D O C . 8 0 A N T I S E M I T I S M A N D A C A D E M I C Y O U T H 8 5
80. “Antisemitism and Academic Youth”
[Berlin, after 15 July
As long as we were living in the ghetto, material difficulties and sometimes
physical danger attended our belonging to the Jewish people, but not social or emo-
tional problems. This situation changed with emancipation, quite particularly for
Jews devoting themselves to the intellectual professions.
A young Jew at school and university is subject to the influence of a nationalis-
tically tinged society highly respected and admired by him; a society from which
he receives his intellectual nurturing, to which he feels he belongs, and by which at
the same time he sees himself ¢treated and looked down on² being treated with a
certain deprecation and aversion as an alien. Driven more by the suggestive ¢power²
influence of this psychological superiority than by utilitarian ¢points of view² con-
siderations, he turns his back on his people and its traditions and regards himself as
belonging totally among the others by trying in vain to hide from himself and the
others that this relationship is not reciprocal. Thus the deplorable baptized Jewish
privy councillor of yesterday and today is formed. Most of the time, it is not a want
of character and over-ambition that make him into what he is, rather—as I said—
the suggestive power of an environment superior in numbers and ¢power² influ-
ence. He certainly does know that many excellent sons of the Jewish people have
contributed substantially toward the blossoming of Europe’s culture. But have they
not all, with few exceptions, done roughly the same as he
As with ¢most² many mental afflictions, here too the cure lies in a clear aware-
ness of its essence and its causes. We ¢can² must become clearly conscious of our
alienness and accept the consequences. There is no sense in trying to convince the
others of our mental and intellectual equality through reasoning; for, the root of
their conduct is not lodged in the cerebrum. We must rather emancipate ourselves
socially, ¢and limit our relations with the others mainly to the intellectual and pro-
fessional,² mainly satisfy our social needs ¢but by² ourselves. We should have our
own student associations and exercise a courteous but consistent reserve toward
non-Jews. In doing so, let us live according to our own ways and not copy the cus-
toms of drinking and dueling that are essentially foreign to us.
One can be ¢a son² a bearer of Europe’s culture, a good citizen of a state, and at
the same time a loyal Jew who loves his tribe and honors his forefathers. If we are
mindful of this and act accordingly, then the problem of anti-Semitism, insofar as
it is of a social nature, is solved for
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