The truth about Hitler?

Henry C.K. Liu hliu at
Tue May 20 01:36:25 MDT 2003

Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men 
of Jewish Descent in the German Military
by Bryan Mark Rigg

European (mostly German) Jews made a similar arrangement with Hitler’s 
Nazi German government some seven months or so after Hitler came to 
power in 1933. The arrangement became known as Ha’avara (the Transfer 
Agreement). Nazi Germany and the Jewish Agency concluded the transfer 
negotiations, allowing Jews emigrating from Germany to Palestine to 
deposit their assets in Germany and receive Palestine pounds upon their 
arrival in Palestine. The Zionist Federation of Germany, the 
Anglo-Palestine Bank, and the German economic authorities signed the 
Agreement on August 25, 1933, permitting the transfer of Jewish capital 
from Germany to Palestine by immigrants or investors.

Through this unusual arrangement, those Jews 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, motor transport, and other goods of all kinds and 
descriptions, which were exported to Palestine and sold there by the 
Jewish-owned Ha’avara company in Tel-Aviv. Money from the sales was 
given to the emigrants upon their arrival in Palestine in an amount 
corresponding to their deposits in German banks.

German goods poured into Palestine through the Ha’avara, which was 
supplemented a short time later with a barter agreement by which 
Palestine’s oranges and agricultural products were exchanged for German 
timber, automobiles, agricultural machinery, and other goods. The 
Agreement enabled German Jews to meet the requirements of the British 
certificate of immigration and served the Zionist aim of bringing Jewish 
settlers and development capital to Palestine, while it simultaneously 
served the German economy with an increase in the production and export 
of German goods to offset its economic depression. For a time, the 
Ha'avara Agreement helped the Nazis in undermining the anti-Nazi boycott 
initiated by the American Jewish Congress only weeks before the 
agreement was signed.

The negotiations for the agreement were initiated six months after 
Hitler came to power by the Zionist Federation of Germany (by far the 
largest Zionist group in the country), which submitted a detailed 
memorandum to the new government. The memorandum 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 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 … 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 …"

As a result, the Hitler government vigorously supported Zionism’s 
proposal for Jewish emigration to Palestine from 1933 until 1940-41. So 
thorough was the collaboration that the SS became particularly 
enthusiastic in its support for Zionism’s transfer agreement. SS officer 
Leopold von Mildenstein and Zionist Federation official Kurt Tuchler and 
their wives 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," praising the success of the transfer agreement. 
The publishers of 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.

Between 1933 and 1941, some 60,000 of Germany’s wealthiest, 
best-educated Jews (or about 10% of Germany's 1933 Jewish population) 
emigrated to Palestine through the Ha'avara and other German-Zionist 
arrangements. (These German Jews made up about 15% of Palestine's 1939 
Jewish population.) 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, but the equivalent of $516 million in 2002 
dollars). This amount included 33.9 million German marks ($13.8 million) 
provided by the Reichsbank in connection with the Agreement. 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 produced an economic explosion in 
Jewish Palestine.

German Jewry, the first victims of the Nazi regime, represented one of 
the oldest established Jewish communities in Europe. Until 1933, German 
Jews had been widely regarded as a virtual model instance of the success 
of emancipation, and of the creative interaction between the Jews and 
their non-Jewish environment. Most German Jews considered themselves no 
less German than any of their Christian compatriots. Some 12,000 of them 
had died on the battlefields of World War I, fighting for the interests 
and honor of their beloved country.

During the first days of the Nazi regime, it was difficult for them to 
grasp that anyone could strip them of their German rights and identity, 
that they could be turned into pariahs in their own land. "Germany 
remains Germany," stated a leading article in the newspaper of the 
organization that represented the majority, the Central Association of 
German Citizens of the Jewish Faith. "No one can deprive us of our 
homeland and fatherland." On the other side of the ideological divide, 
the German Zionists, who were more pessimistic about the viability of a 
German-Jewish synthesis, seemed better attuned to the new times. Even 
they, however, could not fathom the full extent of the Nazi threat to 
Jewish existence.

They, no less than other Jews, tended to assume that the revolutionary 
ardor of the Nazi regime would spend itself after the first months in 
office and that its bite would not prove to be half as dangerous as its 
bark. In a way, the first to be aware of the danger were those 
individuals of Jewish origin who were active in the Socialist and 
Communist movements and, for this reason, were doubly exposed to
political and racial persecution.

Johannes Schneider wrote:
>>The German Jews also supported Hitler in the early days, particularly 
>>the rich and the intellectual.
> Who ? The owners of the big departments stores (Wertheim?)
> The theater critic Alfred Kerr?
> Henry, please stick to things you know about.
>>The real quarrel Hitler had with the Jews 
>>were Jewish internationalism which favored the British Empire.
> So the German Jews deserved their fate because of their internationalism?

I did not say the Jews deserved their fate.  Hitler used the 
internationalism issue to accuse the Jews as non German, aside from the 
racial issue.

> Johannes

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