Victor Emile Marsden (8 June 1866 – 28 October 1920) was a journalist and translator, known for translating what became the most read English language version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. According to Robert Singerman, the earliest known imprint of this translation was published in 1923, posthumously.
The first English language publication of this text was in London in 1920. However, prior to its publication, the Morning Post, in 1920, used the text as a basis of 17, or 18 (depending on which authority is cited), articles making antisemitic allegations against the Jews. Thereafter, but that same year, the paper published a book on the same matter, entitled The Cause of World Unrest. Marsden is generally credited with a translation of the Protocols around this time. Marsden continues to be associated with most subsequent American English language imprints of the text, known by many different titles, but most briefly, as the Protocols of Zion. In that regard he is only second to Serge Nilus.
The first British English language edition, titled The Jewish Peril, whose Preface is dated, London, 2 December 1919, but not published until 1920, was published anonymously, but has subsequently been discovered to have been translated by George Shanks, an employee of The Morning Post (London). The publisher was Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd. edition.
The so-called Marsden translation first appears in 1923. The librarian and bibliographer, Robert Singerman, identifies the following as the first Marsden imprint:
Victor E. Marsden
"Protocols of the wise men of Zion"
Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion
Translated from the Russian Text by Victor E. Marsden
(London: The Britons, 1923)
"The Marsden translation has become the standard English Text."
Singerman lists the Wiener Library (London) as having this imprint. That library has the following catalogue entry for the Marsden imprint:
[Title]: Protocols of the meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion
Author: Victor E. Marsden, Victor E. Marsden
Place of publication: London
Publisher: The Britons
Year of publication: 1923
Pagination: 75 p.
Notes: Translated from the Russian text. – Not indexed
Accession number: 97484
The British Library holds and describes the following imprint in its catalogue record:
System number 009601120
Author – personal Nilus.
Title Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion / translated from the Russian Text by Victor E. Marsden.
Publisher/year London : The Britons Publishing Society, [between 1937 and 1971].
Physical descr. 65 p. ; 21 cm.
Holdings (All) Details
Shelfmark W73/5522 DSC Request
In 1978, Colin Holmes wrote that George Shanks, a British citizen born in Russia, first translated the text into English for The Britons – a publishing entity which subsequently became "The Britons Publishing Society."
Marsden is explicitly associated with the 1934 edition, however, and its subsequent imprints. Marsden worked as a correspondent for The Morning Post, a conservative London daily newspaper. On assignment he reported on events in Russia. As a consequence of the October Revolution, he was imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress. He was subsequently released and returned home to England. Marsden's name is associated with the 1934 text issued by "THE PATRIOTIC PUBLISHING CO." as the "author of the translation."
The standard work on the Protocols of Zion has been for some time Norman Cohn's Warrant for Genocide. Cohn only mentions Marsden in a single page, saying that the "Morning Post accepted everything it was told by its correspondent in Russia, Victor Marsden" and "Marsden was an Englishman who had lived many years in Russia and had adopted, with passion, the outlook of Russian right-wingers... Marsden went further and produced a new translation of the Protocols (it is still on sale in London today)." That is all we are told about Marsden by Cohn.
Henry Ford and Adolf Hitler
Henry Ford purchased the Dearborn Independent with the publication therein of a series of articles in from 1920 through 1922 which were subsequently published in four volumes, as The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem.
When Adolf Hitler took power in Germany in 1933, both Germany and the US were flooded with mass-produced anti-Semitic literature, at the core of which was the text of the Protocols of Zion. Ford placed his personal wealth, acquired from his ownership of the Ford Motor Company, and financed not only the writing in his Dearborn Independent, but the subsequent worldwide distribution of The International Jew. Hitler, on the other hand, directed the machinery of the German Reich to finance and produce anti-Semitic literature. The nameless hired editors of The Protocols were faced with a dilemma: the text had no author, and was too brief for a book. It consisted of a collection 24 or 27 chapters — a mere short appendix (actually chapter XII, the last chapter) in a Russian language 1905 book, by Sergei Nilus, prophesying the coming of the Anti-Christ. Nilus was merely the translator, however, and could not consistently explain or account for the "appendix," for which he denied authorship. By 1934, and thereafter, the name of Victor E. Marsden proved to be the appropriate solution to the literary need that every book needs an author or an editor. Marsden, its translator, had been dead for 14 years. It was therefore decided by these nameless editors to make him also its glosser. And since 1934, when the expanded edition was produced by Ford's and Hitler's agents, Marsden's name has stuck to it.
The 1934 Expanded Edition of the Protocols of Zion
Marsden's name is associated with the Protocols more so than Nilus'. In the preface of this imprint is the statement the work is his "crowning monument" (1934 imprint). Popular biographical knowledge of Marsden derives from this edition of the text. The translation of Nilus' 1905 version was one of the first things Marsden undertook upon his return from Russia, as is the emphasis of the nameless editor(s) and compiler(s) of this version of the text.
