November 20, 1938 – Influential Catholic Priest, Father Charles Coughlin, Blames Jews for Nazi Violence Against Them

Charles Edward Coughlin (October 25, 1891 – October 27, 1979) was a Canadian-American Roman Catholic priest serving in the United States near Detroit, Michigan. One of the first political leaders to use radio to reach a mass audience, he was known throughout the country as Father Coughlin. During the 1930s, an estimated 30 million listeners tuned to his weekly broadcasts. The Holocaust Museum history of Coughlin reports that a new post office was constructed in his Michigan town just to process the letters that he received each week—80,000 on average. He also produced a journal, Social Justice, that eventually reached one million subscribers.

Coughlin was antisemitic, anti-Communist, pro-fascist, and isolationist.

A Photo of Charles Coughlin by Hamilton Spectator, circa 1938.

Coughlin attacked Jews explicitly in his broadcasts, in particular after Kristallnacht (or “Night of Broken Glass”) on November 10, 1938. This was the name for the coordinated terror against Jews all over Nazi-controlled areas. The brutal action was characterized by burning, looting, and murder.

Coughlin defended the state-sponsored violence of the Nazi regime, arguing that Kristallnacht was justified as retaliation for Jewish persecution of Christians. He explained to his listeners on this day in history, November 20, 1938, that the “communistic government of Russia,” “the Lenins and Trotskys,…atheistic Jews and Gentiles” had murdered more than 20 million Christians and had stolen “40 billion [dollars]…of Christian property.”

Coughlin also began to promote fascist dictatorship and authoritarian government as the only cure to the ills of democracy and capitalism. He increasingly attacked President Franklin Roosevelt’s policies, which probably was what ultimately led to his demise.

The Roosevelt administration decided that, because the radio spectrum was a “limited national resource” and regulated as a publicly owned commons, broadcasting was not afforded full protections under the First Amendment. In October 1939, the Code Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) enacted new limitations on the sale of radio time to ‘spokesmen of controversial public issues.’ Manuscripts now had to be submitted in advance, and radio stations were threatened with the loss of licenses if they failed to comply. As a result, on September 23, 1940, Coughlin announced in “Social Justice” that he had been forced from the air.

In addition, the U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle met with banker Leo Crowley, a Roosevelt political appointee and friend of Bishop Edward Aloysius Mooney of Detroit. Crowley relayed Biddle’s message to Mooney that the government was willing to “deal with Coughlin in a restrained manner if he [Mooney] would order Coughlin to cease his public activities.” Bishop Mooney complied, ordering Coughlin to stop his political activities and to confine himself to his duties as a parish priest, warning of potentially removing his priestly faculties if he refused. Although forced to end his public career, Coughlin served as parish pastor until retiring in 1966.

August 5, 1391 – Massacre of Jews in Barcelona

Jews began arriving in Barcelona, Spain after 70 CE in an attempt to flee Roman repression in Palestine. Jews settled, first through custom, then by compulsion, in an area known as El Call. This area, which came to account for some 15 percent of the city’s population in the 13th century, was the center of intellectual life and provided the city with its doctors, lawyers, financiers, and translators.

However, the Catholic Church was becoming more hostile to the Jews, having developed the doctrine that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.

The situation worsened in the 14th century, when Europe experienced a series of cataclysms that savaged the economy. Barcelona was hit by a run of famines beginning in 1333 and in 1348, the Black Plague struck. Possibly a fifth of the city’s population — then less than 40,000 — died, including a large number of the ruling elite. The Jews were blamed for the illness as well as the economic disruption.

By 1391, there was rising discontent with the economy, the municipal government and taxation. The situation was inflamed by Ferrand Martinez, a Spanish cleric and archdeacon of Écija (part of Seville), who was most noted for being an antisemitic agitator.

In public sermons, Martinez called on all good Christians to destroy the 23 synagogues of the Jewish community of Seville, to lock up the Jews in a ghetto, to have no dealings with them, and to use every means to force them into accepting Christianity. He preached that it was no crime for Christians to murder and pillage the “unbelievers.”

