It would seem to be realistic to conclude that any Jew who could afford to own slaves and had need for their services would do so….Jews participated in every aspect and process of the exploitation of the defenseless blacks.”
From “Jews and Negro Slavery in the Old South, 1789-1865,” Dr. Korn is a rabbi, historian with degrees from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati.
Dr. Louis Epstein, author of Sex Laws and Customs in Judaism:
“The female slave was a sex tool beneath the level of moral considerations. She was an economic good, useful, in addition to her menial labor, for breeding more slaves. To attain that purpose, the master mated her promiscuously according to his breeding plans. The master himself and his sons and other members of his household took turns with her for the increase of the family wealth, as well as for satisfaction of their extra-marital sex desires. Guests and neighbors too were invited to that luxury.”
Dr. Seymour B. Liebman
“They came with ships carrying African blacks to be sold as slaves. The traffic in slaves was a royal monopoly, and the Jews were often appointed as agents for the Crown in their sale….[They] were the largest ship chandlers in the entire Caribbean region, where the shipping business was mainly a Jewish enterprise….The ships were not only owned by Jews, but were manned by Jewish crews and sailed under the command of Jewish captains.”
New World Jewry 1493-1825: Requiem for the Forgotten (KTAV, New York, 1982), pp. 170, 183. [Liebman is an attorney; LL.B., St. Lawrence University, 1929; M.A. (Latin American history), Mexico City College, 1963; Florida chapter American Jewish Historical Society, 1956-58; Friends of Hebrew University, 1958-59; American Historical Society Contributor to scholarly journals on Jewish history.
Dr. Herbert I. Bloom
“The Christian inhabitants [of Brazil] were envious because the Jews owned some of the best plantations in the river valley of Pernambuco and were among the leading slave-holders and slave traders in the colony.”1
“Slave trade [sic] was one of the most important Jewish activities here [in Surinam] as elsewhere in the colonies.”2
1. , “A Study of Brazilian Jewish History 1623-1654, Based Chiefly Upon the Findings of the Late Samuel Oppenheim,” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, vol. 33 (1934), p. 63.
2. The Economic Activities of the Jews of Amsterdam in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Port Washington, New York/London: Kennikat Press, 1937), p. 159.
[Bloom is a rabbi with degrees from Columbia University, Jewish Institute of Religion]
Dr. Arnold Wiznitzer
“The West India Company, which monopolized imports of slaves from Africa, sold slaves at public auctions against cash payment. It happened that cash was mostly in the hands of Jews. The buyers who appeared at the auctions were almost always Jews, and because of this lack of competitors they could buy slaves at low prices. On the other hand, there also was no competition in the selling of the slaves to the plantation owners and other buyers, and most of them purchased on credit payable at the next harvest in sugar. Profits up to 300 percent of the purchase value were often realized with high interest rates….If it happened that the date of such an auction fell on a Jewish holiday the auction had to be postponed. This occurred on Friday, October 21, 1644.”
Jews in Colonial Brazil (1960), pp. 72-3; [Note: Wiznitzer, Arnold Aharon, educator; Born in Austria, December 20, 1899; Ph.D., University of Vienna, 1920; Doctor of Hebrew Literature, Jewish Theological Seminary of America; Emeritus research professor, University of Judaism, Los Angeles; Contributor to historical journals in the United States and Brazil including the Journal of Jewish Social Studies and the Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society. Former president, Brazilian-Jewish Institute of Historical Research.]
When we were working in Chicago, we had numerous rent strikes on the West Side, and it was unfortunately true that, in most instances, the persons we had to conduct these strikes against were Jewish landlords. There was a time when the West Side of Chicago was a Jewish ghetto, and when the Jewish community started moving out into other areas, they still owned the property there, and all of the problems of the landlord came into being.
We were living in a slum apartment owned by a Jew and a number of others, and we had to have a rent strike. We were paying $94 for four run-down, shabby rooms, and we would go out on our open housing marches on Gage Park and other places and we discovered that whites with five sanitary, nice, new rooms, apartments with five rooms, were paying only $78 a month. We were paying 20 percent tax.
