In wake of Hitler’s hidden face
By Laurent Cohen | 29/10/2009
Léon Poliakov's oeuvre, which can be viewed as a major milestone in modern historiography, poses penetrating philosophical questions regarding the status of humanity within the tempest of modernism, the enormous, hypnotic power achieved by Hitler and Stalin, ideology during the period of the “destruction of the other” and the built-in weakness of ethics in an age of totalitarianism, in which switches from “right” to “left” caused millions to adopt a new commandment: “Kill!” and to believe and worship it. Laurent Cohen in wake of one of the greatest Jewish historians of the twentieth century
Léon Poliakov is not only one of the most important historians of the twentieth century; he was above all a person who personally and painfully experienced the twentieth century. One could say that he beheld evil with his own eyes, did not permit the terrible sight to destroy his soul and became one of its foremost witnesses. The story of his life could be entitled “Poliakov, or the art of survival,” because the upheavals that he experienced took on almost mythic dimensions, despite – or perhaps because – he was an avowed atheist.
His life before and during the Nazi occupation has been compared to a film – and in this film, death, madness as a way of life and the legal, organized hunting down of human beings considered to be “racial polluters” played the lead role, and they were real and absurd. Over years in which he switched identities, saved children and found hiding places, Poliakov adopted a cool composure and an acute sense of irony. He even absorbed a certain style of expression into his language, colloquialisms that bordered on the crude, and developed a clear proclivity for the understatement. His writings have become the victim of a typical Israeli cultural paradox: Considered classics, they have been translated into all languages – except Hebrew.
Among the twenty books and scores of articles that he wrote are a number of volumes of memoirs and conversations, in which Poliakov “is shown to be a very extraordinary individual,” in the words of Georges-Elia Sarfaty, a linguist, a professor of the philosophy of language at the Sorbonne and an expert on the writings of Poliakov (see his book, The Other Side of Destiny, De Fallois, 1989). At the same time, Poliakov's books provide rare keys that open doors enabling his readers to slip into and wander the paths of the twentieth century. Poliakov's oeuvre, which can be viewed as a major milestone in modern historiography, asks penetrating philosophical questions regarding the status of humanity within the tempest of modernism; the enormous, hypnotic power achieved by Hitler and Stalin; ideology during a period of the “destruction of the other” and the built-in weakness of ethics in an age of totalitarianism, in which switches from “right” to “left” caused millions to adopt a new commandment: “Kill!” and to believe and worship it.
Born in 1910 in St. Petersburg, just one day after the death of the author of War and Peace, Poliakov inherited from Tolstoy his first name, the ideal of humility and restraint, and the admiration of labor, which eradicates selfishness in humanity, and helps it to break through emotional and mental boundaries. Like many others in the same period, from St. Petersburg to Kibbutz Deganya in pre-state Israel, the Poliakov family borrowed a number of principles from Tolstoyanism and believed in “natural morality” as a necessary condition for any human society worthy of its name. That having been said, the family did not relinquish its aristocratic, “socio-bourgeois” status – a derogatory epithet that the Marxists attached then to people of their type – and all the benefits that went along with it.
Therefore, although until 1917, Léon's father had published newspapers that were “as far left as possible under the Czarist regime,” he was viewed as an enemy of the party and the proletariat, and when the revolution came, was blacklisted by the Bolsheviks. The transition of traditional Russian society into a communist one was neither “natural” nor measured and gradual. The “revolutionary guards” acted with great brutality against the wealthy (owners of factories, property, land, businesses, etc.) in and outside the cities. Their radical methods would serve as a role model for the future “death squads” of the twentieth century, from Chile to Cambodia, in the service of various totalitarian ideologies.
By 1918, thousands of human beings had already been sacrificed under Soviet rule on the altar of the “Workers' Homeland.” In these years, Paris became a major transition point on the paths of all Russian émigrés and a desired destination in their “spiritual geography.” Intellectuals, poets and writers, journalists and painters created their own “Little Russia” in Paris. In 1924, following unsuccessful attempts to set down roots in Italy and Germany, the Poliakov family arrived in the City of Lights. A few years before the father's death, his son described him as a “Jewish genius”: a very cultured man who had taught himself everything he knew (he was, among other things, a pharmacist), who was deterred by nothing, he was “strong, a fighter, who had grown up in extreme poverty.” “I don't know if he ever even attended school, and if so, it was only in the lowest classes,” related Léon Poliakov. In Paris, the father was at first successful and established an advertising company. The year 1933, when to the surprise of the entire world, the majority of Germans voted in their elections for the “racial savior,” was also the year of the great German migration. Thousands of writers, leftist activists, religious leaders and artists, who found themselves officially categorized as “decadent” left Berlin for Paris or other European capitals, which were still free at the time. Many of the immigrants were Jewish, first because Hitler's anti-Semitic programs were well known, and many Jews refused to simply wait around until he carried them out; and second, due to the central position that Jews occupied in German intellectual life.
