A Lie and a Libel: The History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

A Lie and a Libel: The History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

A Lie and a Libel: The History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

A Lie and a Libel: The History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion


A strange and repugnant mystery of the twentieth century is the durability of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a clumsy forgery purporting to be evidence of the supposed Jewish plot to rule the world. Though it has been exposed as a forgery, some apprentice brownshirt is always rediscovering it, the latest in a line of gullibility that includes, most famously, Henry Ford. Recently it has been translated into Japanese and circulates once again with renewed virulence in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In 1924 in Germany the Jewish author and journalist Binjamin Segel wrote a major historical expose of the fraud and later edited his work into a shorter form, published as Welt-Krieg, Welt-Revolution, Welt-Verschworung, Welt-Oberregierung (Berlin 1926). Translator Richard S. Levy, a specialist on the history of antisemitism, provides an extensive introduction on the circumstances of Segel's work and the story of the Protocols up to the 1990s, including an explanation of its continuing psychological appeal and political function.


Binjamin W. Segel's critique of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion stands on its own and deserves to be known by a wider public. Intelligent readers need to be educated about the contents of the Protocols and the historical and present-day political influence of this thoroughly libelous and mean-spirited forgery. Sad to say, however, the editor and publisher of Segel's critique had misgivings about providing a handy new edition of the Protocols itself. Segel's study in a new translation, along with an introduction that places the Protocols in a larger and more up-to-date context, it is hoped, will answer the needs of legitimate students. a brief excerpt from the Protocols text itself is reproduced here to contribute to readers' understanding, but it will be of little use to those who would circulate the Protocols for the usual destructive purposes.

Note on the translation

Segel wrote two books on the subject of the Protocols, a long, scholarly study entitled Die Protocolle der Weisen von Zion, kritisch beleuchtet (The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, critically illuminated; Berlin, 1924) and the shorter, Welt-Krieg, Welt-Revolution, WeltVerschwörung, Welt-Oberregierung (World war, world revolution, world conspiracy, world supergovernment; Berlin, 1926). It is the abbreviated version that is translated here.

In his attempt to reach the widest possible audience, Segel made several compromises in this version. He sharply reduced the num-

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