1939 Atlantic Article: ‘I Married A Jew’

You could never publish an article like this today, but privately I suspect Jews & non-Jews make these same judgments.

Here are some highlights of the article written by the Gentile wife:

Then my mother pulled out the oldest and bitterest chestnuts that have been hurled against the Jews, accusations as old as the Roman Empire.

‘The Jews are essentially an Oriental race,’ she stormed, ‘East is East, and Jews and Christians cannot really meet any more than Christians and Chinese. Jews are sensual, aggressive, ostentatious, cunning—that is a heritage they can never overcome. They accomplish things in business because they are shrewder than Christians and never hesitate to seize an unfair advantage. They accomplish things in science yes, but mostly windy theories like those of Einstein and Freud. Jewish painters like Picasso and Modigliani are clever but never great. Jews in the theatre—well, you have seen what they have done to Hollywood. The moving pictures are full of sex and sensuality, and cater solely to the Jews’ god, money. Has there ever been a Jew who could approach Beethoven or Raphael? Has there ever…’

It must not be inferred that Mother, because of her German background, was particularly anti-Semitic. I have heard the same things from the lips of plenty of one-hundred-per-cent Americans…

…Ben, poor darling, still has the Jewish hypersensitivity toward all criticism of his race, for which he and his people are not to be blamed. In the beginning he couldn’t take it at all, though he loudly proclaimed that he invited argument, that he wanted to learn the Christian point of view in order to understand more clearly the century-old friction between the two groups.

All right, we would have at it. He would start by saying there was this and that about the Christians that he never could stomach. I would agree with him or condone the matter as the case might be, then point out a few Jewish traits that have irritated Gentiles. The moment I did that, he began to look like a crushed and visual embodiment of the ‘Eli, Eli.’ The least word against anything Jewish he took as a personal criticism of himself. ‘Ben, dear,’ I told him, ‘when you attack the prevalence of crime in America, do you suppose I think that you are implying that I am myself a criminal?’ It took some little time to drive this point home. But then up shot another one. Every criticism of Jewry was a vaunting of Christian superiority. ‘In their hearts most Christians think of us as “dirty Jews,”‘ he mourned…

Ben’s family beams whenever there is mention of such great Jews as Einstein, Epstein, Freud. They nod and smile as if to say, ‘Ah yes, where would the world be today if it had not been for our Jewish greats?’ But never do you hear them speak of Jewish scoundrels or criminals. If you merely mention that So-and-so is a Jew, they suspect you of anti-Semitism.

About Luke Ford

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