At the end of that year, Léon Poliakov's father founded the Pariser Tageblatt, a German-language, or rather a “Berliner” daily. Its readers belonged to the circles of immigrants who had left behind everything: home, profession, friends, family – and language. In the newspaper's editorial offices, the young Poliakov met Ze'ev Jabotinsky who was living in London at the time. The Revisionist leader's eyes fell upon an article that Léon had written and after a moment's reading, turned to him and said, “Are you aware that you could be a great writer?” In order to grasp the immensity of this compliment, one should bear in mind that of Jabotinsky it was said, “When Jabotinsky became a Zionist, Russian literature lost a literary giant…”
In addition to working for his father's newspaper, Léon Poliakov studied law and history, took an interest in psychoanalysis (to his last day, he was in therapy with some of the most prominent psychoanalysts of the time, such as Béla Grünberger), and became friends with the French philosopher of Russian origin Alexander Kozhev, known as “Alexander the Great.” Before the Second World War, Kozhev devoted all his time and genius to disseminating Hegel's teachings in France. After the war, Raymond Aron, in a quasi-serious, quasi-provocative comment, described Kozhev as “the most intelligent man on earth.” For his part, Poliakov, in his own inimitable half-crude, half-academic style admitted in his memoirs: “I can say that philosophically speaking, through him I lost my virginity.”
Under the Nazi occupation
Poliakov's father passed a way a short time before the war broke out. When the Wehrmacht entered Paris, Poliakov was among the thousands of French soldiers (along with Emmanuel Levinas), who were taken captive without firing more than a few rounds. It was as the great historian of anti-Semitism that Poliakov never forgot his great surprise in the face of the irony of fate: Instead of “yellow-haired animals” (in Poliakov's words), as the German propaganda depicted “Hitler's warriors,” he discovered that his captors were simple soldiers with no connection to the SS, and that they were no less surprised by the outcome of the “battles” than their prisoners.
In the summer of 1940, the conditions in the prisoner-of-war camp near the Belgian border were almost tolerable. But in mid-August, the camp commandant, “a grocery owner in his civilian life, a fat, gluttonous man, whose main interest focused on the quality of the coffee, the chocolate and French biscuits,” learned that a battalion of SS soldiers was about to replace his men and take over command of the camp. For the Jewish prisoners, or those that harbored forbidden political views, this meant that they could expect to be tortured and executed. Poliakov: “The French commandant suggested to the Jews that we either remain with him: ‘You will be better off with me than with the SS,' or alternatively, be set free in Paris, as we chose. We of course chose to vote. Consequently, our escape was as simple as child's play. This strange parting from the commandant was held in Clichy Square.”
Poliakov was incarcerated in the camp together with Oswaldo Bardone, an anarchist who became his good friend. After their bizarre escape, Bardone opened a café restaurant under an assumed name in the city of St. Etienne, and it served as a front for underground activities and a transfer point for hundreds of Jewish families that he saved from death. To Poliakov, Bardone was a living example of a righteous gentile, one of those “moral heroes” to whom he devoted so many pages in his writings. In his book, The Yellow Star, Poliakov undertook a fascinating study of the value-based motives and socio-cultural profile of those French people, who starting in June 1942, sewed the Jewish yellow star on their clothing. As a gesture of deepest admiration, he even published a list of the names of these “anonymous righteous among the nations.” Of Bardone, he said, “I think that he was the very embodiment of the “good goy.' I deliberately choose to use the word ‘goy' because he was not a ‘good Christian.' Just the opposite; he was an intelligent, astute anarchist, and his heart was simply in the right place.”