On August 5, 1391 anti-Jewish riots broke out in El Call in Barcelona, led by a group of Castilians who had participated in previous massacres of Jews in Seville and Valencia, and who came to Barcelona by boat intending to attack the Jews there. During the riots in Barcelona at least 400 people were killed (many more were killed in Seville), while others were forcibly converted, Jewish homes were looted, and then the Jewish Quarter was burned down.

The abandoned synagogues were demolished, with their stones used to build the royal palace and a new government office building.

Narrow street of the El Call area in Barcelona

In 1480 the Spanish Inquisition was created by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile with the aim of maintaining Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms and rooting out ‘false’ converts from Islam and Judaism. The converts became known respectively as moriscos and conversos, or, in the insulting term of the time, marranos (pigs).

In March 1492 came the edict of the Catholic Kings to expel all Jews from the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. Jews were given four months to convert or go into exile.

Almost 500 years later, on December 16, 1968, Spain declared that the ban on Jews was null and void.

Nevertheless, according to the Gatestone Institute of International Policy Council (a non-partisan, not-for-profit international policy council and think tank), Spain consistently ranks as one of the most anti-Semitic countries in Europe, with a steady rise of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish persons and property in the country. A 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Pew Global Attitudes Project found 46% of the Spanish rating Jews unfavorably. Spain was the only country in Europe where negative views of Jews outweighed positive views. A 2015 survey found that almost half of the Spanish feel “Jews have too much power and “too much control over global affairs.” A more recent round-up of anti-Semitic incidents in Spain is here In February, 2020, for example, a carnival float in the Spanish town of Campo de Criptana featured uniforms of Nazis, concentration camp inmates and crematoria trains. . . .

February 25, 1593 – Pope Clement VIII Expels Jews from Papal States

Caeca et Obdurata Hebraeorum perfidia (named for its first few words in Latin, meaning “The Blind and Obdurate Perfidy of the Hebrews”) was a papal bull promulgated by Pope Clement VIII on February 25, 1593. (A papal bull is a type of public decree issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden seal (bulla) that was traditionally appended to the end in order to authenticate it.)

Pope Clement VIII

The new regulation expelled the Jews from the Papal States, effectively revoking previous bulls which had allowed Jews but restricted them to ghettos. It alleged that Jews in the Papal States had engaged in usury and exploited the hospitality of Clement VIII’s predecessors “who, in order to lead them from their darkness to knowledge of the true faith, deemed it opportune to use the clemency of Christian piety towards them.” As Britannica Encyclopedia points out however, usury was one of the few options open to Jews, since premodern Christianity did not permit moneylending for interest and because Jews generally could not own land or enter a variety of other positions in society.

The bull gave Jews three months to leave the Papal States, with the exception of the cities of Rome, Ancona, and Avignon. But those who were allowed to remain had to attend weekly sermons.

Three days later, on February 28, Clement VIII promulgated Quum Hebraeorum malitia, decreeing that the Talmud should be burnt along with cabalistic works and commentaries. It gave the owners of such works 10 days to turn them over to the Universal Inquisition in Rome and two months to hand them over to local inquisitors.

February 20, 1939 – New York City Rally in Support of Hitler, Antisemitism, and Fascism

On February 20, 1939, this day in history, the German American Bund, an American organization openly supportive of Adolph Hitler, organized a big “pro-American” rally in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

NPR reports:

In the 1930s, the Bund was one of several organizations in the United States that were openly supportive of Adolf Hitler and the rise of fascism in Europe. They had parades, bookstores and summer camps for youth. Their vision for America was a cocktail of white supremacy, fascist ideology and American patriotism.”

The rally was attended by some 20,000 supporters and members wearing Nazi armbands and waving American flags and signs with slogans such as “Stop Jewish Domination of Christian America.”

