The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
Anti-Masonry and Anti-Semitism
More than once in the course of the last two centuries, anti-Masonry has been fused with an older hatred, hatred of the Jews, that is to say anti-Semitism. Probably, the irrational nature of both phobias facilitates their juxtaposition. Be that as it may, from the middle of the 19th Century, we are witnessing an increasing wave of simultaneously anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic propaganda. Possibly, the paradigmatic work of this class of "literature" is an opuscule entitled "The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion" sometimes also known as "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
This is one of the most well-known literary falsifications in history, based on plagiarism and fraud from the very beginning of its gestation. Nevertheless, this swindle has captivated the imagination of many people who are sensible in other respects, and it has been transformed into the "source of indispensable information" in the baggage of all the anti-Semites and anti-Masons.
In this work, we will examine the history of this fraud, will demonstrate its absolute falsification and we will take a look at the lamentable consequences that it has had in modern history, as much of the point of view of the Jewish people, as of Freemasonry.
Sources of information
In the preparation of this work, I depended mainly on the works of three investigators: Professor Jose Antonio Ferrer Benimeli, who in his book "The Judeo-Masonic-Communist Conspiracy"1 dedicates a long chapter to the subject that occupies us (pp. 135-210); Norman Cohn, author of "Justification for Genocide"2, where it makes a history of the antecedents of the Protocols, its evolution and its consequences; and Herman Bernstein, author of "The truth on the 'Protocols of Zion'"3, where it not only relates the history of the mystification, but reproduces the complete text of the book of Joly (pp. 75-258), the text of the news articles that appeared in the London Times (pp. 259-264), the complete text of the Protocols (pp. 295-359), and other authentic documents.
Also, I consulted other works to clarify or to add certain details, as the book "Must men hate?" of the North-American lawyer Sigmund Livingston4, who was the first President of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai-B'rith, and who in his book adds an interesting personal testimony (pp. 39-49) to the meticulous relation presented by the authors mentioned before. All these works are included in detail in the notes at the end of this work.
The connection of anti-Masonry and anti-Semitism does not begin with the Protocols. Already on the occasion of the Dreyfus affair, that began in 1894 and continued intermittently until 1906, the French press and also that of other countries5 connected the Judaism of Dreyfus with the Freemasonry of many of his more loyal defenders. Still earlier, Father Agustin Barruel in his "Memory to serve the History of Jacobinism,"6 blamed Freemasonry (confusing it with the Illuminati of Bavaria) of being instrumental of the French Revolution (and also of being the heirs of the Templars). Although Barruel did not find historical data to allow him to extend his attack including the Jews (between the famous French revolutionaries there were no Jews), other later authors were not so punctilious, and did not have scruples in inventing what did not exist in reality.
Numerous books published before and after the Protocols maintain that Judaism is at the origin of Freemasonry. We will mention Monsignor Leon Meurin, Archbishop of Port-Louis, Mauritius, who published in 1893 a book entitled "La Franc-Maçonnerie, Synagogue de Satan." The author says on page 260: "Everything in Freemasonry is fundamentally Jewish, exclusively Jewish, enthusiastically Jewish, from the beginning to the end."7
The historical truth, that can be found in any serious work on the history of Freemasonry, is that lodges were exclusively Christian in their origin, and only with the creation of the Grand Lodge of London (1717) began the process of de-Christianization, that culminated in 1813. At the time of the union of the two rival Grand Lodges of England, when the United Grand Lodge of England and Wales was created and rituals were again revised, eliminating from them the last remaining Christian symbolisms, the institution transformed into the universal vocation that we now know.
It is worthwhile, as a side commentary, to remember that until today some Grand Lodges (especially in the Scandinavian countries that practice the Swedish Rite) do not allow to admit people who do not profess the Christian religion.
Furthermore, even in those countries where Jews and members of other religions are welcome in Masonic lodges, other Masonic bodies are closed before them, exclusively reserved to Christian Masons. As examples (there are many others), I will mention the "high degrees" of the York rite, such as the Red Cross of Constantine, the Knights of Malta and the Knights Templar.
