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On John Maynard Keynes’s Anti-Semitism Once Again: A Documentary Note

A Research Annual

ISBN: 978-1-78441-858-8, eISBN: 978-1-78441-857-1

Publication date: 8 April 2015


This note presents new archival evidence about John Maynard Keynes’ attitudes toward Jews. The relevant material is composed of two letters sent by Robert G. Wertheimer to Bertrand Russell and Richard F. Kahn along with their replies. Between 1963 and 1964, Wertheimer – an Austrian-born Jewish immigrant then professor of economics at Babson College – wrote to Russell and Kahn asking for their personal reminiscences concerning Keynes’ anti-Semitic utterances. In their brief but still significant responses, both Russell and Kahn firmly denied any hint of anti-Semitism in Keynes, thereby providing significant first-hand testimonies from two of his closest acquaintances.




This note has benefited from correspondence and conversation with Pier Francesco Asso, Sebastiano Nerozzi, David Levy, Scott Scheall, and Roy Weintraub. The usual disclaimers apply. The author gratefully acknowledges permission to publish materials from the Bertrand Russell Papers, Mills Memorial Library, McMaster University, and the Alvin H. Hansen Papers, Pusey Library, Harvard University. Richard F. Kahn’s letter is reproduced by permission of David Papineau, the executor of Lord Kahn’s estate. The author could not locate Robert G. Wertheimer’s heirs, nor the copyright owner of his correspondence. A preliminary version of this note was published as Fiorito (2014).


Fiorito, L. (2015), "On John Maynard Keynes’s Anti-Semitism Once Again: A Documentary Note", A Research Annual (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 33), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 211-229.



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