German-American Bund Rally – The US Nazi Party – in New York

NPR writes:

The speeches were explicitly anti-Semitic, and tirades against “job-taking Jewish refugees” were met with thunderous applause. “They demanded a white gentile America. They denounced Roosevelt as ‘Rosenfeld,’ to say that Roosevelt was in the pocket of rich Jews,” said Sarah Churchwell, author of Behold, America. In equal measure to the xenophobia, the speeches were loaded with American boosterism.”

Fritz Kuhn, the leader of the German American Bund, was indicted later that year on embezzlement charges. He was denaturalized and deported in 1945. Moreover, as soon as the United States entered WWII against Germany, pro-Hitler groups were discredited and disbanded.

You can see an amazing collection of photos showing pre-WWII fascist activities in the U.S. organized by the Bund in “The Atlantic Magazine,” online here.

December 30, 1942 – President Franklin Roosevelt Receives Detailed Dossier About the Holocaust from the Polish Underground

On this date, President Franklin Roosevelt and Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles received a dossier reinforcing and expanding on information about the Holocaust they had already learned from other sources.

The 130-page document titled “Reports on Poland and Lithuania” contained details about the Belzec concentration camp in southeastern Poland:

Inside and outside the fence Ukrainian sentries are posted. Executions are carried out in the following manner: a train carrying Jews arrives at the station and is moved up to the wire fence where the guards are changed. Now the train is brought to the unloading place by German personnel. The men are taken into barracks on the left, where they have to take their clothes off, ostensibly for a bath.”

It went on to describe how men and women were herded into a building and killed, their bodies buried in a ditch that had been dug by “Jews who, after they have finished the job, are executed.”

The dossier also revealed the existence of mobile extermination trucks in which poison gas was used to murder Jews, described the Auschwitz concentration camp, liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto, and atrocities in Lithuania. An appendix containing photographs of corpses stacked like firewood and other horrors made it difficult even for anti-Semites in the State Department to doubt the authenticity of the information. (Source, Steven Usdin, Bureau of Spies, pp. 185-186, citing documents available at the FDR Library)

Though the level of detail was new, the fact that the Holocaust was taking place was not news to FDR. Beginning with the Kristallnacht attacks in Germany on Jews in November 1938, Roosevelt had expressed his shock “that such things could occur in a 20th century civilization.” But letting in Jewish refugees was another thing entirely.

Both the Americans and the British maintained that the best way to stop the Nazis’ “systematic, mechanized killing” was to defeat Hitler’s Germany in war. (Henry L. Feingold, The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust, 1938-1945, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1970, excerpt online at the FDR Library, here)

Meanwhile, after Germany annexed Austria (“The Anschluss”) in March 1938, tens of thousands of desperate Jews added their names to the waiting lists for entrance to the United States. Nevertheless, shortly after the Anschluss, Roosevelt merged the German and Austrian immigration quotas, so that a maximum of 27,370 quota immigrants born in “Greater Germany” could immigrate to the United States each year. By June 1939, more than 300,000 Germans were on the waiting list for American immigrant visas, and anticipated a wait of up to ten years. (Source: Holocaust Museum Encyclopedia)

As the Holocaust Museum Encyclopedia also reports:

FDR . . . called an international conference, which opened in Évian-les-Bains, France, in July 1938, to discuss the refugee problem. Roosevelt hoped that the thirty-two participating countries would pledge to admit significant numbers of refugees, but that did not occur at Évian.”

Despite a building refugee crisis in Europe, FDR did not ask Congress to consider expanding the immigration quotas, even though First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt spoke out in favor of it.

FDR’s public justification was bad enough. At a press conference on June 5, 1940, FDR stated:

Now, of course, the refugee has got to be checked because, unfortunately, among the refugees there are some spies, as has been found in other countries. And not all of them are voluntary spies—it is rather a horrible story but in some of the other countries that refugees out of Germany have gone to, especially Jewish refugees, they found a number of definitely proven spies.”

