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In the aftermath
of Ford's retraction, a friend recalled asking him over a game of golf
why he had started his anti-Jewish campaign in the first place. "I don't
hate the Jews," Ford replied, defensively. "I want to be their friends."
When the friend inquired further, Ford elaborated: " The Jews have gone
along during the ages making themselves disliked, right? They ignored their
own splendid teachers and statesmen. Even they could not get their people
to mend their obnoxious habits. I thought by taking a club to them I might
be able to do it."220
It is interesting
to note that Ford appeared to blame Jews for the rapid changes taking place
in America. Old time values seemed to be eroding as people became more
"urbanized." In an attempt to turn back the clock, Ford built a museum
and a village in Dearborn that celebrated the simple virtues of his youth.
He reissued McGuffey's Readers and gathered a massive collection of nostalgic
antiques- ironically, with the aid of a Jewish dealer.
What Ford did
not seem to realize, however, was that he was as responsible as anyone
for the changes that were taking place in society. His Model T had done
much to urbanize America by allowing people to travel farther, faster,
and cheaper. The assembly line production that he advocated had undermined
the craftsmanship that he now championed. He blamed "monied Jews" as a
scapegoat while he was one of the richest and most influential men in America.
For a while after
the apology, however, Ford publicly attempted to heal the wounds that existed
between himself and the Jewish community. He utilized approximately 12%
of his total advertising expenditures for the Model A on ads in Jewish
publications.221 He attended, and was warmly
received, at a number of Jewish banquets and receptions. He rekindled his
old friendship with Rabbi Leo Franklin and had meetings with Louis Marshall.
He snubbed the Nazis during a 1930 visit to Munich. He further refused
to see their "shabbily dressed" representative who knocked on his hotel
door and ignored their request for a 20,000,000 mark donation, 222
he even stated that he would fire William J. Cameron and donate his anti-Semitic
collection of books, magazines, and clippings to Cincinnati's Hebrew Union
College. Both of these two promises, however, went unfulfilled.
Ford had also
publicly vowed to halt all printings of The International Jew across the
globe. However, this would be no simple matter. Samuel Untermeyer, who
had acted as Bernstein's lawyer, underscored their widespread influence
soon after the end of the Bernstein suit: "Wherever I went on my recent
world tour, even into the most remote corners of the earth, in every county,
city, and hamlet, the Ford cars were to be found. Wherever there was a
Ford car there was a Ford agency not far away, and wherever there was a
Ford agency these vile, libelous books in the language of that country
were to be found.... These articles are so fantastic and so naive in their
incredible fantasy, they read like the work of a lunatic and but for the
authority of the Ford name, they would have never seen the light of day
and would have been quite harmless if they had. With that name, they spread
like wildfire and became the bible of every anti-Semite.... "223
including Theodor Fritsch of Leipzig, Andre E deRunge of Sao Paulo, and
V.A. Kessler of Berlin, refused to cease publishing unless they were given
monetary compensation for losses. By 1933, Fritsch had published 29 editions
of the book, and demanded 40,000 marks to stop his enterprise. In reply
to the Ford request, Fritsch sent a letter which expressed puzzlement over
why Ford would want to destroy such "inestimable mental goods," the publication
of which had "remained the most important action" of Ford's life.224
Louis Marshall himself advised Ford not to pay Fritsch off, stating that
it would be like "coming into contact with a lion who has tasted blood-
he can never be satisfied."225 Instead,
Liebold wrote to Edmund C. Heine, the American manager of the Ford Motor
Company in Germany, concerning the matter. Heine responded that The International
Jew "had strong government backing" and was an important educational tool
for the people of Germany "to understand the Jewish problem as it should
be understood."226 Therefore, Fritsch refused
to stop his publishing venture. This, apparently, was good enough for Liebold,
who wrote back, "We understand the matter perfectly and this thoroughly
answers our recent inquiry. "227
In 1932, a Brazilian
book company wrote to Ford and requested the publishing rights to The International
Jew. Liebold wrote back that such permission was not necessary "since the
book has not been copyrighted in this country."228
Liebold conveniently failed to mention that the book was no longer supposed
to be circulating. Because of this, the Brazilians published an edition
of 5,000 copies of the book before being again notified and asked to cease
publication. By this point, a large number of copies had already been sold.
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220. Richards, 102.
221. Lewis, 147.
222. New York Times, 26 September 1930, 12.
223. New York Times, 25 July 1927, 1.
224. Gelderman, 235.
226. Pool and Pool, 91.
227. Lewis, 148.