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"naivety hence not seen on this list"

Oct 31, 2001 10:59 AM
by bri_mue


L'Express November 24, 1999

The Secrets of an Antisemitic Manipulation

by Eric Conan

It is the most famous - and the most tragic - forgery of the 20th 
century and the foundation of the antisemitic myth of the "World 
Jewish Conspiracy." Now the text of The Protocols of Learned Elders 
of Zion has yielded its last secret: a Russian historian, Mikhail 
Lépekhine, has proved the identity of its author thanks to files kept 
by the former Soviet Union. Now we can understand why it was 
necessary to wait so long to reveal the epilogue: Mathieu Golovinski, 
the forger, who carried out his work in Paris at the beginning of the 
century, and who was the representative in France of the Czar's 
political police, became a prominent Bolshevik after the Russian 
Revolution of 1917. The discovery of this sinister historical 
footnote makes it possible to fill in the last gaps in the history of 
an imposture which, after having done so much harm in Europe, still 
flourishes in many parts of the world.

Historian of Russian literature Mikhail Lépekhine is one of the 
foremost experts on the "publicistes" of the end of 19th century, 
these characters who were simultaneously writers, journalists, and 
political essayists and who intervened in the convulsions of Russian 
public life of the time by means of pamphlets, articles, and books. 
Lépekhine's specialty is in the years of the reign of Alexander III 
(1881-1894) and of the beginning of the reign of Nicholas II (1894-
1902), the agitated period preceding the turbulence of the Russian 
Revolution. Former conservator of the archives of the Institute of 
Russian Literature and a researcher in the history of printed books 
at the Academy of Science of Russia in St. Petersburg, Mikhail 
Lépekhine has studied the life and works of the publicistes, 
including many lesser known figures, for the monumental Russian 
Biographical Dictionary in 33 volumes for which he is the general 
editor. 

It was while working on one of the publicistes, Mathieu Golovinski - 
son of an aristocratic lawyer disbarred for embezzlement, and a 
journalist who dealt in scandal and intrigue in the Russian political 
circles of St. Petersburg and Paris - that Lépekhine was plunged into 
the history of the Protocols which previously had not been a subject 
of interest for him. Ransacking the databases relating to Golovinski, 
he found in the Czar's French files, preserved in Moscow for the last 
eighty years, the evidence of Golovinski's role in the creation of 
the famous forgery. Mikhail Lépekhine measures the importance of his 
discovery by taking stock of current knowledge about the history of 
the Protocols upon which the French researcher, Pïerre-Andre 
Taguieff, has recently published the most thorough analysis to date
(1). Lépekhine has found the missing link - the identity of the 
forger - which connects two long stories: that of a petty man with 
ambitions whose contribution was only one short moment in an agitated 
and disordered life and that of an infamous forgery for which Mathieu 
Golovinski was only a technical executor.

The Protocols of Learned Elders of Zion, sometimes subtitled The 
Jewish Program of World Conquest, is a text known in two closely-
related versions, first published in a partial version in Russia in 
1903, and then in a complete version in the newspaper Znamia in 1905 
and 1906. It is presented as the detailed report of a score of secret 
Judeo-Masonic meetings during which "The Learned Elders of Zion" 
reveal to the leaders of the Jewish people a plan to dominate 
humanity. Their objective is to become "Masters of the World" after 
the destruction of monarchies and Christian civilization. This 
Machiavellian plan envisages the use of violence, treachery, wars, 
revolution, industrial modernization, and capitalism to destroy the 
existing order and to build a Jewish power on its ruins. 

This "secret document" was almost immediately questioned by Count 
Alexander of Chayla, a French aristocrat who had converted to the 
Orthodox Church and who would later fight with the White Army against 
the Bolsheviks. The Count met the first editor of the Protocols, 
Serge Nilus, the "Pope" of the Russian mysticism, in 1909. Nilus 
showed him the original of the Protocols, but the Count was not at 
all convinced by them. He later recounted that he had met an inspired 
man for whom the question of the authenticity of the text meant 
little. "Let us admit that the Protocols are false," Nilus declared 
to him. "But can't God make use of it to discover the iniquity of 
what is to come? Can't God, in consideration of our faith, transform 
the bones of dog into miraculous relics? He can thus put in a mouth 
of a lie the Annunciation of the Truth!" 

