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©The Hanover Historical Review 1999.   Used by permission.
Power, Ignorance, and Anti-Semitism:
Henry Ford and His War on Jews
by Jonathan R. Logsdon
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          Soon after The International Jew was published, a Philadelphia reader wrote to Ford that he would like to see the books translated into German: "It would help the cause very greatly, for the sales in Germany would be enormous! Fully as large as here, if indeed, not much larger than here, because Germans usually lock their stable before the horse is stolen...."147 Once again, it was Liebold who responded:
"We wish to advise that Volume I of The International Jew has been published in Germany and may be obtained from Hammerverlag (Th. Fritsch) Leipzig. As we have given our entire attention to the problem in the United States, we are not contemplating the publication of this book in foreign languages, preferring to leave this to the people of the respective countries where such would be of benefit to them."148 Many people took Liebold up on his word, for The International Jew was soon translated into 16 different languages; among others, they included German, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Swedish, Arabic, Polish, and Russian. Between 1920 and 1922 alone, Theodor Fritsch's Leipzig edition, mentioned in Liebold's letter; had gone through six editions.149

          In May of 1924, Herman Bernstein accused Ford of being looked upon as an "anti-Semitic apostle" throughout much of Europe, particularly in Germany, Hungary, and Rumania.150 Ford was certainly considered a hero to numerous overseas anti-Semitic organizations, including the most notorious one of the century. As early as December 1922, The New York Times carried an article with the headline "Berlin Hears Ford is Backing Hitler." At the time, the Berliner Tragblatt had appealed to the American Ambassador in Berlin to investigate rumors of financial support between Ford and the fledging Nazi party. A New York Times correspondent investigating the matter found the following at Hitler's Munich headquarters on Cornelius Street: "The wall beside his desk is decorated with a large picture of Henry Ford. In the antechamber; there is a large table covered with books, nearly all of which are a translation of a book written and published by Henry Ford. If you ask one of Hitler's underlings for the reason of Ford's popularity in these circles, he will smile knowingly but say nothing. In nationalist circles in Berlin, too, one often hears Ford's name mentioned by people who would seem the very last in the world with whom an American respecting the Republican Constitution would seek any association..."151

          In March of 1923, a reporter from Ford's old nemesis, The Chicago Tribune, interviewed Hitler himself concerning the matter. When the subject came to Ford's possible presidential run, Hitler commented, "I wish I could send some of my shock troops to Chicago and other big American cities to help in the elections. We look on Heinrich Ford as the leader of the growing fascist movement in America. We admire particularly his anti-Jewish policy which is the Bavarian fascist platform. We have just had his anti-Jewish articles translated and published. The book is being circulated to millions throughout Germany."152 The newsman, upon investigation, found that Ford's books were, indeed, being distributed "by the car loads" and were "displayed in every bookshop in southern Germany."

         Hitler denied any financial support on the part of Ford, stating simply, "It is not true that Mr. Ford is backing the fascist movement in Germany financially."153 However; an article appearing at the same time in The New York Times reported that a certain Herr Auer; Vice President of the Bavarian Diet, had talked to President Ebert about the spreading accusations of Ford's support for the Nazis. Herr Auer was convinced that Henry Ford's financial as well as moral backing had been given to Bavarian revolution-makers because, according to the article, "part of the program of Herr Hitler; leader of the monarchists, is the extermination of the Jews in Germany."154 "The Bavarian Diet," stated Herr Auer; "has long had information that the Hitler movement was partly financed by an American anti-Semitic chief, who is Henry Ford. Mr. Ford's interest in the Bavarian anti-Jewish movement began a year ago when one of Mr. Ford's agents seeking to sell Ford tractors came in contact with Dietrich Eichart, the notorious Pan-German. Shortly after Herr Eichart asked Mr. Ford's agent for financial aid, the agent returned to America and immediately Mr. Ford's money began coming to Munich. Herr Hitler openly boasts of Mr. Ford's support and praises Mr. Ford not as a great individualist but as a great anti-Semite." 155

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End Notes

147. Jardin, 144.

148. Ibid.

149. Pool and Pool, 90.

150. New York Times, 13 May 1924, 5.

*151. New York Times, 3 December 1922, 2.

**152.   Chicago Tribune, 8 March 1923, 2.

153. Ibid.

*154. New York Times, 8 March 1923, 3.

155. Ibid.


*End Notes #151. New York Times, 20 December 1922, 2.      Return to End Notes #151.

*End Notes #154. New York Times, 8 February, 1923, 2.      Return to End Notes #154.

Corrections by Yosef Cohen with the invaluable assistance, courtesy, and research provided by Bruce Brigell from the Skokie Public Library.
**Special thanks to the Chicago Public Library for providing a copy of the Chicago Daily Tribune, 8 March 1923, 2. Return to End Notes #152.
Special thanks to Albert S. Cohen, my father, and Janet Holmes for various footnote verifications made at the Gary Public Library.

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