Bernstein, Herman

views updated


BERNSTEIN, HERMAN (1876–1935), U.S. journalist, born in Neustadt-Schirwirdt (Vladislavov), Lithuania; one of the first to expose the Protocols of the *Elders of Zion forgery. Bernstein went to the United States from Russia in 1893 and wrote in Yiddish and English. His first book was With Master Minds (1912), a collection of interviews with European personalities. In 1914 he founded the Yiddish daily Der Tog (The Day), which became a recognized organ of liberal Jewish opinion. He was its editor until 1916 and editor in chief of the *American Hebrew until 1919. During World War i, Bernstein made an on-the-spot study of Jewish conditions in Eastern Europe and stimulated the organization of relief for Jewish war victims. In 1917, when he was correspondent of the New York Herald, he discovered 65 telegrams which had been exchanged between the German kaiser and the czar between 1904 and 1907, and published them as The Willy-Nicky Correspondence (1918). In 1921 Bernstein published The History of a Lie (1928), a book which was among the first exposures of the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a forgery. He also instituted legal proceedings against Henry Ford, who had helped to circulate the Protocols and had allowed anti-Semitic articles based on them to appear in his weekly The Dearborn Independent. Bernstein's postwar interviews for the daily press were reprinted as Celebrities of Our Times (1925) and The Road to Peace (1926). He wrote a study of Herbert Hoover in 1928. Bernstein served as United States envoy to Albania from 1931 to 1933.

[Sol Liptzin]