An important literary prize was recently awarded to Suite française, a book that although just published now, was written in the summer of 1942. The author of the book, Irene Nemirovsky, was arrested after she completed writing it, and was subsequently murdered in Auschwitz that same year. Her book provides a precise description of the Paris that Paliakov found after he returned from the camp: an empty, frightened, violated city. Already at this early stage of the occupation, Poliakov understood that the chances of survival were very slim. His Jewish friends had fled to the free south. The lucky ones among them had managed to get to the United States or England. Others, those who had ties with the communist party, relocated to the Soviet Union without ever imagining that instead of being received there as survivors of Nazi barbarism, they would be accused of treachery and of having ties with Nazi and British agents.
Poliakov went underground and posed as an ordinary French citizen named Robert Paul. As the bearer of the false identity of a nondescript, penniless individual with no past or political awareness, Poliakov understood that he could now help many people. One day on a street in Marseilles – which was not yet occupied, but which already swarmed with spies, German agents and collaborators motivated by either ideology or greed – Poliakov was stunned to discover the rabbi who had officiated at his father's funeral in 1939, Zalman Schneerson. Until 1935, this cousin of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, had lived in the Soviet Union, where he developed methods of spiritual survival under the reign of terror that placed God outside the law. In occupied France, he was appointed head of the ultra-Orthodox community. Schneerson immediately suggested that Robert Paul come work for him. Through him, Poliakov discovered a world that had been completely alien to him: the world of yiddishkeit, Hassidic melodies and faith in miracles. “When he suggested that I become his secretary, I said: ‘The honored rabbi certainly knows that I do not believe in God,' and he replied that he could see the spark of the divine spirit reflected in my face; in addition, he offered an interesting salary, so I accepted the job.”
Poliakov's ties with Schneerson continued until the end of the war, undergoing numerous crises during that time. When the Italian army withdrew from Nice and the German army entered after a few days, Schneerson and his followers were among the thousands of refugees trapped in the city. Schneerson established a “roaming tribe” of about fifty people, mainly children, about which quite a bit has already been written in memoirs of the period of the Nazi occupation in France. The group's meticulous observance of Jewish law, their almost surrealistic Hassidic customs in occupied France (some even wore the traditional Hassidic streimel on Shabbat!) created enormous – and, according to Poliakov, unnecessary – difficulties. When with the help of the Resistance and a handful of priests who had joined the spiritual struggle against the Nazis, Poliakov found a hiding place in a monastery for the Schneerson children, the rabbi claimed, “You don't flee from Hitler to find refuge in the arms of Torquemada [the infamous 15th-century Spanish inquisitor]. Poliakov: “In vain I tried to convince him. It got to a point where I said that I didn't care about his religion anymore. As he stood alone in the spacious corridor of the hotel all of whose Jewish patrons had abandoned it, Zalman Schneerson remained rooted in his sublime and absurd belief. Because an Aryan appearance, or at least a semblance of one, was a necessary condition for any escape attempt, it was only with great effort that I managed to get permission from him to cut off the sidelocks of his yeshiva students. But the boys did not trust me and to convince them, I had to get a written and signed halachic ruling from the rabbi (Mémoires, Grancher, last printing 1999).
The French school of Jewish thought
One of Poliakov's roles in the context of the Resistance movement was to provide basic food products to the Jewish families and other refugees hiding in the villages, forests and other locations situated far from the dangerous cities. On one of his missions, he met a man hiding on a farm who would change the face of modern Jewish philosophy. Jacob Gordin was born in 1896, and like Poliakov, in St. Petersburg, which would be renamed Petrograd. In 1923, he settled in Berlin where he was one of many academic scholars of Jewish studies. In 1929, he published his most important book, Untersuchungen Zur Theorie Des Unendlichen Urteils [Studies on the Theory of Endless Judgment]. In 1933, after Hitler rose to power, he and his family moved to Paris. From that time until his death in 1947, he devoted his life to teaching, and influenced an entire generation of Jewish intellectuals recruited in the struggle against Nazism, a generation that became known as “post-assimilationist.” He demanded that the members of this generation return to the Jewish roots that their forebears had taken from them. Gordin was a man of such richness of culture that it was legendary. One might say that he was sustained by two main influences: the Jewish philosophy of the Middle Ages (Maimonides, Rabbi Judah Halevy, Hasdai Crescas, Joseph Caspi and others) and the neo-Hegelians, who disseminated the teachings of the leaders of the Marburg school. Gordin was also an important source of inspiration for Emmanuel Levinas – who dedicated to him, among others, a moving and penetrating article in his book Difficult Freedom, which was published in Hebrew in 2007 – and for André Neher, André Chouraqui and many others, who in the late 1940s founded the French School of Jewish Thought (l'École française de pensée juive).
