-pronged attack:

… one in the mass movements themselves and, second of all, more and more in the respectable parties in the establishment. As I said last time, not only the conservative party with its Tivoli Program, but also the liberal party, now National Liberal Party, were now infected with ideas of antisemitism, even if they did not go into the streets…

… even if they did not become and did not want to become mass movements like Stoecker or, still more important, like the Böckel movement, which I talked about last time. But the most important of these mass movements was not really Stoecker, who suffered shipwreck – too conservative, too Protestant Orthodox –

… not Böckel, though Böckel made, if you remember, a fully-furnished home for his peasants in Hesse and was therefore already a step advanced. But the Böckel movement failed as well. The most successful is the movement associated with Lueger in Austria.

And it is typical, looking forward a little, that the Nazis eventually heaped praise on Stoecker, built a museum for Böckel, but that Lueger is Hitler’s example in Mein Kampf. That Lueger – whom Hitler knew, under whose rule he lived in Vienna, in fact, for several years – was a man he greatly admired, even if he was too monarchical and not revolutionary enough.

Lueger, as you know, played a large role of inspiration in Mein Kampf. Now Leuger built his Christian Social party the same way as the others. It was an anti-liberal coalition. He called it, typically enough, the Christian Social Workers’ Party, and it was a party which tried again, successfully, to appeal to the majority in Vienna.

From 1896 to 1910, he was indeed Lord Mayor of Vienna, and only his death in 1910 stopped him from being re-elected. But it is very typical that the first time he was elected there, in 1895, Emperor Franz Joseph refused to confirm him in his office.

And, incidentally – a little side-line – Sigmund Freud smoked a cigar to celebrate the autocratic savior of the Jews. Two years later, in 1897, in 1897, you couldn’t stop him anymore, and in 1897, he indeed came to power. By the way, the story about Freud shows you a little about what I told you before…

… how closely the Jews in Austria were linked to the Habsburg dynasty and how relatively tolerant that dynasty was, refusing at first to  confirm Lueger. But, by 1897, it was no longer possible. Typically enough, the Christian Social party was cross-class, like any important mass movement. Indeed, the appeal ran as follows:

Workers of all classes – hence, factory workers, teachers, employers, workers of all sorts – unite.  Obviously a take off on Marxism, but this time not narrow proletariat but broad and cross-class. He emphasized both the Christian and the social. His social program is again important for the kind of limits of social action of these anti-Semitic Christian social parties.

What did he demand? He demanded no woman and child labor, no night work, the eight-hour day, comprehensive workman’s insurance and workman’s compensation. And, with this social program – no women and child labor, no night work, an eight-hour day, comprehensive insurance – he also advocated the protection of private property and the protection of the family.

This was the kind of mixture that was so appealing: the family, private property, and, at the same time, a social reformist program, a typical program of the right. But that program by itself would never pull – we went over that with Stoecker last time – and so anti-Semitism is added.

The Jew is the explanation why these reforms are not coming about. For it is true and significant that no more than Stoecker did Lueger start out as an anti-Semite. He started out like Stoecker as a social reformer, not as an anti-Semite, but he found, as he tried to build up a mass movement, that anti-Semitism pulled and that indeed it was a good cement, especially in Vienna with its influx of Galician Jews.

It pulled and pulled very much. The social program – and this is a problem – by itself was never effective enough. At the same time, you get propaganda, a cult around Lueger. All the matters of propaganda: pictures, playing cards – playing cards are very important as propaganda. Remember what these people did in the evening, they went home and played cards –

… playing cards, buttons, medals, the “Lueger March” – which-- my voice isn’t up to it (laughter) – and politically, and politically, universal suffrage. These are democratic movements. Reform is a democratic movement. The Jew is the exploiter always, and we have seen the foundation for that, I think, well-lain, universal suffrage.

But the basis was anti-Semitism, the elimination of the Jews from economy and from culture. Through his propaganda, anti-Semitism was carried into every family and into every kitchen. The same is true of Stoecker, the same is true in Hesse for Böckel, very largely.

Propaganda cannot be underrated, for it is these Christian social mass movements which pioneered in that kind of total propaganda. But what made it a real success was Lueger’s undoubted ability. He transformed Vienna, not only building up municipal transport, new building codes, he virtually eliminated the slums, new city planning, new parks, better public welfare…

 … for the first time in any city, introduced electricity and gas— and all this municipally owned. In other words, there’s a great deal of social in this. All of this municipally owned, municipally run. His success as mayor cannot be doubted. He was probably the best mayor of his time and, from what I see, ever since.

In a city where poverty and housing was dreadful, where disease was rampant because of bad municipal services and houses, Lueger’s desserts were extremely great. Only his death in 1910 ended his reign and his re-elections. His limitations are similar.

This was an urban movement, and Lueger could never make the jump in the rural Austria. In other words, he tried to become a national figure, he never made it, as Hitler was going to make it. He could never make the jump from Vienna into a rural Austria. That was something conservative and Catholic, which he could never penetrate.

Lueger’s movement is certainly the most successful. It is much more important than Dreyfus because here there was no civil strife, no disagreement. But you can see something else too, to which I shall come back on Wednesday – you can see how people like Freud and Schnitzler and Hoffmann and the whole Jewish intellectual ambiance in Vienna began to feel a feeling of dreadful insecurity.

You can see how that would push them toward their creative and revolutionary paths, this feeling of insecurity, being ruled by an anti-Semitic movement and an anti-Semitic mayor, however cynical Lueger was in practice. I told you the famous phrase, “I determine who is a Jew,” comes from Lueger. It was used later by Goering, but it comes from Lueger.

So there was, in this, a great deal of cynicism on Lueger’s part, and we can say here something that is true, that you all know is true, one of the great historical truths which you must realize, that “the soup is never eaten as hotly as it is cooked.”

And that great proverb, one of on general truths of life, as you well know-- You don’t know this proverb? That is why you are so excited about everything. Don’t be so excited. “The soup is never eaten as hot as it is cooked.” That’s life. (laughter)

So that, on the whole, there was, under Lueger, no active persecution. Sigmund Freud had his couch in peace. (laughter) Nobody persecuted the man. There was no persecution as yet, that must be clear, because of the cynicism involved.  And this is something, by the way, that Hitler condemns Lueger for in Mein Kampf, the fact that he was in fact a cynic and that there was in fact, largely, no active persecution.

But you can still see how the Vienna Jews would be uncomfortable, would feel uneasy, would feel problem of “Where do I belong? With whom to I make contact?” A problem, of course, to which we shall return, quite clearly.

These political movements, whether Leuger or Dreyfus or Stoecker or Böckel, the irrational forces were in the ascendance, and the Dreyfus Affair has here, of course, a special place. I do not believe myself with Arendt that it is so central in the linkage of Jews and mass movements, not as central as she will have it.

For one thing, for one thing, it was much too episodic. If that was a mass movement, it wasn’t half as successful a mass movement as even Stoecker or Böckel or Lueger. In that sense, the anti-Dreyfusards are not the rehearsal for destruction in that sense. ‘Cause their mass movement, after all, as you read about it in Arendt, was episodic, and we must not really forget it.

The Catholic involvement was serious, because, as you know, it was accomplished [INAUDIBLE] who were in the forefront of anti-Semitism and anti-Dreyfusardism. It was polarizing, against Jews on the one hand, against Catholics and priests on the other. But the point about the Dreyfus Affair – about which you have read, after all – is not, I think, that it is, as I say, a rehearsal for destruction, but that it happens in France.

The shock of Herzl and Nordau and everybody – we’ll come back to that when we see the Jewish reaction – is that it happened in France, the country of the Revolution, the country of the Enlightenment. The shock of the Dreyfus Affair is not that the Dreyfus Affair points to the future – it does not really point to the future, Lueger points to the future, and the future success -

… the Dreyfus Affair was, in that sense, too sporadic. There were riots but not a mass movement. And therefore, unlike Lueger, Stoecker, and Böckel, the question was that it had no followers. There was no later political party, that the fact of the anti-Dreyfusards – except for the Action Française, and the Action Française never made the break-through really.

So the Dreyfus Affair does not look to the future, but what it seemed to prove is the depth of anti-Semitism. Now sure, that could have been proven in Germany and Austria, but somehow in Germany and Austria didn’t have a French Revolution. Somehow these were the countries where anti-Semitic thought had already developed.

But the Dreyfus Affair happened in the country of the Enlightenment, the country of the Revolution, and that was the shock of the Dreyfus Affair. And that, I think, is its main significance. It shocked Herzel and Nordau out of their assimilation for this reason, where, after all, Lueger, Stoecker and Böckel, did not have a similar effect.

It did not have a similar effect, because, in central Europe, it seemed to be somewhat expected, but nobody expected the depth of anti-Semitism in France. And yet even in France, with it, why it lasted, it was more violent than the other mass movements, because it always had a pungent tinge to it. Anti-Dreyfusardism was always sort of pungent, riot-like, which was its weakness, but also lead to the kind of violence.

For example, we have nothing in Germany like the petitions of the officers in France to try out new weapons on Jews. You have, at the same time, in Germany, a famous petition called “The Anti-Semitic Petition.” But the French petition by the officers, the anti-Dreyfusard officers, asked to try out new weaponry on Jews.

The German anti-Semitic petition merely asked for a roll-back in Jewish influence in public life. But the meaning of this, I think, can be quite misleading, for the very violence in France was too early, it was too early. While in Germany, the fact that there was mass movement and little violence laid, really, a trend for the future.

The Dreyfus thing was too early, too violent, too pungent, too riot-like, and it never became a mass movement. Therefore it was more violent but less important for the future, that is something that we must remember. And why is this of real importance? Because after 1900, we get a change, a change that is very important.

After 1900, anti-Semitism changed. It changed. For by that time, all these mass movements had, in fact, failed, and all the ideas of making anti-Semitic parties international and national— I won’t bother you with them. There were many attempts to make an anti-Semitic international, an anti-Semitic national— They had failed by 1900, they had failed.

And because they had failed, political anti-Semitism after 1900 recedes, recedes. Indeed, why had they failed? Very largely because of the conservatives. The conservatives were still strong enough to fight these kind of movements, which were a threat. Mass movements, violence was a threat to conservatives, as yet.

And as yet, they had pull. In fact, you must realize that the thrust of the fight of the Christian Social Party or the anti-Semitic movement was against conservatism, not against the left. They fought against conservatives, their once allies, not against the left. For the matter of the left is too fast.

Böckel, for example, had social democrats in his movement. The matter of the left is a little part because of the “Social” in the Christian Social. But what they fought was conservatism. And, as yet, it is conservatism that could beat them. Anti-Semitism, therefore, after 1900, the temper changes.

And what happens, clearly, is that, for a while theory becomes more important than practice, theory more important than practice. But theory has also advanced, if you want to use that word, certainly advanced in crisis. I don’t want to spend much time on the theory, because you will read it in The Crisis of German Ideology.

But what I want to point out is that, while political anti-Semitism seemed to have failed – seemed to have fail, in 1900, but not in reality, but seemed to have failed in 1900 – theory was evermore powerful because racism now for the first time really comes to the fore. And yet, the theoreticians of anti-Semitism, who were there?

Fringe people Lagarde, Dühring, Drumont. What were they really? People on the fringes of society. Two kinds of people: either academic proletariats – that is people who aspire to academic positions but couldn’t get any, for a variety of reasons – or they were something which became quite popular: wandering prophets, wandering prophets.

You know, the same thing revived again, wandering prophets who went throughout the land preaching, who lived on almost nothing except their ideology. And they will be very important in this kind of preaching. Hitler first was one of these prophets, wandering prophets, through the land, living on nothing, preaching the doctrine.

So what made them important? What made them important are perhaps two things. First of all, if they could get their books and newspapers to circulation. Until 1918, they hardly could. Their books, newspapers, were very little circulated. But what really made these fringe people important is again if they could make a link with a political mass movement.

And here the link really never snaps. From the beginning, these fringe people, these what I call volkish prophets had links. First of all, to conservatism always, links to conservatism – the agrarians financed them very largely – and links also to certain other politics parties, even, of course, the liberal parties.

The was dormant until 1914, but it was still an important link. The fringe people were never that fringe. Their travels were sponsored, and they were sponsored, by and large, by agrarian conservative interests.

But that is not at all. A man like Dühring, about whom you will read in the Culture book, was sponsored by socialists and was so important in the socialist movement that Engels finally wrote a whole book against him, the Anti-Dühring. So Dühring, in fact, who was an academic proletariat     made links with the socialists for a while.  

And, indeed, as we shall see later, his thought did penetrate quite deeply, and Engels finally had to write the Anti-Dühring about it. So they had to make links. Now the problem is, again, in central Europe they made this link. In central Europe, they linked with the agrarians and conservatives, for all their repudiation of mass movements.

They made temporary links like Dühring, even with the socialist party. In France, they couldn’t make any effective links, only again with the Action Française, but nobody else. Not really with any, what I would call, important establishment interests. This was one of the great difficulties in France…

… that the links here, after the excitement of Dreyfus, were tenuous, and were certainly much more difficult to make, and were never made with this kind of success. We must notice that, for all the link with conservatives, anti-Semitic thought and theory continued as a matter of democracy. Dühring in Germany, Drumont in France. It’s always, again, the same, and I must remind you of it.

It is again the Jew as the exploiter. It is again the democratic impulse, which you also find in the Christian Social movement, in spite of their being sponsored by conservative and agrarian interests. But this nature of the Jew is now his racial nature – and Dühring summarizes it very well – which was not there before.

“The Jewish question,” Dühring says, “would exist even if all Jews turned their back on their religion and converted to a Christian church.” That is precisely now the point, the parasite of corruption. But there is another point to it. The accusation of the Jew now shifts – imperceptibly, but it shifts – to the cultural realm.

After 1900, political anti-Semitism is dead – so it seems – so it shifts to the cultural realm. And the accusation becomes more and more not just the Jew as economic exploiter but, above all, the Jew as the dissolver of culture. This is the essence of Dühring, it is the essence of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, whom you will read about in The Crisis, it is the essence of Drumont.

And that cultural emphasis – the Jew as the materialist who destroys true culture – that emphasis is vastly important, for it kept the anti-Semitism going even when political anti-Semitism had fallen on bad times. After 1900, the cultural emphasis kept it going.

To be sure, of all these people, Edouard Drumont in France is the most important. There is no doubt that his France Juive, Jewish France, in 1886, was of vast importance in starting the Dreyfus Affair, that his paper, his newspaper, the Libre Parole – that is The Free Word – founded in 1892, was vastly important in exalting the Dreyfus Affair.

But again, Drumont adds very little new. He has anti-capitalism, he has anti-Jews as the destroyer of culture, he has the universal conspiracy. What he has that is different is, again, the mythology, which is typical of the French branch of this kind of ideology. It isn’t really worthwhile to recapture his ideas, but Drumont accepting this is [INAUDIBLE].

Now we come to something in France which isn’t realized, because French historians work exclusively on the left and are never interested in anything that happens on the right. Very difficult in French historiography. For Drumont managed, at one point, to do something nobody in France managed to do.

For I told you that, in France, the Dreyfus Affair was episodic, Drumont was not. For Drumont became – it’s the only time this happens – Drumont became the leader of a vast trade union movement of 500,000 members – by 1904, 500,000 members – called the “Yellows,” “Les Jaunes,” a trade union movement which was anti-Semitic and reformist.

In other words, his program was the Christian Social program. Anti-Semitism was a part of it, obviously. And it worked as well in France as it did in Germany at this point. Typical, for France is the only country were anti-Semitism became, for about 10 years, a sizable of the working class movement. Now you know why no French historian investigates this, eh?

It became a sizable working class movement, sponsored as usual by the railway workers, with whom Hitler also started, for National Socialism was, at the beginning, a working class movement. National Socialist ideas would begin among the working class, and only later they become middle class ideas.

But here was, for the first time, in France, a large and important working class movement, which we call “the Yellows,” “Les Jaunes,
a movement which was joined by former Revolutionists; part of the Blancists joined in and became, in fact, quite leading personalities.

And they organized strikes. The biggest strike in Paris in the 1890s was not organized by socialists, but organized by the Yellows, the Strike of Cloches. That is to say, the strike of transport workers, in Paris, was organized by the Yellows and not by the Socialists.

And until 1934, the Paris police thought the ghettos were much more dangerous than the socialist party. So what you have here is, of course, a perspective that, after all, the fact of French historiography has to be adjusted, has to be adjusted. You’ll never hear, in France, about that movement.

And when I worked on it, it was very difficult for me to get stuff because, in all these little socialist libraries, they always said, “You don’t want to work on that. You’d better work on some other obscure socialist.” So I had difficulty getting the material, of course.

But still, 500,000 people is not so few of workers in the south. The man who started, associated with the Yellows is, of course, Jean Jaurès. He broke with them, but he started there, in the south with this trade union movement. So what you have here is a trade union movement of some importance. What it did there, I don’t want to go into.

But I want to make several points about it. First of all, the point is that, in France, unlike anywhere else, Christian socialism, in a sense, the Christian Social program – they omitted much of the Christianity among their union activity – but the Christian Social program in France is the only nation where it penetrated into a mass, working class movement.

And yet, secondly, it didn’t last there either, and, what is more important, it wasn’t a precedent, like Lueger and Böckel. Why? That’s very difficult to explain. The only explanation I can give now is the strength of French socialism, the resurgence of French socialism. “Les Jaunes,” the Yellow Ones, became more and more company unions.

As they went on, they organized less and less strikes, became more and more company unions, and therefore the socialists, by 1906 or ’07, the socialists had, in effect, defeated them. So that it was not an example for the future either, but it is something I will come back to and that you might well remember.

We must say thirdly that, undoubtedly, through this movement, anti-Semitism penetrated France very deeply indeed, as it penetrated the other countries with the mass movements. Again in France, as in central Europe, the Jew and mass movements had become associated in an anti-Jewish, symbolic way.

And yet, in France, this was not to be a precedent. So that finally, we must say that, again, neither Dreyfus or the Yellow Ones are really as important – as I can tell, up to this point – as important for the future as the mass movements in central Europe. Neither really was taken as an example by anyone.

You will find, in the ‘20s, the Nazis looking back to Lueger and Böckel and Stoecker. You will not find, as far as I know, anyone in France looking back to Drumont’s organization of the Yellow trade unions. Nobody will really look back to that. And here again is a difference between France and central Europe – by which I really mean Western and Central Europe – which is important.

Drumont died almost forgotten in the end, totally, in fact, forgotten in the end, in 1917. Finally, we must be clear that what we have here is then an attempt to beat liberalism. These are anti-liberal movements, but anti-liberal movements of the right, not of the left. And anti-liberal movements of the right, they became important mass movements, all important mass movements…

… which again meant and includes an [WORDCHECK element?] of what we would call Jewish faith, Jewish concerns. After 1900, the problem becomes changed, then. You get the cultural ideal to the foreground. You get to the foreground both racism and the accusation of culture, the accusation of the Jew with materialism, the accusation of the Jew with urbanism…

… and, that, I must remind you too, that all of this plays into or continues what we talked about before: the accusation of the Jew as an urban character, the accusation of the Jew who comes from the city and robs the peasant of his land. Very popular literary theme. These are the popular literary themes all over Europe, the Jew who comes from the city, robs the peasant of his land and builds a factory upon it.

The peasant then hangs himself, looking at what has happened to his roots. The Jew as the up-rooter means the Jew as the destroyer of culture. So that, again, we must summarize in two ways. First of all, first of all, political anti-Semitism never dies, it’s underground, it revives in 1918, obviously.

And secondly, after 1900, anti-Semitic theory shifts to race and culture, while not abandoning the economic factor. It ends in Dühring and in Drumont with a strong cultural emphasis. Moreover, by 1914, anti-Semitism has become a mass movement, with more or less success in France, in Germany.

It has penetrated all classes, including the working class. Dühring’s support was largely working class, and that support is all classes, its success, its cross-class appeal, and the appeal of social reformism combined with anti-Semitic explanation for the evil of this world.

The problem then is, what about the reaction of the Jews? How did the Jews react to it? And here we face two problems of vast importance – and I realize I now get to things which are more personal to you. First of all, the reaction of the community of what we call the notables, and, secondly, the individual reaction – as much as we can typify them and look at the contours, which is difficult to many individuals – the individual reaction to it.

So that now, for the next lecture, we must go to the reaction of the community and then the reaction of the individual in this difficult idea. Finally, one thing more. What’s the matter with you? Ants in your pants or something? One thing more. One thing more.

You misunderstood me at the end of the last time. I tried to be as interpersonal as possible, but at the end of the last time, I did say that, with all that we have discussed, there is a problem of Jews and mass movements. But I did not say that you should not join any mass movements, because that is exactly the problem we are now coming to in the next two lectures.

What should the Jew do? Because the Jew, like everybody else, like anybody, wants community, wants community. And where the hell is he going to find it? That’s the difficulty we’ll take up next time.  

Lecture #18

Lecture #18  - 46:44 - Lecture 18 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

The reaction of Jewish communities and individuals to anti-Semitism was obviously double. Mosse starts with community reactions. The wave of anti-Semitism for the first time forced the very reluctant admission that there may have to be a specific Jewish interest to be defended. This ran against the grain of emancipation, adding to the accusation that the Jews were a state within the state. For the first time at the end of the century, leaders of the Jewish community formed an organization, the Association of “Germans of the Jewish Faith”, a Jewish Anti-Defamation League. The problem they faced was politicization. From the beginning, the theory of the organizers was always against politicization, but the reality they faced was different. Out of fear of “ghettoization” and unfavorable reaction, German Jews refused to form a congress of all Jewish organization. Only in the 1920s did Jews open a Veterans’ organization bureau in Berlin. The defense of the “Germans of the Jewish Faith” took the form of monetary support for the paper of the Defense league.

Matters in France were very similar; the reaction to Dreyfus affair by the Jewish community in France, according to Michael Marrus, was that they almost ignored it. In France, there were after all only 86,000 Jews among 39 million people. But in what was after all the country of the Revolution and emancipation, the Jewish community took refuge in the optimistic view that the spirit of 1789 would reassert itself. Though anti-Semitic workers’ movements, such as the Action Francaise, did exist, they failed to prevail. Yet for all the failure of political anti-Semitism, French anti-Semitism was far from superficial. That optimism also existed in Germany. The notables who controlled Jewish organizations were liberals after all. When after 1900 anti-Semitism became cultural rather than political, the notables thought their attitude had been correct. (This leadership of notables eventually mistook the Nazis for just another anti-Semitic wave that would recede). They were and remained optimists, wedded to the idea of emancipation. Their policy of defense in the 1890s continued the idea of emancipation, of what a Jew should “be” which meant in fact admitting the Jewish stereotype. In this regard, they shared terrain with the enemy. Typical was the defense of the Viennese community, who published a book explaining Jewish ethics to refute accusations of unethical Jews. Secondly, the notables tried to fight allegedly usurious Jewish business practices, and third, to wean Jewish youth away from commerce into agriculture and crafts. Once again, they repeated Dohm’s theories. The strategy of defense here was to fight irrationalism with rationalism. This type of defense was based on liberalism and rationalism, when it faced anti-liberalism and irrationalism on the terrain of the enemy. The liberal Jews who controlled the community were the creatures of emancipation. Only a tiny Zionist minority called for different means.

Freud is an excellent example of this clinging to rationalism. Both Victor Adler and Freud joined a nationalistic German student fraternity in the 1870s. But as Jews, they could not stay there. It was then that Freud began to cling to rationalism and became a liberal. (This was typical for middle class Jews, even when liberalism was finished). “Civilizations and Its Discontents” is another confession of Freud’s faith, in which law and private property served as a mitigation of aggression. In a letter of 1926 to the Bnai Brith, Freud writes that he owes being free from many of the prejudices and limitation of other people to his Jewishness. As a Jew, he was able to deny himself the compact with any majority. For Freud, Jewishness and liberalism had become the same. Yet very few Jews were willing to deny themselves unity with the majority; rather than being in opposition, they became nationalists. When liberalism in the gentile world was no longer important, Herzl’s “Jewish State” was the last liberal utopia. For Jews who could not take refuge in liberalism, pessimism often followed. An example is Arthur Schnitzler. In a play of 1894, he wrote that the dilemma of the younger generation of cultivated Viennese Jews was the dissolving of liberalism, which forced them to become militant socialists. (Here, Mosse digresses for a while on the “idiocy of militant socialism” at the UW.) Important in Schnitzler’s play is that each character turns from his true self and lapses into eccentricity.

Mosse now comes to the reaction of the individual. This is very difficult, because there were ten million Jews in the world, and thus ten million different reactions. But what are these? According to Mosse, young Jews were likely to take one of three paths in that new situation. Two of them were to transcend Jewishness, one into nationalism, the second into socialism. The third is Zionism, which was the least important until 1933. These young Jews were also engaged in a revolt against their elders and deplored their fathers in the 1880s and 90s. Like their Christian equivalent, they rejected liberalism-like all middle class youths of their time. The options of young Jews were limited, though. Even the Zionists would try to transcend Jewishness, that is, the Jewish stereotype. They agreed with the notables that Jews should be retrained.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 18 – March 31, 1971
… of the anti-Semitic waves of the ‘80s and ‘90s, a decline of political anti-Semitism by 1900, and the shifting of its focus from both politics to culture. What we must come to now is the reaction of both the Jewish community as a community – or communities as communities –

… as well as the reaction of individuals to this kind of anti-Semitic wave, which we have been talking about in the last lecture. The reactions were obviously both of a personal and of a community nature. It is the community reaction with which I want to start, for they are simpler to analyze and more straight-forward.

In fact, we can sum up the community reaction in this way: that the wave of anti-Semitism – Stoecker, Böckel, Lueger, the Dreyfus Affair – for the first time forced an admittance, a very reluctant admittance that there may have to be specific Jewish interests to be defended. Now, why was there such a reluctant admission?

Because it went against the grain of the ideal of emancipation and the ideal of citizenship, that there were, in a nation, specific Jewish interests. It seemed somewhat to give in to the accusation, which I lectured about before, that the Jews were a state within a state…

… and therefore, that reluctant admission, that reluctant admission, after all, was a matter against emancipation and common equal citizenship ideas. As a result, the Jewish communities really formed themselves as national communities for the first time at the end of the century.

In Germany, in 1893, the Central Association of Germans of the Jewish Faith— Note the title of the German national Jewish organizations: Germans of the Jewish Faith. And already before, in 1890, the German Anti-Defamation League had been founded. These organizations were obviously organizations of notables…

… that is to say organizations of the wealthier, more important leaders of the community who were elected to them, who controlled them and managed them. The problem that they faced was immediately a problem of politization [sic], for such a national organization reluctantly fought for the defense of specific traditions and for politics reform.

The theory was always against politization, the reality was quite different. From the beginning, the German organization spent money to elect candidates to the Diet favorable to the Jews, spent money on propaganda, but always they were held back by what one contemporary called “the fear of ghetto-ization.”

Indeed, the whole reaction of the Jewish community is dominated by this fear of ghettoization. For example, the German Jews refused to call a congress of all Jewish organizations to discuss common concerns. Such a congress they thought was too public, might have too unfavorable a kind of reaction.

Only in the 1920 did the central organization of Germans of Jewish Faith, only then did they go into propaganda. Then in the 1920s, they were influencing in a sophisticated way. Only then did they open an office in Berlin which went under the flag of [WORDCHECK – protest?], nationalists.

And many of the articles inserted in the Nazi papers were planted by the Central Organization of German Jews, as we now know, in order to divide the right, in order to sow confusion. But only in the ‘20s did they begin this quite sophisticated effort to sow chaos among the enemies of the Jews by infiltration under a false office, false name and all of that sort.

But that lies ahead. The defense which we have now is on a different level, some traveling speakers, like in Böckel, Hesse, but above all, monitoring, through the paper of the Anti-Defense League.

And that is why the monthly of the German Defense League is one of the most valuable source materials for the anti-Semitic movement in Europe, because they didn’t defend so much as monitored all of anti-Semitic movements all over Europe.

Their attitudes were summarized in a proclamation of 1893. That is a time when the Stoecker movement was still going, when Lueger was getting going in a big way, when the Dreyfus Affair was there before the door. They proclaimed as follows:

“We are not starting any separation today. We are not placing our particular interests in the foreground. For us, the welfare of the fatherland, the advancement of its culture, and the prosperous development of its spiritual and economic life stands today and always in the first place.”

Thus it was since emancipation, thus it will remain, as you will see, with the adjustment of specific organizations and with the pull to defend, now, specific Jewish interests. Matters in France were very similar indeed.

The reaction to the Dreyfus Affair by the Jewish community was a reaction of distress, so as not to provoke. Indeed, the recent historian of the Jewish reaction to the Dreyfus Affair, Michael Marrus, in his book called The Politics of Assimilation – in English, you should read it.

