Churchill kept ghettoes warning under wraps
As Britain's wartime prime minister, he led the fight to crush Nazism and its plans to exterminate the Jewish race.
Yet, even as Hitler was stepping up the persecution and Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists (BUF) were fomenting unrest in Britain, Sir Winston Churchill believed that Jewish people were "partly responsible for the antagonism for which they suffer".
An extraordinary article, written by Churchill 70 years ago but subsequently banned from being published, will reignite the debate about whether his government did enough to stop the Nazis' attempted genocide.
Churchill penned the controversial views in 1937, only a year after Mosley's blackshirts had clashed with Jews and other locals on Cable Street in east London and just months after Jews in Germany were banned from holding many professional occupations.
While he clearly disapproved of their persecution and described Jews as "sober, industrious and law-abiding", Churchill, then in his "wilderness years", was critical of what he saw as the "refusal" of the Jews to be "absorbed" into the wider society.
In comments that foreshadow the current debate on multiculturalism, Churchill argued that a tendency to form a "distinct and separate community" runs counter to the idea that settlers should be "100 per cent British" irrespective of their race and religion.
"The central fact which dominates the relations of Jew and non-Jew is that the Jew is different," he added. "He has a different tradition and background. He refuses to be absorbed. In every country the Jews form a distinct and separate community - a little state within the state."
In the paper, entitled How The Jews Can Combat Persecution, he also condemned Jewish entrepreneurs for charging extortionate rates of interest on loans, concluding that they were "unwittingly inviting persecution for the community" from organisations such as the BUF.
He wrote: "The Jew in England is a representative of his race. Every Jewish money lender recalls Shylock and the idea of the Jews as usurers. And you cannot reasonably expect a struggling clerk or shopkeeper, paying 40 or 50 per cent interest on borrowed money to a "Hebrew bloodsucker", to reflect that, throughout long centuries, almost every other way of life was closed to Jewish people; or that there are native English money lenders who insist, just as implacably, upon their 'pound of flesh'."
Churchill also criticised Jewish clothing companies in London's East End for paying sweatshop wages to employees, including Jewish migrants.
"Refugee Jews from Germany may be willing to work for lower wages and under worse conditions than English [people] would look at," he wrote. "If they are allowed to do so, and their numbers are sufficiently large, they may depress the standards of all workers, of whatever nationality, in the trades which they practise. That, I suggest, is bad citizenship. It is also bad policy. It creates an atmosphere in which anti-Semitism thrives."
In conclusion, Churchill advised: "I believe that Jews would be wise to avoid too exclusive an association in ordinary matters of business and daily life and that they should, as much as possible, avoid living in little groups and colonies of their own. Above all they should be wary of exhibiting, in any position of authority, too marked a preference for fellow Jews."
Churchill originally offered the article to Liberty, an American publication. However, Collier's, for which Churchill also wrote, objected to him writing for a rival magazine. It was then offered to Strand magazine but did not appear because it had already taken a similar article by David Lloyd George, the former prime minister.
Three years later, weeks before Churchill became prime minister, Charles Eade, the editor of the Sunday Dispatch newspaper, asked for permission to publish it. Churchill, seemingly aware of how controversial the article would be, refused.
Richard Toye, a lecturer in British political and constitutional history at Cambridge University, discovered the article in the Churchill archive at Cambridge while researching his forthcoming book, Lloyd George & Churchill; Rivals for Greatness.
"While most people would accept that Churchill was no anti-Semite, this sheds fascinating new light on his views about Jews, which were very inconsistent," said Dr Toye.
"In a slightly unfortunate way I think he was trying to help. But he lapsed into common misconceptions and stereotypes. I think it does show genuine intellectual confusion on his part."