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Excerpts from the Pamphlet by Gabriel Riesser proposing the Emancipation of the Jews (1831)

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10. There is only one baptism that confers nationality: this is the baptism of blood in the common struggle for freedom and fatherland! "Your blood has mingled with ours on the battlefields," those were the commanding words with which the last faint impulses of intolerance and aversion were felled. German Jews, too, have acquired this valid claim to nationality with full legal force. Everywhere in Germany, the Jews are obliged to military service; they were everywhere [obliged to it] even before the Wars of Liberation. In both wars Jews fought, both as volunteers and conscripts, in proportionate numbers, among the ranks of the Germans; in the armies of the different states, not an inconsiderable number acquired positions of honor through personal distinction. It is a notorious fact that, e.g. in Prussia during the course of the war, several such cases arose, and that since the time of peace, on the other hand, no such advancements have been allowed to take place, but instead baptism was stipulated as an indispensable condition for every promotion:* irrefutable proof for the dual truth that Jews really distinguished themselves in the war for the German Fatherland, and that they are only capable of receiving promotion by real distinction. And the legal possibility of advancement is precisely the thing from which the laws of several German states, e.g. Baden, exclude the Jews, and this exclusion is precisely one of the points at whose abolition the effort on behalf of civil equality is most decisively aimed. There has never been any disdain for placing the names of Jews next to those of Christians on the monuments erected to honor the fallen soldiers in the Wars of Liberation;** and there would not be any in the future if the German Fatherland were to call its sons to arms once more! But the reward of honor for the bravery of its sons, if they are not of the Christian faith, is something that the Fatherland has not conferred in many places! The orphans of the fallen do not have the consolation that their father offered up his life for the Fatherland to which they belong, in the full sense of the word, as citizens with equal rights! The last sigh of the dying is not lightened by the thought that their orphans are children of the Fatherland that bereaved them of their father; he can only bequeath them a stepfatherland that might view them, where their rights are concerned, as foreigners! That is current law, those are the laws that one is making the effort to justify before your conscience, German legislators, by means of artificial phrases. Ask your conscience: it will answer you!

* I beg to hold this fact and similar ones in mind regarding the question that Dr. P. poses on p. 97 about "whether, for many years now, there has been any example of one of the sanctioned churches having attempted to make Jews into converts by offering advantages?"
** With horror a friend told me that he had seen names of Jews among the names of the fallen in Lübeck in the Marienkirche. After the wars of liberation, you see, this city had driven out the Jews who had moved into the city at the time of the French occupation; those unfortunate ones had therefore purchased the misfortune and shame of their co-religionists and family members with their blood.

Source: Gabriel Riesser, Vertheidigung der bürgerlichen Gleichstellung der Juden gegen die Entwürfe des Herrn Dr. H. E .G. Paulus: den gesetzgebenden Versammlungen Deutschlands gewidmet [Defense of the Civic Equality of the Jews with Respect to the Proposals of Herr H. E. G. Paulus: Brought to the Attention of the Legislative Assemblies of Germany]. Altona: Johann Friedrich Hammerich,1831, pp. 25, 29-31, 33-4, 42-5, 53-4, 56-7.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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