The Politics of Assimilation by Michael Marrus comes to the conclusion that the French Jewish community almost ignored the Dreyfus Affair. But here there was a reason and a stronger reason than in Germany: reliance upon the gentiles to fight the battle. Now why? There are some things you must take into consideration.

In France, during the Dreyfus Affair, there were only 86,000 Jews among 39 million people. There were only a few more Jews than in the state of Wisconsin, among 39 million people. In Germany the balance was a little better, but not much better, some 200,000 Jews among 40 million people.

But in France, there was an additional factor, which I mentioned before. Was France not the country of the Revolution? Was France not the first country which had emancipated the Jews? Was France not the country of the Enlightenment? The Jewish community relied upon the moral strength of the French nation.

They took refuge, if you like, in an optimism that, no matter what happened now, the spirit of 1789 would indeed reassert itself. The famous sociologist Emile Durkheim, who was an Alsatian Jew, put it this way in 1898:

“Our anti-Semitism in France is the consequence of a superficial system of a social illness, by contrast to the anti-Semitism found in Germany or Russia which is chronic and traditional.” Yet, of course, the optimism here was scarcely warranted.

The anti-Semitic workers movement, which I mentioned last time, did exist. Out of it came an anti-Semitic political party, the Action Française, or the French Action. A literary anti-Semitism did exist indeed, and we shall come back to it.

What failed in France as everywhere was political anti-Semitism, but it is greatly to be doubted whether, for all this failure and for the failure of mass movements in France, which I expressed, a failure that made Dreyfus episodic, anti-Semitism in France was not, as a matter of fact, just as strong as in Germany.

Those of you— And that it came to the fore in every crisis. Those of you – you are too young – who were in France during Algeria will know that. For the graffiti – you know what graffiti are, they’re scrabblings in the lavatory – the graffiti were full of anti-Semitism.

Indeed, I spent a great deal of the year of 1860 [sic] going around with [NAMECHECK – Sinclair?], who is the director of the little Jewish library in Paris, with a hammer and a chisel, taking these graffiti from the walls – the 80s I meant – in the Paris subway.

And therefore there now exists a very significant collection, the first one I think, of anti-Semitic graffiti in Paris. And I don’t think Mr. Weinberg has done it, no. Which is, of course, extremely important for popular anti-Semitism, an extremely important matter.

But what it shows, these graffiti-- And these graffiti have all the stereotypes, the conspiracy, the stereotype. Everything that we have talked about is in these graffiti, especially in the Subway station of Châtelet, where everybody changes [INAUDIBLE]. It matters.

The question is that what you have there, in these graffiti, is of course a sign that, for all the failure of political anti-Semitism, French anti-Semitism were far from there superficial, and that indeed it broke out among the people – for this is popular literature which I’m talking to you about – among the people, became extremely deep.

Remember something, you’re dealing not with Americans but with a literate people. The graffiti here at the University of Wisconsin are not worth the chiseling off. But these graffiti in France were often five or seven sentences. In other words, people who had no outlet or literary endeavors who did it.

And it is, therefore, extremely important evidence. As a matter of fact, you have such optimism also in Germany. For let us remember that the notables who controlled the official Jewish organizations were liberals, after all. And though, in Germany, there was no tradition of 1789, this optimism was shared.

For example, a French newspaper notes with satisfaction that, of the 34 members of the executive committee of the League for the Rights of Men, which was a pro-Dreyfus league, only three were Jews. To make it short, the Dreyfus Affair was not, in France, a turning point in the history of the Jews…

… but instead one more episode in the steady march toward emancipation. The same thing can be said for the official Jewish community in Central Europe. The anti-Semitic wave was not an epoch, not a turning point, but part of the steady march of emancipation instead. Why?

Remember-- The communities turned out to be correct. Remember that, by 1900, political anti-Semitism was dead. Remember Dreyfus won the Dreyfus Affair. Remember that, after 1900, anti-Semitism remained cultural and not political.

So that the notables could say quite rightly, “Our attitude was the right one. We did not panic. We gave up as little of our rights to emancipation as possible, and, look, we have won. It did work. The tactic seems to be justified.”

Now this, again, is very important. For this leadership of notables trained a new one in its image, and it is the leadership of notables that these people of the ‘80s and ‘90s trained which were to face National Socialism in Europe.

And now you can understand how these notables, when they faced National Socialism thought, “Is this not merely another Dreyfus Affair? Is this not merely another anti-Semitic wave as we had in the 1880s and ‘90s? Is this not merely another Christian socialism? Therefore the same tactics of distressing might work now, might work in the 1920s, as they worked in the ‘80s and ‘90s.”

This you must remember, when the notables face people like Eichman. You must remember that the tactics of dealing with the first anti-Semitic wave were successful, so why not apply it here? You must remember that the notables were and remained liberal, that they were and remained optimists, that they were and remained wedded to the ideas of emancipation.

That you must not forget. For how did they refute the charges of anti-Semitism? What was their policy of defense in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when it first arose? What was their policy of defense? The official policy of defense was this: it continued the ideas of emancipation of what a Jew should be.

And because it continued the idea of emancipation, it meant admitting, by indirect, the existence of the Jewish stereotype. It meant, in fact, that the enemy defined the terrain from which you fight. Because emancipation and assimilation shared the terrain with the enemy.

They too were opposed to the stereotype, to financial practices, and all of that sort of thing. They shared terrain with the enemy. Typical was the defense of the Viennese community in 1882. That is among the first movement to have joined.

The Viennese community met and decided to do three things of defense. First, to issue a popular book explaining Jewish ethics. The reason for that is, as I have told you before, that anti-Semitism above all attacked the lack of ethic among Jews, because Judaism was not a religion, because of financial practice.

Therefore the reply was a book explaining Jewish ethics. After all, remember this, Stoecker had said in the Prussian Diet, “the Jewish question is a question of ethics.” And so, you had to reply by issuing a book on ethics.

Secondly, to fight the presumably usurious rate of interest charge by the Jews. Interestingly enough, the Jewish community assumed that. They never made a study of how much interest Jewish merchants actually charged. But it’s very typical that they assumed that Jews made usurious rates of interest, that it was true, and therefore it had to be fought.

And thirdly, to wean Jewish youth from commerce and guide them to agriculture and into the artisan trade, everywhere. We’ll have to come back to that. There was now a push to get Jewish youth back into agriculture and the artisan trades. In other words, to repeat Dohm.

You all know Dohm. You wrote about him, learnedly or unlearnedly. But you all know who Dohm is. So repeat Dohm once again, that was the answer. Repeat, once again, the ideals of emancipation. But if you did this, if you did this, you were fighting from the terrain of the enemy…

… because the idea of emancipation meant fighting the Jewish stereotypes by Jews as well as anti-Semites. This was placed together with something else that comes from liberalism and emancipation, together with an emphasis on famous Jews who accomplish something in the arts and sciences…

… but, above all, in war and patriotism, famous Jewish warriors. Well, there ain’t that many. Maccabbees come in, after all. Famous Jewish warriors, famous Jewish patriots. Yeah sure, dragged by the hair, I agree. Sometimes I’m not so quite sure whether these people were Jews at all. But that doesn’t matter there.

The question is this, the defense here is what? It is trying to argue rationally with irrational movements. That’s what it is. The anti-Semites said Jews were evil, but there is the great patriot. The anti-Semites say Jews were all bankers and commercial people, but here is the great Jewish warrior.

This kind of defense is based on liberalism and rationalism, but its tragedy was that it had to argue with irrationalism and anti-liberalism. The problematic here is very easy to see. Two things that we must say about the official defense. First of all, it defines itself on the terrain of the enemy.

And secondly, it comes at irrationalism with rational arguments, irrationalism with rational arguments. The Jewish notables, these wealthy Jews who controlled the community, were liberals, were the creatures of the development of emancipation and assimilation, successful in society.

So that they again firmed this symbiosis of Jew and liberalism. If you think Jewish defense has changed today, you’re totally mistaken. Everything that I have said about the 1880s and ‘90s I would say about present Jewish defense activities.

So that what you have is actually a kind of tragedy, and you must regard it that way, I think. Here too, the liberal narrative came home to roost. Not only did the Jews in those days lose their political base through the erosion of liberalism, but they kept a liberal attitude which was less and less effective as, again, anti-Semitic movements which were outwardly illiberal.

Only a tiny Zionist majority [sic] called, in 1900, for a liquidation of liberalism among Jews, but those who called for a liquidation of liberalism among Jews were a tiny Zionist minority.  I think that now you can realize another trend in Jewish history.

Now you can see, in a sense, what the trend we started with Moses Mendelssohn, assimilation and emancipation, what difficulty it came into already in the first anti-Semitic wave and from then on in. For we must remember, the world of notables is the world of most Jews.

And here now, again, I want to resort to an example, a very famous example, the example of Sigmund Freud. For he is an excellent example of the clinging to this kind of ideal of rationalism, liberalism, and emancipation and citizenship in this regard, an excellent example.

But it is typical for the Jews of those days that Freud [and] the founder of Austrian socialism, about you will hear more later, Victor Adler—Victor Adler and Freud both, in their youth, when they were about your age, joined a nationalistic German student fraternity. And the importance of that—so did Theodor Herzl.

Herzl, Freud, Victor Adler, believe it or not, were all in the same nationalistic German student fraternity in the ‘70s. They were all in that same fraternity, quite a fraternity. But the problem was, of course, the problem was that a Jew could not stay there, after all…

… in what was called the [WORDCHECK -vereine] of 1873, that is this fraternity of 1873. They were swept away by this nationalism, by this Lueger movement. So the question was, what should they fasten on to? We now come to this question and we shall remain there for a while. With what community could they link?

Freud, Adler, Herzl, all tried to link with the most exciting community of the time, which undoubtedly was the nationalist community and the nationalist fraternities, undoubtedly. But for a Jew, that was no longer possible. And it is then that Freud begins to cling to rationalism, to emancipation, to all of these ideas.

It is then that he becomes a liberal, a liberal, and that it is then that he becomes to define the liberal society, which becomes his society. But it is typical that, as late as 1930, it is typical for these middle class Jews-- That as late as 1930, liberalism was finished. Liberal parties had maybe one member in Parliament, in Germany too.

Liberalism was finished. That when it was finished, he wrote in Civilization and its Discontent, another confession of faith to a liberal society. “The end result,” he says, “of sublimation and transference, the end result would be a state of law to which all have contributed by making some sacrifice of their own desires…

“… and which leaves none at the mercy of brute force, a society of law, a liberal society.” Just as in Civilization and its Discontent, a few pages onward, he condemns communism and says that private property is indeed the natural consequence of human aggression and non-aggression of private property, and that private property is indeed necessary as a focus of aggression, as a mitigation of aggression.

Law and private property. And one can go further. In 1930 again, Freud exalts cleanliness and order as a mark of society. So that somebody like Freud, coming out of the middle class Viennese community – the early fusion with nationalism didn’t work – somebody like Freud could now, for the rest of his life, like so many middle-class Jews, cling to this kind of liberalism, this kind of liberal commitment.

And here, we must quote a famous letter of 1926, a letter he wrote to the Jewish organization Bnai Brith where he says the following – and it is an interesting and significant letter about the subject at hand: “I share with my fellow Jews the secret of a similar construction of my soul” – a most Romantic thing to say.

“I owe to my Jewishness the two qualities which have become indispensible in my difficult life. Because I was a Jew, I was free from many of the prejudices of other people, from many of the limitations of the gentile intellect. As a Jew, I was prepared to live in opposition and to deny myself the union with any compact majority.”

Now what is interesting about this letter, I think, is clear. It’s the utter confusion of Jew and liberal. For Freud, liberal and Jew have become the same thing, have become utterly the same thing. For what he said is nothing particularly Jewish. Many Jews did not go into opposition, none of the Jewish notables, none of the Jewish communities certainly didn’t.

Very few Jews were willing to deny themselves union with the majority. Otherwise we would not have had so many Jews who became socialists or Jews who attempted still to become nationalists. In other words, when Freud said that it is something especially Jewish to be in opposition, when he says it is something Jewish to be without the prejudice of the gentiles, what he means is really to be a liberal not to be a Jew.

Because this is not normative for Jewish life, but it is normative for the liberal ideal. And the importance of this letter of 1926 is, after all, how close, by that time even, in the mind of a man like Freud, liberalism and Jew were the same. And, of course, at the precise time, dialectically, when liberalism in gentile society and in gentile politics was no longer an important factor, was indeed a very minor factor by 1926.

What about those Jewish intellectuals who were not as optimistic as Freud, not as committed a liberal as Freud and Herzl? I will tell you now a little secret, which I didn’t want to let out until we come to Herzl, but which I’ll go through with you. The Jewish state, the famous Herzl Jewish state, what is the Jewish state? It’s a liberal utopia.

It’s the last liberal utopia. That’s what Herzl’s Jewish state actually is, the last liberal utopia. It’s kind of touching - we shall come to it - and irrelevant. And we shall come to it. But Freud, Herzl, all these people, rebounded from rejection into liberalism, but there were some who did not.

For those Jews who did not, who could not go to liberalism, for many of them, there came to be a deep pessimism. This was especially true with Freud’s great friend, the writer Arthur Schnitzler. What would you know of Schnitzler? Hmm? You would know of Schnitzler’s the movie, La Ronde. Right? You don’t know La Ronde, anyone, the movie? No?

Well, I’m sorry, these things are all a little out of date, I mean. Schnitzler had nothing to do with trash. Naked products were not his thing. So that, I’m sorry, but if you don’t know anything about Schnitzler I can’t help you. However, he was famous, take my word for it. (laughter)

Somebody like Arthur Schnitzler, then, was extremely pessimistic. In a play called The Path to Freedom, Schnitzler, of 1894, Schnitzler took the dilemma of the younger generation of cultivated Viennese Jews. The Path to Freedom showed that dilemma, in a dissolving liberal universe. For each young Jew in that play is forced to take a path in life that distorts his real nature.

For the options to him had become so small. For example, the young Jew who wants to go into politics is forced to become a frustrated writer, for politics is closed. The attractive young Jewess is forced to become a militant socialist. (laughs)

That needs some explanation, because, for you, attractive young Jewess and militant socialist aren’t opposite. But you are now in the 1890s and they are opposites. The attractive young Jewess, whose destiny it was to preside over a salon, to look beautiful and decorative, social circles were closed to her, so she distorts her nature by becoming a militant socialist…

… something in the 1890s, of course, unfeminine and totally to be rejected for beautiful girls. Schnitzler wrote it, I didn’t. (laughter). So, by God, I have some sympathy. Now, the young Jew-- You know, I shouldn’t say that, but in all the idiocies around the University of Wisconsin, about five years ago, one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen and, boy, what revolution came out of her mouth. (laughter)

It was some kind of odd thing for my generation, of having this beautiful girl calling for deaths and hangings. My death! My death and my hanging! (laughter, applause) So I offended her, of course, by saying I wouldn’t really mind if I were hanged by such a beautiful woman. That of course made her madder than ever, you know. However that may be…

The young Jew destined by temperament to become an army officer becomes a Zionist. Now, again, [INADUIBLE], because today, of course, if you want to become an army officer, by temperament, you’d better become a Zionist. But in those days, remember what Zionism was.  Zionism was a distortion of this, from the point of view of assimilation and emancipation.

In other words, the importance about this play of Schnitzler is that each character is distorted from his true self, and the perspective is again an emancipation liberal perspective. All his characters relapse into eccentricity, the militant socialist, the Zionist-- Well, eccentricity in the 1890s, they really were. The latter may still be today.

But in the 1890s, they were certainly eccentricities, as Schnitzler saw it, made by the frenzied whirling of society and its irrationalism. This is one analysis, by a pessimist, obviously, and I don’t have to say that. But what about the reality of matters?

From the analysis of the community, we must now come to the options, we must come to the individual reaction. Now it is clear that that is very difficult. There were then in the world 10 million Jews and therefore probably 10 million individual reactions. Still, however, we can see the contours of the alternatives that young Jews tended to take…

… tended to take a path from the notables, a path from the official communities. What are these alternatives? What are these actions that they could take? For let us remember that this is the first generation which faces anti-Semitism. That, perhaps I should have stressed, but I stressed it so much and I don’t want to bore you with it.

For the first time in the 1880s, ‘90s, anti-Semitism were movements, not just a riot. A riot you enjoy, you go back [INAUDIBLE]. These were movements, for the first time. That is why the reaction of the community is so important, and that is why they gave so little, why they still did not believe in specific Jewish interests.

But the young Jewish generation coming to maturity in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the generation of Freud and of Herzl and of Victor Adler and of many more you will hear about I think. We can, I think, discern three paths which young Jews were likely to take in this situation, in this new situation.

You can perhaps understand it better if you put yourself into that position, which is dangerous-- difficult for you - dangerous, yes - difficult for you because you have never experienced anti-Semitism as a movement. But it might be the same thing if, in America, anti-Semitism as a movement comes again, as a movement, you might have the same problem.

What then were the alternatives? Two of them were attempts to transcend Jewishness. This is an obvious reaction, an immediate reaction. One, into nationalism, to do it successful, what Herzl and Freud, Victor Adler had not done successfully in their student days.

The second is to transcend Judaism once more, but this time into socialism. And the third is Zionism. It is the least important, it’s just true. Now look, I’ll be coming to Zionism-- Let’s get this into perspective. Until 1933, Zionism was of no importance. It was even of minor importance in Eastern Europe. It only became important with Hitler.

So that what you have, therefore, was an important movement among Jews. It was not before, even in Eastern Europe. So that what you have are two major alternatives, the national and the social, and one minor alternative, the Zionist alternative. One minor alternative, two major ones.

Notice what was not an alternative: liberalism. Why? For these young Jews were also engaged in a revolt against their elders. They were a part of the total revolt of youth in the 1880s and ‘90s - which some of you have studied, perhaps, from a different direction - but the total revolt of youth in the 1880s and ‘90s.

These young Jews, let us be clear about that, deplored their fathers as much as everybody deplored their fathers, of the middle classes. The working classes don’t have time to deplore their fathers. The middle classes deplore their fathers in the 1880s and 1890s.

And from that point of view, what difference did it make whether the father, with his thick cigar, his title, and his wealth, went to a meeting of the Jewish community or to the national Diet? It made no difference, from the point of view of youth.

And what difference does it make whether the mother went to the Jewish auxiliary – or something, that does not yet exist - to the Jewish community auxiliary and a Christian equivalent went to the Dorcus society – it is the Christian equivalent.

From the point of view of youth, it makes no difference. What you must remember now, when we came to the young Jews who took these alternatives, you must remember two things. You must remember what [INAUDIBLE]. First of all, they rejected liberalism, as all youth in the ’80 and ‘90s. All middle class youth, I’m sorry, in the 1880s and ‘90s, rejected liberalism.

And secondly, the young Jewish youth also revolted against their elders, as everyone did in the age of expressionism, in the age of Vaticism all these plays and ideas that you may have studied elsewhere.

But their options were limited. The main option was to try to transcend their Jewishness. But - and here is another important point - even the Zionists tried to do that. That is to say, all these alternatives have in common a transcendence: socialism and nationalism, a more complete transcendence, Zionism a transcendence of the stereotype.

For oddly enough, it will be the Zionists who agree with the Jewish notables that Jews should be retrained and go to the soil and try to escape from the stereotype. All of these, like the notables - and this they had in common with them - fought from the terrain which the enemy had defined.

All these young Jews rejected the ghetto, which they believed was real, traditional Jewishness. All of them rejected the Jewish religion, for they also believed now that it was fossilized and merely a commercial transaction. All of them rejected the Jewish stereotype and tried to flee from it, to flee from it, back to the soil, into all humanity or into the nation, but to flee in some way from the stereotype itself.

That is also a background which you had better, from now on, keep in mind. Now remember, no lecture on Friday, and on Monday, I shall go ahead with the stereotype.

Lecture #19

Lecture #19  - 39:02 - Lecture 19 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

Most Jews in the West clung to liberalism and to middle class virtues. The notables were in fact representative of the vast majority of western Jews. One famous novel of 1906 by Georg Hermann, “Jettchen Gebert”, the “Jewish Forsythe Saga”, as Mosse calls it, tells the story of a virtuous, chaste middle class girl from a liberal family. The core problem of the novel is the change of morals. Up to 1929, it sold a hundred thousand copies. On the basis of that novel, Stefan Zweig said in 1935 that “the Jews in the most lasting manner exemplified the Germany of the turn of the 19th century.” At the age of sixteen, most girls of good Jewish families received the book. The author was eventually murdered by the Nazis. Those born in the 1860s and 70s wanted to change manners and morals. Now, with racism in the ascendance, conversion like that of Heine was of no use anymore. Individuals reacted by attempting to transcend Jewishness, either through Socialism, through a more complete nationalist assimilation, or through the minority Zionist view. Mosse first takes up the transcendence into a more complete assimilation: racism was not yet on the rise; some Jews could still pass into a nationalist right and become Germans “all the way.” The Jewish stereotype was almost totally accepted by all three Jewish groups. Two examples are Otto Lubausch (1860-1933) and Walther Rathenau. Lubausch had only unfavorable impressions of his fellow Jews. He was influenced by Marx and his essay “On the Jewish Question.” He also encountered a deep hatred of the Jews among the students at the university. He tried to get into the circles of the nobility, whom he admired, and who had “awe of the Germanic tradition.” First he joined the conservatives, and by 1931, Lubausch approved of the Nazis. His was not an isolated case. Surrounded by anti-Semitism and the hatred of the Jewish stereotype, he wanted a complete disassociation from the Jews. Patriotism meant accepting the German stereotype, and not the Jewish one. Mosse says that one of the difficulties of teaching this course is that things have changed so much since the in last 4 or 5 years. Now, nobody wants to be a “WASP.” He urges the students not be misled by their own feelings, and rather put themselves into the position of a person living in the early 20th century, of someone like Lubausch.

The second example, Walther Rathenau, an industrialist, became German foreign minister and was assassinated in 1923. Rathenau was a man of vast importance from an assimilated, important family. The attitude he expressed in an article titled “Hear, Israel” was that the Jews are a foreign, obtrusive race, overdressed and showing noticeable differences-just like the common stereotype. But Rathenau opposed conversion. Rather, he wanted Jews to correct their “deficiencies” and “physical ugliness” over generations. Rathenau was in tune with some measures to indeed correct them. In 1893, the Jewish Gymnastics Association was founded whose purpose was to get rid of the stereotype by altering the bodily structure of Jews. Furthermore, orphanages were founded for young Jews, who were all to be trained as farmers, following the German “back to the soil” movement. The latter goes hand in hand with Rathenau’s problems. At the end of his article, we’re back with “Jettchen Gebert.” According to Mosse, being loud and pushy is wonderful, actually, but it embarrassed Jews when they saw it on other Jews-but not in gentiles. Rathenau, though, was no conservative: he espoused socialist ideas and did not convert. Yet he was always torn. People like him, who essentially wanted to be good Germans, regarded being a Jew as a misfortune of which you only could try to make the best. The Zionists were in this tradition, and shared an admiration of the Aryan type. The term that was at the time applied to Jews who tried to assimilate to the German ideal was “self hate.” It could also be used for Jews who went into Socialism. Mosse thinks that the term “self hate” can be misleading. Addressing the students, he says: “You are American Jews, it may be different. I don’t understand American Jews, I never have.” Mosse claims that he and all European Jews had at one time been Walther Rathenaus.

It would be wrong to just discount Jewish cultural and political problems as self hate. Another problem that we must understand is that these Jews were cut off from the Jewish community and were unable to make contact with any other community; this at a time when the longing for community was universal. Thus, they tried entering the nationalist community, just as young Freud or Herzl did, or the Socialist community. In other words, some wanted to be part of the nation, while others went to socialism for much the same reasons. “Self hate” is therefore beside the point. Without Hitler, Mosse estimates, there would not have been an indigenous Jewish community in Germany within ten years. The only thing that kept it alive was the immigration from Eastern Europe. It is very difficult to be a man or woman between cultures, to be alone and look for community. This, Mosse tells the students, they must never forget before they condemn. What really was there for Jews but the national culture? He gives the example of a distinguished Jewish family in Berlin, the Scholems. One son became a communist, the other a Zionist, and both were thrown out of the house. Of that younger generation, however, many more went into socialism rather than to the right. The attraction of Socialism was very strong, in part because it took a strong stand against anti-Semitism, but mostly because it championed true equality among men as a whole, not only those of one nation. Jewish socialists were very opposed to taking Zionist socialists into the second international; they wanted a fusion of all humanity. But as they joined Socialism, Jews brought something peculiar to it: a certain idealism that was to isolate them within Socialism. They were also isolated because they were intellectuals, not workers. For the rank and file socialist, “Jew” and “intellectual” became synonymous.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 19 – April 5, 1971
… notables, which I talked about last time, representing the official Jewish community, we must go to the end of the younger generation. But what we must also do is to keep the balance in mind. Most Jews in the West clung to liberalism and to the middle class virtues.

The notables were, as a matter of fact, representative of the vast majority of Western Jews. This, I think, we must not forget. And I can illustrate that to you, so that we should not forget it, by one of the most famous novels, written in 1906 by Georg Hermann, called Jettchen Gebert…

… a novel which is, as a matter of fact, if that means something to you, the Jewish “Forsythe Saga.” You’ve seen the Forsythe Saga? This is the Jewish Forsythe Saga, Jettchen Gebert, the story of a girl— First she was chaste, middle class, her family liberal, enlightenment, chaste, virtuous, all of this.

But I have to repeat it, ‘cause I’m afraid some of you might have forgotten what all of this means. Chaste, virtuous, all of that sort of thing. And the problem, the problem of it is, of course, partly the younger generation, partly the change in morals.

But what I make the clearest to you is that this novel, Jettchen Gebert, sold a 120,000 copies to 1929. And it was on the basis of that novel that Stefan Zweig, the writer, made a very perceptive remark in 1935, that is to say when the Nazis were already abroad.

He said that what the Jews— I’m sorry, that the Jews, in the most lasting manner, portrayed and exemplified the Germany at the turn of the century - that is the middle-class bourgeois Germany at the turn of the century. Zweig was a lasting admirer of Jettchen Gebert. This was the majority, and again, very close to the notables.

That is to say, in any good Jewish family, what the girl would get to read at the age of about 16, with the awakening of puberty, at the age of 16, would be Jettchen Gebert. I don’t know one girl of a good family up to the ‘20s who, at the age of 16, had not read that book.

It was my fate, of course, to read it later, and I think it’s an excellent book. It has a plot, which is already, these days, with me, a great advantage. And for all that it is [INAUDIBLE], and so on, I mean, you know, it isn’t just a straight [INAUDIBLE] cliché. So it’s actually quite a good book.

The author – and this is part of the Jewish tragedy of our times – I think, Georg Hermann who wrote it, eventually, to praise the German middle class virtue of which the Jews were a special identification, he died eventually in a concentration camp. He was murdered by the Nazis.

And I think that gives you a sense of the German-Jewish catastrophe, more than many other things. Now, apart from these notables, there were those like Freud, born in the ‘60s and ‘70s, who wanted to opt out – and, of course, Freud did not want to opt out –

… those who were, as I tried to make clear last time, a part of the general revolt of youth. They no longer could have a feeling that you had in the 19th century with Gans, whom I mentioned, or Heinrich Heine, that a pro forma conversion to Christianity would settle it.

You remember I talked to you earlier about Gans in the 1830s, who converted pro forma. Why not? It settled it. Or Heinrich Heine, who converted pro forma to Christianity. That settled it. But things were no longer so easy. Now with racism in the ascendance, this obviously didn’t settle anything.

So that the young generation of the ‘60s and ‘70s who wanted to put an end to the business, who wanted, as you would say, to pass, no longer had it as easy as Gans had it or Heinrich Heine had it. So that we must now come to their individual reactions.

And though, as I said, we come into a chaos of opinions, some contours can be discerned: the attempts to transcend Jewishness, either in socialism or through a more complete nationalist assimilation, and then the very minority view, the Zionist view, which is also a transcendence.

Everyone wanted to get rid of these young people, of the Jewish stereotype. All this, including Zionism, was a flight from the ghetto, as you will see. I want to take up first the transcendence into a more complete assimilation, and in order to explain it, I have to proceed by example.

We must remember, however, one thing. Racism was not yet total, even on the right. Some people could still pass into the nationalist right, and for those people it meant - passing, if you like, on the right - to become German all the way. This, in turn, meant an acceptance of the Jewish stereotype…

… which was, however, accepted really by all these reactions, socialists or Zionists. The Jewish stereotype was almost totally – in fact, totally – accepted, so deep was the impression, so important was still the ideas of the Enlightenment.