The Protocols was, in fact, "launched" to a wider public by the Times 
of London on May 8, 1920 in a lead article entitled "The Jewish 
Danger, A Disturbing Pamphlet. Requires Investigation" which seemed 
to credit this "small singular book." The Times published a 
correction one year later in August 1921 with an article 
entitled "The End of the Protocols" with proof of the forgery. The 
Times correspondent in Istanbul had been contacted by a White Russian 
refugee in Turkey who, obviously well-informed, showed him that the 
text of the Protocols was taken from a French lampoon against 
Napoleon III. A quick check revealed the falsification: the Protocols 
was indeed taken from the text of the Dialogue in Hell between 
Machiavelli and Montesquieu, published in Brussels in 1864 by Maurice 
Joly, an anti-Bonapartist lawyer who wanted to show that the emperor 
and his close relations plotted to seize absolute power in France. 
Using this forgotten text, which had been worth two years in prison 
for Maurice Joly, the forger of the Protocols simply 
replaced "France" with "the world" and "Napoleon III" with "the Jews" 
This coarse trickery was exposed by a simple line-by-line comparison 
of the two texts. The forgery was exposed, but the mystery of its 
origins remained. All that was known was that the original text was 
written in French, and it was supposed that it could have been used 
as the basis for the forgery at the beginning of the century in Paris 
through the agency of the Czarist Russian political police. It was in 
the files of the Frenchman Henri Bint, who was for thirty-seven years 
an agent of the Russian police services in Paris, that Mikhail 
Lépekhine found that Mathieu Golovinski was the mysterious author of 
the forgery. In 1917 in Paris, Bint met with Serge Svatikov, the 
envoy of the new Russian government of Kerenski, who was charged with 
dismantling the Czarist secret service and "debriefing" - and 
sometimes recalling - its agents. Bint explained to him that Mathieu 
Golovinski was the author of the Protocols and that he himself was in 
charge of remunerating the forger. The last ambassador of the Czar, 
Basile Maklakov, absconded with the files of the Russian embassy and, 
in 1925, gave them to the American Hoover Foundation. Meanwhile, 
Serge Svatikov bought Henri Bint's personal files. When he broke with 
the new Bolshevik leadership in Russia, Svatikov deposited the Bint 
files in Prague, in a private foundation called the "Russian Files 
Abroad." In 1946, the Soviets seized the foundation and moved the 
files to Moscow, archiving them with the files of State of the 
Federation of Russia.


A Small Trick of History

Golovinski's secret was thus preserved until the fall of Communism 
and the opening of the Soviets' files in 1992. Because the 
antisemitic forger had indeed become a "fellow traveler" of the 
Bolsheviks in 1917, the Soviets preferred not to reveal this small 
trick of history, which seems awkward even today: Lépekhine's 
discovery was revealed last August by Victor Loupan in Le Figaro but 
did not arouse any interest in the rest of the French press. 

Thanks to his detailed knowledge of the career of the author of the 
Protocols, Mikhail Lépekhine can today, at the end five years of 
research, completely detail the circumstances and the objectives of 
the creation of the Protocols forgery. Mathieu Golovinski was born on 
March 6, 1865 in Ivachevka near Simbirsk to a declining aristocratic 
family related to Count Henri of Mons. It was a well-born family but 
a turbulent one: "Mathieu's great uncle was condemned to twenty years 
exile in Siberia for his participation in the anti-monarchist 
Decembrist plot and Basile, his father, a friend of Dostoyevsky, was 
condemned to death and reprieved at the same time as the writer after 
a mock execution," says Mikhail Lépekhine. Basile Golovinski was 
released from military service after having fought in the Crimean War 
and died a broken man in 1875 leaving the young Mathieu Golovinski in 
the hands of his controlling mother and a French governess who was, 
in fact, merely an excellent French-speaker. Golovinski carried on 
his studies in an off-hand way. Clever and without any great 
scruples, Mathieu Golovinski early on demonstrated a talent for 
intrigue. The young arriviste managed to come into contact with Count 
Vorontsov-Dahkov, a man close to the Czar and a minister at the 
Czar's court. Vorontsov-Dahkov was convinced of the threat of a 
conspiracy, and after the assassination of Alexander II, founded 
Sainte-Fraternité, a secret organization which answered terror with 
terror and intrigue with intrigue. Sainte-Fraternité was indeed one 
of the first "factories" of false documents, fabricating in 
particular a number of fake revolutionary newspapers. 

