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Click on this text to see 1,031 historical Jewish Expulsions (With Examples)...

 
 
HAAVARA,
A company for the transfer of Jewish property from Germany to Palestine.
 
 
 
 
 
The Trust and Transfer Office Haavara Ltd., was established in Tel Aviv, following an agreement
with the German government in August 1933, to facilitate the emigration of Jews to Palestine
by allowing the transfer of their capital in the form of German export goods.
 
 
The Haavara Agreement is an instance where the question of Jewish rights, Zionist needs
and individual rescue were in deep tension. Jewish organizations outside of Germany had
declared a boycott against German goods and hoped to delegitimate the NSDAP regime.
The Zionists saw this agreement as a way of attracting Jews to Palestine and thus
rescuing them from the NSDAP universe even if that meant cooperation with Hitler.
 
 
For a time the NSDAP program of making Germany Judenrein and the Zionist policy of
seeking olim coincided. The amounts to be transferred were paid by prospective emigrants
into the account of a Jewish trust company (PALTREU – Palestina Treuhandstelle zur
Beratung deutscher Juden) in Germany and used for the purchase of goods, which
the Haavara then sold in Palestine. The proceeds, in Palestine currency, were paid to the
emigrants living in Palestine.
 
 
The rate of exchange was adjusted from time to time by the Haavara according to the
disagio, necessitated by the subsidy which the Haavara granted the Palestinian importers,
to make up for the steadily deteriorating value of the Reich mark, so the German goods
could compete with other imports. The ensuing disagio, borne by the emigrants, accordingly
increased from 6% in 1934 to 50% in 1938. The major part of the transfer proceeds provided
the 1,000 Palestine Pounds (then $4,990) necessary for a "capitalist" immigration certificate of
the Mandatory administration, but also for other categories of immigration, such as
Youth Aliyah, students, and artisans as well as for the transfer of public funds.
 
 
The transfer weakened the boycott of German goods declared by many Jewish organizations
around the world, and thus met with considerable opposition. The controversy was settled
at the Zionist Congress in Lucerne (1935) which decided by a vast majority in favor of
the transfer and placed the Haavara under the supervision of the *Jewish Agency .
The Zionists sought to attract immigrants to Palestine, most especially the affluent
German Jewish immigrants and the Germans sought to get rid of their Jews, increase
their exports and a propaganda victory by dividing the Jews regarding the boycott.
 
 
 
The Haavara continued to function until World War II, in spite of vigorous attempts by the
NSDAP Party to stop or curtail its activities. The total transfer amounted to LP 8,100,000
(Palestine Pounds; then $40,419,000) including LP 2,600,000 (then $13,774,000) provided
by the German Reichsbank in coordination with Haavara. The Haavara transfer was a major
factor in making possible the immigration of approximately 60,000 German Jews to Palestine
in the years 1933–1939, and together with the money invested by the immigrants themselves,
in providing an incentive for the expansion of agricultural settlement and for general economic
development. It also served as a model for a similar arrangement with the Czech
government and the immigration of several thousand Jews on the eve of World War II.

_____________________________________________
 
 
 
 
 

 

Ein Nazi faehrt nach Palestina (A Nazi  travels to Palestine)

It was a struck by [ Goebbels’ ] Berlin daily Der Angriff to commemorate  the co-operation

and support given by the Zionist Jewish Agency in helping to make Germany “Judenfrei”.

 It also commemorate  joint visit to Zionist Palestine by SS officer Leopold von Mildenstein

 and Zionist Federation official Kurt Tuchler. A series of articles on their tour, appearing

under the heading “A Nazi Travels to Palestine,” appeared in Der Angriff in late 1934.

Nazi Zionist Medal

“The Star of David side inscription reads: EIN NAZI FÄHRT NACH PALÄSTINA — A Nazi Travels to Palestine.

The Swastika side inscription is UND ERZÄHLT DAVON IM Angriff — And tells about it in the Angriff”.

 

Hitler had just become Chancellor, and begun his anti-Jewish policies. NSDAP wanted to

drive the Jews out of Germany. But the NSDAP were not clear about how they intended to

set about this without disrupting the already Depression-beset German economy, and

nor did they know what the effects might be on Germany’s relations with the rest of the world.

 

The Zionists, for their part, were enjoying an upsurge of support among German Jews

after Hitler took office in January 1933. Most had seen little point before in leaving a country

where they were well-established to take their chances in poor and troubled Palestine.

They saw themselves as good Germans whose future, like so much of their

past, was in the Fatherland. But now Hitler was telling them otherwise.

 

The Juedische Rundschaue, fortnightly paper of the Zionist Federation, saw its circulation

climb from less than 10,000 to almost 38,500 by the end of 1933. It declared that only those

whose commitment to the Jewish people was beyond reproach could defend Jewish rights.

It also said that only the Zionists were capable of approaching the NSDAP in good

faith as “honest partners”.

 

The Zionists proposed that the status of German Jews be regulated on a group basis,

and asked for government help towards emigration. Von Mildenstein, approached to write

something favourable about Zionism and its project in Palestine, agreed on condition that

he could make a visit, accompanied by Kurt Tuchler. He was favourably impressed,

and saw advantages for Germany, as well as for the SS as proposers of a policy.

 

A series of article entitled “Ein Nazi faehrt nach Palestina” began in September 1934 in

Der Angriff , Goebbels’ newspaper. It ran for twelve parts. Von Mildenstein saw in the Jewish

settlement on the land a form of rebirth fitting NSDAP notions about blood and soil, as well as a

way of ridding Germany of Jews. But life was difficult in Palestine, and problems were

looming, in Palestinian Arab resistance to Zionist colonisation and British rule.

 

The SS concluded written Agreements with the Zionist organization to ensure that Jews

in Germany or under their control were forced to emigrate, selling their assets, the proceeds

of which were placed in German bank accounts which would be available to the Jewish Agency

for the purchase of goods and services from Germany IF the deportee agreed to settle in Palestine.

 

Though the SS gave privileges to Zionists over other Jewish groups, assisting their youth

movements, and giving them the right to wear uniform and fly the blue and white flag,

Von Mildenstein’s own star faded amid rivalries and policy failures, while a man he

had brought into the Jewish department came to the fore, one Adolf Eichmann.

 

__________________________________

 

 

When the Zionist Movement was
eager to work with the NSDAP

 

My eye was caught by this interesting article that appeared on Ynet, the

on-line version of Israel’s largest newspaper, Yediot Aharanot, on 21st


January 2018.
 
 
When History Today published, in

January 1980 a front page article, ‘A Nazi Travels to Palestine’ there was

uproar from the Zionists in Britain.  The last thing these people
 
wanted was a reminder of the days when Zionists and

NSDAP were the best of friends.
 