What he thought privately was even worse.

In July, 1942, FDR gave the green light to “the M Project,” which was “a secret study of options for post-war migration (hence ‘M’) of the millions of Europeans expected to be displaced by the war.” (Usdin, p. 196)

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, September 1942

As early as 1925, FDR, in an editorial for the Macon Telegraph, voiced his opinion that:

It goes without saying that no sensible American wants this country to be made a dumping ground for foreigners of any nation, but it is equally true that there are a great many foreigners who, if they came here, would make exceedingly desirable citizens. It becomes, therefore, in the first place, a question of selection.”

Ah, there’s the rub.

What he was in favor of, just as Trump is today, is “the right stock,” like this example FDR gave:

A few years later some other families came in from Northern Italy, the right type of emigrant — they, too, have borne and are bearing their share in the general improvement of conditions.”

Thus for his “M Project,” FDR commissioned an advisory committee to be led by Aleš Hrdlička, an Austro-Hungarian anthropologist who came to the United States with his family in 1881. At the outset of WWII, Hrdlička was curator of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Aleš Hrdlička

As Usdin observes:

Roosevelt, the scion of two families that considered themselves American aristocrats, was especially attracted to Hrdlička’s notions of human racial ‘stock.’”

In fact, Hrdlička was convinced of the superiority of the white race and obsessed with racial identity. . . .

FDR used a go-between, John Franklin Carter, to convey his goals for the committee to Hrdlička. In particular, FDR wanted them to study South America and Central Africa as possibilities for post-war settlement. The committee should ascertain what percentage of “base stock of their own” should be mixed with immigrant stock for the best effect.

Roosevelt pointed out, Carter informed Hrdlička, “that while most South American countries would be glad to admit Jewish immigration, it was on the condition that the Jewish group were not localized in the cities, they want no ‘Jewish colonies,’ ‘Italian colonies,’ etc.” Keeping with this theme, the president also tasked the committee with determining how to ‘resettle the Jews on the land and keep them there.’” (Usdin, p. 199. You can also see the actual correspondence online via the FDR library, here.

Usdin notes that Hrdlička ultimately refused to participate in the M Project because Roosevelt wouldn’t give him absolute control. His replacement wasn’t much better: Isaiah Bowman, president of John Hopkins University, was a known anti-Semite. (Even after WWII, when most Americans were at least trying to feign sympathy for Jews, The Johns Hopkins University under Bowman’s leadership implemented a Jewish admissions quota while other American universities were terminating their discriminatory policies. It should also be noted that during the presidency of Isaiah Bowman (1935-48) not a single African-American student was admitted. (See “Dark Places Around the University: The Johns Hopkins University Admissions Quota and the Jewish Community, 1945-1951” by Jason Kalman, Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 81 (2010), pp. 233-279 online here.)

TIME Magazine Cover: Isaiah Bowman — Mar. 23, 1936

American Jews knew none of this, but they did know FDR was refusing to take action. According to “The Nation,” in early 1943, at the height of the Holocaust, Freda Kirchwey, a staunch New Dealer, Roosevelt supporter and editor in chief of “The Nation” denounced President Roosevelt’s response to the Nazi genocide in harsh terms:

‘You and I and the President and the Congress and the State Department are accessories to the crime and share Hitler’s guilt,’ she wrote. ‘If we had behaved like humane and generous people instead of complacent, cowardly ones, the two million Jews lying today in the earth of Poland and Hitler’s other crowded graveyards would be alive and safe…. We had it in our power to rescue this doomed people and we did not lift a hand to do it—or perhaps it would be fairer to say that we lifted just one cautious hand, encased in a tight-fitting glove of quotas and visas and affidavits, and a thick layer of prejudice.’”

Finally, on January 22, 1944, responding to both public pressure and pressure within his administration, FDR issued an executive order establishing a War Refugee Board (WRB), an independent agency tasked with carrying out a new American policy to rescue and provide relief for Jews and other groups being persecuted by Nazi Germany and Axis collaborators.

