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January 04, 2005

Hitler and Marx agreed about the Jews

I have noted previously important ways in which Friedrich Engels had similar views to Hitler. The most spectacular aspect of Nazism, however, was surely its antisemitism. And that had a grounding in Marx himself. The following passage is from Marx but it could just as well have been from Hitler:

"Let us consider the actual, worldly Jew -- not the Sabbath Jew, as Bauer does, but the everyday Jew. Let us not look for the secret of the Jew in his religion, but let us look for the secret of his religion in the real Jew. What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. Very well then! Emancipation from huckstering and money, consequently from practical, real Jewry, would be the self-emancipation of our time.... We recognize in Jewry, therefore, a general present-time-oriented anti-social element, an element which through historical development -- to which in this harmful respect the Jews have zealously contributed -- has been brought to its present high level, at which it must necessarily dissolve itself. In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Jewry".

Note that Marx wanted to "emancipate" (free) mankind from Jewry ("Judentum" in Marx's original German), just as Hitler did and that the title of Marx's essay in German was "Zur Judenfrage" -- which is exactly the same expression ("Jewish question") that Hitler used in his famous phrase "Endloesung der Judenfrage" ("Final solution of the Jewish question"). And when Marx speaks of the end of Jewry by saying that Jewish identity must necessarily "dissolve" itself, the word he uses in German is "aufloesen", which is a close relative of Hitler's word "Endloesung" ("final solution"). So all the most condemned features of Nazism can be traced back to Marx and Engels. The thinking of Hitler, Marx and Engels differed mainly in emphasis rather than in content. All three were second-rate German intellectuals of their times.

Marx's original German for confirming the translation above is given below:

Zur Judenfrage

"Welches ist der weltliche Grund des Judentums? Das praktische Bedürfnis, der Eigennutz. Welches ist der weltliche Kultus des Juden? Der Schacher. Welches ist sein weltlicher Gott? Das Geld. Nun wohl! Die Emanzipation vom Schacher und vom Geld, also vom praktischen, realen Judentum wäre die Selbstemanzipation unsrer Zeit.... Wir erkennen also im Judentum ein allgemeines gegenwärtiges antisoziales Element, welches durch die geschichtliche Entwicklung, an welcher die Juden in dieser schlechten Beziehung eifrig mitgearbeitet, auf seine jetzige Höhe getrieben wurde, auf eine Höhe, auf welcher es sich notwendig auflösen muß.
Die Judenemanzipation in ihrer letzten Bedeutung ist die Emanzipation der Menschheit vom Judentum."

(MEW a.a.O. 1, 372 f.)