 
This particular episode concerns the visit that the head of the Jewish

desk at the SS, Baron von Mildenstein paid to Jewish Palestine in the company

of Kurt Tuchler of the German Zionist Federation together with their wives.
 
After the ascent of Hitler to power the Zionist Federation of Germany [ZVfD]

had focussed on winning over the NSDAP to the Zionist cause.
 
 
On 21st June 1933 the ZfVD sent a memo to Hitler explaining

that there was an ideological congruity between NSDAP and
 
Zionist ideology.  Although they don’t like to admit it now, the

fact is that there was little disagreement between the NSDAP who argued that Jews

were not part of the German Volk (people) and the Zionists who agreed that the Jews

formed a separate people.
 

This headline of the Daily Express, was quoted by the NSDAP to portray the Jews

‘declaring war’ on the Nazis rather than the other way around.  It is reminiscent

of Israeli propaganda which portrays attacks on the

Palestinians as being a question of Israeli ‘self-defence’

 

 
 
In their memorandum the ZVfD wrote: 
 

On the foundation of the new state, which has established the principle of race, we


wish so to fit our community into the total structure so that for us too, in


the sphere assigned to us, fruitful activity for the Fatherland is possible…


Our acknowledgement of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere


relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities.


Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we,


too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the


Jewish group… 

Cartoon in the Zionist Press concerning Ha’avara — 

‘don’t worry Hitler, the Jews of Palestine are helping you.’


. . .
fidelity to their own kind and their own culture gives Jews the inner strength


that prevents insult to the respect for the national sentiments and the


imponderables of German nationality; and rootedness in one’s own spirituality


protects the Jew from becoming the rootless critic of the national foundations


of German essence. The national distancing which the state desires would thus


be brought about easily as the result of an organic development. 

 

Thus, a self-conscious Jewry here described, in whose name we speak, can find a place


in the structure of the German state, because it is inwardly unembarrassed,


free from the resentment which assimilated Jews must feel at the determination


that they belong to Jewry, to the Jewish race and past. We believe in the


possibility of an honest relationship of loyalty between a group – conscious


Jewry and the German state… 

John Mann the boorish MP who hectored Ken Livingstone

for mentioning NSDAP support for the Zionists

The Nazi state and the Zionist Jewish Agency struck a deal to destroy the Jewish

boycott of NSDAP Germany –

when Ken Livingstone referred to this he was called an antisemite

 

 For its practical aims, Zionism hopes to be able to win the collaboration even of a
government fundamentally hostile to Jews, because in dealing with the Jewish
question no sentimentalities are involved but a real problem whose solution
interests all peoples, and at the present moment especially the German people. 

 

The realisation of Zionism could only be hurt by resentment of Jews abroad against

the German development. Boycott propaganda —such as is currently being carried

on against Germany in many ways– is in essence un-Zionist, because Zionism

wants not to do battle but to convince and to build… Our observations,

presented herewith, rest on the conviction that, in solving the Jewish problem

according to its own lights, the German Government will have full understanding

for a candid and clear Jewish posture that harmonizes with the interests of the

state.’
 
 
The full memo can be found in Lucy Dawidowicz’s Holocaust Reader pp. 150-153.
 
Rabbi Prinz, one of the leaders of the German Zionists, wrote a book Wir Juden
 
in 1934 when he explained theirattitude when Hitler came to power.  At the time
 
the vast majority of Jews reacted with horror to the rise to power of the NSDAP.
 
Almost immediately an international Jewish boycottof NSDAP Germany took
 
hold and beganto be organised.  The main element in the Jewish community

opposed to this boycott, apart from the bourgeois Jewish leaders, were
 
the Zionists. 
 
 
They wanted to make deals with NSDAP Germany not

fight it which is why at the Zionist Congress of 1933 in Prague there was no

resolution condemning the NSDAP.  Prinz wrote:
 
 
 
‘(The Jews) have been drawnout of the last recesses of christening
 
and mixed marriages. We are not unhappyabout it… The theory of assimilation
 
has collapsed. We are no longer hidden

in secret recesses. We want to replace assimilation by something new: the

declaration of belonging to the Jewish nation and the Jewish race. A state,

built according to the principles of purity of the nation and race can only be

honoured and respected by a Jew who declares his belonging to his own kind.’
 
 
Prinz admitted that: “It was morally disturbing

to seem to be considered as the favoured children of the NSDAP Government,

particularly when it dissolved the anti-Zionist youth groups, and seemed in

other ways to prefer the Zionists. The NSDAP asked for a ‘more Zionist

behaviour.” [Joachim Prinz, Zionism under the NSDAP Government, Young Zionist

(London, November 1937), p.18]
 
 
Berl Katznelson, a founder of Mapai and editor of its paper Davar

second only to Ben Gurion, saw the rise of Hitler as “an opportunity
 
to build and flourish like none we have ever had or

ever will have
”.  [Francis Nicosia, Zionism and Anti-Semitism in

NSDAP Germany, p.91. Tom Segev, The 7th Million p.18 attributes this

quote to a report by Moshe Beilinson, a cofounder of Davar, to Katznelson.
 
 
The attitude to the NSDAP by the Zionists was businesslike
 
throughout the war.  In particular the Zionists opposed any place

of safety for German Jews if that place was not Palestine.
 
  Ben Gurion summed up this attitude after Krystalnacht, when
 
the British offered 10,000 places for German Jewish children

in what becamse known as the Kindertransport. 
 

The Zionists were opposed to this. 

Why can’t they be taken to Palestine was their cry, knowing full well

that the Arabs were opposed to the horrors in Germany being used as a pretext for

building up the Zionist settlement in Palestine.
 

David Ben-Gurion, Chair of the Jewish Agency and first Prime Minister of Israel

– placed the ‘history of the People of Israel’ above the rescue of Jewish children from the Holocaust

 

 

 
In a speech to Mapai’s Central Committee on 9th December 1938, Ben Gurion said:
 
‘If I knew that it would be possible to save all the
 
children in Germany by bringing them over to England,

and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt

for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these

children, but also the history of the People of Israel.’ [Yoav Gelber, 
 
Zionist policy and the fate of European Jewry 1939-42,

Yad Vashem Studies, Vol. 12.] 
 

Anti-semitic cartoon in Goebbel’s Der Angriff which accompanied the articles by Mildenstein

 

 
 
 Baron von Mildenstein was particularly favourable to Zionism, seeing it as the solution to the ‘Jewish

problem.’  The consequence of the visit and

the favourable impression he had gained of these nationalist Jews was that he

penned a series of 12 articles in Goebbel’s paper, Der Angriff in 1934.  The

Nazis were so pleased by the visit that they struck a coin to commemorate the

visit with a Star of David on one side and a swastika on the other.

