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September 21: Exposing the “Protocols”

September 21, 2013
Russian-born American journalist Herman Bernstein, who exposed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a forgery after Henry Ford published it in 1921, was born in Vladislavov (known in Yiddish as Naishtot) on this date in 1876. Bernstein was a prolific journalist for many years, writing for The Nation, New York Times, New York Herald, the Brooklyn Eagle, and numerous Jewish publications. He covered World War I, the Beilis blood libel case, the Russian Revolution, and the civil war that followed it, and also wrote novels, non-fiction books, and poems. He also interviewed many of the most prominent people of his time, including Albert Einstein, Leon Trotsky, Chaim Weizmann, and Henri Bergson, as well as Leo Tolstoy, Bernard Shaw, Auguste Rodin, Havelock Ellis, and Woodrow Wilson. Bernstein also translated major Russian writers into English, and had two of his own plays produced on Broadway. His 1921 book about the Protocols, History of a Lie, led Henry Ford to describe Bernstein as “the messenger boy of international Jewry” and to claim that the journalist was Ford’s main source of information about the international Jewish conspiracy. As a result, Bernstein sued the auto mogul for $200,000; he was unable to serve papers on Ford, however, and the libel suit languished. Bernstein was active in Jewish organizational life and served as secretary for the American Jewish Committee. He died in 1935. “The Kaiser is exposed as a master intriguer and Mephistophelian plotter for German domination of the world. The former Tsar is revealed as a capricious weakling, a characterless, colourless nonentity . . . both talked for peace and plotted against it.” —Herman Bernstein