9.0 Editor's Pick
August 19, 2011

What J.R.R. Tolkien said to the Nazis when they asked if he was Jewish.


Read: “My name isn’t Waylon ‘Lewis.’”
For more: “The Hobbit: 1 Reason why it must be Read, not just Watched.”
Bonus: Why Tolkein’s son hates Peter Jackson’s Hobbit & Lord of the Rings movies.

J.R.R. Tolkien:

If I am to understand…
…that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.

My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject—which should be sufficient.

I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army.

I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.


Via Reddit: “In 1938, Tolkien was preparing to release The Hobbit in Germany. The publishers first wanted to know if he was of Aryan descent. This was his response.”


Equality bonus round:


Read 33 Comments and Reply

Read 33 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Elephant Journal  |  Contribution: 1,509,280