 
The unique, juxtaposing coin, sold in a recent Israeli auction, contains the remarkable story about an

unlikely friendship between two Germans—a Jew and a NSDAP Menber—and about the

forgotten moment in history when it might have still been possible to save the

Jews of Europe from extermination.

 
Itay Ilnai, 21 January 2018 
 
 
The auction organized by Israeli collectors’ house CollecTodo
 
several days ago was unusual. On the occasion of

the 10th of Tevet fast day, which was selected by the Chief Rabbinate as the

general Kaddish day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, a number of

historic relics from that period were offered for sale.
 
Z
 
 
They included an oil painting

created at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, a prayer for the Jews of

Europe composed by then-Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog, and documents related to the

murder of Rudolf Israel Kastner.
 
 
The most unique item, however,

was a small brass coin—just 3.5 centimeters in diameter. One side of the coin

features a Star of David surrounded by a caption in German. The other side is

engraved with a swastika, the NSDAP party’s symbol.
 

The coin the NSDAP struck One side features a Star of David, the other side is engraved with a swastika

 

 
At the end of a bidding battle,

the unique coin was sold for $850 to a Jewish American collector, whose

identity was kept secret.
 
 
 “The people who competed for the medallion

collectors’ house, who organized the online auction. “But they did seem very

insistent, unwilling to give up, and kept raising the price. In my opinion,

it’s completely emotional. They wanted the medallion because they feel

connected to its story.”
 
 
 
The news about the coin with the

spine-tingling combination between a Star of David and a swastika stirred a row

in certain circles. Jewish American blogger Richard Silverstein, for example,

implied on Facebook that the coin was proof of the cooperation between Zionism

and NSDAP, which he said was being silenced and denied. Others saw it as

blasphemy.
 
 
The real story behind this

unbelievable collector’s item, however, seems to be a reflection of a forgotten

moment in history when it might have still been possible to save the Jews of


Europe from extermination. It’s also a story about a government mouthpiece,

which was backed by one of the most successful propagandists in history, Joseph

Goebbels. Above all, it’s a story about a brave friendship between two Germans—a

Jew and a NSDAP Member.
 
 
In a car from Germany to Palestine
 

It may be slightly difficult to

understand today, but in the beginning of the NSDAP rule in Germany, way before

anyone could have imagined the horrors of WWII, there were
 
some Zionist Jews who saw Hitler’s political doctrine as an

advantage. The NSDAP didn’t conceal their desire to get rid of Germany’s Jews,

and some Zionists saw it as an opportunity to boost the rate of Jewish

immigration from Germany to the British Mandate of Palestine.

One of them was Dr. Kurt Tuchler, a German Jewish judge and an active member of

the Zionist Federation of Germany.
 
 
 
Even before Adolf Hitler was
 

named Chancellor, the Federation decided to contact NSDAP Party officials who
 

they thought might support the Zionist goal. Tuchler turned to Leopold von
 

Mildenstein, who was in charge of the Jewish Desk at the in the security

service of the SS and was known for his journalistic writing.
 
 “In those years, Mildenstein became famous for

his travel stories,”
says filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger, Tuchler’s grandson.
 

Joseph Goebbels, the Reich’s minister of propaganda (Photo: Getty Images)

 

 
 
Tuchler sought to join

Mildenstein on a trip to the Land of Israel, which was still under British rule

at the time, in a bid to suggest the place as an attractive destination for

Jews. “He wanted to keep him company and influence him to write his travel

story from a Zionist perspective,”
Goldfinger explains. “He saw it as a

mission.”
 
 
 
 
And so in the spring of 1933,

Tuchler and Mildenstein got in a car with their wives (who were both called

Gerda) and embarked on a journey from Germany to the Land of Israel.
 
Mildenstein returned from

Palestine excited by what he saw. In his writings, he described how Jews were

working the land, drying up swamps and fulfilling the Zionist idea, and praised

Zionism for benefiting both the Jews and the world.
 
 
The Reich’s minister of

propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, was also very keen about the narrative presented

by Mildenstein. As horrible and unbelievable as it may seem from our perspective,

the story Mildenstein brought from Palestine matched not only the Zionist

stance but also the Nazi one. The bottom line of his articles was clear:

Zionism is a way of solving Germany’s “Jewish problem.”
 
 
Goebbels used NSDAP mouthpiece Der

Angriff (“The Attack” in English), which he had set up in 1927, to

convey this insight to the Germans. In 1934, the newspaper published a series

of 12 articles by Mildenstein titled “A Nazi travels to Palestine.” Goebbels

likely saw the series as his newspaper’s flagship project, using it as a means

of advertising.
 
 
As part of the project, the NSDAP

Party produced a series of small brass coins. One side of the coins featured a

Star of David with the caption “A Nazi travels to Palestine,” and the other

side featured a swastika with the newspaper’s name, Angriff. These coins, used

to promote the “Zionist” articles from the Land of Israel, were given as a free

gift to anyone who purchased a subscription for the mouthpiece. “A sort of

sales promotion,”
Goldfinger explains.
 

Image from Arnon Goldfinger’s film ‘The Flat.’ A NSDAP newspaper in grandmother’s house

 

 

 
It’s unclear how many of these

coins were produced, but today we know that only few of them survived.

Goldfinger himself, who dealt with the Tuchler-Mildenstein story in his

award-winning feature documentary film “The Flat,” has one of the coins. The

film was born after Goldfinger’s grandmother, Greda Tuchler, died and her

family was surprised to find a NSDAP newspaper in her apartment—the same

newspaper that had published Mildenstein’s articles. Gildfinger’s research

revealed that his grandparents had kept in touch with the Mildensteins, even

after the Holocaust.
 
 
A missed opportunity
 
 
“It’s very hard for us to

understand, because we know history,”
Goldfinger explains. “But my grandfather

and Mildenstein were both Germans from a pretty close socioeconomic class, they

were both open minded, and after their journey together they became good

friends. They developed a shared language, largely thanks to their wives, and remained

good friends.’
 

Goldfinger is one of the few

people in the world who owns the “A Nazi travels to Palestine” coin. “I was

shocked by the existence of such a medallion, and then I ended up buying one

myself in an online auction,”
he says, refusing to reveal how much he paid for it.
 

Prof. Shaul Ladany. ‘The NSDAP wanted to encourage the Jews to leave Germany’ (Photo ;Tal Shahar)

 

 

 
Another person who owns one of

these coins is Professor Shaul Ladany, a Holocaust survivor, racewalker and

two-time Olympian who survived the Munich massacre. Ladany, a passionate

collector of medallions related to the Land of Israel, says he searched for

years for the specific medallion combining a Star of David and a swastika.
 
