Mark Twain’s true opinion of the Jews is probably the best kept
secret in American literary history. Immediately after his death, his
eccentric daughter Ckara married a Jewish piano player, Otto Gabriilowitsch.
Twain’s publishers were given speedy instructions to delete “Concerning the
Jews” from the collected works, where it had appeared in the Book THE MAN
THAT CORRUPTED HADLEYBURG AND OTHERS STORIES. The following is taken from
Harper’s Monthly Magazine, September 1899, as quoted in William Grimstad’s
CONCERNING THE JEWS
by Mark Twain
Can fanaticism alone account for the persecution of the Jews? It is
now my conviction that it is responsible for hardly any of it.
In this connection I call to mind Genesis, chapter 47. We have all
read the story of the years of plenty and the years of famine in Egypt, and
now Joseph with that opportunity, made a corner in broken hearts, and the
crusts of the poor, and human liberty—a corner whereby he took away the
nation’s money to the last penny; took a nation’s livestock all away, to the
last hoof; took a nation’s land all away, to the last acre. Then he took the
nation itself, buying it for bread, man by man, woman by woman, child by
child, till all were slaves; a corner which took everything, leaving
nothing, a corner so stupendous that by comparison with it, the most
gigantic corners in subsequent history are but baby things; for it dealt in
hundreds of millions of bushels, and its profits were reckoned by the
hundreds of millions of dollars. It was a disaster so crushing that its
effects have not wholly disappeared from Egypt even today, more than 3,000
years after the event.
Was Joseph establishing a character for his race which survived long
in Egypt, and in time would his name be familiarly used to express that
character—like Shylock’s? It was hardly to be doubted. Let us remember
that this was centuries before the Crucifixion.
In the U. S. cotton states, after the war, the Jew came down in
force, set up shop on the plantation, supplied all the negroes’ wants on
credit, and at the end of the season was the proprietor of the negro’s share
of the present crop and part of the next one. Before long the whites
detested the Jew.
The Jew is being legislated out of Russia. The reason is not
concealed. The movement was instituted because the Christian peasant stood
no chance against his commercial abilities. The Jew was always ready to lend
on a crop. When settlement day came, he owned the crop, and the next year he
owned the farm, like Joseph.
In the England of John’s time everybody got into debt to the Jew. He
gathered all lucrative enterprises into his hands. He was the King of
Commerce. he had to be banished from the realm. For like reasons, Spain had
to banish him 400 years ago, and Austria a couple of centuries later.
In all ages, Christian Europe has been obliged to curtail his
activities. If he entered upon a trade, the Christian had to retire from it.
If he set up as a doctor, he took the business. If he exploited agriculture,
the other farmers had to get at something else. The law had to step in to
save the Christian from the poorhouse. Still, almost bereft of employments,
he found ways to make money. Even to get rich. This history has a most
sordid and practical look. Religious prejudices may account for one part of
it, but not for the other nine.
Protestants have persecuted Catholics—but they did not take their
livelihoods from them. Catholics have persecuted Protestants—but they
never closed agriculture and the handicrafts against them. I feel convinced
that the Crucifixion has not much to do with the world’s attitude toward the
Jew; the reasons for it are much older than that event…
I am convinced that the persecution of the Jew is not in any large
degree due to religious prejudice. No, the Jew is a money-getter. He has
made it the end and aim of his life. He was at it in Rome. He has been at it
ever since. His success has made the whole human race his enemy.
You will say that the Jew is everywhere numerically feeble. When I
read in the Encyclopedia Britannica that the Jewish population of the United
States was 250,000, I wrote to the editor and explained to him that his
figures were without doubt a misprint for 25,000,000. People told me that
they had reason to suspect that for business reasons, many Jews did not
report themselves as Jews. It looks plausible. I am strongly of the opinion
that we have an immense Jewish population in America. I am assured by men
competent to speak that the Jews are exceedingly active in politics….
“This destiny does not tire, nor can it be broken, and its mantle of
strength descends upon those in its service.” – Francis Parker Yockey, IMPERIUM
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