Rohling, August°

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ROHLING, AUGUST ° (1839–1931), antisemitic polemicist. A fanatical ultramontanist priest from the Rhineland, Rohling published in 1871 his Der Talmudjude (based on J.A. *Eisenmenger's Entdecktes Judenthum), a collection of deliberately corrupted quotations, imaginary statements, and forgeries against the Talmud. The book appeared in successive editions and became very popular. When Franz Holubek, a leader of the Viennese artisan movement, was sued for inciting a crowd against the Jews (April 4, 1882), he pleaded not guilty, claiming that he had obtained his information in good faith from the books of Rohling, a full professor at the German University of Prague. Rohling's academic appointments were obtained through the intercession of high Church dignitaries. Holubek's acquittal was a victory for the growing political antisemitism. Rohling and his works acquired further notoriety through the *Tiszaeszlar blood libel affair, when Rohling volunteered to testify that Jews required Christian blood for their ceremonies. After Franz *Delitzsch, the renowned Protestant Orientalist, had revealed Rohling's ignorance and baseness, Rohling accused Delitzsch of being a Jew and then castigated Adolf *Jellinek and Moritz *Guedemann as cunning knaves for denying Holubek's charges.

Rohling's challenger was Joseph Samuel *Bloch who, after repeated sorties against him, published a series of articles in July 1883 under the title, "An Offer to Commit Perjury," in which he branded Rohling a liar and perjurer. Forced by public opinion to sue Bloch for libel, Rohling enlisted the aid of two antisemites, Brimanus (a Romanian-Jewish renegade who had taught Rohling Hebrew and was author of the scurrilous Der Judenspiegel under the pseudonym "Justus") and Ecker (a convicted forger, priest, and professor at an obscure seminary in Paderborn). Neither could attend the trial. Bloch recruited the respected Orientalists Theodor Noeldeke and Karl August Wuensche, who completely demolished all Rohling's academic pretenses. Even Paul *Lagarde condemned Rohling's works. In 1885, shortly before the trial was due to open, Rohling withdrew his suit after Bloch had collected an immense amount of material against him. He paid the costs of the trial, lost his academic chair, and left the public scene, nevertheless continuing to publish antisemitic tracts. Rohling's Talmudjude was translated into several European languages; E. *Drumont wrote the introduction to the French edition. The work continued to be published for more than 50 years, and served as a source for Nazi antisemitic doctrines.


J. Kopp, Zur Judenfrage nach den Akten des Prozesses Rohling-Bloch (1886); F. Delitzsch, Was Rohling beschworen hat und beschwoeren will (1883); idem, Schachmatt den Blutluegnern Robling und Justus (1883); Akten und Gutachten in dem Prozesse Rohling contra Bloch (1890–1901); J.S. Bloch, My Reminiscences (1923); M. Grunwald, Vienna (1936), 430–7; J.G. Pulzer, The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria (1964); D. van Arkel, Anti-semitism in Austria (Ph.D. thesis, Leiden University, 1966), 14–33.