- A list of leading Nazi sympathisers in the British establishment
at the outbreak of the Second World War has at last been put on public
- The infamous Red Book, which reveals the membership of
the upper-class Right Club, was written more than 60 years ago. It offers
a chilling insight into the virulence of the anti-Semitism which was rife
among peers, MPs, knights of the realm and other leading society figures
at that time. Those listed include the 5th Duke of Westminster, the second
Baron Redesdale (the father of the Mitford sisters) and the famous aviator
Lord Sempill who was later suspected of spying for the Japanese. Others
named are The Earl of Galloway, Lord Carnegie, Lord Ronald Graham and William
Joyce, who later achieved notoriety as Lord Haw-Haw, broadcasting propaganda
from Germany .
- The Right Club was set up by Captain Archibald Ramsay
MP, an outspoken anti-Semite, a few months before the war in May 1939 "to
oppose and expose the activities of Organised Jewry". In meetings
chaired by the Duke of Wellington it sought to influence government policy
to stop war with Germany.
- Ramsay drew up the secret membership list in his distinctive
spiky handwriting. There are 135 names on the men's list and 100 on the
women's. In the women's list is Anna Wolkoff, who was later accused of
spying with American cypher clerk Tyler Kent. Also listed is Majorie Amor,
one of several MI5 agents who had infiltrated the club.
- Interleaved in the Red Book are a number of extraordinary
documents relating to Ramsay and the Right Club. These included a manuscript
of his vicious anti-semitic rhyme "Land of Dope and Jewry", hand-written
by Ramsay on House of Commons notepaper the day after war was declared.
There is also a letter from the man who was to become Lord Haw-Haw, apologising
for being able to afford only five shillings (25p) as his membership fee.
- The book was seized by MI5 in a dawn raid in May 1940.
Later that day, its brass lock was forced in the presence of the American
Ambassador. For many years it was lost. It now rests in the Wiener Library
in London where it can be viewed with prior permission. _____
- The Who's Who of British Nazis
- The establishment figures who wanted to turn the UK into
a fascist dictatorship
- By Paul Lashmar http://www.independent.co.uk/news/UK/This_Britain/naziwho090100.shtml
- It felt strange, almost eerie, to be the first person
to hold and examine the notorious Red Book. On the face of it, this is
just an ageing leather-bound ledger with a few pages of hand-written names.
But its contents have a totemic significance and its blood-red leather
is a symbol of the fascism and anti-Semitism that once held sway at the
heart of the British establishment.
- In recent years, this heavy tome has been discretely
locked up in the Wiener Library a private collection in central London.
It was there, among the dusty shelves devoted to the Holocaust and Jewish
history, that I was allowed to view it.
- The Red Book is the membership list of the Right Club,
a secret organisation founded in May 1939 by Captain Archibald Ramsay MP.
Unlike the populist British Union of Fascists lead by the charismatic Sir
Oswald Mosley, the Right Club was exclusive.
- Its members were aristocrats and Members of Parliament,
academics, civil servants, clerics and rich dilettantes. Some of the men
had distinguished themselves in the 1914-18 war and saw themselves as patriots.
But they were also virulent racists who supported Hitler's treatment of
Germany's Jewish population. Many were Nazi sympathisers. From King Edward
VIII downwards, there was a widespread view that only a powerful Germany
could hold back the threat of Bolshevism, and that Britain should be supporting
Hitler, not preparing to attack him.
- The existence of the Red Book first emerged in 1943 during
a heated debate in Parliament. By then, it had already been seized by MI5.
For 40 years, the ledger was believed to have been lost and its whereabouts
was much speculated upon. Some believed it was held by a secret clique
of the extreme right awaiting a fascist revival. And the racist right did
treat it with a respect akin to ancestor worship.
- Among anti-fascist conspiracy theorists, it was believed
to have been suppressed by the government to prevent the embarrassing exposure
of establishment figures. The reality is somewhat different.
