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First Russian Publisher of the “Zion Protocols”

Sergei Aleksandrovich Nilus‘ (1862-1930). Kratkii ocherk zhizni i deiatel’nosti [A brief overview of his life and work].

Novi Sad, Serbia: [Russkaia tipografiia S. Filonova], 1936. Octavo (22.5 ×15cm). Original printed wrappers; 88 pp. Small chips to wrapper edges; spine with tape repair; internally very good.

An émigré biography of the Orthodox mystic Sergei Nilus’ (1862-1930), the first Russian publisher of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. The biography is largely a history of the publication and reception of the infamous anti-Semitic conspiracy theory in Russia and abroad. The pamphlet includes seven chapters: Meeting with S.A. Nilus’, his spiritual profile and his writings; The discovery of the manuscript of the “Zion Protocols”; Nilus’s first publication of the “Zion Protocols” in 1905; The reception of the protocols by the government and the public; The reception of the protocols by the church; The reception of the protocols abroad and the role played by Germany, by M.E. Scheubner-Richter and General Ludendorff; The last years of life of S.A. Nilus’ and his death. Nilus’ had allegedly discovered the manuscript of the protocols sometime in the early 1900s and included it in the second edition of his book “Velikoe v malom: Antikhrist kak blizkaia politicheskaia vozmozhnost’” (The Great in the Small: the Antichrist as an imminent political possibility) in 1905. Nilus’ re-published the text in 1911 and 1917, contributing significantly to spreading the theory of the “Jewish conspiracy”.

The author of the biography, prince Nikolai Zhevakhov (1874-1946), was an Orthodox religious leader and eventual White émigré with strong right-wing political ties across Europe. He met Nilus’ in 1900 and maintained close connections with the mystic, with Nilus’ staying at Zhevakhov’s family estate for stretches of time in 1913. After the Bolshevik revolution Zhevakhov fled to Serbia where he spearheaded the creation of the Russo-Serbian Society in 1920, which eventually published this text. Throughout the 1920s he traveled widely in Germany and Italy, meeting prominent fascists such as Max Scheubner-Richter, a close associate of Hitler, and General Ludendorff, promoting the text of the Protocols through these acquaintances. He also maintained correspondence with Mussolini. Zhevakhov lived in Italy for many years and according to some sources translated the Protocols into Italian in 1938. This biographical pamphlet is a connecting link between the pre-Revolutionary anti-Semitic conspiracy theories which circulated in turn of the 19th century Russia, rightist leanings of some members of the White émigré community, and the spread of the Protocols throughout Europe in the interwar period.

As of April 2021 KVK, OCLC show copies at Cambridge, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Tübingen, and Tel Aviv.

Book ID: 51277

Price: $450.00