National Geographic : 1919 Jul
PROGRESSIVE WORLD STRUGGLE OF THE JEWS and religious freedom to the Jews, but brought into the various parliaments a number of the leading Jews, and from that time on they have had little real trouble with the law in Austria, Ger many, France, Holland, and England. In Spain the Inquisition was revoked in 1834, and the Jews have since been in vited back. By the Congress of Berlin, in 1878, to which I shall refer more in de tail later, the Jews secured political and civil equality in Bulgaria and Serbia. Turkey had already granted it to them. On the whole, then, at the present time, the sons of Israel have little to com plain of in statutory law except in Ru mania and Russia. This is not to say that they do not encounter social preju dice in all countries, which in some coun tries has grown into bitter Anti-Semi tism and popular agitation against them. Prejudice cannot be banished by law. It can only fade out as conditions pro ducing it change. It of course affects the happiness and comfort of them against whom it is directed; but it does not limit their useful activities nor the achieve ments of great success. WHY ARE THE JEWS PERSECUTED? What are the reasons for this almost constant persecution of the Jews from the fourth century to the nineteenth? I regret to say that it must be mainly at tributed to the religious intolerance of the Christians. Other causes may be pointed out in the characteristics of the race which mistreatment and self-protec tion either developed or increased and hardened. But, in the last analysis, the initial cause was in religious prejudice. We find this prejudice in the hostility of Constantine after his conversion; we find it in the bulls of the Popes, begin ning in the fourth century and continu ing through the Middle Ages to the Council of Trent, in 1563; we find it in the course of St. Louis of France; we find it in the religious frenzy of Queen Eleanor of England, of Elizabeth of Russia, and Maria Theresa of Austria; we find it in the Inquisition in Spain; we find it in the words of Martin Luther against them. Luther said: "Why should the Jews complain of their captivity among us? We Christians suffered persecution and criticism at their hands for nearly three hundred years, so that we might com plain that they took us captives and killed us, and to this very day we know not what devil brought them into our land. We did not bring them from Jerusalem. Besides that, no one keeps them. The country and the roads are open to them. Let them return to their own land. We will gladly give them presents if we can be rid of them, for they are a heavy bur den upon us, a plague, a pestilence, a sore trial." FORCED TO MAINTAIN THEIR EXCLUSIVENESS We find the same spirit of religious persecution in the reintroduction by Pius VII of the Inquisition against the Jews and his ordinance that the Jews should forfeit the freedom enjoyed under the first Napoleon's rule in Rome and for sake their beautiful houses and return to the Ghetto; and we find it today in the attitude of the Russian Greek Church and the severe methods adopted to secure the baptism of the Jews. The persecutions which ,this religious prejudice has engendered have stimu lated the Jews in self-protection to main tain their exclusiveness, to continue their religious life and rigid adherence to their ceremonials, and to avoid assimilation with such an uncomfortable and hostile environment. It increased their intense activity,, their cunning in business, in order that they might live at all against such opposition, and it produced in them the traits that are now made the basis for denouncing them. In 1877, Russia declared war against Turkey because of the atrocities com mitted by the Turks against the Christian peoples in the Balkans, and ultimately won the war. She made the treaty of San Stephano with Turkey, and then the great Powers insisted that there must be a congress to revise that treaty. RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL LIBERTY URGED The congress was called at Berlin in 1878 and under it were established the separate governments of Serbia, Bul garia, and Rumania, who thus really owed their freedom to Russia.