Monday, March 30, 2015

The Jew's Bargain

I have been going through the Internet Archive, which is a wonderful resource: books, movies, old radio programs. I have been going through sections of children’s books, most from the nineteenth century.

A Picture-Book of Merry Tales is a volume I looked at. Chapter Ten, “How Owlglass sells his Horse to a Jew, and on what Terms,” is blatantly anti-semitic; a cruel joke with a punchline, no less. The 1860 book, from a British publisher, reminds those of us with modern sensibilities how open racism and hatred was. I am sure that the attitudes in this story were repeated many times and in many publications over the decades. I am also sure that it is the callousness of intolerance represented by this story that had its flashpoint when the Nazi regime sent millions of Jews to their deaths.

I am not blaming the Internet Archive. It is important to preserve this sort of thing to understand the ultimate consequences of bigotry.

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