In the 1934 text, the Russian Revolution and Zionism are portrayed as parts of the "Jewish conspiracy for world domination." The preface bears Marsden's name, but it is effectively and his obituary written by an unnamed editor. A substantial portion of the book is simply lifted out of Ford's serial articles, themselves paraphrases and extracts of the prior text.
Marsden is falsely credited with the allegation that a remark was made by Chaim Weizmann, at a banquet held on 6 October 1920, as follows:
"A beneficent protection which God has instituted in the life
of the Jew is that He has dispersed him all over the world."
– United We Fall, Divided We Stand
The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion
WITH PREFACE AND EXPLANATORY NOTES
Translated from the Russian Text by
VICTOR E. MARSDEN
Formerly Russian Correspondent of The "Morning Post"
Part II, "Text and Commentary,"" 1934 (p. 138 of 300 pp.)
[from the original 1934 imprint]
The following remark, lifted from the 1934 text, cannot be attributed to him:
"It proves that the Learned Elders exist. It proves that Dr. Weizmann knows all about them. It proves that the desire for a "National Home" in Palestine is only camouflage and an infinitesimal part of the Jew's real object. It proves that the Jews of the world have no intention of settling in Palestine or any separate country, and that their annual prayer that they may all meet "Next Year in Jerusalem" is merely a piece of their characteristic make-believe. It also demonstrates that the Jews are now a world menace, and that the Aryan races will have to domicile them permanently out of Europe." --ibid., pp. 138–139
Marsden was already dead, having died on 28 October 1920.
Very little is known about Marsden besides what the unknown and unnamed Protocols editor(s) have written about him. Neither have his writings for The Morning Post been collected, nor has his obituary in that paper been examined in any scholarly way since 1934.
One particular English language publisher is responsible for Marsden's posthumous infamy. An obscure publishing entity named The Patriotic Publishing Company gives its address on the imprint of the Protocols as P.O. Box 526, Chicago, Illinois, and it is stated, on the cover, to be "NOT INCORPORATED." It is further stated in this 300-page imprint that it was "issued," "compiled," and "edited" in 1934. It continues to be re-issued and distributed and circulated by others today in the US, and continues to bear 1934 as its date. The last page of the text, titled "INDEX", is really a Table of Contents. It is customary for American publishers to place the Table of Contents in the front of a book. No other known title exists which bears the imprint of this mysterious publisher at this Post Office Box in Chicago.
Works – Chronologically Listed
- Finland: The Question of Autonomy and Fundamental Laws,
- by N. D. Sergieevski; Victor Emile Marsden
- (London: Wyman & Sons, 1911)
- The Revolution in Finland under Prince John Obolensky
- by Vsevolod Vladimirov;
- trans. by Victor E. Marsden (London: Wyman & Sons, Ltd., 1911)
- Russia's Policy in Finland
- by G. A. Evreinov; Victor E. Marsden
- (London: Wyman [& sons?] , 1912
- The King of the Jews, a Sacred Drama, from the Russian of "K.P[R]" (the Grand Duke Constantine)
- by Victor E. Marsden, M.A.
- (London, New York [etc.]: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1914)
- Crossing the Line with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales:
- in H.M.S. Renown, Friday – Saturday, 16–17 April,
- by Victor E. Marsden, (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1920)
- in Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups
- ed. by Steven Thermstrom
- (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980)
- Digitized text of The revolution in Finland under Prince John Obolensky.
Editions of the Protocols of Zion attributed to Marsden posthumously
- Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion
- Translated from the Russian Text by Victor E. Marsden
- (London: The Britons Publishing Society, 1922)
- System number: 009601120
- Shelfmark: W73/5522 DSC
- British Library – Record – http:
- Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion
- Translated from the Russian Text by Victor E. Marsden ...
- (London: The Britons Pub. Soc., 1931)
- The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion:
- with preface and explanatory notes ; translated from the Russian text by Victor E. Marsden.
- (Chicago: THE PATRIOTIC PUBLISHING CO., 1934)
- 299/300 p.,  leaves of plates: ill.; 22 cm.
- Note: The cover and frontispiece say that this "PATRIOTIC" entity is "NOT INCORPORATED," but it has "issued," "compiled," and "edited" the text, and gives its address as "P.O. Box 526" "Chicago, Ill."
- BAS database – Full view of document at har2.huji.ac.il:83
- Norman Cohn
- Warrant for Genocide,
- The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"
- (London: Serif, 1996)
- ISBN 1-897959-25-7
- See p. 169
- Robert Singerman
- Foreword by Colin Holmes
- Antisemitic Propaganda:
- An Annotated Bibliography and Research Guide
- (New York: Garland, 1982)
- ISBN 0-8240-9270-8