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Bern Trial on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion Collection

Identifier: AR 34

Scope and Content Note

Trial materials in this collection include the report of the court-appointed expert, Swiss writer Carl Albert Loosli; Silvio Schnell's 76-page complaint for false testimony against the plaintiff's October 1934 witnesses; brief summaries of the expert reports of Michael Guttmann, Loosli, and Arthur Baumgardt; and a transcript of the main 1934 court session, which consisted of three days of testimony (October 29-31, 1934) by witnesses Chaim Weizmann, Count A. M. du Chayla, Sergius Swatikoff, Wladimir Burtzeff, Boris Nikolajewsky, Henri Sliosberg, Mayer Ebner, Paul Miljukoff, Marcus Ehrenpreis, David Farbstein, Theodor Tobler, Max Bodenheimer, Eduard Welti, Franz Sieber, Hermann Dietrich, Otto Zoller, and Alfred Zander. Also found in this collection are some related publications and clippings, including a copy of the "Berner Bilderbuch," an illustrated summary of the trial written from an antisemetic point of view.


  • Creation: 1921-1936
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1934-1935

Language of Materials

This collection is in German, with two clippings in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Historical Note

In 1933, the plaintiffs, the Schweizerischer Israelitischer Gemeindebund (Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities) and the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Bern (Jewish Congregation Bern), sued the Swiss Nazi party (Bund Nationalsozialistischer Eidgenossen), a young man named Silvio Schnell, and several others for distributing an edition of the antisemetic hoax "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The trial hinged on whether the Protocols were real or a forgery, and in 1935, after extensive testimony, the judge found the defendants guilty and noted in his decision that he was convinced that the Protocols were a forgery.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)


This collection contains materials from and about the famous Bern trial on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" of 1933-1935, when Swiss Jewish groups sued the Swiss Nazi party and successfully had the antisemetic Protocols declared a forgery.


The folders follow the order of item-level list in folder 1.

Related Material

The State Archives of the Canton of Berne holds the original case records (BB 15.1.1557a-e Nrn. 9386 ("Zionisten-Prozess"). The photo collection of Carl Jost, also found at the Berne State Archives, includes digitized photos from the trial (FN Jost).

Some case material has been privately digitized by the Swiss website FOSCUBE (in German).

Separated Material

The following were removed to the LBI Library:

  1. Issues 11-16 of the "Informationsblätter im Auftrage des Zentralausschusses der deutschen Juden für Hilfe und Aufbau" (September - December 1933)
  2. Issues 1-8 of the "Jüdische Informations-Zentrale. Berichte des Jewish Central Information Office" (August 1934 - April 1935)

Processing Information

This collection was formerly part of AR 34, Jews in Switzerland Collection. Materials relating to the Bern trial remain in AR 34, renamed the Bern Trial on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion Collection. Materials unrelated to the Bern trial were removed and placed in AR 11925, Jews in Switzerland Collection.

A mostly accurate typewritten item-level list (in German) is found in folder 1. Note that items 15-27 (issues of the Informationsblätter and the Jüdische Informations-Zentrale) were removed to the LBI Library. In addition, five clippings in folder 6 are not described on the typewritten list.

Guide to the Bern Trial on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion Collection Undated, 1921-1936 , bulk 1934-1935 AR 34
Processed by Kevin Schlottmann
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • July 17, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States