By A Mighty Hand

By Rodney Mazinter

Published 2016

Several unrelated events in the latter half of the 19th Century in France and throughout the 20th Century brought about a conflagration that killed 60 million people and engulfed Europe, before spreading to the rest of the world. In many minds this was the precursor to Armageddon. many believed that the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgment had arrived. 

The dramatic and catastrophic conflict, that was World War II underpinned this belief. A conflict that was seen as likely to destroy the world or the human race. The German people, who were bludgeoned by the brutalities of war, and who were conditioned and ready to fall under the spell of a monster such as Hitler awakened too late to stop what had been brought upon them. 

Unscrupulous dictators bent on world conquest needed a scapegoat onto whose shoulders they could place the blame. A heady mix of antisemitism and economic collapse played into the hands of the Nazis.

A number of events congruently came together in a perfect storm of hatred and murder that unerringly gave rise to war and the mass murder of Jews under the German Nazi regime. During the period 1940–45, more than 6 million European Jews, as well as members of other persecuted groups, such as gypsies and homosexuals, were murdered in concentration camps such as Auschwitz. 

Little is told of those who resisted the Nazis under severe, almost impossible, circumstances. This novel is their story. The exploits of these brave men and women can be said to have played an essential role in preventing Hitler from achieving his plan for conquest and domination.

  • Historical Fiction
  • Jewish History
  • Protocols of the Elders of Zion

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Review of By A Mighty Hand

By Dr. D. M. Scher

Some years ago, Rodney Mazinter, vice-chairman of the Zionist Federation, Cape Council, and a frequent contributor to the Press in defence of Israel, was attending a conference in Israel on the topic of anti-Semitism.

He happened to sit next to a small, grey-haired lady and remarked that the role of the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion was often overlooked as a prime generator of anti-Semitism. The lady concurred. It turned out that she was Judge Hadassah Ben-Itto, an internationally renowned legal authority, who had served as president of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.

After her retirement in in 1991, she had researched and written an authoritative book on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, The Lie That Wouldn’t Die.

Addressing the Cape Town Jewish community in April 2001, Judge Ben Itto noted that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a document that had been translated into every known language, even dialects, though never in Hebrew. It continued to be published around the world in millions of copies – “in the 20th century in more numbers even than the Bible”. Yet, she added, “we Jews never read it – and therefore never took the trouble to confront it … . The Protocols is indescribable – such a terrible document. And it is convincing!”

 The Protocols pretends to be the actual record of secret meetings of an international Jewish government, which conspires to dominate the whole world. The Protocols first made their appearance in Western Europe in 1920, brought by refugees from Russia.

Bizarre though it now seems, the Protocols was examined seriously by newspapers like The Times, accepted by others, such as the Morning Post and by Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent.” The Protocols were lapped up by swarms of anti-Semites and crackpots, some of whom were able to do immense harm. Its vicious message reached to the highest levels of government. According to Judge Ben-Itto, after her execution the book was found on Tsarina Alexandra of Russia’s bedside table, together with War and Peace and the Bible!

Norman Cohn, the author of Warrant for Genocide, a study of the Protocols, published in 1967, stated:

“Very many people who were neither demented nor illiterate were convinced that everything that happened in the political, social and economic fields – from minor diplomatic appointments to slumps, revolutions and wars – were ordained by a secret organisation of the Jews”.

Fortunately, a series of exposures and court cases effectively destroyed the myth of the Protocols. In August 1921, Philip Graves, then correspondent of The Times in Constantinople, revealed that the Protocols were largely adapted from a pamphlet attacking Napoleon III of France. Published in 1865, it took the form of 25 dialogues between Montesquieu and Machiavelli, the two protagonists discussing how best a ruler might enforce his authority under contemporary circumstances. Montesquieu presented the case for liberalism, Machiavelli the case for cynical despotism.

The parallels between Machiavelli’s policy and that of Napoleon III were viewed as so explicit that a French lawyer, Maurice Joly, author of the dialogue, was sentenced to 15-months imprisonment.

In the event, the publication fell into the hands of the Russian security police, who had accreditation at the Russian embassy in Paris. They had a special department that invented alleged anti-government plots and forgeries, and it was one of the employees of this organisation, Sergei Nilus, who doctored the work of Joly so that it morphed into the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Russians saw the Protocols as a means of whipping up anti Semitism, so as to distract its subject peoples from the calamities in their own empire.

In 1933, the Swiss Jewish community, shaken by the wave of anti-Semitic propaganda then seeping into the country from Germany, began a long drawn-out legal battle against the Swiss Nazi National Front, which ended, four years later, in the complete collapse of any pretence that the Protocols was a genuine document.

It is of interest to note that around the time of the Berne trial, in a libel action instituted by the Rev. Levy of Port Elizabeth with the support of the South African Board of Deputies against three members of the pro-Nazi Greyshirt Movement, Judge President Sir Thomas Graham, with Mr. Justice Gutsche concurring, declared on 24 August 1934 that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was “an impudent forgery, obviously published for the purpose of anti-Jewish propaganda.”

