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From: John Morris 
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Eric Conan on the Protocols
Organization: University of Alberta
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Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 11:09:29 GMT
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The following article appeared in the November 24, 1999 issue of
L'Express and is available on line at

Since French is not really one of my languages, any corrections to the
following translation would be greatly appreciated.

November 24, 1999.

_The Protocols of Learned Elders of Zion_, the famous forgery created
against the Jews, was written in France at the beginning of the
century by a Russian conspirator.  The author has now finally been
identified, but the harms caused by the _Protocols_ continue.

The Secrets of an Antisemitic Manipulation

by Eric Conan

It is the most famous--and the most tragic--forgery of the 20th
century and the foundation of the antisemitic myth of the "World
Jewish Conspiracy."  Now the text of _The Protocols of Learned Elders
of Zion_ has yielded its last secret: a Russian historian, Mikhail
Lépekhine, has proved the identity of its author thanks to files kept
by the former Soviet Union.  Now we can understand why it was
necessary to wait so long to reveal the epilogue: Mathieu Golovinski,
the forger, who carried out his work in Paris at the beginning of the
century, and who was the representative in France of the Czar's
political police, became a prominent Bolshevik after the Russian
Revolution of 1917.  The discovery of this sinister historical
footnote makes it possible to fill in the last gaps in the history of
an imposture which, after having done so much harm in Europe, still
flourishes in many parts of the world.

Historian of Russian literature Mikhail Lépekhine is one of the
foremost experts on the "publicistes" of the end of 19th century,
these characters who were simultaneously writers, journalists, and
political essayists and who intervened in the convulsions of Russian
public life of the time by means of pamphlets, articles, and books.
Lépekhine's specialty is in the years of the reign of Alexander III
(1881-1894) and of the beginning of the reign of Nicholas II
(1894-1902), the agitated period preceding the turbulence of the
Russian Revolution.  Former conservator of the archives of the
Institute of Russian Literature and a researcher in the history of
printed books at the Academy of Science of Russia in St. Petersburg,
Mikhail Lépekhine has studied the life and works of the _publicistes_,
including many lesser known figures, for the monumental Russian
Biographical Dictionary in 33 volumes for which he is the general

It was while working on one of the _publicistes_, Mathieu
Golovinski--son of an aristocratic lawyer disbarred for embezzlement,
and a journalist who dealt in scandal and intrigue in the Russian
political circles of St.  Petersburg and Paris--that Lépekhine was
plunged into the history of the _Protocols_ which previously had not
been a subject of interest for him.  Ransacking the databases relating
to Golovinski, he found in the Czar's French files, preserved in
Moscow for the last eighty years, the evidence of Golovinski's role in
the creation of the famous forgery.  Mikhail Lépekhine measures the
importance of his discovery by taking stock of current knowledge about
the history of the _Protocols_ upon which the French researcher,
Pïerre-Andre Taguieff, has recently published the most thorough
analysis to date(1).  Lépekhine has found the missing link--the
identity of the forger--which connects two long stories: that of a
petty man with ambitions whose contribution was only one short moment
in an agitated and disordered life and that of an infamous forgery for
which Mathieu Golovinski was only a technical executor.

_The Protocols of Learned Elders of Zion_, sometimes subtitled _The
Jewish Program of World Conquest_, is a text known in two
closely-related versions, first published in a partial version in
Russia in 1903, and then in a complete version in the newspaper
_Znamia_ in 1905 and 1906.  It is presented as the detailed report of
a score of secret Judeo-Masonic meetings during which "The Learned
Elders of Zion" reveal to the leaders of the Jewish people a plan to
dominate humanity.  Their objective is to become "Masters of the
World" after the destruction of monarchies and Christian civilization.
This Machiavellian plan envisages the use of violence, treachery,
wars, revolution, industrial modernization, and capitalism to destroy
the existing order and to build a Jewish power on its ruins.

