"If the Jews did not exist, we would have to invent them"

I’m having problems hunting down a reliable source for this quote (or variants of it).

Lots of secondary sources attribute the quote to Hitler himself, or on occasion, other top Nazis. I had heard before that Hitler famously made this quip and it is often used as indicative of his cynicism about persecuting Jews. For example,the BBC site states it here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/genocide/hitler_audio.shtml

However, I can’t find any reliable references to a primary source.

So I turn to you for help. Anyone know who originally said this, and where a source can be found?

I’ve probably seen the same fuzzy attributions you have. But this quote has also been paraphrased about other groups of people, and may predate the Hitler attribution. It’s also not that uncommon for a person to coin a phrase, that might be considered offensive, and attribute it to Hitler to redirect the source of the offense. I wonder who was used for over-the-top comparisons before Hitler came along. I do recall Pontius Pilate references from some older literature.

My first thought was that it would have been Julius Streicher, a Hitler favorite and editor of Der Stürmer who had wondered about continuing Jewish studies after there were no Jews. But Wiki on Streicher doesn’t mention this quote.

nm.
I always wanted to do that.

The origin (in a very different context and meaning) may originally be Voltaire: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”.

Do what? Post something obnoxious, let a few people read it, and then delete it at the end of the edit window for deniability?

That’s not what the edit function is for.

No, I think Hitler seemed quite sincere in his hatred of Jews.

Which makes the question of whether he actually said it all the more interesting.

If he did, it would indicate that he was self-aware that using persecution of a ‘folk devil’ was a mere political ploy - if it wasn’t Jews (and Roma and gays) it would be some other group … on the other hand, if he didn’t say it and people are attributing the saying to him anyway, it would indicate a sort of wishful thinking on the part of those doing the attribution.

I just ran across an interesting comment attributed to Hitler by one of the soldiers who served with him in WWI.

Supposedly he was off on one of his anti-Semitic rants and said “If I had the power, I’d send all the Jews to Palestine!”.

The Nazis did have a half-hearted plan to send them all to Madagascar, of all places. Apparently, it was seriously considered, though in the end the logistics killed it (that and the continued existance of the British fleet):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madagascar_Plan

I doubt Hitler would have said that. His anti-semitism appears to have been sincere.

Goebbels or Goering might have said it though. They appear to have used anti-semitism more as a political ploy than out of real convictions.

This, of course, implies that we did not invent him. Many would maintain otherwise.

God is the product of intelligent design?

I read the implication as being exactly contrary - if said with irony. It seems to be merely winking at the notion that a God really exists; the implication being, of course, that ‘we’ invented him because he’s “necessary”.

I once heard a professor of medieval history use that phrase.
His lectures dealt mostly with the all-encompassing role of the Catholic Church in medieval society, but he emphasized the importance of the Jews, too. Because “usury” (i.e charging interest ) was completely banned by the church, much of the economic engine of society did actually pass through Jewish hands. And , of course, the Jews were useful as political scapegoats, being the easy-to-hate source of all problems.

So he once said that for medieval society to function, if the Jews hadnt existed, the Church would have had to invent them.And I think he was quoting another historian.

But that’s not correct, of course.
The ‘rules’ of the Church were entirely made up by them, so if needed, they would just have changed them to allow it. As they did eventually – they re-interpreted the Bible to say usury was “charging excessive interest”. (And the definition of excessive seems to get higher each year!)

And the Muslim religion does still ban the charging of interest, but they seem to have an effective economic system going in those countries. They just come up with some loophole that they can explain as not actually charging interest, like calling it something else, so then it’s allowed. (Oddly enough, it looks a lot like the ways Orthodox Jews find for getting things done on the Sabbath that their scriptures don’t allow.)

[QUOTE=t-bonham@scc.net;12774067But that’s not correct, of course.
The ‘rules’ of the Church were entirely made up by them, so if needed, they would just have changed them to allow it. As they did eventually – they re-interpreted the Bible to say usury was “charging excessive interest”. (And the definition of excessive seems to get higher each year!)

And the Muslim religion does still ban the charging of interest, but they seem to have an effective economic system going in those countries. They just come up with some loophole that they can explain as not actually charging interest, like calling it something else, so then it’s allowed. (Oddly enough, it looks a lot like the ways Orthodox Jews find for getting things done on the Sabbath that their scriptures don’t allow.)[/QUOTE]

Can you cite these cases like Jewish Law or Muslin Law? I know Orthodox Jews who find their own equivocations, but Jewish Law seems to be incredibly fundamental. Observants Jews will not use electrical devices on the Sabbath to avoid the creation of an electrical spark which has been interpreted as equivalent to fire. Leafy vegatables are washed to prevent accidently ingesting insects which are not kosher. I know a Muslim man who will not eat or drink anything containing vinegar because it was made from alcoholic beverages. Both of those religions seem to err on the side of their own scriptures while the Catholic church created official dogma that would contradict the New Testament or simply add new rules like those regarding usury, not eating meat on Fridays, etc… I’m not taking a stand on this issue, just interested in the facts.

nm

But there are dozens of devices sold to enable them to actually use electrical devices, supposedly without violating these rules. Like timers that will turn the stove on at specified times the next day, or elevators that are pre-programmed to stop on each floor on the Sabbath, so they don’t have to push an electrical button to call it, etc.

Apparently their God was smart enough to dream up all these laws, but is too stupid to notice when people are bypassing them.

I think it was Steven Spielberg who observed that Jaws did not exist so he invented the summer blockbuster.