[ . . . ]
Among the symptoms of a deep change of heart going through our nation, none appears so strange as the passionate movement against Jewry. A few months ago the oft-heard cry “Hep-Hep”* still echoed in Germany. Anyone is permitted to say unabashedly the harshest things about the national shortcomings of the Germans, the French, and all the other peoples, but any who dared to speak about the undeniable weaknesses of the Jewish character, no matter how moderately or justly, was immediately branded by almost the entire press as a barbarian and a religious bigot. Today we have progressed so far that a majority of the voters of Breslau have sworn under no circumstances to elect a Jew to the state parliament** – and this apparently not in wild agitation but with calm forethought. Antisemitic leagues are banding together. The “Jewish question” is being discussed in excited meetings. A flood of anti-Jewish libels is inundating the book market. There is all too much dirt and crudity in these activities, and it is nauseating to note that many of those inflammatory writings apparently stem from Jewish pens. As is well known, since Eisenmenger and Pfefferkorn,*** born Jews have been ever more strongly represented in the ranks of the fanatic Jew haters.+ But is all that hides behind this noisome activity really just the coarseness of the mob and business envy? Are these outbreaks of deep, long-restrained anger merely an ephemeral excrescence, as hollow and baseless as the Teutonic Jew baiting of 1819? No; in fact, the instinct of the masses has correctly identified a serious danger, a critical defect in the new German life. It is no empty formula when we speak today of a German Jewish question.
* Supposedly of medieval origin, the “Hep-Hep” cry was the signal for the pogrom, the anti-Jewish riot. During the “Hep-Hep” riots of 1819, various derivations of the phrase were offered. Nazi storm troopers revived its usage during the 1920s. [Footnote taken from Richard S. Levy, Antisemitism in the Modern World. An Anthology of Texts. Lexington, Mass., and Toronto: D.C. Heath, 1991, p. 69] Up to now, the origins and original meaning of the expression are still open to question: the opinion that “Hep” means Hierosolyma est perdita (Jerusalem must be destroyed) is not provable beyond a doubt. According to another interpretation, “HEP” stands for “Hebrew, Noble People (Edelleute), and Potentates,” against whom popular anger during the German revolutionary movements of 1819 was originally directed. In any event, since the anti-Jewish riots of that year (the so-called Hep-Hep-riots), this expression was a popular topos for anti-Jewish agitation and persecution. [Note adapted and translated from Karsten Krieger, ed., Der „Berliner Antisemitismusstreit“ 1879-1881. Eine Kontroverse um die Zugehörigkeit der deutschen Juden zur Nation. Kommentierte Quellenedition [The “Berlin Antisemitism Conflict” 1879-1881. A Controversy Over Whether German Jews Belong to the Nation. Annotated Source Edition], 2 parts. Munich: K.G. Saur, 2003-2004, pt. 1, p. 10]
** This passage refers to Eduard Lasker’s candidacy for the Prussian Assembly in 1879. [Note adapted from Krieger, p. 10]
*** Treitschke's contention of Jewish authorship for the antisemitic pamphlets of the 1870s is baseless. He is, perhaps, referring specifically to Wilhelm Marr, who was widely thought to have been a renegade Jew; this, too, has no basis in fact. Marr was descended from Lutherans on both sides of his family. [Note from Levy, p. 69]
+ Johann Andreas Eisenmenger was not a Jew. [Note adpated from Krieger, p. 11]