[A-List] 51 Documents on Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Thu Jul 10 15:41:32 MDT 2003

On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 10:01:28 -0700 "Craven, Jim" <jcraven at clark.edu>
> Just got--and dived into--Lenni Brenner's "51 Documents Zionist
> Collaboration With the Nazis" and I believe that this is an
> extremely useful
> and scholarly contribution to uncovering the historical roles and
> nature of
> Zionism that illuminate some present realities as well. I was
> familiar with
> some of the documents having read Lenni's "Zionism in the Age of the
> Dictators" and his "The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from
> Jabotinsky to
> Shamir", but this compendium of documents is truly staggering.
> In a postwar interview with Eichmann, who worked actively with
> Zionists,
> Eichmann noted: "I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that,
> had I
> been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist. I could not
> imagine being
> anything else. I would have been the most ardent Zionist
> imaginable."

Hannah Arendt in her book *Eichmann in Jerusalem*
pointed out that among other
things Adolf Eichmann had a generally sympathetic
view of Zionism, and was indeed admirer of Theodor
Herzl as well as a number of the then contemporary Zionists
whom he had dealt with in his capacity as an officer
in the S.S.  Thus Arendt wrote:

"(It may be worth mentioning that as late as 1939 ,
he seems to have protested against desecrators
of Herzl's grave in Vienna, and there are reports
of his presence in civilian clothes at the commemoration of the
thirty-fifth anniversary of Herzl's death.  Strangely
enough, he did not talk about these things in
Jerusalem, where he continously boasted of his
good relations with Jewish officials.)"

Hannah Arendt also wrote about the Ha'avarah
or Transfer Agreement between the Nazi regime
in Germany and Zionist leaders in Germany and
Palestine.  Arendt wrote:

"But quite apart from all slogans and ideological quarrels, it
was in those years a fact of everyday life that only Zionists
had any chance of negotiating with the German authorities,
for the simple reason that their chief Jewish adversary,
the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish
Faith, to which ninety-five percent of organized Jews in
Germany then belonged, specified in its bylaws that its
chief task was the "fight against anti-Semitism"; it had
suddenly become by definition  an organization
"hostile to the State,"and would have been persecuted-
which it was not - if it had dared to do what it was
supposed to do.  During its first few years, Hitler's rise
to power appeared to the Zionists chiefly as "the
decisive defeat of assimilationism."  Hence, the Zionists
could, for a time, engage in a certain amount of
non-criminal cooperation with the Nazi authorities;
the Zionists too believed that "dissimilation" combined
with the emigration to Palestine of Jewish youngsters
and, they hoped, Jewish capitalists, would be a
"mutually fair solution."  At the time, many German
officials held this opinion, and this kind of talk
seemed quite common up to the end.  A letter
from a survivor of Theresienstadt, a German Jew,
relates that all the leading positions in the Nazi-
appointed Reichsvereinigung were held by
Zionists (whereas the authentically Jewish
Reichsvertretung had been composed of
both Zionists and non-Zionists), because
Zionists, according to the Nazis were "the
'decent' Jews since they too thought in
'national' terms."  To be sure, no prominent
Nazi ever spoke publicly in this vein; from
beginning to end, Nazi propaganda was
fiercely, unequivocally, uncompromisingly
anti-Semitic, and eventually nothing counted
but what people who were still without
experience in the mysteries of totalitarian
government dismissed as "mere propaganda."
There existed in those early years a mutually
satisfactory agreement - a Ha'avarah, or
Transfer Agreement, which provided that an
emigrant to Palestine could transfer his
money there in German goods and exchange
them for pounds on arrival.  It was soon the
only legal way for a Jew to take his money
with him (the alternative then being the
establishment of a blocked account,
which could be liquidated abroad only
at a loss between fifity and ninety-five
percent).  The result was that in the
thirties, when American Jewry took
great pains to organize a boycott of
German merchandise, Palestine, of
all places was swamped with all kinds
of goods "made in Germany.""

And if one doesn't trust Arendt on these matters, we
can always turn to the Israeli historian Saul Friedlaender.
Below is an except from Friedlaender concerning the
Haavarah or Transfer Agreement which was entered
into by the Nazi regime in Germany, with both German
and Palestinian Zionists, in order to enable the emigration
of German Jews to Palestine, in turn for the breaking
of the boycott of Nazi Germany which had been launched
by leading American Jewish organizations.
Saul Friedlaender
Consenting Elites, Threatened Elites
Source: S. Friedlaender, Chapter 2 in: Nazi Germany and the Jews , Vol I
The Years of Persecution 1933-1939, (New York 1997), p. 41-72.


In one instance only were the economic conditions
of emigration somewhat facilitated. Not only did
the regime encourage Zionist activities on the
territory of the Reich, but concrete economic
measures were taken to ease the departure of Jews
for Palestine. The so-called Haavarah (Hebrew:
Transfer) Agreement, concluded on August 27, 1933,
between the German Ministry of the Economy and
Zionist representatives from Germany and Palestine,
allowed Jewish emigrants indirect transfer of part
of their assets and facilitated exports of goods
from Nazi Germany to Palestine. As a result, some
one hundred milliReichsmarks were transferred to
Palestine, and most of the sixty thousand German
Jews who arrived in that country during 1933-1939
could thereby ensure a minimal basis for their material existence.
Economic agreement and some measure of co-operation
in easing Jewish emigration from Germany (and in
1938 and 1939) from post-Anschluss Austria and
German-occupied Bohemia-Moravia) to Palestine, were
of course purely instrumental. The Zionist had no
doubts about the Nazis' evil designs on the Jews,
and the Nazis considered the Zionists first and foremost
Jews. About Zionism itself, moreover, Nazi ideology and
Nazi policies were divided from the outset: while favouring,
like all other European extreme anti-Semites, Zionism
as a means of enticing the Jews to leave Europe, they
also considered the Zionist Organisation established in
Basel in 1897 as a key element of the Jewish world
conspiracy - a Jewish state in Palestine would be a
kind of Vatican co-ordinating Jewish scheming all over
the world. Such necessary but unholy contacts between
Zionists and Nazis nonetheless continued up to the
beginning (and into) the war. One of the main benefits
the new regime hoped to reap from the Haavarah was a
breach in the foreign Jewish economic boycott of Germany.
The Nazi fears of a significant Jewish boycott were,
in fact, basically unreal, but Zionist policy responded
to what the Germans hoped to achieve. The Zionist organisations
and the leadership of the Yishuv (the Jewish community in
Palestine) distanced themselves from any form of mass
protest or boycott to avoid creating obstacles to the
new arrangements. Even before the conclusion of the
Haavarah Agreement, such "co-operation" sometimes took
bizarre forms. Thus, in early 1933, Baron
Leopold Itz Edler von Mildenstein, a man who a few years
later was to become chief of the Jewish section of the
SD (the Sicherheitsdienst, or security service, the
SS intelligence branch headed by Reinhard Heydrich),
was invited along with his wife to tour Palestine
and to write a series of articles for Goebbels´s
Der Angriff. And so it was that the Mildensteins,
accompanied by Kurt Tuchler, a leading member of the
Berlin Zionist Organisation, and his wife, visited
Jewish settlements in Eretz Israel. The highly
positive articles, entitled "A Nazi Visits Palestine,"
were duly published, and, to mark the occasion, a
special medallion cast, with a swastika on one side
and a Star of David on the other.

Jim F.

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