Some Supreme Councils also consider that the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is an exclusively Christian rite, and do not accept the entrance of Jews or members of other religions (for instance the Supreme Councils of England, Scotland, Ireland and Australia). Their selectivity reaches a point, that the candidates must declare to believe not only in the Christian faith, but also in the Holy Trinity (!).
The Protocols appear
The Protocols appeared for the first time in 1905, in Tsarskoe Selo, a summer resort near Saint Petersburg, Russia (still imperial Russia, under the government of the czar Nicholas II). The author, indicated in the first editions, was a person who was successively lawyer, judge, and Greek-Orthodox monk called Sergei Alexandrovich Nilus (1862-1930).
Originally, the Protocols appeared as a simple appendix in the second edition of a Nilus' book entitled "Velikoe v Malom" (The Great thing in the Small thing). As it was common at that time, the book also bears a long subtitle, that in this case is quite dreadful: "The Antichrist as a near political possibility." This subtitle refers to the appendix just mentioned.
In the diverse editions that followed (1911, 1912, 1917 and 1919, always in Russian), Nilus offers different explanations for how the manuscript of the Protocols had arrived at his hands, stressing that he only had made the translation into Russian. Other editions and translations, published by other people, related different stories on the origin of the document.
One of the most frequent "added explanations" to the Protocols is that they are the "secret minutes" of the First Zionist Congress held in Basel in 1897, summoned by Dr. Theodor Herzl.
The argument developed in the document is that the Jews conspire to control all the governments of the world, to destroy Christian civilization and to become masters of the Earth. The Protocols provide details on the methods that would be used to reach these objectives. Freemasonry would be the tool used by the "Elders of Zion" to deceive humanity and soon to dominate it.
Let us begin by making clear that an organization like the "Wise of Zion" or the "Elders of Zion" never existed. Nevertheless, and without a shred of evidence to prove it, it has been stubbornly maintained that these Protocols were the minutes of this fictitious organization.
Let us examine the form of the Protocols. The first thing that draws the attention of the objective reader is that this text does not keep any similarity to any protocol that was read. A protocol is minutes, that is to say, the relation of what happened in a meeting. It mentions a place, the date, the hour in which the meeting starts, who presides over it, generally the names of those who are present and of those who excused their absence, and briefly the description of the debates, who intervened and--sometimes in very summarized form--what was said and what resolutions were approved. Finally, there is a time of closing of the meeting, and the signatures of those who guarantee the veracity of the minutes. None of these exists in the Protocols which we are dealing with. The only "signature" is simply a line that says "Signed by the representatives of Zion of Degree 33."
Furthermore, in these "protocols" one listens to only one single voice. These are monologues or lectures, harangues we could say, without making any attempt to make it appear as a debate or the intervention of several people.
It is a sad commentary on the credulity or the malevolence of those readers who have been ready to accept a text of this nature like real "protocols."
Going into the content, the absurdity of a supposed criminal plan prepared by a group that pretends to control the mass media of the entire world ... but is incapable of preventing the repeated publication of its plans is laughable. May I quote what Leopoldo Lugones writes, in the introduction to the Spanish edition of the commentary of Father Pierre Charles, S.J., on the Protocols:8
"It is enough, in effect, having an average discernment ... to understand that this is a pamphlet (The Protocols) as malignant as imbecile."
The gestation of the Protocols
The book of Nilus was not first in proclaiming the existence of a Jewish conspiracy for world-wide domination. It was preceded by several authors, especially one German called Hermann Goedsche, who in 1868 wrote a novel under the pseudonym "Sir John Retcliffe," entitled "Biarritz." One of the chapters of this fiction book describes a macabre scene in the Jewish cemetery of Prague, where once every one hundred years, representatives of the 12 tribes of Israel meet with the demon in person. (Goedsche apparently ignored that 10 of the 12 tribes "were lost" in the mists of history over two thousand five hundred years back). The representatives of the Jewish tribes inform Satan of the progress of their plans and ask for his infernal aid for the continuation of their criminal projects.