 

“It’s a very rare medallion. For years, I used


to visit Germany on different occasions, walk into stores for coin and medal


collectors and inquire about this medallion. Everyone was surprised to learn


that such a medallion even existed. None of the merchants had heard about it. I


searched for it in Canada, Australia and the United States too.”
 

 

Ladany believes the coin

represents a missed opportunity. “Mildenstein’s series of articles described

the Jewish Yishuv in bright colors. He wrote about the establishment of Jewish

life here, about the institutions being built, etc. The NSDAP wanted to

encourage the Jews to leave Germany. In the beginning, they didn’t necessarily

want to get rid of the Jews through extermination, as they did later on. Today

we know that if more Jews had immigrated from Germany at the time, the majority

of German Jews may have survived.”
 
 
 
 

Zionism and the Third Reich

 

by Mark Weber

 

Early in 1935, a passenger ship bound for Haifa in Palestine left the German port of Bremerhaven. Its stern bore the Hebrew letters for its name, "Tel Aviv," while a swastika banner fluttered from the mast. And although the ship was Zionist-owned, its captain was a National Socialist Party member. Many years later a traveler aboard the ship recalled this symbolic combination as a "metaphysical absurdity."/1 Absurd or not, this is but one vignette from a little-known chapter of history: The wide-ranging collaboration between Zionism and Hitler's Third Reich.

 

Common Aims

 

Over the years, people in many different countries have wrestled with the "Jewish question": that is, what is the proper role of Jews in non-Jewish society? During the 1930s, Jewish Zionists and German National Socialists shared similar views on how to deal with this perplexing issue. They agreed that Jews and Germans were distinctly different nationalities, and that Jews did not belong in Germany. Jews living in the Reich were therefore to be regarded not as "Germans of the Jewish faith," but rather as members of a separate national community. Zionism (Jewish nationalism) also implied an obligation by Zionist Jews to resettle in Palestine, the "Jewish homeland." They could hardly regard themselves as sincere Zionists and simultaneously claim equal rights in Germany or any other "foreign" country.

 

Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the founder of modern Zionism, maintained that anti-Semitism is not an aberration, but a natural and completely understandable response by non-Jews to alien Jewish behavior and attitudes. The only solution, he argued, is for Jews to recognize reality and live in a separate state of their own. "The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in noticeable numbers," he wrote in his most influential work, The Jewish State. "Where it does not exist, it is brought in by arriving Jews ... I believe I understand anti-Semitism, which is a very complex phenomenon. I consider this development as a Jew, without hate or fear." The Jewish question, he maintained, is not social or religious. "It is a national question. To solve it we must, above all, make it an international political issue ..." Regardless of their citizenship, Herzl insisted, Jews constitute not merely a religious community, but a nationality, a people, a Volk.  Zionism, wrote Herzl, offered the world a welcome "final solution of the Jewish question."

 

Six months after Hitler came to power, the Zionist Federation of Germany (by far the largest Zionist group in the country) submitted a detailed memorandum to the new government that reviewed German-Jewish relations and formally offered Zionist support in "solving" the vexing "Jewish question." The first step, it suggested, had to be a frank recognition of fundamental national differences:

 

Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one's own tradition. Zionism recognized decades ago that as a result of the assimilationist trend, symptoms of deterioration were bound to appear ...

 

Zionism believes that the rebirth of the national life of a people, which is now occurring in Germany through the emphasis on its Christian and national character, must also come about in the Jewish national group. For the Jewish people, too, national origin, religion, common destiny and a sense of its uniqueness must be of decisive importance in the shaping of its existence. This means that the egotistical individualism of the liberal era must be overcome and replaced with a sense of community and collective responsibility ...

 

We believe it is precisely the new [National Socialist] Germany that can, through bold resoluteness in the handling of the Jewish question, take a decisive step toward overcoming a problem which, in truth, will have to be dealt with by most European peoples ...

 

Our acknowledgment of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group and reject any trespasses in the cultural domain, we -- having been brought up in the German language and German culture -- can show an interest in the works and values of German culture with admiration and internal sympathy ...

 

For its practical aims, Zionism hopes to be able to win the collaboration of even a government fundamentally hostile to Jews, because in dealing with the Jewish question not sentimentalities are involved but a real problem whose solution interests all peoples and at the present moment especially the German people ...

 

Boycott propaganda -- such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways -- is in essence un-Zionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build ...

 

We are not blind to the fact that a Jewish question exists and will continue to exist. From the abnormal situation of the Jews severe disadvantages result for them, but also scarcely tolerable conditions for other peoples.

 

The Federation's paper, the Jüdische Rundschau ("Jewish Review"), proclaimed the same message: "Zionism recognizes the existence of a Jewish problem and desires a far-reaching and constructive solution. For this purpose Zionism wishes to obtain the assistance of all peoples, whether pro- or anti-Jewish, because, in its view, we are dealing here with a concrete rather than a sentimental problem, the solution of which all peoples are interested."/5 A young Berlin rabbi, Joachim Prinz, who later settled in the United States and became head of the American Jewish Congress, wrote in his 1934 book, Wir Juden ("We Jews"), that the National Socialist revolution in Germany meant "Jewry for the Jews." He explained: "No subterfuge can save us now. In place of assimilation we desire a new concept: recognition of the Jewish nation and Jewish race."

 

Active Collaboration

 

On this basis of their similar ideologies about ethnicity and nationhood, National Socialists and Zionists worked together for what each group believed was in its own national interest. As a result, the Hitler government vigorously supported Zionism and Jewish emigration to Palestine from 1933 until 1940-1941, when the Second World War prevented extensive collaboration.

 

Even as the Third Reich became more entrenched, many German Jews, probably a majority, continued to regard themselves, often with considerable pride, as Germans first. Few were enthusiastic about pulling up roots to begin a new life in far-away Palestine. Nevertheless, more and more German Jews turned to Zionism during this period. Until late 1938, the Zionist movement flourished in Germany under Hitler. The circulation of the Zionist Federation's bi-weekly Jüdische Rundschau grew enormously. Numerous Zionist books were published. "Zionist work was in full swing" in Germany during those years, the Encyclopaedia Judaica notes. A Zionist convention held in Berlin in 1936 reflected "in its composition the vigorous party life of German Zionists."

 

The SS was particularly enthusiastic in its support for Zionism. An internal June 1934 SS position paper urged active and wide-ranging support for Zionism by the government and the Party as the best way to encourage emigration of Germany's Jews to Palestine. This would require increased Jewish self-awareness. Jewish schools, Jewish sports leagues, Jewish cultural organizations -- in short, everything that would encourage this new consciousness and self-awareness - should be promoted, the paper recommended.

