By John Miller
Saturday the 18th of November, 2017
I was recently dared to investigate the matter of Communism being a Jewish plot, and at first I thought to begin where many agitators of the Far Right seem to, with Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I do not read Russian, but I have a reasonable grasp of Russian history and a fair appreciation for Russian literature.
Yet 200 Years Together is not nearly enough of an arc of history to explain the interactions of the Jews and Christians which led to revolutionary Communism, the Soviet states of Europe, or their inevitable demise.
Any thoughtful investigation of the motives and aspirations of the Bolshevik revolutionary, former-Christian and former-Jew alike, immediately recognises that there is not a 200-year history at play, but rather an entire millennium of Christian and Jewish interactions to disentangle.
Nor if we are to simply focus upon a Jewish influence ought Russia to be at the nexus of our attentions. It was never a great and ancient part of the Jewish psyche, in the same way that Poland was, and for the last 1000 years.
Marx himself made a speech in London in 1867, were he expounded:
“There is but one alternative for Europe. Either Asiatic barbarism, under Muscovite direction, will burst around its head like an avalanche, or else it must re-establish Poland, thus putting twenty million heroes between itself and Asia and gaining a breathing spell for the accomplishment of its social regeneration.”
This dehumanising stereotype of the Oriental hordes could just as easily have dropped from the lips of a German nationalist between the wars in the 20th century, and it is almost comical to have the very paragon of Socialist intellectual thought propounding it.
It is worth remembering then, that the secular Jews of Poland and Prussia were once amongst the rabid of nationalists, and even the brotherhood-of-man types such as Marx were harbouring a common subconscious xenophobic fear of an imaginary Mongolian horde that was just waiting for its next chance to rape and plunder Europa.
A notionally Jewish Karl Marx was very little different in that regard from a nominally Protestant Friedrich Engels, both men rejected God and the religion of the fathers.The zeitgeist of the 19th Century was Nationalism, and this exploded upon the streets in 1848 with revolutionary fervour. Most in the working classes and the middle classes still feared God, and having laid out their grievances returned to their Churches and Synagogues, and went about their lawful business.
For Marx and Engels and the bloodthirsty Socialists, this was not enough. They dreamed of guillotines and Jacobinism everywhere, and Napoleonic armies formed like communes, hanging priests and rabbis, and lining up industrialist and shopkeepers upon the walls and shooting them dead.
Enough of Engels though, the crazies aren’t accusing the learned Elders of Protestantism of being behind all the world’s woes, so let us return to the Jewish Question.
The Jews who were in Russia had been since the time of Catherine the Great mostly restricted to the Pale of Settlement. The Tsarina inherited her Jews along with her lands that were former Polish territories, and she kept one tied to the other. For an absolute Monarch with many disparate nationalities to manage across a vast realm, it must have seemed a neat solution.
Her Jews for the most part lived in a permanent state of disenfranchisement and poverty, and under the constant threat of pogroms from the envious Russian, Ukrainian, and various Baltic peasantries they lived amongst. Their glory days under a Polish lord who left them to their own devices and allowed them to turn their minds and hands to useful tasks became a painful but treasured memory.
Permission to live outside the confines of the Pale was granted only to professionals and wealthy businessmen, and just such a class of Jews quickly emerged in Russia, and acted together to try and drag as many of their fellows out the Pale as had the talent and the ambition to go along with them.
No particular nefarious intent existed among such Russian Jews, who a secular Jewish Prussian atheist such as Marx regarded with as much loathing as any other well-to-do Industrialist or social climbing lawyer, banker, or accountant.
Marx was the product of his times, and his time was the 19th Century, when memory of the French Revolution and Napoleonic campaigns was fresh and fired the imagination and hopes of many young secular Prussian atheists.
The Prussians too inherited their Jews with conquered Polish lands, but neither Catholic Pole nor Polish Jew was restricted by the model Calvinist Prussian ruler Frederick the Great. Frederick disdained the Pole as slovenly and disorganised, but did not care if they wanted to go to the Ruhr to dig his coal for fourteen hours a day.
Frederick’s attitude towards his Jews is not entirely clear, but he saw himself as one of God’s Elect, and had no problem with the Chosen people flocking to his universities and entering his professions with great success. The everyday German Lutheran may have eyed all these Catholics and Jews with distrust and alarm, but the Prussian state demanded only order and hard work of its citizens, and a pious devotion to God.
