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August 16, 1985 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-08-16

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12 Friday, August 16, 1985

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

PURELY COMMENTARY

Guy De Rothschild Autobiography

Continued from Page 2

community of sentiments. This
solidarity has always been our
strength and our grandeur ..."
After the bank had changed
in nature and size in 1968, it was
no longer possible to continue
the traditional reception line for
the distribution of New Year's
envelopes to the personnel by the
partners themselves. It was re-
placed by a large cocktail party,
with over one thousand guests.
The last to be •held under the
aegis of the Rothschilds took
place in December 1981, a few
weeks before the nationalization
went into effect. I attended it, as
I did each year, but this time
with a heavy heart to have to say
good-bye to so many men and
women of every rank, some of
whom I scarcely knew, others
whom I knew well, to whom I
was profoundly attached.
It was the fraternity of
people who participated under
the same name, in the same task
with the same concerns, in the
same enterprise, which they iden-
tified with my family. All of them,
all of us, wanted to go on living
and working together; our
enforced separation was like a
wound.
I shook dozens and dozens of
hands of people who could
hardly hold back their tears; for
them, as for me, it was the end of
a world. And in my sorrow I
could feel how much I was de-
voted to them, how much we
formed an affective entity, which
was our strength and pride.
When I left the room, I held my
head high through habit, but my
heart was very heavy.
None of us were then aware
of the grief that lay in store: My
cousin Main died a few months
later. Having in the space of a
year to break away from our past
and to face major worries as
leader of the Jewish community
was too much for him.
The Rothschilds have left the
rue Laffitte forever — it's a viola-
tion, it's finding a stranger in the
house, it's cutting the umbilical

any other at the time of the
Dreyfus affair. Drumont, in his
newspaper La Libre Parole, really
let loose. I'll quote only two or

three of his attacks because they
defy the imagination. As I've
mentioned, my grandfather Al-
phonse voluntarily severed rela-
tions with his best client, tsarist
Russia, refusing to have anything
to do with a regime guilty of

bloody pogroms. Drumont de-
scribes as "infamy" this act of
solidarity: "... the Rothschilds
never flinched at this betrayal.
They had only one goal: to come
to the aid of their fellow Jews in
Russia."
The most puerile anti-Semitic
insults as to the "miserable" ori-
gins of my family ("descendants

Elk, Guy and Alain de Rothschild, from "The Whims of Fortune."

leader of the dregs of society and
international Jewry, a blood-
thirsty beast, would become after
the war, for these very same
people, one of the last bastions
against Bolshevism. I had the
Chance to meet him then, and I
must admit that I fell completely
under the spell of that courteous,
distinguished, refined, artistic
man, the very model of an
idealistic and disinterested intel-
lectual.

The anti-Semitism that has made
special targets of the Rothschilds is
among the shameful experiences that
drew resentment in an understandable
fashion. Guy de Rothschild finds it
necessary to state, in his memoir, how
atrociously the Rothschilds were treated
by the vilest in his recollections. Among
the anti-Semitic banalities by which his
family was tormented were the following
quoted from the record of the bestial

cord from the placenta.
I lived there more than fifty
years of my life, more hours than
I've spent In bed, more years
than in any other house, more
experiences, more worries, more
satisfactions, than anywhere else.
I have accumulated more re-
membrances there than in all the
rest of my memory. I'll never re-
turn, unless I'm forced to do so
flanked by two policemen. PD try

never to 'enter that street again.
I'll try to live, think, work, and
dream somewhere else, But never
will I forget the rue Wilke, All
that remains is a memory of the
past, like Cinderella's memory of
the ball. The glass slipper is
gone, the party has vanished,
we'll OWN see it again. The our-

Uhl has fallen,

World Jewish leaders, statesmen
from many nations, the guilty of Vichy
France and the Free French pass in re-
view in this autobiography kopecially
noteworthy is Guy's reference to Leon
with the recollections:

Islay of hietaryl The ease
Leas Shia wham t1w Aetion
Nossesies aosasetl of helm a
lender ivithaitt n oniintrY