Poliakov, who dedicated his first book “to the memory of my teacher and friend Jacob Gordin,” wrote in his memoirs: “I would bring the Gordin family flour and eggs, but they gave me much more: I finally received an understanding of what Judaism really is. Jacob Gordin always surprised me: My favorite reading materials, after the Talmudic tractates, were detective stories! He also used to talk to me about Maimonides, who, Gordin explained, wrote The Guide to the Perplexed ‘exactly for Jews like me.'”
Poliakov survived the war, although his name continued to appear on the lists of the wanted, and he returned to Paris, without a name, a place to live, property or status. During this time, he was offered a position as secretary of the Contemporary Jewish Documentation Center [Centre de documentation juive contemporaine]. Behind this name was an organization founded in 1943 that specialized in drawing up lists of Jewish property confiscated by the Nazis. For Poliakov, this was the first step in his career as a historian: “As the general secretary, I burrowed through a huge amount of documents. Very soon, I realized that the true source of information that documented the suffering of France's Jews could only be German. One morning, I arrived at the offices of the French national security ministry with a letter from the honorary president of the Contemporary Jewish Documentation Center, Justin Godard. There I was received by an official who showed me a crate that had just arrived from Poland and which contained the archives of the Gestapo and SS in France. Neither he nor the other employees knew any German and so I was somehow appointed as their expert on translation and this enabled me to research the archives.”
The cycle of hate
As one of the heads of the French delegation to the Nuremberg trials, Léon Poliakov spent eleven months in a city that had been almost completely razed by the Allies from the air. In this ghost town, Poliakov followed the roots of evil. He was surprised to discover the extent to which the Nazis had distorted their language for their purposes. Instead of calling the horrors by name, they invented a language of euphemism: deportation or expulsion was called “distancing,” the killing of human beings – an “action” [Aktion], and the mass extermination of the Jewish people – the “solution.” Forever etched in our memories is this statement from one of the defendant's testimonies: “The Aktion of Nowogrodek was the work of the SS commando, who for reasons of idealism, carried out the extermination without consuming a single drop of alcohol.”
Until 1952, Poliakov was one of the most active and prominent members of the Contemporary Jewish Documentation Center. During that time, he published Harvest of Hate (Bréviaire de la haine, Calmann-Lévy, 1951), in which he offered a systematic, almost “mathematical” analysis of the Nazi murder machine. The greatest writer of the generation, Francois Mauriac, wrote in his foreword to the book: “Perhaps your first impulse will be to close this Harvest of Hate in fear: What is man capable of, how far can he go in his bestiality? But no! You must not defame beasts. They kill only to eat. Our generation has witnessed the greatest massacre ever, the most organized and calculated: an administrative, scientific, conscious massacre of the type that the Germans could carry out.”
Hannah Arendt, known for her intellectual pronouncements, wrote a review of the book in Commentary when it was published, in which she noted: “Anyone that wants to ‘know what really happened' and ‘how it really happened' [...] cannot afford to overlook this study, and would perhaps do best to begin with it” (Hannah Arendt, "The History of a Great Crime," Commentary 13:3 (1952), pp.300-304).
Harvest of Hate opened the door to a monumental oeuvre. Numerous philosophers – Jacques Maritain, Raymond Aron and others – consolidated their philosophies and concepts based on a careful reading of Poliakov's writings.