 

SS officer Leopold von Mildenstein and Zionist Federation official Kurt Tuchler toured Palestine together for six months to assess Zionist development there. Based on his firsthand observations, von Mildenstein wrote a series of twelve illustrated articles for the important Berlin daily Der Angriff that appeared in late 1934 under the heading "A Nazi Travels to Palestine." The series expressed great admiration for the pioneering spirit and achievements of the Jewish settlers. Zionist self-development, von Mildenstein wrote, had produced a new kind of Jew. He praised Zionism as a great benefit for both the Jewish people and the entire world. A Jewish homeland in Palestine, he wrote in his concluding article, "pointed the way to curing a centuries-long wound on the body of the world: the Jewish question." Der Angriff issued a special medal, with a Swastika on one side and a Star of David on the other, to commemorate the joint SS-Zionist visit. A few months after the articles appeared, von Mildenstein was promoted to head the Jewish affairs department of the SS security service in order to support Zionist migration and development more effectively.

 

The official SS newspaper, Das Schwarze Korps, proclaimed its support for Zionism in a May 1935 front-page editorial: "The time may not be too far off when Palestine will again be able to receive its sons who have been lost to it for more than a thousand years. Our good wishes, together with official goodwill, go with them." Four months later, a similar article appeared in the SS paper:

 

The recognition of Jewry as a racial community based on blood and not on religion leads the German government to guarantee without reservation the racial separateness of this community. The government finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry, the so-called Zionism, with its recognition of the solidarity of Jewry around the world and its rejection of all assimilationist notions. On this basis, Germany undertakes measures that will surely play a significant role in the future in the handling of the Jewish problem around the world.

 

A leading German shipping line began direct passenger liner service from Hamburg to Haifa, Palestine, in October 1933 providing "strictly kosher food on its ships, under the supervision of the Hamburg rabbinate."

 

With official backing, Zionists worked tirelessly to "reeducate" Germany's Jews. As American historian Francis Nicosia put it in his 1985 survey, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question: "Zionists were encouraged to take their message to the Jewish community, to collect money, to show films on Palestine and generally to educate German Jews about Palestine. There was considerable pressure to teach Jews in Germany to cease identifying themselves as Germans and to awaken a new Jewish national identity in them."

 

In an interview after the war, the former head of the Zionist Federation of Germany, Dr. Hans Friedenthal, summed up the situation: "The Gestapo did everything in those days to promote emigration, particularly to Palestine. We often received their help when we required anything from other authorities regarding preparations for emigration."

 

At the September 1935 National Socialist Party Congress, the Reichstag adopted the so-called "Nuremberg laws" that prohibited marriages and sexual relations between Jews and Germans and, in effect, proclaimed the Jews an alien minority nationality. A few days later the Zionist Jüdische Rundschau editorially welcomed the new measures:

 

Germany ... is meeting the demands of the World Zionist Congress when it declares the Jews now living in Germany to be a national minority. Once the Jews have been stamped a national minority it is again possible to establish normal relations between the German nation and Jewry. The new laws give the Jewish minority in Germany its own cultural life, its own national life. In future it will be able to shape its own schools, its own theatre, and its own sports associations. In short, it can create its own future in all aspects of national life ...

 

Germany has given the Jewish minority the opportunity to live for itself, and is offering state protection for this separate life of the Jewish minority: Jewry's process of growth into a nation will thereby be encouraged and a contribution will be made to the establishment of more tolerable relations between the two nations.

 

Georg Kareski, the head of both the "Revisionist" Zionist State Organization and the Jewish Cultural League, and former head of the Berlin Jewish Community, declared in an interview with the Berlin daily Der Angriff at the end of 1935:

 

For many years I have regarded a complete separation of the cultural affairs of the two peoples [Jews and Germans] as a pre-condition for living together without conflict... I have long supported such a separation, provided it is founded on respect for the alien nationality. The Nuremberg Laws ... seem to me, apart from their legal provisions, to conform entirely with this desire for a separate life based on mutual respect... This interruption of the process of dissolution in many Jewish communities, which had been promoted through mixed marriages, is therefore, from a Jewish point of view, entirely welcome.

 

Zionist leaders in other countries echoed these views. Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, told a New York rally in June 1938: "I am not an American citizen of the Jewish faith, I am a Jew... Hitler was right in one thing. He calls the Jewish people a race and we are a race."

 

The Interior Ministry's Jewish affairs specialist, Dr. Bernhard Lösener, expressed support for Zionism in an article that appeared in a November 1935 issue of the official Reichsverwaltungsblatt:

 

If the Jews already had their own state in which the majority of them were settled, then the Jewish question could be regarded as completely resolved today, also for the Jews themselves. The least amount of opposition to the ideas underlying the Nuremberg Laws have been shown by the Zionists, because they realize at once that these laws represent the only correct solution for the Jewish people as well. For each nation must have its own state as the outward expression of its particular nationhood.

 

In cooperation with the German authorities, Zionist groups organized a network of some forty camps and agricultural centers throughout Germany where prospective settlers were trained for their new lives in Palestine. Although the Nuremberg Laws forbid Jews from displaying the German flag, Jews were specifically guaranteed the right to display the blue and white Jewish national banner. The flag that would one day be adopted by Israel was flown at the Zionist camps and centers in Hitler's Germany.

 

Himmler's security service cooperated with the Haganah, the Zionist underground military organization in Palestine. The SS agency paid Haganah official Feivel Polkes for information about the situation in Palestine and for help in directing Jewish emigration to that country. Meanwhile, the Haganah was kept well informed about German plans by a spy it managed to plant in the Berlin headquarters of the SS. /20 Haganah-SS collaboration even included secret deliveries of German weapons to Jewish settlers for use in clashes with Palestinian Arabs.

 

In the aftermath of the November 1938 "Kristallnacht" outburst of violence and destruction, the SS quickly helped the Zionist organization to get back on its feet and continue its work in Germany, although now under more restricted supervision.

 

Official Reservations

 

German support for Zionism was not unlimited. Government and Party officials were very mindful of the continuing campaign by powerful Jewish communities in the United States, Britain and other countries to mobilize "their" governments and fellow citizens against Germany. As long as world Jewry remained implacably hostile toward National Socialist Germany, and as long as the great majority of Jews around the world showed little eagerness to resettle in the Zionist "promised land," a sovereign Jewish state in Palestine would not really "solve" the international Jewish question. Instead, German officials reasoned, it would immeasurably strengthen this dangerous anti-German campaign. German backing for Zionism was therefore limited to support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine under British control, not a sovereign Jewish state.

