A dictator's apprencticeship
by Brigitte Hamann
During pogroms in Russia in 1903, unfathomable atrocities and massacres
were committed against Jews in Kishinev. In mortal fear, hundreds
of thousands of people once again fled across the borders.
was collected in Western Europe to provide at least temporarily
for the hungry and homeless, and also to aid Galicia, which did
not have enough resources to deal with the situation. The anti-Semites
berated the donors as Jew lackeys. The donations, they charged,
were only going to be handed over to the "Russian Revolution" anyway.
Therefore the donors were "supporters of the Jewish murderers and
all of Western Europe the fear of further floods of immigrants from
Russia was fanned systematically. After all, more than five million
Jews lived in the czarist empire, more than in all other countries
combined. In comparison: there were more than two million Jews in
Austro-Hungary -approximately 850,000 in Hungary, another 850,000
in Galicia, more than 100,000 in Bukovina, and some 200,000 in Vienna.
There were altogether fewer than 600,000 Jews in the German Reich,
400,000 of them in Prussia. France had only approximately 100,000
Jews, Italy, some 35,000, and Spain, 25,000.
anti-Semites painted a nightmarish picture of the Russian Revolution
of 1905. They accused the Jews of pulling the wires of the revolution
and of trying to provoke a revolution in Western Europe as well,
with the support of the Social Democrats, in order to establish
"Jewish world rule."
coincidental encounter provided fodder for these theories: in Austria,
the news about the czar's manifesto of October 1905 happened to
explode like a bomb during the Social Democrats' party convention.
Ellenbogen was standing at the rostrum, when his fellow party members
broke out into shouts of joy, yelling: "Hail to the Russian Revolution!
Hail to universal suffrage!" Ellenbogen interrupted his speech and
solemnly read the czar's manifesto, which granted freedom of the
press and the rights of assembly and of convening the Duma, tying
these events to demands he put to the Austrian government: "In Russia,
the frightened czar has already gone so far as to grant universal
suffrage, and our oh-so comfortable dynasty is supposed to lag behind
Russia? ...We no longer want to be the prototype of the black-robed
land, the land of tutelage, the land of backwardness, of camarilla.
Suffrage is an existential issue to us." He reminded the deputies
of the proletariat's weapon, "the paralyzation of all production,
of mass strike," and said: "When push comes to shove, the comfortable
and prudent proletariat of Austria will be able to speak Russian
too." According to the minutes, this prompted "tumultuous applause.
at the end of November 1905 the Social Democrats organized a mass
rally in Vienna for universal, equal suffrage, the Christian Socials
under Lueger held a counter demonstration in the city hall's Volkshalle,
whose tenor was: "Down with Jewish terrorism! " The Deutsches
Volksblatt wrote: "Who leads Social Democracy? The Jews Adler
and Ellenbogen! Who assists them in public? The entire Jewish press!
And who provides the money for it? Jewish high finance!-Just as
the Jews are the incendiaries and agitators in Russia, so they are
here at home."
a gathering of constituents, Lueger alluded to the latest Jewish
pogroms in southern Russia, which cost several thousands of lives,
shouting, "I am warning especially the Jews in Vienna not to go
as far as their Russian brethren in faith and not to get too involved
with the Social Democratic revolutionaries. I am warning them most
emphatically what happened in Russia, might happen here. We in Vienna
are anti-Semites, but we certainly weren't made to commit murder
and manslaughter. Yet should the Jews threaten our fatherland, we
will know no mercy either. I do want to put out a warning of these
sad consequences." At this point "demonstrative applause" broke
out "which lasted for minutes."
speech greatly upset the liberals, who responded with a parliamentary
interpellation against Lueger's "inflammatory and incendiary political
speech," which contained "direct, open, and brutal calls to excesses,
violence, pillaging, theft, and murder against citizens who have
equal protection under the federal constitution." This speech was
all the more dangerous as it originated from the "chief of such
a large city," who should really tend to peace among the populace
rather than incite the citizens against one another .
reinforced his opinion during the debate on the interpellation:
"When I look at the leaders of the Social Democratic Party, anybody
who can distinguish different races must admit that the leaders
of Social Democracy are exclusively Jews. (Cheers and applause.)
It may be that here and there one of them is baptized, but surely
there are bona fide Jews among them too, and the one who is supposedly
baptized, Dr. Adler, is recognizable." Lueger then went on to portray
himself as a peaceful man, saying he even had "very often protected
the Jews against my party's will": "I can only say, you rarely have
a party where the most mellow one is the leader." In March 1906
the Christian Socials submitted another petition for restricting
the immigration of Russian Jews in order "to protect the native,
Christian resident population from such an invasion."
Hitler arrived in Vienna in 1907, the topic of the Russian Jews
was as hot as before, particularly after the publication of a fiercely
anti-Semitic book that the Christian Socials promoted vigorously:
The Revolution in Russia by Rudolf Vrba. It argued
that the pogroms and massacres of Russian Jews were nothing but
part of a Christian battle of defense against the Jewish threat:
"The Russian with a strong national sense defends
himself desperately against the clutches of the Jewish tentacles."
"The 'Mandelstams and Silberfarbs' have thrown the torch of sedition
into the Czar's gigantic Empire: therefore the blood that was shed
during the revolution is now first and foremost spilled on the heads
of the Jews."
book, which with its many statistics and quotes leaves the impression
of being a precise documentary account, equated Jews and Social
Democrats and conjured up the dangers of a Jewish world conspiracy.
