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.