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The National Socialist Spinoza revilement

Finally there is ... After a long wait, the newest episode of the Tijdschift
voor Geschiedenis (Time-shift in History) was published with the thorough
and informative article by Michiel Wielema: "Spinoza in the Third Reich"
("Spinoza in het Derde Rijk" ) [TvG, nr. 1 of 2014, pp. 41-61.].
The novel Het Raadsel Spinoza (The Spinoza Problem [riddle]), for which
Irvin Yalom had invented Alfred Rosenberg's obsessive interest in Spinoza,
may have given rise to more interest in how the german national-socialists
dealt with Spinoza. Well, then we have here the true and disconcerting
story about the National Socialist Spinoza reception. It is actually
remarkable that this history has not been written before. Good so that it is
finally there. And it is immediately a thorough exploration of all sorts of
Wielema shows how the representatives of the Nazi regime looked at
Spinoza with contempt and rejection and did everything to nullify the
former appreciation that had arisen since Goethe and the idealists in
German Philosophy and German culture for Spinoza. They did everything
to ban Spinoza from German culture.
The author shows how this attitude was prepared by racist anti-Semitic
interpretations of Spinoza's philosophy by authors such as Eugen Dühring
and Houston Chamberlain in the period from 1880. He also discusses in
detail the various, sometimes rival, institutions of Judenforschung that did
everything they could to substantiate scientifically the necessity of
combating 'Jewish evil'.
Philosophy professors such as Hans Grunsky and Max Wundt are being
treated. You learn how a widely supported negative image of Jewish
philosophy arose that could not be anything other than the eclectic
reception of 'real' ('Arian') thinkers. In that negative image, Spinoza was
taken away or more accurately, Spinoza was the predominant one. For
example, Grunsky’s Spinoza had an agenda to submit the 'Aryan' peoples
to a 'new Torah' (the Ethics).
This general defamation and disdain did not even make (positive) use of
the criticism of Spinoza's Judaism - perhaps because they did not need
'supporting evidence' on the part of Spinoza or possibly thought so - if they
did would use – there could demonstrate too much positive appreciation of
Spinoza. This hypothesis comes from me, Michiel Wielema is surprised
that he did not come across anything from the active use of Spinoza's
arguments against Judaism, nor from Spinoza's equivalence of law and
power, and from that astonishment he deals extensively with those aspects
of Spinoza's philosophy that they nevertheless could have used to reinforce
their opinion. In fact, only the Dutch NSB and Spinozist J.H. Carp used
Spinoza's political philosophy.
The author dives deep into history from the period of German Philosophy
and shows that Kant had derived his view that Judaism was not actually a
religious belief, but a form of politics and legislation, from Moses
Mendelssohn, who had developed this view on basis of studying Spinoza’s
TTP (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus ) an idea that can even be found in
Mein Kampf. So you can say that through Spinoza-Mendelssohn-Kant
without anyone noticing it - has penetrated into Hitler’s Mein Kampf,
namely that Judaism is not actually a religion.

Perhaps something that is worth examining further.

Highly recommended, this great article.

Stan Verdult