And the Godlessness of an Engels was every bit as alarming as the Godlessness of a Marx.
For the Prussian Jews, this seemed ideal. Whereas the Russian Jew yearned for the return of his Polish noble lord, the Jews of former Polish cities such as Poznan remembered past grievances instead.
Racial tensions between Poles and Jews were not endemic, but they did exist. In Poland in 1736 there had been one particular incident that resonated across centuries, the trial of Rabbi Yossef, who was accused of ritual slaughter and then publicly burnt at the stake.
The local Jews never forgot this, nor the response of the Prussian authorities after the Great Fire of 1803. In former times an uneducated mob may have formed to lynch a few Jews, but the Prussian response was to keep order, and allow the Jews to live freely throughout the rest of the city while they rebuilt. The common German and Pole may not have liked the order, but they obeyed it.
Whereas the secular Jews of Krakow remained amongst the most fervid proponents of Polish nationalism after they were absorbed by Catholic Austria, the secular Jews of Poznan increasingly sided with Protestant German nationalists against the Catholic Poles. The Jewish community of Poznan rallied around the Germans during the 1918-1919 Wielkopolska Uprising, which further alienated them from local Poles. When Poznan was re-absorbed into the Polish nation in 1919 many Jews chose to migrate west to Germany.
Fast forward to 1945, when many Jews and Poles unsurprisingly welcomed the Red Army and collaborated with the Soviet occupation forces. Poland had lost more than five million of its citizens, and three million of those were Jews, a quite extraordinary toll. If Churchill and Roosevelt can be forgiven for making deals with Stalin, then what right does anyone have to judge those that suffered most from Nazi aggression?
From the outset, Hitler embodied only the worst prejudices of Frederick, with none of that great man’s intellect or Calvinist moral discipline. Worse still, Frederick at least could claim the Catholic Pole was alien, and needed to be on his guard against the ambitions of Vienna and her Catholic princes. The Poles were Hitler’s brother Catholics, but the man was a rabid dog, to whom Polish life was utterly worthless. About as many Poles were shamelessly butchered in the bombing of Warsaw in 1939 as Germans were killed in the fire-bombing of Dresden in 1945.
Bomber Harris did not start the war though, and after six years of conflict and sixty million dead the stony-faced RAAF were in no mood to show any mercy. That Hitler should decide to annihilate the citizens of Warsaw at his first encounter when the division of Poland with Stalin was already assured was just a wanton act of profoundly cruel barbarity. It stands in stark contrast to the almost gentlemanly conduct he displayed on the Western Front, in theatres such as Dunkirk, and in cities such as Paris.
Poland suffered heavily from occupations by the Nazis and Soviets, and then especially under the Nazis, and then again under the Soviets during after the war.
Poles are generally well honoured by Israel and the Jews, as far as I am aware, for saving the lives of Jews during the Nazi occupation. In only the last twenty years or so has there been an inflammation of some of the old tensions. This is how it has always been in Poland, where Jews and Christians got along, but not always, and never with complete equanimity.
The Jews first came to Poland in the Middle Ages, and they settled there in large numbers because of the relatively tolerant attitude of the Poles towards them. Poland for almost all of its history up until the 1940s had the largest Jewish community anywhere in the world. Ninety per cent of that community was wiped out in the Holocaust. Today there are only 40-50,000 Jews remaining in all of Poland.
The Jews in Poland go back to the time of Boleslaw I the Brave. The first King of Poland built his reputation upon a western expansion of his Polish duchy against the hapless Duke of Bohemia, whose lands he occupied and whose capital he sacked. These Bohemian we today called Czechs.
Boleslaw supported Adalbert, the Bishop of Prague, and Adalbert in turn supported Boleslaw’s claims to Bohemia, in defiance of the Holy Roman emperor. The martyrdom of Saint Adalbert in 997, while civilising the pagan Prussians no less, was a tremendous propaganda coup for Boleslaw, and he wielded it to consolidate Poland’s complete autonomy from the Holy Roman Empire.
The Congress of Polish bishops at Gniezno on 11th March 1000 resulted in the establishment of a Catholic church that was uniquely Polish, with a Metropolitan See at Gniezno free of the German Archbishopric of Magdeburg for the first time. Bishoprics were soon established in Krakow, Wroclaw and Kolobrzeg.