By that time, however, most European Jews had already been murdered. For example, a diary entry on January 25, 1944 by Hans Frank, Gauleiter of Poland, concerning the fate of 2.5 million Jews originally under his jurisdiction read “At the present time we still have in the General Government perhaps 100,000 Jews.”

As for the M Project, Usdin writes:

The M Project expanded far beyond Roosevelt’s original charge, producing thousands of pages of reports, maps, and charts analyzing the suitability of locations around the globe for settlement by Europeans who were expected to be displaced by the war, analyzing the characteristics of myriad racial and ethnic groups, and theorizing about optimal proportions in which to combine them in their new homelands.” (Usdin, p. 199)

Usdin also writes that few knew about the reports, and they had no discernable impact on policy decisions. He does opine:

In retrospect, the M Project’s principal accomplishment was to shed light on FDR’s thinking about race and immigration….”

After Roosevelt’s death on April 12, 1945, John Franklin Carter wrote to Truman explaining the project, offering to continue it, and urging that it still be funded (which it had been at the enormous rate at that time of $10,000 per month, translating in 2018 dollars to over $140,000 per month).

Truman decided it cost too much, and terminated the project.

October 28, 1965 – Pope Paul VI Absolves Jews of Collective Guilt for the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

The Second Vatican Council was convened by Pope John XXIII to bring the Church into dialogue with the modern world. After John XXIII died in 1963, Pope Paul VI continued the work of the Council. Catholics were primarily affected by the modernization of the liturgy allowing for Latin to be replaced as the language of worship. But the work of the Council having the most effect on non-Catholics was the Nostra Aetate, or Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions.

The fourth section of the Declaration dealt with Judaism, and repudiated anti-Semitism and the charge that Jews were collectively guilty for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. As summarized by Tablet Magazine:

The most focused, concrete, and revolutionary assertion was that only those 1st-century Jews directly involved bore responsibility for the Crucifixion. Contemporary Jews are entirely without guilt. Beyond this, the document, invoking a classic but historically underemphasized passage in Romans chapters 9-11, asserts that Jews and Judaism are the root of Christianity and that the gifts of God, in this case the divine election of Israel, are not revoked. At the same time, it affirms that the Church awaits the day when ‘all people will address the Lord in a single voice and ‘serve him shoulder to shoulder.’’ It ‘decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone’ and calls for ‘fraternal dialogues.’”

Specifically, the Nostra Aetate stated (sounding as if it were begrudgingly conceded):

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. The Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ. Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.”

The impact of these words was profound, but did not have the effect of eliminating Anti-semitism altogether. Unfortunately, the common schoolyard taunt and neo-Nazi chant of “Christ killer” just morphed into a different rationale for the appealing resort to scapegoating.

Pope John XXIII in 1959

Who Is George Soros and Why Does the Right Keep Picking on Him?

As Dan Nexon, a blogger for “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” points out, Trump, his media allies, and Republican lawmakers have long fueled suspicions that liberal, Jewish philanthropist George Soros is seemingly behind everything they consider evil, from U.S. protesters to the migrant caravan 1,000 miles from the U.S. border. (On Lou Dobbs’s Fox Business show, for example, Judicial Watch’s Chris Farrell told Dobbs that the “Soros-occupied State Department” was funding the caravan.] Most recently, in Klamath Falls, Oregon, armed white protestors showed up at a rally to protest the killing of George Floyd, because “they had heard that antifa, paid by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, were being bused in from neighboring cities, hellbent on razing their idyllic town.”

George Soros, born in Hungary in 1930 and a graduate of the London School of Economics, made his money in hedge fund management. He is now a philanthropist with a wide range of interests, like helping kids and medical conditions. He has also backed political causes that promote democratic institutions versus communism and fascism because of his experience growing up in Hungary (a very bad place to be either a Jew or a democrat). (In fact, in Hungary, when Soros was a young boy, over 600,000 Jews were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp where most of them were gassed.  He was lucky to escape, but it wasn’t by “collaborating” with Nazis!)  