This anti-Semitic fantasy was quickly reproduced as a pamphlet, not as fiction, but as a document whose authenticity was guaranteed by the "famous English nobleman, Lord Retcliffe." This, as we just saw, was only the pseudonym of the German writer Goedsche. The first translation was done in Saint Petersburg in 1872, published under the title "In the Jewish Cemetery of the Czech Prague (the Jews sovereigns of the World)." In 1876, a new publication appeared in Moscow. In 1880, a second edition and new printings appeared in Odessa and Prague.9
In France, the writer Gougenot des Mousseaux also made use of this subject in his book "Le Juif, le judaïsme et la judaïsation des peuples chrétiens" (Paris, 1869), where he accuses the Jewish "Kabbalists" of trying to seize the world.
His follower, Father Chabauty, curate of San Andrés in Mirebeau, in Poitou, published in 1881 a volume of 600 pages entitled "Les Francs-Maçons et les Juifs: Sixième Age de l'Eglise d'après l'Apocalypse," in which he maintained that Satan, by means of the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy, was preparing the way for the Jewish Antichrist and the domination of the world by Jews.10
Approximately at the same time, in the 1880's, in Italy, Pope Leo XIII was engaged in a ferocious fight against Italian Freemasonry. Although he himself did not descend to make anti-Semitic propaganda, he did allow others to do it. The Jesuit fathers associated with the publication of the journal "Civiltá Cattolica," particularly considered perfectly legitimate to discredit Freemasonry presenting it as part of a Jewish world-wide conspiracy. Two of these, Reverend Fathers, R. Ballerini and F.S. Rondina, lead a campaign that lasted until the beginning of the 1890's.11
Finally, we must mention that the first appearance of a text very similar to the Protocols, but somewhat abbreviated, appeared in the magazine "Znamya" (the Flag) of Saint Petersburg between August 26 and September 7 of of 1903 (that is to say, preceding by two years the publication of Nilus).
"Znamya" was published by a well-known anti-Semite, P.A. Krushevan, one of whose associates was G.V. Butmi, of whom we will hear more further on.
Krushevan maintained that the text he published was the translation of a document written originally in France, and that the translator had entitled it "Minutes of the Universal World-wide Meeting of Masons and the Elders of Zion."12
The immediate objective of the Protocols
The Protocols were used for the first time in Russia to foment hatred towards Jews. Its immediate objective was to undermine the political influence and the position of Count Witte, at that time the most important minister of the czarist government.13 Witte was a person of great culture and amplitude of views, confidant of the czar, who yearned to introduce an enlightened and modern imperial policy. Because the wife of Witte was of Jewish origin, the generalized opinion was that he favored the Jews of Russia, who had undergone persecutions and discrimination during centuries. The political opponents of Witte, headed by Grand Duchess Isabel, did everything possible to discredit him before the leading class and the royal family. One of his more ferocious enemies was George V. Butmi de Katzman, whose name appears to be connected with the publication of the Protocols.
A direct testimony
On January 8 of 1935, a Catholic priest called Father Gleb E. Werchobsky, was interviewed in Chicago by the writer Sigmund Livingston, who had already published an article denouncing the falsification of the Protocols.14 Father Werchobsky wanted to hand to Livingston a certain information, unknown until then, based on his own personal experience.
Father Werchobsky confirmed the veracity of his report to Livingston in a sworn affidavit. Later, Livingston published the complete details of this interview in his book "Must Men Hate?" as already mentioned.
Father Werchobsky had been born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on October 23 of 1888. He had been ordered in Constantinopolis (today Istanbul) on July 13 of 1914. Later he emigrated to the United States, where he stayed in several places until arriving in Chicago in 1929. There, he continued to fulfill his pastoral duties within the frame of the Catholic Church. His father was Eugene I. Werchobsky and his mother Maria C. von Stein. George Butmi de Katzman, an old lieutenant in the Imperial Guard of Russia, was a friend of the family.
Immediately after the Dreyfus affair in France, Butmi traveled to Paris. When he returned to Saint Petersburg, he brought several manuscripts that he requested to translate into Russian. The translation was made by the wife of Butmi and the mother of Father Werchobsky. This was the translation that soon appeared under the name "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." In his sworn declaration, Father Werchobsky declared that the "Protocols" were a fraud and a falsification, and that he made his declaration (to Livingston) for the sake of the truth. Also, he added that he knew personally several of the people involved in the publication of the document, including a Sergei F. Sharapoff, director of the weekly magazine "Russky Trud" ("The Russian Truth"), a publication particularly antagonistic to Count Witte.
