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Wiener Library

Papers regarding the Bern trial of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'; papers of 'Weltdienst' (microfilm)


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 540

Held at: Wiener Library

Title: Papers regarding the Bern trial of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'; papers of 'Weltdienst' (microfilm)

Date(s): 1930-1972

Level of description: Collection level

Extent: c 550 frames

Name of creator(s): Schwed | P; Weltdienst


Administrative/Biographical history:

The fortnightly anti-Semitic periodical, Weltdienst, was founded by Ulrich Fleischauer, a retired German lieutenant, in Erfurt on 1 December 1933. August Schirmer, who, having already been employed at Weltdienst in the 'American Section', took over publication of the periodical in July 1939. Shortly afterwards he announced the relocation of the offices to Frankfurt am Main, where all anti Jewish 'research establishments' under Alfred Rosenberg's direction were concentrated. Schirmer resigned in August 1943, at which time Weltdienst was published in 18 languages.

Weltdienst continued well into 1944. Kurt Richter, the new publisher, was also director of an 'International Institute for the Enlightenment of the Jewish Question', also called 'Weltdienst'. This institute organised gatherings of European antisemites 'with a view to securing an exchange of ideas and experiences designed to steadily strengthen the common European defence action against Jewry'.

In 1934 Weltdienst was given the task of rounding up Russian émigré experts to defend the veracity of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, at Bern. This anti-Semitic forgery came under public scrutiny in June 1933, when a right wing Swiss nationalist organisation known as the National Front began distributing it during a demonstration in Bern. A group of leading Swiss Jews filed a suit against the distributors, contending that the document, which described a Jewish plot to take over the world, fell under the ban on 'indecent writings'.


Scope and content/abstract:

Part I comprises papers relating to the Bern trial of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' including a list of Weltdienst subscribers; correspondence and affidavits relating to the identity of defendants' witnesses, in particular Sergei Sergiejewitsch Nilus, son of Sergei Alexandrowitsch Nilus (1862-1929), responsible for the original publication of the 'Protocols'; verdict and judgement in the case. Part II comprises the correspondence of 'Weltdienst'.


Language/scripts of material: German, English

System of arrangement:

Arranged into two groups: Bern trial material; Weltdienst material.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

According to a letter at the beginning of the collection, the first part of the collection came via a Jewish lawyer involved in the prosecution of Boris Toedtli , one of the most important Weltdienst men in Switzerland, who was tried for espionage. It is believed that one of the prosecuting lawyers obtained the documentation and subsequently handed it to JUNA, the Jewish press agency of the Swiss Jewish Community. The provenance of the second part is unknown.

Immediate source of acquisition:

P Schwed


Existence and location of originals:

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:

Williams, Robert C., 'Tödtli, A Bern Defender of the Protocols', Wiener Library Bulletin, vol XXIII , (Wiener library, 1969).



Archivist's note: Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: October 2007

Antisemitism | Racial discrimination
Jews | Religious groups
Legal procedure | Administration of justice
Propaganda | Persuasion | Communication process
Third Reich | Nazism | Totalitarianism | Political doctrines

Personal names
Tödtli | Boris | b 1901 | leader of the Russian National Socialists in Switzerland

Corporate names

Bern | Switzerland | Western Europe | Europe