Now I have to proceed by example, and, for passing on the right, I’m going to take two examples, one not very famous but all the more typical, and one very famous indeed. I’ll talk first about Otto Lubasch, more typical than famous, then I’ll talk about Walter Rathenau, a very, very famous example.

Now, Otto Lubasch – born in 1860, died in 1933 – a member of the Nazi party, was a Jew, a scientist and a medical professor at a university. Now, how did you get that way, that, in the end, as a Jew, you not only joined the nationalist right, but, in the end, you even supported – as he did – part of the Nazi party?

Otto Lubasch, for example, as a child, received only unfavorable impressions of his fellow Jews. He thought that they despised industriousness, the German artisan and the middle class. He was influenced, in his youth, by Marx’s 1844 pamphlet on the Jewish question, interestingly enough.

And then he went to the university and he encountered the deep hatred of the Jews among the students, where, as you know from the Crisis book, such hatred was especially deep. And so he became very involved, both through the Jews he met in his youth – and his family, I dare say – and in his student days.

He seemed to see the Jewish stereotype. He had a special hatred of what he called “pushiness.” And he tried to gain entrance, in the university, into circles of the nobility, whom he much admired. As he said, he learned from the nobility what it is to have awe in the face of Germanic traditions.

And because he learned from the nobility what it is to have awe in the face of Germanic traditions, he joined the conservatives. And, as he joined the conservatives, he believed that complete assimilation was possible, but what defeated it was the constant immigration of East European Jews…

… for they revived the stereotype, and if you could cut off this immigration, maybe you could have complete assimilation. Therefore he supported the conservative ideas to stop East European Jewish immigration. By 1931, he sees how the Nazis can be approved of.

Now, Otto Lubasch is not an isolated case, it wouldn’t be worth it if he were. But we can isolate, I think, two strands from his dilemma. First of all, surrounded by anti-Semitism and the hatred of the Jewish stereotype, he wants a complete disassociation from both anti-Semitism…

… which meant, for him, a complete disassociation from the Jewish stereotype. And he found it in the nobility and in conservatism. Secondly, patriotism means doing that and accepting the Germanic stereotype and not the Jewish one. Now here I come into one of the many difficulties in teaching this course.

Because you will say now to yourselves, if you haven’t already, “Who the hell wants to be a WASP? Nobody wants to be a WASP anymore.” You know? So that, on the whole, even that has been true in the last four or five years. I remind you that a criterion for admission to a Jewish fraternity on this and other campuses and Jewish sororities…

… was that you do not look Jewish. Which is the same kind of thing. So that this is rather new, and you must not be misled by your own feelings, some of you. You must put yourself in the position of somebody like Otto Lubasch and not transfer your own ideas back into history. Your own ideas on this are probably rather recent.

You’re living in a nation which has an intense patriotism – which America doesn’t – an intense nationalism, an intense patriotism. You’re looking in a nation where an assimilation to this intense nationalism, intense patriotism, is possible, and that, in turn, means a complete assimilation.

Typically enough, Lubasch became a Christian, but only very late in life, but he did, in the end, convert. That you must not really forget, this kind of attitude. You must put yourself, then, in the position of the beginning of the 19th-20th, not at the end of the 19th-20th century.

Now, Lubasch believed, in this way, to what we might call an end to Judaism. Jews should be absorbed into the very strong, dense and vital majority culture. The case of Walther Rathenau is a much more interesting one.

Walther Rathenau was the great German industrialist who, during the First World War, became the economic czar of Germany, after the First World War, became German foreign minister, and then was assassinated by racists for largely anti-Semitic reasons in—was it 1923? Yes? In 1923, he was assassinated.

So Walther Rathenau – born in 1867, assassinated in 1923 – was a man of vast importance, both industrially, in public life, foreign minister, all of that. But in 1897 he wrote an article called “Hear O Israel,” and that article we have to examine for a minute.

I should say that Walther Rathenau’s father was the founder of the big German –  what would be the equivalent? – the equivalent of General Electric, but much more powerful than General Electric. Walther Rathenau’s father was the founder of the huge German electricity complexes.

So he comes from that sort of a wealthy, assimilated and important family. His father was a friend of Wilhelm II and all of that. Now, what is his attitude in “Hear O Israel” in 1897? The Jews, he tells us, are a foreign race, obtrusive, over-dressed, with hot blood and noticeable gestures.

In other words, the stereotype, the stereotype: obtrusive, overdressed, hot blood, noticeable gestures. But he did not believe that conversion was the solution, and this is more typical. What is the solution is reform, not conversion. And he says to the Jews, in this article to his fellow Jews…

“Once you have recognized your physical ugliness – the high shoulders, the awkward feet, the feminine contours of the body – you will work to correct this over several generations.” The stereotype is accepted. What he saw as the Jewish stereotypes were, of course, the nouveau riche of his day.

And what he didn’t see is that nouveau rich behaved that way everywhere. To put it in your terms, they behaved that way not only in Miami Beach, but also in the Christian Palm Beach. In other words, the behavior of obtrusiveness, loudness, over-dressing…
… all of this which caused Rathenau so much embarrassment as an established character is a phenomena, of course, not of Jews, but of nouveau riche, of all nouveau riche. You try it out sometimes. And it is all nouveau riche, which is, this way, painful. I have a certain sympathy for this…

… so I have avoided going to Miami Beach so that I will not be thrown into mental conflict. So what you have here therefore is really something that has to do with nouveau riche. But typically enough, for a Jew, this becomes a Jewish problem, and therefore it deepens the stereotype here, and you will work to correct it.

Rathenau was in tune with some general efforts to indeed correct this, to flee from the stereotype. We are reminded that, in 1895, the Jewish Gymnasts’ Association is founded. And when the Jewish Gymnastic Association is founded in 1893, it is founded to improve, and I quote, “the bodily structure of Jews.”

In other words, the Gymnastic Association, as the German one, had an ideological purpose. The purpose was to get rid of the stereotype as Rathenau suggests, on another level, by working on the bodily structure of Jews.

At the same time, I remind you, there is the great drive to return Jews to the land. You could, of course, do that with, above all, with Jewish orphans. They didn’t have much of a say. And so you have, all over Europe, the founding of orphanages by rich Jews…

… and the little orphans are all trained to be peasants or craftsman, again to get away from the stereotype. So that the complex, if you like, the trouble of Rathenau, finds itself generally seen in institutions, the Jewish back-to-the-soil movement which is parallel to the gentile, national back-to-the-soil movement…

… the Jewish Gymnastics Association, which comes late for the Jews –  the gentile Gymnastic Association was founded by Father Jahn at the beginning of the century – but now the Jewish Gymnastic Association. So that the bodily improvement among Jews became a general rallying cry, both by assimilationists and, above all, by Zionists.

Nordau’s famous “We must all become muscle Jews” in an address to the Jewish Gymnastic Association. In other words, as there was “muscular Christianity,” there is now and there remains – as I know from some of my friends here – muscular Judaism. So, this all goes hand in hand with this kind of problem.

Rathenau believes that the best way for that assimilation is for Germans to drop all barriers against the Jews, while Jews work on improving themselves. And what does it all mean? It is clear. For at the end of his article, he cries out to his fellow Jews, “Keep to the bonds of middle class behavior.”

In other words, at the end, we are back with Jettchen Gebert. Now, again, to make it more vivid for you:  that is of course why the nouveau riche embarrass us, nouveau riche Jews who were loud and pushy and ebullient.

Because they offend, as Jews, against middle class morals. That’s what we really have against them. In reality, it’s wonderful to be loud and pushy and ebullient. But we are embarrassed when we see it, are we not? We’re not embarrassed when we see it among gentiles, but you are embarrassed when you see it among Jews, isn’t that true?

It probably is true. I’m sure it’s true. You wouldn’t own up to it at this level if you weren’t sure. But I talked with some of you what you think of Miami Beach, and this is the reaction I get. So, it is true, but in reality, it is this idea, the same complex as Rathenau had:

… back to the middle classes, know your limits, assimilation, enlightenment, away from the stereotype. Now, Rathenau was no conservative, not at all. He was a great social experiment. He remained a Jew all his life, but the important thing is – as I am sure, difficult for you to understand –

… that he was always torn, and that is really the lesson I want to draw from these examples that these people who wanted to pass into a more complete national assimilation were bound to be torn between the stereotype, getting rid of it; middle class culture, passing onto it; the bodily reconstruction of the Jews…

… and, at the same time, always a feeling of unease, that Reform isn’t working. Rathenau, who is a very complex man, had much correspondence, for example, with racists – with Werner, who is famous for making the swastika calendar – with racists. He was always torn…

… because, essentially, what did these people really want to be? They wanted to be good Germans. In reality, this kind of assimilation, regards, essentially, being a Jew as a misfortune, a misfortune of which you can make the best you can, but a misfortune nevertheless.

And your best way out is to assimilate in all respects, manners and morals and bodily, until there’s nothing left except Jewish religious service, which, as I have told you before, is becoming evermore Protestant. So that, what you had, therefore, is this kind of attempt, which is extremely important.

The Zionist, will be in this tradition, they will be in this tradition. But their flight from the stereotype will be a different flight, but it will be a flight from the stereotype to the bodily reconstruction of Jews. It will be an admiration of the Aryan type in many ways…

… and, by God, Israeli has made it come true. It’s a historical thing, that, in the end, in Israel, nothing is so like my Prussian – I went to Prussian officer school in my youth – nothing is so like my Prussian officer school than Israel, that is why I am so much at home there, oddly enough. (laughter)

Now, what you have, therefore, is, of course, as it were, a lot of historicial irony built into that, or what Hegel would call “the cunning of history” works here. In the end, the stereotype did vanish in Israel. It vanished.

But still, for Rathenau, this was, of course, and nothing or more was it for Lubasch himself. Now, is this self-hate? That is the term that was, at the time, applied to that. There is a literature of self-hate in this. But if you are using the term “self-hate,” this can also be used for those Jews who went into socialism, as we shall see…

… with this difference: that those Jews who wanted the end of the Jewish question through socialism wanted to come to terms with humanitiy as a whole, not in terms of a single nationalism or a single national culture. This seems to us, of course, more final and more moral.

The Jews who went into socialism, as you will see in a minute, became advocates of an internal morality, because of this fusion, this transcendance, as we shall see. The term self-hate, I think, can be very misleading, for it glosses over a real and deep problem, a problem, I think, which every European Jew faced…

… and I am saying this quite sincerely. You are American Jews, it may be different. I don’t understand American Jews, I never have. But for European Jews, this is quite different. All of us, at one time, were Walther Rathenaus. What do you think of me, at the Prussian officer school, training to become a leader of Germany?

All I need, all I need these days for bed is 5:15, but I was trained for better things. You can just imagine. So that in a sense, in a sense, you must not discount this, and self-hate is a much too simple way out of a real cultural problem, cultural and political problem of a scattered minority…

… not well regarded, a stereotype that you so exemplified - you did see it exemplified - that you so exemplified from time to time, within that culture. That is the problem, and the word “self-hate” does not get to its basis. But there’s another problem we must realize in this and understand.

These Jews were cut off from one community, that is the Jewish community, without being able to make contact, really, with any other community. Now that is very imporant, for, as I told you before, the European age after 1870, the age of Industrialization, is characterized by the longing for community…

… the youth movement in Germany, the youth movement everywhere, the movements that you read about in the Crisis book, the longing for community. Here are young Jews, they have cut themselves off from the Jewish community which means nothing to them. In a sense, why should it? It means nothing to them.

And yet, they must find a home in another community. So it is pride in the nationalist community. That’s, after all, where most young people found a home. After all, most of their fellow youths, whom they met at school and at university, found a home in the nationalist community…

… just as the young Freud, the young Herzl - I told you last time -  they found a home in the nationalist community. They had to find a home, and others saw their home in a socialist community. In other words, in other words…

… some wanted to be part of the Volk, German, French, what have you, the nation. In practice, this meant conservatism. And others went to socialism for much the same reasons. It is impossible to say whether self-hatred was there or what this self-hatred meant, but it is, I really think, rather beside the point.

For you must understand the real problem, which is still a problem in Europe today, where things have not really changed. And I dare say - and it can be documented statistically - that if Hitler had not come, there would have been no indigenous German-Jewish community within ten or twenty years.

And I think it can be documented that the same is happening in France and that, indeed, Lubasch was right, that what kept it alive in Germany was the East European immigration, and the only thing that has kept it alive in France is the big immigration from Algeria.

But otherwise, I think you would find that the trend indeed to a compelte assimilation - more complete than Moses Mendelssohn had forecast - is in fact the strength in many of these communities, for the reasons I have told you.

It is very difficult to be a man or woman between cultures. It is very difficult to be a man or woman alone amidst a strong and dense majority culture, which the American isn’t, so it doesn’t arise. It is very difficult to be alone, and you are looking for community…

… and that is something that you must never forget, before you condemn. ‘Cause these things are easy to condemn and difficult to understand unless you have been through it yourself. Look at it this way too - that’s the last thing I’ll say about it - look at it this way too.

What else really was there for you but the national culture and to fuse with it? What else really was there for you, coming from a respectable home, having that kind of upbringing, not necessarily going to socialism? And I can end with an example.

There was a very distinguished, distinguished Jewish family in Berlin, very distinguished lawyers, a family by the name of Scholem, which had two only sons. One became a Zionist and one became a leading communist. Both sons were equally thrown out of the house.

For a family like that, to be a Zionist and a communist was equal. One is now the historian Gershom Scholem, the other was murdered by Stalin eventually in Russia. So, what you have therefore is, if you wanted to be respectable, if you didn’t have the strength to make a break, you went the way Lubasch and Rathenau did.

And yet, we have the phenomena of socialism. And I dare say, however, that of that younger generation, relatively many went into socialism rather than to the right. The attraction of sociaism is obvious, and also the fact that the socialists, or at least some of them, made a strong stand against anti-Semitism…

… when such a strong stand was not made by many other parties. But even that stand, and we shall come to it, was somewhat ambivalent. It is clear what the attraction of socialism was. The idea of the class struggle would fuse the individual with the dynamic until, in the end, there is a true equality, a true equality…

… not only among men of differnet nationalities, but among men as a whole. This basic socialist ideal is why it was the Jewish socialists - people like Victor Adler, the founder of Austrian socialism - why it was the Jewish socialists who so opposed admitting the Zionist socialists into the second international.

When you find the application of the Jewish Zionist Proletarian Party - to which we shall come back - into the international, that was defeated as much by the opposition of Jewish socialists. But socialism had nothing to do with nationalism of any kind.

It meant for them - and it was their transcendance - a fusion of all humanity. What you have, therefore, is Jews joining socialism for that reason, but, as they joined socialism, Jews brought something peculiar of their own to socialism…

… and what they brought to socialism, a certain idealism - I shall be more specific about in a minute - a certain idealism that was again to isolate them within the socialist party. For if the tragedy of Jews was, in nationalism, that they were Jews, their tragedy in socialism is that they were, in fact, not workers but intellectuals…  

… and that, as such, they were again isolated within socialism. It is very typical that, when there was a discussion in a workers’ club in 1930, the worker asked the person who led this discussion, a communist: “What are,” said the simple worker, simple worker, “What are the intellectuals,” he said. “Are they Jews?”

For socailists, Jews and intellectuals, at least for the rank and file, tended to become synonymous, and becoming synonymous really isolated the Jews still more, isolated them still more. For in socialism, where there were workers, the Jews were not workers.

The Jews were intellectuals who introduced into socialism something of a very special and peculiar line and order. But before we come to this socialism, and what they introduced, we are going to take a little excursion. Excursions mean something refreshing, something different.

And, before we come, after Easter, to the Jewish socialists - after Easter, that’s fine, ‘cause there’s a great deal of Christian socialism in Jewish socialism - as we come to the Jewish socialists after Easter, before Easter we must take one more look, as an excursion, at the notables.

And one more look at something which Mr. Weinberg can talk better about than I can, ‘cause he knows something about it and I know nothing about it. That is to say, to deepen your understandings of the majority trend, the notables, what I have talked about…

… by making an excursion and talking about the reaction of the French Jewish community to National Socialism. That is something, it’s an excursion, but you can see how it fits in to everything we have discussed. Because we have discussed these reactions.

So that on Wednesday, you will hear about an excursion, about the French community’s reaction to National Socialism, before I take socialism up again after Easter.   

Lecture #20

Lecture #20 - 51:50 - Lecture 20 Audio (mp3)
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Guest Lecturer David Weinberg on French Jewish Communities.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 20 - April 7, 1971 - Guest Lecture, David Weinberg
It’s a nice day out, so. Now, according to our esteemed mentor, Professor Mosse, we’re supposed to take an excursus today. And we’ve -- I suppose, we might consult with various intellectuals around campus we have yet to find out what an excursus is. But if I can use the word liberally, it seems that Professor Mosse himself is taking something of an excursus out of this class, and the class itself is taking a quick excursus.

But those of you who are remain here, valiantly, warming chairs, let’s take our own excursus, to use the overused word for it. What we’re going to deal with today, what I’d like to talk about today, is the Paris Jewish community in the 1930s. And I think this has relevance, aside from the fact that I’m working on it for a doctorate - and I have to admit that, otherwise you might be amazed by my [WORDCHECK].

But it has relevance to the course, I think, for three major reasons, and this is the way I’d like you to look at it, as we go along. One, because it’s a study of the Jewish community in the 20th century, or in the late 19th and 20th century, and that includes organizational structure and economic structure, social structure and so on, something which, for various reasons - I know I’ve discussed it in my sections - we haven’t really been able to get around to.

It has much to do with the way Professor Mosse approaches history, but, be that as it may, maybe we’ll get it into, and it’ll give you some idea of what a community might have looked like. Second of all, it’s one of the few communities with a sizeable proportion of both Western and Eastern European Jews, which is quite interesting, because it can give you some ideas of where both communities stood in the 1930s. Okay?

And, particularly, this is important for Eastern European Jews, because, again, we’ve been giving rather short shrift to Eastern Europe, and immigrants brought many of their values, many of their attitudes, many of their structures along with them when they came to Paris. This is indeed true of New York, and London and so on, Chicago.

Third of all, it will give you some idea of the attitudes of both these groups, that is Western and Eastern European Jewry to Nazism. And Nazism, if we view Nazism as the culmination of some of these volkisch, some of these anti-Semitic ideas that we’ve been discussing in class and that you’ve been reading about, it will have some relevance, I think.

Okay, now, I’m dealing with the Paris Jewish community. The Paris Jewish community in the 1930s had about 150,000 Jews. It was the third largest Jewish community in the world, behind Warsaw and behind New York. Okay? It had about 100,000 Eastern European immigrants, 50,000 native or French Jews…

… and a floating population of about 40,000 German refugee immigrants on their way to the United States from Eastern European or Central European or on their way back to Central or Eastern Europe. And it’s a kind of oddity, it seems to me, that in 1930, here is a kind of profoundly important Western European Jewish community which has a vast majority of Eastern European Jews, but that’s what happened.

Now, only 50 years before, that is in the 1880s, the Paris Jewish community numbered no more than 40,000. So it goes from 40,000 in 1880 to 150,000, and that’s a conservative number. There’s a lot of discussion about that. Now, of those 40,000 in 1880, to give you some idea of the development of this community, most of them were Sephardim and Ashkenazim.

Now, Sephardim are the first to come. Sephardim are Jews of Spanish or Portuguese origin, many of whom could trace their ancestry to the expulsion of 1492. Now, Sephardim came to Paris in the 19th century essentially from Bordeaux and in Provence in the South. Many also came from bordering countries, Holland and Belgium, and they found new economic opportunity in Paris.

However, in the long run, that is by the 1880s, Sephardim actually had-Their influence is rather small, they represent only about 1000, out of the 40,000, but there are many notables who are Sephardic Jews in Paris. Far more important are the Ashkenazim. Now the Ashkenazim - you may be familiar with these words - this is a Jew of essentially Germanic origin.

And most of the Ashkenazim who came to Paris in the 19th century were from those wonderful two territories that we’ve talked about, Alsace and Lorraine. I don’t think I can put that on the board. Alsace and Lorraine were-- And it was particularly marked influx in 1871 and afterwards when Alsace and Lorraine, which are previously part of France were now annexed by Germany as a result of France’s--

… the result of Germany’s victory in the Franco-Prussian war. We get a rather large influx in Paris of these Jews. Okay? Now, it is descendants of these two groups who come in the early and mid 19th century, the Sephardim and Ashkenazim, essentially, who are to be the leaders of the native or French Jewish community in the 1930s.

Now, the largest increase, however, is to come after 1880. How can we explain this increase? We explain it by obviously Eastern European immigration. The first immigrant from Eastern Europe to come there -  there are some examples of East Europeans in Paris before hand, but very small, maybe hundreds, nothing more -

… came in the 1880s and ‘90s, largely from Russia, as a result of Pogroms, the assassination of the Czar, and then, later on, the aborted revolution of 1895. These Russians were soon joined by Poles, Hungarians, Romanian court Jews who came for many different reasons…

… some fleeing pogrom, some seeking economic betterment, many of the reasons I suppose why Eastern European immigrants came to America in certain ways, and others coming for educational opportunities. Thanks to the static birth rate of the natives - if we assume natives, it means, as I said, these earlier, really very early immigrants -

… I have to mention the increase is miniscule. In other words, if they were, let’s say, 40 or 35,000 in 1880, they’re probably no more than 50,000 in 1930, thanks to that kind of miniscule birth rate or static birth rate. Eastern Europeans become the dominant element in the community around 1930.

And what I want to trace is the two different communities, so we have a Western European community, again these two groups which are referred to as natives - though I hope you understand now that most of them are really earlier immigrants in a certain way - and this Eastern European immigrant community. They had different social structures, economic structures, political ideas, attitudes toward anti-Semitism.

Okay. Quickly, when we come to the problem of social structure, I would say that, by and large, the earlier a Jew came to Paris, the higher his social standing. This is, I suppose, an axiom of social study, in a way. That is, assuming a certain social mobility, which indeed there was in Paris.

If we talk about the native social structure, economic structure, it’s a sort of hierarchical. At the top of the so-called Jewish notables - we’ve already had mention of these - these are the heir to the court Jews. This is why the Rothschilds fits in. They were often titled, barons and so on.

Many came in the early 19th century. Rothschild, I believe, came in the ‘teens of the 19th century, that is the Rothschild family. Most of them were, of course, in banking and high finance, and they were very, very active in Jewish communities in Paris, as we shall see.

Other natives were involved in businesses, textiles, fine machinery, precision machinery, and jewelry. Some were also in commerce, and that would include shopkeepers, large store owners of [INAUDIBLE], and also wholesalers, distributors of raw material, cloth and so on.

Also, one finds natives in surprising large numbers in the liberal professions, meaning doctors, dentists, lawyer, professors and so on. Interestingly enough, only 5% of-- Natives represented only about 5% of the Jewish labor force in Paris in the 1930s.

So you see, it’s essentially a middle class, upper-middle class group. When we move to immigrants, we see the profound difference. Although some older immigrants, who came before World War I, these Russian immigrants, for example, that I mentioned, were able to rise in social scale - they eventually set up their own stores and shops in Jewish neighborhoods -

… they were never really able to get out into the Paris community as a whole. There were few immigrants at all who ventured out in the French economy and serviced non-Jews. But they were very wealthy, many were very wealthy within servicing the Jewish community.

Those who arrived after World War I were one of two things, either they were peddlers - and this, again, you’ll see again a lot of parallels here between the American situation at the turn of the century and the Paris situation here - many were peddlers, secondhand dealers and so on.

By far, the majority, however, were in what were known as “the Jewish trades.” And the Jewish trades were essentially clothing and textiles. Here again, we have a parallel with the community in New York in this period. 50,000 Jewish workers or Jewish laborers in the trades.

And here, in the Jewish trades - which is extremely important - one sees a division, a real social division, between native, older immigrant, and the more recently-arrived immigrants. The natives, as to be expected, were at the top. They were involved in the commercial aspects, again distributors of cloth or the sellers of clothing on the big boulevards in Paris.

And those of you who have been in Paris -- How many have been in Paris, at any rate? Okay, well on the Grands Boulevards, what are known as the Grands Boulevards, Galeries Lafayette, these sort of areas, Au Printemps, these large stores, these were often native-owned, and they specialized in clothing…

… the older immigrants, who were generally the owners of these small workshops, which were the core, it seems to me, of the Jewish trades. And the newly arrived, as you can suspect, made up the bulk of labor force. Now, this was not always willingly so. In other words, many newer immigrants - and what I mean by newer immigrants, immigrants who came after WWI…

… and that is kind of the dividing line between older immigrants and newer immigrants from Eastern Europe - were, had a rather militant background. We’re coming here into the problem of Jewish socialism or Jewish communism, which I’ll expand on. But many did have a militant background, many of them come from big cities…

… having escaped the ghetto or the shtetl and had joined big industry in Warsaw and other cities, had worked with the working class. And when they came to France, they were often contracted to come as immigrants, as laborers. They often worked in the North in mines or in big industry, to the extent that France had big industry, not very much.

But because of economic crises, which will become increasingly important around the world and in France in the late ‘20s and ‘30s, they were forcibly thrown out of these jobs, and they were forced to  become what were known as home-laborers or “façonniers,” façonniers” meaning someone with passive, something with his hands.  

Now, the façonniers or home-laborer would really be central figures in the Jewish trades, and I mention them again because it had a parallel with the Jewish situation in Western Europe and indeed within America. These were not workers in factories. They were artisans, they worked at home, they had their own machinery often, they worked in a room…

… they worked by piece-work, they did not get salaries, so they were paid by piece. They were paid generally very poorly, often they were illegally working, that is they could not get a working permit. They worked illegally, and hence they were exploited. Obviously if you work illegally, you’re going to keep your mouth shut.

You’re not going to cop up, and you’re willing to accept any conditions you’re given. And so they indeed were exploited by some of these older immigrant owners of businesses. They worked very late into the night, because they had to get as much out in the shortest amount of time. There were many accidents, obviously bad lighting, poor conditions. This would lead to hazards of various sorts.

They were uncovered by any sort of contract or social security and so on. And they were also in continual conflict with authentic workers, those who worked in workshops. You see, there was a tension. What the owner would do is, rather than pay these workers in workshops, rather than have workshops at all that would make, let’s say, various articles of clothing…

… why not give out the raw material to these façonniers, to these home-laborers? It was cheaper, you didn’t have to worry about social security, you didn’t have to worry about wages and so on. And so workers were in continual conflict with these home-laborers. I think, in general, what you see here, these are artisans, essentially. And that’s what the Jewish economic, at least the immigrant economic structure is about, artists and trade, not the authentic working class.

Okay? And there were a few authentic Jewish workers, a few authentic Jewish proletariats. This will be a problem for the left, the Jewish left. Obviously you have trouble talking about class conflict and about the working masses when you’re dealing with home-laborers who make up the bulk of the community.

And like much of the French economy, I think the Jewish trades were more a relic of the pre-industrial past then a harbinger of modern industrialism. Okay. Not much of a social and economic structure.

Organizations. Native Jews who identified themselves as Jews - and this is a problem, how do we define what a Jew is, it’s a problem that will be going on - but let’s say, native Jews who consciously identified themselves as Jews in one way or another, generally joined what is known as the Consistoire.

And the Consistoire, or the Consistory, was the central religious body in Paris, in Paris at the time, and it was part of a larger Consistoire which was the Consistoire of France and Algeria. But the one we’re concerned with is in Paris. This was the same central religious body, and it was rather traditional…

… and was recognized by the government and the sort of quasi-official spokesman of the Paris Jewish community. As the central religious organization, as one would expect, it carried on most of the religious affairs of the community. It maintained synagogues - and some of you, again, who’ve been in Paris may have seen some of the synagogues, rather ugly things but rather imposing, in a sort of neo-Babylonian style, I suppose -

… engaged in functioning overseer in Kashrut, meaning Kosher butchers, Kosher slaughterhouses. They set up a Jewish morgue, a law court, officiated at religious marriages, burials, and death and so on. Also non-religious functions, and this shows you that this was happening more than, let’s say, a Jewish synagogue or a Jewish religious organization, in the sense in which we understand in America, who is indeed a community body.

It had charitable organizations, credit unions, schools, libraries, mutual aid societies. It was a whole communal structure. Frankly, though, however, it only had about 6000 members, 6000 members, which I try to extrapolate and figure it’s about one third of the natives in Paris, not very much at all.

But of course it had influence, because it did do all these other things. In other words, those people weren’t native Jews might have gone to a cultural fair put their kids in school and so on. It was strongly subsidized by the Rothschilds, and they had something like three-quarters of its budget...