Mathieu Golovinski was appointed as a civil servant in St. Petersburg 
and worked in the 1890s for Constantin Pobiedonostsev, the Attorney 
General of Saint-Synode and one of the inspirers of Alexander III's 
militant Orthodox Christian program of evangelization among the pagan 
peoples of the Volga and Tchauvaches. Pobiedonostsev was aided in 
establishing the program by Mathieu Golovinski's uncle and by Ilya 
Ulyanov, father of the future Lenin. "Constantin Pobiedonostsev was 
obsessed by the invasion of the state apparatus by the Jews, whom he 
considered intelligent, more intelligent and more gifted than the 
Russians," explains Mikhail Lépekhine. It was through Pobiedonostsev 
that Mathieu Golovinski worked for the Department of the Press whose 
job it was to influence the newspapers by giving their editors ready-
made articles to publish and even by obliging them to pay some of his 
agents, who as both informers and journalists, censored their own 
press and oversaw the publicizing of the government "line." The chief 
of the Department of the Press, Michel Soloviev, a fanatic 
antisemite, makes Golovinski his "second writer." "Golovinski's 
writing job was easy. The job was a sinecure, and for five years, he 
carried on this shadowy duty with some pleasure as a gifted 
dilettante," adds Mikhail Lépekhine who has read much of Golovinski's 
writing from this period. 

Golovinski's pleasant sinecure ended abruptly: Soloviev died and 
Pobiedonostsev did not have the same influence over the new Czar, 
Nicholas II, who appeared eager to proceed in a much different 
fashion. The men in the shadows were replaced, and Golovinski was 
exposed publicly as an "informer" by Maxim Gorky. He was exiled to 
Paris, a city where he stayed for some considerable time, and where 
he found the same type of "work" he had been doing with an old hand 
of the Sainte-Fraternité, Pierre Ratchkovski, who directed the 
services of the Czarist political police in France. "Golovinski's 
particular task was to influence French journalists in their 
treatment of the Czar's policies. He thus sometimes wrote articles 
which were published in the big Parisian national dailies under the 
signatures of French journalists!" Mikhail Lépekhine says. Golovinski 
was always busy and supplemented his activities by publishing a 
plagiarized English-Russian dictionary with Éditions Garnier in 1906. 
He undertook medical studies for three years and knew an easy life in 
Paris thanks also in part to a allowance which his mother continued 
to send to him. All the while, he concealed his many activities under 
the quiet appearance of an ordinary commuter living in the suburb of 
Bourg-la-Reine until 1910.


One Conspirator in the Service of the Powerful

Ratchkovski's principal activity was in the manufacture of counter-
revolutionary propaganda bound for the French political elite, and he 
created the Franco-Russian League in Paris: good relations between 
the two countries constituted were of paramount concern. The old man 
of the Sainte-Fraternité clung to his Orthodox Church and ultra-
reactionary obsessions and still wanted to convince the Czar that a 
Judeo-Masonic plot lay behind the liberal and reforming current. 
Nicholas II, however, was less susceptible to these themes than his 
predecessor. Nicholas himself was more worried by Western criticisms 
of the Russian policy of discrimination against the Jews. Ratchkovski 
thus conceived the idea of an operation intended to convince the Czar 
of the necessity of preventative antisemitic action. Under the 
influence of Ivan Goremykine, the disgraced former Minister for the 
Interior, Ratchkovski particularly wanted the Czar to get rid of 
Count Sergei Witte, leader of the modernizers in the government. It 
became thus a question of producing a decisive "proof" that the 
industrial and financial modernization of Russia was the expression 
of a Jewish plan of world domination.

