In 1919, a Herr Adolf Gemlich contacted Hitler asking about the importance of the "Jewish question." At the time, Hitler had recently underwent a course of Pan-German nationalism in which he had distinguished himself by the vehemence of his radical nationalist and anti-Semitic views and by his oratorical talents.
In his response letter to Gemlich, Hitler appears anxious to establish
his credentials as a knowledgeable anti-Semite though his rhetoric
is quite tame, stressing the need for a "rational"
and "scientific" antisemitism. Hitler calls for the "irrevocable
removal" of Jews from German
life, but it is clear
from the context that, at this point, Hitler meant only segregation or expulsion rather
than systematic liquidation.
The letter impressed Hitler's superiors and he soon
gained a reputation as a man
who could inoculate the masses against revolution
and whose anti-Semitic rhetoric could help discredit
the Weimar Republic.
The danger posed by Jewry for our people today finds
expression in the undeniable aversion of wide sections
of our people. The cause of this aversion is not to
be found in a clear recognition of the consciously or
unconsciously systematic and pernicious effect of the
Jews as a totality upon our nation. Rather, it arises
mostly from personal contact and from the personal impression
which the individual Jew leavesalmost always
an unfavorable one. For this reason, antisemitism is
too easily characterized as a mere emotional phenomenon.
And yet this is incorrect. Antisemitism as a political
movement may not and cannot be defined by emotional
impulses, but by recognition of the facts. The facts
are these: First, Jewry is absolutely a race and not
a religious association. Even the Jews never designate
themselves as Jewish Germans, Jewish Poles, or Jewish
Americans but always as German, Polish, or American
Jews. Jews have never yet adopted much more than the
language of the foreign nations among whom they live.
A German who is forced to make use of the French language
in France, Italian in Italy, Chinese in China does not
thereby become a Frenchman, Italian, or Chinaman. It's
the same with the Jew who lives among us and is forced
to make use of the German language. He does not thereby
become a German. Neither does the Mosaic faith, so important
for the survival of this race, settle the question of
whether someone is a Jew or nonJew. There is scarcely
a race whose members belong exclusively to just one
Through thousands of years of the closest kind of
inbreeding, Jews in general have maintained their race
and their peculiarities far more distinctly than many
of the peoples among whom they have lived. And thus
comes the fact that there lives amongst us a non
German, alien race which neither wishes nor is able
to sacrifice its racial character or to deny its feeling,
thinking, and striving. Nevertheless, it possesses all
the political rights we do. If the ethos of the Jews
is revealed in the purely material realm, it is even
clearer in their thinking and striving. Their dance
around the golden calf is becoming a merciless struggle
for all those possessions we prize most highly on earth.
The value of the individual is no longer decided by
his character or by the significance of his achievements
for the totality but exclusively by the size of his
fortune, by his money.
The loftiness of a nation is no longer to be measured
by the sum of its moral and spiritual powers, but rather
by the wealth of its material possessions.
This thinking and striving after money and power,
and the feelings that go along with it, serve the purposes
of the Jew who is unscrupulous in the choice of methods
and pitiless in their employment. In autocratically
ruled states he whines for the favor of "His Majesty"
and misuses it like a leech fastened upon the nations.
In democracies he vies for the favor of the masses,
cringes before the "majesty of the people,"
and recognizes only the majesty of money.
He destroys the character of princes with byzantine
flattery, national pride (the strength of a people),
with ridicule and shameless breeding to depravity. His
method of battle is that public opinion which is never
expressed in the press but which is nonetheless managed
and falsified by it. His power is the power of money,
which multiplies in his hands effortlessly and endlessly
through interest, and which forces peoples under the
most dangerous of yokes. Its golden glitter, so attractive
in the beginning, conceals the ultimately tragic consequences.
Everything men strive after as a higher goal, be it
religion, socialism, democracy, is to the Jew only means
to an end, the way to satisfy his lust for gold and
In his effects and consequences he is like a racial
tuberculosis of the nations.
The deduction from all this is the following: an antisemitism
based on purely emotional grounds will find its ultimate
expression in the form of the pogrom. An antisemitism
based on reason, however, must lead to systematic legal
combating and elimination of the privileges of the Jews,
that which distinguishes the Jews from the other aliens
who live among us (an Aliens Law). The ultimate objective
[of such legislation] must, however, be the irrevocable
removal of the Jews in general.
For both these ends a government of national strength,
not of national weakness, is necessary.
The Republic in Germany owes its birth not to the
uniform national will of our people but the sly exploitation
of a series of circumstances which found general expression
in a deep, universal dissatisfaction. These circumstances
however were independent of the form of the state and
are still operative today. Indeed, more so now than
before. Thus, a great portion of our people recognizes
that a changed stateform cannot in itself change
our situation. For that it will take a rebirth of the
moral and spiritual powers of the nation.
And this rebirth cannot be initiated by a state leadership
of irresponsible majorities, influenced by certain party
dogmas, an irresponsible press, or internationalist
phrases and slogans. [It requires] instead the ruthless
installation of nationally minded leadership personalities
with an inner sense of responsibility.
But these facts deny to the Republic the essential
inner support of the nation's spiritual forces. And
thus today's state leaders are compelled to seek support
among those who draw the exclusive benefits of the new
formation of German conditions, and who for this reason
were the driving force behind the revolutionthe
Jews. Even though (as various statements of the leading
personalities reveal) today's leaders fully realized
the danger of Jewry, they (seeking their own advantage)
accepted the readily proffered support of the Jews and
also returned the favor. And this payoff consisted
not only in every possible favoring of Jewry, but above
all in the hindrance of the struggle of the betrayed
people against its defrauders, that is in the repression
of the antisemitic movement.