This "secret document" was almost immediately questioned by Count
Alexander of Chayla, a French aristocrat who had converted to the
Orthodox Church and who would later fight with the White Army against
the Bolsheviks.  The Count met the first editor of the _Protocols_,
Serge Nilus, the "Pope" of the Russian mysticism, in 1909.  Nilus
showed him the original of the _Protocols_, but the Count was not at
all convinced by them.  He later recounted that he had met an inspired
man for whom the question of the authenticity of the text meant
little.  "Let us admit that the _Protocols_ are false," Nilus declared
to him.  "But can't God make use of it to discover the iniquity of
what is to come?  Can't God, in consideration of our faith, transform
the bones of dog into miraculous relics?  He can thus put in a mouth
of a lie the Annunciation of the Truth!"

The _Protocols_ was, in fact, "launched" to a wider public by the
_Times of London_ on May 8, 1920 in a lead article entitled "The
Jewish Danger, A Disturbing Pamphlet.  Requires Investigation" which
seemed to credit this "small singular book."  _The Times_ published a
correction one year later in August 1921 with an article entitled "The
End of the _Protocols_" with proof of the forgery.  _The Times_
correspondent in Istanbul had been contacted by a White Russian
refugee in Turkey who, obviously well-informed, showed him that the
text of the _Protocols_ was taken from a French lampoon against
Napoleon III.  A quick check revealed the falsification: the
_Protocols_ was indeed taken from the text of the _Dialogue in Hell
between Machiavelli and Montesquieu_, published in Brussels in 1864 by
Maurice Joly, an anti-Bonapartist lawyer who wanted to show that the
emperor and his close relations plotted to seize absolute power in
France.  Using this forgotten text, which had been worth two years in
prison for Maurice Joly, the forger of the _Protocols_ simply replaced
"France" with "the world" and "Napoleon III" with "the Jews"  This
coarse trickery was exposed by a simple line-by-line comparison of the
two texts.  The forgery was exposed, but the mystery of its origins
remained.  All that was known was that the original text was written
in French, and it was supposed that it could have been used as the
basis for the forgery at the beginning of the century in Paris through
the agency of the Czarist Russian political police.  It was in the
files of the Frenchman Henri Bint, who was for thirty-seven years an
agent of the Russian police services in Paris, that Mikhail Lépekhine
found that Mathieu Golovinski was the mysterious author of the
forgery.  In 1917 in Paris, Bint met with Serge Svatikov, the envoy of
the new Russian government of Kerenski, who was charged with
dismantling the Czarist secret service and "debriefing"--and sometimes
recalling--its agents.  Bint explained to him that Mathieu Golovinski
was the author of the _Protocols_ and that he himself was in charge of
remunerating the forger.  The last ambassador of the Czar, Basile
Maklakov, absconded with the files of the Russian embassy and, in
1925, gave them to the American Hoover Foundation.  Meanwhile, Serge
Svatikov bought Henri Bint's personal files.  When he broke with the
new Bolshevik leadership in Russia, Svatikov deposited the Bint files
in Prague, in a private foundation called the "Russian Files Abroad."
In 1946, the Soviets seized the foundation and moved the files to
Moscow, archiving them with the files of State of the Federation of

A Small Trick of History

Golovinski's secret was thus preserved until the fall of Communism and
the opening of the Soviets' files in 1992.  Because the antisemitic
forger had indeed become a "fellow traveler" of the Bolsheviks in
1917, the Soviets preferred not to reveal this small trick of history,
which seems awkward even today: Lépekhine's discovery was revealed
last August by Victor Loupan in _Le Figaro_ but did not arouse any
interest in the rest of the French press.

