Read of the Week

By A Mighty Hand

Rodney Mazinter

Quickfox publishing

Review: Brian Joss

One of the worst calumnies perpetrated on the Jews is surely the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a virulent anti-Semitic book, long proved to be a fraud and a forgery which was based on a paper drawn up by a Frenchman, Maurice Joly, and was dreamed up during the Russian Revolution.

Now Mazinter of Camps Bay has written what is believed to be only the second novel using the Protocols as a theme, according to an Israeli judge. The other is The Prague Cemetery by Italian writer, Umberto Eco, who in many of his books and articles denounced the Protocols as a forgery.

By A Mighty Hand is rooted in fact and follows the ups and downs of the Berg and Meckler families who faced pogroms and other unspeakable horrors through the two World Wars and the Holocaust, and along the way they had to deal with the Nazi, Viktor Schultz, who served alongside Hitler, as a soldier.

When Joly is shot dead in 1878 in his Paris apartment, police find a copy of The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, a seditious piece of literature, which, with its allusions to Napoleon III, was considered traitorous and banned.

Twenty years later in Russia, Peter Ivanivic Rachkovsky, head of a secret police unit, dreams up the scheme and hires Mathieu Golovinski, a forger of note to produce a document that would blame the Jews for all the trouble in the USSR.

So the Protocols was born and the world is still feeling the effects of this malicious document. In 1935, a Berne, Switzlerland attorney, Georges Brunschvig, was hired to sue the National Front for distributing anti-Semitic literature.

The account of the trial is based on a work, The Lie That Wouldn’t Die by Israeli High Court Judge, Hadassa Ben-Itto. Interestingly at the same time, on the other side of the world in Grahamstown, South Africa, the Jewish Board of Deputies filed charges against the National Party’s Greyshirts, who reportedly found a copy of the Protocols in the Eastern Cape town’s synagogue. In both cases, the Nazis were defeated. The latter trial does not feature in By A Mighty Hand, but it does in the judge’s seminal work.

By A Mighty Hand is a compelling read based on fact and cleverly brought together as fiction. Don’t miss it.