Papers regarding the Bern trial of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'; papers of 'Weltdienst' (microfilm)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Part I comprises papers relating to the Bern trial of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' including a list of Weltdienst subscribers; correspondence and affidavits relating to the identity of defendants' witnesses, in particular Sergei Sergiejewitsch Nilus, son of Sergei Alexandrowitsch Nilus (1862-1929), responsible for the original publication of the 'Protocols'; verdict and judgement in the case. Part II comprises the correspondence of 'Weltdienst'.

Administrative / Biographical History

The fortnightly anti-Semitic periodical, Weltdienst , was founded by Ulrich Fleischauer, a retired German lieutenant, in Erfurt on 1 December 1933. August Schirmer, who, having already been employed at Weltdienst in the 'American Section', took over publication of the periodical in July 1939. Shortly afterwards he announced the relocation of the offices to Frankfurt am Main, where all anti Jewish 'research establishments' under Alfred Rosenberg's direction were concentrated. Schirmer resigned in August 1943, at which time Weltdienst was published in 18 languages.

Weltdienst continued well into 1944. Kurt Richter, the new publisher, was also director of an 'International Institute for the Enlightenment of the Jewish Question', also called 'Weltdienst'. This institute organised gatherings of European antisemites 'with a view to securing an exchange of ideas and experiences designed to steadily strengthen the common European defence action against Jewry'.

In 1934 Weltdienst was given the task of rounding up Russian èmigrè experts to defend the veracity of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, at Bern. This anti-Semitic forgery came under public scrutiny in June 1933, when a right wing Swiss nationalist organisation known as the National Front began distributing it during a demonstration in Bern. A group of leading Swiss Jews filed a suit against the distributors, contending that the document, which described a Jewish plot to take over the world, fell under the ban on 'indecent writings'.

Arrangement

Arranged into two groups: Bern trial material; Weltdienst material.

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

P Schwed

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue www.wienerlibrary.co.uk.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Microfilm

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Custodial History

According to a letter at the beginning of the collection, the first part of the collection came via a Jewish lawyer involved in the prosecution of Boris Toedtli , one of the most important Weltdienst men in Switzerland, who was tried for espionage. It is believed that one of the prosecuting lawyers obtained the documentation and subsequently handed it to JUNA, the Jewish press agency of the Swiss Jewish Community. The provenance of the second part is unknown.

Location of Originals

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Bibliography

Williams, Robert C., 'Tödtli, A Bern Defender of the Protocols', Wiener Library Bulletin, vol XXIII , (Wiener library, 1969).

Corporate Names

Geographical Names