the prague cemetery


Napoleonic imperialists, Jesuits, Freemasons: where are the nefarious Jews? It was Barruel who first introduced them into the mix, a few years after his anti-­Masonic book, when he received a letter from a retired army officer named J. B. Simonini warning of a “Judaic sect” that was the world’s most formidable and demonic power. This irresistible Semitic gloss to the theory of a conspiracy behind all despised social trends was expanded upon by, among others, a novelist named Hermann Goedsche, who was also a Prussian agent provocateur specializing in the forging of documents to incriminate democratic leaders. Goedsche’s 1868 novel ­“Biarritz” had a chapter called “In the Jewish Cemetery of Prague,” which, detached from the novel, was widely circulated, especially after its translation into Russian, and became a source for the “Protocols.” (The chief of the Russian secret service helped advance the fraud.)

more from Rebecca Newberger Goldstein at the NY Times here.