Nietzsche: anti-Germanist rather than anti-Semite

[Feel free to post other relevant excerpts in the comment section.]

«It is even part of my ambition to be considered as essentially a despiser of Germans. (…) When I try to think of the kind of man who is opposed to me in all my instincts, my mental image takes the form of a German.» – F. Nietzsche, Ecce Homo.

«Wherever Germany extends her sway, she ruins culture.» – F. Nietzsche, Ecce Homo.

«And from what side did all great obstructions, all calamities in my life emanate? Always from Germans. The damnable German anti-Semitism, this poisonous boil of nevrose nationale [national neurosis], has intruded into my existence almost ruinously during that decisive time when not my destiny but the destiny of humanity was at issue. And I owe it to the same element that my Zarathustra entered this world as indecent literature – its publisher being an anti-Semite. In vain do I look for some sign of tact, of delicatesse, in relation to me: from Jews, yes; never yet from Germans.» – F. Nietzsche, draft passage for Ecce Homo.

«Whoever reads me in Germany today has first de-Germanized himself thoroughly, as I have done: my formula is known, ‘to be a good German means to de-Germanize oneself‘; or he is – no small distinction among Germans – of Jewish descent – Jews among Germans are always the higher race – more refined, spiritual, kind. – L’adorable Heine, they say in Paris.» – F. Nietzsche, draft passage for Ecce Homo.

«Esprit: quality of late races: Jews, Frenchmen, Chinese. (The anti-Semites do not forgive the Jews for possessing “spirit” – and money. Anti-Semites – another name for the “underprivileged.”)» – F. Nietzsche, fragment in “Will to Power”, s. 864.

«Seen from a distance, ‘anti-Semitism’ [as well as ‘anti-capitalism’] looks like nothing other than the fight against the rich and the established middle classes for the sake of becoming rich». – F. Nietzsche, Nietzsche Briefwechsel: Kritische Gesamtausgabe (ed. G.Colli and M. Montinari), III, 1, 399.

«If I ask who my natural allies are I see that above all they are officers. With military instincts in the body one cannot be a Christian… In the same way, Jewish bankers are my natural allies, as the only international power which, by origin and instinct, binds nations together after accursed interest-politics has made the arrogance and egoism of nations into a duty.» – F. Nietzsche, Kritische Studienausgabe (ed. G.Colli and M. Montinari), 13, 25, 11.

* Opposition to the anti-Semite Wagner:

«The tyrannical allows validity to no other individuality save his own and that of his intimates. The danger for Wagner is great, when he does not allow Brahms to be valid. Or the Jews.» – F. Nietzsche, Kritische Studienausgabe (ed. G.Colli and M. Montinari), 7, 32, 32.

«… since Wagner had moved to Germany, he had condescended step by step to everything I despise – even to anti-Semitism.» – F. Nietzsche, “Nietzsche Contra Wagner”.

* Opposition to his sister Elizabeth and her husband, Bernhard Förster (1843-1889), a leader of the German anti-Semitic movement in the late 1870s and founder of the failed Paraguayan colony, “Nueva Germania”:

«You have committed one of the greatest stupidities – for yourself and for me. Your association with an anti-Semitic chief expresses a foreigness to my whole way of life which fills me again and again with ire or melancholyit is a matter of honor with me to be absolutely clean and unequivocal in relation to anti-Semitism, namely opposed to it, as I am in my writings. I have recently been persecuted with letters and Anti-Semitic Correspondence Sheets. My disgust with this party (which would like the benefit of my name only too well) is as pronounced as possible, but the relation to Förster, as well as the after-effects of my former publisher, the anti-Semitic Schmeitzner, always brings the adherents of this disagreeable party back to the idea that I must belong to them after all… It arouses mistrust against my character, as if I publicly condemned something which I favored secretly – and that I am unable to do anything against it, that the name of Zarathustra is used in every Anti-Semitic Correspondence Sheet, has almost made me ill several times. (…) In the meantime, I’ve seen proof in black and white that Herr Dr. Förster still has not severed his connection with the anti-S[emitic] movement. A schmuck and Biedermeyer from Leipzig (Fritsch, if I remember correctly) undertook the task of — he has been sending me on a regular basis the Anti-S[emitic] Corresp[ondence], despite my emphatic protests (I have never read anything more despicable than this Correspondence). Since then I’ve had difficulty asserting in your favor any of the old tenderness and forbearance I’ve held toward you for so long, the separation between us is virtually established in the most absurd way. Have you grasped nothing of the reason why I am in the world? Do you want a catalog of the sentiments to which I feel antipodal? You will find them quite neatly next to each other in your husband’s “Echoes of P[arsifal]”; when I read it, the hair-raising idea came to me that you have understood nothing, nothing of my illness, even less about my painful and astonishing experience — that the man whom I had most revered had devolved right into a disgusting degeneracy of what I had always despised the most in the swindle of moral and Christian ideals. — Now it has gone so far that I have to defend myself tooth and nail against those who confuse me with these anti-S[emitic] canaille; after my own sister, my former sis[ter], like Widemann more recently, has given the impetus to this most disastrous of all confusions. After I actually read the name Z[arathustra] in the Anti-S[emitic] Correspondence, my patience came to an end— I am now in a state of self-defense against the party of your husband. These accursed antics of the anti-Semites shall not weaken my ideal!! That our name, through your marriage, is comingled with this movement, how I have suffered from it! You’ve lost all reason and all respect these last 6 years. Heavens, how difficult this is for me! I have, as is fair, never asked you to [understand] something of the position that I occupy as a ph[ilosopher] in my time; you have, nevertheless, with a little instinct for love, been able to avoid it by immediately taking up residence with my antipodes. I am now thinking about sisters in roughly the same way as Sch[openhauer] did — they are superfluous, they cause mischief. As a result of the past 10 years, I relish the fact that [I] have lost the indulgent illusion that anyone would know what I’m all about. For years I’ve been close to death: not the faintest idea from anyone as to why. And when I became well again and gradually so, almost every p[erson] whom I know literally competed to repeatedly call into question my recovery with the most offensive maltreatment: I was gradually on guard to be involved with p[eople] today; for my memory in regard to almost all of them, to everyone I have known up to now, is that I have been shamefully maltreated by them in the hardest times of my life. Until now [I have] of course forgotten no one who has aggrieved me in the last 10 years: [but maybe I’m also still learning that] my memory has little room for my experiences it was, e.g., previously impossible for me to visit the Overbecks in Basel, because I had not forgiven Frau Overbeck that she [had formed] sordid and derogatory opinions about a [creature] of whom I had told her was the only kindred nature that I have come across in my life. The same is true of Malwida and basically all of my old acquaintances: until this moment, my honor in this respect has not been redressed. [….]» – Nice, end of December 1887, Nietzsche Briefwechsel: Kritische Gesamtausgabe (ed. G.Colli and M. Montinari), III, 5, 968: draft of letter to Elisabeth Förster.


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