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French President Poincare Counters Conspiracy Theory by Anti-Semitic Editor Urbain Gohier (Who Later Fabricated the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”)
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The President of the Third French Republic tells an unknown friend about a disturbing letter that he just received from right wing journalist and newspaper editor Urbain Gohier, in which Gohier had accused him, the sitting president, of colluding with Jewish and foreign elements.

ANTI-SEMITISM. RAYMOND POINCARE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Unknown, May 22, 1916. 3 pp., 5⅛ x 8 in.

Inventory #24843       Price: $1,250

Complete Translation

May 22, 1916

My dear Friend,

I will without delay attend to the settlement of the small matter you alerted me to. I will keep you informed.

Since I have the pleasure of my [?], please let me tell you that I have received a letter from Mr. Urbain Gohier that I just don’t understand. Here are some pages:

“In early 1913, barely elected, you were exposed to a double aggression by M. Gustave Lévy in the [Œuvre?]and by a [?]Jacob, called Landau, in a [special?] paper.

“I established soon after from M. Lévy that you had re-installed him at the university to keep him silent.

“And you asked me (rue du Comt Marchand)[1] not to execute the master-singer and master-spy Jacob Landau, brother and [?]of the so-called ‘Baroness’ Heftler, spy.

I deferred to your wishes, despite the three years of [?]provocations.

“But yesterday I was physically assaulted and threatened in the street by the scoundrel… I think it is my duty to set a good example. I am sorry that your <2>tranquility will be upset….”

I do not know on what Mr. Urbain Gohier bases his peculiar statement that I ever reintegrated Mr. Lévy at the university to keep him silent. I had nothing to do with the integration of Mr. Lévy, and you have known me long enough to know that I would never seek to silence a person, having nothing to fear from anybody whatsoever.

I am even more astonished, if that is possible, that Mr. Urbain Gohier attributes to me, regarding Mr. Jacob Landau, an attitude that I have never had. You were there for the conversation that he recalls and which took place, three years ago, on rue de Comt Marchand. Never have I thought to ask Mr. Gohier “not to execute” M. Jacob Landau, and you are witness to the fact that I expressed no such wish to him. Since he told me about M. Jacob Landau in very colorful terms, I responded that I did not know him, - and to this day, I do not. Therefore I <3>

cannot fathom how Mr. Urbain Gohier could write: “I am sorry that your tranquility will be upset.” My tranquility counts very little at this time; but I wonder what relationship I can have with someone I do not even know. If Mr. Urbain Gohier brings me to court, directly or indirectly, he will make a serious mistake. In any case, from now on, I would be very grateful if you set his memory straight and reminded him that I never said what he says I did.  It seems unlikely that after having talked with you, he would persist in his error.

Thank you, and best wishes,



Historical Background

The President includes lengthy excerpts from Gohier’s letter so that his correspondent can try to understand the journalist’s accusations. According to Gohier, Poincare sanctioned the admission of a Jewish student named Gustave Levy into university in 1913 even though Levy had ties to a “master spy” named Jacob Landau and a double agent named “Baronne Heftler.”

Urbain Gohier (1862-1951) found a niche as an anti-Semitic, pro-royalist, and anti-military journalist starting in the 1880s. In 1916, he founded and served as editor of an anti-Semitic weekly pamphlet titled Le Vieille-France. Four years later, he fabricated The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purportedly exposed a Jewish plot to take over the world. After World War II, he was condemned for his support of the Vichy government and collaborationist press.


Raymond Poincaré (1860-1934) was born in Bar-le-Duc, France and educated at the University of Paris. Admitted to the bar at age 20, he became the youngest lawyer in France. He successfully defended Jules Verne in a libel suit and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1887. Poincaré held several positions in the cabinet, including Minister of Public Education, Fine Arts, and Culture (1893 and 1895) and Minister of Finances (1894-1895 and 1906), before serving as Prime Minister in 1912-1913. He was President of France from 1913 to 1920, hoping to make the office more than ceremonial. He attempted to avoid World War I but took a strong anti-German stance once the war began. Poincaré again served as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1924, and from 1926 to 1929, and continued his warnings of German aggression. In 1914, a leftist politician claimed that Poincare was secretly negotiating with the Vatican, but such scandals did not negatively affect Poincare’s political career.


Complete Transcription

22 mai 1916

Mon cher ami, je vais, sans retard, veiller au règlement de la petite affaire que vous m’avez signalée! Je vous tiendrai au courant.

            Puisque j’ai le plaisir de mes [?], voulez-vous me permettre de vous dire que j’ai reçu de M. Urbain Gohier une lettre à laquelle je ne comprends rien. En voici quelques pages:

“Au commencement de 1913, à peine élu, vous avez été en butte à une double aggression, de M Gastain Lévy dans l’œuvre et d’un [?]Jacob, dit Landau, dans une feuille [speciale?]

“Je me suis réparé aussitôt de M. Lévy, que  vous avez re-integré dans l’université pour le faire taire.

            “Et vous m’avez demandé (rue de Comt Marchand) de ne pas exécuter le maître-chanteur et maître espion Jacob Landau, frère et [?]de la prétendue ‘Baronesse’ Heftler, espionne.

            “J’ai déferé à votre désir, malgré des provocations [?]pendants trois ans.

Mais hier j’ai été assailli et menacé corporellement dans la rue par le misérable …

“Je pense qu’il m’appartient de donner le bon exemple. Je regretterai que votre tranquilité <2>en soit troublée….”

Je ne sais sur quoi M. Urbain Gohier prétend fondre cette singulière affirmation que j’avais jamais ‘ réintégrer M. Lévy dans l’université pour le faire taire. Je n’ai pas eu à m’occuper de l’intégration de M. Lévy et vous me connaissez depuis assez longtemps pour savoir que je n’ai jamais cherché à faire taire personne, n’ayant rien à craindre de qui que ce soit.

            Je suis encore, s’il est possible, étonné que M. Urbain Gohier m’attribu et  respectivement, à l’endroit de M. Jacob Landau, une attitude que je n’ai jamais eue. Vous étiez présent à la conversation qu’il rappelle et qui a eu lieu, il y a plus de trois ans, rue de Comt Marchand. Jamais je n’ai songé a demander à M. Gohier “de ne pas exécuter” M. Jacob Landau et vous êtes témoin que je ne lui ai exprimé, àc et égard, aucun désir. Comme il me parlait de M. Jacob Landau en termes très vifs, je lui ai répondu que je ne le connaissait pas, - et je ne le connais pas davantage aujourd’hui. Je <3>ne m’explique donc pas que M. Urbain Gohier puisse écrire: “Je regretterai que votre tranquillité soit troublée.” Ma tranquillité compte peu à l’heure présente; mais je me demande quel rapport [je peux?]avoir avec quelqu’un qui m’est totalement inconnu. Si M. Urbain Gohier me met en cause, directement ou indirectement, à propos de M. Jacob Landau, il se trompe gravement. En tout cas, dès mainteneant, je vous serais reconnaissant de vouloir bien redresser  ses souvenirs et lui rappeler que jamais je ne lui ai tenu le langage qu’il me prête . Il ne me parait pas possible qu’après avoir causé avec vous, il persiste dans son erreur.

Merci et bien cordialement à vous,



Condition: In very fine condition, with expected light folds. A few discolored spots and unobtrusive staple imprints scattered throughout.

[1] The Rue du Commandant-Marchand is a street in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, France.

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