• Gisela C. Lebzelter
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series (STANTS)


Before evaluating the impact of organized political anti-Semitism in England between the two world wars, it should be recalled that anti-Jewish prejudices persisted in 20th century Britain as part of the Christian cultural tradition. Social discrimination against Jews was not unusual, and adverse stereotypes of ‘the Jews’ were mirrored and passed on in folklore and literature — even in nursery rhymes such as the following:

Jack sold his gold egg To a rascally Jew, Who cheated him out of The half of his due.

The Jew got the goose Which he vowed he would kill, Resolving at once His pockets to fill.1


Political Campaign Jewish Question Nursery Rhyme British Politics National Humiliation 
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  1. 1.
    L. Chisholm (ed.), Nursery Rhymes (London, 1921) pp. 2–3.Google Scholar
  2. Cf. H. Belloc, Cautionary Tales for Children (17th impr. London, 1973) pp. 63–8.Google Scholar
  3. I. and P. Opie, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (Oxford, 1967) p. 346.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For the susceptibility towards anti-Semitism at a personality level, cf. T. W. Adorno et al., The Authoritarian Personality (New York, 1950).Google Scholar
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    L. Poliakov, The History of Anti-Semitism, III (London, 1975), p. 333.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    For images of ‘the Jew’ in English literature, cf. E. D. Coleman, The Jew in English Drama (New York, 1968).Google Scholar
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    Cf. E. Krausz, Ethnic Minorities in Britain (London, 1972) pp. 55–86.Google Scholar
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    Cf. B. Bettelheim, J. Janowitz, Dynamics of Prejudice. A Psychological and Sociological Study of Veterans (New York, 1950).Google Scholar
  17. See also B. Kosmin, ‘Colonial Careers for Marginal Fascists’, Wiener Library Bulletin XXVII, n.s. nr 30/31 (1973/4) pp. 16–23.Google Scholar
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    W. Lewis, The Jews —Are They Human? (London, 1939) p. 7.Google Scholar
  19. Also H. Martin, Critic’s London Diary (London, 1960) p. 79.Google Scholar
  20. M. Muggeridge, The Thirties (London, 1940) pp. 242–3.Google Scholar

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© Gisela C. Lebzelter 1978

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  • Gisela C. Lebzelter

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