How did Zionism influence Hitler?

12/01/06

Dear Rabbi,

I am attending a master's program in Liberal Studies and am taking a class on Germany and Antisemitism - My research paper is on Herzl and Hitler. Could you tell me: 1. Do you believe that Herzl, in his The Jewish State, give his enemies the tools to attempt to destroy the Jews? 2. When I read Mein Kampf it seemed that if you took the author out of the picture - anyone could have written it and could have been talking about Hitler. Could you give me a little background on if he read any Jewish writings - The Jewish State, Nathan the Wise or if he only read Wagner. Wagner was very mean to the Jews in his essays.
Thank you,
Jennifer N.

Dear Jennifer,

As far as I know, it is not known whether Hitler read Herzl's book The Jewish State. However, he did recognize the existence of Zionism and to him it was confirmation of his theory that the Jews were intent on world domination. See Mein Kampf p. 324: "The Jew's domination in the state seems so assured that now not only can he call himself a Jew again, but he ruthlessly admit his ultimate national and political designs. A section of his race openly owns itself to be a foreign people, yet even here they lie. For while the Zionists try to make the rest of the world believe that the national consciousness of the Jew finds its satisfaction in the creation of a Palestinian state, the Jews again slyly dupe the dumb Goyim. It doesn't even enter their heads to build up a Jewish state in Palestine for the purpose of living there; all they want is a central organization for their international world swindle, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks."

Even more than the Zionists, we can blame another group of anti-religious Jews the Marxists for solidifying Hitler's anti-Semitism. Jews were at the forefront of Marxist movements in Russia and in parts of Germany in the years immediately after the First World War. To Hitler Marxism was the prime example of Jews fomenting revolution around the world and plotting to control the world. His attack on the USSR in 1941 was the context for the implementation of his policy to exterminate the Jews; Nazi special force units were taught to suspect all Jews of being Bolsheviks. This point has been made extensively by Arno Mayer in his book Why Did The Heavens Not Darken.

Herzl and others published other things in the German press that could have influenced anti-Semitism. For example, "The wealthy Jews rule the world; the fate of the governments lies in their hands. They start wars between countries, and when they wish, the governments make peace. When the wealthy Jews sing, the nations and their leaders dance along, and meanwhile the Jews get richer!” (Published by Herzl in a German newspaper)

In his diary he wrote: “Nordau said that before we found a Jewish state, we have to make sure that all the Eastern European Jews clean the lice from their clothes and the dirt from their bodies.”

Herzl befriended and exchanged letters with a German anti-Semite named Heiman, who wrote a book called, "The Awakening of the Jewish People." Herzl praised the book in his newspaper Die Welt.

The anti-semitic "Deutsche Zeitung" and "Kreiz Zeitung" wrote warmly about Zionism during its founding congress at Basel in 1897. The "Libre Parole" in France promised to spread Zionism completely free.

Leopold Greenwald in his "Thousand Years of Jewish Life in Hungary" says that Herzl's diaries provided lots of material for the anti-Semites, and it was often read aloud in the Hungarian parliament. For example, he says, Herzl quotes someone who told him, 'I don't know if the countries understand the danger in your money. They can't fight a war without you, and when they want to make peace, they have to borrow from you." And he says, "In Hungary the Jews make a big mistake by buying land. The poor noblemen, kicked out of their land by the Jews, will take over the country overnight, in order to take revenge on the Jews. The liberal government is only supported in the elections by Jewish money."