The mysterious call of the blood
Philosophers have taken great interest in Poliakov's books, quoting and interpreting them in various contexts. It is significant that Poliakov noted already in the early stages of his research that beyond the mass phenomena, the marches and expertly staged speeches by Hitler, German National-Socialism “operated first and foremost as a religion.” Nazism, explained Poliakov as early as 1946, included the three characteristics of all religious traditions: “A perception of a higher power, the acceptance of the authority of that higher power and the institution of a relationship with it.” (Harvest of Hate, Complexes, 1951, p. 6)
According to the doctrine of the Third Reich, the people represent the imminent power; it embodied “the spirit of the race and the mysterious call of the blood.” The Fuehrer is the embodiment of the people and consequently, homage to him is unconditioned and irrefutable. Devotion must be absolute. The Fuehrer, for his part, holds the secrets of the “spirit of the race”; only he can decipher them for the sake of the masses and express the will of God. But who is the “God” in this belief system? Although Goebbels wanted to present Hitler as a kind of “Aryan Christ,” Hitler himself was contemptuous of Christianity, because it was based on the Jewish writings he loathed. According to Hitler, as Poliakov explains, “The Bible purports to pronounce man lord over nature and encourages him to violate its laws. In order to do that, man's basic instincts must undergo a process of sublimation and cultivation. When the right time came, Hitler would seek to launch an uncompromising and ultimate struggle against this cosmic rebellion of the Bible. The purpose of this ultimate struggle was the creation of a new man, the famous ‘yellow-haired animals,' that we should be biologically purified of all the contamination and inhibitions, and have a proud, uncastrated masculinity” (Les totalitarismes du XXè siècle [The Totalitarianisms of the Twentieth Century], Fayard, 1987, p. 221–222). In this “final struggle,” then, Hitler wanted to serve “nature as God and its ironclad laws.”
Poliakov defined Nazism's “religiosity” as one that was “theo-zoological” and discovered its roots in the socio-Darwinist literature and “bio-political” madness, which were so fashionable in many German circles. To these influences, Hitler added components borrowed from classic mythology that he distorted for his own conceptual needs. He offered his people a doctrine of the end of days that was so fully consolidated, according to Poliakov, that one could speak of “Nazi messianism.” Of course, in order to grow and triumph, this messianism needed an apocalyptic era to prove to all of humanity that the members of the German nation were biologically entitled to lead humanity and create a new, purified history. Despite this, it should be borne in mind that after the extermination of the Jews, Gypsies, blacks, Slavs, Mongols, Bolsheviks, the handicapped, retarded, homosexuals and so on, this “humanity” would be far more limited in size.
Until the end of his life in 1997, Poliakov served as a director of the CNRS (the National Center for Scientific Research), which is perhaps the most important institute in French intellectual life.
Poliakov's presence in this philosophical discourse remains central to this day. “The new philosophers?” laughs Poliakov's widow, Germaine – an 85-year-old musicologist who still teaches, conducts and writes – as we sit in a busy Parisian café. “Bernard-Henri Lévy? Alain Finkielkraut? After all, they all learned and grew up at Léon's knee! If I am not mistaken, Bernard-Henri Lévy still has some books that my husband lent him…”
Germaine Poliakov still has a great deal of exclusive material that her husband did not have time to publish, or that he published in journals read only by a small cadre of experts. Some time ago, she collected some of the articles in a volume entitled, Sur les traces du crime, ([On the Trail of the Crime] Berg International), and this is the first of a series of books that are expected to encompass the full range of Poliakov's writings. Germaine also has a large-scale manuscript (500 pages) by Poliakov that only a few people close to her have been allowed to read, and which has been the subject of much discussion among publishers. The subject of this major manuscript is considered scandalous: Poliakov apparently maintains in this book that totalitarianism can be viewed as a structural element of Islam, from the days of Mohammed up to the Khomeini revolution.
“I don't know if the book will be published in my lifetime,” Germaine told me, “but I know that it when it is, it will be enormously influential.”
Demonization as a tool of oppression
Hatred of the other is one of the most important factors in human history. This principle lies at the foundation of Poliakov's work. What happens when this hatred causes a particular group to exclude another group from humanity itself? At what stage and why does hatred of the other turn into complete negation of the other? In his books and articles, Poliakov searched for answers to these questions, historical answers of course, but also religious and psychoanalytical ones.
In his book, La Causalité diabolique [The Diabolical Causality], Calmann-Lévy, 1981–1985), for example, Poliakov shows that at every critical stage in its development, the West would “fabricate” culprits that it accused of being guilty of its own failures. In different periods and ideological contexts, the European rulers used conspiracy theories to “explain” the internal conflicts in their states.” As a case in point, let it be recalled that in the south of France, in the years 1150-1220, the “Cathar heresy” provided the pope's propaganda with an excellent solution for the severe conflicts between the simple people and the Church's hegemony. On the one hand, the Church accused the Cathars of diabolical acts, such as poisoning wells and abducting nuns; on the other, it disseminated rumors that the Cathars had succeeded in penetrating the heart of the ruling power. The gradual pervasion of these accusations and an active rumor mill justified a policy of massacre and destruction so thorough that today scholars have hardly any historic material to help them understand the phenomenon of Catharisim. The very same scenario was repeated in Czarist Russia against the movements known as the “circle of old believers,” who were accused, among other things, of collaborating with the Jews to subvert and destroy “sacred Russia.”
