In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

134 SHOFAR Summer 1999 Vol. 17, No.4 one of the organizers which took place in Gennany in 1992. Individuals from both groups were able to work through their past experience and reach out to each other. The [mal chapter examines the issue of forgiveness between Gennans and Jews by focusing on Simon Wiesenthal's autobiographical study The Sunflower. The work describes the encounter between Simon and an SS officer who tells of how he brutally had killed Ukrainian Jews by burning them to death. He asks for an absolution from Simon, who refuses to give it and walks out of the room, letting Karl die. The second part of The Sunflower consists of a symposium on this work by theologians, survivors, writers, etc., who are divided in their responses. Bernard Weinstein uses this to develop a Jewish concept of forgiveness. This book contains some valuable papers. I hope that future volumes in this series would include a much-needed index. George M. Kren Department of History Kansas State University "Madagaskar fUr die Juden": Antisemitische Idee und politische Praxis, 18851945 , by Magnus Brechtken. Studien zur Zeitgeschichte, Bd 53. Munich: Oldenbourg Verlag, 1997. 336 pp. DM 88. Magnus Brechtken tells us that Madagascar and "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" occupy the central positions in the modem antisemitic imagination. He traces back to 1885 the idea ofsolving the Jewish problem by shipping Europe's Jews to that distant island offthe southeast coast ofAfrica. The writings of the Gennan prophet of cultural despair, Paul de Lagarde, were apparently the first to offer the suggestion. Brechtken maintains that while the "Protocols" propagated the myth of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy, 'the adherents of the Madagascar Plan created the equally powerful myth of a territorial Final Solution to the Jewish Problem'" (p. 294). Although Brechtken fails to mention it, the notion among Europeans that Madagascar might be the solution to a social problem is even older than Lagarde's suggestion about Jews. Back in 1793, the revolutionary Convention in France enacted into law a proposal made by its "Committee on the Extinction of Mendacity" to deport undesirables and beggars to that far-distant island. (See Gordon Wright, Between the Guillotine and Liberty [1983].) The Convention was unable to carry out the plan, most immediately because the British, not the French, controlled the sea lanes to Africa. Ironically, in 1940, when the Nazis were seriously considering the deportation of Europe's Jews to Madagascar, they faced the same obstacle. Book Reviews 135 The obstacles to deporting huge numbers ofpeople to Madagascar, be they beggars or Jews, were, of course, more fundamental than Britain's control of the sea lanes. Perhaps for that reason, Madagascar remained at the fringe of the antisemitic imagination for a full generation after Lagarde's casual mention of the idea. Not until after World War I did Madagascar begin to occupy the central position Brechtken rightly claims for it. But the German imagination was not the only one fIred by the idea. From Brechtken's broader focus we learn that it came to be lodged at least as deeply in Polish antisemitism and that it took deep root in many other countries as well, especially in Eastern Europe. The most detailed refInements developed for the Madagascar solution were frequently concocted by antisemites in England and Holland. Brechtken's great service is to probe deeply into that murky subterranean world of 1920s antisemitism in which both the "Protocols" and Madagascar assumed their central place in anti-Jewish imaginations. It was an English "traveling salesman of antisemitism," Henry Hamilton Beamish, who in 1926 published an article in the Volkische Beobachter about Madagascar's capacity to absorb at least 50 million people, perhaps four times the number ofJews in the entire world. Beamish was also active in the annual "International Antisemitic Congresses" of the 1920s, which attracted the likes of Alfred Rosenberg and others who were to gain prominence in Hitler's Third Reich. It was, however, the Dutch antisemite Egon von Winghene who in 1931 identifIed the true importance of Madagascar as a solution to the Jewish problem. Winghene labeled as "Full Zionism" his argument that only by isolating Jews on an...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 134-135
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.