Boleslaw then stopped paying tribute to the Holy Roman Empire, and fought a series of wars against Henry II, until the Peace of Bautzen in 1018. That year Boleslaw rode east and took Kiev, and installed his son-in-law as ruler.
The former Duchy of Lesser Poland now claimed influence over Bohemia and Moravia (Slovakia), as well as the Ukraine. In 1025 Boleslaw crowned himself first King of Poland.
The first Jews to settle in Krakow, his capital, came in the 11th century, which was also the century of the First Crusade. Almost all the Jews who were the first settlers in the area came from German territories, which were then ruled either from Vienna, or by the King of France.
The flight of the Jews into Poland in earnest began shortly after May 18, 1096, when the 10,000 Christian soldiers who followed the German Crusader Count Emicho of Leiningen arrived in Worms.
In Worms there was a rumour that the local Jews had poisoned the wells to prevent the Crusade reaching Jerusalem, and the local residents joined with Emicho’s men to massacre any Jew they could lay hands on.
The Bishop of Worms did his best to prevent the massacre, and offered sanctuary for as many Jews as made it into his castle. For eight days the army of Emicho and the mob of Worms besieged him, and after gaining entry they murdered all his sheltered Jews.
An earlier fracas between Count Emicho’s men in Speyer and the local Jews had set the precedent, but what set the Crusaders against the Jews of Speyer is less clear. 11 or 12 Jews were murdered though, but in Speyer the local bishop also gave sanctuary to the Jews, and without the mob at its back the army of Count Emicho simply moved on.
After Worms came yet another massacre, at Mainz 1,000 Jews were killed. The French and Imperial authorities of the Rhineland struggled to maintain good order, and in total 5,000 Jews were massacred in the spring and summer of 1096.
This was the first series of events which drove the Jews east into Poland: the actions of the First Crusade in the Rhineland, and in particular the loathing of Count Emicho for the Jews.
Poland may well have never become a particularly important place of refuge for the Jews though, were it not for the expulsions of the Jews that followed.
In 1290, all the Jews were expelled from England by King Edward I, and many of them moved across the channel to France. Unfortunately for them, this did not work out well.
The general tenor of the age was not one of amity. Since the Lateran Council of 1215 summoned by Pope Innocent III, Christians had been forbidden from living amongst or working with or trading with the Jews. The Jews were excluded from all trades except pawn-broking and working with old clothes, and they had to wear a special garment to differentiate them from Christians.
This canon law applied throughout all the Christian world except the east, which followed Orthodox Byzantine custom instead. It was less rigorously applied in certain Catholic kingdoms, and Polish kings were always far less discriminating than the kings of England, France, and Spain, the Italian popes and princes, and the Holy Roman emperor.
France in particular was particularly hostile towards Jewry in 13th century. In Paris in 1242 the king subjected the Jewish Talmud to an Inquisition, and then gathered it up and burned it in 20 cartloads.
The Jews had already been expelled from France in 1182, but within a few years allowed back. A handful of Jewish individual acted as tax collectors for the king, until they were replaced by Italian bankers. This stigma fell upon the whole community though.
In 1306 King Philip decided to expel the Jews, and he arrested an amazing 100,000 of them on July 22nd 1306. This was the day after the Jewish fast of the 9th of Av, which has often seen calamitous occurrences for that people.
The French Jews were sentenced to exile, but told they had to leave behind their belongings and debts. They were permitted to leave France with only the clothes they were wearing, and 12 small coins each. All debts to the Jews were immediately transferred to the King, who then took full payment from the Christian debtors.
Philip wanted the Jews to re-settle just outside the Kingdom of France proper, in lands he also held sway over: Lorraine, Burgundy, Savoy, Dauphiné, Roussillon, and the papal estates at Avignon. A great many of the French Jews just kept walking until they got to Poland.
His son Louis in 1315 reversed the decree, but in 1322 the Jews were banished once more, and then once more again finally (sort of) in 1394. Each time a new Exodus of Jews went eastwards to Poland, which became another Promised Land to them.
The expulsion of the Italian Jews dates to 1495 and was part of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, where they had been living under the protection of the local Moors for centuries. Often the Jews fought alongside the Moors against the Christians, which formed a major bone of contention with all Christendom.