- The book is divided into male and female membership lists
with notes as to whether they have paid their dues, made donations or received
their club badge which featured an eagle killing a snake.
- But if the badge seems mildly comic now, the vehemence
with which these establishment figures hated Jews was chilling. A "hymn"
to the tune of "Land of Hope and Glory", entered in the book
in Ramsay's handwriting and in a printed version for public distribution,
- Hymn 1939
- Land of dope and Jewry, land that once was free, All
the Jew boys praise thee While they plunder thee.
- Poorer still and poorer Grow the trueborn sons, Faster
still and faster They're sent to feed the guns.
- Land of Jewish finance, Fooled by Jewish lies, In press
and books and movies While our birthright dies.
- Longer still and longer Is the rope they get But, by
the God of battles T'will serve to hang them yet.
- Running my finger down the list, written with a fountain
pen in Ramsay's hand, the names still resonate: Arthur Wellesley the 5th
Duke of Wellington, the Second Baron Redesdale, The Earl of Galloway, Lord
Ronald Graham, Princess Blucher, Sir Ernest Bennett, Prince Turka Galitzine
and Britain's most notorious Second World War traitor, William Joyce, later
known as Lord Haw-Haw as he broadcast propaganda from Germany. The book
also lists donations. Sir Alexander Walker, then the head of the Johnnie
Walker whisky dynasty, is shown to have donated the princely sum of £100.
- Another well known, anti-Semite member was A K Chesterton,
a First World War military hero. Commander E H Cole was the Chancellor
of the White Knights, a British version of the Ku Klux Klan. MPs included
Sir James Edmondson, Colonel Charles I Kerr and John M'Kie.
- Many of those of those who appear in the Right Club list
were also members of other extreme right-wing groups. Fifty four were in
the Nordic League, which, like the Nazis, believed in an Aryan master race.
- Who was this man who founded the Right Club? Until the
mid-1930s, Ramsay was a run-of-the-mill constituency MP. Born in India,
educated at Eton and Sandhurst, he was an officer with the Coldstream Guards
in France during the First World War and was invalided out in 1919. He
was elected as the Conservative MP for Peebles and South Midlothian in
1931. Known to his friends as "Jock" he was, apparently, a charming
man, closely connected to the aristocracy in Scotland. His questions and
statements in the House of Commons were mainly about parochial issues.
- Then, during the Spanish Civil War, he was swept up by
the tide of fascism and emerged as a virulent anti-Semite and enemy of
international Communism. A powerful orator, he toured the nation fulminating
on the "Judaeo-Bolshevik Plot". He became closely associated
with pro-Nazi circles in Britain and, by 1938, was a leading figure in
the Nordic League.
- Unlike some of his fellows, he was undeterred by the
1938 Kristallnacht pogrom, when the Nazis first showed the violence they
could unleash on their fellow citizens if they were Jewish. As the clouds
of war closed over Europe, Ramsay became further convinced that Jews were
orchestrating a confrontation which he much opposed between Britain and
- So he set up the Right Club. "Our first objective,"
he later wrote, "was to clear the Conservative Party of Jewish influence."
The list of some 235 members seems to have been drawn up that summer. The
club held meetings, several of them chaired by Lord Wellesley. It forged
connections with other pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic groups, such as the 4,000-member
Link, founded by Admiral Sir Barry Domville, a former Director of Naval
- When war broke out, Ramsay was undeterred. If anything,
his zeal grew. While there is evidence that many Right Club members dropped
from view, others shared his enthusiasm. Lord Sempill, a famous aviator
of the inter-war years, was suspected of spying from his post at the Admiralty
and was secretly retired by Churchill to prevent a scandal.
- Ramsay nominally dissolved the Right Club when war began
but continued work with a 10-strong inner circle including his assistant,
Anna Wolkoff. In April 1940, he took the Red Book to Tyler Kent for safekeeping
because, as a cypher clerk at the US Embassy, he had diplomatic immunity.
