Protocols of the Elders of Zion

The lie that would not die.

Print this page Print this page

Further confirmation of the Protocols' forged nature came in 1935 during a trial in Bern, Switzerland. The Federation of Jewish Communities in Switzerland sued a local pro-Nazi group for distributing copies of the anti-Semitic pamphlet. The trial became an opportunity to dissect the text and expose it as a hoax. Russian witnesses testified that the Protocols was a forgery created by Ratchkovsky for political purposes.

And yet the popularity and legacy of the Protocols continued to flourish .

Still in Circulation

The Nazis found great inspiration in the Protocols and used it to blame the Jews for Germany's defeat during World War I, the financial bankruptcy of the State, and the decline of the German race. Convinced that a Jewish conspiracy was in the works, Hitler mentioned the Protocols in Mein Kampf and in speeches, while Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels distributed the text widely.

Later in the century, the Protocols became a bestseller in the Muslim world. The Protocols help provide a denunciation of Zionism as the source of all problems in Arab lands, an excuse for the defeat of Arab armies, and a reason for their slow economic development Hamas, which now leads the Palestinian government, has made excerpts of the Protocols actual articles of its charter. According to Hamas' political agenda, calling for the destruction of Israel is justified as a means of survival necessary before Zionists take over the rest of the world. From Iraq to the Palestinian territories, from Egypt to Iran, from Turkey to Indonesia, there is not one Muslim country that has not published or distributed the Protocols, even in recent years.

Holocaust deniers have also contributed to the legacy of the Protocols. They claim that the Holocaust never happened and that it was a Jewish plot aimed at establishing the State of Israel and receiving financial compensation from Germany. They cite the Protocols to confirm their fantasies, and they provide editions in various languages on the Internet.

The fact that the text of the Protocols continues to be reprinted, quoted, and recycled to this day remains a troublesome curiosity in the history of hoaxes and conspiracy literature.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Brigitte Sion

Brigitte Sion is an expert on post-Holocaust memory, most notably memorials and monuments, commemorative practices, restitution and compensation. Her expertise also includes the history of Anti-Semitism. She is the former director of the Committee against Anti-Semitism (CICAD) in Geneva, Switzerland.