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Court Preacher Adolf Stöcker Introduces Antisemitism to the Christian Social Workers’ Party (September 19, 1879)

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To the initiated, it is clear that the domination of the Semitic spirit over us signifies not only our spiritual but also our economic impoverishment. The German is strongly idealistic. For quite a while he has put up with his idealism being exploited by others for business purposes. But finally the figure of Nathan the Wise, created by Lessing in Christian love, has vanished behind that of Shylock. The admonitions about the Jews from Kant, Fichte, and Herder, our best men, have demonstrated their validity. The Jews are and remain a people within a people, a state within a state, a tribe amid a foreign race. Sooner or later all immigrants disappear into the people with which they dwell. Not so the Jews. Over against the German essence, they set their unbroken Semitism; against Christianity, their stubborn cult of the law or their enmity toward Christians. We cannot judge them. As long as they remain Jews, they cannot change. However, we must protect ourselves from the danger by means of clear understanding. In Berlin alone there are forty-five thousand Jews, as many as in all of France or England. This is too many. If they were really bound to us, the number would be immaterial. Because this half hundred thousand forms a compact community in good circumstances and increasing power, because it is armed with a profitable intellectual energy, and because it does not participate in our German Christian interests, it constitutes a real danger. We are approaching the conditions of Poland.* The only difference is that the Berlin Jews are much richer, smarter, and more influential than the Polish Israelites. Finance, banking, and commerce are in their possession. The press is in their hands, and they push into institutions of higher education beyond all proportion. This last is certainly a beautiful trait. I have often found it touching how poor Jews devote all their resources to give their children a good education. Nevertheless, this development is thoroughly unhealthy. We are on the way to having public opinion fully dominated by Jews and labor fully exploited by them. The process of dissolution is under way. Nothing will save us unless we reform and bring Israel to reformation. And here we pose our third demand: pray, a little more equality!

Formerly, it was thought that emancipation would drive the Jews into other sorts of occupations. Now that they are emancipated, the opposite has happened. Even more than before they favor the lucrative and easy occupations. Recently, they have pressed into the judiciary, which does not speak well of our system of justice. There are almost none of them in the handicrafts or manufacturing. It is fair to say, therefore, that they take no joy in labor and have no sympathy for the German work ethic. The slogan “cheap and shabby” we owe in large measure to them. They are to be found wherever need or speculative greed can be exploited. Indisputably, reckless speculation and usury are the businesses they love to pursue. They willingly reap where they have not sown. If the great social question is the problem of the correct proportion between labor and capital's share of the proceeds, then an activity that systematically and boundlessly exploits labor in the interests of capital is the worst element in this problem. It is true that, thanks to Marx and Lassalle,** the Jews have their friends among the Social Democrats. Some of the nihilists in Russia are also Jews. Despite this, the one-sided speculativeness of the Jews poses dangers even to these [leftists]. For me, the epitome of the Jewish question is whether those Jews who live among us will learn to take part in the total spectrum of German labor – in the hard and bitter work of the crafts, the factory, and agriculture. More we cannot demand of them.

* In 1880, the Jews of Berlin, the largest Jewish community in Germany, numbered 53,949 or 4.8 percent of the city's population. Estimates of the Jewish population of Poland, partitioned among its powerful neighbors Prussia, Russia, and Austria, usually place it at 10 percent of the total but 31 percent in most large urban areas. Thus Stoecker considerably exaggerates the peril of Jewish numbers in Germany.
** Karl Marx (1818–83) was descended from rabbis on both sides of his family; however, his father converted to Lutheranism in 1824. Ferdinand Lassalle (1825–64), born Lassal, though not a convert, was not a practicing Jew. Both men were pained by their Jewish origins. Because both were instrumental in the development of German Social Democracy, enemies of socialism frequently attacked the phenomenon as an un-German aberration.

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