… and indeed Rothchilds were its presidents through most of this period, through all of this period. What it lacked in numbers it made up in influence. Again, if you had a largely upper-middle class membership, the membership fee grew very expensive, and as a result, it had a certain sort of influence in government circles…

… which is going to become very important when we talk about the Jewish response. Now, what about a Reform movement? Now, Professor Mosse, I thought, rather hedged around the question of why no Reform movement in France. And a number of you asked, at least asked me and might have asked Alex about this question.

It’s a difficult question. Indeed, I met a girl from Brandeis who is in Paris now, as far as I know, and is working precisely on this question. And yes, Virginia, there are people working on French Jewish history, and this girl is. And she’s working precisely on this question, why no Reform movement.

There was a Reform movement, a very small one. And it still exists today. For those of you who have any interest in it, I can fill you in on it. But it was very small, essentially borrowed from the German movement, what we’ve been studying, Geiger’s movement and so on. And there’ve been many reasons given for the lack of a Reform movement.

I’ll truss them out, and some of them--  I only have three, but a number of them or one of them might be valuable. I’m not really convinced of all of them. One is obvious, because the Consistoire, they were a traditional organization, was very, very willing to reform. This is a difference between the German experience and the French experience.

German Orthodoxy was generally rather isolated, rather rigid. That’s [INAUDIBLE] at least, rather strict Orthodoxy. Consistoire had a tendency to reform, sometimes a little too willingly, so that it instituted, though traditional, instituted an organ, instituted Protestant dress, instituted French language into its services.

You see, when you have a movement like that which, though traditional - maintains Kashrut, maintains Kosher and so on - it’s still obviously a Reform movement that had very little to define against. You can work within the Consistoire. Second of all - and here’s something I throw out and Mosse seemed to throw out, though I didn’t quite  understand it -

… and that is that France was a Catholic country. And there might have been a feeling that either you were all or nothing. The notion of Catholic Reform is a very nebulous one in France. There were certain Catholic reformers, but not really very successful. Essentially, it seems to me, if you would identify with France, you’re either all or nothing.

And this is true in Europe in many cases. If you go to Europe and you go looking for a less strict service and so on, you’re going to find difficulty. Most synagogues tend to be traditional, not conservative or Reform or Reconstructionist or halfway between. It’s generally all or nothing, there are no [INAUDIBLE].

Okay. Besides religious organizations - we’re still talking about the natives - there were some political groups on the left and the right. And this is going to become increasingly important, because France, as much of the rest of Europe - and indeed one could argue about America too in the 1930s - there was increasing polarization between left and right. That’s political. You have to make a choice, either left or right.

And this will hang up Jews who maintain that liberal tradition that Professor Mosse talked about last time. There was a group on the left, a very, I think, marvelous group called the International League Against Anti-Semitism - which still exists today, has expanded its involvement, now with- against racism and anti-Semitism - extremely militant group, the most militant group in Paris community at the time.

Boycotts, for example, when German films were shown in the ‘30s in French movie theatres. They were a sort of Jewish Defense League. They would go in and disrupt the thing. If an anti-Semitic bands would come into Jewish neighborhoods - as it indeed happened - they would come armed with sticks and clubs and beat them up and stuff like that.

Obviously, no, obviously here, no, obviously here-- Which I mention the Jewish Defense League, but I mean that-- I don’t want to carry that analogy too far. I mean, when we’re talking about the 1930s, we’re talking about a Nazi movement, we’re talking about anti-Semitism writ very large.  I mean, we’re not talking--

We can debate here about Jewish Defense League, but I’m saying, in the 1930s, it was a do or die situation. Most people understood that by the late ‘30s at least. Okay? Okay, when we-- And there was also a group of patriotic natives, very much this move to the right that Professor Mosse’s been talking about, stressing their interest in French patriotism and having nothing but disdain for the immigrants that were leftwing agitators.

Okay. Finally, an organization that should be mentioned is the Alliance Israélite Universelle, some of you may have heard of it, the Alliance, an organization which maintains an impressive library in Paris today. And it was organized about the 1860s, generally not concerned with French affairs per se, but rather with the plight of Jews in North Africa and in the Middle East, and it sets up schools and so on.

And for our interests, I think the tie here is that it was very active in a number of ritual murder accusations in the 19th century. As a matter of fact, the reason for its founding originally was to oppose a ritual murder accusation in [INAUDIBLE]. Okay.

Eastern European organization. Again, I’m throwing these out because there’s not much time, but if you look them over or if you think about them, you’ll see fundamental differences. Eastern European organization is part of reflection of the ghetto, so that the Shul, [INAUDIBLE], the Shul or small synagogue…

… also known in some circles as the “Shtiebel,” meaning the small synagogue, but it’s a very primary factor in Paris. Eastern European religious Jews who came generally could have nothing to do with the Consistoire, and you can understand why. They didn’t know the language, they would strip traditional-- none of this organ playing, none of this French language, none of this Protestant dress, none of this espousal of patriotism…

… let’s just get down to praying. And so they organized their own Shuls, their own Shtiebel. And there were many of them, there were Hasidic ones - as Alex has mentioned - all sorts, and they still exist today. You have to search them out, though.

Another organization that was established was the so-called “Landsmannschaft,” or Mutual Aid Society. Now Landsmannschaften again have a parallel here in America. There are Landsmannschaften still in America today. Landsmannschaften are essentially mutual aid societies, based--

… or its membership based around people coming from the same area, hence “Landsmann,” the notion of “Landsmann,” someone from the same land, from the same area, and “schaft,” organization. Landsmannschaften were mutual aid societies, primitive credit union, charity, burial, social club, library, and so on.

Also, I think most importantly, essentially a place of refuge for immigrants that did not know the language, a hassle in France in the 1930s, very important. They eventually joined into a very loose Federation, and that was organized in 1926. This Federation still exists today. It was, in the 1930s, the largest organization in the Paris Jewish community, having again something around 50,000 members in it…

… and this in turn had its own cultural organization, its own library, its own school,  its own university, and was indeed, I think, interestingly enough, to be the sort of foundation for the new immigrant community in Paris, and that’s very crucial. There was a sense, actually, in which immigrants had come to Paris just as they--

It took a while, but like immigrants that came to America, it was the sense that immigrants were going to stay and set up their own communities. The Federation was going to be the building-block, and we’ll see what happens to the Federation. Okay.

Now more recent immigrants-- Now, if I mean more recent immigrants, I suppose I mean those who come in the early ‘30s and maybe the late ‘20s, and I’m talking essentially about militant revolutionaries, communists, Bundists - and we’ll have reason to talk about Bundists later on in the course.

These were people who have nothing but disdain for the Shtiebel. As I mentioned, many of them had come to big cities and worked in the factories. Now this all sounded, the Shul, the Landsmanmshaft, all of this was return to the ghetto for them. They had just escaped it, they didn’t want to come back. What they did was to set up their own sort of revolutionary milieu.

So they created their own mutual aid organization, their own credit union, a Jewish section of the Parti Communiste Français, the French Communist Party, was established, and a Jewish section in labor unions was established. This was going to be, in their own sense, another community, but a revolutionary community.

In a sense, of course, you can see already that, despite their rejection of the isolation of ghetto life, they’re setting up their own sort of ghetto, and indeed they did for a long while. They were very, very bound together into their own so-called revolutionary mutual aid societies and revolutionary groups.      

And the reason for this is because they were rather taken aback by - you have to understand - were rather taken aback by French leftwing movements and by western European left wing movements. There were people who worked in the underground all their lives. I mean, the underground movements, these were illegal movements, they were bitterly oppressed.

Most of them had come, actually, after escaping from prison or escaping from certain punishments. I met a number of them who are no longer communists, interestingly enough, but this was what they presented to me. And they told me that when they came to Paris, many of them were extremely sectarian, you can imagine. If you worked all your life at the revolution, you know, and you’re continually oppressed and persecuted…

… you really have to look to the future revolution. That’s your only hope. They came and they came to a Paris communist party meeting, and there are these people singing the “Internationale.” They were singing, and they were dancing, and they were serving wine, and all this sort of stuff, and it was in this luxurious hotel - I mean, relatively luxurious hotel -

… because the French Communist Party, of course, was a rather well-heeled party. They were shocked. This was bourgeois, this was not revolutionary. And indeed they, many of them, refused to join the French Communist Party. Okay.

Besides these so-called revolutionaries, there were also a small group of Zionists, very much fragmented. Zionism would become increasingly important during and after the war, and Zionism would play an important role in the Resistance in France, which we won’t get into. But before the war, it’s relatively unimportant.

And the reason for that essentially is that, I think, immigrants who came to Paris were worried about staying in Paris. That is in the beginning. And by the time they thought about the fact that maybe they wouldn’t be able to stay in Paris, it was almost too late. And so what you find is a Zionist movement which is very highly fragmented.

And it runs the gamut - very typically Jewish - between a rightwing movement, Revisionism - if you know of Jabotinsky’s  movement - to a leftwing movement, not communist but revolutionary socialism. And, in between, all sorts of nuances, and great hostility, fantastic hostility among them, which fragmented them still further. Largely immigrant. Okay?

Alright, Jewish identification. A much more broad concept, and here, I want-- We talked about some of this in immigrants, but I think you have some idea of what natives’ Jewish identification was about already, since it’s precisely what we’ve learned about the emancipated Jew. But the rise of the Nazis, and the reason for its interest here, the rise of Nazism gives added urgency to the question, it seems to me.

You no longer could decide whether you ought to be a Jew or you didn’t want to be a Jew. The racial element forced it upon you. You were a Jew whether you wanted to be or not. And that meant, it meant those who were already committed to Jewish identification asserted their identification more strongly, those who weren’t committed had to think about it, for a change.

Okay. I’m not-- Since I think I’m running a little behind, I just want-- The native Jewish identity is something which you should all know, it’s still an attempt at Mendelssohnian sort of balance, a disassociation from pre-emancipation ghetto life, backward, a rejection of outworn tradition, an acceptance of France as the home of emancipation, and yet remained this religious identity - noted, the Mendelssohnian
balance -

… gratefulness to France, the notion of the Frenchman of Mosaic Persuasion, which we talked about already. That is, the only Jewish identity there was of any worth was a religious identity, and that was that you were a Jew in the home, with your own little ritual or in the synagogue, but this had very little effect upon when you went out into the street. Jew at home, Frenchman in the street, so to speak.

This also meant a dissociation from other Jews. Immigrants were kind of exaggerated stereotypes pre-emancipation Jewry. They led a miserable existence. This was not only that they were bad-mannered and uncultured - you know, they didn’t know the language - but also they seemed to assert their Jewish identity a little bit too strongly.  It went beyond a kind of narrow religious identification.

Surprising or not, some of them did support Zionism, but, as one can guess, not Zionism for French Jewry. French Jewry, meaning emancipated Jewry, had no need for Zionism. The other people who had need for Zionism are the poor co-religionists who they condescendingly viewed as being unfortunate. They could not partake in the democratic country such as France.

They were unfortunately born in one of these reactionary, backward countries. So Zionism was a good place to put them, and also, frankly, as we get into the late 1930s, it was a good place to put them because France didn’t want them. So let’s support Zionism, let’s get the Jews out of France, those immigrants who are causing all the trouble. Let’s get them over to Palestine, at least let’s get them out of our hair.

Which is a very real position, and I said it cynically now, but it is a very real position. And it might have been a position in America too. Eastern European immigrants, three bases of Jewish identity, and this I want to spend a minute more on. One, religion, obviously.

They were appalled by the assimilation of natives and they brought over this ghetto life. Now if you remember Katz’s book, this is what they were hoping for, at least those that religiously identified themselves, religion subsuming all aspects of life. If you remember, I don’t want to go into it, Katz, if you look at Katz, you know.

They had no concept of a division of a secular and religious realm, such as the French division of the Jew at home, Frenchman in the street. You were Jew in every aspect. Okay? In actuality, it was hard maintaining religious identity. One, because you come to Western Europe, as you come to America, you are exposed to new ideas, freer your atmosphere, and so on.

Second of all, because there’s a high price for Kosher food, for example, which is a cardinal aspect of it. Third of all, because of the work situation in the Jewish trades, the fact that you had to work on Saturday, on the Sabbath. And fourth of all, I suppose, many came without their family, and it’s very hard, I know, it’s very hard to maintain Jewish practice and Jewish ritual when you’re alone, when you’re isolated.

Okay. Okay. Second of all, another concept which we might talk about, and that is Yiddishkeit. Okay. Now, Yiddishkeit is a very hard thing to translate. You may have heard it many times. I think what I call Yiddishkeit would be the sum total of the Eastern European cultural experience. Okay? That’s probably a bad explanation, but it’s the only one I can really come up with.

You have to deal with it, and this is precisely what they said. I mean that cynically and I don’t mean it cynically. There was a sense in which there was a Jewish soul, an eternal intuition, a soul which everyone partakes of, and which, as Jews, if you came from this area, you can never lose it - that is, came from Eastern Europe - you can never lose it, no matter where you travel in the Diaspora.

The medium of transmission of this was obviously the Yiddish language. And as long as you maintained the Yiddish language, you maintained that part Eastern European life. One you broke it, you were destroying the vital link. And obviously, this also meant that anybody who--

Yiddish was part of the popular folklore, nobody would be interested in Yiddish if they didn’t ever have any experience with it in Eastern European cultural life. It isn’t sort of a language, in their perspective, that you learn in a course. You’ve got to get it from the gut, essentially.

And there’s a word for it. One talks, in Yiddish, you call it a mame-loshn. You call it something which you almost learn on a knee, on your mother’s knee. And that’s very true of this ideal. Okay, the third idea is Klal Ysroel, or Klal Yisroyl in Yiddish, which again is a hard concept to define, I would say essentially meaning that all Jews are tied up with one another in one way or another

This is not a notion of Jewish nationality necessarily, the notion of participation in a on-going tradition. By participating, you identify with Jews a thousand years before, 500 years before - vertically, in other words, in terms of time, and horizontally in terms of geographical area, no matter where you are.

That is, while you’re here in Madison, a person in Detroit is doing the same thing and in OshKosh or wherever. That’s not very exciting. That wouldn’t carry me on, but anyway. Okay.

I threw out a kind of question here. I talked about the Jewish soul, I talked about this quasi-mystically about this, and indeed, it’s got a kind of volkisch quality to it that’s I’ve been thinking about, but I don’t want to make any parallels here, because then I’m getting into playing with ideas…

… which our esteemed mentor [INAUDIBLE]. Okay. Finally, Jewish identification. The leftwingers - and I mention them not because we all love leftwingers, but essentially because they’re very important in the 1930s. Now, from the perspective of a good Marxist approach, what’s the attitude toward these things?

One, religion, opiate of the people, obviously, bourgeois exploitation. You use religious - everybody should be familiar with Marx and Garvey about religion - religion is used to obfuscate class-consciousness. It dulls class-consciousness, allows exploitation. Rabbis in Paris, sorry. And one of the interesting things I’ve found is that there’s an incredible anti-clerical movement among the Jewish left, something which you would not necessarily expect.  

I don’t think many people, at least I wasn’t familiar with a particularly strong anti-clerical movement in Jewish communities - in America certainly not, not in the sense that we understand it vis-a-vis Catholicism, and yet there was. Yiddishkeit, remember, Yiddishkeit, a return to the ghetto, who wants that?

It’s reactionary, okay? Mystical nonsense would be a good way to put it. Qualities rule, all of these things, ignored class-differentiation. Probably so that the Jewish bourgeois is as bad as the non-Jewish bourgeois. There is no such thing as Jewish unity, there’s only class unity.

Maybe eventually after the Revolution there may be something about nationhood. And for those of you who don’t know, the Soviet Union had an experiment to build a Jewish autonomous Republic called Birobidzhan which failed in the ‘30s, but this was something that some on the left looked to as possibility of Jewish cultural and national revival after the Revolution.  

But before the Revolution, no go. Jewish bourgeoisie is as hated as the non-Jewish Bourgeoisie. The only kind you can have is with the masses. So the only hope was to band together with the non-Jewish working class, the French working class, yet this was not assimilation. And the interesting thing is, despite of all of this, they were violently against assimilation, and they couldn’t avoid the pull of tradition.

They maintained Yiddish and when you maintain Yiddish, you’re in trouble, because it means you maintain all sorts of religious-oriented expressions, concepts, words, ideas. You maintain the Yiddish classics, which they did, Peretz, Sholem Aleichem, for those of you who know. Of course, they reinterpreted it to become something rather strange...

… ‘cause Sholem Aleichem, for example, who was a nice pleasant fellow, ends up as claiming revolutionary. But this is necessary, because you can’t-- There is a -- See? There is a Jewish soul, so they would say. You can’t get away from it. And that’s what they would do.

And this is a continued dilemma on the left, it seems to me, and it will be a continued dilemma for any Eastern European Jewish leftist, whether communist or Bundist. How much are you a separate Jewish entity? What is the notion of the Jewish entity? And what does it mean to be part of the working lass masses? Where do you stand? Should you be separate? Should you integrate yourself? And where is the dividing line?

Okay. Now, in the few minutes we have left, I’d like to talk a little bit about the actual reactions to Nazism. Because you see all of these differences that I’ve talked about. And I know I’ve gone very fast, and I’ve spent a lot of time, possibly on meaningless details, but I think it’s important, because we don’t have very much time to talk about Eastern Europe, unfortunately.

And I’d rather get as much in to give you a general impression in this way. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes. Okay. Reactions to Nazism. The natives, and here we’re talking again about the Sephardim and Ashkenazim, the native Jewish movement, Rothschild, et. al. It seems natives were more profoundly shaken by Nazism than the immigrants. After all, the immigrants were used to anti-Semitism in one form or another.

Many of them had physically experienced Pogroms, others certainly had been told of it since they were, you know, little children. Natives, of course, French Jews seemed to forget about Dreyfus Affair, interestingly enough. It’s rarely brought up in the 1930s, probably part of a reason of an attempt to suppress the notion that there could ever be anti-Semitism in France on such a wide scale.

Anyway, because Professor Mosse has talked about it, the Jewish reaction to the Dreyfus Affair was rather limited, and the tendency was to keep away from it as much as possible. This was a myth that perpetuates itself among the natives. There is no-- They never really experienced anti-Semitism, and they were really unprepared for it as a result.

How could it occur in a cultured country? And this is the German tragedy, of course, too. And if it did occur, wasn’t it really against the immigrants anyway, who were too miserable? It couldn’t be against us. After all, we’re assimilated, or largely assimilated, and we’re patriotic, and so on. They failed to understand this phenomenon that we talked about, the racial element that makes no discrimination between assimilant and religious or visible Jew…

… that, in fact, tends to direct its anger toward the assimilant, because it’s the assimilant, from a racial perspective, who is polluting the racial purity of the nation. He’s the one who is integrated into the German nation or the French nation, not the religious guy who lives in his little area in town. It’s that assimilant who is polluting the racial purity. Okay.

So, it’s not surprising, therefore, that the natives really showed very little understanding of Nazism. And this is not to condemn them. We’re not condemning here, and we’re not judging. It was a very difficult problem. Okay. Essentially, they defined Nazism as irrational, as barbaric, irrational.

Somehow the feeling that, if it were irrational, it could never really be explained, it was an easy way out. When you say something’s irrational, you can’t argue with it, okay? Or that it was a tool used by the Nazis to make any sort of power and once they achieved a certain degree of power, it would fall away. It wasn’t really a cardinal aspect of Nazism.

Religious leaders, as a matter of fact, totally confused - and I think in certain perverse way, though I admit that is a value judgment - tended to take a kind of prophetic tradition upon themselves and argue that this was divine punishment, that Jews were being killed or persecuted or what have you, because God is punishing Jews.    

This is a prophetic argument, which you may remember from the biblical prophets. It was taken up by many rabbis in France. It did not lead to a very active response needless to say. There was an ambiguous attitude toward anti-Semitism in France-- It could never happen obviously in the land of emancipation, yet it was happening. How to approach it?

One, anti-Semitism must be imported from Germany, couldn’t be in France, and indeed much of this is true. Anti-Semites took a lot of Nazi ideology, but there was an on-going anti-Semitic movement, which they didn’t want to talk about. Second of all, how could it occur?

Obviously, it must be immigrants. It’s those immigrants who lead too visible of an existence, who don’t want to integrate themselves, who were political agitators. It had to be their guilt, ‘cause we couldn’t be the result of it. Again, failure to understand the racial argument. How to respond, from the native perspective?

The liberal answer, and this is what Mosse has been talking about, rational argumentation. An anti-Semite put out a pamphlet that there is an international Jewish banking conspiracy, the Consistoire, the Alliance, would put out a brochure of some 900-pages giving you a detailed explanation of Jewish banking from 1600 to 1935. Very difficult, okay?

Rational argumentation, downplay public protest. Let’s not get into their bag, let’s not be irrational, let’s not be over-visible, let’s not be too public in our protest, let’s be cautious, let’s be fair, let’s be honest. Okay?

Also, reliance upon the beneficence of the French government, obviously. The French government is the mediator. It has beliefs in the ideals of emancipation. It will never let Jewry down. They opposed Jewish protest, they opposed the boycott of German goods, they opposed the World Jewish Congress, they opposed protests, and they opposed political action too.

Yet there was a polarization in French society between left and right, and that means that it was noted that the liberal is squeezed out in the 1930s. Who wants rational argumentation when there are people knocking down your door? And so, they eventually do take a stand, and they stand on the right, surprisingly enough -

… maybe not, in terms of what we’re talking about - and the stand on the right, which really was discredited with the victory of the Popular Front in the 1930s, that is the victory of the left forces. Okay, quickly again, the German refugee problem, which is something they could not avoid.

They were down on Jewish action, as I told you, but they could not avoid the German refugee problem. There were thousands of German refugees streaming into France every day. What could they do? Cautious support, very cautious support, continual contact with government - notice the liberal thing again here, very cautious -

… and, as a matter of fact, as the government became more and more against the influx of immigrants because of economic crises, so did the Jews, so did the native Jew. So that by 1935, almost all aid to refugee Jews is depleted, finished. And hence the interest in Zionism - let’s move them out -

… interest in colonization - let’s move them to Madagascar, to the new Caledonia, to the new [WORDCHECK], and so on - interest in America - let’s get them out of France. Okay. Now, there was a basic reliance upon the government, as I said, and that could only be maintained as long as there was no incompatibility between the interest of the French government and the interest of Jews.

Now, the emancipation view, of course, says there is no incompatibility. French government believes in emancipation, believes in the rights of everyone. But 1930 showed that wasn’t the case. And I don’t want to go into that. All of the concessions of the French government, all of the defeat of the western powers through the 1930s, Hitler’s territorial [WORDCHECK] leading to Munich. And Munich is very crucial.

To argue for war would be in Jewish interest. I mean, on a very crude level, obviously. You’ve got to put up a stand. Jews are getting persecuted more and more. To argue for war would be against French interest, French interests are pacifistic at this time. And if you argue for war, you were a traitor. What to do? Problem, it’s a problem in the ‘30s.

Immigrants. Let’s get to that. Great concern over anti-Semitism. It’s the great discussion of [WORDCHECK], a lot of talk about a scape-goat theory, eternal anti-Semitism, and also an emphasis on assimilated Jews. They were particularly struck by the tragedy of the German Jews, which shows to me, at least, and I think should show you, that they had some understanding of this new phenomenon.

Why the assimilated Jew? And they thought about it for a while, and they came up with some ideas about the racial component. Okay, “it wouldn’t happen here,” that’s what they decided, of course. “We’re not assimilated, we’re going to defend ourselves.” But how? Obviously, first, some of them did rely on the government, you have to rely on the government.

And they were particularly happy when Bloom came into power in 1936, Leon Bloom. That’s obvious. Bloom was a Jew, and there was a lot of talk about Bloom’s Jewishness, his mother kept a Kosher home, and all these wonderful rumors that came about.

Second of all, that the popular press was on the left, fighting Fascism.  “We chose the right side, the left is the right side, we’re going to help them.” But there was always skepticism. Immigrants obviously coming from Eastern Europe know that you should never trust the government, no matter what they say. You’ve got to rely on yourself eventually.

So there is a Jewish protest movement. As opposed to the native, you needed it. Boycotted German goods, a World Jewish Congress. But it’s very weak. Because there are many people, many immigrants, but not much money, not much resources. Natives have all the influence, all the money. They’re not going to help.

Even certain immigrants, wealthier immigrants wouldn’t help, they wouldn’t cough up any money. The Federation, the federation that I talked about, which was supposed to be the basis of this society, was much too tied to the Consistoire. It had all these ideas of eventually uniting the Paris community with the natives, though it generally conceded to what the Consistoire wanted, which was no political action, no Jewish action.

Okay. Now, when we come to the left wing -  and the left wing becomes important now - we know, of course, that in France, there’s a Popular Front movement. This is a movement of socialists, radicals, and communists, essentially a leftwing movement which opposes the rightwing elements of fascism and eventually achieved victory in June 1936.

Now, the brilliance the leftwing movement in the Jewish community, for a while at least, is that they were able to latch on to this movement. You had to choose - and that’s something which we’ll get into, I think, further on - you’ll have to choose between right and left. They chose left, for obvious reasons, and they were right. I’m saying right in a certain sense, in the sense that at least that came to power.

And at least they were right in terms of Jewish influence, in the sense that at least the Popular Front said that they were going to help Jews. But I’m saying, on that perspective. And for a while, they were doing very well. And, as a matter of fact, they created what was known as a Jewish Popular Front in the Jewish community, which surpassed the Federation…

… this large immigrant group, by sheer activity, almost by sheer numbers. And many immigrants joined it - non-political immigrants, not communists, not socialists, not radicals - but joined it because they wanted action, they wanted something to be done. But this also involved a change, obviously, from that dogmatic position on the Jewish identity that I talked about that the left had.

If you’re going to appeal to the broad masses, you’ve got to talk with them. You can’t say, we’ll you’re really [WORDCHECK]. So they start talking about [WORDCHECK]. This is one of the reasons, if you know anything about Communist ideology in the 1930s, the flip-flop, the communist flip-flop, the opportunism of the Communist party, it’s reflected here.

[WORDCHECK], all the progressive masses, no longer working-classes but the progressive masses, who is anybody who wants to fight against Fascism, bourgeois, religion, anything. Religion, and you have that, religion, the other thing they attacked, religion is fine.

Look at the Maccabees, look at Bar Kockba, look at all these wonderful Jewish heroes that we can identify with. Look at Passover, it’s a holiday of freedom and liberation. You see the difference here. It’s an attempt to reinterpret all of these traditions in some sort of progressive way.

Yiddishkeit, Yiddishkeit too, an emphasis upon Jewish classics, I suppose. And indeed they were attacked by the more sectarian left, with this sort of opportunistic position. The Bundists, for example, thought they were just horrible. How could you betray the working class and talk about all of this mystical nonsense? Yet the communists did so. They were very successful too.

Yet they could never really resolve the question of whether – they had this question - whether the Jewish problem was really just an arm of a Popular Front or whether it was really a separate movement. And they talked a hell of a lot about Jewish history and Jewish questions and the Jewish problem. That sounds like a separate Jewish movement.

And, in fact, the triumph of the Popular Front, which is in June ’36, really spelled doom, ironically, for the Jewish Popular Front, because, now the government that you’ve been voting for is in power, “Why do we have to act anymore?” And the Jewish Popular Front created that myth that when they Popular Front took power, it would be all over, we’d have utopia.

So people sat back, downplayed inactivity. Second of all, the Jewish communists were very influential in the Jewish Popular Front. The communist party was very influential in Jewish communism. And what happens - (bell rings) just a second - what happens to the communist party is it becomes very nationalistic.

Again, for those of you that know anything about it, it starts talking about a national community. It’s a complete flip-flop. Now, if it talks about a national community, what role does the Jewish Popular Front? Who wants separate Jewish organizations? We want French organizations. So the Jewish Popular Front goes down the drain.

The Jewish communist section is actually disbanded. You don’t want a separate Jewish section, we don’t want separateness. Jewish communists are becoming too separate, they’re not thinking about France. Okay. So the Jewish Popular Front dies in 1937, and I think, from ‘38 to ‘39, which is before the war, obviously, there’s a kind of aimless drifting in the community, and you see why.

Reliance upon the government, which the natives were so happy about, is not working. France is continuing, the French government is continuing to accede to German relations. Munich. Great despair. What to do? What could the Jewish immigrant  do? What could the immigrants do? They couldn’t rely on Jewish protests.

They didn’t have the money, they didn’t have the influence. They had nothing to do. Great despair. And ironically, the final thing is that what you have in 1939, right before the war, is a movement, which is incredibly interesting, called “Return to the Ghetto.” Now what it means is that the immigrants, after all of these hopes, in a sense, come full cycle back to the ghetto…

… not to return physically to the ghetto but at least to return to the ideals of the ghetto, the ideals of unity, the solidness of the Jewish community, emphasis upon unity against the hostile forces outside. “No one is going to help us. There’s nothing we can do.”

