Why Did Hitler Hate Jews
No ruler in history brought as much death and suffering to the Jewish people as did Adolf Hitler. Heading a Nazi regime that systematically murdered around 6 million Jews between 1941 and 1945 , around two-thirds of the European Jewish population, the question as to why Hitler hated the Jews so much continually surfaces. This is especially so in recent years as anti-Semitism has been experiencing a new outburst.
Under Hitler’s regime, Jews were targeted as the principle culprits of Germany’s decline leading up to his rule, as part of an extreme Nazi ideology that aimed to eliminate any group of people who were viewed as poisoning or weakening the German race. Others included people of divergent sexual orientation, the disabled, blacks, political opponents, ethnic Poles and other Slavs, Soviet citizens and Jehovah’s Witnesses . Jews, however, received the brunt of the blow, making up the vast majority out of all groups persecuted during those years .
The severity of Hitler’s approach toward the Jewish people has intrigued researchers ever since. When looking into his life leading up to the beginning of his political career in the 1920s, there is no outright, undeniable evidence of Hitler’s anti-Semitic stance. Yet, the need for an answer as to why Hitler hated Jews so much has given rise to a lot of speculation, including theories such as Hitler’s shame in having partly Jewish roots, that Hitler’s hatred of Jews was the result of trauma caused by a poison attack in the First World War, that Hitler contracted a venereal disease from a Jewish prostitute, that a Jewish physician treated Hitler’s mother for a month leading up to her death and used a medicine that caused her a lot of pain, as well as the theory that Hitler’s insistence to kill Jews wasn’t his own idea, but one influenced by other political leaders of the time . However, none of these theories are supported by any conclusive evidence.
Therefore, the question as to why Hitler hated the Jews so much continues to baffle people.
- Did Hitler Really Hate the Jews
- Why Were Jews the Principle Scapegoats of Germany’s WWI Defeat and the Following Economic Decline?
- When Myths about Why Jews Were Blamed for Germany’s Defeat Become Dispelled, We Can Seek a Deeper Cause for the Blame on Jews
- Who Is a Jew?
- What Is the Role of Rulers and World Leaders Regarding Anti-Semitism?
- What Can We Apply Today Regarding What Happened to Jews Between and During the First and Second World Wars?
Hitler originally wasn’t an anti-Semite. What is undeniably clear, however, is that Hitler pinpointed and flared up an anti-Semitic attitude that had been boiling for years among Europeans, and which became all the more irate in Germans following Germany’s First World War defeat.
Before the First World War, when Hitler was trying to make a living as an artist in the Vienna of 1908-1913, he encountered a lot of anti-Semitic propaganda. Vienna had a large Jewish population, with Jews making up 9% of the total population, an openly anti-Semitic mayor in Karl Lueger, and many newspapers and magazines of the time promoted anti-Jewish views . At this stage, however, no evidence has been found of Hitler showing any anti-Jewish sentiment, albeit the general influence.
The tides turned when Germany suffered defeat in the First World War. Many German nationalists and conservatives believed that Germany lost the war not on the battlefield, but due to betrayal from within. The blame fell mainly on Jews and communists, the latter of whom were often thought of in the same breath as the Jews . The rising anti-Semitic tendency in the German people even overlooked the fact that more than 100,000 German and Austrian Jews served in the war, and 12,000 had been killed in their service .
After the First World War, Hitler began his political career. He joined the National Social German Workers Party (NSDAP), became its leading figure, and noticed that anti-Semitic propaganda was well-accepted by the party’s voters . Hitler thus saw that he could use the increasing anti-Semitism together with the blow to the German people’s pride in order to rise to power. Jews then became a popular target in his speeches and writings. Hitler’s message fed right into the German nationalistic and conservative atmosphere, as he claimed that Jews were not only responsible for an unfair German defeat but were also stunting Germany’s recovery.
In his personal life, Hitler showed no evident signs of anti-Semitism . However, he ignited a groundswell of Jewish hatred that had been brewing in the German population as a means to power. The question then becomes what caused this anti-Semitism to be felt so strongly among the Germans of the time? Why were Jews the principle scapegoats of Germany’s First World War defeat and its economic decline the years afterward?
What is significant about the anti-Semitism that soared in Germany following its First World War defeat is that it was based on a so-called “stab-in-the-back myth,” the facts of which have been disproven by scholars both inside and outside Germany. In short, the stab-in-the-back myth shifted responsibility for the war’s loss away from Germans and over to Jews and communists. It claimed that Germany lost the war not militarily, but due to internal traitors—primarily Jews and communists—working for foreign interests .
The stab-in-the-back myth was promoted by Germany’s nationalistic and conservative circles and garnered popular acceptance among Germans of the time. The scholars who unanimously rejected the stab-in-the-back myth hold the view that Germany lost the war on the battlefield: that the German army ran out of reserves and became overpowered by the United States’ war entry. Also, regarding the numbers of Jews serving Germany’s military in the First World War, there were accusations that Jews were underrepresented, which caused a Judenzählung (Jewish census) of German troops to take place during the war in 1916. However, the results of this census showed the opposite: that German Jews who served in the army were even overrepresented in proportion to their numbers in the German population. Moreover, these census results were suppressed from the general public of the time .