A month later, the police raided Kent's flat. He and Wolkoff were accused
of supplying the Germans with secret cables between Churchill and the US
- The other members of the inner circle, including Ramsay,
were rounded up and detained under Defence Regulation 18B, an anti-fifth-column
clause. Ramsay, the only serving MP detained under this law, was released
in 1944. He lost his seat in 1945 and died a decade later.
- What happened to the Red Book? According to Professor
Richard Griffiths, the police had it until October 1944. But it seems likely
that it was returned to Ramsay after his release. Nothing was seen of it
until the late 1980s, when it was discovered at the bottom of an old safe
in a solicitor's office.
- Luckily, the finder was familiar with Professor Griffiths's
work and passed it to him. Professor Griffiths used it as a primary source
for his book,Patriotism Perverted: Captain Ramsay, The Right Club and British
Anti Semitism 1939-40, then deposited the book at the Wiener Library. Last
week it was, for the first time, opened to the public. _____
- Paranoid Fascist Theory Grew From Fear of Social Change
- By Martin Ceadel Fellow Of New College, Oxford http://www.independent.co.uk/news/UK/This_Britain/nazipara090100.shtml
- The Right Club was the creation of a small section of
Britain's reactionary, anti-Semitic right wing. Now that the club's membership
has been revealed, by the detective work of the literary-scholar-turned-historian
Richard Griffiths, it appears as the pedlar of a conspiracy theory which,
absurd and pernicious though it was, had roots in a suspicion of European
- As Britain industrialised, urbanised and democratised,
its economy, society and political system changed. In general, the country's
social and political élites adapted to this process with equanimity
and skill. The landed aristocracy married into new wealth and largely retained
its social prestige. And the Conservative Party competed more successfully
in the new mass politics than either Liberals or Labour.
- Even so, these changes upset a far-right fringe. Some
sections of the old socio-political order resented the growing power of
industrialists and financiers even within the Conservative Party, and also
disliked the emergent breed of professional politician. Their complaints
about plutocracy were endorsed as ideologically persuasive by some alienated
individuals lower down the social scale.
- If Britain had lost the First World War, this fringe
might have gained significant political ground. As it was, inter-war Britain
remained a beacon of democratic stability and moderation. Even when the
Depression caused a crisis, the outcome was not authoritarianism but an
all-party coalition, the National Government of 1931-40, which soon fell
under Conservative control. This stole Sir Oswald Mosley's thunder. His
British Union of Fascists intended to reproduce Mussolini's success in
Italy, but remained a marginal body.
- None the less, even mainstream Britain was anti-Semitic
in that it commonly regarded Jews as different from other citizens though
compared with its patronising attitude towards the Irish or the non-white
subjects of its empire, it was implicitly admiring of Jewish social cohesiveness
and financial acumen.
- More importantly, mainstream Britain was desperate to
avoid a repeat of the 1914-18 war, which was why there was so much support
for Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement, most famously at Munich
in September 1938. But this was plausible only so long as Hitler could
be thought only to aim at the unification of all Germans within the Third
Reich, after which his aggression would cease. His seizure of the non-German
parts of Czechoslovakia in mid-March 1939 proved that he was both a pan-German
and an imperialist, with no obvious limit to his territorial goals.
- Most Britons concluded that appeasement must be abandoned
in favour of containment; and even Chamberlain soon issued the guarantee
to Poland which was to trigger war. The far right found this change of
policy inexplicable, arguing that Hitler was making a crucial contribution
to the struggle against Communism, and that his hegemony in Europe was
compatible with Britain's in the rest of the world. The deluded Tory who
founded the Right Club, Captain Ramsay, found the explanation in a Jewish
conspiracy so cunning it had even penetrated the Conservative Party. But
the club was not exclusively a product of far-right values: it was also
rooted in insularity, an instinct that had affected all sections of the