 

A Jewish state in Palestine, the Foreign Minister informed diplomats in June 1937, would not be in Germany's interest because it would not be able to absorb all Jews around the world, but would only serve as an additional power base for international Jewry, in much the same way as Moscow served as a base for international Communism. /24 Reflecting something of a shift in official policy, the German press expressed much greater sympathy in 1937 for Palestinian Arab resistance to Zionist ambitions, at a time when tension and conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine was sharply increasing.

 

A Foreign Office circular bulletin of June 22, 1937, cautioned that in spite of support for Jewish settlement in Palestine, "it would nevertheless be a mistake to assume that Germany supports the formation of a state structure in Palestine under some form of Jewish control. In view of the anti-German agitation of international Jewry, Germany cannot agree that the formation of a Palestine Jewish state would help the peaceful development of the nations of the world."/26 "The proclamation of a Jewish state or a Jewish-administrated Palestine," warned an internal memorandum by the Jewish affairs section of the SS, "would create for Germany a new enemy, one that would have a deep influence on developments in the Near East." Another SS agency predicted that a Jewish state "would work to bring special minority protection to Jews in every country, therefore giving legal protection to the exploitation activity of world Jewry." In January 1939, Hitler's new Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, likewise warned in another circular bulletin that "Germany must regard the formation of a Jewish state as dangerous" because it "would bring an international increase in power to world Jewry."

 

Hitler himself personally reviewed this entire issue in early 1938 and, in spite of his long-standing skepticism of Zionist ambitions and misgivings that his policies might contribute to the formation of a Jewish state, decided to support Jewish migration to Palestine even more vigorously. The prospect of ridding Germany of its Jews, he concluded, outweighed the possible dangers.

 

Meanwhile, the British government imposed ever more drastic restrictions on Jewish immigration into Palestine in 1937, 1938 and 1939. In response, the SS security service concluded a secret alliance with the clandestine Zionist agency Mossad le-Aliya Bet to smuggle Jews illegally into Palestine. As a result of this intensive collaboration, several convoys of ships succeeded in reaching Palestine past British gunboats. Jewish migration, both legal and illegal, from Germany (including Austria) to Palestine increased dramatically in 1938 and 1939. Another 10,000 Jews were scheduled to depart in October 1939, but the outbreak of war in September brought the effort to an end. All the same, German authorities continued to promote indirect Jewish emigration to Palestine during 1940 and 1941. /30 Even as late as March 1942, at least one officially authorized Zionist "kibbutz" training camp for potential emigrants continued to operate in Hitler's Germany.

 

The Transfer Agreement

 

The centerpiece of German-Zionist cooperation during the Hitler era was the Transfer Agreement, a pact that enabled tens of thousands of German Jews to migrate to Palestine with their wealth. The Agreement, also known as the Haavara (Hebrew for "transfer"), was concluded in August 1933 following talks between German officials and Chaim Arlosoroff, Political Secretary of the Jewish Agency, the Palestine center of the World Zionist Organization.

 

Through this unusual arrangement, each Jew bound for Palestine deposited money in a special account in Germany. The money was used to purchase German-made agricultural tools, building materials, pumps, fertilizer, and so forth, which were exported to Palestine and sold there by the Jewish-owned Haavara company in Tel-Aviv. Money from the sales was given to the Jewish emigrant upon his arrival in Palestine in an amount corresponding to his deposit in Germany. German goods poured into Palestine through the Haavara, which was supplemented a short time later with a barter agreement by which Palestine oranges were exchanged for German timber, automobiles, agricultural machinery, and other goods. The Agreement thus served the Zionist aim of bringing Jewish settlers and development capital to Palestine, while simultaneously serving the German goal of freeing the country of an unwanted alien group.

 

Delegates at the 1933 Zionist Congress in Prague vigorously debated the merits of the Agreement. Some feared that the pact would undermine the international Jewish economic boycott against Germany. But Zionist officials reassured the Congress. Sam Cohen, a key figure behind the Haavara arrangement, stressed that the Agreement was not economically advantageous to Germany. Arthur Ruppin, a Zionist Organization emigration specialist who had helped negotiate the pact, pointed out that "the Transfer Agreement in no way interfered with the boycott movement, since no new currency will flow into Germany as a result of the agreement..." /33 The 1935 Zionist Congress, meeting in Switzerland, overwhelmingly endorsed the pact. In 1936, the Jewish Agency (the Zionist "shadow government" in Palestine) took over direct control of the Ha'avara, which remained in effect until the Second World War forced its abandonment.

 

Some German officials opposed the arrangement. Germany's Consul General in Jerusalem, Hans Döhle, for example, sharply criticized the Agreement on several occasions during 1937. He pointed out that it cost Germany the foreign exchange that the products exported to Palestine through the pact would bring if sold elsewhere. The Haavara monopoly sale of German goods to Palestine through a Jewish agency naturally angered German businessmen and Arabs there. Official German support for Zionism could lead to a loss of German markets throughout the Arab world. The British government also resented the arrangement.  A June 1937 German Foreign Office internal bulletin referred to the "foreign exchange sacrifices" that resulted from the Haavara.

 

A December 1937 internal memorandum by the German Interior Ministry reviewed the impact of the Transfer Agreement: "There is no doubt that the Haavara arrangement has contributed most significantly to the very rapid development of Palestine since 1933. The Agreement provided not only the largest source of money (from Germany!), but also the most intelligent group of immigrants, and finally it brought to the country the machines and industrial products essential for development." The main advantage of the pact, the memo reported, was the emigration of large numbers of Jews to Palestine, the most desirable target country as far as Germany was concerned. But the paper also noted the important drawbacks pointed out by Consul Döhle and others. The Interior Minister, it went on, had concluded that the disadvantages of the agreement now outweighed the advantages and that, therefore, it should be terminated.

 

Only one man could resolve the controversy. Hitler personally reviewed the policy in July and September 1937, and again in January 1938, and each time decided to maintain the Haavara arrangement. The goal of removing Jews from Germany, he concluded, justified the drawbacks.

 

The Reich Economics Ministry helped to organize another transfer company, the International Trade and Investment Agency, or Intria, through which Jews in foreign countries could help German Jews emigrate to Palestine. Almost $900,000 was eventually channeled through the Intria to German Jews in Palestine. /38 Other European countries eager to encourage Jewish emigration concluded agreements with the Zionists modeled after the Ha'avara. In 1937 Poland authorized the Halifin (Hebrew for "exchange") transfer company. By late summer 1939, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary and Italy had signed similar arrangements. The outbreak of war in September 1939, however, prevented large-scale implementation of these agreements.