The question then remains: Why would a myth about Jewish blame for the First World War defeat become public opinion, against facts and against the unanimous view of German and other scholars?
When Myths about Why Jews Were Blamed for Germany’s Defeat Become Dispelled, We Can Seek a Deeper Cause for the Blame on Jews
It is on this point that we will turn to the wisdom of Kabbalah to discuss the phenomenon of anti-Semitism. Beneath the surface stab-in-the-back myth and the misconception of Jewish underrepresentation in the army that were popularly believed at the time, both of which became disproven, Germany’s growing anti-Semitic atmosphere following its First World War defeat and subsequent economic depression is part of a resurfacing, natural phenomenon: mass anti-Semitism. There is an innate expectation toward the Jewish people from the nations of the world: that the Jews need to bring the world something they’re not bringing, that they are hiding something from the world.
Post-WWI Germany is one period out of a few when the Jews have been blamed for a large-scale crisis, and which also led to terrible consequences for the Jews. For example, in the Middle Ages, Jews were blamed for the Black Death pandemic that killed 75 to 200 million people in Europe, nearly half the total population, and this led to the persecution of thousands of Jews across Europe in that period . Similar to the stab-in-the-back myth, a reason for Jewish blame was seemingly pointed out when a Jew “confessed” (after being tortured) to poisoning a well, coupled with the fact that the Jews were relatively unaffected by the plague. However, once again, the popular attitude of blaming Jews outweighed any need for conclusive evidence, and this attitude erupted into the brutal killing of many hundreds of Jews in that period.
When crisis hits, the Jews become a notorious scapegoat. In order to understand why this blame on Jews is a natural phenomenon, we need to explore who is a Jew.
Unlike other nations, the Jewish people have no biological roots. The Jewish people emerged some 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon, when Abraham gathered a mixture of Babylonians who were drawn to the idea of uniting above the intensifying social division of the time. Due to egoistic human desires growing to new proportions, society entered a time of increasing conflict. Abraham was a person who felt this ego problem, sought a solution, and took his quest for a solution to an extreme: a journey of self-transformation to find out what was causing the problem, and found a solution in the discovery of a single force of nature powering our world and our lives: a static, unchanging force of pure love, bestowal and connection.
What Abraham discovered was that by tuning into the same “frequency” as this force, people could balance with nature. In human relations, such attainment becomes expressed as people gaining the ability to unite above any differences and problems. Moreover, by uniting above differences, our balance with nature brings us an experience of heightened pleasure and confidence stemming from a newly developed ability to perceive and sense the force of nature, a force that connects between all parts of reality. He found a way to unlock the human ego, letting a small desire that exists in every person develop: the desire for the meaning of life and for positive social connections. What he found is that this desire could be voluntarily grown into a new sense that feels the loving and giving force of nature, essentially freeing this desire from the ego’s self-centered restraints.
He called the method for the revelation of this force “Kabbalah” and invited anyone who was interested to participate. People came from all walks of life to be under the umbrella of this idea: “love your friend as yourself” (Leviticus 18b). With Abraham’s guidance, they worked on their unity and reached a form of unity that was in balance with nature’s force of love and bestowal. It is based on this mutual attainment of spiritual unity that gave them the name, “Jews” .
After their initial establishment of this spiritual unity, the human ego once again grew, and they dispersed. They experienced rises and falls regarding their unity. They experienced the harmony that emerged from their heightened states of unity in the constructions of the First and Second Temples, and since the ruin of the Second Temple, have entered a long period of dispersion and inclusion among the nations of the world.
This period is the exile.
Since they attained a level of unity that matched nature’s form of unity, an impression remains of the unity and the path to it in the collective unconscious. Jews themselves are unaware of it, but the fact that their ancestry attained an extent of balance with nature, a spark of that spiritual energy remains latent in them. This is the reason for the Jews’ inventive and innovative tendency, and their disproportionate success in many fields, e.g. science, technology, medicine and the arts, despite making up only 2% of the world’s population.
However, no matter what the Jews bring to the world, whenever crisis strikes, they become a popular target for blame. This is because the nations of the world subconsciously expect the Jews to re-attain their unity. By failing to unite, the lack of Jewish unity spreads to the world as a lack of global unity. Since the Jews fail to assume their role in the world—to be a conduit for unity to spread to humanity—then coupled with the ego’s growth and the resulting increase in anxieties, threats, conflicts and wars, the nations of the world instinctively feel that the Jews are to blame for their problems.
Within words of notable anti-Semites, there is a certain calling for the Jews to carry out their role. For example, in the words of Henry Ford, one of the most influential anti-Semites: “Society has a large claim against him [the Jew] that he … begin to fulfill … the ancient prophecy that through him all the nations of the earth should be blessed.” – Henry Ford, The International Jew, The World’s Foremost Problem.