The Negro ends up paying a color tax, and this has happened in instances where Negroes actually confronted Jews as the landlord or the storekeeper. The irrational statements that have been made are the result of these confrontations.
Clayborne Carson, ed., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: Warner Books, 1998), p. 309.
Jews also took an active part in the Dutch colonial slave trade; indeed, the bylaws of the Recife and Mauricia congregations (1648) included an imposta (Jewish tax) of five soldos for each Negro slave a Brazilian Jew purchased from the West Indies Company. Slave auctions were postponed if they fell on a Jewish holiday. In Curacao in the seventeenth century, as well as in the British colonies of Barbados and Jamaica in the eighteenth century, Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade. In fact, in all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch, Jewish merchants frequently dominated.
“This was no less true on the North American mainland, where during the eighteenth century Jews participated in the ‘triangular trade’ that brought slaves from Africa to the West Indies and there exchanged them for molasses, which in turn was taken to New England and converted into rum for sale in Africa. Isaac Da Costa of Charleston in the 1750’s, David Franks of Philadelphia in the 1760’s, and Aaron Lopez of Newport in the late 1760’s and early 1770’s dominated Jewish slave trading on the American continent.”
Rabbi Dr. Marc Lee Raphael is the editor (since 1988) of American Jewish History, the journal of the American Jewish Historical Society at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. He has been Rabbi of Bet Aviv in Columbia, MD since 1998. He is also the Nathan and Sophia Gumenick Professor of Judaic Studies, Professor of Religious Studies and Chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at The College of William and Mary.
Dr. Ira Rosenwaike
“In Charleston, Richmond and Savannah the large majority (over three-fourths) of the Jewish households contained one or more slaves; in Baltimore, only one out of three households were slaveholding; in New York, one out of eighteen….Among the slaveholding households the median number of slaves owned ranged from five in Savannah to one in New York.” “The Jewish Population in 1820,” in Abraham J. Karp, ed., The Jewish Experience in America: Selected Studies from the Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (Waltham, Massachusetts, 1969, 3 volumes), volume 2, pp. 2, 17, 19.
Dr. Cecil Roth
“The Jews of the Joden Savanne [Surinam] were also foremost in the suppression of the successive negro revolts, from 1690 to 1722: these as a matter of fact were largely directed against them, as being the greatest slave-holders of the region.“
History of the Marranos (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1932), p. 292.
Dr. Abraham J. Peck, American Jewish Archives
“The first two centuries of the Black-Jewish encounter in America were highlighted by a fairly extensive record of Jewish slave-holding. Indeed, during the colonial period, in the small Jewish community of the time, almost every Jewish household of any form, North or South, possessed at least one slave.”
From the exhibit “Blacks and Jews: The American Experience: 1654-1992,” presented by Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, the American Jewish Archives, and the America Jewish Committee.
All through the eighteenth century, into the early nineteenth, Jews in the North were to own black servants; in the South, the few plantations owned by Jews were tilled with slave labor. In 1820, over 75 percent of all Jewish families in Charleston, Richmond, and Savannah owned slaves, employed as domestic servants; almost 40 percent of all Jewish householders in the United States owned one slave or more. There were no protests against slavery as such by Jews in the South, where they were always outnumbered at least 100 to 1….But very few Jews anywhere in the United States protested against chattel slavery on moral grounds.” United States Jewry, 1776-1985 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989), p. 586.
Marcus describes the mockery of the Indian by Hyam Myer’s “Wild West Show” in his book, The Colonial American Jew:
“[Myer sought] formal permission to exhibit some Mohawks in Europe. Myers sailed with the Indians before the proper certificate was forthcoming from the Indian Commissioner, and had already begun to parade them in Holland and in the taverns of London when the Lords of Trade urged Lieutenant-Governor Cadwallader Colden in New York to have Johnson put an end to the undertaking. From all indications Myers made no money on his grand European tour, for he ended up owing the Indians money – or refusing to pay them. Then, as now, there was “no business like show business!”
