2 9 6 D O C . 3 5 D E F E N S E T H R O U G H K N O W L E D G E
Aufgabe dem Gedanken zum Siege zu verhelfen, dass nur der Respekt vor mensch-
licher Eigenart den Völkern ein anständiges Leben garantiert, und dass es ein Zei-
chen tiefster Unkultur ist, eine Menschengruppe zum Sündenbock zu machen, weil
sie anderen Blutes
Dieser Aufgabe werden wir Juden ausschliesslich durch Zusammenschluss des
ganzen jüdischen Volkes gerecht werden. Dann werden wir Forderungen im Na-
men der Menschlichkeit, die man uns gegenüber in grauenvollster Verhetzung
durch Angriffe gegen unsere Ehre und unser Leben verletzt hat, erheben können,
und werden in klarer Erkenntnis unserer Art und des Wesens des Antisemitismus
uns mit Erfolg gegen die Äusserungen des Hasses zur Wehr setzen, der die Völker
Der Anfang einer wirksamen Abwehr ist aber die Erkenntnis der
TD. [36 626]. The document consists of three pages, all but the first of which are numbered. The pre-
sentation of the page numbers
the margin in square
from that in the orig-
inal, where page numbers “2” and “3” appear typed at the head of the respective pages. Emendations
and two substantial handwritten additions are in an unknown hand.
This document is dated on the assumption that it was written after the first version, the preceding
The following two sentences are written in an unknown hand at the head of the second page of
the three-page original. They are preceded by an indication at this point in the original text that they
are to be inserted.
The maxim is “Achte jedes Mannes Vaterland, aber das deinige liebe!” in Das Fähnlein der
sieben Aufrechten (1860) by the Swiss novelist and poet Gottfried Keller (1819–1890). It appears on
p. 62 of the Insel edition that is in Einstein’s library.
For Einstein’s involvement in examining charges of wartime atrocities, see Einstein 1919h (Doc.
30), note 11; for his explanation of why some Jews were driven to black marketeering, see Einstein
1919h (Doc. 30).
In contrast to the preceding document, in which Einstein expressed the hope that the state would
take seriously its duty to protect national minorities, he argues here explicitly that it is the task of Jews
to ensure that the state implement this progressive program. In doing so, Einstein accepted a key prop-
osition of the Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith, or CV: combating anti-
Semitism through litigation, a position that, together with assimilationism, he had condemned earlier
as “useless and morally questionable” (see the preceding document, particularly note 9).
The following paragraph and the final sentence are appended in the hand of the same individual
who contributed the earlier emendation (see note 2).
Whereas in this paragraph solidarity among Jews is encouraged in order to raise claims in the
court of humanity against persecutory anti-Semitism, in the preceding document Einstein had given
little credence to the importance of defense against anti-Semitism, refusing categorically to accept the
right of others to define and judge the “errors” of Jews.
While Einstein concludes that recognition of the truth of Jewish solidarity is the bedrock of an
effective defense against anti-Semitism, both in this sentence and in the title the term “defense”
(“Abwehr”) appears in a positive light in contrast to the disparaging context in which it is placed in
the preceding document. Einstein’s tentative embrace of “defense,” his acceptance of a Jewish obli-
gation to act in concert with the state (see note 2), his appeal to the non-Jewish part of humanity (see
the preceding note), as well as his omission of the extensive paragraph in the preceding document, in
which he mocks the Western (German) Jew’s tactic of redirecting Gentile anti-Semitism onto East
European Jews, all reflect a much more conciliatory attitude toward the CV and to the liberal opti-
mism that informed its views on overcoming anti-Semitism through appeals to reason.