Tuesday, 7 August 2012
Through the Ages
The Track of the Jew through the Ages
Translated with Notes and Introduction by Alexander Jacob
Historical Review Press, 2012
English language translations of any of Alfred Rosenberg’s works are going to be of value to scholars and laymen with an interest in the Third Reich or the philosophy of National Socialism. This volume is of particular interest because it is Rosenberg’s first published work as a refugee from Bolshevism, who fled his native Estonia to Germany, having seen a great deal of the excesses of the Jewish champions of the Russian proletariat.
Another good source, Barbara Lane and Leila Rupp’s translations in Nazi Ideology Before 1933: A Documentation (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1978), includes articles by Rosenberg on “The Russian Jewish Revolution” (1919), “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Jewish World Policy,” an extract from a 1923 book on The Protocols; and “The Folkish Idea of State,” an extract from a 1924 book by Rosenberg.
From a historical perspective The Track of the Jews shows the sources from which Rosenberg derived his ideological anti-Semitism: his encounter with Jewish Bolsheviks in Russia. Dr. Jacob states that Rosenberg was already in Germany in 1918 and had joined the German Workers Party in 1919, several months prior to Hitler.
At 26, Rosenberg’s mentor in Germany was the well-known dramatist Dietrich Eckart, who was also to mentor Hitler. Rosenberg’s first work as a writer and editor was for Eckart’s periodical, Auf gut Deutsch, then for the NSDAP newspaper Münchener Beobachter, purchased by the party from the Thule Society in 1920. After Eckart’s death in 1923, Rosenberg assumed an editorial role (Jacob, p. i.).
In 1933, Rosenberg became head of the foreign political department of the party and in 1934 headed philosophical education within the NSDAP. In 1941, with the invasion of the USSR, he was appointed Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. (Jacob, p. ii.), and was to take fatal responsibility — at Nuremberg — for the half-witted Slavophobic policy of the Third Reich in the Eastern Territories, despite his resistance to it.
Despite the ministerial appointments and party roles, Rosenberg, I think it fair to say, was one of those sincere idealists, like the economist Gottfried Feder and the agricultural minister Walther Darré, who was sidelined in favour of careerists, opportunists, and functionaries. However, like Julius Streicher, who welded little or no influence under the Third Reich, Rosenberg’s reputation as the NSDAP philosopher alone would have assured his lynching at Purim 1946 (as Streicher described it). His own disillusionment with the way National Socialism was applied under the Third Reich, with the ascendancy of opportunists, is recounted in his memoirs.
What, however, of the content of The Track of the Jew? At first glance one might get the impression that it is standard anti-Semitic fare and has nothing to say other than what is repeated over the Internet a million times and often in maniacal ways. However, Rosenberg applies his scholarly discipline to present a volume that is thoroughly documented, not overstated, not fanatical in presentation, drawing mainly from Jewish sources. This is augmented by Dr. Jacob’s many footnotes, accompanying those of Rosenberg, that explain the significance of each personality.
Rosenberg states that Jews are a race, and he concedes no positive traits them. He establishes a dichotomy between the Germanic and the Semitic that is metaphysical and biological. The Jews are Semites, and their religious fanaticism and intolerance is a reflection of the Semitic race, which includes the Arabs and Islam.
Much of the volume is devoted to a study of the Jewish religion, especially the Talmud. Rosenberg frequently reminds his readers that the Jew is not the product of the Talmud, but vice-versa. The Talmud is examined under the heading “The Jewish Mind.” Rosenberg carefully documents a bizarre penchant for hair-splitting over doctrinal details, which brings to mind Marxist doctrinal interpretation. In the past, such discussions were indignantly denounced as “anti-Semitic lies” about Judaism. Now we have books by heretical Jews such as Dr. Israel Shahak (Jewish History, Jewish Religion, and Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel) and Evelyn Kaye (The Hole in the Sheet) that confirm these claims.
Of particular interest are the details on usury. Jews were not only welcomed into states throughout history but were accorded privileges under law far above those of Christian subjects. Jews were granted the rights to be judged under their own laws by their own authorities, even to the point of exempting them from Christian judgements and testimony. According to Rosenberg, usury, privileges, the crass display of wealth, and undisguised hatred of Christ were the causes of anti-Semitism. These contentions broadly align with what the Jewish writer Bernard Lazare stated a few decades earlier his book Antisemitism.
One learns, for example, that Jews were originally permitted membership in the craft guilds, and much effort was made by Christian rulers to assist the Jews into taking up crafts and agriculture, with little success. Eventually they even started giving up haggling in the markets and focused on usury. The many laws that were passed against this parasitism were of little avail, and the princes and bishops found themselves in hock to Jewish money-lenders, who were so arrogant as to enter churches during communion to collect their interest.
In France under Louis IX, interest rates were set, for example, at 40%. However, such laws were circumvented. (Rosenberg, p. 78). Under Charles VII (1388) they had been permitted to take 80% at compound interest. “And when a loud murmuring went through the people, the king passed an edict according to which the Jews were protected from all complaints for ten years” (Rosenberg, p. 80). In 1394 an incident, which Rosenberg states was of itself unimportant, sparked a reaction against Jewish usury, and they were driven out of France (Rosenberg, p. 81).