And so, I would say that, when 1939 comes, Jews enter the war in Paris, both immigrant and native, very tentatively, very uncertain, not knowing what will happen - and none of them could ever envision what would happen - and yet, the tragedy is that this community was a very vibrant community in the ‘30s…

… and it was only in the process of becoming in 1939. It had great possibilities. But it was an historic record, just as Moskat was an historic record of ghetto life. Okay. Have a good vacation.

Lecture #21

Lecture #21 - 48:46 - Lecture 21 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

The role of the Jewish establishment and that of the majority should be clear by now. But the younger generation, who came to maturity in the 1870s and 80s, were influenced by the same things that influenced the entire European younger generation, namely the opposition to liberalism and the Enlightenment. They tried to overcome the problem in several ways. One attraction of Socialism was the class struggle that made everyone equal who fought on the side of the proletariat. The inevitable victory would fuse the individual with the community of all of humanity. But Jews were not working class; rather, they were young intellectuals. Some who went into Socialism worked within one of its parties. Victor Adler was the founder of Austrian Marxism. The problems that Jews like him presented were realized to a great extent in a document by Hans Jaeger. At a meeting, one worker asked whether being an intellectual was the same as being a Jew. This was of great concern to the Socialist movement and the Jews themselves. One particular individual, Herman Cohen, played an important part. For what he revived was a philosophical Socialism which derived from Kant, but was fused with the Reform Jewish idea of ethical monotheism. To Cohen, God was the categorical imperative, which must lead to a just social order. This coincidence of Kant’s categorical imperative with ethical monotheism is not devoid of messianic elements. Lenin attacked Cohen for bringing idealism and abstractions into Socialism. Cohen’s influence was spread by his friend, Kurt Eisner. Eisner, known to history as the leader of the Bavarian revolution of 1918, popularized it in his essay “Marx and Kant”. According to it, Kant’s ethics provided the living content of human action within history. Eisner acknowledged Marxist historical dialectics, but the content of the dialectics was Kantian ethics. In practice, it meant a rejection of force, a playing down of the class struggle, a denial of revolution.

These young Jews, without being conscious of it, were repeating the ideal that has underlain emancipation. Centering on economic conditions was not enough. An action should be judged by whether it was ethically right or not. Only the spiritual struggle is part of humanity; all else is bestial, said Eisner. When Eisner started the Bavarian Revolution, his first speech stressed having won control over one’s own destiny. Very unlike Lenin, he believed in a council of workers and peasants that would not be a dictatorship of the proletariat. Power meant stupidity; instead, people should be educated on how to control their destiny. His slogan was “Half the power to the Soviets!” Einser was murdered before he could put his ideas into practice, but they would come back in the Germany of the 1920s with Toller, Ernst Bloch, and other young Jews. Why was this such a Jewish affair? Even when young Jews started the Hegelian-Marxist revival, they adhered to an ethical idea, which constituted a kind of unity among Jews they would have themselves repudiated. Eisner was aware of this. Though ethical monotheism was an element of these young Jews’ thinking, it is not enough of an explanation, because Jews of that generation were not really in touch with Judaism.

But what was the explanation? Mosse is not sure he knows it, and remarks: “Maybe racism is not that mistaken.” Jewish Socialism is a reflection of the feeling of the powerlessness of the intellectuals. They tried an “intellectual soviet,” because the intellectuals are the custodians of conscience, of the utopia. Intellectuals had no power of their own. Second, they were suspicious of leadership roles. In reality, intellectuals were too far removed from politics, in which they had no practice. They got around this insecurity by trusting in self-education; of that, they could be the custodian. Another problem was how a Jew could link himself to the working class, into which anti-Semitism had made inroads. Mosse does not want to sound unduly cynical; there may not be an explanation for the Jewish affinity to socialism; perhaps this is one of the insoluble problems. But as a matter of statistics, it became a new Jewish religion, the alternative to Zionism and nationalism. But there is no real answer yet. Young gentiles of this generation did not go this way. In central Europe, left-wing intellectual and Jew were synonymous. The ideal of (Kantian) Socialism was more influential in England and France among gentiles too. Idealistic Socialism became for Jews a way to transcend their origins and fuse with humanity. They did not realize that this was again a Jewish affair, even if Rosa Luxemburg was “not interested in Jews.” These socialists drew the conclusion that the intellectual stood above all class. At the turn of the century, their choice became a meaningful alternative to nationalism and liberalism. The idea of an ethical revolution, which began in the 1880s, would continue and was maybe the greatest Jewish contribution. In the end, its followers were once more homeless Jews, because by the 1920 all political parties had expelled them. We have therefore now two alternatives: the nationalist and the socialist.

The third alternative was Zionism. As we come to it, Mosse clarifies, we must be aware that for many Jews, it became an alternative only after Herzl. Its beginning was quite different; Zionism was initially a product of liberalism. For Herzl and Nordau, the Jewish state was a liberal state, a liberal opportunity which did not exist in Europe. Yet, only through liberalism’s repudiation, did Zionism become an alternative. Herzl, like Freud, was uprooted. He had been a member of a nationalist fraternity, which, as he found out, did not work. Herzl retreated into a narcissistic journalism that heightened a kind of individualism in the feuilleton. The Dreyfus Affair shocked Herzl because it was France, the cradle of emancipation, where it took place. The Jewish state was for him from the beginning partly charity, but mostly a liberal state, a realization of liberalism. Not a spiritual ideal, but objective reality was important for Herzl. There was nothing religious about him; in fact, he wanted to make rabbis useful. Herzl despised the new nationalism, and his knowledge of Judaism was hardly existent. His Zionism came from a different impulse. “The Jewish State” said that the spirit of medievalism in modern time came from the poor Jews. They were the problem; the Jewish question existed in that regard. They brought anti-Semitism to England and to America. They had no power; therefore the problem could not be solved in Europe. It is obvious that for Herzl, Zionism was a problem for the Eastern European Jews. It was a problem of political power, not of spiritual revival or anything like that. The new state was to be built, first, by sending the poor to go and make the land fertile. Their work would bring transportation and markets, only then would the rich come as well. This, Mosse thinks, is an odd kind of construction: the heavy work is to be done by the poor, while the rich would take advantage of it. Clearly, this was a liberal construct, not meant to change property relationships. Palestine was chosen because it was a marvelous rallying cry.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 21 - April 18, 1971
… before Easter, that is to say, the problem of Jews in the face of the dissolution of the forces of liberalism and the Enlightenment, which had led to emancipation in the first place. In this problem of Jews in the face of the dissolution of liberalism and Enlightenment, the role of the Jewish establishment should be clear by now…

… and also the role of the majority, who still continued to cling to these ideas. But a younger generation, which came to maturity in the ‘70s and ‘80s, were influenced by the same kinds of things which influenced the entire European younger generation in the ‘70s and ‘80s, namely the opposition to liberalism and the Enlightenment.

That younger generation, influenced by what influenced, as I said, all the younger generations, tried to overcome the problem in several ways. Before Easter, we discussed the more complete assimilation to the national mystique, and we must now come to the attraction of socialism.

The attraction itself, for young Jews of this and subsequent generations, is not very difficult to analyze. The class struggle made everyone equal who fought on the side of the Proletariat, that is the side of the coming class. And the end result of the inevitable victory would fuse the individual with a true community…

… that community of all of humanity and not merely the humanity of the nation as such. But matters were not quite that simple. In the West, Jews were not working class and also were affected, therefore, by the new anti-liberalism and the revolt of youth of the ‘70s and ‘80s…

… where, by and large, young intellectuals - as was the case generally and not just for the Jews, but, in this case, mostly Jewish intellectuals. There are exceptions. Some of them, who went into socialism, and they founded socialist parties, worked within those parties…

…  especially in Austrian Marxism - this is pronounced. After all, Victor Adler was the founder of Austrian Marxism. But still, the real problem was not those Jews who integrated themselves into the socialist party, but those Jews who came to socialism as young intellectuals.

The problems which they presented were, as a matter of fact, realized to a very great extent. There’s a very interesting document about that, which will warm some of your hearts. The communist speaker - that is, the head of the Communist Speaker’s Bureau in Germany in the 1930s, Hans Jaeger -

… reports that in one meeting in a working class district in Berlin in 1930, a simple worker asked the following question: “What are intellectuals? Is it the same as being a Jew?” This kind of idea - it was in the working class that the intellectual is the same as being a Jew -

… comes from the problem that especially the young Jewish intellectuals from the 1880s on presented within the socialists. For there is no doubt that they introduced a new element into socialism which was to be of great concern to the socialist movement and to themselves.

Indeed, I think it would be correct to speak of a particular Jewish intellectual socialism which became prominent and, indeed, problematic within the socialist party. The man who was a French influence for this socialism was Hermann Cohen, a man about whom you’ll read in your Bergmann reading.

Hermann Cohen and the so-called “revival of Kantian philosophy” played an important part, and when you come to read the chapter on Cohen now, in your Bergmann reading, you must read it also from this point of view. For what Cohen revived was a philosophical socialism which derives from Kant…

… and which is intimately fused with the tradition of ethical monotheism - that is the tradition of Reform Judaism of ethical monotheism which I talked about at some length early on. It is intimately fused with that.

As a matter of fact, for Cohen, at this stage of his life, God is in fact the categorical imperative, which must lead to a moral and just social order. To be sure, the messianic elements, which Hugo Bergmann, in your reading, underlines, were undoubtedly there, but I would not underline the messianic elements of Cohen to this extent.

I think it is more important that he found that Kant’s categorical imperative and ethical monotheism did indeed coincide and that this coinciding meant, in fact, a truer community of men. It must result, for example, he believed, in the abolition of the division of labor.

It must lead to a whole personality. It must lead, in other words, as Kant had thought it could lead, to the ethical and moral state. Kant’s influence on that generation of young Jews cannot be underestimated. The influence became even greater when Lenin denounced him, indeed wrote a rather silly pamphlet - one of Lenin’s most silly writings -

… called “Materialism and Empirio-criticism.” Lenin attacked him in a pamphlet, “Materialism and Empirio-criticism,” attacked him for bringing idealism into socialism, but, above all, for bringing abstractions into socialism.

His influence, to this generation, came above all to a man who was to spread it and to deepen it. It came from his young friend, Kurt Eisner. Kurt Eisner, who acknowledged Cohen as his teacher - though Cohen, as you will see, later diverged and became, indeed, a German nationalist of sorts -

… Kurt Eisner, known to history as the leader of the Bavarian revolution of 1918, popularized this in an essay on Kant, called “Marx and Kant,” in fact, in 1904. And the idea of which he put forward, and which became central to this intellectual socialism, is that Kant’s ethic provides the living content of human action…

… the living content which fills the flow of human action within history. Now, to be sure, Eisner and the others acknowledged the Marxist’s historical dialectic, but the historical dialectic was the way history worked, to be sure.

But the content and the status of this dialectic was indeed Kantian ethics. What it meant, in practice, is also clear. It meant a rejection of force, a rejection of tactic. It meant, in effect, a playing down of the struggles of the class struggle.

It meant, in effect, a denial of the scientific revolution in the Marxist sense. We are back, in a sense, with the categorical imperative. These young Jews, without being conscious of it, were repeating the great ideal that had underlain emancipation.

For Kurt Eisner, the ethic stands above the flow of history, which must measure itself by it. Because of these ideas, he was fired as editor of the Vorwärts, the social democratic paper. Rational cognition must come first, rational cognition, the categorical imperative.

The class struggle was obviously secondary, the ethic was first. Centering of economic conditions is not enough. And Max Alder, another one of these young Jewish intellectuals, said, “An action must be judged whether it is ethically right, not whether it is proletariat or not…

“… because an ethically right action is, by definition, also an action in favor of the proletariat,” a very kind of significant statement. Tactics, therefore, always mean force and power, revolutionary tactics. Eisner put it this way: “Only the spiritual struggle is part of humanity, all else is bestial.

“Our religion” - and Eisner uses this word - “is a belief in the future, which will mean the possibility of the unfolding of all man’s possibilities. Our eternal life is what everyone does in the service of humanity.” When Eisner started the Bavarian revolution, his first speech that he made as the new revolutionary leader in Bavaria in 1918…

… he said as follows: “We are no longer powerless. We have won control over our own destiny.” You can contrast that with Lenin. Lenin would never have said that, because it runs directly counter to any dictatorship of the Proletariat. “We have now won control over our own destiny.”

That was his first reaction as a revolutionary leader. His means to fulfill the revolution are very similarly slanted. He too believed in a council of workers and family, but his council of workers and family would not be a dictatorship of the Proletariat. They would not move, because, as he said, all moves makes for stupidity…

… because it means the exercise of power, and power means, in fact, stupidity. Instead, the Soviet of workers and peasants would educate workers and peasants, would educate how to manage their own destiny. And therefore, he believed, that they must exist side-by-side with Parliament, side-by-side with Parliament and only slowly replace Parliament…

… replace Parliament only slowly and only when they had educated themselves to take over their own destiny. His slogan was “Half the Power to the Soviet.” It was a definitely anti-Leninist slogan, “Half the Power to the Soviet,” because the whole power meant stupidity, because it meant rule, it meant force, it meant dictatorship…

… and it was meant to be education in self-government. Now Eisner was murdered before he could put all of this into practice, but it explains a thrust which you have in Austria also with Max Alder and Otto Bauer, a thrust to which we shall come back in the Germany of the 1920s with Toller and other equally Jewish intellectuals, a thrust to which we shall come back in this way.

Now why? Why? Especially young Jews put up a utopia, if you like, a socialism, and there are many other examples - Ernst Bloch, utopia, all of this. Why was this such a Jewish affair? Why did the Jews, as one of their great contributions to socialism - no doubt about that -

… put up a socialism which repudiated dictatorship, which repudiated Lenin, which repudiated Orthodox socialism, and which instead put up a utopia of self-government, a utopia of ethics rather than class struggle, the kind of utopia, as you know, to which the  present German student movement wants to go back?

That is to say, a utopia which put forward a democratic socialist revolution, without denying the revolution. And I might say, here’s something to which I should come later, that even when young Jews again start the Hegelian revival in Marxism in the ‘20s, like Lukács, for example, they still kept this ethical ideal, at least at first, in the forefront, as did, of course, Rosa Luxemburg.

There is, therefore, among the Jewish group, a kind of unity, though they themselves would have repudiated this and denied it very strongly, of course. Eisner, who was aware of this, said that Hermann Cohen combined socialism with the spirit of the prophet. And to be sure, some of the ethical monotheism may be there, but it is not really a good enough explanation.

For, after all, these young Jews, that generation of young Jews, have really no connection anymore with Judaism. They had not gone to Sunday School, or whatever it is called. They had not gone to that at all. Their parents were emancipated Jews. In their houses there had been nothing that you could call Jewish.

So that we must reject very sharply the ideas, which are racist ideas, that somehow the spirit of the prophet works in Jews. I always wonder how-- Most of us, at any rate, of my generation, have no connection at all with Judaism, and therefore, if we have a social conscience, some of us, I’m sure it doesn’t come from the spirit of the prophet.

I haven’t read the prophets for years and years. So that we must say that that is, of course, nonsense. Otherwise you come to a racial explanation, that somehow the spirit of social justice is a matter of the Jewish blood and Jewish race. What that can be here in connection, and this indeed very quickly - and I’m not sure that I have a good explanation for this at all.

And perhaps racism is not as mistaken, though I myself am afraid that, as all anti-racists, and not willing to accept it. We should say some things about it, which I think are true, but they may not be the total explanation for this Jewish socialism.

It is a reflection, no doubt, of the feeling of powerlessness of intellectuals. After all, the rejection of power and force, to do it differently, by education, by example, through the categorical imperative, well that gives intellectuals a leadership, and we shall soon see how these people believed they were leaders. They called themselves the “conscience of socialism.”

They tried to found special intellectual organizations, special intellectual Soviets, which they believed should be above the Soviets of soldiers and workers, because the intellectuals are in the custodianship the conscience, of the ethics, of the goal, of the utopia. No doubt about it that here was an alternative road to assertion, on the part of intellectuals…

… who had, after all, no power of their own. This is, I think, quite clear. Second of all, we can say, of course, that this goes into the suspicion of leadership roles, leadership roles they weren’t going to get in anywhere, as you know from the Madison municipal elections a couple of weeks ago, something which you should have learned long ago.

Workers don’t vote for workers. Workers voted for Bismarck, but they don’t won’t for workers. And those who came from working class origins in socialism had a terrible time. Workers vote for smooth-talkers. Therefore the intellectuals might have had a chance, but, in reality, they were too far removed from active politics, which they repudiated.

After all, no tactic-- Man is the end, never the means. So that they could not, by their very ideology, slip into leadership roles. Leadership roles which had smooth-talkers, they might very well have had in socialism. But, because of their theory, they could not believe it. So how do you get around that, if you want to be cynical?

You get around that by putting your faith in education, in the self-education. And, there, you can be a leader, you are the custodian. For Jews, there was a third idea. For how can a Jew link himself to the working classes? It was a serious problem. You’ll come back to it now and then.  

To the working classes, in which anti-Semitism had made considerable in-roads, to which the Jew from the suburb came as a foreigner. Not easy, not easy at all. Nevertheless, here again, you have a way with which this could be done now. Jew or not Jew did not matter. It was a matter of a common experience, of governing our own destiny together.

Leadership did not matter, origin did not matter. All that mattered was ethical standards on which the intellectuals - Jews or not, mostly Jews in practice - were the custodians. Now what I’ve said up to now, I don’t want to sound unduly cynical. For, as I say, there is no explanation of this Jewish socialism which has ever satisfied me. There may not be one.

One thing you must have learned by now is that there are unsoluble [sic] problems. Here is another unsoluble problem, at least in the present state of research. However that might be, one thing is quite clear, that there was such a Jewish element in socialism, that this is a Jewish affair - this you can see simply by statistics, statistics -

… that the Jews were the ones who introduced this Kantianism into socialism, that it became, for a new generation of Jews, a new Jewish religion, as I like to call it, a great alternative to nationalism and Zionism, the alternative, and a very seducing alternative to these kinds of nationalisms, obviously.

That is true. But the equation between Jew and the people who elaborated this socialist ideology is too close. It’s too close as to avoid the question which I haven’t been able to answer very satisfactorily: why these young Jews? Why these young Jews? There is, I’m afraid, for that, very little answer.

For the young gentiles, who had the same kind of revolution, these young gentiles did not go this way. We shall come back to it. But it is Jew, always Jew. From this time on, through Marcuse, it is Jew and again Jew. And that means an answer and an analysis which has not yet really been given.

It’s true, isn’t it? In fact, in central Europe, as we shall see, in central Europe, left wing intellectual and Jew were synonymous, and this whole business of socialism was just an inter-Jewish discussion - therefore it was of no interest in the nation, obviously - inter-Jewish discussion. Marcuse.

The question is not of interest. But, and I must say that now, in France and in England, this ideal of socialism, this what we can call Kantian socialism, this becomes a gentile affair. And therefore in France, as in England, it was to be vastly more influential within the nation than in central Europe, where it was and it remained an inter-Jewish affair until it was revived in America in the 1960s…

… first by Jews, but then less by Jews, and became also, perhaps, a broader affair. I’m not so sure about that statement. It would not be wrong to say, therefore, that this type of idealistic socialism-- Oh, I must say that, in Germany, that is quite taken, because the German student movement has taken it up. This is their ideal.

And so, in fact, it will have a great future as the ideal of the German student movement in fact, its ideal, so there it did make a break through to a greater reality, I think. It is not wrong to say, therefore, that this type of idealistic socialism became for many Jews both a transcendence of their origin…

… and a kind of humanism, which exalted a fusion with humanity. And they did not realize that what they were into was really, again, a Jewish affair. There’s an interesting letter from Rosa Luxemburg, written from prison to a boy who had asked her about terrible suffering of the Polish Jews. And Rosa Luxemburg writes as follows:

 “I am not interested in Jews. Leave me alone with your Jewish heart. I do not have a Jewish heart. I am interested in the suffering of all humanity.” This was the kind of fusion that you had. This is the kind of fusion. Or, again, I’ll give you one more example, because it will be so important in France…

… by a very angry young Jew, [NAMECHECK – Robine?], written at the end of the war, calls it powerless. The drama is called “Powerless.” And the idea is that the powerless will win. Actually, [NAMECHECK – Robine?] drama is quite topical. For [NAMECHECK – Robine?], out of this kind of ethical socialism…

… makes a statement, pulls it to its fullest extent, and asks this question, in a war: What would it matter if an enemy occupied us? The thing is to avoid war. What does it really matter if we’re occupied? For, eventually, if we have the right ideas, the enemy will be corrupted by our ideas and ideals and not by the use of force.

So let him come and occupy us. He will strangle at it. Not quite the same thing as what [NAMECHECK] said to Nasser, very shrewdly, “Let the Israelis occupy Cairo, and they will die,” which, of course, would have been quite true. It’s not that that he means. But rather, he means, let them occupy us because our ideals will corrupt the enemy.

All of this, therefore, is not uninteresting for us as well. If we surrender completely to the enemy, writes [NAMECHECK – Robine?], then nothing remains for which he can search. He wants our lives, we sacrifice it. He cannot ask for more, he is not isolated, and nothing remains for him but to become as we are.

You can murder but you cannot exterminate what is human. The people will renew themselves. That gives you some more of an idea of all of this kind of thing. From it, these socialists drew the conclusion that the intellectuals did indeed stand above all classes. As Max Adler put it in Austria…

… if the workers movement is merely class-interest, then it is only a matter of the knife and fork, of the politics of interests, of the imitation of the bourgeoisie. But the ideal must be kept alive, and this is the role of the intellectual. For them, the old world is only a sweater which they can take off easily enough.

Socialism must be a cultural movement or it is nothing, that is the revolution. The revolution is an ethical deed, and therefore it must be a deed without violence, without force, and without leadership, a deed by the workers themselves. Rosa Luxemburg, as some of you know, fits in this tradition.

Now, for sensitive Jews, then, at the turn of the century, this became a meaningful alternative, both to liberalism and all kinds of nationalism, German nationalism or Zionist nationalism. It will remain. For finally, with it, we have to make two more statements.

First of all, these ideals, this new socialism, which began in the 1880s, would continue with added strength. We shall come back to it after 1819 - after 1918 - when it will be of the greatest strength and of the greatest importance. You yourselves, many of you, embrace it, I know.

Secondly-- I’m not saying this isn’t a wonderful thing to embrace. I’m not saying it in any cynical spirit whatsoever. I think, when history is written, this may be the greatest contribution of the Jews through history. You ever thought of that? The first thought out alternative, peaceful idea of revolution, that may be well the greatest contribution of the Jews to history.

And, indeed, the greatest Jewish contribution may be that made by Kurt Eisner and not by some others I can think of. (laughter) That is, of course, a personal statement. These people, whom you can call, if you like, “socialists of the heart” - they’ve been called that and other things then - were done in the end, they were once more homeless Jews.

For, by the 1920s, all political parties of the left had expelled them, of course, of course. How could they bend to tactics, political tactics, political compromise, parliamentary government, all of this? This fell, in other words, in the end, between two chairs, the chair of Social Democracy and the chair of Leninism, both of which they, after all, repudiated.

So that, in the end, they were homeless. And we shall analyze, eventually, what their homelessness meant, because, in the end, as I say, what now begins will go strengthen after the war. We have, therefore, now, to sum up, seen two alternatives: the nationalist alternative, the coming of better terms, French

… and the socialist alternative. In the socialist alternative, there lies then a peculiar and important new Jewish confusion. Why it is Jewish, I don’t know. We must now come, therefore, to the third alternative. And the third alternative is Zionism.

Now, as we come to Zionism - and so they regarded it, and so they regarded it - as we come to Zionism, we must be clear about one thing. For many of these Jews in the West, it became an alternative only after Herzl. That is to say, as we now come to Zionism, we must realize something of the greatest importance, from the very beginning…

… namely that Zionism became an alternative, and it did become an alternative, only subsequently to its beginning. For its beginning was quite different than that associated with socialism and, indeed, with the nationalism that some embraced. For Zionism was, at its beginning, a product of liberalism…

… and, indeed, in the West, and with Theodor Herzl, tended to reaffirm liberalism with the ideal of a Jewish state. There is no doubt - and we shall come, I’ll prove it in a minute - that for Herzl and for Nordau, the two great charismatic early leaders, the Jewish state was the liberal state.

Indeed, if you want to be strictly historical about it, you can say this: that, for Herzl and Nordau, the Jewish state was a liberal opportunity which no longer existed in Europe, in fact. If you want to unkind about it, you can say that, just as, let us say…

… for Rudyard Kipling the British Empire was the last outpost for the British school boy, when he could do nothing more in Europe, the Jewish state was the last outpost of liberalism. Let us look, therefore, first at this document itself, at Herzl’s “Jewish State” of 1896…

… and then we shall have to see if repudiation-- For only out of its repudiation did Zionism become an alternative in the same way as socialism and the other nationalism became for the younger generation. Let us look at it, then, and I wish you would now start to read it in Hertzberg.

Herzl, like Freud, was uprooted from the situation in Vienna which I have talked to you about before. He began to write the feuilleton - that is to say, he began to write and to engage in a very particular type of journalism, the journalism of criticism, of culture criticism, which every European paper still had - no longer today, but then had - a column of culture criticism.

But this culture criticism, indeed, was really a kind of narcissism, and Herzl, indeed, defined his activity in those days as a kind of narcissism, as a narcissism, here increasingly apocryphal and uprooted situation. Herzl had been, after all, a member of a nationalist fraternity, he had found that this didn’t work.

After all, there was the mass movement on the right, the mass movement of Lueger, and Herzl retreated, as so many did, into this kind of journalism, this narcissism, which he describes as follows: “falling in love with his own spirit and thus losing any standard of judgment of himself or others.”

This subjectivity is a heightened kind of individualism. What he wrote were vignettes. The price, the emphasis, in the feuilleton, was on cleverness, on vignettes on cleverness, on this kind of narcissism, a sign, one more sign, of the uprootedness of this kind of middle class in Vienna.

And it is on top of this kind of narcissism, this kind of uprootedness that he suffers the shock of the Dreyfus Affair. But why was it a shock? It was a shock because it was in France, as I have told you again and again. The shock of Dreyfus was that it happened in the nation of the Revolution, that it happened in the nation of the Enlightenment.

Very doubtful whether Herzl would have been so shocked if it had happened in Germany or in Austria. He was used to anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria, but this was France, the Belle France, the France, the first country that has emancipated the Jews - they forgot how reluctantly - that had emancipated the Jews. That was the shock for Herzl.

And so he began to consider the Jewish situation. But together with the Jewish situation, he considered, as a matter of fact, the liberal situation. ‘Cause the Jewish situation was an outgrowth. He thought, rightly, of the dissolution of liberalism and of the Enlightenment.

The Jewish state was, for him, not a matter of a new nationalism. That came from Eastern Europe. The Jewish state was, for him, from the beginning, partly charity - as you will see, Hertzberg makes it quite [INAUDIBLE] in his conflation of the Jewish state, I’ll point that out in a minute -

… it’s partly charity but mostly a liberal state, a realization which Herzl, as a man of the world, Nordau a man of the world - these weren’t little provincials, these were men of the world - this man of the world knew perfectly well that liberalism and Jewish emancipation were the same, and they built their hopes upon this.

The objective reality was, for Herzl, important, not a spiritual impulse. Read what he has to say about rabbis. Didn’t like ‘em. Thought they could be made useful. But they were useless, on the whole they were useless. There was nothing in Herzl about religion, a spiritual impulse.

These were liberals, great journalists of their day. Let me remind you that their friends believed that their Zionism was an operation. Nordau and Herzl’s friends said, “Well, you know, fabulous journalists, but they’re also a little, you know, meshuggah on the side.” In other words, their Zionism was, to their friends what, say, your interest in astrology would be, or whatever little side interests some of you have.

Let’s keep it in perspective. And I’m saying this because they moved in a quite different world than the world of Eastern Europe. They never understood the world of Eastern Europe. How could they? How could they, really? They lived in a totally different world, really.

In fact, then, the first thing you must know about the Jewish state is that it applied to anti-Semitism. It doesn’t arise out of some deep spiritual or national impulse. Herzl despised the new nationalism, he despised spiritualism. His knowledge of Judaism was about--Well, I don’t want to single any one of you out, but let me tell you, it was hardly existing.

And for Nordau, it didn’t exist at all, and he didn’t care about it either. So, really, it came out of a quite different impulse. It was really-- The funny thing, you know, about Herzl is that the founder of Zionism and the Jewish state is really the last gasp of an old system, rather than the new.

