One summer day in 1903, the citizens of of the Russian captial of St Petersburg were shocked by the news in their morning paper which claimed to have exposed a sinister plot by a small group of men to seize power and forcefully rule the entire world. The plan was to bomb cities and wipe out opponents by injecting them with deadly diseases.
The myth of the great Jewish conspiracy had been born. Although it all seems pretty unconvincing and unlikely know, many Russians believed the story entirely and it soon spread to other countries. In fact, people were still believing it three decades later when Adolf Hitler turned it into a Nazi doctrine.
The antisemitic ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ forgery was responsible in paving the way for the murder of millions of Jews.
The item in the St Petersburg newspaper had been entitled: ‘A programme for world conquest by the Jews. Minutes of meeting of the Elders of Zion.’ The paper’s editor was a very well-known anti-Semite, who did not reveal the source of his collected information. But he claimed that it was merely a translation of a document originally written in French.
The forgery alleged to be a series of lectures, in which a member of the secret Jewish society outlined their plot to achieve world domination. This ambitious plot was apparently well underway.
In the early stages, the liberal democracies of Europe were to be sabotaged and Christian morality disgraced by propaganda. Jewish businessmen would stir industrial unrest by keeping prices high. And the, when the Gentiles collapsed, the bombs and germs would be thrown into battle.
This balderdash became so widely accepted that in 1905, just two years after the publishing of the ‘Protocols’, the Metropolitan of Moscow ordered them to be quoted in every church in the city, as a warning to the faithful.
But it was after the First World War that the ‘Protocols’ really spread. In Britain, The Times commented on them, though it also published a report refuting it. Whereas in Germany, a translation appeared in 1920, and 100,000 copies were rapidly sold.
But who was the devil who created this sinister hoax? Apparently there are two main suspects.
Ilya Tsion, an elderly Russian political journalist living in Paris at the time, may have done it to dishonor political opponents. He was an extreme conservative, and some of the views in the ”Protocols’ were very close to his own. He may have written them as a means of impressing the tsar with the dangers that the liberals posed.
A far more likely candidate could be Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky, head of the tsarist secret service abroad. Rachkovsky was the author of several anti-Semitic treatises, and certainly believed in the presence of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, particular targeting Russia. He had many enemies, and some passages in the ‘Protocols’ may be oblique references to them. One enemy, a Jewish Russian official in Paris called Effron, was even mentioned by name!
Rachkovsky had his headquarters in Paris for almost two decades until he was recalled in 1902.And when a Russian official arrived to wind up the Paris office after the Russian Revolution in 1917, one of Rachkovsky’s former aids admitted that the ‘Protocols’ had been forged in Paris.
And who gave the order? Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky!
Featured header image source: Voice Of People Today