It argued that if the Russian Jews obtained equal civil rights on
top of every- thing else, then-"just as in certain constitutional
states which we don't have to mention"-the "peoples, upper and lower
classes, [would be] exploited and sucked dry, and constitutional
governments [would be] forced into total moral and high-financial
dependence on them." "For the Jews don't want 'equality' but complete
wrote that there was no persecution of the Jews, only persecution
of Christians, against which Christians had to defend themselves:
"One shouldn't confront us with the little anti-Semitism in this
world as proof against this assertion. ...If there has perhaps been
a minor exception in Kishinev and not only Christians but Jews too
became victims, this has been atoned and made up for by decades
of prison sentences."
on Hitler would use similar arguments when he denied the existence
of the persecution of the Jews, saying, for example, in 1923: The
Jew strives for absolute power in the country of restrictions
against the Jews but not of their persecution, for in the
past 200 years there have been no more persecutions
of the Jews, only one continuing persecution of Christians !
Deutsches Volksblatt in particular, which Hitler read, fanned
the fear of the Russian Jews. In 1908, for example, it published
an editorial warning, penned by a Romanian university professor
from Yassy. The "invasion" of the Russian Jews, the professor wrote,
who "ruin peoples and destroy states," had gone so far "that all
national property has fallen into Jewish hands." In 1849, he said,
72 percent of the people in Yassy had still been Romanian, 8 percent
of various nationalities, and 20 per- cent Jewish; but now only
45.5 percent were Romanian, 4.5 of other nationalities, and 50 percent
Jewish. The professor continued: "If we let the Jews destroy the
middle class, if we deliver our cities to these alien perpetrators,
then we are lost. Therefore a healthy solution to the Jewish
is a veritably existential issue for our nation. It is a question
of to be or not to be, of defending our life, and of the highest
goods of national security and national future. Woe unto the nation
that doesn't have the strength to fend off the alien invasion but
apathetically watches as legions of cunning Jews penetrate all areas
of public life, tear the bread out of the nation's mouth, and economically
Reasoning that the rule of
Russian Jews and revolutionaries was a threat first to Romania,
but then to Austro-Hungary as well, all anti-Semitic parties called
for strict defense measures. The Social Democrats, however continued
to express their solidarity with the goals of the Russian Revolution
and protested against the 1905 repealing of democratic rights, the
dissolution of the Duma, and political tortures and massacres against
Jews. In 1911 Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary who had escaped
from Siberia, appeared as a speaker at the Social Democratic party
convention. Between 1907 and 1914 Trotsky lived in Vienna with his
wife and children, worked there as a newspaper correspondent, edited
the Russian Pravda for workers, and was on friendly terms
with Vienna's Social Democrats. In his speech he praised the solidarity
of Austria's Social Democracy with the Russian Revolution, saying:
"The Russian workers were enthusiastic mainly about two speeches,
that of Comrade Adler's powerful indictment in Austria's first parliament
of universal suffrage against the sentencing of our second Duma
party group, and of Comrade Ellenbogen's glowing speech in the delegation
concerning the torture of political prisoners. I recall these two
speeches with gratitude." Because Adler, Ellenbogen, and Trotsky
were Jewish, the anti-Semites had new "proof" of their assertion
regarding the attempted "Jewish world rule" with the help of international
Social Democracy and the "Jewish press."
third supporter on the road to the coming world revolution supposedly
were the "money Jews." The Brigittenauer Bezirks~Nachrichten
commented on some 300 international economic experts, who had
convened according to news reports: "These 300 men are from the
tribe of Judah and bequeath their right to rule within their families.
They are the 300 kings of our time, who rule in actuality, pushing
the old monarchs down to the mere level of sham princes." The German
nation, the paper said, was ruined and "denationalized."
Jews were allegedly planning "the establishment of an international
alliance of banks with its seat in Washington" and would soon "publicly
dictate its laws to the world": "High finance is destined to become
the successor to empires and kingdoms, and with a lot more authority
at that, since their authority will rule not only one country but
the whole world." The local newspaper, with which Hitler was very
familiar, drew this conclusion: "We a11 struggle and get incensed,
and even have fights with one another when we get worked up, while
the Jew turns the wheel of history, laughing scornfully." Hitler
the politician turned the myth about the Jewish revolution into
a keystone of his propaganda, usually in connection with the Russian
Revolution of 1917 - for instance, in a 1942 speech : We know
the theoretical principle and the cruel truth about the aims of
this global scourge. It is called rule of the proletariat,
and it means dictatorship of the Jews! It implies the extermination
of the peoples' national leadership and intelligentsia, and the
Jewish international criminals' exclusive domination over the proletariat,
which will then be without leaders and thus defenseless through
its own fault. What had happened in Russia to such a horrifying
extent, the extermination of countless millions of leaders, was
supposed to continue in Germany.
any rate, after 1918 and 1919, the young politician put his finger
on the pulse of his time when he announced the fight against the
alleged cause of all misery, "the Jew": If the Jew and his Marxist
creed are victorious over the other peoples of the world, his crown
will be the funeral wreath of humanity and this planet will move
through the ether devoid of men, as it did thousands of years ago.
Eternal Nature inexorably avenges the infringement of her commands.
Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance
with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against
the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord. The Germans, he
continued, had to learn to combat poison gas with poison gas.
It is our duty to inform all weaklings that this is
a question of to be or not to be.