Anti-Semites Who Loved the Jew, But Hated the Race

Mandy Katz of Moment magazine has written a fascinating, occasionally repulsive, story about anti-Semites who fell in love with Jews.

The big names are Hitler and Mussolini, although Hitler gets off on a technicality. The flirtatious girl he fantasized about marrying, as well as killing, was not Jewish, as he thought. Mussolini, however, was a notorious philanderer, and one of his most passionate conquests was Margherita Sarfatti, a wealthy Jew who wrote for the Socialist party paper Mussolini edited in 1911. She was part of his inner circle for nearly two decades, ghostwriting articles for him, helping him write his political diary, until the early 1930s, when Mussolini wanted to project the image of a decisive strongman.

The Jew-loving Nazi stories get even more bizarre, with Leni Riefenstahl (the filmmaker behind the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will) being romanced by an Austrian Jewish currency trader, and an Aryan Nazi officer marrying and sheltering a Jewish former law student who escaped from a slave labor camp. Their child was the only Jew known to have been born in a German hospital during the war.

The article delves into the Jewish (or at least Hebraic) loves of the Roman emporer Nero, the mentally unbalanced horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and even Wilhelm Marr, the creator of the term “anti-Semitism.”

The tales aren’t pretty, but they illustrate how prejudice against groups always breaks down when confronted with the messy reality of interpersonal relationships.

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