>From there it was a simple matter for Ratchkovski to order a forgery 
from Golovinski - one among so many of others for this gifted and 
adaptable writer - intended from the start with only one reader in 
mind: the Czar. Indeed, Ratchkovski seems to have hit upon a clever 
manoeuvre: he suspected that the mystic Serge Nilus was likely to 
become the Czar's new confessor, and he decided to have Nilus, as the 
Czar's confidante, present his forged antisemitic manuscript to 
Nicholas II. According to Mikhail Lépekhine, it was thus in Paris, at 
the end of 1900 or in 1901, that Golovinski adapted the Protocols 
from Maurice Joly's lampoon against Napoleon III. But the stratagem 
fell apart: Serge Nilus was not named confessor, though he kept the 
text, which he published in 1905 in an appendix to one of his works, 
The Great Within The Small in which the Antichrist is supposed to be 
an imminent political possibility. It is this book which Nilus gave 
to the Czar and the Czarina. This book attempted to explain how an 
apocalyptic process had been in play since the French revolution 
which was likely to lead to the coming of the Antichrist.

"The drafting of the Protocols constituted only one brief episode in 
the Golovinski's life," notes Mikhail Lépekhine. "I do not think that 
he realized the effect his work would have. Thus, during the writing, 
he spoke about passages from the book to a friend of his mother, 
Princess Catherine Radziwill. As a refugee in the United States, 
Princess Catherine was the first to indicate that Golovinski was the 
author of the Protocols which she revealed in a Jewish journal in the 
1920s. But she did not have proof, and because her testimony 
contained many errors, it was forgotten." The same thing happened 
during the lawsuit in Bern in 1934, when at the request of the 
Federation of Jewish Communities of Switzerland, who wanted to 
establish the falseness of the Protocols then being distributed by 
the Swiss Nazis, "the name of Golovinski was mentioned by Serge 
Svatikov and by the investigative journalist Vladimir Bourtsev, who 
were both witnesses quoted by the plaintiffs," Pierre-Andre Taguieff 
adds.

Mathieu Golovinski continued his life of intrigue in the service of 
the powerful of the day who wanted to employ its talents. Upon his 
return to Russia, he worked for Ivan Tcheglovitov, Minister for 
Justice, and then for Alexander Protopopov, who became Minister for 
the Interior in 1916. Golovinski also published in 1914, a work of 
propaganda, The Black Book of German Atrocities, signed by "Dr. 
Golovinski." From this time forward, he titled himself "Doctor," 
though he never obtained a degree from his Parisian studies.


The "Proof" of the "Jewish Conspiracy"

The fall of Czarism could not shake so good a swimmer in muddy waters 
as Golovinski. By 1917, he was appointed to the Petrograd (St. 
Petersburg) Soviet, and Dr. Golovinski was celebrated by the 
revolutionists as the first of the few Russian doctors to have 
approved the Bolshevik coup d'etat! The career of this "red doctor" 
was subsequently dazzling: he became a member of the People's 
Commissariat on health policy and the military-medical College and, 
as such, became an influential figure in shaping public health 
policy. He took part in the founding of the Pioneers (an organization 
of youth brigades), advised Trotsky on the structure of military 
teaching, and in 1918 founded and directed the Institute of Physical 
Culture, the seedbed of future Soviet athletic champions. Though he 
became prominent in the new Soviet regime, he did not benefit long 
from his new powers and died in 1920 just as his Protocols started to 
enjoy a great success owing to its English, French and German 
translations. 