In the spring of 1492, not long after the Moors were driven out of Granada by crusade, Ferdinand and Isabella expelled all the Jews from Spain. The Church, the Queen, and the Christian masses were particularly zealous that no Jew should become a stumbling block to the newly converted Marranos.
The King ordered the expulsion from all parts of his kingdom: Castile, Catalonia, Aragon, Galicia, Majorca, Minorca, the Basque provinces, the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, and the kingdom of Valencia. The Queen had long since expelled the Jews from the kingdom of Andalusia, in 1483.
The King gave the Jews three months’ time in which to depart, and 50,000 families made ready. They had houses, fields, vineyards, and cattle. Most of them were artisans. At that time there existed several Talmudic academies in Spain.
The famous astronomer who encouraged the expedition of Vasco da Gama, Abraham Zacuto, then lived in Salamanca. He was considered the greatest expert in mathematics in all of Spain, and perhaps the world. The Christian academy of that city had often called on him to solve their problems, but were less interested in his current plight.
The Jews had three months to bargain for a reprieve. Their lead representative in negotiations with the Spanish crown was Rabbi Don Abraham Seneor, the leader of the Spanish congregations, who had once negotiated the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella. He was assisted by his son-in-law, Rabbi Meïr Melamed, who was then secretary to the Spanish King. These two gentlemen were assisted also by Don Isaac Abravanel, who had fled to Castile from the King of Portugal, and also occupied a high position at the Spanish court.
In a stunning blow to the 50,000 Jewish families of Spain who were making ready to depart, Don Abraham Seneor converted to Christianity, he and all his family, including Meir Melamed on June 15, 1492. Ferdinand and Isabella were his sponsors. He then encouraged all the Jews of Spain to follow his example. Had they known what was in store for them, well might they have.
Don Isaac Abravanel was not one for conversion, and he fled to Naples. He was highly esteemed by its King, but this arrangement would not end well for either Jew or Christian, despite the best of Neapolitan intentions.
Ferdinand meanwhile sought to strike an agreement permitting the Jews to remain. He sought payment of a large sum of money, but this was frustrated by the interference of the Prior of Santa Cruz, the famous Inquisitor Torquemada.
Torquemada thundered with crucifix aloft at the King and Queen:
“Judas Iscariot sold his master for thirty pieces of silver. Your Highness would sell him anew for thirty thousand. Here he is, take him, and barter him away.”
The heart of the King then hardened against the Jews, and rather cowardly he left it to Isabella to make known his will.
The Queen then gave her famous answer to the Jews, from the sayings of King Solomon: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water. God turneth it withersoever He will.”
She said furthermore: “Do you believe that this comes upon you from us? The Lord hath put this thing into the heart of the king.”
And with that Isabella expelled the Jews from Spain. The Jews immediately sold all their houses, their landed estates, and their cattle for very small prices to save themselves.
Since 1480 the Spanish crown had forbidden anyone to export precious metal, and the King did not allow the Jews to carry any silver and gold out of his country. They were compelled to exchange their silver and gold for merchandise.
One hundred and twenty thousand of them went to Portugal, according to a compact made with King John. They paid one ducat for every soul, and the fourth part of all their merchandise. He allowed them to stay in his country six months, and after those six months had elapsed he made slaves of all those that remained. Seven hundred Jewish children were sent to the Isle of St. Thomas off the coast of Africa as colonists by John, and all of them died there.
Many of the exiled Spaniards turned to Africa, going to Fez, Tlemcen, and the Berber provinces which were under the King of Tunis.
The Moors did not even allow them into their cities, and most of the Jews died in the fields from hunger and thirst. Lions and Atlas bears, numerous in those countries, killed many of them while they lay starving outside of their cities.
A Jew in the kingdom of Tlemcen named Abraham was viceroy who ruled the kingdom, and he got a certain number to this kingdom, and spent a large sum of money to help his brethren in distress. Most of the survivors did not make it to Tlemcen, but rather returned to Spain and became Christian converts after all.
Of those Jews who set out east, most did barely better. The Genoese ships which came to the Spanish harbours to ferry them away often acted maliciously, robbing their passengers, and delivered many of them to the Corsair of Genoa, a notorious pirate. Those who finally arrived safely at Genoa were then often robbed again, and the Jews quickly departed.