The group ferociously fought against Count Witte's attempt to introduce in Russia the gold standard, to attract foreign investments. Witte inclined to form an alliance with France, whereas their opponents wanted to ally themselves with Germany. It was well known that Count Witte wanted to improve the conditions of life of the Jews in Russia, and that he proposed to cancel certain repressive laws. The publication of the "Protocols" was used to undermine his influence on the czar and the royal family.
Mr. Lucien Wolf, in his article "The Trivialities of Nilus," summarized the explanations offered by Nilus on the origin of the document published as the "Protocols":15
"According to an explanation, he obtained the Protocols from a late friend, who had received them from a woman, who also passed away, and who stole them from one of the most influential and high leaders of Freemasonry ... . According to the other, there was not an intermediary woman, and no robbery to a French Freemason, but that all the matter was executed by the late friend himself, who made a search in the Central offices of the Society of Zion in France ... . In the third enlarged edition of his work, published in 1911, ... he tells us that the documents did not arrive from France, but from Switzerland, that were not Judeo-Masonic, but Zionist, and that these were the secret protocols of the Zionist Congress held in Basel in 1897."
From all these testimonies, the most likely conclusion is that the Protocols in their French version were prepared by the agents of the Okrana in Paris, who gave the manuscript to Butmi and he then gave it to Nilus, whose status as a monk would give more prestige to the publication.
Although the illustrated Russian leaders did not really believe in the veracity of the Protocols, it was useful to them in order to foment hatred of the Jews.
Something on the Zionist Congress of Basel
Since some writers insist on attributing the Protocols to the first Zionist Congress, summoned by Dr. Theodor Herzl, it is not out of place to give some explanations about this congress, its true object, and its resolutions, all of which is amply documented in historical form.
The Zionist movement founded by Herzl and a few supporters, was simply a call to the Jewish people to return to its ancestral fatherland, Judea (erroneously called Palestine by the Romans), which by the end of the 19th Century still was part of the Ottoman Empire. The main objective was to solve the "Jewish problem" of the European countries, especially, by means of the emigration of the Jews. In Palestine, the Jews would return to work in agriculture, building and other activities that had been forbidden to them during hundreds of years in their places of dispersion. The word "Zionism" was coined by the journalist Nathan Birnbaum, who used it in his magazine Autoemancipation on April 1st, 1890.
The first world-wide Zionist Congress took place in the Swiss city of Basel, on the days 29, 30 and 31 of August of 1897. The centenary of the Congress was celebrated not long ago. The deliberations took place at the Municipal Casino of Basel in six sessions, beginning the first at 9 a.m. and the second at 3 p.m. in each of the three days that the Congress lasted. The languages used were Hebrew and German, and the minutes of the Congress (a volume of several hundreds of pages) was also published in these two languages.
Among the delegates to the Congress came delegates from most of the European countries (but not from Spain or Portugal). From the Arab countries, only 10 delegates arrived from Algeria. None from countries like Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, despite the fact that great and old Jewish communities existed there. From America, only four delegates arrived from the United States, and there was no representative from the rest of the American countries.
The true resolutions of the First Zionist Congress were the creation of an organism (the World Zionist Organization) to put into practice the Zionist program, the creation of a National Fund to buy land in Palestine, to dry marshes, to construct roads and to plant forests, and the decision to continue to meet in periodic form in Zionist Congresses that would constitute the maximum authority of the Zionist movement.
The truth is revealed
In 1921, a journalist of the Times newspaper of London, Philip Graves, who was then in Constantinopolis (Istanbul), found a worn copy of a French book entitled "Dialogues in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, or the Policy of Machiavelli in the 19th Century." The author was anonymous ("By a Contemporary") and the printing was done in the press of A. Mertens and Sons in Brussels, in 1864. The book--as the staff members of the Times quickly discovered--had been written in 1858 by Maurice Joly, a French lawyer. In his novel, in the form of a dialogue beyond the grave between Montesquieu and Machiavelli, Joly attacked Napoleon III. The result was that Joly was locked up in prison for 15 months.
Graves immediately realized the extraordinary similarity between these Dialogues and the Protocols of Nilus. There were whole paragraphs that had been copied literally, mutatis mutandis by the change between dialogue and monologue.