The revelations regarding the character of the Talmud were primarily from Jewish converts to Christianity. However, Rosenberg states that even here the intolerance of the Jewish character was merely grafted onto the Church, and the most fanatical Inquisitors were Jewish converts. This reflects Rosenberg’s sympathy for heretical Christian sects, discussed in more detail in Dr. Whisker’s Philosophy of Alfred Rosenberg, and his anti-Catholicism, despite the Church being the primary — albeit often insufficient — bastion against Judaization.
However, Rosenberg alludes in the Track of the Jew to the thoroughly non-Jewish person and doctrine of Christ, and the demand that the New Testament must be divorced from the Old. He documents the Talmudic teachings that Christ was the son of a whore who is in hell stuck in excrement, and so forth. If read elsewhere, one would assume them to be the rantings of a Satanist. Again, there is no serious doubt as to the authenticity of these teachings among Orthodox Jewry.
Rosenberg devotes a great deal of attention to Freemasonry. The cosmopolitan doctrines of Masonry were inherently at odds with National Socialism or any doctrine that upholds national values. It was the largely Masonic revolution in France that opened the doors to Jews that had been closed since their excesses in Medieval times. Jews entered Masonry like they were soon to enter the socialist movements. Whether Masonry is nothing more than a Jewish tool is another matter. However, Masonic doctrines were certainly well-adapted to subverting traditional societies in favor of the new dispensation under which live today, and Jews used Masonry to great advantage. Masonry and the revolutionary movement converged in the French Revolution, then in the Young Europe movement of Mazzini et al. (Rosenberg, p. 112). (A more specific account of Masonry’s role in Marxism, including Marx’s own Masonic affiliations, is a matter documented by this reviewer in a forthcoming Arktos book.)
Rosenberg’s account of Adolph Cremieux’s Alliance Universlle Israélite as an example of Jewish philanthropy as a political force (p. 116) would have benefitted from a discussion of The Protocols of Zion, which is not mentioned at all in The Track of the Jews. Rosenberg would have known of The Protocols at this time, as they had been introduced to Germany by Russian émigrés in 1918. However, they were not published in a German edition until 1920. Rosenberg did devote a book to the subject in 1923. (To digress somewhat, despite the offhanded way by which The Protocols are dismissed as a “Czarist forgery,” under other circumstances an anonymous letter to the London Times would not be sufficient to “prove” anything. If The Protocols are similar to a satirical work by the French propagandist Joly, then perhaps this is because Joly was a protégée of Cremieux, who was not only head of the Alliance Universlle Israélite, but of Grand Orient Masonry and other Orders linked to Martinism and the Illuminati.)
Zionism is discussed only briefly by Rosenberg (pp. 128–35), as is the Bolshevik Revolution (pp. 135–44). Perhaps, however, like The Protocols of Zion, Rosenberg thought that extended discussions of such subjects were best left for other times and places. What is surprising is that Rosenberg grants nothing positive to Czarism, and feels that revolution against the Czar was justified, albeit a calamity because it had been taken over by Jewish interests. Jewry at the time had no greater enemies than the Church and the Czar, and the latter was — and continues to be — vilified by sources that, in the English-speaking world, began with Jacob Schiff funding of an American journalist, George Kennan, to do a popular hatchet job on Czarism.
Rosenberg concludes the volume with a philosophical or, better yet, a metaphysical discussion of the gulf between the Jewish and the German mentalities and how this manifests in culture. He focuses for this purpose on a critical evaluation of Heinrich Heine.
In conclusion Rosenberg makes some recommendations on how to deal with the “Jewish problem.”
Rosenberg urges attacking the economic roots of Jewish power: :
The goals are clear, now briefly the means: Economically the Jew has acquired power through interests, usury, money. Earlier, directly, now through banks and stock-exchanges. The breaking of the finance slavery, a means that has not succeeded for so long, is sounded today again as a battle cry. If this could be achieved even only partially the axe would have been laid to the life-tree of the Jew. (Rosenberg, pp. 188–89)
Rosenberg also recommends denying Jews citizenship and civil rights in their host countries. He insists, however, on a distinction between “human rights” and “civil rights.” Much of what he recommends involves the abrogation of the “civil rights” of the Jews in Germany, while insisting that their “human rights” — namely the right to life – should be maintained, should they choose to remain in a state where all influence will be denied to them.
For Rosenberg, the ultimate solution to the Jewish Question is Zionism: “Zionism must be actively supported” to transport “a certain number of German Jews” to Palestine (Rosenberg, p. 189). Whether Rosenberg supported a Jewish state within Palestine, a Jewish-dominated Palestine as per present day Israel, or some other arrangement, is not stated. Whatever the case, he shows little sympathy to the Jews’ fellow Semites. Thus on Rosenberg’s account, German Nazism had much in common Jewish Nazism (Zionism).