It’s the last gasp of liberalism and the Jews, rather than what was really to come in much of the Zionist movement. Let us look at the document itself for a minute then. The Jewish question, he tells us, is a piece of medievalism carried into modern times. And who carries this piece of medievalism into modern times?

It is carried by the poor Jews. Now, here we come to a very nice history falsification by Mr. Hertzberg. On page “28, 29,” he translates “poor Jews” with “unfortunate Jews.” Why? Can you guess? Because Herzl is attacking the East European Jews, but this, of course, for modern time, is horrible.

So Hertzberg translates “poor” as “unfortunate” and not as “poor,” and he will omit from your translation the whole section on the Jewish state devoted to the praise of free enterprise. You won’t find that in your translation either, by the way.

So, what Herzl is really telling us, unlike your translation, is, indeed, that it is the poor Jews who are the problem, who are carrying the medievalism into modern times. As he puts it, the Jewish question exists, we can no longer ignore it. It is a piece of postponed Middle Ages…

… and we see it, that it cannot be solved by the poor Jews who carry anti-Semitism to England, who have brought anti-Semitism to America - those are the unfortunate Jews, those are the Eastern European Jews, obviously, he’s talking about - who brought anti-Semitism to England and have brought it to America.

Moreover, these Jews have no power, and therefore, the problem cannot be solved in Europe. Herzl implies very strongly that, if these Jews had any political power, then perhaps the matter could be solved. But they have no political power, therefore that problem can, in fact, not be solved.

Now, what I want to point out about this, I think, is pretty, pretty obvious. For Herzl, Zionism is, first of all, a question of the East European Jews. He looks at it from the outside. Oh, he says, “We are one people,” but he immediately turns around and talks in a very abstracted way about the poor Jews who carry anti-Semitism everywhere -

… presumably Herzl didn’t - but the poor Jews who carry anti-Semitism everywhere. And second of all, Zionism is, for him, a problem of political power. It isn’t a problem of some biblical revival, it isn’t a problem of some spiritual impulse. It’s a problem of power! What do you do? Here you have a problem: they have no power.

What is the solution? The solution is only a state of their own. For Herzl’s construction, it’s not devoid of the idea of charity. Here, I want you to look at Hertzberg, page 221. Hertzberg, page 221. For how is it actually to be built, this new state? It’s to be built as follows, as follows.

First the poor will go, and they will work to make the land fertile. They will build streets and bridges and railways and telegraphs, and regulate rivers and build houses. Their work will bring traffic and transport and markets. After this work, only, will come the rich.

Now, in a sense, this is, of course, totally realistic. But in another sense, it is an odd kind of construction. The heavy work will be done by the poor, and the rich will come with their capital and, really, in a sense, take advantage of it. What this is is again a liberal construct. It was not Herzl’s intention to change property relationships.

And, as a matter of fact, for the spiritual impulse, please look at Hertzberg 222, where he says that Argentina might do as well as Palestine. Now-- and why then Palestine? Why Palestine? Because Palestine, he tells us, is a marvelous rallying cry. In other words, again, if you like, a political judgment.

You can’t really do it without Palestine, not because of any mystique, but it’s a good rallying cry. The poor masses of Eastern Europe, that’s a way you can get them over there. But you couldn’t get them to Argentina without it. [Bell rings]. With Zionism, I will continue next time.

Lecture #22

Lecture #22 - 45:33 - Lecture 22 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

Herzl came to Zionism by realizing the necessity of power in the modern world, which the Jews lacked. In the translation of the text the students are reading, Herzberg omits the detailed plan that Herzl thought up. There was no intention to modify property relations. Rather, Herzl aimed at preserving the individual in his rights through free enterprise. Even unskilled laborers should rise into the propertied class. The dominating personalities of the origins of Zionism were committed liberals, positivists, and Darwinists. It was an inspiration to many Jews to discover that Nordau was a Jew. Nordau authored stories, plays, cultural criticism, and novels. His world view favored ordered progress based on the natural sciences. He believed in clear and distinct ideas, clear ideas of ugliness and beauty. In his most famous book, “Degeneration” of 1892, he criticized all modern art and literature as degenerate, and instead praised “normal” men, who rose early and were not weary before sunset. He also believed in the old psychology and took physical fitness as sign of mental health. Zionism for Nordau was a means of normalization of Jewish life. In a speech to the Jewish gymnasts organization, he distinguished between coffee house Jews and muscle Jews. As a liberal, he did not really believe in nationalism, but, like Herzl, in a “binational state.” Significantly, Ahad Ha’Am, who arrived now, accused Nordau and Herzl of too great a tolerance.

Nordau and Herzl obviously believed the way to attain a state was through political means, and consequently sought support of Jewish notables; yet they were anti-Zionists until WWII. Nordau’s and Herzl’s main accomplishment, more than their writings, was to have built a movement. But the populace for that movement came from the masses of Eastern Europe. The movement was led by European figures, which had a great attraction in itself. In fact, neither Nordau nor Herzl ever understood the Eastern European Jewish masses. Nordau died in 1925 as a figure forgotten to Zionism. Mosse is sure that: “If Herzl had not died so opportunely, no doubt he would have suffered the same fate.” For the masses had their own (anti-liberal) Zionist tradition that was older than that of Herzl and Nordau. Through it, Zionism became an alternative to the liberal establishment: Anti-liberalism thus came in from the East. (This new impetus did not come to dominate the movement until 1933). Until then, German Zionism dominated the movement. The opposition was led from Odessa by Ahad Ha’Am, and by Martin Buber.
It was aimed against the liberalism of Herzl and Nordau, and argued for the return to a spiritual impetus-not to the Kantian categorical imperative-but to a spiritual imperative that was supposed to come from the Jewish tradition. For Ahad Ha’Am, it was a spiritual renaissance, a renaissance of the Jewish soul not found in Herzl or Nordau, who were for him materialists. Indeed, when Herzl’s novel “Old Land-New Land” appeared, Ahad Ha’am asked “what is Jewish about this book?”.

The contents of Ahad Ha’am’s Jewish tradition were not religious. But what was Jewish culture for him? He got around this problem by stressing the Hebrew language and literature. Since Jewish culture was paramount for Ahad Ha’Am, he was really the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism. Jerusalem was to be a cultural center for all Jews. Just as in the 16th century when much of the Jewish revival came from Safed, it must now come from Jerusalem. Ahad Ha’am’s view was not shared by all; conflicting opinions were brought to a head by the “Uganda Conflict” of 1903. Herzl believed that Argentina was perhaps more suitable than Palestine. When the British offered the colony of Uganda, Herzl accepted, which met with wild opposition. According to Mosse, Palestine was really the worst place. But those who wanted a Jewish revival disagreed. One year later Herzl died. (His successor, obviously, was to be Nordau; instead, someone else took his place). Documenting whose views ultimately triumphed is not quite so simple to trace. The idea that settlement is not as important as a spiritual renaissance (Ahad Ha’am) was not shared by the Eastern European masses.

At the beginning of Zionism, there were two alternatives: Herzl and Nordau, or Ahad Ha’am (to whom Mosse is most sympathetic). What they saw so clearly is that Palestine was a populated area, and that it was indispensable for the great powers due to its location. Buber’s early nationalist faith was the same German nationalism the young Freud and Herzl shared. But Buber never came to any kind of liberalism. (His early nationalism was a phase that he transferred to Zionism. The Anti-liberals triumphed after Herzl’s death, but within that camp, there were different groups. Yet all the alternatives have in common the rejection of aggressive, imperialist nationalism, a belief shared with Herzl and Nordau. In part, this was because they were impotent, but the more important reason is because the idea of humanity that came out of their theories was distinct from the nationalisms that dominated Europe. Buber’s alternative referred directly to the spiritual and mystical which had always attracted him. In the Hassidim, he saw on the Jewish side the kind of ideal that had attracted him in German culture, and which he saw as equivalent to Jacob Boehme. As the fulfillment of the national mystique, the Hasidim were the true Jewish “Volk,” alive and vibrant. Buber was never interested in historical truth. He did not see the Zaddikim as tiny dictators which they were in reality. “Speeches on Judaism” was to the Jews what the works of Herder were for Germans. They have not been translated (at the time of this lecture) because they were, according to Mosse, awkward, speaking of “the Jewish race” and “Jewish blood,” though Buber meant this as a trope. Yet Orthodoxy was rejected by him and other Zionists. Jews were for Buber a people in search of a nationality, which he thought he found in Hasidism. He took up a current European idea, the difference between the “political country” and the “real country.” (The Hasidim, of course, embodied the real). Influenced by Nietzsche, Buber maintained that ideas of vitalism and activism had to be directed toward a renewal of the Jewish people through a dialogue with God; but one could only come to a relationship with God trough one’s people, which was the way of the Hasidim. This meant that one came to a relationship with all of humanity; nationalism cannot be aggressive, and therefore Buber hated the state of Israel as it appeared. The last time Mosse met Buber, Buber asked him if he hated to teach at a university that stood on land taken from other people. Mosse said that was indeed a problem for him, but why did Buber live on land “stolen from other people,” why did he not leave Israel? His answer: because peace would finally come from Jerusalem. These ideas of Buber were shared by many Germans.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 22 - April 21, 1971
... Herzl’s Jewish liberal utopia, based on the unity of the Jewish people, the Jewish Volk, a realization to which Herzl came not so much, not at all in fact, by any so-called spiritual impulse, but rather by a realization of the necessity of power in the modern world…

… and, after the Dreyfus case, by an added realization that the Jews do not have such power. His ideal of settlement reflects this liberal ideology. First would come what he calls the poor Jews, which are the Jews of Eastern Europe, who will do the main work, then will come the richer Jews who will bring the capital.

This of course is, again, a realism, not anything evil at all, but a kind of realism. In your reading, Herzberg omits, purposefully probably, the detailed plan which Herzl drew up. But that detailed plan stresses good housing, stresses decent working conditions, but it’s main stress is, as a matter of fact, on free enterprise and the necessity of a market economy for the new Jewish state.

Herzl had no intention whatsoever to modify any property relationships. He says whatever state control there is may not crush free enterprise. We can only be collectivists where there are insufferable difficulties. As for the rest, we want to preserve the individual in his rights.

Those rights he defines in connection with free enterprise, those rights he defines in a liberal way. Private property, as the economic basis of Jewish independence, shall develop freely and respected by all of us. We want even unskilled labor to rise into a propertied class. Now, you cannot be more liberal than this. You cannot put the liberal ideology better than this.

The point is that the dominating personalities of the origins of Zionism, Herzl and Nordau, were, both of them, committed liberals - not only liberals, positivists, but also Darwinists. Max Nordau was, after all, the greatest liberal publicist. And the influence that these two famous men should become Zionists, found a movement as it was thought …  

… as one contemporary put it, it was a revelation to Jewish youth that Max Nordau was a Jew. It was an inspiration for them to join the ranks of the Zionist movement. After all, Nordau made his reputation in quite different fields. He is the author of some nine volumes of novels and short stories, seven plays, fifty volumes of cultural criticism, and, besides all this, he had a lively medical practice. (laughter)

The lesson than you must draw from this is very simple. Why could he do all of this? Why could he do all of this? The answer is very simple. Because he believed. He had a certain world view which goes with this kind of hard work and this kind of accomplishment in the 19th century.

His principle idea was ordered progress, progress based upon the natural sciences. And because he believed in progress built upon the natural sciences, he believed in clear and distinct ideas, clear formulations of thought, clear ideas of ugliness and beauty. Out of this, he opposed all new forms of literature, which he called degenerate.

And, indeed, his most famous book, more famous than all of his latter-day Zionist activity, was this book called Degeneration, which he published in 1892, a very famous book indeed, and which criticizes all modern art and literature as degenerate, from the point of view that I have given, the point of view of ordered progress, the natural sciences, and clear and distinct ideas.

He had therefore a praise for “normal men.” What was normalcy? This is how he defined it. Engrave it in your minds. “Normal men are those who rise early, who are not weary before sunset, who have clear heads, solid stomachs, and hard muscles.” That’s why he wrote so much, that’s why we are all trying to imitate him as best we can. (laughter)

It’s true, it’s true, it’s true. That’s why Nordau accomplished so much, he wasn’t one of these new sensitive generation of new graduate students I hear about who spend their time contemplating their navel. (laughter) In other words, in other words, he worked, he had a world picture, and the world picture meant work, hard work, and hard work will facilitate, by his belief in the natural sciences, in progress, in order.

And - and I cannot go into this here - he believed in the old psychology and therefore he believed also in bodily fitness as a sign of mental health. Therefore the solid stomach and hard muscles. Don’t laugh.  I spent all the weekend sawing down trees - (laughter, applause) - with a little help from one of the new generation of graduate students. I did too.

So, anyway, here’s an ideal. Now, with it, however, Nordau had certain concepts of solidarity and of community. He believed, of course, in the community of what he called “normal men.” Zionism, for Max Nordau, therefore, was a means of the normalization of Jewish life. That is really what it was.

It is Max Nordau who, in a speech to the Jewish gymnastic organization - remember I mentioned it once before, I talked about it earlier - to the Jewish gymnastic organization, made this famous distinction, which some of you are very fond of, between muscle Jews and coffeehouse Jews.

Coffeehouse Jews who are degenerate, part of the nervousness of modern life. He thought it all came through the railways and new transportation. Their muscles, in other words, their nervous system, was sick. But the muscle Jew is something else again. The muscle Jew is the normal Jew.

The gymnastic organization, the founding of the Jewish gymnastic movement, all this was Nordau’s Zionism, really, Nordau’s Zionism.
Modern artists are sick people. He, therefore, was also a liberal. And it is typical of the very silly abstract of Nordau that is given in Herzberg, unfortunately, also, it’s typical that he really didn’t believe in nationalism a great deal, no more than Herzl.

He believed that nationalism had been restrained. Herzl and Nordau believed in what we call now a “binational state,” that is a state where, as Herzl put it, Nordau too, Jews and others would live side-by-side in amenity. And, being both liberals, Herzl in his novel, Old New Country, makes the point that the others must have exactly the same rights as the Jews.

All must be the same kind of citizens. This goes for Herzl, this goes for Nordau, this goes for all these founders of Zionism. And it is significant that a man whom I am coming to right now, who came from a different impulse, Ahad Ha’am, accused Nordau and Herzl of too great a tolerance - quite true, quite true -

… accused Nordau and Herzl of too great a tolerance, above all. So that what you have here, then, is a liberal idea of a liberal state. And notice, in your Herzberg, page 242, what Nordau says about the restraint that nationalism must have.

Now together with these ideas, Nordau and Herzl obviously believed that the way to attainment was through political methods, and they hoped to persuade the Jewish notables to help them in their politics. But, of course, as you now know, by the Jewish notables, they were regarded as oddities in this respect.

For the liberal Jews themselves were not interested. Liberal Judaism, that is majority Judaism, from the beginning, it was anti-Zionist and would remain anti-Zionists, at least until the Second World War. Herzl and Nordau’s main accomplishment, when you look back on it, was, in fact, to build a movement.

This, I think, in the last resort, is more important than their writings. More important than their writings were also their charismatic personalities, their abilities as speaker - especially Nordau was a fantastic speaker - their ability as speaker and organizer. That is what is of lasting importance really.

They founded a popular movement, but the populists for the movement came not from the West but from Eastern Europe. And the attraction of Zionism at first - let us be under no illusion - for the masses of Eastern Europe, was that two distinguished Westerners were at the head of it. That was one of the real and undoubted attractions.

This was not merely a shtetl movement of fellow Jews with whom one played pinochle in the evening. This was a movement led by European figures. These men, especially Nordau, was a European figure - that had a great deal of attraction by itself to get the movement going, an attraction that we cannot possibly undervaluate [sic] -

… men who had made their way as writers, not at all as Jews. As I said, it was a revelation to find out that Nordau was Jewish in the first place. But the fact that their support came from Eastern Europe, and the masses of Eastern Europe - whom I think it would be fair to say neither Nordau nor Herzl ever really understood, they had no means of understanding -

… involved them so in very serious disputes, disputes which they lost. Max Nordau ends up a lonely and forgotten figure. He did not die ‘til 1925, and when the London Times had an obituary, it hardly mentioned his Zionism. He was the great theoretician of “Degeneration.” But in Zionism, he was a lonely and forgotten figure.

Now I believe there’s at least one kibbutz and some minor streets, very minor streets, named after him. Unjustly, very unjustly. But he lost and Herzl lost, and, as you will see in a minute, that if Herzl had not died so opportunely, no doubt he would have suffered the same thing that Max Nordau did, eventually.

For the popular masses, which were their following, had their own Zionist tradition, a tradition that is, as a matter of fact, older than Herzl and Nordau, and, moreover, a tradition that, in the Western context, is an anti-liberal tradition. And it is through that dispute, and the fact that Herzl and Nordau lost that dispute, that Zionism became an alternative to the liberal establishment.

With Herzl and Nordau, it really wasn’t very much, but because they lost the dispute, it did become an alternative. The anti-liberalism came in from the East. But we cannot make it so exclusive. Whatever I’m going to tell you now about the new impetus and the defeat of Herzl and Nordau, remember one thing, from now on in:

… that, until 1933, it is German Zionism which is, in many ways, dominant, still, over the movement - that you must not forget - and that, therefore in Zionism, however much Herzl and Nordau lost out, liberal ideas will still play a part. For it will be German Zionism which will be quite crucial in the ‘20s and until it was cut off in 1933, as you will see again in a minute, when I talk about Martin Buber.

The opposition to Herzl and Nordau was led, on the one hand, from Odessa, by Ahad Ha’am. And remember what Mr. [NAMECHECK] said about Odessa. It’s a special kind of Haskalah that you had in Odessa. And it was led by another young man, Martin Buber, who had been born in Eastern Europe but who, for all intents and purposes, was German and settled in Germany by that time.

Now what was this opposition? As I said, the opposition was against the liberalism of Herzl and Nordau, the quest for a return to a spiritual imperative. In other words, it orders itself into this same impetus that you had with the Jewish socialism I talked about, the same kind of impetus, the longing for a spiritual impetus…

… not, here, the Kantian categorical imperative, as it was for the young Jewish socialist, but, here, in a way, as you will see, an equally vague, spiritual imperative which was supposed to come from the Jewish tradition. For Ahad Ha’am, Zionism was a matter of a national Renaissance, but quite a different Renaissance than for Nordau.

For Nordau, it was a Renaissance of the muscle Jew, clean cut liberal, progressive. For Ahad Ha’am, it was Renaissance, as he called it, of the “Jewish soul,” a phrase that you won’t find in Nordau - that I know, I’ve read all of him  - and that I’ve never found in Herzl either, the phrase, “of a Jewish soul.”

In other words, what he wanted was a spiritual Renaissance, one, as you will read in Herzberg, which relates itself at every point to the Jewish tradition, not just as a political force in a power play, but as a spiritual one. And, indeed, read carefully again in Herzberg, page 262, the following…

… 262 following his critique of Herzl and Nordau. Herzl and Nordau are materialists for him and against a spiritual impulse - it’s quite true; Nordau was a liberal positivist, quite true - and above all, that Herzl and Nordau wanted to build a European movement, a European movement, not a specifically Jewish movement.

So that you have a criticism which is, in a sense, from his point of view, a fair critique. And when, in 1902, Herzl’s novel, Old New Land, appeared, Ahad Ha’am asked, scathingly, “What is Jewish about it?” What he missed above all and was for Ahad Ha’am the essence of the spiritual Renaissance, was the Hebrew language.

As Ahad Ha’am put it, an academy of the Hebrew language and literature is worth more than a hundred settlements. That point of view, that an academy of Hebrew literature and language is more worth than a hundred settlements, is an important one. For Ahad Ha’am’s content is very vague: Jewish tradition, Jewish culture. For Ahad Ha’am was not a religious Jew, in the Orthodox sense.

He was a product of that Haskalah about which Mr. [NAMECHECK] talked to you. Jewish culture, not religion, is what he had in mind. And the question which arose, of course, is what is Jewish culture? And the answer is as vague as it has always been. It’s a hell of a lot of things. But he got around it - and by “around”, I don’t mean an implication of this -

… he got around the problem by stressing the Hebrew language and Hebrew literature. For Ahad Ha’am, therefore, Zionism was a cultural Renaissance of the Jews - he is really the founder of the movement which we now call the Reconstructionist movement - of a spiritual, by which he meant a cultural, movement of the Jews.

His nationalism was not either a common kind of nationalism. His nationalism was the emphasis on the Hebrew language and literature. But what it meant was this. He deplored Herzl’s emphasis on practical work, on colonization, which he thought with some justice meant an ignoring of his culture.

His vision was that Jerusalem was to be a cultural center for all the Jews. It doesn’t matter how many were settled there, that was quite beside the point. It had to be a cultural center for all the Jews. And he makes an analogy which is very telling.

He says, just as, in the 16th century, much of the Jewish revival had come from the little hill town of Safed in Palestine, so now the Jewish revival must come from Jerusalem. But Safed had not been an area of dense Jewish settlement. It is, as you know, some of you, a little hill town from which the 16th century revival had come…

… so it must come from Jerusalem. Ahad Ha’am’s point of view was not shared by many others who criticized Herzl and Nordau for the absence of spirituality, who were teamed up with Ahad Ha’am. And so did another young man, Chaim Weizmann, who-- Weizmann and Ahad Ha’am authored the attacks on Herzl in the Zionist Congress of 1902.

This quarrel was brought to a head by the so-called” Uganda Conflict” of 1903. Herzl, as you remember from The Jewish State, believed that Argentina was perhaps more suitable than Palestine, and so when the British offered the colony of Uganda, Herzl accepted, and Nordau became the great defender of the Uganda project.  
Herzl was found to renege, not by any difficulties that might have been encountered in Uganda, let’s be quite clear about this. Probably, let
us-- We can defend Herzl on this. Probably Palestine was the worst place to have a new settlement and the most disturbed place, and, in a way, it seemed then – things unfortunately are not yet in -

… the worst place, because it has always been at the crossroad of big power conflict. And moreover it was a densely settled area. So that it was, in a sense, Herzl and Nordau had a very good point, but not from the point of view of those who wanted to make it a Jewish cultural revival, not from those who wanted a new kind of Jewish revival.

The Hebrew language and Hebrew literature went together with Zionists however your religious points of view were. You could not have, really, a Jewish revival anywhere else. And that problem is what defeated Herzl and Nordau. They had to renege. One year later, Herzl dies. And from then on, the victory is with the other group.

For who was to be Herzl’s successor? Obviously Nordau, the obvious man. But Nordau did not get it. A man who got it, his name does not have really to concern us, was another German Jew, very wealthy, from Cologne. But Nordau did not get it. It was a compromise choice. Nordau did not get it. Nordau did not become his successor.

What triumphed, then? What triumphed is not quite so simple. For Ahad Ha’am’s idea that settlement is not important, that what we want is a cultural revival, that idea could not be accepted by the masses of East European Jewry who wanted to leave their oppression, who wanted to go to Palestine, that was not really a feasible idea within the Zionist movement.

But the enemies of Herzl and Nordau, nevertheless now, benefited, benefited from a strong organization which Herzl led, and, which I said, was his single greatest contribution. It isn’t Ahad Ha’am’s star which begins to rise in the Zionist movement. The idea is too narrow, too fragmented, too partial.

That must be clear. But I want to say in parentheses, because I want to make it clear to you, that at the beginning of Zionism, there were two alternatives. The Zionist movement could have gone the Herzl-Nordau way, then it would have been a liberal movement. It could have gone the Ahad Ha’am way, then it would have, it would have saved itself a lot of difficulty.

I, myself, am, I must confess to you, very sympathetic to Ahad Ha’am’s way. I think it was really the only feasible way. I think it is, in fact. But that’s doesn’t really matter. The main thing is Jerusalem as a spiritual and cultural center. What Ahad Ha’am saw so clearly, what Nordau and Herzl saw so clearly, was the fact, which we must bear in mind…

… that this was a populated area with an indigenous population. And what they also saw so clearly was that it is, by its very geographical situation, indispensible for one or the other of the big powers. The man whose star rose was Martin Buber. His influence, his star, rose, and it rose in spite of the fact that he did not settle in Palestine ‘til 1936.

There are reasons for that, which I will go into later. In the Crisis book, which you are reading, you will read about Buber’s early nationalist phase. Obviously, the young Buber had the same kind of German nationalist phase which the young Herzl had, which the young Freud had, which they all had.

But with Buber, it was to have more, much more, large consequences. For unlike Herzl, the nationalist phase was not one which was shed. Buber never came to any kind of liberalism. Indeed, he always opposed it, throughout all his life. His early nationalism was a phase which, in a sense, was transferred to that nationalism which Buber proposed for Zionism.

And here again, I must pause a minute to make something clear. The triumph of the Herzl [INAUDIBLE] was with those who wanted a spiritual renewal, with those who were anti-liberal. But, as you will see, first of all, within in the anti-liberal camp, there were several alternatives.

I’m starting with Buber, because, in a sense, he became one of the more important, but I will obviously go on to others, to socialism, to the proletarian alternative, and all of that sort of thing. And secondly, I must mention something here which I will come back to again and again…

… namely that all these alternatives, all the alternatives of the people who triumphed, have one thing in common with Herzl and Nordau. That is their rejection of an aggressive nationalism. As you will see in a minute, there is, in the whole history of Zionism, no warrant whatsoever for any imperialism or aggressive nationalism.

You may say that is because they realized they were impotent, and that is true in a way. But mainly it is because all these theories have one thing in common. That is to say, out of their theory, they also come eventually to an idea of humanity, just as the socialists did.

All these theories. For Herzl, a liberal humanity, for Buber, a different kind of humanity, for Borochov and the others, a different kind of humanity. But they always ended up in an ideal of humanity. In this way, Zionist nationalism will be quite distinct from the nationalisms which will dominant Europe, certainly from 1918 onward.

And I think that is something we must realize from the very start, that this is a very deep trend in the whole growth of Zionism. Now Buber’s alternative, Buber’s alternative, refers itself directly to the spiritual and mystical, which had always, after all, attracted him. One of his very early books was called The Ecstatic Confessions of 1909…

… and what that early book is a summary, an extract of the confessions people made, mostly Christian sins, under the influence of ecstasy. From The Ecstatic Confessions of 1909, he went on to his doctoral work, which was about the German mystic Jakob Böhme - who in a very direct way, foreshadows what he will eventually suggest for Zionism and Jewish Nationalism -

… that great 16th century German mystic, who believed in the over-coming, who believed in the feeling, who believed in a mystical origins, a mystical basis of the Volk and the nation. His work on Böhme had a similar direction. It is then that he came upon the Hasidim.

And in the Hasidim he saw at once, on the Jewish side, the kind of ideals which had attracted him on the German side. The Hasidim were, in a way, the Jewish equivalent to Jakob Böhme, to the Ecstatic Confessions. For here, in a Jewish context, seemed the fulfillment of a national mystique which was also spiritual. Here were the Jewish- German mystics, if you like.

The Hasidim, as Buber began to explain them, were the true Volk, the true people. They exemplified a tradition which was not fossilized but alive and vibrant, a spirituality, as he put it, the urge towards a spiritual unity within which Jewish creative energies are released.

Obviously these Hasidim are not Mr. [NAMECHECK – Orbach?]’s Hasidim. That must be clear. Mr. [NAMECHECK – Orbach?]’s Hasidim were, in the end, very fossilized, very devoid of a creative spirit. But Buber was never interested in historical truth, he was interested in building a myth for Jewish nationalism…

… and the Hasidim that he built up had been attacked rightly by almost every scholar on the subject, most notably by Scholem, attacked very heavily and rightly. They had very little to do with the real Hasidim whom Mr. [NAMECHECK – Orbach?] talked to you about. But that is not the point.

Buber’s Hasidim are a mystique, a myth, a creativity. Notice, a creativity that is not Orthodox - Buber hated rabbis - that is not Orthodox, and a creativity that yet links one to a very real Jewish tradition. Moreover, a tradition that is anti-establishment.

He saw the Hasidism, as Mr. [NAMECHECK – Orbach?] explained, as fighting the Jewish establishment. He didn’t see the [WORDCHECK] as a little pinpoint dictator, which he was in reality. He saw it, in a way, as a kind of mystique, as he put it in his most famous work, his Speeches on Judaism of 1911 and ‘12.

These Speeches on Judaism are for a Jewish nationalism, in many ways what the works - quite different ways - what the works of Herder were for the nationalism of Germany, what that did, basically, basically. I am sorry you cannot read them, because they have never been translated.

Why have they never been translated? Because they’re awful. For in his Speeches on Judaism, Buber not only talks about the Hasidim, but, in his efforts to give a kind of Jewish cultural revival, he will talk from time to time about the lightning of the Jewish blood. He will, from time to time, come back to the Jewish race and the Jewish blood.