For Poliakov, demonization of this kind is the principal tool of oppression in many countries. Rumors regarding the existence of “Satanic sects” (especially of Jews) prepared the ground for political purges and religious persecutions, and in many cases excused the choice in favor of dictatorship.
In Le Mythe Aryen ([The Aryan Myth], Calmann-Lévy, 1971), Poliakov studied the results of the monstrous encounter between racism and science. The creation of a “pure race,” bordering on science fiction, was the ultimate Nazi vision and occupied numerous “professors” (including some that were known as “raciologues” – experts on the racial doctrine). In addition to the planned extermination of the Jews, Gypsies, and at the second stage the members of the black race – Hitler was convinced that the “blacks” were a “Jewish invention” intended to “destroy the white race”: “The Jews are the ones that brought the negro to the banks of the Rhine,” Hitler determined in Mein Kampf – the lords of “Nazi science” also planned internal German purges. Some maintained that in order to return to the “original Aryan purity,” Germany would have to carry out a painful but necessary “mission for civilization”: to sacrifice tens of thousands of Germans (including infants and children) who for various reasons (genetic diseases, disabilities or deformities, “skull shapes” and so on) were not suitable to the “Aryan structure.” Only Germany's surrender halted the realization of these secret plans. But in his book The Aryan Myth and in many articles – (Mythe et Nation [Myth and Nation, Centre de recherche sur l'Imaginaire, Université de Grenoble III, 1995], Hommes et bêtes, entretiens sur les racisme [People and Animals: Discussions on Racism, Mouton, 1975], Ni Juif ni Grec, entretiens sur le racisme [Neither Jew nor Greek: A Study of Racism, 1978]), Poliakov proved that the obsession with racial purity is not originally Nazi. Hitler's ideas were preceded by an entire literature, including Essay on the Inequality between the Races by Count Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882), who predicted the upcoming destruction of the white race because it would be poisoned by black blood.
In his study on the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century (Les totalitarismes du XXè siècle), by means of riveting analyses of numerous sources, Poliakov guides the reader through the dark regions of totalitarianism and plumbs the emotional and biographic depths of Hitler and Stalin. Poliakov follows the connection between wild pornography and Nazi propaganda and the obsession with masculinity, aggression in the Hitlerist ideology and the homosexual tendencies exhibited by Hitler himself, who until his last day tried to hide them at any cost (in wake of Poliakov's works, the German historian Lothar Machtan published his book, The Hidden Hitler, 2001). Poliakov does not make do only with the examples of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The leadership of Pol Pot, for example, cost Cambodia at least a million victims. Poliakov believed that what was involved was “auto-genocide.” He even pointed to the way in which Pol Pot hid his apocalyptic urges behind a screen of pseudo-scientific justifications and Marxist economic theories. According to the Cambodian despot, “the enemy of the proletariat is the city,” that is, city life encourages and even requires commercial activities among its inhabitants. Every city is a natural nest in which the bourgeoisie lays its eggs. The “scientific” conclusion: The capitalistic hell would disappear with the dissolution and elimination of Cambodia's cities. On April 19, 1975, after making a crazed declaration regarding the “age of corrective proletarian education,” Pol Pot ordered his army to drive out the vast majority of the inhabitants of Phnom Penh, the capital city. Hoards of women, children and the elderly were sentenced to forced labor in the rice fields and forests. Within one year, one hundred thousand of them had perished from disease and hunger. Pol Pot's revolution, which held the radical left in the world in thrall, destroyed one-sixth of the Cambodian people.
When discussing Poliakov's major titles, his most important life's work cannot be ignored: the many volumes of The History of Anti-Semitism (Histoire de l'antisémitisme, Calmann-Lévy), From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews, 1955; Mohammed to the Marranos, 1961; From Voltaire to Wagner, 1968; Suicidal Europe, 1977; and the final volume, which was called 1933-1945, and was published in 1944 by Le Seuil.