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Debate in the Parliament of the Duchy of Nassau on a Motion for the Complete Emancipation of the Jews in the Duchy (1846)

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acknowledged the principles I am defending here by promoting the worthy Doctor Herz in Weilburg to senior medical officer. Of what use to the state and Christianity are hypocrites like these, who change their outer character for the sake of office because they are dyed-in-the-wool fakes. As early as 1814 the princes, Duke Frederick August and Prince Frederick William of Nassau, of blessed memory, at the opening of the law on establishing the state parliaments, uttered noteworthy (and, for the enlightened House of Nassau, befitting) words [to the effect] that they – "in the midst of the continuous oppressions of force in foreign relations – have secured the civic freedoms of their subjects and maintained political equality of the same before the law. Proceeding from this viewpoint and guided by motives like these, We have, it goes on to say, applied the most complete toleration of religious opinions and free practice of every divine service in our country." Now then, gentlemen, it befits the House of Nassau, to whose name the concept of freedom of belief is linked, [and] it befits the delegates of our beautiful, blessed, and intelligent country to be at the forefront of great, legal progress in our Fatherland. It is our duty to propose the abolition of exceptional laws, and especially those that are still placing the Jews under medieval pressure, and with this proposal I certainly have no fear of contradiction. But do not let me, gentlemen, stop here! Let us propose this motion to turn the lovely words of our princes from 1814 into complete reality after 32 years, to fully and frankly acknowledge and to legally articulate civic freedom and political equality for all Nassauers! After 32 years, I say, and how much has happened in these 32 years that testifies to incredible progress on the part of the Jews! Allow me to cite just one fact that seems decisive to me. A number of years ago the Royal Prussian Government announced that it was dealing with a plan to release the Jews – while preserving, indeed even with some expansion, the private citizenship right granted them in this great German land – from military service. What did our contemporary Jews do, and how did their ancestors behave in a similar situation only 50 years earlier? History provides us with an answer. The noble Emperor Joseph II, who was the first among all the German princes to improve their fate and who simultaneously – which was only fair, and which never happened before – drafted them into military service, had to fight both against their resistance and that of the Christian people. The subjugated preferred to remain slaves, in the manner of the servile, rather than to earn their freedom with weapons in hand. Our contemporary Jews, by contrast, felt offended and dishonored by the unreasonable demand that they be excluded from the honor of continuing to bear weapons for the common Fatherland. From all sections and all circles, almost from all cities in the monarchy, remonstrances poured in, in which the Jews insisted on their right to fight for King and Fatherland. Not without emotion I found these words addressed to the king in a petition

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