Thanks to his detailed knowledge of the career of the author of the
_Protocols_, Mikhail Lépekhine can today, at the end five years of
research, completely detail the circumstances and the objectives of
the creation of the _Protocols_ forgery.  Mathieu Golovinski was born
on March 6, 1865 in Ivachevka near Simbirsk to a declining
aristocratic family related to Count Henri of Mons.  It was a
well-born family but a turbulent one: "Mathieu's great uncle was
condemned to twenty years exile in Siberia for his participation in
the anti-monarchist Decembrist plot and Basile, his father, a friend
of Dostoyevsky, was condemned to death and reprieved at the same time
as the writer after a mock execution," says Mikhail Lépekhine.  Basile
Golovinski was released from military service after having fought in
the Crimean War and died a broken man in 1875 leaving the young
Mathieu Golovinski in the hands of his controlling mother and a French
governess who was, in fact, merely an excellent French-speaker.
Golovinski carried on his studies in an off-hand way.  Clever and
without any great scruples, Mathieu Golovinski early on demonstrated a
talent for intrigue.  The young _arriviste_ managed to come into
contact with Count Vorontsov-Dahkov, a man close to the Czar and a
minister at the Czar's court.  Vorontsov-Dahkov was convinced of the
threat of a conspiracy, and after the assassination of Alexander II,
founded Sainte-Fraternité, a secret organization which answered terror
with terror and intrigue with intrigue.  Sainte-Fraternité was indeed
one of the first "factories" of false documents, fabricating in
particular a number of fake revolutionary newspapers.

Mathieu Golovinski was appointed as a civil servant in St. Petersburg
and worked in the 1890s for Constantin Pobiedonostsev, the Attorney
General of Saint-Synode and one of the inspirers of Alexander III's
militant Orthodox Christian program of evangelization among the pagan
peoples of the Volga and Tchauvaches.  Pobiedonostsev was aided in
establishing the program by Mathieu Golovinski's uncle and by Ilya
Ulyanov, father of the future Lenin.  "Constantin Pobiedonostsev was
obsessed by the invasion of the state apparatus by the Jews, whom he
considered intelligent, more intelligent and more gifted than the
Russians," explains Mikhail Lépekhine.  It was through Pobiedonostsev
that Mathieu Golovinski worked for the Department of the Press whose
job it was to influence the newspapers by giving their editors
ready-made articles to publish and even by obliging them to pay some
of his agents, who as both informers and journalists, censored their
own press and oversaw the publicizing of the government "line."  The
chief of the Department of the Press, Michel Soloviev, a fanatic
antisemite, makes Golovinski his "second writer."  "Golovinski's
writing job was easy.  The job was a sinecure, and for five years, he
carried on this shadowy duty with some pleasure as a gifted
dilettante," adds Mikhail Lépekhine who has read much of Golovinski's
writing from this period.

Golovinski's pleasant sinecure ended abruptly: Soloviev died and
Pobiedonostsev did not have the same influence over the new Czar,
Nicholas II, who appeared eager to proceed in a much different
fashion.  The men in the shadows were replaced, and Golovinski was
exposed publicly as an "informer" by Maxim Gorky.  He was exiled to
Paris, a city where he stayed for some considerable time, and where he
found the same type of "work" he had been doing with an old hand of
the Sainte-Fraternité, Pierre Ratchkovski, who directed the services
of the Czarist political police in France.  "Golovinski's particular
task was to influence French journalists in their treatment of the
Czar's policies.  He thus sometimes wrote articles which were
published in the big Parisian national dailies under the signatures of
French journalists!" Mikhail Lépekhine says.  Golovinski was always
busy and supplemented his activities by publishing a plagiarized
English-Russian dictionary with Éditions Garnier in 1906.  He
undertook medical studies for three years and knew an easy life in
Paris thanks also in part to a allowance which his mother continued to
send to him.  All the while, he concealed his many activities under
the quiet appearance of an ordinary commuter living in the suburb of
Bourg-la-Reine until 1910.

One Conspirator in the Service of the Powerful

Ratchkovski's principal activity was in the manufacture of
counter-revolutionary propaganda bound for the French political elite,
and he created the Franco-Russian League in Paris: good relations
between the two countries constituted were of paramount concern.  The
old man of the Sainte-Fraternité clung to his Orthodox Church and
ultra-reactionary obsessions and still wanted to convince the Czar
that a Judeo-Masonic plot lay behind the liberal and reforming
current.  Nicholas II, however,  was less susceptible to these themes
than his predecessor.  Nicholas himself was more worried by Western
criticisms of the Russian policy of discrimination against the Jews.
Ratchkovski thus conceived the idea of an operation intended to
convince the Czar of the necessity of preventative antisemitic action.
Under the influence of Ivan Goremykine, the disgraced former Minister
for the Interior, Ratchkovski particularly wanted the Czar to get rid
of Count Sergei Witte, leader of the modernizers in the government.
It became thus a question of producing a decisive "proof" that the
industrial and financial modernization of Russia was the expression of
a Jewish plan of world domination.