Graves had made a discovery of a greatest importance. In three long articles,16 published in the Times of London on the 16, 17 and 18 of August of 1921, Graves revealed the truth about the falsification of the Protocols. Graves demonstrated that Nilus had simply plagiarized the Dialogues of Joly, changing the original and adding some material (partly copied from Goedsche) to serve his intentions.
Many revelations with respect to the fraudulent document were published later. In 1933, a paragraph-by-paragraph comparison of the texts of Joly and Nilus was published, demonstrating their similarity or identity. Another comparison appears in the appendix of "Questions and answers with respect to the Jews," published by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai-B'rith. In the book of Professor Ferrer Benimeli, already mentioned before, there is a comparison of select paragraphs, that occupies 8 pages (pp. 157-164), demonstrating the parallelism between both texts.
Although the Catholic Church has not been generally characterized by its affection either towards Masons or towards Jews, it is a remarkable fact that one of the revelations of the absolute falsification of the Protocols was written by the R.P. Pierre Charles, S.J., published in the "Nouvelle Revue Théologique" of Belgium in January of 1938.17 Kindly take note of the date, we are in Europe on the eve of World War II, the totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Franco (and in smaller degree, Mussolini) has triggered a violent anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic campaign. All those who followed the development of these events realized that war was imminent, and that the German military power would squash its neighbors, including Belgium.
Father Charles must have been a man of an exceptional courage, integrity and love of his fellow men, to dare publishing at that time his rebuttal of the Protocols. Also his superiors, who authorized the publication, displayed a sense of justice and humanity very scarce in the Europe of those years.
Although within the frame of this article it is impossible to make a meticulous comparison between the original French of Joly and the fraudulent version of Nilus, I will give a few select paragraphs to give an idea of what we are speaking about. Those interested can consult the work of Professor Ferrer Benimeli18 or some of the works mentioned at the beginning, where many paragraphs are mentioned showing the parallelism between both works.
Dialogue of Joly, p. 75:
I will organize, for example, immense financial monopolies, reserves of the public wealth, on which the fate of all private wealth will depend so closely, that they will be absorbed with the credit of the State the day after every political catastrophe. You are an economist, Montesquieu; weigh the value of this combination.
Protocols of Nilus, p. 42:
Very soon we will organize enormous monopolies--colossal reserves of wealth--in which the wealth of the Christians, even the great ones, will depend on them in such a way, that they will be absorbed with the credit of the States the day after a political catastrophe. Gentlemen here present who are economists, consider the importance of this combination.
Dialogue of Joly, p. 77:
It is necessary to reach that the State has only proletarians, some millionaires and soldiers.
Protocols of Nilus, p.45:
It is necessary that the States have only proletarians, some millionaires ... and soldiers.
Dialogue of Joly, p. 159:
Sila returned deified, nobody touched a hair of his head.
Protocols of Nilus, p. 93:
Sila was deified (nobody touched a hair of the head of Sila).
It is necessary to indicate that sometimes Nilus is mistaken, loses the thread and does not know who is speaking, mixing the contradictory judgments of both characters in the work of Joly.
Altogether, there are more than 160 passages in the Protocols, corresponding to a forty percent of the total text, that are evidently based on passages in Joly. In nine of the chapters, the copied text reaches to more than half.
A small grotesque detail is the Latin quotation--the only one in the Protocols: Per me reges regnant (By me the kings reign). This is a direct quotation of the book of Proverbs, 8, 15, in its Catholic translation (the Vulgata). It is inconceivable that in the Basel Congress, where many if all the participants spoke or understood Hebrew, they would use a Catholic translation of the Bible, instead of the Hebrew original: Bi Melakhim Yimlekhu.
The attack on Freemasonry contained in the work of Nilus (which, of course, does not appear in Joly's book) is shown in many paragraphs of the Protocols. For example, in Protocol No. 11: "This is what has served as the basis for our organization of a SECRET FREEMASONRY UNKNOWN BY THIS "GENTILE" CATTLE, AND WHOSE OBJECTIVES NOT EVEN THEY SUSPECT, ATTRACTED BY US TO THE THEATRICAL ARMY OF MASONIC LODGES TO THROW SAND IN THE EYES OF ITS MEMBERS."