Also, Hitler himself wrote in Mein Kampf about his disgust for how Jews appear when not united (“a horde of rats fighting bloodily among themselves”), and how they have no natural unity, but only unite when a “danger forces” or a “common booty entices” them to unite:
“The Jew is only united when a common danger forces him to be or a common booty entices him; if these two grounds are lacking, the qualities of the crassest egoism come into their own, and in the twinkling of an eye the united people turns into a horde of rats, fighting bloodily among themselves.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf.
Anti-Semitism is a natural phenomenon that awakens in people in order to urge the unity of the Jewish people (“love your friend as yourself” and to be “as one man with one heart”) in order for that unity to spread to humanity (to be “a light unto nations”). At certain periods, when this unity is needed more or less, then anti-Semitism awakens with more or less ferocity.
The awakening of anti-Semitism to urge the Jews to fulfill their role—to unite and spread that unity to the world—surfaces through a natural system of thoughts and desires underlying our actions and behaviors. There is a statement in the wisdom of Kabbalah that goes, “the heads of ministers are in the hands of God.” It means that the more a person gains rule over society, the less free choice the person has, and the more the demands of the system of nature operate on the person to carry out nature’s program.
In Hitler’s case, he thus becomes viewed as a “tool” in the hands of nature to carry out on the Jewish people a harsh hand due to their failure to reach a certain level of unity by a certain time. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that no evidence of Hitler’s anti-Semitism is undeniably apparent prior to his entrance into politics. Hatred of Jews brews up in humanity without any clear, factual reason at its basis because it is a feeling that emerges in people naturally out of a natural need for Jews to perform a certain action they’re not performing. Then, the ruler becomes as a funnel by which the abscess of Jewish hatred could erupt through the laws and decisions the ruler instigates.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler himself testified to such an inner sensation, where by “standing guard against the Jew” and “fighting off the Jews” he is an “agent of the Creator” and is “doing the Lord’s work.”
“And so I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord. … Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work. … I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf.
What Can We Apply Today Regarding What Happened to Jews Between and During the First and Second World Wars?
The purpose of delving into the topic of why Hitler hated Jews is not to recount historical information, but to explain the root of a certain problem—anti-Semitism—its solution, and also, what can happen if its solution fails to be implemented in time. Today, on a global scale, there are similar tendencies to those that evolved leading up to the Second World War in Germany: crises, especially economic difficulties, becoming felt more and more, rising Nazi and fascist tendencies, as well as rising anti-Semitic sentiment, crimes and threats.
While the aftermath of the Second World War and the Holocaust left behind certain impressions and laws that make it very difficult for the same scale of genocide to actualize, the more that crisis is felt in people’s lives, on personal, social, global, economic and ecological scales, the more people will point out the Jews as responsible for their shortcomings, and the more anti-Semitism will continue to rise. The fate of the Jewish people and of humanity as a whole depends on the speed and intensity by which the Jewish people can carry out their role in the world: to unite, and be a conduit for unity to spread worldwide.
Prior to the Second World War, the most renowned Kabbalist of the 20th Century, Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) forewarned the Jewish people of the oncoming threat. He himself left Europe and fled to Palestine, and warned other Jews in Poland to do the same. He was largely ignored, and later the same Jews he warned fell victim to the Holocaust. Since anti-Semitism is a recurring natural phenomenon that will continually surface until the Jews carry out their role in the world, then today too, we can see how Baal HaSulam’s word ring as a calling to the Jewish people to start uniting their ranks and becoming a nation upon the principle that formed them as a nation in the very beginning, to unite and spread their unity to the world.
We will lead out this article with the words from Baal HaSulam’s 1940 paper, The Nation . The publication and dissemination of this paper aimed to spread the word about the need for Jews to unite during this especially fiery time of danger, to take heed of the warning and come together. However, the paper was shut down by the British Mandate authorities in Palestine at the time, labeled as communist propaganda, and it was unable to spread at that time.
“Not only are we simultaneously attacked from all directions, but even the most developed nations have locked their doors before us without any sentiment of mercy or compassion, and in such a ruthless manner that is unprecedented in the whole of human history, even in the most barbaric times.
“It is clear, save for relying on miracles, that our existence as individuals or as a nation is hanging between life and death. And the salvation is if we find the required ploy, that great scheme whose way is only to be found near danger, and which can tilt the scale to our favor—to give us a safe haven here for all our brothers in the Diaspora, as everyone says it is, at present, the only place of salvation.
“Then the road of life will be open to us, to somehow continue our existence despite the difficulties. And if we miss the opportunity and do not rise as one, with the great efforts required at a time of danger, to guarantee our staying in the land, then the facts before us pose a great threat to us, since matters are developing favorably for our enemies, who seek to destroy us from the face of the Earth.
“It is also clear that the enormous effort that the rugged road ahead requires of us mandates unity that is as solid and as hard as steel, from all parts of the nation, without exception. If we do not come out with united ranks toward the mighty forces that are standing on our way to harm us, we will find that our hope is doomed in advance.”
– Yehuda Ashlag, The Nation, 1940.
Dr. Michael Laitman
PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.
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