Author Ron Chernow makes many Warburg-exculpatory statements and, in the absence of specialized knowledge, it is difficult for the reader to evaluate them. Owing to the fact that there are already many reviews that inform the reader about the overall content of this book, I instead focus on some specific issues.
THE POLISH-RAVAGED JEWISH-CEMETERY MYTH
Recent Holocaust-related programs have falsely painted Poles a heartless, primitive people for not preserving long-abandoned Jewish cemeteries, and for repurposing long-defunct Jewish cemeteries. Let us examine some basic facts—facts that transcend Polish-Jewish relations.
Pointedly, European cemeteries were never “meant” to be permanent, and this normally applied also to Jewish cemeteries! In fact, Chernow relates a case that is noteworthy precisely because it was the exception to the rule—moreover, an exception that required an intervention, by a prominent Jew, to the highest levels of government. He writes, “In Hamburg, he [Bismarck] responded to Siegmund Warburg’s proposal to create an ‘eternal cemetery’. Under Jewish law, bodies are supposed to stay buried in the same spot until resurrection, whereas in Hamburg the Jewish graveyard was freshly dug up every hundred years. When Bismarck approved a new Jewish cemetery near Hamburg, Siegmund asked whether bodies could slumber there for eternity. ‘Certainly’, replied Bismarck, ‘as far as it is in the power of the Prussian government to guarantee anything for all eternity.’” (p. 22).
THE PREJUDICES OF GERMAN JEWS AGAINST THE OSTJUDEN
Chernow writes, “The Warburgs also displayed the shortcomings of German Jews. They could be snobbish, arrogant, and status-conscious, especially towards their Eastern European brethren.” (p. xvi). He adds that, “The Russian and Polish Jews often found the German Jews arrogant, cold, and condescending.” (p. 98).
Moreover, French Jews assessed the arriving German Jewish refugees, from the Third Reich, in a very similar way, as „haughty and commanding”, and were ashamed to be associated with them. Click on, and read my detailed review, of Some of My Best Friends Are Jews.
JEWISH BANKERS AND THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
Chernow comments, “Schiff advanced one million rubles to Alexander Kerensky’s government—a loan he lost six months later when the Bolsheviks came to power. Later, the Nazis blamed Schiff and the Warburgs for having hatched the Russian Revolution when they had merely supported the moderate Mensheviks.” (p. 181). Merely?
Notice that Chernow’s statements, taken at face value, already admit that leading Jewish bankers were in fact involved in the Russian Revolution. The technicalities are of little relevance. Note, for example, that there was actually little difference between the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks, and these differences centered on personalities and priorities, not tactics and goals. In addition, are we supposed to believe that Warburg and Schiff were really so naive as to believe that the Kerensky government was necessarily stable? Finally, open international Jewish support for the new Soviet government continued long after the Bolsheviks are unambiguously in power.
JEWISH PROFITEERING FROM GERMAN HYPERINFLATION?
It was not necessary for influential Jews to have purportedly engineered the German hyperinflation, for their own selfish benefit, and as demanded by conspiracy theories, in order to profit from its outcome. Nor does it particularly matter if German Jews, as a whole, suffered more from German hyperinflation than did German gentiles. Chernow quips, “Disproportionately represented in private banking, well-to-do Jews were generally better equipped to deal with inflation, while elderly people on pensions and depositors with small banks fared worst. People ravaged by inflation resentfully watched financiers shuffle money into foreign currencies or tangible assets to preserve their capital.” (p. 226).
A JEWISH DOMINANCE OF WEIMAR GERMANY?
Chernow writes, “In general, Weimar Republic would fulfill Jewish hopes of greater civil equality, ushering in an EXPLOSION OF JEWISH CULTURAL, POLITICAL, AND ECONOMIC ACHIEVEMENT. Jews would advance in the arts, universities, upper civil service, business, and mass media. Unbaptized Jews were finally elected to the Hamburg Senate.” (p. 218; Emphasis added).
What probably most mattered to the Germans was not the magnitude of Jewish influence per se, but the rapidity of its increase. Evidently, that is what animated the pro-Nazi German mentality about the Judaization of Weimar Germany.
SURPRISING (?) NAZI LENIENCY ON THE WARBURGS
Interestingly, the Nazi authorities retained the Jewish Warburgs in their high-level positions for some five years after coming to power in 1933. (p. 375; 466-467; 502). And, soon after the German-Soviet conquest of Poland in 1939, the Nazi authorities allowed the Warburgs peacefully to leave Germany aboard ships that were lit-up in order to alert German attackers that they were neutral. (p. 485). Interestingly, none of the remaining Warburgs perished in the German death camps. (p. 572). Furthermore, two of the Warburgs who were 1st Degree MISCHLINGE (half-Jews), Marietta (p. 512) and biochemist Otto (p. 540), were left unmolested by the Nazis. In fact, Hermann Goering created the fiction that Otto was only a quarter-Jew [2nd Degree MISCHLINGE]. (p. 540).
A JEWISH-FINANCED JUDEOPOLONIA UNDER NAZI GERMAN AUSPICES (LUBLINLAND)
The onetime-proposed Jewish reservation in German-occupied Poland, which was to be located near Lublin, was developed under Himmler as “The Hamburg Plan”. In this proposed Jewish reservation, Lublinland, Jews could govern themselves. (p. 504). One of its chief proponents was Herr Goettsche, the head of the Gestapo’s Jewish department for Hamburg. Chernow thus quotes Goettsche, “‘Naturally, the implementation of the project would have to be financed by the Jews themselves…The Warburgs are considered very suitable for that. If they only wanted to do it, the Warburgs in America could raise the necessary money to found such a reservation state.’” (p. 504).
The implications are clear. Polish suspicions, about the possible emergence of some kind of Jewish-German agreement at Poland’s expense, turned out to be based on fact. Had Lublinland become reality, it would have placed Nazi Germany and “international Jewry” on the same side—against Poland.
GERMAN SELF-PITY. IMPOSSIBILITY OF DICHOTOMIZING GERMANS AND NAZIS
The author’s statements, about German attitudes after WWII, are telling. They contradict the usual exculpatory tale about Nazis and Germans belonging to distinct categories. They clearly did not. Chernow comments, “The Germans cast themselves as innocent victims, dwelling on Allied raids against them instead of their bombing of London, Coventry, Rotterdam, and Warsaw…In a 1946 study by the U. S. Military government in Germany, more than a third of Germans polled still styled themselves a superior race and thought Hitler’s treatment of the Jews justified.” (p. 581).
Even long after WWII, Germans commonly retained a residual pro-Nazi mentality. Chernow writes, “A report issued by the American authorities in Germany that year  stated, ‘The MAJORITY of the Germans believe that there was more good than evil in National Socialism.’” (p. 594; Emphasis added).