 

Achievements of Haavara

 

Between 1933 and 1941, some 60,000 German Jews emigrated to Palestine through the Ha'avara and other German-Zionist arrangements, or about ten percent of Germany's 1933 Jewish population. (These German Jews made up about 15 percent of Palestine's 1939 Jewish population.) Some Ha'avara emigrants transferred considerable personal wealth from Germany to Palestine. As Jewish historian Edwin Black has noted: "Many of these people, especially in the late 1930s, were allowed to transfer actual replicas of their homes and factories -- indeed rough replicas of their very existence."

 

The total amount transferred from Germany to Palestine through the Ha'avara between August 1933 and the end of 1939 was 8.1 million pounds or 139.57 million German marks (then equivalent to more than $40 million). This amount included 33.9 million German marks ($13.8 million) provided by the Reichsbank in connection with the Agreement.

 

Historian Black has estimated that an additional $70 million may have flowed into Palestine through corollary German commercial agreements and special international banking transactions. The German funds had a major impact on a country as underdeveloped as Palestine was in the 1930s, he pointed out. Several major industrial enterprises were built with the capital from Germany, including the Mekoroth waterworks and the Lodzia textile firm. The influx of Ha'avara goods and capital, concluded Black, "produced an economic explosion in Jewish Palestine" and was "an indispensable factor in the creation of the State of Israel."

 

The Ha'avara agreement greatly contributed to Jewish development in Palestine and thus, indirectly, to the foundation of the Israeli state. A January 1939 German Foreign Office circular bulletin reported, with some misgiving, that "the transfer of Jewish property out of Germany [through the Ha'avara agreement] contributed to no small extent to the building of a Jewish state in Palestine."

 

Former officials of the Ha'avara company in Palestine confirmed this view in a detailed study of the Transfer Agreement published in 1972: "The economic activity made possible by the influx German capital and the Haavara transfers to the private and public sectors were of greatest importance for the country's development. Many new industries and commercial enterprises were established in Jewish Palestine, and numerous companies that are enormously important even today in the economy of the State of Israel owe their existence to the Haavara." Dr. Ludwig Pinner, a Ha'avara company official in Tel Aviv during the 1930s, later commented that the exceptionally competent Ha'avara immigrants "decisively contributed" to the economic, social, cultural and educational development of Palestine's Jewish community.

 

The Transfer Agreement was the most far-reaching example of cooperation between Hitler's Germany and international Zionism. Through this pact, Hitler's Third Reich did more than any other government during the 1930s to support Jewish development in Palestine.

 

Zionists Offer a Military Alliance With Hitler

 

In early January 1941 a small but important Zionist organization submitted a formal proposal to German diplomats in Beirut for a military-political alliance with wartime Germany. The offer was made by the radical underground "Fighters for the Freedom of Israel," better known as the Lehi or Stern Gang. Its leader, Avraham Stern, had recently broken with the radical nationalist "National Military Organization" (Irgun Zvai Leumi) over the group's attitude toward Britain, which had effectively banned further Jewish settlement of Palestine. Stern regarded Britain as the main enemy of Zionism.

 

This remarkable Zionist proposal "for the solution of the Jewish question in Europe and the active participation of the NMO [Lehi] in the war on the side of Germany" is worth quoting at some length:

 

In their speeches and statements, the leading statesmen of National Socialist Germany have often emphasized that a New Order in Europe requires as a prerequisite a radical solution of the Jewish question by evacuation. ("Jew-free Europe")

 

The evacuation of the Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition for solving the Jewish question. However, the only way this can be totally achieved is through settlement of these masses in the homeland of the Jewish people, Palestine, and by the establishment of a Jewish state in its historical boundaries.

 

The goal of the political activity and the years of struggle by the Israel Freedom Movement, the National Military Organization in Palestine (Irgun Zvai Leumi), is to solve the Jewish problem in this way and thus completely liberate the Jewish people forever.

 

The NMO, which is very familiar with the good will of the German Reich government and its officials towards Zionist activities within Germany and the Zionist emigration program, takes that view that:

 

1. Common interests can exist between a European New Order based on the German concept and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as embodied by the NMO.

 

2. Cooperation is possible between the New Germany and a renewed, folkish-national Jewry [Hebräertum].

 

3. The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of maintaining and strengthening the future German position of power in the Near East.

 

On the basis of these considerations, and upon the condition that the German Reich government recognize the national aspirations of the Israel Freedom Movement mentioned above, the NMO in Palestine offers to actively take part in the war on the side of Germany.

 

This offer by the NMO could include military, political and informational activity within Palestine and, after certain organizational measures, outside as well. Along with this the Jewish men of Europe would be militarily trained and organized in military units under the leadership and command of the NMO. They would take part in combat operations for the purpose of conquering Palestine, should such a front by formed.

 

The indirect participation of the Israel Freedom Movement in the New Order of Europe, already in the preparatory stage, combined with a positive-radical solution of the European Jewish problem on the basis of the national aspirations of the Jewish people mentioned above, would greatly strengthen the moral foundation of the New Order in the eyes of all humanity.

 

The cooperation of the Israel Freedom Movement would also be consistent with a recent speech by the German Reich Chancellor, in which Hitler stressed that he would utilize any combination and coalition in order to isolate and defeat England.

 

There is no record of any German response. Acceptance was very unlikely anyway because by this time German policy was decisively pro-Arab.  Remarkably, Stern's group sought to conclude a pact with the Third Reich at a time when stories that Hitler was bent on exterminating Jews were already in wide circulation. Stern apparently either did not believe the stories or he was willing to collaborate with the mortal enemy of his people to help bring about a Jewish state.

 

An important Lehi member at the time the group made this offer was Yitzhak Shamir, who later served as Israel's Foreign Minister and then, during much of the 1980s and until June 1992, as Prime Minister. As Lehi operations chief following Stern's death in 1942, Shamir organized numerous acts of terror, including the November 1944 assassination of British Middle East Minister Lord Moyne and the September 1948 slaying of Swedish United Nations mediator Count Bernadotte. Years later, when Shamir was asked about the 1941 offer, he confirmed that he was aware of his organization's proposed alliance with wartime Germany.

 

Conclusion

In spite of the basic hostility between the Hitler regime and international Jewry, for several years Jewish Zionist and German National Socialist interests coincided. In collaborating with the Zionists for a mutually desirable and humane solution to a complex problem, the Third Reich was willing to make foreign exchange sacrifices, impair relations with Britain and anger the Arabs. Indeed, during the 1930s no nation did more to substantively further Jewish-Zionist goals than Hitler's Germany.