Protocol No. 15 is perhaps most interesting from the Masonic point of view, containing sentences such as "we will create and multiply free Masonic lodges [evidently Joly did not understand the name Freemason] in all the countries of the world ... . We will put all these lodges under a central administration known only to us ... . Between the members of these lodges will be almost all the international and national police agents."
We have here all the elements of the conspiracy theories, and it is not worth the trouble to try to discuss with someone who is ready to believe these nonsenses, making him see, for example, the independence kept jealously by Grand Lodges world-wide, or that the secret police of the totalitarian regimes count themselves among the most rabid enemies of Freemasonry.
Another first-hand testimony
The courts have passed judgment more than once that the Protocols are a falsification and a plagiarism. For example, in May of 1935, a Swiss judge in Bern, judging a person accused of distributing seditious literature, declared: "I consider that the Protocols are a falsification, a plagiarism and a triviality." Nevertheless, the Nazi propaganda made energetic use of the Protocols to justify its racist policies and its reprinting and distribution are some of the main occupations of the anti-Semitic circles anywhere in the world, until today.
Declaring at that trial, Count A.M. du Chayla provided important information on Sergei Nilus, whom he knew closely. During World War I, Count du Chayla commanded a squadron of Cossacks of the Don, and was decorated for heroism. In 1909, he spent nine months in the monastery of Optina Poustina, where he was a neighbor of Nilus, with whom he developed a close friendship. Nilus spoke to him frequently about the Protocols and showed him the original document and his commentaries that he was preparing.
"Nilus presented to Chayla a certain Mme. K, who had been his lover in Paris, and after Nilus married, she came to live with him and his wife. Mrs. Nilus was a woman of weak character and did not raise objections to this arrangement. Nilus told du Chayla that, while they were in Paris, Mrs. K. had known a certain General Ratchkovsky, who had given him the manuscript of the Protocols, which according to him had been removed from the secret archives of the Freemasons."19
General Ratchkovsky was one of the agents of the Okrana, the infamous secret police of czarist Russia.
After the plagiarism was revealed, some anti-Semites invented an "explanation" for the identity between texts. According to them, Joly was in fact a baptized Jew whose true name was Moses Joel and who, naturally, was a communist and had been shot in 1871. That Joel must have known of the Jewish-Masonic plan of world conquest, and therefore it was natural that his book and the Protocols agreed!
The historical truth, according to what has been found out, is that Maurice Joly was a monarchist and anti-Semite, descendant of an old French Catholic family, many of whose members served as government officials.
The Protocols extend
As Ferrer Benimeli remarks, the publishing success of the Protocols was unquestionable. In the British Museum of London, 43 different editions are conserved. Especially in the 1930's, time of height of fascism and nazism, we find no less than 28 editions and translations, printed in the four corners of the world.20
The first translation into another language was done by a German, captain Müller von Hausen, writing under the pseudonym of Gottfried zur Beck, who added numerous notes and commentaries to the appendix of Nilus--that is to say, the Protocols--and included them in pages 68 to 143 of his book entitled "Die Geheimnisse der Weisen von Sion" (The secrets of the Elders of Zion). Von Hausen dedicated his book "To the princes of Europe" as a warning against the Jewish conspiracy that threatened thrones and altars.21
Its publication was sponsored by the German nobility and popular pocket editions were made to reach a maximum diffusion.
In 1920, the Protocols were translated into Polish, and other editions appeared also in the United States and England. Shortly after, it also appeared in Sweden, Japan, Portugal and France. In 1925, an edition in Arabic was published in Damascus, widely spread throughout the Middle East.
The first edition of the Protocols in Spain dates from 1927, entitled "The Jewish-Masonic danger. The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion".22 There were numerous later editions.
In the United States, the Protocols obtained the support of an important "believer," the automobile industrialist, Henry Ford. We do not know the reason for Ford's anti-Semitism, but the fact is that he not only financed out of his pocket several editions of the book, but he also created a magazine (The Dearborn Independent) especially to denounce the Jewish danger. Eventually, Ford gathered his anti-Semitic articles in a book entitled "The International Jew." The book was quickly translated into German by Theodor Fritsch and in 1922 it had already reached 22 editions. Both, the book of Ford and the Protocols, became indispensable elements in the anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazis.
