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Report by the Prussian District Government in Koblenz on the Jewish Population (1820)

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§ 21. After we flattered ourselves for having developed the essential features of the legislation on the Jews in those parts of the country on both banks of the Rhine, we leave with the observation that in the year 1818, incoming protection money on the right bank of the Rhine amounted to the not inconsiderable sum of 3112 Reichstaler Prussian Courant,

ad 2. on the expert statement concerning citizen conditions of the same with respect to the Royal Edict of January 11, 1812.

The earlier and more recent history of the Israelites has convinced us that they – both as an independent nation at the time their political life flourished, and after their subjugation and dissolution – have preserved and maintained their peculiarity at every point on the globe, under every influence affecting [their] situation; a peculiarity that is sought and found in the interweaving of their religious and ceremonial aims and teachings with political and civic ones. [ . . . ] Dispersed among all the nations of the earth (the Jews constitute) not merely the members of an ecclesiastical sect, but a nation of their own, a state within a state, firmly and imperturbably clinging to the laws of the religion, which is also the foundation of their political institutions. [ . . . ] Oriented toward Palestine, the land of promised bliss, they plead incessantly to God for their return there and simultaneously for revenge on the heads of their enemies, who are all non-Jews; for this high self-esteem, already conceived with the foundation of the state
[ . . . ] , the [feeling of] being the Lord’s chosen and alone assured of his protection, [ . . . ] turned, at the fall of their kingdom, into arrogance, disparagement and contempt for all nations who do not worship and revere the highest Being according to Israelite custom.

[ . . . ] If foreigners were barbarians to the Greeks and Romans, to the Jews they are goyim, i.e., heathens, impure slaves, enemies, with whom association is dishonorable. The Talmud – far from suppressing their egoistic, [other] nation-hating views or even just giving them a more humanitarian direction, has rather acknowledged and fortified them anew; and thus the Jews, even today, are antagonistic to all other – and most of all to the Christian – nations. Jewry is in a necessarily eternal struggle with Christianity. This consideration alone does not allow us to favor the spread of Jewry among us, least of all, though, to grant it the kind of expansion that would give its adherents the same influence as Christians on the different institutions of the state, which, after all, are more or less in touch with the religion to which they go back or from which they proceed. If one casts a searching glance at their moral tendency, at the actions and conduct of the Jews in civic life, one runs across the same particularism that is a characteristic and consequence of their religion. Every kind of work seems like a punishment to them, farming is declared by the Talmud to be a contemptuous trade and stockbreeding a depraved business, similar to a robber’s way of life. [ . . . ] Indifferent to honor and shame, wherever profit lures, we see them sly and cunning, wherever there has to be cheating, deceiving, and doing things behind one’s back. Beyond anyone’s reach in the art of bribery, they always find the ends to justify the means. Never, or seldom, does a band of robbers exist without some connection to them.

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