 

The Haavara (Transfer) Agreement, negotiated by Eliezer Hoofein, director of the Anglo-Palestine Bank, was agreed to by the Reich Economics Ministry in 1933, and continued, with declining German government support, until it was wound up in 1939. Under the agreement, Jews fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany could use some of their assets to purchase German manufactured goods for export, thus salvaging some part of their personal wealth during emigration. The agreement provided a substantial export market for German factories in British-ruled Palestine. Between November, 1933, and December 31, 1937, 77,800,000 Reichmarks, or $22,500,000, (values in 1938 currency) worth of goods were exported to Jewish businesses in Palestine under the program. By the time the program ended with the start of World War II, the total had risen to 105,000,000 marks (about $35,000,000, 1939 values).

 

Emigrants with capital of £1,000, (about $5,000 in 1930s currency value) could move to Palestine in spite of severe British restrictions on Jewish immigration under an Immigrant investor program similar to the contemporary EB-5 visa. Under the Transfer Agreement, about 39% of an emigrant's funds were given to Jewish communal economic development projects, leaving individuals with about 43% of the value of whatever assets they were able to transfer out of Germany after administrative and shipping costs.

The Haavara Agreement was thought among some Nazi circles to be a possible way to rid the country of its supposed "Jewish problem." The head of the Middle Eastern division of the foreign ministry, the anti-Nazi Werner Otto von Hentig, supported the policy of concentrating Jews in Palestine. Hentig believed that if the Jewish population was concentrated in a single foreign entity, then foreign diplomatic policy and containment of the Jews would become easier. Hitler's own support of the Haavara Agreement was unclear and varied throughout the 1930s. Initially, Hitler criticized the agreement, but reversed his opinion and supported it in the period 1937-1939.

After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the "basis of its existence [was] removed", and the program was ended.


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                                                                                                              Further reading

  • Avraham Barkai: German Interests in the Haavara-Transfer Agreement 1933–1939, Yearbook of the Leo Baeck Institute 35; 1990, S. 245–266

  • Yehuda Bauer: Jews for sale? Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1996. ISBN 978-0300068528

  • Edwin Black: The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine, Brookline Books, 1999.

  • Werner Feilchenfeld, Dolf Michaelis, Ludwig Pinner: Haavara-Transfer nach Palästina und Einwanderung deutscher Juden 1933–1939, Tübingen, 1972

  • Tom Segev: The Seventh Million: Israelis and the Holocaust (2000, ISBN 0-8050-6660-8), especially p. 31ff

  • David Yisraeli: "The Third Reich and the Transfer Agreement", in: Journal of Contemporary History 6 (1972), S. 129–148

  • R. Melka: "Nazi Germany and the Palestine Question", Middle Eastern Studies. Vol. 5 No. 3 (Oct., 1969). pp 221–233.

  • Hava Eshkoli-Wagman: "Yishuv Zionism: Its Attitude to Nazism and the Third Reich Reconsidered", Modern Judaism. Vol. 19 No. 1 (Feb., 1999). pp 21–40.

  • Klaus Poleken: "The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany 1933–1941". Journal of Palestine Studies. Vol. 5 No. 3/4 (Spring–Summer 1976). pp 54–82.

 

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Censored History: Britain put Jews in Concentration Camp During WWII

 

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was a letter from Britain’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Walter Rothschild to be read before the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

 

It announced British support for Jewish immigration into the Palestinian Mandate. The Zionist Federation had promised the British government they could mobilize Hollywood and other assets to push America into WWI on the side of the Axis. America entered WWI on April 6, 1917. The Balfour Declaration was made on November 2, 1917. It was widely viewed in Europe as a thank you for American Jewish support for America’s entry into WWI.

 

The Balfour Declaration was considered a major step towards the creation of the Jewish state of Israel.

 

The fallout however, was not good for European Jews. Germany had been a safe haven for Jews for hundreds of years. Jews were thriving so much so, that the average Jewish income was significantly higher than that of the average German. Germans felt the Jewish community as a whole had betrayed them. German Jews quickly became stigmatized as disloyal, draft dodgers, war profiteers, and more.

 

If that wasn’t enough, European Jews soon felt the sting of betrayal from Britain. In the 1930′s the German government offered to move European Jews to the Palestinian Mandate. The National Socialist regime encouraged Jews to obtain Palestinian passports and argued that Jews would be much happier living in a country of their own in the Middle East. The German government promised the Arabs in the Palestinian Mandate free Volkwagon trucks and construction supplies to pacify them. Ideological Zionists living in the Mandate embraced the idea and some even openly supported the National Socialist regime.

 

Britain immediately capped the number of Jews who could move to the Palestinian Mandate to only 15,000 a year, so they would not change the balance of power.

 

In 1940, the National Socialist regime sent the first wave of Jews to the Palestinian Mandate. The first convoy was three ships full of Jews from Prague, Danzig, Vienna, and Tulcea, Romania. The British immediately blockaded the ports and declared that the Jews were illegal immigrants. The Jews were all arrested by the British army and placed in quickly erected concentration camps. Once WWII started many Jews tried to reach the territory to avoid being sent to Nazi run concentration camps. Britain captured tens of thousands and imprisoned them in concentration camps in the Palestinian Mandate, Cyprus, and Mauritius. The British concentration camps looked the same as the dreaded camps run by Germany, Croatia, and Romania. When inmates arrived at the British camps they were forced to strip naked and then sprayed with DDT.

 

In 1944, the government of Hungary collapsed. The arrow cross party seized control of Hungary to keep the Hungarian army fighting on the Eastern front. To pay for the Hungarian army, Jewish owned property in Hungary was seized. The National Socialist regime made another major attempt to send Jews to the Palestinian Mandate. They had Turkish cooperation to transport Jews to the territory by train. One train was even filled up with Hungarian Jews and ready to leave, but the British said the Hungarian Jews would be refused. The passengers were ordered to switch trains to be sent to concentration camps in Poland. At that time Britain knew full well that the IRC was the sole provider of food and supplies to the camps and it was only a matter of time until access would be cut off due to the advancing red army.

 

What is even more shocking is that after the Allies and the IRC began liberating the concentration camps, Britain continued to imprison Jewish refugees who tried to enter the Palestinian Mandate. Many survived WWII in concentration camps, only to be imprisoned by the British.

 

The main British concentration camp was in Atlit, north of Haifa. Many Jews were imprisoned in Atlit before being transported to Cyprus or Mauritius. Over 70,000 Jews were imprisoned there between 1940 and 1945. The camp was shut down when it was attacked by Zionist guerrillas in 1945. Yitzhak Rabin allegedly masterminded the operation, but he did not lead it.

 

It took a very violent guerrilla war and major acts of terrorism to convince the British to give up the Palestinian Mandate after WWII was over.

 

by Jason Swartz

 

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