Translated from the 1937 edition of Die Spur des Juden im Wandel der Zeiten, written by Alfred Rosenberg in 1919 and first published in 1920. This English language translation by Gerhard Lauck was first published in 2013. Tracing Jewry’s interaction with non-Jews from antiquity to the 20th century, Rosenberg discerns a constantly re-occurring pattern. First, the Jews are accepted, or at least tolerated, despite their pronounced desire for exclusivity. Jewish usury results over time in great wealth and influence, often even special privileges. Ultimately, the burden of usury, abuse of power, arrogance and hardly concealed hostility toward everything non-Jews trigger a backlash, the tables are turned and the Jews suffer persecution. Relying heavily on Jewish sources such as the Talmud and various Jewish authors, Rosenberg examines the Jewish spirit as well as the Jewish role in Freemasonry, the French revolution and communism.
If one approaches, without the worn out dogma of a tear-damp sensitivity, the whole complex of the historical events regarding the Jews and their relationship to the other folks, then one could already determine one thing: if the results in the behavior of all folks toward the one Jew folk are the same, then this, at least in the main, can only be determined by the character of this Jew folk. For the individualities of the Persians, Spaniards or Germans are the varying factors in the history regarding the Jews, the Jew’s personality, on the other hand, is the constant, inalterable factor, furthermore even escalated through strict racial breeding.
Many historians, put off historical balance by the actually occurring inhumanities toward the Jews, see all too easily in the purely human condemnation a judgment; one must recognize this sentimental stirring, which does all honor to the human being, but puts the historian lower, in order to be able to comprehend through feelings history in its deeper necessities. If one has done this, and if one used mainly portrayals friendly toward the Jews, or at least not from the start anti-Semitic oriented, then an actually strikingly similar spiral of Jewish life, of Jewish working and Jewish suffering in all the lands of the world, appears before our eyes. The Jews are everywhere initially accepted without any reservation, we see everywhere how they from the start intentionally segregate themselves both physically as well as spiritually from the native population, they everywhere strive zealously to acquire the rulers’ favor and, advancing them money acquired through trade and usury for their enterprises, insure themselves their protection and hence acquire for themselves privileges of every kind. Then anti-Jewish movements again put in an appearance, initially flickering at a few points, then encompassing the whole land, discharging in terrible rage. The triggers for these persecutions have been diverse, be it that a Jew was caught with counterfeit money, be it that a Jew was accused of slandering Christianity, theft of a cross or something similar. But if the historical observation must anywhere take note of the social structure in order to uncover not triggers, rather reasons, for the setting in of tumultuous events, then this is quite especially the case in the observation of the Jewish question of all lands. Indeed, political and cultural, but especially ecclesiastic conditions have been of importance, they sometimes stepped to the foreground, such as at the time of the inquisition, but they form only the recognizable factors; hand in hand always went questions of economic and character nature. Just as the Jewish question is today indeed in many a regard of the greatest importance, so does it nonetheless rest anchored in the The Jewish and pro-Jewish hacks of our time speak in elegant tones of the cruel persecutions of the poor, innocent Jews. They can serve up this old line all the more unabashedly since they know very well that these days at most one person in a thousand knows the details about the actual conditions. The persecutions were cruel, if one takes a humane viewpoint, but no less necessary. For the Jews’ history, when they had a reciprocal effect with the folks of the occident, must not be started with the inquisition, as usually happens in order to throw sand in the eyes, rather from the standpoint of the Jewish immigration, through which alone one learns to grasp how the ground for the ecclesiastical persecutions had been prepared.
social position of the Jews in the present-day world. With the immeasurable riches that stand at their disposal, it would be possible to guide the world’s politics and to make the statesmen of many lands appear as puppets of Jewish will; it would not be possible to sink the poison of shallowness, of discord with their own nature into the hearts of Europeans and to keep the spirit in a mood favorable for Jewry, if not almighty gold, systematically administered, would not hire their henchmen in all lands. But as it is today, where oppressive bank capital holds whole folks in its interest, that was the situation, even if on a smaller scale, in Spain, in France, in Germany and many other states. The Jew was everywhere the interest master of the rulers, of the clergy, of the folk; and the persecutions against the Jews, let this be anticipated, is mainly the attempt undertaken anew again and again to break the yoke of usury, all the more so as it stems from a racially alien, religiously and morally hostile invader. The folk itself has recognized this, and only where its voice was not heard, did the priests finally use its aggravation for their purposes and put a purely ecclesiastical stamp upon the hatred.