Thursday, November 8, 2018

When it Comes to Inquisitions and Witches

there are people willing to quote one Kurt Baschwitz.

For those reading German:

Siegfried Kurt Baschwitz (* 2. Februar 1886 in Offenburg; † 6. Januar 1968 in Amsterdam) war ein deutsch-holländischer Journalist, Sozialpsychologe und Publizistikwissenschaftler. Baschwitz, der seine journalistische Tätigkeit 1908 begann, ist vor allem für seine Bücher über die Masse und Massenwahn bekannt. Von 1909 bis 1924 war Baschwitz Redakteur beim Hamburger Fremdenblatt, u. a. als Korrespondent in den Niederlanden. Danach arbeitete er bis 1928 für die Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (DAZ). Ab Juli 1929 amtierte Baschwitz als Chefredakteur des Verlegerorgans Zeitungsverlag (ZV) in Berlin, aus dem er im April 1933 entlassen wurde. Als Sohn jüdischer Eltern musste er anschließend fliehen und ging in die Niederlande.

Kurt Baschwitz

For establishing facts about the topic, he is:

  • wrong discipline
  • wrong regional background in Germany and also otherwised biassed
  • and wrong time, since better historiography was made available after he died.

What he had to say about mass hysteria may be very correct, but it was not so correct of him to project it on the Inquisitions hunting witches (Salem seems a bit more like what he was talking of, but even there some have dug up some credible arguments there could have been real witchcraft around).

Fortunately, there are people of Jewish background these days who seem more truthful and less biassed, more fair and less interested in calling opponents jerks who have researched Inquisition. One of their defenders is one Kamen, and I did not know, but he is a Polish Jew. Or, perhaps that was a fake info I saw, here is an article not saying such a thing:

Anyway, his researfch on Inquisition is more recent than Baschwitz:

The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision. London and New Haven: Yale University Press (1997)

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Octave of All Souls

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