Page 175

(a) As soon as the first permanent settlements had been established the Jew was suddenly 'there'. He arrived as a merchant and in the beginning did not trouble to disguise his nationality. He still remained openly a Jew, partly it may be because he knew too little of the language. It may also be that people of other races refused to mix with him, so that he could not very well adopt any other appearance than that of a foreign merchant. Because of his subtlety and cunning and the lack of experience on the part of the people whose guest he became, it was not to his disadvantage openly to retain his Jewish character. This may even have been advantageous to him; for the foreigner was received kindly.

(b) Slowly but steadily he began to take part in the economic life around him; not as a producer, however, but only as a middleman. His commercial cunning, acquired through thousands of years of negotiation as an intermediary, made him superior in this field to the Aryans, who were still quite ingenuous and indeed clumsy and whose honesty was unlimited; so that after a short while commerce seemed destined to become a Jewish monopoly. The Jew began by lending out money at usurious interest, which is a permanent trade of his. It was he who first introduced the payment of interest on borrowed money. The danger which this innovation involved was not at first recognized; indeed the innovation was welcomed, because it offered momentary advantages.

(c) At this stage the Jew had become firmly settled down; that is to say, he inhabited special sections of the cities and towns and had his own quarter in the market-places. Thus he gradually came to form a State within a State. He came to look upon the commercial domain and all money transactions as a privilege belonging exclusively to himself and he exploited it ruthlessly.

(d) At this stage finance and trade had become his complete monopoly. Finally, his usurious rate of interest aroused opposition and the increasing impudence which the Jew began to manifest all round stirred up popular indignation, while his display of wealth gave rise to popular envy. The cup of his iniquity became full to the brim when he included landed property among his commercial wares and degraded the soil to the level of a market commodity. Since he himself never cultivated the soil but considered it as an object to be exploited, on which the peasant may still remain but only on condition that he submits to the most heartless exactions of his new master, public antipathy against the Jew steadily increased and finally turned into open animosity. His extortionate tyranny became so unbearable that people rebelled against his control and used physical violence against him. They began to scrutinize this foreigner somewhat more closely, and then began to discover the repulsive traits and characteristics inherent in him, until finally an abyss opened between the Jews and their hosts, across which abyss there could be no further contact.

In times of distress a wave of public anger has usually arisen against the Jew; the masses have taken the law into their own hands; they have seized Jewish property and ruined the Jew in their urge to protect themselves against what they consider to be a scourge of God. Having come to know the Jew intimately through the course of centuries, in times of distress they looked upon his presence among them as a public danger comparable only to the plague.

(e) But then the Jew began to reveal his true character. He paid court to governments, with servile flattery, used his money to ingratiate himself further and thus regularly secured for himself once again the privilege of exploiting his victim. Although public wrath flared up against this eternal profiteer and drove him out, after a few years he reappeared in those same places and carried on as before. No persecution could force him to give up his trade of exploiting other people and no amount of harrying succeeded in driving him out permanently. He always returned after a short time and it was always the old story with him.

In an effort to save at least the worst from happening, legislation was passed which debarred the Jew from obtaining possession of the land.

(f) In proportion as the powers of kings and princes increased, the Jew sidled up to them. He begged for 'charters' and 'privileges' which those gentlemen,