The Truth about the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion

By Timothy Chilman


The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion

An anti-Semitic caricature from France in 1898

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion tells of a plan for world domination by Jews, to be accomplished by manipulating the economy, controlling the media and fostering religious strife.

The Protocols say a tax would be levied upon books of less than three hundred pages, to escape which only unreadably long compositions could be published. Debt was to be encouraged, becoming a permanent condition. Popular hatred of the Catholic Church would be inflamed before intervention to protect it. People would be rendered unhappy by laws prohibiting drunkenness.

It was claimed that the Protocols were minutes of a secret session of the First Zionist Congress of 1897. This conference, overseen by Theodore Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, was open to the public and attended by many non-Jews.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
Professor Sergius A. Nilus

The Protocols were first published in Russia in 1897 by Philip Stepanov and circulated privately amongst his intimates. Professor Sergius A. Nilus published them in 1901 as an appendix to his book The Great Within the Small: The Coming of the Anti-Christ and the Rule of Satan on Earth, reprinted in 1905. Nilus was a Czarist official in Moscow, described as a “learned, pious, credulous Conservative” with an interest in theology and history who was not very worldly.

The 1905 edition had the document stolen from a leading, unnamed Freemason. In an epilogue to the English edition, Nilus said the document was discovered in a safe at the headquarters of the Society of Zion in France. Other editions said the Protocols were read at the 1897 Zionist Congress.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
A 1904 cartoon with the caption “Russian Tsar – Stop your cruel oppression of the Jews!”

The Russian secret police, the Okhrana, used the document to buttress the position of the weak Czar Nicholas II and blacken the names of reformist liberals led by Minister of Finance Count Sergei Witte. Liberals sympathized with Jews. Jewish elements in Russia, notably the Bund political party, had supported the revolution of 1905. The Okhrana engineered violence against Jews in 1903 which eventually spawned the term pogrom, погром in Russian. Portions of the Protocols appeared in the Russian newspaper, Знамя (The Banner).

In January, 1917, Nilus prepared to republish the Protocols in a book named It is Here, at Our Doors! Nilus now said his source was Nicolaievich Sukhotin, a blue-blood who later became Vice-Governor of Stavropol. The document was submitted to the Council of Elders in 1897 by Herzl, who later complained of its indiscreet publication. However revolution occurred in March 1917, before it got to market, and Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky ordered the book to be destroyed. Earlier editions were used extensively by the anti-communist White Armies to incite violence against Jews.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
Henry Ford: the cars were great, but he was a dreadful anti-Semite.

The Protocols were brought to the US in 1917 by Boris Brasol, a pro-Nazi monarchist émigré and former Czarist prosecutor. He gave a copy to auto magnate Henry Ford. No discussion of the Protocols is complete without Ford’s statement from an interview with the New York World published on February 17th, 1921: “The only statement I care to make about the PROTOCOLS is that they fit in with what is going on. They are sixteen years old, and they have fitted the world situation up to this time. THEY FIT IT NOW.”

Ford’s newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, attacked Jews and communists. From 1920-1922, it ran articles by its editor, William Cameron, which were based on the Protocols. Cameron believed that liberalism, the decline of Christian virtue and the satanic practice of Jazz were evidence of the success of the monstrous Jewish conspiracy. He said the Protocols were “the most comprehensive program for world subjugation that has ever come to public knowledge”.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
Adolf Hitler praised Ford’s book, The International Jew

Ford’s book, The International Jew, had the same foundation. Adolph Hitler and Josef Goebells, later Minister of Propaganda, praised Ford and his book, although he repudiated it in 1927, when all copies were burned at the instruction of a judge after a libel suit and Jewish boycott of Ford products.

Hitler relied on the Protocols in some of his earlier speeches and heavily in Mein Kampf. The Nazis published at least 23 editions between 1919 and 1939. After the Nazis took power in 1933, some schools used the book. The Nazis’ first anti-Semitic measure, a one-day boycott of Jewish stores in 1933, was described as a reaction to the “Plan of Basel”.

The Protocols claimed Jews organized the French Revolution: “The secrets of its preparation are well known to us for it was entirely the work of our hands.” But back then, the handful of Jews living in France had no political rights and played little or no part in the Revolution.

The Protocols call for the instigation of chaos to allow the seizure of power, although rich Jews would disapprove of this danger to their property.

The Protocols were exposed as fake in 1920 in a pamphlet for the British Jewish board of Deputies by Lucien Wolf, The Jewish Bogey and the Forged Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. In the same year, in the US, a book by Herman Bernstein did the same. The British Times newspaper gave the story prominence in 1921 in articles by Philip Graves, its Constantinople correspondent. Graves had received a book, dated Geneva, October 15, 1864, from “Mr X”, a Russian landowner, who said it was one of a set purchased from a former Okhrana officer who had fled to Constantinople. The paper and type were characteristic of the period.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
Napoleon III, whose hemorroids were so bad, he could not ride a horse