And though Buber never meant it in any racist sense, but rather in a kind of groping for this kind of a tradition. For the Jews were, for him, without tradition. I must make this quite clear, the problem. He rose from assimilation, from ethical monotheism. What do you do with the Jews anyhow?

They have no Orthodox tradition, Orthodoxy, a minority, rejected anyway by Buber and most of the Zionists, rejected. So what are you going to do? Really, for Buber, the Jews were in search of a nationality, and the way to solve this search for a nationality was not to become liberal and to ignore it, as Herzl and Nordau had ignored it…

… not to talk merely about the Hebrew literature and Hebrew language, which was, after all, very narrow, but rather to find a nationality for the Jews, to find a nationalism, and a nationalism which was anti-establishment, ethical, and, in a sense, even revolutionary.

And he found it in the Jewish blood, by which he meant in this kind of Hasidic tradition. For how else are you going to tie together the Jewish people scattered, assimilated - worse - liberals? In another sense, Buber took up an idea which was current in Europe in general, the difference between the “pays politique” and the “pays réel”…

… the difference between the political country and the real country. The political country, what was that? The Jewish establishment, as it was, for others, the establishment of the nation. The pays réel, this was the true community of the people. That is what he took up. The Hasidim were for him the pays réel. That must be clear.

Now, with all of this, Buber then founded a myth, a myth - as all nationalism are based on myths - a myth. And the fact that it has nothing to do with history is totally unimportant in this context. His Speeches on Judaism also stress something else.

They stress indeed that Jews must cohede [sic], must become a cohesive force, not only through their blood, through the Hasidim, but they must become a cohesive force also through their translation of this into a vitalism. The influence of Nietzsche is here as in general, it is there, an influence of vitalism and activism.

And that activism must be directed against what? Not against any outside or inside enemy, but that activism must be directed, must be directed, toward a renewal of the Jewish people, through its dialogue with God.

Now, what did Buber mean, “dialogue with God”? The Speeches on Judaism were given in Prague. They were given to very skeptical young Jews whose relationship to God was tenuous at best. What Buber meant by the relationship to God is that you can only come to God through your people, and that, on the other hand, a relationship to God, is necessary…

… and that the way you come in a relationship to God through your people is, in the way of the Hasidim, anti-establishment, anti-rabbinical, joyful, and, I must add, somewhat vague. But because you come to a relationship to God, it means that you come to a relationship with all of humanity.

Therefore, nationalism cannot be aggressive. Therefore, Buber was degraded by nationalists. And therefore, in the end, Buber hated the state of Israel as it appeared. Because the end is humanity. There is no room for any aggressive nationalism, for, in the end, all people are the same.

All people are the same, therefore all people must live side by side as the same. Finally, this is interwoven always with a kind of mysticism, a mysticism that is difficult to grasp, but I will illustrate it with a personal story.

The last time I saw Buber, he said to me, “Don’t you hate to teach at a university which stands on stolen land?” And I said, “Well, that is certainly a point that I myself do not take lightly at all. But the question is, Professor Buber, why do you stay in Israel if you hate it that much?”

And his answer was, very typical, something I am trying to make clear to you, “because eventually, the word will come from--” Oh, I always forget, is it the Mount Scopus or Mount Olives? Something. “The word—“

“The word will come in Jerusalem, and there are, in every nation, groups of righteous who band together. These groups of righteous are not definable, but eventually they will coalesce. And the only reason that I am here is that eventually peace will come from Jerusalem.”

Now these ideas mesh very closely with ideas current in Germany in the World War and after, ideas also, in fact, adopted by many socialists, namely, the union of the righteous. We can say that while so many Germans dreamt of a secret Germany - the poet Stefan George, of a secret Germany - Buber dreamt of a secret Israel…

... a secret Israel which would fulfill the union with God, and the union with God would be a union the peace. These ideas of Buber are really the ideas which, among many Jewish youths - somebody just mentioned the [WORDCHECK – H?] for example, (bell rings) - were of the greatest importance.

What is today, Wednesday? Don’t forgot, Friday on the Bund, then Monday we proceed. And I want to see Mr.

Lecture #23

Lecture #23 - 46:04 - Lecture 23 Audio (mp3)
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Guest Lecturer on the Bund.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 23 – April 23, 1971 – Guest Lecture
There is also quite a lot of material, which, of course, will be presented even in a very limited context at our lecture today. I'd like to concentrate on one issue, which I hope will be able to focus some of your attention to the very specific historical context out of which the only experiment that a mass, for the time, Jewish movement, in the 19th and 20th century, grew.

Now, what I would like to understand, the Bund, as it occurs around the turn of the century in the Czarist Empire – which at that time included most of Poland – and as it later developed in post-1918 Poland. It helps to bear in mind a number of factors regarding the development of Jewish as well as gentile parallel society in Eastern Europe.

And for the purpose of my presentation, I'd like to compare some aspects of the development of the Jewish community within the context of central Europe, mainly Germany, and, on the other hand, the development of the Jewish community in Eastern Europe, mainly the Polish and Russian context.

I realize from the short talk I had with George Mosse what you have been doing in the German and Central European context, and I'd like bring those two things together. Now, the development of a secular Jewish community in Germany, as well as Eastern Europe, is in a way a part of the general modernization and secularization of general society.

And the extremely interesting fact is that the nature of general society – German on one hand and Polish and Russian on the other hand – determined very much the mode in which the Jewish secular society developed and got highly integrated into or disintegrated from the general society.

Now, German society in the mid-19th century. Now, generally, very much aware of a lack of political unification in Germany and, certainly, that German history of the 19th century is a history of a striving for political unification. German history and German society still was particularly a society who ethnic and political borders, if not politically fixed, were at least culturally fixed.  

The Germans, though they lacked a political unity, did have political entities which were German, like Russia, Bavaria, both of them, the Hapsburgian Empire – which was German and it is elite. And the question of an ethnic determination and a reminder of a national culture and the fight against external national pressure was never very important in the German history.

But more important in the German history of the 19th century was a quest for the political unification of the various existing German kingdoms, principalities, and duchies and so on. Now, this is happening in Germany, the development of a bourgeois, civil, relatively liberal society, not exactly on an Anglo-Saxon, individualistic model, but still within the general dream, if we may say so, of the Enlightenment.

And, therefore, Jewish integration into that society was by a way of a secularization of the Jewish religious establishment and an integration of Jews as individuals into German society. Therefore what you have, in Jewish society, is a very specific, un-bourgeois model of Jewish-German society.

The typical 19th century Jewish person who is integrated was being integrated to German society is being integrated via the bourgeois civil society, capitalist middle-class ethos, and professional and economic background. And if so many of those Jews ended in the left wing...

 … they ended, as, you know, as Marx and so many others in the later 19th century, they became socialists and they became revolutionaries out of the general middle-class moyen of the society. None of the German socialists, none of the German socialist leaders of Jewish background had any proletarian background.

They were mostly if not university graduates then certainly coming from professional families like Lassalle, Heine, and so many others. Now if we focus on modernization and secularization in Eastern Europe was a very different one. There, the question was not just a question of political unification of existing national unities...

… but the question was the emergence and re-emergence of a new national consciousness. This was the case in Poland. This was the case later in Romania, this was the case in the Western Russian border provinces, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and so on. The Jews who are living in the Pale of Settlement – in this huge chunk of territory Eastern Poland, Western Russian, Ukrainia, Ukraine, and so on...

… were a very different kettle of fish from the German Jews. First of all, there was the question of of- numbers. Around 1850, Jews in Germany did not number more than 200,000 out of a total population of 40 million. Now, taken together in the Russian Empire, out of about 150 million, there were, at the end of the 19th century, about 5 million, which is a completely different order of magnitude.

But even this does not give an adequate understanding of the real position of the Jews in Eastern European society because those 5-6 million – depends if you start counting the whole – those Jewish communities were concentrated in areas where, in some cases, the Jews made up up to 60-70% of the population.

What is very typical of the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe and in some cities is the fact that, while the villagers were hoping to take in Lithuanian, Russian, Ukrainian, White Russian, Moldavian, what have you –  the market towns and the provincial towns had a very high proportion of Jewish, of the Jewish population. In some cases, as I said, the town was 70-80% Jewish.

In some larger towns, it was lower, but sometimes, to the tune of – like in places like Vilna or Warsaw – to the tune of 30-50%. Now, this is an order of magnitude where order of integration comes into it. It is not rare for, in a place like Warsaw, where 35% of the population is Jewish, the problem of the integration of this Jewish population into the general and modernized society is very different from the problem posed in Berlin...

… where, out of half a million population, you have 20-30,000 Jews. It's a completely different problem. It's not a problem of an individual making it, not hardly, mind you, but making it as a Jew. But, as an individual, in a society where the Jews are half percent or 1% of the population, where individual mobility to higher economic activity or education is possible, though there would be all kinds of opposition to it in the fundamentalist views of the population at this point.

 Whereas, in a situation like Eastern Europe, where you do have in many diverse urban population a situation where Jews make up 30-50%, there, the question of individual assimilation, individual integration, isn't possible at all. There, the question of emancipation is not one of individuals but of the Jews as community. It's not as if the individual Jews can or cannot be integrated into society.

There, in Vilna and Brest-Litovsk and Warsaw, there, the question is, are the Jews as a community going to be integrated into society? So the question becomes one which determines a very different a course of Jewish and German history. In Germany, a question of individual integration, in East Europe, a question of community or, if you wish, ethnic integration.

Therefore, what appeared among the German Jews in the West was a very high degree of individual success stories and a very high degree of penetration of Jews, well as individuals, into artistic creation, into the press – not into the civil service and the teaching professions because they were closed to people who are not Jewish [sic?]  – and so on and so forth.

Now, whereas, in the East, you have a question of the creation of Jewish organizations or the in creation of some kind of integration. This, by the way, also – and I just want to say one word about it – created a very different aspect of the question of conversion. Here, the question of integration is one of individual integration. Individual conversion may have been, and may be to many German Jews, a solution to the problem of social integration.

Whereas, in East Europe, while there were cases of individual conversion, there were very few, and certainly the question of individual conversion couldn't have been considered in the same way as that of one- or two-hundred thousand German Jews. I mean, it's inconceivable that if, in Warsaw, the 300,000 Jews had converted, all of a sudden the Jewish problem would disappear. Because they did see the community as community and not as individuals.

Now, on top of that, the economic place of the Jews in Eastern Europe, due to those very different geographic structures, was very different. There were earlier in Germany where Jews were living – mainly in Hessen and Alsace – where Jews were living in the countryside as peddlers, middlemen, and so on.

Mostly, they were living here as individual people of commerce in the cities, and they were of a middle-class background. In Eastern Europe, a transformation, an economic transformation of the 19th century, created, for the first time, a massive Jewish proletariat. And, in order to understand the creation of this massive Jewish proletariat, one word about the economic role of the Jew in Eastern Europe.

Now, early 19th century Eastern European society was still a predominately agricultural society, which I wouldn't say really, feudal, but certainly quasi-feudal. It is within this quasi-feudal agricultural society where Jews were the economic middlemen, not only the small peddlers, the sometimes tax collectors for the noble men, heading the collection for music and mass, and spirits, [INAUDIBLE].

But they were, mainly, in the position of being the link between the peasantry and the sometimes absentee land-owning population. This [INAUDIBLE] measure created a tremendous stress on the position of the Jew, vis-à-vis the lower class, because, in Eastern Europe, what this ambiguous position of the Jew as a middleman between the peasantry and the upper-classes created was a lower-class anti-Semitism which had a social root.

Now, I'm not going to go into the roots of anti-Semitism now, but I just want to add one thing. Certainly general Christian anti-Jewish stereotypes and anti-Jewish feelings – which were the same in Germany probably as they were in Eastern Europe – in the Eastern European situation, the energy and antagonism between the lower-class gentile and the Jew had a specific economic aspect.

To the Ukrainian and Ukrainian peasant, the Jew was the local oppressor. Now this poor Jew might have been himself oppressed by the situation in which he was dependent between the peasantry and the aristocracy without being able to move either way. But to the immediate peasant, who never met [INAUDIBLE] – if I may use the Polish simile –

… who never met the local Polish landlord who was sitting in Warsaw or Saint Petersburg or Moscow, he did meet the Jewish tax collector – something which those of you are aware of latent anti-Semitism in this country would recognize as a problem which has, as you wish, some tragic dimensions because of the element of the persecution.

Now, this extremely important lower-class social and economic anti-Semitism, was, of course, [WORDCHECK] of the normal [WORDCHECK], which is a Greek Orthodox Church, and, indeed, Catholic Church in Poland were far stronger than they were in some of them more enlightened than the Protestant churches in Germany. But the problem was the clergy.

Now, in the early 19th century, this traditional agricultural structure of the East European village underwent tremendous transformation. I don't want to go into that. What happened in Eastern Europe in the 19th century is the same that happened in France and England and later in Germany in the 17th, 18th, 19th century.

The one that I mention of the village level modernization of agricultural practices as well as land ownership. In Russia in 1860s, with liberation of the serfs, and the independent peasant community, not anymore dependent as serfs on the landlord, had emerged. And, as consequence of that, the traditional middleman position of the Jew, individual and insecure as it was, was really eliminated.

And between 1840 and 1880, you had a mass migration of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the hinterland, from the small market towns, from the villages and so on, into the provincial capitals, Kiev, Cracow, Moscow and so on, into which – Warsaw – into which they were allowed to migrate, because, into the great metropolises of Russia, St. Petersburg and Moscow, Jews were not allowed to move.

So you had again a process of urbanization under pressure, the problem of a disruption of the traditional Jewish way of life in the village, and you had the creation, in the city, of a particular situation of urbanization and the beginning of a capitalist system with the Jews being the most important element of the proletariat. In cities like Vilna and Warsaw, where – and was long and other places not that long ago –

… where you had the beginning of a textile industry that’s sometimes owned by Jewish merchants, textile merchants that went into production and so on – [INAUDIBLE] – most of the workers came from-- Most of the workers were Jewish. Because in the Polish and Ukrainian and Russian village, the liberation of the serfs did not create a landed power but [INAUDIBLE] finally on the peasantry.

So the general process of urbanization in Eastern Europe in the 19th century was one  – I don't want to go into the statistics – where the percentage of Jewish being urbanized and proletarianized was far higher than the percentage of non-Jews, Russians, Poles and so on, that were urbanized. Because the Jewish were the first to be urbanized, they were the first to be squeezed out of the traditional village society.

And here you had the massive situation of the emergence of the Jewish proletariat and their very unusual conditions, conditions that were not to be repeated anywhere after WWI. Now, to this, has to be added the national aspect to which I will examine.

If you look at the centers at which the Bund had a socialist, Marxist, but Jewish national workers' organization started, you find two very important factors. First of all, you find that the creation of the Bund, of the Jewish Socialist or Social Democratic Revolutionary Workers' Party, antedate the question of a general Russian Socialist Party.

There was a Jewish Socialist Party in Russia two years before the first conference of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' party. We started it because the number of the Jews and the articulation of socialist concepts among the Jews – because of the demographics I was trying to point out – was so bad.

Secondly, if you look at the geographic distribution of the places where the Jewish workers started organizing Jewish working-class groups that ultimately ended up with the creation of the [WORDCHECK] of the Bund, you find that it is specifically in places where a number of cultures were clashing that the Jews became more aware of their specific ethnic nature.

The typical city, of course, is Vilna. Vilna is the city which, for centuries, was a bone of contention between the Poles and the Lithuanians, at that time it was part of the Russian Empire. The population of Vilna at the end of the 19th century was about 20% Polish and 20% Lithuanian and 40% Jewish, and the rest German and Russian.

This is Russian city, but here you've got a city about which the Poles and the Lithuanians fought, and the largest ethnic group is Jewish, something which of course didn't make the Jews very much loved, by either the Lithuanians or all the Poles, especially if Vilna had historical, had historical in the significance both for the Polish both and for Lithuanian national.

It was in this city where three or four cultures clashed that the specific nature of the Jewish working class became far more, far more important. Because if you go into cities like Odessa or cities like Cracow, or Kiev, where there was a Jewish working classes population but this ethnic population, the non-Jewish population, was more homogeneous, the– It wasn't that much...

… which, between, say, a Russian or Ukrainian majority and the Jewish minority, as it would be in a city that is fairly ethnically consciously divided between the Poles, Russians and Lithuanians and the Jews were somewhere in the middle. Something different, on a different level-- By the way, [INAUDIBLE], another multi-ethnic city, became very important in Jewish history...

…. but not only for the proletariat but for the middle class. There was Prague where again the Jews were in the middle between a German culture and a Czech culture, and this flouting of Jewish culture and Jewish [INAUDIBLE], you know, people like Kafka, Bergman and later, in a way, Martin Buber, Hugo Bergman and others is also, as a consequence of this clash, a different culture.

Now, one of the reasons for the establishment of a separate Jewish working class organization was the-- There were two reasons. First of all, the higher degree of the articulation about the class position among the Jewish workers, compared to those of the Lithuanian or Polish workers. The clash of-- The class-consciousness of the Jewish workers was far more developed, say, around 1901, than it compared with that of non-Jewish workers.

The reason for that is very simple. The non-Jewish workers were usually peasants removed half a generation from the peasant origin. The degree of literacy was almost non-existent. As you have in so many early, industrialized societies, the link of this proletariat with this peasant background, its affiliation with the church and with conservative element, is very strong.

It takes some time until you really transform peasants into a [WORDCHECK] of fully conscious working class. Now, in the case of the Jewish members of this new Jewish proletariat, they were also removed half a generation from a country background, but not from a peasant background, and the degree of literacy was far higher than that of Lithuanian and Polish peasants.

For this reason, their ability to grasp some of the slogans of socialism, to read the literature, to be sort of uplifted by the kind of literature and promise of socialism, communism, and the degree of vision of the emancipation of men was far more heightened than that of the Polish, Lithuanian, and Russian working-class people.

If you go – this is the sort of a very quantitative analysis and it's, in a way, boring –  but if you look around between 18- 1900 and 1901, the Russian Revolution, at the numbers of socialist pamphlets published in Yiddish and all in local languages, both Jewish and such, and the number of pamphlets published in Polish, Lithuanian and Russian...

…. you find that the number of Jewish pamphlets, books, information, and so on far out-shape those of the various non-Jewish populations. Now, a second element for the emergence of separate Jewish organizations, the [WORDCHECK], that of the objective factor of the higher degree of literacy, education and class-consciousness, was, in fact, that the non-Jewish working class population...

… being peasants one generation removed from their peasant origin, were amongst the more stronger anti-Semitic groups in Eastern European society. If you go into Eastern European society around the turn of the last century you'll find that, among the middle classes, the gentile middle-classes, and the aristocracy, something of the universalistic views of the Enlightenment give rise to a more benevolent, if not out-right philo-Semitic attitude toward the Jews.

That's something in which the peasantry did not partake. And the peasantry – and who carry quite a number of mainly Russian pamphlets on that – the peasant, who, in his village, identifies the Jew as the leader, oppressor, bloodsucker, tax collector, spirit, monopolist, and so on, carried into the city, becoming a proletariat, what does he find? Same Jew as a competitor for jobs.

Same Jew as a competitor – and sometimes a more enterprising one, because of some kind of commercial activity and background and a high degree of literacy – for the scarcity of a very tough early industrial-- for the benefits, the class benefits for the very tough early industrial system. So the traditional social – and I'm talking for the moment of the Christian anti-Jewish element –

… but the traditional social anti-Semitism of the Eastern European lower classes became, very early, translated into a working class anti-Semitism which caused many working class organizations, non-Jewish working-class organizations, not willing to accept Jews as members in the trade unions and trade organizations and so on.

So the emergence of a Jewish separate working class organization in the form of the Bund was really a-- was a point of meeting between the inability of Jews to be accepted into general organizations and a very strong feeling of community among Jews in this society. Now, this again brings up one of the differences of the position of the modernized, secularized Jew in Eastern Europe as compared to Germany.

Take a German Jew, even one from the Orthodox [INAUDIBLE] around 1820. He speaks a dialect, a Jewish dialect, which is related into Eastern Europe Yiddish certainly. Now suppose this fellow, who is Orthodox, becomes sort of secularized. He even- he dons a Western dress, he trains himself to speak the correct German rather than the Yiddish jargon...

… he is trying, he doesn't have to convert or he doesn't convert in this particular case. He is minimizing and he can very easily minimize his contact with Jewish people. It is mainly economically to be moving into another section of town. He will try to give his children some type of Jewish education, not really a [WORDCHECK] Sunday school but something very much like that.

He will go to the synagogue, [INAUDIBLE], on the high holy days, but besides that, he could live very much like the gentile neighbor, and, in his own eyes at least, he would have thought that he had really made it on par with his gentile neighbor, never mind what his gentile neighbor thinks about that.

That's something which isn't really open to the Jewish person in the highly ethnically conscious Eastern European place. You see the German Jew always was a German Jew. He was speaking a kind of German. Nobody ever thought that he was anything but. Might have been a Jew, a light Jew, but certainly he was German. There was no doubt about that.

When it comes to the question of the Jew in Vilna-- Now, he speaks Yiddish, he doesn't know Polish, he never went-- He doesn't-- His jargon is not a jargon of Polish or a jargon of Lithuanian. It's a jargon-- or of German. So he speaks Yiddish. The Poles don't consider him Polish, and, if he's going to start learning Polish, as so many of them did....

… the alien element there would be very strong. It he starts, if he starts, learning Lithuanian. This is again a problem because he is a Jew living in Lithuania, but he certainly wasn't considered Lithuanian the same way a German Jew wasn't considered German for example. So what happens among the Jews in the Eastern European place is a problem.

As a Jew assimilated to the non-Jewish culture, they assimilate with an elite culture and not with the low one, either German culture – which is Kultur for all of East Europe. Besides it was the Germans who fought the Russians – or he assimilated with Russian culture, which is of course the culture of the elite.

So the Jew in Vilna, who lives among Poles and among Lithuanians, or the Jew in Cracow who lives among Lithuanians or White Russians, if he becomes integrated and assimilated and sort of secularized, the kind of culture he will adopt will be usually the German or the Russian, which makes the developed, assimilated Jew even more alien than he was before as far as the local population was concerned.

And frankly speaking, I mean, if you shed your actually Jewish, provincial background, why become Lithuanian? Lithuanians were trying at that time to assimilate to some kind of culture beyond their own very limited peasant background. It's different with the Poles, but the Poles again, on one hand, were extremely nationalistic...

… and Polish nationalism was very based on Catholicism, which again excluded the Jew. But the point is that which way you are moving, your Yiddish language, your background, you're living in a community which you'll find the circle or the center of the German community creates a very different aspect, a very different aspect than that of the Western, especially the German Jew...

… to whom the question of which culture to assimilate to, into to, or integrate with, very, very-- It's clear. There is no problem. And to which the individual way is open, which is closed to the highly concentrated Jewish ethnic communities living in a very out of fashion nationality.

Now, one of the problems of the Bund – and it's a large one, certainly large in fact – that when a general, when a general organization of a working class nation in Russia was established, the National Social Democratic Workers' Party, the Bund became affiliated with it. But it is here that its problems really started.

Because what the Bund – as, by the way, the strongest group among the groups that set up the Russian Social Democratic Party – wanted was an autonomy. It said that the problems of the Jewish working class are, to a certain degree, the same from that of the others...

… said propaganda, literature, education to the Jewish working class will have to be conducted in Yiddish, and there's no reason why one [INAUDIBLE] of the Jews the Russian language any more than Lithuanian or the Polish. The Jewish proletariat had a language – which is, by the way, this is where it all started – had a [WORDCHECK] language.

There was a very strong feeling among working class Jews that Yiddish is, by being a jargon, as being looked down by the intelligentsia-- You know, nice German-speaking Jews don't speak with those foul accents of Yiddish. So this class element in the usage of Yiddish became a very strong symbol of class identification. So why not accept this language which is a living and convenient language...

… as one of the languages in which propaganda, education, what have you, would have to be done? The Russian Social Democratic party, especially under-- under the influence of Lenin, but also others, found here a very difficult nut to crack. Because, on the one hand, Lenin – and Lenin had a lot of problems with the Bund, in the first decade of the century – on one hand, Lenin, as all the other non-Jewish leaders of the Russian Social Democratic Party...  

… they were very much aware of the revolutionary potential and centrality of the Jewish working class, that, at this time, comprised something like 20 to 30%  of the organized working-class in Russia, and certainly, one of the elements – which, as I said earlier – more conscious and articulate than others.

On the other hand, the question of the separate Jewish organization within the universal working class movement in Russia created tremendous problems vis-à-vis other nationalities, vis-à-vis the engrained anti-Semitism of so many of the peasant proletarians of the non-Jewish organizations.

And now it has to be said very openly that Lenin and other leaders of the Russian Social Democratic Party tries to do their best to combat this working class anti-Semitism using David's famous pamphlet and the famous saying that anti-Semitism of the socialist movement is wrong.

I mean, Lenin is 100% okay with the question of anti-Semitism, but, on the other hand, on the other hand, didn't want to stick his neck out. He wasn't going to, you know, he wasn't going to ask for trouble by having, as he put it, very easily, by having the Russian Social Democratic Party dominated not by people who are individually Jews –

… he didn't care about that at all – but by people who were organized in a separate Jewish community. And it is at that moment that many of the leaders of the Bund – one of them being Martov, who later became one of the leaders of the Mensheviks – left the Bund, and left the specific affiliation with the Bund in order to become [INAUDIBLE] members of the great Social Democratic Party.

And it was at that moment that many-- If you look at so many of the Russian revolutionaries, as well, of Jewish background many of them, many of them really started as Bundists. Some of them remained later when the rupture between the Russian Social Democratic Party and the Bund occurred.

Some remained the Bund, but many – and some of the more articulate and important ones like Martov and others – left the Bund and became members later on of the general party. By the way, the number of Jews in the various factions of the Russian Social Democratic Party is also very interesting.

I mean, there is, around 1917, of course, there's a very strong impression that many of the leaders of the Bolshevik party were Jewish, and this was, of course, true, especially when, in the civil war, the Soviets and the Bolsheviks became [INAUDIBLE] for trying to save the Jews from the problem of the Ukraine and the right-wing White Army.

But in terms of the elites of the parties, the number of Jews in the Menshevik party, the percentage of Jews in the leadership of the Menshevik party, was far higher than the number of Jews in the leadership of the Bolshevik party. One of the possible reasons of this again is that some of the Jacobean elitist element that were banished under Lenin...

… go back to Russian social revolutionary, late 1890, populist Narodnik idea. And the Narodik idea is something where, in the Narodnik movement, you have hardly any Jews, because the Narodnik movement, after all, is basing itself on the peasantry and so on. You have some crazy Jews there but usually you wont find many Jews.

[INAUDIBLE] to Russian people and so on who, if they knew something about the Jewish population at that moment, very, very complementary. So you have part of the Jewish element in the Menshevik party, but it is more traditionally Social Democratic, orthodox Marxist, a part of this [WORDCHECK], and so on.

It's far more stronger [sic] than in the Bolshevik party. Now, I think it is here that one has to start with the history of the Bund. That's what I'm not going to do. What I'm trying to do is to give some of the aspects of what I consider to be a very unique and interesting moment [INAUDIBLE].

[INAUDIBLE] another aspect of this that it is the emergence of the Bund as a separate Jewish working-class organization that gave rise, ideologically and organizationally, to the emergence of a Zionist labor movement, socialist movement, in Eastern Europe, because so many of the Zionists led the movement in Eastern Europe.

The socialist Zionists, like [INAUDIBLE] and others had started in Russia around 1905, really started their way as socialists in the Bund, and, when they got rejected by the general working-class movement, moved to a more explicit national position, transcending the Bund. So what ultimately happened to the Bund in terms of leadership...

… was perhaps very indicative of the tragedy of this attempt to create, without a territorial basis, a specific Jewish national and proletarian party. When, ultimately, the Russian general party did not accept the Bund as an autonomous group, what happened was that a part of the members rejected the specific Jewish affiliation...

… and ended up in the general stream of the Russian Social Democratic movement, being Menshevik or Bolshevik. And another group rejected, then, the halfway house or the half measure of the Bund and started a conscious, [WORDCHECK] type of [WORDCHECK] Jewish, socialist working-class movement...

… and the Bund was left now with a very large membership because of the huge numbers of Jewish proletariat, but, in a way, the Bund was left in the middle with the leadership, and the elite, and the intellectual leadership splitting up into, on the one hand, the direction of the general labor movement and, of course, in the 1917 Revolution, and the other one therefore started socialism.

Now, if there are any questions, I think you have five minutes for that.