It is against the background of the malicious spread of the Protocols, that Rodney Mazinter has crafted a sweeping novel that criss-crosses the European continent as it closely examines the lives of a cluster of individuals and families.

This novel is “faction” at its best. The author has woven into his text a set of real and fictional characters that blend seamlessly into his narrative. He has superbly

recreated the European world of our Jewish people in the first half of the twentieth century – a world of unimaginable hardship and hatred, culminating in the Holocaust.

Central to the novel are the tribulations of the Berg family. Some of their story is based on the experiences of the author’s own family in Lithuania. For South African Jews, this will resonate deeply. Apart from family memories, the author has clearly engaged in a great deal of historical research to buttress his narrative.

The novel begins and ends with the Protocols. I have always been struck by how much the Jews have suffered over the centuries from words – spoken and written. Words can kill. The Protocols are a prime example of this.

Writing in Commentary in June 1999, the historian, Richard Pipes, points out that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion “laid the basis for the later Nazi assault against the Jews just as surely as Communist literature targeting the bourgeoisie laid the groundwork for the terror-to-come of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, or the anti Kurd spoutings of Saddam Hussein’s regime prepared the way for the genocide in the north of Iraq. If conspiracist tracts of this nature cannot be entirely discredited, it is nevertheless of critical importance that they be exposed and denounced. At the very least, one can thereby hope to minimise the damage they are likely to do!!!”

Pipes’ comments – and indeed Mazinter’s novel – have a direct relevance to us in South Africa today. Tuning in to Radio 786, a Muslim community radio in Cape Town, on 29 September 2014, what should this reviewer hear quoted by Magboeba Davids, spokesperson of the Islamic Unity Convention? Why, of course, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion!

The danger is, in truth, ever present.

Summing up, I do not exaggerate when I say that I found this novel extremely engaging – and unsettling. For an excellent “feel” of the European world of our forebears, and for a disturbing look at the destructive power of the Protocols, I recommend this book most strongly.

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Editor's Review

by Roy Robbins

I found this novel enormously engaging.

The author’s knowledge of twentieth-century Jewish history is astonishingly comprehensive. I felt it gave impressive inner life to the main characters, sketched out for them complex and compelling backgrounds, and described Europe - both physically and politically - with concision and skill. Briefing the reader on Eastern Europe's somewhat schizoid overlords, and the ways in which public dissent was suffocated and channelled into widespread hate, he definitely has a gift for rendering complex historical moments in concise prose, for getting to the heart of things.

And I admired the way The Protocols - which really is a character of its own in this book - recurred throughout. I thought this was stylishly done, in addition to being factually accurate. The Protocols is something ancient and awful that, no matter how many times one tries to bury it, keeps surfacing, spreading, thriving. Indeed, The Protocols is more of a parasite than a manuscript and exists here as both motif and overriding principle of the book. Actually, the overriding principle of the book is humanity and compassion.

Many of the more shocking scenes were extremely well written. The horror of the situation - the sense of panic and pain - is deftly and sensitively handled.

There are too many strong scenes to mention individually but I was left with the upbeat, optimistic mood, the youthful energy, and the sense of camaraderie and courage the book elicited.

The final chapter, is especially inspired. There is a keen sense of high drama, excitement an adventure.

Roy Robins

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Book Review

by Barry Dowse

Dear Mr Mazinter

I am a businessman in Western Australia.

I recently acquired a copy of the paperback version of your novel called By A Mighty Hand on my visit to South Africa, I thought that you would like to know that the book totally absorbed me to the extent that I found that I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it.

The research and detail that you have captured is remarkable. and well worth the read. I recommend it to those, who like me, find historical novels that entertain as well as educate, irresistible.


Barry Dowse
Mount Barker
Western Australia

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Amazon Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
By Linda, Mill Valley, CA on May 13, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Just finished By A Mighty Hand. I leave for a vacation tomorrow and had planned on it being one of my vacation reads, but I couldn’t put it down!

This genre is my passion. I rarely read anything other than history… either fiction or non. But this book has offered a view that I had missed. So many of the historical references were new to me and were so compelling that I actually made notes to look them up and read more.

Really appreciate this book. Well written. Lots to think about.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Engaging from the start. History made palatable. Lessons for today.
By Constance Johnson AZ. USA on May 9, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This is a novel that progresses from 1889 through World War II. Written so well by Rodney Mazinter, not only was the book engaging from the start, but it also included historical facts about the struggle and devastation of the Jewish People and shows how hatred breeds contempt, dictators and, ultimately, war. There are lessons here for the 21st century.

5.0 out of 5 stars
The true historical background really added to the plot and I found the story line to be compelling and real
By Amazon Customer on June 21, 2016
Format: Paperback

I really was spellbound by the story. The true historical background really added to the plot and I found the story line to be compelling and real from the sense of the reality of how evil and good will always be in the world. The "Protocols" are still around, but the Torah and the power of good is also very alive.

4.0 out of 5 stars
By Irvine Eidelman on May 27, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I thoroughly enjoyed this book with its fine detail and characterization Highly recommended to those who have interest in the history of anti Semitism and its roots in Europe

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