A criminal court in the city of Hamm in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia announced on Wednesday that an extremist right-wing German politician was guilty of incitement to hate because he termed a Jewish community leader a “naughty Jew”—a term used by Nazis to denigrate Jews.
The court’s decision said Sascha Krolzig, 32, who serves as the federal chairman of the neo-Nazi party “The Right,” violated Germany’s anti-incitement law. “The use of the term “naughty Jew” incites hatred because it is a form stoking a hostile attitude toward people of the Jewish faith that goes beyond the mere expression of rejection and contempt,” wrote the court.
According to the court’s reasoning, the phrase invoked by Krolzig was used “in connection with National Socialist racial ideology.” The court further justified its conviction of Krolzig because he had been previously convicted of incitement to hate.
The German language phrase ein frecher Jude (a naughty Jew) has also been translated as “an impudent Jew.”
According to the court, Krolzig published an article on his website in 2016 that labeled the Jewish community leader “the naughty Jewish official.”
In 2018, a lower court in Bielefeld convicted Krolzig, who lives in Dortmund, for his antisemitic writing targeting the Jewish community leader. He appealed the verdict based on the argument that the phrase “naughty Jew” is protected by the guarantees of free speech. Krolzig announced on the webpage of “The Right” party that he will again appeal the Wednesday verdict to Germany’s highest court.
In 2019, “The Right” party campaigned in the European Parliament’s election by using an election poster stating: “Boycott Israel. Stop ethnic cleansing.”
The neo-Nazi party also used a slogan coined by Nazi-forerunner Heinrich von Treitschke (1834-1896) and popularized by the Nazi mass-circulation tabloid Der Stürmer (The Attacker).
The Right turned the antisemitic slogan “The Jews are our misfortune!” (Die Juden sind unser Unglück!) into “Israel is our misfortune!”
The antisemitic history of the term “naughty Jew” has been analyzed by academics. In a 2013, Adam Joshua Cohen authored a Masters degree thesis for the University of Maryland on antisemitism in the Austrian newspaper Die Reichspost in the period 1894-1897. Cohen wrote that “The Reichspost also represented cases where Jewish men were not only violent, but also sexually perverse. To catch the reader’s eye, the newspaper printed ‘A naughty Jew’ in larger than normal type.”
The late British medical doctor, Thomas Dormandy, wrote about the antisemitic connotations of the phrase “a naughty Jew,” which he translated as “an impudent Jew” in his book The Worst of Evils: The Fight Against Pain.”
Dormandy wrote that the Jewish ophthalmologist, Dr. Carl Koller (1857-1944), in Vienna, “corrected a senior assistant [Dr. Fritz Zinner] about some detail during an operation.” Zimmer “called him an impudent Jew.” Koller emigrated to New York where he went on to receive honors from the American Ophthalmological Society for his contributions to the field.