The Protocols, as already noted, became the "Bible" of anti-Semites and anti-Masons. Adolf Hitler used them as justification for his policy of racial persecution, that culminated, as we know, in the "Final Solution," that is to say the Holocaust--the mass murder of millions of Jewish men, women and children for the only "crime" of being Jewish.
After the end of World War II, and after the revelation of the inconceivable crimes against humanity perpetrated by Nazi Germany, and the extermination of one third of the Jewish people, a more critical attitude could have been expected towards the Protocols, whose falsification had been demonstrated over and over again.
The Holocaust itself gave proof, in possibly the most tragic and concrete form, the absolute nonsense of the presumed "plans of world-wide domination" described in the Protocols. Nevertheless, anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic hatred does not have relation with logic but rather with psychopathology. The anti-Semites simply have chosen to deny the existence of the Holocaust, alleging that the fields of extermination, gas chambers, thousands of testimonies, photos, films and confessions of some of the criminals implied in the Holocaust are inventions and mystifications.
The anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic propaganda continues to appear without respite. In June of 1992, a pamphlet of 40 pages was published in a Turkish newspaper, in full color, on the occasion of the celebration of the Fifth Centenary of the welcome granted by the Ottoman Empire to the Jews expelled from Spain. The publication is entitled "The Last Message" and shows on its front page a photo of Kemal Atatürk, the father of the Turkish Republic, with the motto: "Following your steps." The following title promises to reveal the secrets of Freemasonry, but reading the text demonstrates that it is simply another opuscule of rabidly anti-Semitic propaganda. In the interior there is a photo of Hitler with the title "the Jews financed me," and one of Mussolini saying "I am a Zionist."
Of special interest for us is the illustration in truncated pyramid form, with the all-seeing eye within a triangle at the top of the pyramid. Below, in decreasing levels, "the structure of the Jewish world-wide power is revealed": at the top, 3 Jewish Kabbalists, then the Sanhedrin (made up of 70 Elders), beneath them the B'nai-B'rith and something called Bilderberg "founded in Holland in 1954 with money from Rockefeller and Rothschild." Nobody has ever discovered what this is. The following level is ... FREEMASONRY, thus, in large letters. Finally, below Freemasonry are the Rotary, the Lions and ... believe it or not, the "Diners Club."
The 40 pages of the pamphlet are filled with fascinating revelations, such as, for example, that the "Nazi" word is the name of the European Jews (evidently, for the author there is no difference between "Ashkenazi"23 and "Nazi"24). Hitler was financed by Jewish bankers, and the Jewish financier Bernard Baruch, "owner of 243 of the 246 ammunition factories in the United States" is the one who organized World War II.25
It is easy to laugh at this sad Turkish "corrected and augmented" version of the Protocols, but the subject is very serious. Turkey is a Moslem country, that fights to maintain the laic tradition imposed by the founders of the Turkish Republic at the beginning of the 1920's. The Islamic fundamentalists are fighting ferociously to recover their power, to seize primary education and to transform Turkey into another Islamic nation in the style of Iran. In their fight, the use of anti-Semitism--conjugated in the eyes of these circles with Zionism--and anti-Masonry, are some of their main weapons.
The Protocols are continued to be published, as if nothing had happened. Its popularity continues until today. In the latest volume of the annual survey of anti-Semitism in the world, corresponding to the year 1995, published by the University of Tel Aviv, the Protocols are written down as an excuse for acts of Arab terrorism in Villeurbanne, France (p. 10) and new editions of the Protocols were made in the United States, Estonia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Iran, Denmark, and a translation into Greek published in Australia (!).26
I will begin by mentioning the conclusions of the R.P. Pierre Charles:27
1. If taken as a program, the Protocols ... are only a series of digressions without importance, that frequently expose the incoherence of the editor and his ignorance of the most elementary knowledge. Nobody could ever execute such a program, because it is full of visible contradictions and irrationality.
2. It is proven that these Protocols are a falsification, clumsily plagiarized from the satirical work of Maurice Joly and composed in order to make the Jews hateful, exciting against them the irreflexive and blind passions of the crowd.