>From there it was a simple matter for Ratchkovski to order a forgery
from Golovinski--one among so many of others for this gifted and
adaptable writer--intended from the start with only one reader in
mind: the Czar.  Indeed, Ratchkovski seems to have hit upon a clever
manoeuvre: he suspected that the mystic Serge Nilus was likely to
become the Czar's new confessor, and he decided to have Nilus, as the
Czar's confidante, present his forged antisemitic manuscript to
Nicholas II.  According to Mikhail Lépekhine, it was thus in Paris, at
the end of 1900 or in 1901, that Golovinski adapted the _Protocols_
from Maurice Joly's lampoon against Napoleon III.  But the stratagem
fell apart: Serge Nilus was not named confessor, though he kept the
text, which he published in 1905 in an appendix to one of his works,
_The Great Within The Small_ in which the Antichrist is supposed to be
an imminent political possibility.  It is this book which Nilus gave
to the Czar and the Czarina.  This book attempted to explain how an
apocalyptic process had been in play since the French revolution which
was likely to lead to the coming of the Antichrist.

"The drafting of the _Protocols_ constituted only one brief episode in
the Golovinski's life," notes Mikhail Lépekhine.  "I do not think that
he realized the effect his work would have.  Thus, during the writing,
he spoke about passages from the book to a friend of his mother,
Princess Catherine Radziwill.  As a refugee in the United States,
Princess Catherine was the first to indicate that Golovinski was the
author of the _Protocols_ which she revealed in a Jewish journal in
the 1920s.  But she did not have proof, and because her testimony
contained many errors, it was forgotten."  The same thing happened
during the lawsuit in Bern in 1934, when at the request of the
Federation of Jewish Communities of Switzerland, who wanted to
establish the falseness of the _Protocols_ then being distributed by
the Swiss Nazis, "the name of Golovinski was mentioned by Serge
Svatikov and by the investigative journalist Vladimir Bourtsev, who
were both witnesses quoted by the plaintiffs," Pierre-Andre Taguieff

Mathieu Golovinski continued his life of intrigue in the service of
the powerful of the day who wanted to employ its talents.  Upon his
return to Russia, he worked for Ivan Tcheglovitov, Minister for
Justice, and then for Alexander Protopopov, who became Minister for
the Interior in 1916.  Golovinski also published in 1914, a work of
propaganda, _The Black Book of German Atrocities_, signed by "Dr.
Golovinski."  From this time forward, he titled himself "Doctor,"
though he never obtained a degree from his Parisian studies.

The "Proof" of the "Jewish Conspiracy"

The fall of Czarism could not shake so good a swimmer in muddy waters
as Golovinski.  By 1917, he was appointed to the Petrograd (St.
Petersburg) Soviet, and Dr. Golovinski was celebrated by the
revolutionists as the first of the few Russian doctors to have
approved the Bolshevik coup d'etat!  The career of this "red doctor"
was subsequently dazzling: he became a member of the People's
Commissariat on health policy and the military-medical College and, as
such, became an influential figure in shaping public health policy.
He took part in the founding of the Pioneers (an organization of youth
brigades), advised Trotsky on the structure of military teaching, and
in 1918 founded and directed the Institute of Physical Culture, the
seedbed of future Soviet athletic champions.  Though he became
prominent in the new Soviet regime, he did not benefit long from his
new powers and died in 1920 just as his _Protocols_ started to enjoy a
great success owing to its English, French and German translations.

