The origins of the notorious screed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a mystery, but its reality as a malicious tool used by such disparate voices as the Russian secret police, Adolf Hitler, Henry Ford, and the Charlottesville ultra-nationalists underscores its evil staying power over many decades. The document purports to be the minutes of secret meetings of Jewish “elders” in which they conspired to bring down Western civilization and rule the world.
In reality, it is nothing of the sort. The actual authorship of the document is unknown, however the Russian secret police sought to use it to justify attacks against Jews beginning in 1903. It is most likely that whoever “wrote” it plagiarized from a French satire aimed at Napoleon III. Hitler mentioned it in Mein Kampf; Henry Ford distributed hundreds of thousands of copies in this country; conspiracy theorists cite it to explain the 9/11 attacks; and the organizers of the August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville claim it motivated them.
Join historian Ralph Nurnberger as he unravels the mysteries behind this infamous, yet powerful, anti-Semitic document reviews its history.