This Spanish diaspora and the Jews of Sicily both headed for Naples. The King of this country was friendly to the Jews and received them all with amity. Not only was he merciful, but even magnanimous with his state funds, and the Jews who were already at Naples did their best to supply the new arrivals with food and money too.
The Marranos in this city lent them money on pledges without interest, and even the Dominican Brotherhood too, normally hostile towards the Jew, were moved by their plight to act mercifully towards them.
The Jews flooded into Naples in a wretched state, and then a great catastrophe struck. On account of their very large numbers, the city could not bear them all, but they kept coming in ever greater numbers, to the one place in all western Christendom that treated in a Christian manner.
The best of intentions were not enough. Many of the Jews began to die by famine, and the local Christian poor as well. Following starvation came plague, which broke out amongst the new arrivals, but once again all Naples had to bear it. Great multitudes died in the city, and the living wearied of burying the dead.
The luckiest of the Jews went over the sea to Turkey, and those who got there the King of Turkey received kindly, as they were mostly artisans. He lent them money and settled them on an island, and gave them fields and estates. These Jews became the smiths and makers of munitions for the Turks, for the next few centuries of war against Christian Europe.
Those who remained in Italy went mainly to Ferrara, or settled in the Papal Countries.
The exact number who made it out of Spain and Italy to Poland is unknown, but was considerable.
This then was the state of affairs for such Jews as went to Poland from the Latin west. Many also came from the Byzantine lands, where things were generally no better for them.
Justinian first banned the construction of new synagogues and ordered all existing ones to be converted to churches. Synagogue building was carried on in the Byzantine province of Palaestina Secunda despite his decree. Such imperial edicts were sporadically enforced, but in many provinces they were unenforceable.
The Byzantine Jews were never enamoured of Constantinople. In 556 there were Jewish riots in Caesarea and they killed the Christian governor, in 608 the Patriarch of Antioch was seized and dragged through the streets by the local Jewish population, and in 614 the Jews of Jerusalem sided with the invading Persians and participated in the wholesale slaughter of their Christian neighbours.
When a Jewish leader was asked why he had participated he responded: ‘because the Christians are the enemies of my faith’.
There were at least four Byzantine emperors who loathed Jewry: Heraclius, Leo III, Basil I, and John Tzimiskes. Each ordered the forced baptism of all Jews in his empire, yet by the 9th century a Byzantine Emperor, Michael II, had Jewish grandparents.
In 1176 there was a Jewish quarter in Constantinople, involved in manufacturing and mercantile activities. Quite a few of them were wealthy, and one served as the emperor’s personal physician.
The emperors Michael VIII and his son Andronicus II were denounced by the Patriarch of Alexandria for their excessive toleration of the Jews.
By the 14th century the Byzantine empire had given the Venetians special privileges, and the wealthiest Jews in Constantinople had purchased Venetian citizenship. By 1453 the Jews of Constantinople enjoyed more rights than their Christian neighbours, and those who remained continued to prosper under Ottoman rule.
Such Jews as feared getting caught up in the war between the Christians and Turks made their way to Poland too, but they were always far less numerous than German, French and Spanish emigres.
The greatest movement of the Jews into Poland by far was during the 16th and 17th centuries, when the wars of religion raged across the continent. As Christians began killing one another in the Empire and across the kingdoms, the Jews moved in great masses towards Poland.
At the invitation of Polish kings, they lived under protection in the royal cities of Krakow, Poznan, and Lemberg.
Since 1334 King Casimir the Great had granted privilege to the Jews at Krakow which guaranteed them rights, including the right to trade and freedom of religion. This privilege subordinated the Jews to the jurisdiction of the king or voivode. Thirty years later the Krakow Academy was established with its main building in the Jewish street, and Polish and Jewish intellectualism started to grow side by side, in amity.
Conflicts with the ordinary townspeople over commercial disputes in Krakow did grow more frequent though, and after the City Fire of 1494, the Jews were blamed. Most of them left Krakow for the nearby town of Kazimierz.
In the 15th and 16th century the new waves of Jewish settlers arriving from the West came mostly from Bohemia and Moravia. The 16th century even saw internecine Jewish conflict in Poland, between the Jews of Krakow and the Czech Jews who had recently arrived from Bohemia.
