Why Did The Same Jewish Leader Joachim Prinz First Support The Nazis, And Then Martin Luther King?

I just read a Stanford University website that posted in full Joachim Prinz’s 1958 letter to Martin Luther King. Here is an excerpt:

On September 26th, I addressed a letter to the President of the United States urging him to summon the country’s leaders in the field of religion, education, social welfare, labor and business to a meeting at the White House to spell out for every American the democratic principles that underlie our existence as a nation. From such a meeting, I suggested, could come a Presidential proclamation of equality in which the full authority and prestige of the office of the President would be placed in support of the moral principle of integration and the basic concept of obedience to court decisions.

The Stanford website notes: “Joachim Prinz (1902-1988), born in Burkhardtsdorf, Saxony, attended the University of Berlin, received a Ph.D. from the University of Giessen, and was ordained a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau (1925). While serving as a rabbi in Berlin, Prinz preached against the Nazis and was repeatedly arrested by the Gestapo; he was expelled from Germany in 1937. In 1939 Prinz became rabbi of Temple B’Nai Abraham in Newark, New Jersey, where he served until his retirement in 1977. Prinz was president of the American Jewish Congress (1958-1966) and two-term chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. He served as a founding chairman of the 1963 March on Washington and spoke at the event.”

According to Wikipedia:

Dr. Prinz devoted much of his life in the United States to the Civil Rights movement. He saw the plight of African American and other minority groups in the context of his own experience under Hitler.

From his early days in Newark, a city with a very large minority community, he spoke from his pulpit about the disgrace of discrimination. He joined the picket lines across America protesting racial prejudice from unequal employment to segregated schools, housing and all other areas of life.

While serving as President of the American Jewish Congress, he represented the Jewish community as an organizer of the August 28, 1963, March on Washington. He came to the podium immediately following a stirring spiritual sung by the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and just before Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. Prinz’s address is remembered for its contention that, based on his experience as a rabbi in Nazi Germany after the rise of Hitler, in the face of discrimination, “the most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.”

But this is a deceptive summary of the man and his ideological contortions in service of what he thought was best for the Jews, be that one moment supporting the Nazis and another moment supporting racial integration.

Kevin MacDonald wrote this month:

Assertions of Zionist racialism continued into the National Socialist period, where they dovetailed with National Socialist attitudes. Joachim Prinz, a German Jew who later became the head of the American Jewish Congress, celebrated Hitler’s ascent to power because it signaled the end of the Enlightenment values, which had resulted in assimilation and mixed marriage among Jews:

We want assimilation to be replaced by a new law: the declaration of belonging to the Jewish nation and the Jewish race. A state built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race can only be honoured and respected by a Jew who declares his belonging to his own kind…. For only he who honours his own breed and his own blood can have an attitude of honour towards the national will of other nations. The common ground of the racial Zionists and their non-Jewish counterparts included the exclusion of Jews from the German Volksgemeinschaft.

Indeed, shortly after Hitler came to power, the Zionist Federation of Germany submitted a memorandum to the German government outlining a solution to the Jewish question and containing the following remarkable statement.

The Federation declared that the Enlightenment view that Jews should be absorbed into the nation state discerned only the individual, the single human being freely suspended in space, without regarding the ties of blood and history or spiritual distinctiveness. Accordingly, the liberal state demanded of the Jews assimilation [via baptism and mixed marriage] into the non-Jewish environment…. Thus it happened that innumerable persons of Jewish origin had the chance to occupy important positions and to come forward as representatives of German culture and German life, without having their belonging to Jewry become visible. Thus arose a state of affairs which in political discussion today is termed “debasement of Germandom,” or “Jewification.”…Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one’s own tradition.

A few years ago, Kevin MacDonald wrote:

Harold Cruse, a black intellectual, presents a particularly trenchant analysis of the role of Jewish self-interest in their role in Jewish-black coalition: “Jews know exactly what they want in America.” Jews want cultural pluralism because of their long-term policy of nonassmilation and
group solidarity. Cruse notes, however, that the Jewish experience in Europe has shown them that “two can play this game” (i.e., develop highly nationalistic ethnocentric groups), and “when that happens, woe be to the side that is short on numbers.” Cruse observes that Jewish organizations view white nationalism as their greatest potential threat and they have tended to support pro-black integration (i.e., assimilationist, individualist) policies for blacks in America,
presumably because such policies dilute white power and lessen the possibility of a cohesive, nationalist anti-Jewish white majority. At the same time, Jewish organizations have opposed a black nationalist position while pursuing an anti-assimilationist, nationalist group strategy for their own group.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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