The infamous antisemitic fabrication The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a text claiming to have exposed a Jewish plan for global domination, first appeared in print in Russia in 1903. It was translated into Greek in 1920, but it remained “unexploited” in the archive of the Greek Foreign Ministry. The Protocols started gaining publicity in 1925, thanks to the work of Dr. Andronikos, an Athenian pseudointellectual, whose medical authority and adherence to nationalism, fascism and anticommunism made him an ideal propagandist of the Protocols through the press. In early 1928 the dailies To Fos and Makedonia in Thessaloniki − the city where more than 50,000 out of 70,000 Greek Jews dwelled − published a Greek translation of the Protocols. Thereafter, the antisemitic focus of Makedonia intensified. In June 1931, members of the fascist organization “Ethniki Enosis Ellas” (“EEE”, National Union Hellas), acting upon allegations of anti-national behavior of local Jews published in Makedonia, launched a pogrom against the poor Jewish neighborhood of Campbell.
The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion
Dr. Andronikos’ openly antisemitic propaganda served the anti-communist and anti-bolshevist obsession of inter-war Greece: his arguments referencing the Protocols pointed to the alleged communist affiliation of the Thessaloniki Jews, and led to persecution of 20 Jewish women who had participated in communist activities in Trikala in February 1925. Andronikos’ dissemination of parts of the Protocols gave rise to the subsequent antisemitic climate in the inter-war period. This was further fuelled by the economic competition between Jews and non-Jews in Thessaloniki, and cultivated by the city’s Greek officials and parts of the Greek press, leading to antisemitic attacks by EEE, such as the Campbell pogrom. Thereafter, the dissemination of the Protocols in Greece continued, mainly through the publication efforts of incongruous publishing houses, the last one being published in 2012. According to Dimitris Psarras, who in his book calls the Protocols “The Bestseller of Hatred”, they mark the different phases of Greek antisemitism and are used as a communication code between different ideological wings within contemporary far-right extremism, groups of the anti-imperialist nationalist front of the Left as well as advocates of conspiracy theories spread via Internet and TV.
After the daily Makedonia announced the forthcoming publication of the Protocols in February 1928, Thessaloniki’s francophone Jewish newspaper Le Progrés protested vehemently, albeit to no avail. Three years later, in the aftermath of the Campbell pogrom, the Jews of the city opted for exile to Palestine, the safe haven according to the Zionist vision.
Nowadays, The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece openly condemn the publication of the Protocols while Greek intellectuals warn against unqualified versions of the antisemitic text, which continued to be published until 2012. Various voices which discuss the antisemitic dimension of the Protocols and underline the dangers they encompass, help divest this antisemitic fabrication of its popularity. It goes without saying that the most powerful voices are the ones which emanate from institutions with “soft-power skills” as well as legal powers, such as the Ministry of Education, the Church and the Media.
Psarras, D. (2013), To best seller tou misous: Ta
“Protokolla ton Sofon tis Sion” stin Ellada, 1920-2013. Athens, Polis.
https://bit.ly/3tZIb7L Xronika, pages 3-14.
Όλη η αλήθεια για τα Πρωτόκολλα των Σοφών της Σιών (article “The whole truth about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, published on January 5, 2017, by Aris Dimokidis on the website Lifoland.
https://bit.ly/3zuhtp4 (The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in an online bookstore)
«Χρονικά Αντισημιτισμού #35» Τα Πρωτόκολλα των Σοφών της Σιών (ελληνική έκδοση) | (“Chronicles of Anti-Semitism # 35” The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Greek version, article published on November 25, 2018, on the Shades magazine website)
https://bit.ly/2VYDKNZ Jews evacuate Camp Campbell after the pogrom of June 29, 1931. (USHMM)