“…though not total savages, [they] are very primitive and ignorant….[They do] nothing besides loafing and begging….They catch trout in the river, and then sell them to buy ammunition, shoot rabbits, birds, eat various roots and wild plants, also snakes, frogs, dogs, cats, and rats, and say, ‘Me work no.’ In conversation with several of them I found that they have no particular home and are heathens.”
The Jew is the heir of the slave-baron in Dougherty [Georgia]; and as we ride westward, by wide stretching cornfields and stubby orchards of peach and pear, we see on all sides within the circle of dark forest a Land of Canaan. Here and there are tales of projects for moneygetting, born in the swift days of Reconstruction’improvement’ companies, wine companies, mills and factories; nearly all failed, and the Jew fell heir.”
The Souls of Black Folk (1903) note: When DuBois tried to republish the book in 1953, he succumbed to pressure to replace the word “Jew” with “foreigner.”
The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion refers to Moses Maimonides as “the symbol of the pure and orthodox faith.” His Guide to the Perplexed is considered the greatest work of Jewish religious philosophy, but his view of Blacks was Hitlerian:
“[T]he Negroes found in the remote South, and those who resemble them from among them that are with us in these climes. The status of those is like that of irrational animals. To my mind they do not have the rank of men, but have among the beings a rank lower than the rank of man but higher than the rank of apes. For they have the external shape and lineaments of a man and a faculty of discernment that is superior to that of the apes.”
Philadelphia Jewish weekly The Jewish Record of January 23, 1863:
“We know not how to speak in the same breath of the Negro and the Israelite. The very names have startlingly opposite sounds one representing all that is debased and inferior in the hopeless barbarity and heathenism of six thousand years the other, the days when Jehovah conferred on our fathers the glorious equality which led the Eternal to converse with them, and allow them to enjoy the communion of angels. Thus the abandoned fanatics insult the choice of God himself, in endeavoring to reverse the inferiority which he stamped on the African, to make him the compeer, even in bondage, of His chosen people.
“There is no parallel between such races. Humanity from pole to pole would scout such a comparison. The Hebrew was originally free and the charter of his liberty was inspired by his Creator. The Negro was never free and his bondage in Africa was simply duplicated in a milder form when he was imported here….The judicious in all the earth agree that to proclaim the African equal to the surrounding races, would be a farce which would lead the civilized conservatism of the world to denounce the outrage.”
A Rabbi, 1956
“What our friends in the North do not fully appreciate is the fact that there is no difference between most of the Jews and their Christian neighbors in their attitudes toward the Negro. This is not a by-product of antisemitism, but an honest conviction. For these Jews desegregation presents not merely a school problem, but also a problem of the mixing of races.”
He was considered the most distinguished Jewish layman in his time. He was such a prolific proponent of slavery, that the first Black American periodical, The Freedom’s Journal, was launched in response to Noah’s racist propaganda. He actually defended slavery by calling it liberty:
“There is liberty under the name of slavery. A field negro has his cottage, his wife, and children, his easy task, his little patch of corn and potatoes, his garden and fruit, which are his revenue and property. The house servant has handsome clothing, his luxurious meals, his admitted privacy, a kind master, and an indulgent and frequently fond mistress.”
He argued that “the bonds of society must be kept as they now are” and that “To emancipate the slaves would be to jeopardize the safety of the whole country.” The Freedom’s Journal called Noah the Black man’s “bitterest enemy” and William Lloyd Garrison, the leading White abolitionist, called him the “lineal descendant of the monsters who nailed Jesus to the cross.”