3. The Zionist Congress of Basel has absolutely nothing to do with the composition of the Protocols.
4. It is possible to wonder at the aim of the authors of this falsification. It seems, in truth, that it must be related to the internal situation of Russia and the czarist manifesto of October 30 of the same year. But in order not to mix conjectures with a clear conclusion, we do not want to examine this point.
To the previous conclusions we could add the evident falsification of the relation between Judaism and Freemasonry, of which we have already spoken. Also, an attempt has been made to connect Freemasonry with Communism, which is so absurd and grotesque as the previous one, if we remember that Freemasonry was prohibited and Masons were persecuted by all communist regimes, beginning with the Soviet Union. In 1922, the Fourth Communist International declared that Freemasonry and Communism are incompatible, and a couple of years later, the Russian secret police eliminated the last vestiges of Freemasonry arresting the few remaining Masons. Something similar happened in all the countries of the Soviet orbit, where Freemasonry was strictly prohibited during the communist regime. The only well-known exception to this general rule is that of Cuba, where the Order continues to work--under close police supervision--but it is not been suppressed.
The fight between the children of light and the sectarians of hatred and intolerance not only has not ended, but is worsening. In countries of long democratic tradition, like England and the United States, anti-Masonry has flowered again and is reaching new levels of fanatical activity. The opportunities offered by electronic technology--especially the Internet--have been quickly taken advantage of by anti-Semites and anti-Masons, whereas of the side of Freemasonry, the reaction is very slow and we can say that it is in its infancy. In the world-wide scene, the Renaissance of Freemasonry in the various countries of the former Soviet empire is extremely slow and difficult, much more than what was assumed a few years ago.
On the other hand, there still are numerous nations in the world--especially those with Islamic regimes--where Freemasonry is prohibited until today.
I end with a last quotation from Father Charles:
"Hatred is like the legendary tunic of Deianira, of which Hercules could not rid himself. Hatreds are--alas!--the treasure that man keeps more ferociously; and he stones with rage those who try to wrest them from him."28
Notes and bibliography
1 José Antonio Ferrer Benimeli, El Contubernio
Judeo-Masónico-Comunista, Ediciones Istmo, Madrid, 1982.
2 Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide (The myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion), Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1967.
3 Herman Bernstein, The Truth about the "Protocols of Zion" - A complete Exposure, Covici-Friede, New York, 1935.
4 Sigmund Livingston, Must Men Hate?, Crane Press, Cleveland, 1944.
5 Profesor Ferrer Benimeli cites the publication entitled "Jews and Masons" in La Lectura Dominical of 27 February 1898. op. cit., p.138, note 4.
6 5 volumes, London, 1797.
7 Cited by Cohn, op. cit., p. 48.
8 R.P. Pierre Charles, Los Protocolos de los Sabios de Sion, Buenos Aires, 1954. The original work of R.P. Charles appeared in the Nouvelle Revue Théologique of January 1938.
9 Cohn, op. cit., p. 33.
10 Cohn, op. cit., p. 45.
11 Cohn, op. cit., p. 47.
12 Cohn, op. cit., pp. 65-66.
13 Livingston, op. cit., p. 41.
14 Livingston, op. cit., p. 40.
15 Ibidem, p. 42.
16 These articles were previously published as a pamphlet entitled The Truth about the Protocols, a literary fraud.
17 A Spanish translation was published as a pamphlet in Buenos Aires in 1954.
18 Ferrer Benimeli, op. cit., pp. 157-166.
19 Bernstein, op. cit., p. 49.
20 Ferrer Benimeli, op. cit., p. 148.
21 Ferrer Benimeli, op. cit., p. 143.
22 Ferrer Benimeli, op. cit., p. 144.
23 From "Ashkenaz," the name of Germany in medieval Hebrew.
24 Abbreviation of "Nationalsozialist."
25 Report by Alexander Zvielli and David Bar-Illan: "Calculated madness in a Turkish fantasy," The Jerusalem Post (Jerusalem), 24 July 1992.
26 Anti-Semitism World Wide 1995/6, University of Tel Aviv, Project of Anti-Semitism Studies, Tel Aviv, 1996.
27 Charles, op. cit., p. 34.
28 Charles, op. cit., p. 35.