Leon Blum

forces who sought to define the famous
banking name and their highly *stab•
limbed hollow record:

ial

dl. Fran* president-
of Mt mil follow •
onifilesaliie out,
460 so doe murderous
aloe apaegeme 4N1 des
iiewmp4 Jewish
amp A gita
tod,
Ant lbw atipasoihie
eassionsity maw deo kr

dulgent toward the government.
They were, of course, free to ex-
press their opinion, but I consid-
ered their criticism quite unfair.
Furthermore, this same faction
recommended a vote of censure
against the retiring administra-
tion, in an attempt to create a
"Jewish lobby."
• Finally, it seized every oppor-
tunity to flaunt its unconditional
backing of Israel, to the point of
irritating even her supporters. If,
as was seen after the Copernic
tragedy, such an outrage inspires
some people to rally behind the
Israeli flag, it will also shock
many other Jews, who are
equally ardent defenders of Is-
rael, but who consider them-
selves French and refuse to be
viewed as members of an Israeli
colony living in Paris. It's not a
question of hiding our sentiments
or of offering only lukewarm
support to Israel; it's a question
of independent, responsible citi-
zens remaining free in their opin-
ions and conserving their iden-
tity.
On that particular occasion, I

felt obliged to reaffirm publicly
the sensible position of the
majority of French Jews.
After the Copernic bombing,
there was much talk of anti-
Semitism in France, comparing
our country with Eastern Euro-
pean nations, accusing France of
being lenient in the face of a re-
vival of anti-Semitic attitudes,
There, too, the criticism is unfair.
Few people realize that Jewish
schools in France are subsidized
by the government, a situation
almost unique in the world; even

more extraordinary is the fact
that military service in Israel
exempts French •citizens from
military service in France. And if
the world were to witness a
tragic alliance between anti-

Zionist Palestinian extremists
and neo, Naal or Red terrorist
grougs, France would certainly
sat be the saiy miles to bo so

rAtikame ait

diad

411111119 IMO jlweall

alp

of the former pawnbroker pur-
sued through villages by barking
dogs ... the descendants of the
louse-ridden junk dealer of
Frankfurt") were shamelessly fol-
lowed by attacks on "their mon-
strous fortune" ("their enormous
capital, like thousands of blood-
suckers ... The international
banks of the Rothschilds where
the fortunes of kings and nations
are piled up, one on top of the
other ...").
The eternal hatred of the for-
eigner ("the barbarian roughness
of the voracious, bloodthirsty
German Jew") encouraged the
scornful allegation of the mythi-
cal power of gold: "The man-
without-a-country Rothschild
runs the Bank of France, he is
more powerful than the ministers
of state, than the president of the
Republic, than Parliament itself."
As one can see, all of the
familiar themes were there; they
haven't changed much.
And it gets even better!
Hatred is blind and impervious
to contradiction: "Rothschild was
in the• Commune as he was in
Opportunism, as he 'was in Anar-
chy, as he was in Socialism, as he
was in everything." Nor does
blind hatred fear ridicule: When
history was unable to supply
grounds for treason, Drumont
didn't let that stop him. The
Rothschilds were in no way in-
volved in the nineteenth century.
Howerver, Drumont writes:
"Their name doesn't appear sim-
ply because they were hostile to
Panama. And they were hostile
to Panama because in all things

and at all times, these German
Jews are against France"!
Anti-Semitism . has played
such an important role in Jewish
history that (perhaps with a trace
of masochism) we cannot resist
conserving a few tangible sour-
velars of it. Personally, I have a
framed cartoon by Sent showing

my grandparents, Alphoneme and
Laurie walking do wn the

boardwalk in Denville, alone, old,

beat over, along the deserted
beach dotted with a few empty
chairs, It was MiWft the Ike=
affair, and the .iootget'e
was to demonstrate that every,
thing was Nasky away as they

*watched, so as not to hews to
sow him,
The ilsolishasso of the Bothschilde,
the it religious observencao, give sin-
p ""' s to e loyalty that has WOW a

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