“Jews Are Guilty Unless Proven Innocent” Napoléon I

by TUT editor


ED-NOTE – 210 years ago, on Saint Patrick’s Day, Emperor Napoléon I decided to settle once and for all the ‘Jewish Question’ or ‘Jewish Problem’.

Not fully understanding the nature of the disease he was trying to diagnose, Napoleon had first been rather sympathetic to the Jews whom he saw as ‘normal’ French citizens who simply followed a different religion. Indeed, Napoleon and post-monarchy France had done all they could to welcome the 40 000 Jews who had been parasitizing the country  into the Brotherhood of Mankind under the French flag. France was the first country to fully emancipate the Jews in 1791; it gave them all the civil liberties everyone else enjoyed, the same rights but also the same duties and responsibilities attached to any citizenship. French Jews were never asked to give up their religion: they were only asked to become real French citizens, with an allegiance to France and the French people alone. But unlike any other people/religious groups who had been granted citizenship with full and equal civil rights, the emancipation of the Jews gave rise to even more problems which the French Revolutionaries did not foresee. And how could they?

In 1807, Napoléon took the first step in trying to solve all the problems the emancipation of the Jews had created and decided to revive the Grand Sanhedrin. Naively believing that rabbis are just like ‘priests’, he put before them 12 questions some of which are extremely revealing as to the practices of Jews of France in that time:

1. Is it lawful for Jews to have more than one wife? (obviously, if polygamy had not been prevalent, he would have never had raised this point)
2. Is divorce allowed in the Jewish religion, and if it is, is it allowed even in contradiction to the codes of French law?
3. Does Jewish law permit a Jewess to marry a Christian man, or a Jew to marry a Christian woman, or may they marry only other Jews?
4. In the eyes of Jews, are Frenchmen who are not Jewish, considered to be their brethren or strangers?
5. What type of conduct does Jewish law prescribe toward non-Jewish Frenchmen?
6. Do the Jews who are born in France, and have been granted citizenship by the laws of France, truly acknowledge France as their country? Are they bound to defend it, to follow its laws, to follow the directions of the civil and court authorities of France?
7. Who elects rabbis?
8. What kind of judicial power do rabbis exercise over the Jews?
9. If there is rabbinical jurisdiction over the Jews, is it regulated by the laws of the Jewish religion or is it merely a custom existing among Jews?
10. Are there professions from which Jews are excluded by Jewish law?
11. Does Jewish law prohibit Jews from taking usury from other Jews?
12. Does Jewish law prohibit Jews from taking usury from non-Jews?

By way of deception they sneakingly played along, lied and said everything Napoléon wanted to hear. Eventually, even Napoléon had enough, understood that the Jews are  “the most despicable of men”, understood that Christian Medieval France was right to never allow a Jew to testify in court and issued his Imperial Edict which the Jews call the “Infamous Decree” whereby the Jews were declared guilty until proven innocent.


HAARETZ – 17MAR16 – This Day in Jewish History  – 1808: Napoleon Issues Decrees to Frenchify the Jews
On March 17, 1808, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte issued three decrees that together were intended to normalize the status of Frances Jews.
The decrees were part of a larger plan on his part to accelerate Jewish assimilation into French society. While two of the decrees were largely administrative in nature, a third, which came to be known as the Infamous Decree, singled out Jews for a number of economic restrictions, and was understandably unpopular among them.
Napoleon, who reigned from 1804 to 1815, could be said to have harbored ambivalent feelings toward the Jews, as his actions reflected. Overall, however, his desire was to see them become fully French, with all that implied.

The first two of this days decrees pertained to the hierarchy that was to be established for control of Frances Jewish communities. Every town with a Jewi

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