This book was Maurice Joly’s 1864 novel, Dialog in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu. The Protocols were largely pilfered from it. More was lifted from a chapter of Hermann Goedsche’s 1868 novel Biarritz, which re-hashed the Protocols. Joly was an anti-Bonapartist lawyer. In his book, the protagonists meet on a secluded beach in the spirit world whereupon Machiavelli champions the cause of dictatorship above democracy. It attacked the despotism of Napoleon III under a gossamer veil too thin to keep Joly from an 18 month prison sentence for his work. Joly never mentioned Jews, an element introduced by Goedsche. As Dr. Arthur Baumgarten, professor of criminal law at the University of Basel, testified at a trial in Berne in 1934-35, the Protocols use 176 passages of Joly’s, and are as much as 60% plagiarized. The court fined two Nazi leaders for circulating the Protocols, calling them “ridiculous nonsense,” “obvious forgeries,” and “libelous.” Supporters complain that while sixteen witnesses called by the plaintiffs were heard, only one of forty called by the defendants was.

Protocols 20 and 21 required originality, as they talk about finance. In the original, Joly talked about the current financial system, not applicable to Russia decades later.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
Fyodor Dostoyevsky was a friend of the father of Mathieu Golovinski

In 1999, Russian historian Mikhail Lepekhine pinpointed the true author of the Protocols. Lepekhine worked from Russian archives, and as the one-time editor-in-chief of the massive Russian Biographical Dictionary, curator of the archives of the Institute of Russian Literature, and a historical researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, must surely be a trustworthy source. His findings were first publicized by L’Express in 1999.

He said the Protocols were originally written between 1895 and 1899 by Mathieu Golovinski, a lawyer disbarred after being caught embezzling funds. Golovinski was descended from the Crusader Count Henri de Mons. His great uncle was exiled to Siberia for twenty years for participation in an anti-monarchist conspiracy, the Decembrists. His father, a friend of Dostoyevsky, was condemned to death but reprieved after a mock execution.

Golovinski was an agent of Paris’ Okhrana head, Pytor Ivanovich Rachovsky. In a Jewish journal in the 1920s, his authorship was disclosed by Princess Catherine Radziwill, a friend of his mother, however her account contained numerous errors and lacked proof, and was not believed. The suggestion was again made by German writer Konrad Heiden in 1944.

Golovinski later switched sides and ended up as deputy of the Petrograd Soviet. He participated in the formation of the Pioneers communist youth organization.

In 1884, Justine Glinka, daughter of a Russian general and an Okhrana agent, acquired a copy of the Protocols in Paris. She gave it to Alexis Sukhotin, the marechal de noblesse of the Russian district where she lived. Sukhotin showed it to Stepanov and Nilus.

The official US government position is in a 1964 Senate report declaring the Protocols to be “fabricated” and “gibberish,” and criticizing those who “peddled” the Protocols for copying Hitler.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
Where it all leads: bodies piled outside the crematorium of the recently liberated Buchenwald concentration camp.

From 1965-1967, approximately 50 books published in Arabic referred to the Protocols. In 1980, Hazern Nuseibeh, Jordanian delegate to the UN, said they were genuine. In 2002, the Egyptian government sponsored a TV miniseries based on them, which the US State Department denounced. The Palestinian Hamas movement uses them to justify attacks on Israeli civilians. School textbooks throughout the Islamic world treat them as fact. The Protocols are still circulated by the Christian Identity Movement, the Ku Klux Klan and other neo-Nazi groups. In the US, the book can be obtained from many Afrocentric bookstores.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
David Icke, who gives conspiracy theories a bad name

British conspiracy theorist David Icke used the Protocols extensively. He said that whoever wrote them “knew the game plan” for the last century, but that it isn’t a Jewish conspiracy. He says the world is controlled by shape-shifting reptilians from Alpha Draconia, including among their number figures such as the Georges Bush, Queen Elizabeth II and Bob Hope.

Combat 18, a British neo-Nazi group, publicized a talk given by Icke in its magazine, Putsch. Icke said the organization is a front for Mossad.


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“Reptilians.” n.d. 10 November 2010. <>
“A Hoax of Hate”. n.d. 10 November 2010. 10 November 2010. <>
“Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. n.d. 10 November 2010. <>
“The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion: Plagiarism at its Best”. 01 November 2003. 10 November 2010. <>
“What are ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’?”. n.d. 10 November 2010. < .>
“What are The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion?”. Three World Wars. 10 November 2010. 10 November 2010. <>
Conan, Eric. “The Origin of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. 01.11.2007. 10 November 2010. <>
Graves, Philip. ““The Protocols of Zion – An Exposure”. 21.11.2002. 10 November 2010. <>
Israel, Jared and Criscione, Samantha. “In 1921 Philip Graves Exposed the ‘Protocols of Zion’ as Phony”. 26 November 2002. 10 November 2010. <>
Keren, Daniel. “THE PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION”. 10 November 2010. 10 November 2010. <>
Marcus, Itamar and Crook, Barbara. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: An authentic document in Palestinian Authority ideology”. Palestinian Media Watch. n.d. 10 November 2010. <>
“PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION”. 10 November 2010. 10 November 2010. <>
Sanidopoulos, John. “MYSTAGOGY: The Weblog Of John Sanidopoulos”. John Sanidopoulos. 29.04.2010. 10 November 2010. <>


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