Lecture #24

Lecture #24 - 43:46 - Lecture 24 Audio (mp3)
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Lecture Summary: (Transcript Below)

Mosse apologizes for the fragmentation of the course through guest lectures and promises to come back to the Bund. He then continues with the origins of Zionism. Buber sought a religious synthesis that would come through us, through our faculty to spiritualize actual events in the world. Through that spiritualization, we gain a relationship with God. The Jews are a true community linked by a dialogue with God. This means the realization of a just social order. The problem with Buber’s idea is simple: how much of this synthesis is a transference of German nationalism to fin-de-siecle Jewish concerns? (That is why Herzberg omitted Buber from collection of essays the students are reading). But Mosse thinks that neither Herzl nor Nordau advocated a parochial nationalism, and that Weizman, Ahad Ha’am, and others thought that the Jewish state must be a bi-national state. For Buber as well as other Zionists, the uniqueness of Israel was its relationship to God, and God was the God of everyone. But Buber’s was the anti-liberal alternative for young Jews.

Neither Ahad Ha’am nor Buber were Socialists. The Socialist influence on Zionism did not come from the West; Socialism made headway in the East, both in the anti-Zionist Bund and among the Zionists. The problem for Socialists was why should a Jew (who as a Jew should be abolished anyway) settle in Palestine? But Zionist Socialism looked to the Habsburg Empire, to Galicia. The Austrian Empire was the model for Socialist Zionists. Borochov and Syrkin argued that any proletariat needed a territory of its own in order to unfold the class struggle. Socialists countered this with the argument that the Jews were not a nation and would vanish anyway, and therefore did not need a territory.

For the the Poale Zion, the most important Socialist-Zionist political party (in spite of the fact that it was filled with rationalizations) the issue of settlement was bound to defeat orthodox Marxists. The reality of settlement was not a Marxist socialist ideal. The Kibbutzim movement that founded the first Kibbutz, Degania, in 1909, had pragmatic as well as ideological reasons for being a Socialist society. Security concerns and the dangers of disease, the idea of working with your hands - all this was important for making a socialist community.

The important theorist of this movement was Aaron David Gordon. More important than Buber, he remembered that the Jews were a people in quest of a nationality. His book “Salvation Through Work” referred to Tolstoy. For Gordon, money was the essence of alienation. Only working with your hands could reestablish contact with nature. While Marx spoke of the “idiocy of the countryside”, Gordon saw nature as a cure for alienation. Condemning Marxism as mechanical and artificial, he looked for a renewal of life through the cosmic forces of nature. But it is a particular nature: the Jew’s own nature in Palestine. Work transformed one from a coffee house to a muscle Jew. Such a land-working people would respect all other peoples, leading to a brotherly coexistence with the Arabs. These ideas became vital to the Kibbutz movement. It is clear that here again, the class struggle is beside the point; in the foreground stands labor and nature. For many anti-liberal, anti-mechanical nationalists, the idea of the organic was important at the end of the 19th century.

The revolt against Herzl and Nordau, whom Mosse calls “the father Jahn and Treitschke of Zionism,” was led by Gordon and Buber. Yet the problem that arose from the beginning was the question of what was Jewish about their ideas. How Jewish could a heritage be, once one rejected religion? Many of their ideas was simply transference of German and Russian ideas. By 1914, Zionism was an alternative, but not a very important one. The war and, together with it, the growth of anti-Semitism after 1918 boosted Zionism, but it remained a minority affair; the real alternatives were still socialist and nationalist. Zionists were in the minority in both East and West. Since Zionism arose from the anti-Semitism of the 1880s, World War I deepened the effect, especially in Germany, because it brought the Pale of Settlement under German occupation. This reinforced for many what they had read in the “ghetto literature” of the 19th century. The Jews of Poland were denied national autonomy. Within Germany, there was one consequential event: the ministry of war ordered a count of Jews at the front, the “Judenzaehlung” (Jewish census). This isolated Jewish soldiers from the camaraderie of the German soldiers and produced many Zionists, since the retreat of anti-Semitism from 1900 on had proved only temporary.

1918 deepened the anti-Semitic trend. The revolution that followed the war seemed to be dominated by Jews, and, Mosse says, it was indeed a revolution by Jews who were ethical socialists. These Jews did not think of themselves as Jews, though everybody else did. Jews and revolution were now closely bound up in the public mind, so that in the 1920s, the German Communist Party again and again prided itself of having no Jews in leading positions. The Jews that led the revolutions were the very people Mosse had mentioned before, those who chose the Socialist alternative. Yet Europe between the wars provided their only moment in the sun.

Mosse announces that he will now proceed topically: Socialism and the Jews, then Fascism and the Jews, then liberalism and the Jews, the Jewish establishment, then the Jews themselves. Should there remain any time left, Mosse will address the Holocaust. But the Holocaust will not be central; according to Mosse, it was not a discontinuation of Jewish history, but it gave us the state of Israel. The Holocaust transformed the Jewish attitude toward Jewish survival.

Lecture Transcript:

Lecture 24 - April 26, 1971
… and to that, of course, I will come back. I’m sorry if these Friday excursions fragment you a little, but I have to take people when I can get them, obviously. And so that, though this is fragmented, I will come back to the Bund eventually, and it will all fall in place - that’s what we’re paid to do, to make it all fall in place - and it will all fall in place, like a little jigsaw puzzle. But first we have to examine the pieces.

Now, last time I talked to you - and this I must now continue - I talked to you about the origins of Zionism, fitting it quite correctly, historically, as one of the alternatives eventually for the young generation of the 1860s and ‘70s which grew up then, but only one of the alternatives. Don’t let’s magnify it.

Hitler gave the Jews their state eventually, so don’t let’s magnify the business. It was a minority business. But I’ve been talking about the origins, and now I’ve been talking this last about Buber and his influence…

… and Buber, who gave a religious synthesis, such as was needed at the time, especially after Nordau and in opposition to Nordau and Herzl. You remember that this synthesis, which I talked about, was a synthesis of spirituality which comes to us through our special faculty that we possess to create a kind of mythos, as he calls it…

… making the concept - as you will read in the Crisis book on German thought - that is to say, our faculty to spiritualize actual events of the world, or, as he would put it, in another way, to [WORDHCECK - suss?] the actual events of the world into our souls, to spiritualize those.

And through that spiritualization, we have a constant relationship with God. This relationship with God reflects itself then in the people, in the Volk, not in the establishment, in the Volk. The Volk is typified by something vibrant, alive and vital, Buber’s Hasidim, not Mr. [NAMECHECK – Orbach?]’s Hasidim.

This is the community. For Buber therefore, the Jews are the true community, linked, if you like, by a spiritual dialogue with God. And this dialogue makes everything for a Jew part of the spirituality of the Volk, the spirituality of his people. And this means, in turn, the realization of a just social order.

These were the contents, briefly, of Buber’s famous lectures from 18- 1910, ’11, which he gave to a youth group in Prague, lectures on Judaism which are one of the most important documents in the entire Zionist movement - untranslated of course. (laughter).

The problem here is simple. The problem which I come to here unfortunately is how much this synthesis is a transference of German nationalism of the fin de siècle to Jewish concerns. This problem cannot be easily solved. I just mention it, rather than solving it. It is obviously the reason why Herzberg omits Buber, for all intents and purposes, from his collection.

Just as he falsifies Herzl, he omits Buber, and he omits Buber except for something very unimportant, in the collection altogether. But the way in which it is not the transference of German nationalism is equally important. For, as I told you before, none of the opponents of Herzl and Nordau, no more than Herzl and Nordau themselves, advocated a parochial nationalism…

… even for those who eventually triumphed in the Zionist movement, who wanted to have a spiritual  impetus, for whom Buber became, in a way, a normative. The end is always a kind of humanity. There was no doubt among these people - were they Weizmann or Ahad Ha’am or Buber or later on David Gordon, whom I’m coming to in a minute - that all people have equal rights.

There was no doubt in their mind, from a spiritual aspect, any more than there was a doubt in Herzl and Nordau from a liberal aspect, that the Jewish state must be a bi-national state, that the Jewish state must be a state in which Arabs and Jews have equal rights. That, they never doubted.

And there is in classical Zionism no warrant for any imperialism at all. Indeed, for Buber - and not for Buber only - the uniqueness of Israel was indeed the relationship of the Volk to God, and that relationship was bound to be one of justice and peace and universalism. Because, as Buber put it so simply, God is the God of everyone and not just the God of one nation or the God of another nation.

God is, after all, the God in everyone. Now if we look at Buber’s thought, we can say that Buber became one of the most influential theoreticians of the Jewish state, only second to another theoretician to whom I shall come in a minute, Gordon.

Gordon and Buber were, I think, the most important ones who opposed, both of them, in a certain- in every sense, to the liberalism of Herzl and Nordau. But you can also see how the thought like Buber’s was an anti-liberal alternative to the young Jews of the turn of the century, just as the anti-liberal alternative of socialism or German nationalism, any nationalism which I talked about before.

What about socialism itself? It is clear from what I have said that neither Ahad Ha’am nor Buber were socialists in the Marxist sense. Clearly also, the socialist impetus in Zionism did not come from the West. If Jews were socialists in the West, they became the kind of socialists I’ve discussed earlier, the kind of ethical socialists who joined the Socialist Party.

They didn’t become Zionists. For them, being in the classical Marxist tradition, in this regard, nationalism and socialism were obviously incompatible. That must be clear. But in Eastern Europe, after all, matters were different, in the Pale, in that kind of Jewish society.

There, socialism made headway, both in the Bund - which, as you remember, was anti-Zionist, indeed, and the biggest socialist organization - and even among the Zionists. The problem of socialism and Zionism is, I think, an obvious problem, and it was for all these people in Eastern Europe.

Why should a socialist want to settle as a Jew on Jewish land? In socialist theory, that just doesn’t make sense. Then it is no longer a socialist theory, it is an internationalism, a humanism. But why a Jew, as a Jew - something to be abolished anyway, as you will see, with the end of capitalism - should settle on Jewish land, that is a difficult problem.

It was especially grave as the socialist theories in the Austrian Empire denied Jewish nationality, and Zionist socialists always looked to the Austrian Empire. They said, “Look at the Czechs, look at the Bohemians, look at the Herzegovinians. All of these- or the Poles - all of these had socialists movements and autonomy, all of that.”

The socialists want them to have autonomy. They want to be socialist Poles, socialist Czechs and autonomous people. But, unfortunately, the Austrian socialists denied Jewish nationality, even if they informed others, a point to which I shall return later and not now.

And the grounds that they denied it, which concern us immediately, is that the Jews had no territory, and, of course, the Jewish question would vanish with capitalism. Therefore in socialist thought, while you must push for the autonomy of Poles, Hungarians, and Czechs, Jews have no such claim to autonomy. And that, for Jewish socialism, was pretty depressing.

For the Austrian Empire was really, in a way, the model for Zionists of this nature. How, then, could they justify this odd combination between Zionism and socialism? Here you will read in Herzberg, the two leading people of this time, Borochov and Syrkin, the two leading people, Borochov and Syrkin…

… and I think you will agree that their argument is tortured in these extreme, and I think rather splendidly. The essence of their argument is this, that the proletariat, any proletariat, needs a territory of its own in order to impose the class struggle, a place in which to work.

Now the answer to that is, from a socialist point of view, is really rather simple. You say the proletariat needs a territory of its own to unfold a class struggle, okay. If you are a nation like the Czechs or the Poles or the Bolivians, that makes sense, but why do the Jews need it? The Jews are not a nation. The Jews will vanish in the class struggle, so why do the Jews need it?

That is, of course, the answer, and, from a socialist point of view, a perfectly proper answer. As a matter of fact, all this contortion was unnecessary. For Zionist purposes, this was rather stillborn, especially as far as the Palestinian reality was concerned. But always there will be a Marxist impetus in diaspora Zionism.

For we shall have to come back to the most important political party which had this impetus, and to which I shall come back, in another connection, in some detail, if you like, the Jewish Proletarian Party, the Poale Zion - the other way around - Zion, the Jewish Proletarian Party. That will always exist.

But the reality of settlement was another matter that was bound to defeat Orthodox Marxism and indeed did defeat it. The Poale Zion of Borochov and Syrkin was a diaspora party. In the reality of Palestine, it was never very effective.

But, in as much as it is a diaspora party, it is important, as it is a Jewish Proletarian Party, it is important, in spite of the fact that you will find it - Zionist rationalization, I think, rather conformist.  The kind of socialism which was to be of lasting influence in Palestine was not be Marxist at all.

The kind of influence which did withstand the reality of settlement was not a Marxist socialism, for that is intimately connected with the founding and the growth of the Kibbutzim, obviously, the Kibbutzim movement, founded in 1909, with Degania, the first Kibbutzim. And, indeed, if you look at the Kibbutzim movement from the beginning…

… it had pragmatic as well as ideological reasons for being, if you like, a socialist society, pragmatic reasons: pioneering, security, the dangers of disease, malaria and swamps. All this was important for making a socialist community.

The ideology of a proletarian revolution was, under these circumstances, and proved to be so, somewhat ridiculous. But what was not at all ridiculous was socialism which did not come from Marx, a socialism with a dulcet nature, the soil, the ideal of working with your hands, your own hands.

The inspirer of this was not Borochov or Syrkin - actually rather recent rediscovery by so-called Jewish radicals - the important one here were not [INAUDIBLE], but instead Aaron David Gordon. And I must say that Gordon’s importance is probably greater than Buber’s, but is, in a way, on this side of a Zionist ideology, of a spiritualism against the liberalism of Herzl and Nordau…

… of incalculable importance and consequence, just as I would say the same thing for Buber’s thought. Remember always, as I have said before, that the Jews were a people in quest of a nationality. You’ve studied emancipation, you’ve studied all this. You know that religious Orthodoxy, even in Eastern Europe - you know that from Mr. [NAMECHECK – Orbach?] - was going on. So what was left?

The Jews were a people in search of a nationality. You must always put that in context. And while Herzl and Nordau said, “We give you liberalism. The liberalism that’s dead in Europe, you can play out in Palestine.” The others had to find a spirituality, and it couldn’t be a religious one, ‘cause that was pretty dead. So you have Buber’s and so you have Gordon, and so you have Borochov and all the others.

For Gordon, socialism came, of course, not from Marx but from Tolstoy. It was nothing to do with Marxian socialism. His idea is best put in the title of his most famous work, Salvation - the famous book - Salvation through Work. What did he mean by “Salvation through Work” -

… which refers itself to Tolstoy and not to Marx? He did not mean what Herzl meant, not the free enterprise which played such a large part in the Jewish state. For Gordon condemned money as the essence of un-freedom, the essence of alienation. The way back from un-freedom, the way back from alienation is to work with your hands.

Why? Because only work with your hands reestablishes an organic relationship to nature. Now, contrast that with Marx’s famous saying about the “idiocy of the countryside.” Poor Karl Marx in London had about as much feeling for nature as-- I don’t know what. He had none whatsoever. He was a complete urbanite, Karl Marx. He had no feeling for nature.

He went to Eastbourne, came to the Eastbourne - that shows petit bourgeois taste in the first place - he went to Eastbourne not to contemplate the ocean as you and I might go to Eastbourne - we wouldn’t go to Eastbourne - but he went to Eastbourne because of the healthy air. It was when Marx went to nature, it was a health measure.

When Gordon talks about nature, it is an end to alienation, to work with your hands. ‘Cause the true socialism is an organic socialism. Work with your hands, making the Jew part of nature, renewed you to what he calls a natural life, work which is not alienating.

He condemns Marxism, of course, as mechanical, artificial, and - he realizes what I’ve just said - that is, of necessity, opposed to Jewish nationalism, of necessity opposed, as Gordon quite rightly saw. What is needed instead is a renewal of life through the cosmic forces of nature. And this renewal works on two ways.

It works to renew you as a person through your work with your hands -  it transforms you from a coffeehouse Jew to an agricultural Jew and all that that meant, and I’ve already told you as far as the stereotype is concerned - but secondly, it is work with your hands, in a peculiar nature, your nature, your landscape, the nature of Palestine.

Therefore, by becoming an organic man, you become an organic Jew, because that work, that total organic, is done in your landscape. sure enough again, Tolstoy but not Tolstoy only. The idea of a reform of life, Lebensreform, you will read in the Crisis book. That is to say, reform through nature was a great slogan in the industrialization at the end of the century.

All nationalism adopted it in one way or another. Secondly, the idea that this renewal is through your landscape all nationalism adopted as well. The German youth movement, about which you will read, tries to get that renewal from its landscape, the Germanic landscape, which Gordon tried to get, in a way, from the landscape of Palestine.

But there is one difference. Gordon was with it a socialist in the Tolstoyian sense. That renewal must be based on manual labor. And manual labor excludes money, money which is evil, artificial, unorganic [sic]. Therefore, it must exclude labor [sic], that must be quite clear.

Working on the land. Such a people, working on the land, will moreover - here we’re back with my theme - respect all other people. It humanizes you, and especially, he believed, for brotherly coexistence with the Arab. Like all these people, he was what you would call a bi-nationalist. It humanizes you.

Now, in the rest of Europe, here again, a difference, as you will read in the Crisis book, here again a difference. There, this organic relation to nature tended to become aggressive, tended to become a parochial nationalism. But Gordon was saved from that by the Tolstoyan element, by the element of his peculiar kind of humanitary socialism.

It were these ideas which became vital in the Kibbutz movement, this kind of nationalism, this kind of socialism. Now it is clear that, here again, the class struggle is beside the point. The class struggle is beside the point. In the foreground stands the soil and salvation through work, that must be clear as well.

Moreover, this kind of Zionism, which Gordon typified, was a real alterative, for many young people, anti-liberal, anti-mechanical. It had this idea of organic that was so important to many of the youth revolting against bourgeois society towards the end of the 19th century.

Gordon’s influence, like Buber’s, will vanish with the time, but I still heard a wonderful Gordon speech by the late speaker of the Knesset - and he got an honorary degree at the Hebrew University - Katz gave a wonderful Gordonist speech about the importance of working with your hands, the importance of the organic relationship with nature and all of that sort of thing which becomes very important.

To summarize, then, we must say, as far as the origins of Zionism is concerned, first of all, the revolt against Herzl and Nordau had to triumph, and it did triumph. You will read in Herzberg many alternatives, but the two most important people to give Zionism, early Zionism, its ideology, its nationalism - the Father Jahn and Treitschke if you like, of Israel nationalism -

… were Buber on the one hand and Gordon on the other. And you can see their difference with Father Jahn and Treitschke very obviously. Marxist socialism was in many ways stillborn - though, in the end, as you will see and we shall come back to that - it found a home, a home not so much in a Proletarian Jewish party but in a Social Democratic Jewish party -

… if you can still call that Marxist, very doubtful - but in a Social Democratic Jewish party, the [WORDCHECK], and I shall come back to that. But that doesn’t relate itself to Borochov and Syrkin. The real radicalism at the beginning of Zionism was Gordon, and to a certain case, Buber. That was the real radicalism at the beginning of the Zionist movement.

The problems involved are two, always you must keep in mind. One is, how much is Jewish or not? Very important question, you know? Just as blacks today, also in search of a nationality. Only Jews were a hundred years before that in search of a nationality. But it’s very similar to blacks, what I’m telling you today, I told you.

What is it? How Jewish can the heritage be once you reject Jewish religion? How Jewish can it be? A very difficult question. Therefore, the question is how much was it transference of German nationality ideas, or Russian Tolstoyan ideas, and the answer of course must be, there was a great deal of that in it…

… a great deal of that in it, from beginning to the end, as far as Zionism is concerned, a great deal. By the outbreak of the First World War, by 1914, Zionism then was an alternative, but not a very important one. What gave Zionism a shot in the arm was the war - come to that in a minute -

… and, of course, above all, the Balfour Declaration of 1918 - which gave Zionism a shot in the arm, as it were - and together with this, the growth of anti-Semitism after 1918. But we must never lose perspective. This was a minority movement, among respectable Jews especially.

I remind you again the typical story of the Scholem family, Mr. Scholem a leading Berlin notable in the Berlin Jewish community who had no luck with his children - that’s not new, that you have no luck with your children - who had no luck. He had two fine sons, one became a communist and the other a Zionist, and they were both expelled from the home.

For the Scholems, there was no difference between them. There is, however-- Only the Zionist one survived. The communist one was murdered by Stalin eventually. But two sons, communist and Zionist, by the notables regarded as equally [INAUDIBLE], if I can put it that way. It really was.

So you mustn’t forget that this is a minority thing. The real alternatives were still the socialist alternative and the nationalist alternative. But the Belfour Declaration, and after 1918, the increase of anti-Semitism, these give Zionism a shot in the arm, but it was a minority in Eastern Europe as much as in Western Europe.

As we now stand, in 1914, we have laid the foundation to what is to come. Let me summarize a little more, for we are now at a kind of watershed. The 19th century had seen, then, Jewish emancipation, the rise of modern anti-Semitism and its development.

At the same time as modern anti-Semitism developed, the alternatives open to a new generation can be discerned, and we have discussed them: complete assimilation, socialism, Zionism, the new movements which arose out of the anti-Semitic waves of the ‘80s and ‘90s, especially with Herzl and Nordau. Remember that was the case, rather than any deep spiritual impulse.

What about the war? The war deepened these effects, and especially in Germany. For it brought the East European Pale of Settlement under German occupation. What did that mean, that it brought the East European Pale of Jewish Settlement under German occupation? It meant a shock to German Jews who first came into contact with it as part of the German army in Poland.

It reinforced for many what they had already read in the ghetto literature of the 19th century. And, moreover, the German authorities rejected the request of the Jews for national autonomy. Germany, in the war, was preoccupied with trying to resurrect a new Polish state…

… and so they refused national autonomy to the Jews in Poland, with dire consequence for the Jews. For, eventually, they were left at the mercy of a resurrected Polish state. But, here too, Jewish autonomy was rejected. There is, therefore, a double effect, a double effect.

First of all, the ghetto came to the notice of more people than ever before. Second of all, national autonomy was refused. Millions of Jews were eventually delivered up to the Poles without protection of minority status. The Belfour Declaration, remember, only applied to Palestine.

But within Germany, there was an event which was to have very grave consequences, more individual than general, and that was during the war. This event was that, in 1916, the ministry of war ordered a count of Jews who were at the Front, that is a statistic made of Jews at the Front, the famous Judenzählung, or counting of Jews at the Front.

This was traumatic for many German Jews. For the Jewish solider, this isolated him even in battle from the camaraderie of his fellow soldiers. It produced many leading Zionists, Ernst Simon is one of them, who through this count came to Zionism. But why this statistic?

Partly, no doubt, to counter the propaganda that Jews were not fighting but making profits at home. Partly it was undoubtedly a matter of rather good will, to counter anti-Semitic propaganda that Jews were making profits while other people were fighting. And indeed, the Central Organization of German Jews, that central organism, used it in order to praise Jewish patriotism.

But in reality, it had a quite different effect in the field at the Front. It seemed it was taken by officers as an order that Jews were to be sent into battle on a, if you like, preferred schedule, that Jews were to be evicted from all non-combat positions and sent into combat.

Now, obviously, this famous Jewish statistic - in the middle of a war, when Jews were fighting presumably equally at the Front - can show us that, with all of this, anti-Semitism was not only dead, but it was indeed reviving, and that the retreat of anti-Semitism, from 1900 on, which I mentioned earlier, was merely and proved merely a temporary retreat from anti-Semitism, proved merely to be something temporary.

For 1918 deepened this trend. It is not only that one finds anti-Semitism in the common war effort, but it seemed also to many, and rightly, that the revolution which followed the war was dominated by Jews, that that series of revolutions for 1918 to 1920 was Jew-dominated, as indeed it was.

Kurt Eisner and the Bavarian Revolution, mostly Jews in that. The Hungarian revolution, the [WORDCHECK] and the whole of the police bureau were Jews to a man. In fact, it was said that Hebrew was the language of Hungarian communism, not totally - not at all - without reason. You must remember, this will be very important.

And, indeed, in all of these revolutions of 1918, 1920, the Jews seemed to dominate it, indeed to produce them, and indeed, these revolutions, with the exception of Hungary, were revolutions which indeed were produced, spontaneously almost, by people who were ethical socialists.

This was the one time that these Jews, whom I talked about before, saw the political light of day. It was Rosa Luxemburg in Berlin, after all. This is Kurt Eisner in Toller, in Bavaria. These were all alternate socialisms that I have tried to explain to you before. That is what they all came out of, as it were.

And this was their one idea of the sum, but remember the impression that made on the gentile community. These Jews did not think of themselves of Jews, not at all. But still, they obviously were and everybody knew it.

The result was, in 1918, of course, a strengthened anti-Semitic reaction. Jews and revolution were now both, closely bound up in the public mind, that must be clear. And from the beginning, from 1918 on, Jews and revolution were quite rightly, in the public mind, quite rightly, bound up in the public mind, quite rightly.

And this will continue so, though again, as you will see, Jews will not be a part of the established party. The Communist Party in Germany rightly prided itself that it had no Jews in its central committee. It made that statement again and again throughout the ‘20s. And the Social Democrats, though they never made such a statement, it was nevertheless true in practice. I shall come back to that next time.

So that what you have is that it was true that a result of the war was not only strengthening Zionism - which it undoubtedly did with the Belfour Declaration - strengthening anti-Semitism through the Pale of Eastern Europe being drawn in still more in the West - it is important and we come to it later -

… and not just to strength it, anti-Semitism again, through the revolutions, after the war - in which Jews played a leading and sometimes, I must say, a sole part - it also brings us back again to the fact that the Jews who made these revolutions were indeed precisely the young people who’d gone in for alternatives I have mentioned in the 1860s and ’70s, the founders of an ethical socialism.

Eisner in Bavaria was an ethical socialist - I mentioned him last time - Toller in a sense even, Rosa Luxemburg, all of these. It was their one time in the sun. They were never going to have a time in the sun again, unfortunately, never to have a time in the sun again.

When we come now to what we must call Europe between the wars, that is Europe in 1918 to 1939, to Europe between the wars, how will we proceed? And I must now be quite clear about that. I’m trying to give you the minimum confusion. How will we proceed? We will now proceed topically.

What I meant by that is, we shall first talk, starting next time, about Jews and - I’m sorry, the other way around - about socialism and the Jews. And for that, we shall have to go back a minute to Trotsky before the war. For that, I shall have to go back to before the war. You must talk about socialism and the Jews.

Then we must talk, obviously, about fascism and the Jews, not such a simple thing as you sometimes think, that Jews were fascists in quite a large number, not just Mussolini and Hitler. So you have, therefore, fascism and the Jews. Then, liberalism and the Jews, which will deal with the Jewish establishment, of which you will heard, at least already, by Mr. Weinberg’s French Jewish establishment.

Then we must come to the Jews themselves, finally. In all of this, we must stress the general movement’s attitude to the Jews. When I’m through with that, I want to come to the Jews themselves again. By that time, it’ll be May - (Mosse giggles, laughter) - and if we still have time, we shall come then to Nationalism Socialism and the Holocaust.

But let me say two things about that right now, ‘cause I know some of you are very disappointed that I’m not going to do much with the Holocaust or National Socialism. Nationalism Socialism, you can come and hear more in History 120. But with the Holocaust-- and I don’t do much with the Holocaust. There is a reason here.

One is a reason of time. The other reason is, getting back on my part, partly educational. Do not be blinded by the Holocaust. That awful event, as we see it now, was not so much a discontinuity of Jewish history, except in one effect: it gave us the state of Israel, no doubt about that.

It gave us the physical state of Israel, not the mental state of Israel so much as the physical state of Israel. That I recognize. But what I must make clear to you who are disappointed, that all the attitudes that we are discussing and have discussed, they go on. Surely every attitude that we’ve taken up historically in this class, you’ll find today.

And when we come to socialism at some length, that leads of course into Soviet anti-Semitism directly, which is going out. And, indeed, when we come to fascism and liberalism, this is much more important for our point of view than the fact of the Holocaust or the organization of the Holocaust.

So I don’t want you to be blinded by this awful event. Historically, for an overview of the course of Jewish history, awful though it was, its effects happen to be limited, especially in a cultural-ideological thought and cultural-ideological realm. It is true that some draw the wrong analogies from it - like Jewish Defense League -

… the wrong analogies - and even the state of Israel - draw the wrong analogies from it, now and then, therefore I want to say a few things about the Holocaust. But what is really crucial for Jewish history are the things that we are hitting in this this course, because that will form the attitude, if you like, of the Jewish survival.

In other words, that will go on, as a matter of fact, on to form attitudes as you know today. So that is why I am putting the emphasis really on the times before 1933 - ‘cause that’s when everything is set, and it won’t change that much - before ’33. And all that I’m going to deal with then, in the Holocaust, eventually, are Jewish attitudes.

And I will say something about it, about the very vexed and partly very mistaken, the