Life[ edit ] [Koestler] began his education in the twilight of the Austro-Hungarian Empire , at an experimental kindergarten in Budapest. His mother was briefly a patient of Sigmund Freud. In interwar Vienna he wound up as the personal secretary of Vladimir Jabotinsky , one of the early leaders of the Zionist movement. Fighting in the Spanish Civil War , he met W. Afraid of being caught by the Gestapo while fleeing France, he borrowed suicide pills from Walter Benjamin. He took them several weeks later when it seemed he would be unable to get out of Lisbon, but he did not die.
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He can reach a wide range of documents, and give comparative reports, thanks to his proficiency in many languages. The country of the Khazars, a people of Turkish stock, occupied a strategic key position at the vital gateway between the Black Sea and the Caspian, where the great eastern powers of the period confronted each other. It acted as a buffer protecting Byzantium against invasions by the lusty barbarian tribesmen of the northern steppes Arthur Koestler is a magnificent journalist.
It acted as a buffer protecting Byzantium against invasions by the lusty barbarian tribesmen of the northern steppes— Bulgars, Magyars, Pechenegs, etc. At about the same time the threat to Europe in the east was hardly less acute The victorious Muslims were met and held by the forces of the Khazar kingdom It can It is perhaps not surprising, given these circumstances, that in — after a resounding Khazar victory over the Arabs— the future Emperor Constantine V married a Khazar princess.
Thus begins the book about Khazar Turks.. It tells about the story of an old old Turkish tribe that converted to Jewish faith, and moved in to the Slavic regions of Europe first, but than in time in to all Europe. The hypothesis is stated as; most Jews in the world today are of Khazar origin. The stream moved in a consistently westerly direction, from the Caucasus through the Ukraine into Poland and thence into Central Europe.
When that unprecedented mass-settlement in Poland came into beng, there were simply not enough Jews around in the west to account for it; while in the east a whole nation was on the move to new frontiers.
It would of course be foolish to deny that Jews of different origin also contributed to the existing Jewish world-community. The numerical ratio of the Khazar to the Semitic and other contributions is impossible to establish. But the cumulative evidence makes one inclined to agree with the concensus of Polish historians that "in earlier times the main bulk originated from the Khazar country"; and that, accordingly, the Khazar contribution to the genetic make-up of the Jews must be substantial, and in all likelihood dominant.
In addition to the information on history of religious faiths, I learned very interesting facts about my ancestors well at least a section of them ; such as being ruled by a Kagan Hakan a spiritual-wise leader and Beg a governor-leader at the same time names still used prominently at those European geographic areas. Why very smart people are not liked and tortured to death. Why there are still so many cultural similarities between Jewish people and us. The actual meaning of black Turks and white Turks.
And many more. Although it is a small book, it took me a while to read, going back and forth between sources for verification and history brush-up, however it was very much worth all the effort.
Contents[ edit ] Koestler advances the thesis that Ashkenazi Jews are not descended from the historical Israelites of antiquity, but from Khazars , a Turkic people originating in and populating an empire north of and between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. In the last chapter I have tried to show that the evidence from anthropology concurs with history in refuting the popular belief in a Jewish race descended from the biblical tribe. Hebrew readers had no access to the book itself for many years, learning about it only through the venomous denunciations". Nothing could be more stimulating than the skill, elegance and erudition with which he marshals his facts and develops his theories.
The Thirteenth Tribe: The Khazar Empire and its Heritage
Koestler shows through extensive research, how a trading empire was set up by a tribe we know as the Khazars between the expanding power blocs of Christianity and Islam; how the people were converted to Judaism by their king as a way of standing apart from both, and how the people and their wealth were dispersed through the countries of Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Khazar Empire. It is a controversial history; because it challenges both the assumptions of Nazi philosophy and Zionism that the European Jews were racially different from the populations of the countries in which they later settled. Koestler, as a Hungarian Jew himself, was particularly interested in the major part the Khazars played in the founding of the Hungarian nation; a fact which later led to the tragedy of , when the Nazis exterminated over half-a -million Hungarian Jews, who were virtually indistinguishable from their Christian neighbours. Though he studied science and psychology in Vienna, at the age of twenty he became a foreign correspondent and worked for various European newspapers in the Middle East, Paris, Berlin, Russia and Spain. During the Spanish Civil War, which he covered from the Republican side, he was captured and imprisoned for several months by the Nationalists, but was exchanged after international protest. In he was interned in a French detention camp. After his release, due to British government intervention, he joined the French Foreign Legion, subsequently escaped to England, and joined the British Army.