George Soros stands in Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in 2004. Photo credit: © Daniel Biskup/laif/Redux

So how did he turn into this whipping boy and focus of antisemitic conspiracy theories for the right?  It’s a very unfortunate story actually, because, like hate-filled theories promoted by Trump’s Jewish but anti-immigrant guru, Stephen Miller, whose grandparents ironically immigrated themselves to the U.S. to escape the Nazis, the two guys who manufactured the malignant stories about Soros are also Jewish.  Amazingly enough, they gave a full interview detailing how they made all this stuff up to create a villain as an alternative to Hungary’s authoritarian leader, Viktor Orbán. They were hired to do PR for Orbán, and Hungary has always been a hotbed of antisemitism.  They decided that highlighting a Jewish adversary could bring electoral success. As Steve Bannon said, they enabled Hungary to give birth to “Trump before Trump.”

Swiss economist, expert in Information Warfare, and reporter Hannes Grassegger, who conducted the interview, wrote:

Birnbaum and Finkelstein’s work has provided a new model for attack politics in this era of global division. They designed a master plan for exploiting these divisions that has worked in many different countries and contexts, and helped create a Jewish enemy that the far right has exploited to devastating effect. In 2016, when Trump ran his final TV ad ahead of the election, it came as no surprise that Soros was featured as a member of ‘global special interests’ who don’t have ‘your good in mind.’”

The story gets even more repulsive as Birnbaum and Finkelstein reveal that the person who brought them to the attention of Orbán was another Jew, Bibi Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel!

At first, in 2008, Birnbaum and Finkelstein had helped Orbán win reelection by using the same tactics that had benefitted Netanyahu, targeting the “the bureaucrats” and “foreign capital.” Orbán won again in 2010, but now wanted to rewrite the constitution. He needed a new enemy. Grassegger writes:

‘There was no real political enemy … there was no one to have a fight with,’ Birnbaum remembered. The ultra-right Jobbik party and the Socialist party were beaten, the rest in splinters. ‘We had had an incumbent with a historic majority, something that had never happened in Hungary before.’ To maintain that, they needed a ‘high energy level,’ said Birnbaum. ‘You need to keep the base energized, make sure that on Election Day they have a reason to go out and vote,’ he said. They needed something powerful, like Trump’s ‘Build the Wall!’”

‘It always helps rally the troops and rally a population’ when the enemy has a face, Birnbaum explained. . . . Who could become that enemy in Hungary now that Orbán was in power — and wanted to stay there?'”

Victor Orbán – Copyright REUTERS Bernadett Szabo

The interview goes on to explain how basically Birnbaum and Finkelstein couldn’t believe how easy it was to tap into all the Anti-Semitic sentiment in the country and pile it onto Soros because he was (a) Jewish and (b) rich so a lot of people were willing to believe whatever they made up.

Then Fox News took it and ran with it, because it also helped the American Right to have an enemy to focus on, especially once Hillary was out of the picture.  (Although for the Right, Bill and Hillary are never quite out of the picture.)  The Right started claiming Soros and his money were behind everything, from voting machines, to the campaign against confirming Kavanaugh, to secretly running the State Department, to secretly financing the “caravans” of immigrants.  None of this is remotely true, but it doesn’t need to be, because the Right maintains that facts showing otherwise are actually fictions by the “deep state.”

Birnbaum and Finkelstein defended their actions:

Anti-Semitism is something eternal, indelible,’ said Birnbaum. ‘Our campaign did not make anyone anti-Semitic who wasn’t before. Maybe we were just drawing a new target, not more. I would do it again.’”


Grassegger adds:

Despite everything that followed, Birnbaum is proud of the campaign against Soros: ‘Soros was a perfect enemy. It was so obvious. It was the simplest of all products, you just had to pack it and market it.’”