In the 16th century, the Jewish influx came from the highly educated and cosmopolitan Sephardic Jews of Italy, who accompanied Queen Bona. They swelled the Jewish populations of Krakow and Kazimierz in particular. Many eminent Sephardic scholars settled in Kazimierz, and established the first elementary level schools.
If it was quite silly for a 20th century racist to share the view of Marx about the Russians peoples, then it is equally absurd for a modern Ashkenazi Jew to strut around as if he is the superior Jew, when if it were not for the sophisticated Sephardic Jewish emigres of Italy going to Poland in the 16th century, and their great love of education, he may very well have ended up working in McDonalds in the modern era. Such are the vicissitudes of life.
It was at these very schools that all the future rabbis were prepared and educated, including the first of the great scientists who developed Jewish education in Kazimierz: Jakub Polak, the founder of the first Talmudic academy – the yeshiva.
From the 16th century the first printing houses in Poland opened in Kazimierz, most books were printed in Hebrew and Yiddish, because most Poles disdained to read, but many books were printed in Polish too, for the Christian academies.
This Golden era for Kazimierz ended when the Poles moved their capital from Krakow to Warsaw, and many notable Jewish families followed the court. The Khmelnytsky uprising of 1648-1655 and the Swedish invasion of 1655-1660 also saw the Jewish community share the suffering of their Polish neighbours.
In the second half of the 17th century a wave of messianic fervour gripped the Polish Jews. The influence of the ideas of Jewish Enlightenment spawned Hasidism, a movement initially suppressed as heretical. In the market square of Kazimierz Moses Mendelsshon’s translation of the Bible was burned, scorned by Jew and Catholic alike. In 1785 the Hasidic Jews were publicly anathematized in the Old Synagogue.
1776 saw Kazimierz come under full Austrian occupation, and Krakow was seized too. At the time the Jews were about 17% of the total population of the twin cities, which merged in 1802. The Austrian authorities did not respect the Polish privileges of the Jews, who increasingly flocked to Polish nationalism.
The idea that the Jews have ever operated as some monolithic bloc is quite frankly absurd. The Jews of Poznan were German nationalists, the Austrian Jews were Polish nationalists, and Karl Marx probably wanted to be a German nationalist, but the racist German youth at Berlin university hurt his feelings by calling him an untermensch, so he became a revolutionary international Socialist instead.
With the fall of the Polish Republic Hasidism begin to develop and explode, under the leadership of Kalman Epstein, and as Krakow went from being part of the Habsburg Empire to the Duchy of Warsaw (1807-1815) and then the Republic of Krakow (1815-1846), these Hasidic Jews were always amongst the most ardent supporters of Polish nationalism. The modern Polish nationalist may reject them, but most of their ancestors were either fighting alongside them, or mere beneficiaries of Jewish meddling on behalf of Poland, such as it was.
The traditional Jews were still dominant, and wary of involvement in Christian border wars. To suggest a grand conspiracy between the Old Synagogue, the Hasidic messianics who they deplored, the Prussian Jews who looked down on all of them, and the atheists such as Marx who wanted to hang the lot of them is just perfectly ridiculous, but apparently not to the Russian and Austrian secret police, who thought Marx, a fringe character at best in Jewish affairs, was somehow running all the Jews by magic or telepathy.
The Hasidim meanwhile not only agitated for Polish nationalism, but also progress in Judaism, meaning rapprochement with Christianity, and were in favour of integration with the Polish culture. In essence they were quite un-Maccabean, but as there were no mad Seleucids trying to profane the Temple this all seemed quite reasonable to most Jews of the so-called Progressive party, who took their views with them as they left Kazimierz, to places like America.
Rabbi Dow Ber Meisels (1798 – 1870) was endemic of his age, a religious traditionalist who sided with Polish national aspirations and took part in patriotic events. In the 1840s he formed the Religious and Civilization Association, which simultaneously strove for Jewish integration into greater Polish society, alongside various other social reforms that were then considered progressive.
If I have not mentioned the Russian Jews yet, it is because there is so little to tell. These were Polish Jews who migrated east during the 17th century, following the Polish marcher lords. They re-settled in the provinces of Galicia, Lithuania and Ukraine, where the Polish nobles invited them to manage their agricultural lands. These were the Jews of the shtetl — new towns built on the demesnes.
