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

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Occasional utterances of mine on this theme in Christian Social gatherings have been conveyed to the public out of context, exaggerated, and always distorted – for partisan political reasons. Reporters from certain newspapers, a disgrace to the city of intelligence, have been equally ignorant and untruthful. Many of them falsify out of incomprehension but most out of malice. An occurrence that took place in the last year is both characteristic and instructive. In my absence, the Jews were discussed more than was necessary in our gatherings. The Jewish press wrote that the Christian Socials were animated by Jew hatred and that they were pushing for the persecution of Jews. I returned and seized the opportunity publicly and solemnly to declare: We hate no one, not even the Jews. We respect them as our fellow citizens and love them as the people of the prophets and apostles, out of which our Savior came forth. But this ought not stop us from identifying the danger when the Jewish papers assault our faith or when the Jewish spirit of Mammon ruins our people. This declaration was then distorted into the accusation that I said all Germany's woes came from the Jews. A flood of letters hailed down upon me. A Berlin Jew, whose name I know, wrote me that his people was the favorite of God. If Christians declared their love for the chosen people, this was no different from when a courtesan – I use the more polite word here – gives her heart to a high-ranking nobleman. A second sent “to the narrow-minded Jew baiter” a pamphlet in which a faithless, baptized writer describes and exaggerates the contributions of Jews to science in the Middle Ages.* A third, writing from Frankfurt-am-Main, congratulates me for speaking openly about Germany's defects and signs himself: “unfortunately, a Jew.”

This episode, insignificant in itself, is a good example of the lies, arrogance, and hatred called forth by any discussion of the Jewish question. People who pour scathing criticism on the state and church, personalities and affairs, are outraged to the extreme when others allow themselves to cast so much as a scrutinizing glance at Jewry. They themselves fall upon every non-Jewish activity with hatred and scorn. But if we softly speak a word of truth about their doings, they play the insulted innocent, the victims of intolerance, the martyrs of world history. Notwithstanding, I shall dare openly and freely to speak my mind about modern Jewry. I am prepared in advance for lying reports.

* Matthios Jakob Schleiden was neither Jew nor convert. A botanist, he was one of the few Christian scholars who undertook a study of the Jewish role in medieval history. Stoecker, who insists on regarding him as a Jew or "worse than a Jew," was referring to his laudatory article, "The Significance of the Jews for the Preservation and Revival of Science in the Middle Ages" (1876). [Unless otherwise indicated, footnotes are from Richard S. Levy, Antisemitism in the Modern World. An Anthology of Texts. Lexington, Mass., and Toronto: D.C. Heath, 1991, pp. 58-66.]

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