Now, as someone on twitter wrote, “George Soros” is just a code for “an elaborate international Jewish banking and media cabal that has existed since the Middle Ages, runs most of the world, and who wants to kill Jesus and enslave the rest of us.”

When right-wing blogger and activist Mike Cernovich launched a sustained attack on H. R. McMaster, at one point National Security Advisor for Trump, he used Soros as a prop. A cartoon he published, shown below, showed the Jewish Rothschilds controlling a George Soros puppet, which in turn controlled puppets representing McMaster and former CIA director David Petraeus. As Dan Nexon of “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” noted:

The hand labeled ‘Rothschilds’ has since been relabeled ‘Saudis.’ Cernovich told me he changed it because complaints about the cartoon’s anti-Semitism are ‘not a hill to die on,’ and ‘if everybody wants to complain, then fine—I’ll just put the Saudis at the top.’”)

In any event, Tablet Magazine argues that in the US, “many American conservatives oppose Soros not because he’s Jewish. They oppose him because he’s liberal.” And that, to today’s Right, is crime enough.

October 23, 1941 – Order Banning Emigration of Jews from the Reich During World War II

One of the reasons for the relatively low number of refugees leaving Europe prior to World War II was the barrier of stringent immigration policies enacted by the prospective host countries. Jewish immigration in particular was limited by countries including the United States, where antisemitism flourished.

Father Charles Coughlin, known as ‘the founder of hate radio,’ was a leading proponent of American anti-Semitism during the 1930s

As Michael R. Marrus and Robert O. Paxton explain in “The Nazis and the Jews in Occupied Western Europe, 1940-1944” [The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Dec., 1982), online here], during a short period prior to the outbreak of World War II, the Germans were in favor of Jewish emigration. At that time, there were no operative plans to kill the Jews. The goal was to induce them to leave, if necessary, by the use of force. Indeed, while many German Jews were initially reluctant to emigrate, the majority sought to do so following Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), November 9-10, 1938. Had havens been available, more people would certainly have emigrated.

The policy of Germany changed however at the start of World War II. Why not get rid of Jews once and for all?

Thus, no more Jews were allowed to emigrate; it would be preferable to kill them.

On this day in history, a new order was issued by the Schutzstaffel or SS. This was a paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II.:

Re: Emigration of Jews
Reference: none

The Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police has decreed that the emigration of Jews is to be prevented, taking effect immediately. (Evacuation Aktionen will remain unaffected.)

I request that the internal German Authorities concerned in the area of service there may be informed of this order.

Permission for the emigration of individual Jews can only be approved in single very special cases; for instance, in the event of a genuine interest on the part of the Reich, and then only after a prior decision has been obtained from the Reich Security Main Office.”

The Holocaust Museum Encyclopedia notes:

The ‘Final Solution’ was the code name for the systematic, deliberate, physical annihilation of the European Jews. At some still undetermined time in 1941, Adolf Hitler authorized this European-wide scheme for mass murder.”

SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Reich Security Main Office and one of SS Chief Heinrich Himmler’s top deputies, convened the Wannsee Conference in January 1942 for government officials to plan the implementation of the “Final Solution” per Hitler’s instructions.

Mass murders of Jews had in fact already begun by the Einsatzgruppen, particularly in the the German-occupied areas of the Soviet Union and in Serbia. The Einsatzgruppen, special SS and police units, had the task of murdering Jews and political opponents ahead of the arrival of armed forces.

Heydrich indicated that approximately 11,000,000 Jews in Europe would fall under the provisions of the “Final Solution.” In this figure, he included not only Jews residing in Axis-controlled Europe, but also the Jewish populations of the United Kingdom, and the neutral nations (Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, and European Turkey). He anticipated German victories in Europe and wanted to plan accordingly.