Their lord leased them rights for building flour mills, dairy‑processing plants and taverns, which the industrious shtetl Jew obliged. This last right included the brewing of vodka and schnapps, and had a lasting effect upon the character of the region. The manifestation of intemperate Christian drunks who continue to characterise those regions were just one crime heaped upon the head of all Jews, who were similarly loathed as money grubbing, and accused of various other heinous acts.
The vast majority of eastern Jews were neither engaged in wanton sale of alcohol nor more salubrious activities while under Polish protection, like farming fish in ponds, but were simply more or less like their Christian neighbours, namely a vast mass of rural poor who lived week to week with whatever fate God dealt them.
Once the protection of the Polish lord was gone, these Jews fell into the most abject poverty, limited by stifling restrictions and prohibitions, and also living in constant fear of an attack by the peasantry and Cossacks, should some new rumour of Jewish indiscretion raise their ire.
The Jew of Russia, Prussia and Austria each took his separate course, and to ascribe the motives of a Lenin or a Trotsky to a Jewish peasant from the Shtetel is to impose an alien mind upon a man who lived a world apart. The Shtetl life was one of large families, with men devoted to religious studies, and women earning the family living. They shared a Yiddish vernacular, perhaps some German rabbinic traditions, but that was all.
1772 saw the Polish territories of Ukraine, Lithuania, Courland and Belorussia annexed by Russia, the stronghold of the Ashkenazi culture, which as we have seen was neither monolithic nor entirely Ashkenazi. The common cultural glue came from a cosmopolitan mixing, particularly with Sephardic emigres from Italy in Krakow and its near environs, but there was hardly a common Jewish opinion on anything. In fact, the most educated Jews prided themselves upon argumentation and questioning everything, when hidden away from Gentile eyes.
By the middle of the 19th century, with the growth of capitalism and the modernization of society, a Jewish proletariat and bourgeoisie had emerged across Europe. Similarly, there were many Jewish atheists who were actively involved in international Socialism. This prima facie case that Marx and Lenin and Trotsky were Jews is all that is needed to convict all Jews in some quarters of being Communists, but it is completely lacking in substance, upon any reasonable assessment of the facts.
The Jews were active in almost every movement of the 20th century simultaneously, as were the Christians. Those who were involved in Communism must necessarily have renounced God though, and can neither be considered Christian nor Jew. It takes quite an unbending mind to torture this into a vast conspiracy of back-stabbing Jews.
Certainly Trotsky switched from Menshevik to Bolshevik, and Lenin was happy to take the Kaiser’s money and wreak havoc upon the Tsarist regime with it, but this proves very little aside from the bad character of two individuals, who we already knew were Godless Communists, so what of it that they proved faithless to everything except their Socialist death cult, which is despised by Jew and Christian alike.
There were many affluent Jews in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev and Odessa who were murdered by peasant Jews in the name of Russian Bolshevism. Apparently they did not get the memo that all Jews were in it together.
In Krakow and in Warsaw, where if there was any kind of plan forming to pick Christendom apart they would have been aware of it, these communities would not have a bar of creeping Socialism. Where they could not stay and fight it, they departed for friendlier shores, and denounced it vigorously.
These are the Polish Jews: Poets, establishers of many of the industries of the West, intellectuals, and perhaps most controversial of all, the Polish Jews who gave us the American dream, who emigrated to the US and created Hollywood.
There is undoubtedly a worldwide bond of solidarity between the Jews today, and support for one Jewish community by another is not a recent thing, but to tarnish Judaism with the brush of Communism defies all logic and comprehension, unless Stalin was in fact some secret Jew, and he was only purging all the other Jews to suit some nefarious Jewish scheme. The rest is just sour grapes.
As one (entirely unsuccessful LOL) Capitalist to another, I salute the Merchant Class of Jews for their accomplishments, and as a professed Christian, I refuse to slander the race of Mary, mother of God.
In any case, I don’t profess to know everything about everything, and look forward to my gentle readers pointing out whatever errors I have made, either in logic or fact, in my investigation of the matter over the last several hours.
If I do not immediately replied, have no fear, Spurs are playing Arsenal tonight, and I have bigger fish to fry than squashing conspiracy.
Full disclosure: John Miller’s IRL name is Frank Faulkner. I’m an Aussie and when I’m not obsessing about Conservative politics or defending Trump I also enjoy various sports and Christian activities.