Monday, January 02, 2017

[Updated] More on Mircea Eliade, Fascism, and Antisemitism

One of my old posts that still gets readers is Mircea Eliade's Fascism.

I was just reading the latest comment to it, and thought to do a little Google searching. I came across the Journals of Mihail Sebastian, a Rumanian Jewish intellectual who was a friend of Eliade and traveled in the same intellectual circles as he did. In Journal: 1935-1944; the Fascist Years (with an introduction by Radu Ioanio, published by Rowman and Littlefield, in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), he mentions Eliade frequently.

From the introduction to the English publication of his diaries (2012), p. xiv:
One of Sebastian's closest friends, Mircea Eliade, became rabidly anti-Semitic under the influence of the Iron Guard. A well-known journalist and novelist in Romania between the wars, After World War II Elliade made an exceptional career for himself at the University of Chicago as a historian of religion. Unlike other famous representatives of his generation, however, Eliade never acknowledged has past as an Iron Guard ideologists and is not known ever to have expressed regret for his involvement with this fascist organization.
In the Romanian press Eliade published stridently anti-Semitic attacks. "Is it possible," he asked, "that the Romanian nation will end in the most miserable disintegration in history, eaten by poverty and syphilis, invaded by Jews and torn by aliens, demoralized, betrayed and sold for a few million lei?"  This outburst from December 1937 was characteristic. About two months earlier, Eliade had plunged into a long xenophobic exhortation, reproaching the authorities for their tolerance toward the Jews, writing, "We didn't lift a finger while we watched the Jewish element strengthening in the Transylvanian towns.... Since the war the Jews have invaded the villages of Maramures and Bukovina and have obtained an absolute majority in all Bessarabian cities.... I very well know that the Jews shout that I am an anti-Semite and the democrats that I am a hooligan or a fascist.... I am not a bit annoyed when I hear the Jews shouting: 'anti-Semitism,' 'fascism,' 'Hitlerism.'" 

Update: I've just posted as a page an article by Joseph Frank on Eliade, Cioran, and Ionescu, published in the New Republic on November 20, 2006 - Thinkers and Liars.

1 comment:

  1. For your added information about Eliade, he was/has been a poster boy for the neo-pagans in the 1950s - 1970s (at least). It is part and parcel for that group, sadly, that they do not do any vetting of authors whom they feel are on "their side." I am speaking (writing) as someone completely non-interested as I am not Christian nor of any other Abrahamic faith community. I also check the bona fides of people, especially those who lived in Europe during that period. Ethics/morals are exremely important to me.