The First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the chaos in Germany
seemed to confirm the prophecies of the false antisemite: the dramatic
history in which Europe and Russia were plunged had the effect of
authenticating the _Protocols_, a copy of which was found in the
Czarina's room after the massacre of the Nicholas II's family--an
indication for certain White Russian antisemites that it was indeed a
"Judeo-Bolshevik" crime.  The proof of the forgery published by _The
Times_ did little to undermine the credit given the _Protocols_, which
did not cease being presented in Europe as "proof" of the
"international Jewish Conspiracy" throughout the 1930s.  The forgery
became the subject of many editions which were no longer limited to
antisemitic groups.  Thus in France it was published by the respected
publishing house of Grasset from 1921 with many reprintings through
1938.  In the United States, Henry Ford the automobile manufacturer
believed in the authenticity of the _Protocols_ and distributed them
through his newspaper.

Nazi propagandists exploited and spread the _Protocols_.  In 1923,
Alfred Rosenberg devoted a study to them, and in Mein Kampf (1925),
Adolf Hitler wrote that "_The Protocols of the Learned Elders of
Zion_--which the Jews officially disavow with such a vehemence--show
in an incomparable way how much the whole existence of these people
rests on a permanent lie," adding that the _Protocols_ expose clearly
"what many Jews are capable of carrying out unconsciously."  Upon
their accession to power in 1933, the Nazi leadership entrusted to
their propaganda officials the task of spreading the _Protocols_ and
defending their authenticity.

After the end of the Second World War, the _Protocols_ were banned in
the majority of the European countries.  But they started a second
career following on the creation of the State of Israel.  The first
Arabic edition appeared in Cairo in 1951 and was followed by many
others, in all languages including French, in the majority of the
Moslem countries.  The _Protocols_ were then used to denounce the
"Zionist Conspiracy."  "In this new use, if the fierce and valorous
Arabs could be overcome by the weak and cheating Jews, it could only
be because of an international plot of occult forces organized by the
Zionists," explains Pierre-Andre Taguieff.  "The _Protocols_
constituted a reduced model of the anti-Jewish vision of the world
most suitable for the modern world, a vision centered on the idea of
planetary domination. Public reference to the _Protocols_ is nowadays
made in, for example, in the texts and the speeches of the Algerian
MADE and the Palestinian Hamas," Taguieff adds.  Taguieff has drawn up
a complete bibliography of the recent editions this most persistent

The Enemy: Absolute, Diabolic, and Deadly

The bibliography continues to grow, and it is not limited to the Arab
countries.  The text makes it reappearance in many former Communist
countries,--it is given away free in Moscow--and it is the subject of
recent editions in India, in Japan, and in Latin America and has a
broad distribution.  Far from being sold secretly in obscure
bookstores, as is now the case in Europe, it is, for example, on sale
in the kiosks of Buenos Aires.  In these countries, the survival of
this text was not affected by the end of the Second World War, just as
the proof that is was plagiarized did not prevent its use against
"Judeo-Bolshevism."  It is the strength of this "antisemitic
Nostradamus" that it transcends any rational refutation.  Pierre-Andre
Taguieff sees in it the most effective expression of the "modern
political myth" of the "dominating Jew": "By its structure--the
revelation of the secrecy of the Jews by a confidential text which is
allegedly authored by them--the text of the _Protocols_ satisfied the
need for explanation by giving a direction to the indecipherable
movement of history which it simplifies by designating a single enemy.
It makes it possible to legitimate by presenting them as preventive
self-defence, all the actions against an absolute, diabolic, and
deadly enemy who is dissimulated under multiple guises: democracy,
liberalism, Communism, capitalism, the republic, etc.  The success and
the longevity of the _Protocols_, fabricated originally for purposes
limited to the court of Russia, are due paradoxically to the lack of
precision of the text which can easily adapt to all contexts of
crisis, where the direction of the events is floating, indeterminable.
Thus the _Protocols_ is constantly adapted to new uses."

1) _Les Protocoles des Sages de Sion_, by Pierre-André Taguieff. Vol.
I: Un faux et ses usages dans le siècle (408 p.); vol II: Etudes et
documents (816 p.). Berg International, 1992.

© Article copyright by L'Express 
© Translation copyright John Morris 1999.

 John Morris                                
 at University of Alberta  
"Fuch the world lets murder people." -- Matt Giwer, October 26, 1999

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