The First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the chaos in Germany 
seemed to confirm the prophecies of the false antisemite: the 
dramatic history in which Europe and Russia were plunged had the 
effect of authenticating the Protocols, a copy of which was found in 
the Czarina's room after the massacre of the Nicholas II's family - 
an indication for certain White Russian antisemites that it was 
indeed a "Judeo-Bolshevik" crime. The proof of the forgery published 
by The Times did little to undermine the credit given the Protocols, 
which did not cease being presented in Europe as "proof" of 
the "international Jewish Conspiracy" throughout the 1930s. The 
forgery became the subject of many editions which were no longer 
limited to antisemitic groups. Thus in France it was published by the 
respected publishing house of Grasset from 1921 with many reprintings 
through 1938. In the United States, Henry Ford the automobile 
manufacturer believed in the authenticity of the Protocols and 
distributed them through his newspaper. 

Nazi propagandists exploited and spread the Protocols. In 1923, 
Alfred Rosenberg devoted a study to them, and in Mein Kampf (1925), 
Adolf Hitler wrote that "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion -
which the Jews officially disavow with such a vehemence - show in an 
incomparable way how much the whole existence of these people rests 
on a permanent lie," adding that the Protocols expose clearly "what 
many Jews are capable of carrying out unconsciously." Upon their 
accession to power in 1933, the Nazi leadership entrusted to their 
propaganda officials the task of spreading the Protocols and 
defending their authenticity. 

After the end of the Second World War, the Protocols were banned in 
the majority of the European countries. But they started a second 
career following on the creation of the State of Israel. The first 
Arabic edition appeared in Cairo in 1951 and was followed by many 
others, in all languages including French, in the majority of the 
Moslem countries. The Protocols were then used to denounce 
the "Zionist Conspiracy." "In this new use, if the fierce and 
valorous Arabs could be overcome by the weak and cheating Jews, it 
could only be because of an international plot of occult forces 
organized by the Zionists," explains Pierre-Andre Taguieff. "The 
Protocols constituted a reduced model of the anti-Jewish vision of 
the world most suitable for the modern world, a vision centered on 
the idea of planetary domination. Public reference to the Protocols 
is nowadays made in, for example, in the texts and the speeches of 
the Algerian MADE and the Palestinian Hamas," Taguieff adds. Taguieff 
has drawn up a complete bibliography of the recent editions this most 
persistent forgery.


The Enemy: Absolute, Diabolic, and Deadly

The bibliography continues to grow, and it is not limited to the Arab 
countries. The text makes it reappearance in many former Communist 
countries, - it is given away free in Moscow - and it is the subject 
of recent editions in India, in Japan, and in Latin America and has a 
broad distribution. Far from being sold secretly in obscure 
bookstores, as is now the case in Europe, it is, for example, on sale 
in the kiosks of Buenos Aires. In these countries, the survival of 
this text was not affected by the end of the Second World War, just 
as the proof that is was plagiarized did not prevent its use 
against "Judeo-Bolshevism." It is the strength of this "antisemitic 
Nostradamus" that it transcends any rational refutation. Pierre-Andre 
Taguieff sees in it the most effective expression of the "modern 
political myth" of the "dominating Jew": "By its structure - the 
revelation of the secrecy of the Jews by a confidential text which is 
allegedly authored by them - the text of the Protocols satisfied the 
need for explanation by giving a direction to the indecipherable 
movement of history which it simplifies by designating a single 
enemy. It makes it possible to legitimate by presenting them as 
preventive self-defence, all the actions against an absolute, 
diabolic, and deadly enemy who is dissimulated under multiple guises: 
democracy, liberalism, Communism, capitalism, the republic, etc. The 
success and the longevity of the Protocols, fabricated originally for 
purposes limited to the court of Russia, are due paradoxically to the 
lack of precision of the text which can easily adapt to all contexts 
of crisis, where the direction of the events is floating, 
indeterminable. Thus the Protocols is constantly adapted to new uses."


1) Les Protocoles des Sages de Sion, by Pierre-André Taguieff. Vol. 
I: Un faux et ses usages dans le siècle (408 p.); vol II: Etudes et 
documents (816 p.). Berg International, 1992.


© Article copyright by L'Express





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