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Business and the Holocaust
Articles | Excerpts | Government Resources | Historical Media Reports | Media Reports | Organizations | Restitution | War Crimes Trials
©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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          Rabbi Leo Franklin played a major role in whatever meager attempts Liebold made in halting circulation of The International Jew. Whenever a new edition of the work appeared, Franklin was quick to notify the Ford Company and diligently request that action be taken. However, Liebold acted very slowly, if at all, in complying with the rabbi's requests. In 1933, Franklin was able to convince Ford that an official statement reiterating his 1927 disassociation from The International Jew was necessary to combat its distribution. After agreeing to this, however, Ford promptly changed his mind. He had Liebold write back to Franklin and explain that, while sympathetic, he did not care to sign the prepared statement that Franklin had sent to his office.229 Ford did not formally issue a statement concerning the matter until four years later, when Liebold sent a prepared notice to Untermeyer then president of The Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League. In the statement, Liebold wrote that a German edition of The International Jew "erroneously refers to Mr. Ford as its author" and that steps would be taken to prevent further misuse of his name.230  The statement, however, received little attention and, in any event, could not curb the damage that had been already been done.

          It was not just overseas that The International Jew was being distributed. It was widely available in the United States from such fascist organizations as The German-American Bund, The Defenders of Faith, The National Workers League, and The Silver Shirts of America. In 1938, investigator John Roy Carison found copies of the book sold at Conrad K. Grieb's American Review Bookstore in New York. "Six dollars for the set is a very good buy," boasted the salesman, who sold the book alongside fascist publications from Germany, France, and England.231 World Service, the Nazi bulletin published in Erfurt, Germany, offered German imports and referred to the British Imperial Fascist League for English translations. Passages from The International Jew were even quoted by Pennsylvania Congressman, and Silver Shirt sympathizer, Louis T. McFadden on the floor of the House.232

          Also making the rounds during this period were The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Detroit's famous anti-Semitic priest, Charles Coughlin, said of them, "Yes, the Jews have always claimed that The Protocols were forgeries, but I prefer the words of Henry Ford, who said, 'The best truth of The Protocols is the fact that up to the present minute they have been carried out.' Mr. Ford did retract his accusations against the Jews. But neither Mr. Ford nor I will retract the statement that many of the events predicted in The Protocols have come to pass. "233 The Protocols also received wide distribution through the efforts of The Dearborn Independent's former editor, William J. Cameron.

          Cameron had changed quite a bit since beginning his tenure at Ford. The former minister now firmly believed the accusations that he had written about the Jews throughout the 1920's. When Ford made his 1927 apology, Cameron told an acquaintance, "I don't know yet what I am going to do, but it is certain that I for my part will never make any retraction. What I have written will stand. Not one thing will I take back. You can be sure of that."234 Cameron became the first president of the Anglo-Saxon Federation of America and published the anti-Semitic Destiny magazine, which recycled many of the accusations of The Dearborn Independent. The Anglo-Saxons believed that they were the "true" sons of Israel. Hieroglyphics on the Great Pyramid in Egypt supposedly proclaimed that the lost 10 tribes of Israel had wandered all over Europe and eventually settled in what became the Anglo-Saxon countries- namely The British Isles. It was their belief that Jesus was not a Jew, but an Anglo-Saxon-Celtic-Israeli.235 In addition to Destiny and The Protocols, the Anglo-Saxons published pamphlets addressing "The Jewish Question." In the meantime, Cameron still maintained full employment at the Ford Company as its chief spokesman and commentator for the Ford Sunday Evening Hour radio show.

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End Notes

229. Gelderman, 236.

230. New York Times, 7 January 1937, 44.

231. Carison, 205.

232. Sachar, 465.

233. Lee, 106.

234. Ludecke, 314.

235. Carison, 208.


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