The Jews: Myth and Counter-Myth
THE MYSTERY OF RACE TRANSFORMED the Jew into an evil principle. This was nothing new for the Jew; after all, anti-Christ had been a familiar figure during the Middle Ages. But in the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, the traditional legends which had swirled about the Jews in the past were revived as foils for racial mysticism and as instruments of political mobilization. Accusations of ritual murder, the curse of Ahasverus the wandering Jew, and fantasies about the universal Jewish world conspiracy had never vanished from the European consciousness even during the Enlightenment. Now they were to be revitalized and given renewed force.