Non­fic­tion

The Lie That Wouldn’t Die: The Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion

Hadas­sa Ben-Itto
  • Review
By – August 15, 2012
An Israeli judge for many years, Hadas­sa Ben-Itto is espe­cial­ly qual­i­fied to under­take this detailed inves­ti­ga­tion of the fas­ci­nat­ing and impor­tant tri­als of 1934 that exposed the lies at work in the forg­ing and devel­op­ment of the anti-Semit­ic myth of a Jew­ish con­spir­a­cy. This is an impres­sive and engag­ing work, and for all of the impor­tant his­tor­i­cal mate­r­i­al made avail­able, it is extreme­ly read­able. She explores the char­ac­ters involved in this crime, Russ­ian, French, Ger­man, Swiss, and so on, and the remark­able indi­vid­u­als who under­took to expose the lie. Haim Cohn’s intro­duc­tion to the vol­ume express­es my sen­ti­ments quite well: Read­ing her book one gets the impres­sion that she is report­ing not only on the tri­als, not only on the his­to­ry of this big lie, but on her­self. Her per­son­al impres­sions and her inti­mate rela­tions with the fig­ures in this book, some of whom she met in per­son, some of whom she dis­cov­ered in archived and pub­lished mate­r­i­al, lend to her book a per­son­al dimen­sion. That is how she suc­ceeds, for exam­ple, in bring­ing the read­er close to the good peo­ple behind the Berne tri­al, and mak­ing him feel that he is invit­ed to wan­der among them. The read­er direct­ly expe­ri­ences the wild excite­ment, the crude lies, the imme­di­ate dan­ger, and the cyn­i­cal use made through­out the tri­al for pro­pa­gan­da rea­sons.” Ben-Itto’s book cap­tures one’s atten­tion like a good mys­tery nov­el; unfor­tu­nate­ly, the sto­ry she tells of this forgery and those who employ it to fur­ther their inter­ests is not make-believe. Bib­li­og­ra­phy and index.
Mark D. Nanos, Ph.D., Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas, is the author of Mys­tery­of Romans, win­ner of the 1996 Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award, Charles H. Revson­Award in Jew­ish-Chris­t­ian Relations.

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