July 14, 1555 – Pope Paul IV Orders Jews Into a Ghetto

Cum nimis absurdum was a papal bull issued by Pope Paul IV on this day in history. It was less than two months from the date of Paul’s ascent to the papacy.

(A papal bull is a type of public decree issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden seal (bulla) that was traditionally appended to the end in order to authenticate it.)

This particular bull took its name from its first words:

Since it is absurd and utterly inconvenient that the Jews, who through their own fault were condemned by God to eternal slavery…”

The bull placed religious and economic restrictions on Jews in the Papal States; renewed anti-Jewish legislation; and subjected Jews to various degradations and restrictions on their personal freedom. [The Papal States were territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope from the 8th century until 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio (which includes Rome), Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.]

Pope Paul IV

Most significantly, the bull established the Roman Ghetto and required the Jews of Rome, which had existed as a community since before Christian times and numbered about 2,000 at the time, to live inside it. The Ghetto was a walled quarter with three gates that were locked at night. The ghetto became the mandatory home of the city’s Jews until its abolishment in 1870.

In addition, pursuant to the bull, Jewish males were required to wear a pointed yellow hat, and Jewish females a yellow kerchief. Jews were required to attend compulsory Catholic sermons on the Jewish sabbath.

The bull also subjected Jews to various other restrictions such as a prohibition on property ownership and practicing medicine among Christians. Jews were allowed to perform only unskilled jobs outside the ghetto, as rag men, secondhand dealers or fish mongers. They could also be pawnbrokers.

The Roman Ghetto was established in one of the least desirable sections of the city, and the Jews themselves had to finance its construction. (The Nazis copied this practice when they put Jews into ghettos in Europe.) As Haaretz Newspaper reports in its history of this papal bull:

Since the area of the ghetto could not expand, the only way to add living space was to build up, to as high as seven stories. This helped to block the sun, making the ghetto a dark space.”

As a result of the tall, multifamily houses over a single lane, the Jews never could see the sun except for the few minutes it was directly over the lane in between the houses, and subsequently the Jews became known for their pale, pale complexions.

Haaretz also notes:

Pope Paul IV (1476-1559) was an unusually rigid and intolerant pontiff. He had been the leading figure in the establishment of a Roman Inquisition in 1542 – the papal bull that created the Inquisition stated, ‘Even if my own father were a heretic, I would gather the wood to burn him’ – and had overseen the burning of the Talmud in Rome in 1553.”

Paul IV’s successor, Pope Pius IV, enforced the creation of other ghettos in most Italian towns, and his successor, Pope Pius V, recommended them to other bordering states. The Papal States ceased to exist in 1870 when they were incorporated in the Kingdom of Italy, but the requirement that Jews live in the ghetto was only formally abolished by the Italian state in 1882.

Vicolo Capocciuto, Roman Ghetto by Franz Roesler c.1880

March 16, 1190 – Massacre of Jews in York, England

What could be a better warm-up to a Christian crusade to the Holy Land than a massacre of Jews? Or so it was thought…

On this day in history, a wave of anti-Semitic riots by a mob of clergy, barons, and crusaders waiting to follow King Richard the Lion-Heart to the Holy Land culminated in the massacre of an estimated 150 Jews – the entire Jewish community of York – who had taken refuge in the royal castle. Seeing no way out to safety most of the Jews chose to commit suicide in the keep.

Some Jews accepted the option of renouncing their faith and converting to Christianity, but those who left the keep for this purpose were butchered anyway.

Anti-Jewish feeling was common at the time, but pogroms “inspired” by the crusade were also seen as a convenient way to eliminate debts to Jewish moneylenders. The local gentry had borrowed heavily from them and could not repay their debts. In fact, after the massacre they burned the records of their debts on the floor of the cathedral, and looted the homes of the Jews they had killed.

Clifford's Tower today, rebuilt in the 13th century after being destroyed twice. In 1190 it was a wooden building.

Clifford’s Tower today, rebuilt in the 13th century after being destroyed twice. In 1190 it was a wooden building.