Jews and Hollywood
Anti-Defamation League Charter
“For a number of years a tendency has manifested itself in American life toward the caricaturing and defaming of Jews on the stage, in moving pictures. The effect of this on the unthinking public has been to create an untrue and injurious impression of an entire people and to expose the Jew to undeserved contempt, and ridicule. The caricatures center around some idiosyncrasy of the few which, by the thoughtless public, is often taken as a pivotal characteristic of the entire people…”
Author of An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood:
“What is amazing is the extent to which they succeeded in promulgating this fiction throughout the world. By making a “shadow” America, one which idealized every old glorifying bromide about the country, the Hollywood Jews created a powerful cluster of images and ideas-so powerful that, in a sense, they colonized the American imagination….Ultimately, American values came to be defined largely by the movies the Jews made.”
Dr. Lester D. Friedman
Author of Hollywood’s Image of the Jew:
“Today, most people associate the blackface tradition with minstrel shows, and more particularly with Al Jolson. In actuality, many Jewish performers gained early and continued success using it. Sophie Tucker was billed as the ‘World Renowned Coon Shouter’ or more euphemistically as the ‘Manipulator of Coon Melodies.’ Eddie Cantor played Salome in drag and blackface, while George Burns often toured with an even more comically stylized blackface than Jolson’s. Later George Jessel often joined Eddie Cantor on stage in various blackface routines…Indeed, it is too easy to ignore the derogatory aspects of such activities, the unconscious racism accepted and nourished by such cruel parodies, by citing historical contexts. The undisguised elements of ridicule in such blackface portrayals by Jews mimicking the outlandish stereotypes of blacks now looks suspiciously like one group’s desperate need to assert its own superiority by mimicking another. Such a motivation while perhaps unconscious is nonetheless hard to ignore.”
Film Director, on Hollywood in 1992:
“It’s all run by Jews, even Disney. That’s funny, because Walt Disney was a terrible reactionary. If he found out that Jeffrey Katzenberg were running his company, he’d be spinning in his grave. That’s a wonderful bit of poetic justice.”
B’nai B’rith Magazine, May, 1925, vol. 39 :
Rastus: Whuffo’ yo’ ‘jeculate yoself to me in dat onery manner?
Cicero: Whoffo’? Nigguh, who do yo’ calkerate yo’ is?
Rastus: Yo’ nigguh! mah family am quality folks an’ ahm a pusson of rank.
Cicero: Huh! ah’ll have yo’ triflin’, Rastus, to know that ah’m ranker than you is.
“Jokes” like these appeared regularly in the B’nai B’rith Magazine even as the ADL fought this kind of defamation of Jews. In photo is ADL current “leader” Abraham “Bull” Foxman.
“Negro slavery in the United States was completely unlike slavery in any other part of the globe and in any other period of history, for slavery completely severed the Negro from his past and from his culture. And make no mistake about it, Negroes did come from societies with cultures of a very high order.) This never happened to the Jews; neither slavery nor persecution destroyed our history, or religion, or our culture.”
Jews in the Black Ghetto
Long before Minister Farrakhan made any reference to this phenomenonJack Nusan Porter, a Jewish sociologist was very clear about it in his article entitled “Mr. Goldberg and John Henry: The Relationship Between Afro-Americans and American Jews”:
“The common stereotype of Jews owning the businesses in Black ghettos is based on solid evidence, not fantasy. Jews in the East and Midwest own a disproportionate number of businesses in Black areas. [Two Jewish researchers have shown] that some 40 percent of the stores are owned by Jews. [Another] study of 458 merchants in 15 cities (14 of the largest plus Gary, Indiana but not including Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, or any other Southern city) had the following religious breakdown of retail merchants: 37.9% were Jewish; 36.0% were Protestant; and 22.9% were Catholic… The breakdown by religion, when race is considered, increases the number: 51.3% of the white merchants are Jewish; 18.7% are Protestant; and 27.0% are Catholic.”
After the first World War, Jewish Gangsters became major figures in the American underworld and played prominent roles in the creation and extension of organized crime in the United States. During Prohibition fifty percent of the leading bootleggers were Jews, and Jewish criminals financed and directed much of the nations narcotics traffic. Jews also dominated illicit activities in a number of America’s largest cities, including Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, and Philadelphia.”
