The Thirteenth Tribe is a book that attempts to explain the origins of Eastern Europe’s Jewish population,largely decimated by the Nazi onslaught during the Second World War. 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 1944, when the Nazis exterminated over half-a -million Hungarian Jews, who were virtually indistinguishable from their Christian neighbours.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ARTHUR KOESTLER was born in 1905 in Budapest. 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 1939-40 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.
Like many other intellectuals in the thirties, Koestler saw in the Soviet experiment the only hope and alternative to fascism. He became a member of the Communist Party in 1931, but left it in disillusionment during the Moscow purges in 1938. His earlier books were mainly concerned with these experiences, either in autobiographical form or in essays or political novels. Among the latter, Darkness At Noon has been translated into thirty-three languages.
After World War 11, Mr. Koestler became a British citizen, and all his books since 1940 have been written in English, He now lives in London. but he frequently lectures at American universities, and was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in 1964-65,
In 1968 Mr. Koestler received the Sonning Prize at the University of Copenhagen for his contributions to European culture. He is also a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, as well as one of the ten Companions of Literature, elected by the Royal Society of Literature. His works are now being republished in a collected edition of twenty volumes.
He died in 1981, in a ‘suicide pact’ with his wife – a tragedy that has aroused some suspicion since, in conspiracy circles.
First published in Britain in 1976, this classic book by Arthur Koestler in now largely unavailable.