“Let me say just a word about the Jew and the black man. The Jew is always anxious to advise the black man. But he never advises him how to solve the problem the way the Jews solved their problem. The Jew never went sitting in and crawling in and sliding in and freedom riding, like he teaches and helps Negroes to do. The Jews stood up, and stood together, and they used their ultimate power, the economic weapon. That’s exactly what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is trying to teach black men to do.The Jews pooled their money and bought hotels that barred them. They bought Atlantic City and Miami Beach and anything else they wanted. Who owns Hollywood? Who runs the garment industry, the largest industry in New York City? But the Jew that’s advising the Negro joins the NAACP, CORE, the Urban League, and others. With money donations, the Jew gains control, then he sends the black man doing all this wading in, boring in, even burying in-everything but buying in. Never shows him how to set up factories and hotels. Never advises him how to own what he wants. No, when there’s something worth owning, the Jew’s got it.”
Dr. Ralph A. Austen of the University of Chicago candidly described one instance in 1994 of how Blacks and Jews in a scholarly setting collaborated in obfuscating the true nature of the historical relationship. Prof. Austen describes a faculty luncheon at the University of Chicago Hillel House, where he and Black historian John Hope Franklin, gave a talk on the American Jewish community in the nineteenth-century South. His words are revealing and instructive:
After the formal presentation, a member of the audience asked a question about Southern Jewish participation in the debate on slavery. As I remember it, Franklin replied that he did not know too much about the subject. I recall very clearly one of the Hillel regulars remarking that since many of the early Southern Jews were Sephardim who had fled Spanish and Portuguese persecution, they must have been sympathetic to the plight of Black slaves.
I remember this statement because it was allowed to pass without comment, although John Hope Franklin and I (we discussed it afterwards) were both aware that Sephardi Jews in the New World had been heavily involved in the African slave trade. Why did two professional historians in a university setting hesitate to provide our colleagues with such an important piece of information? I cannot answer for Franklin but I, as a Jew sitting in a Jewish institution that was entertaining an African-American guest, felt that pointing out the role of Jews in the history of Black slavery would, in this context, have constituted something of a betrayal. I did not want to undermine the sense of solidarity between the two communities which had been reinforced by Franklin’s very presence, as well as through his references to our common confrontation with white Gentile Southern bigots.
Franklin and I, in effect, were condoning a benign historical myth: that the shared liberal agenda of twentieth-century Blacks and Jews has a pedigree going back through the entire remembered past. Avodim hayinu! We, the Jews, had also experienced history on the side of the enslaved and always cried out in anguish against the oppression of the enslavers.
For better or worse, it is no longer possible to maintain that this myth has any but the most abstract bearing on the facts of our pre-emancipation relationship with Africans and their New World descendants. Jewish students of Jewish history have known it was untrue and, over several decades, have produced a significant body of scholarship detailing the involvement of our ancestors in the Atlantic slave trade and Pan-American slavery. Until recently, this work remained buried in scholarly journals, read only by other specialists. It had never been synthesized in a publication for a non-scholarly audience. A book of this sort has now appeared, however, written not by Jews but by an anonymous group of African Americans associated with the Reverend Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.
Black/Jewish Relations – 1730
Jewish Captain Moses Naar, in his seventeenth attack against the freedom seeking Africans, “burned down a whole negro village [and] made a number of captives.” Naar and Gabriel de La Fatte were presented with silver cups “in recognition of their active zeal in suppressing a revolt of the negroes in their colony.” But silver cups did not suffice and instead they severed the hands of the Blacks which were then used by Jews as trophies.
For much more on this topic, see The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Vol. 1.
Jewish Perspective – 1900
“The Jews first made use of letters of credit. We all know that the first bankers of the world–Rothschilds–are Jews; we know they control not only the money market, but also the political destiny of the European world; and one thing can be truthfully said–they never mix their religion with other people’s money. Even our loans were taken principally by Jews; but mercantile enterprises owe a vast debt to the Jew. You need but look at the streets of the principal cities of the world on Jewish holidays, a