Textul de mai jos cuprinde traducerea primelor două pagini dintr-un text care mai departe curge în limba engleză. Autorul textului este un profesionist, spre deosebire de noi… Mirările și îndoielile sale au această autoritate: vin din partea unui ins informat. Noi, mai puțin informați, ne-am grăbit să tragem unele concluzii, să formulăm ipoteza unei subordonări a nazismului față de interesele vitale ale sionismului. Constat, fără plăcere, că textul de mai jos confirmă ipoteza noastră. Ca și alte texte care au mai apărut în calea noastră, semnalate de colaboratori onești și tenace ai acestui site. Tuturor, mulțumiri colegiale. Numai împreună vom putea răzbi!

*

JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

JURNALUL DE STUDII PALESTINIENE

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS: ZIONISM AND NAZI GERMANY,

CONTACTE SECRETE: SIONIMS ȘI NAZISM

1933-1941

KLAUS POLKEHN*

 

* Klaus Polkehn, Un cunoscut ziarist din Republica emocrată Germană, este autorul mai multor articole despre problema palestiniană.

 

 

Anti-semitismnul a devenit politica oficială a Guvernului German când Hitler a fost numit Cancelar al Reich-ului German pe 30 Ianuarie, 1933. Primăvara lui 1933 a marcat începutul perioadei de cooperare privată dintre Sionism și regimul fascist German cu scopul de a crește fluxul de capital și de imigranți Evrei Germani în Palestina. Autoritățile sioniste au reușit să păstreze secretă această cooperare pentru o lungă perioadă de timp și numai în anii ’60 a început să fie criticată ici și colo. Reacția sionistă a constat de obicei în declarații cum că contactele lor de atunci cu Germania nazistă au fost doar cu scopul de a salva vieți de evrei, iar contactele au fost cu atât mai remarcabile întrucât au avut loc într-o vreme când mulți evrei și organizații evreiești cereau boicotarea Germaniei naziste.

 

Cu ocazia celei de-a XVI-a Convenții a partidului Comunist Israelian, la începutului coonferinței a fost emis un document în care se spunea ”după ce Hitler a luat putereaîn Germania, când toate forțele anti-fasciste din lume, precum și marea majoritatea organizațiilor Evreiești au proclamat boicotul împotriva Germaniei naziste, au existat contacte și colaborare între liderii sioniști și guvernul hitlerist.¹

.

Documentul cita pe  oficilaul sionist Eliezer Livneh (care fusese editorul organului Haganah pe timpul celui de-al II-lea Război Mondial) ca declarând, în timpul simpozionului organizat de ziarul Israelian Maaariv, în 1966 ”că pentru conducerea sionistă salvarea Evreilor nu a fost un scop, ci doar un mijloc” ¹ (i.e. de a înființa un state evreiesc în Palestina).. A pune sub semnul întrebării reacția mișcării sioniste la fascismul German, care în cursul celor 12 ani de dominație a ucis milioane de evrei, este taboo în ochii liderilor sioniști. Numai rareori, este posibil să întâlnești dovezi sau documente autentice cu privire la aceste lucruri. Investigația care urmează constă în informații adunate până acum despre aspecte importante ale cooperării dintre sioniști și fasciști. Este în firea lucrurilor că această investigație nu prrezintă o imagine completă. Acest lucru va fi posibil, numai atunci când arhivele (în special cele din Israel), în care documentele privitoare la aceste evenimente sânt ținute sub cheie, vor fi disponibile cercetă

 

 

 

 

 

Venirea lui Hitler la putere

 

Pentru liderii sioniști venirea la putere a lui Hitler dădea posibilitatea unui influx de imigranți în Palestina. Anterior, majoritatea Evreilor Germani, care se considerau Germani, aveau puțină simpatie pentru intențiile sioniste. Statisticile germane, făcute înainte de venirea la putere a fasciștilor, catalogau minoritatea evreiască la categoria ”Credintă religioasă” și a fost la altitudinea legislatorilor fasciști să introducă conceptul de ”rasă” ca și caracteristică și apoi să includă și pe descendenții demult asimilați ai comunității evreiești la evrei.

După statistici[1], în Germania trăiau în 1933, 503 000 de Evrei, constituind 0,76% din totalul populației. Trei și unu de procente dintre Evreii Germani, trăiau în Berlin, unde reprezentau 4,3 % din populația orașului. Statisiticile germane arată, de asemenea, că populația evreiască din Germania a descrescut între 1871 și 1933 la 0, 76%.

Acești Evrei Germani erau în marea lor majoritate non- ori anti-sioniști, și, înanite de 1937, Uniunuea Sionistă din Germania (Zionistische Vereinigung fur Deutschland) (de aici ZVFD) avea mari dificultăți să fie auzită. Printre Evreii din Germania erau, de exemplu, în 1925, numai 8739 de persoane (nici măcar 2%) ca să voteze în Convenția Sionistă (ca membrii ai organizațiilor sioniste). 5 La alegerile regionale ale comunității evreiești din Prusia care s-a ținut în Februarie, 1925, numai 26 de membrii din 124 aleși aparțineau grupruilor sioniste. 6 Un raport al Keren Hayesod prezentat la cea de-a douăzeci-și-patra sesiune a ZVFD, din Iulie, spunea:

”În timpul evaluarii făcute de Keren Hayesod, nu trebuie niciodată  uitat faptul că no i în Germania trebuie să ținem cont nu numai de indiferența aproape totală a cercurilor evreiești, dar și de ostilitatea acestora”

  1. Astfel, la momentul când Hitler a luat puterea, sioniștii erau un grup realmente mic și o minoritate insignifiantă cu puțină influență, dar au fost organizațiile ne-sioniste care uau jucat un role dominant printre evrei. În fruntea lor era Centralverein deutscher Staatsburger Iudischen Glaubens (Unniune Centrală a cetățenilor Germani de Credință Iudaică), fondată în 1893, care, după cum spune și denumirea ei, considera pe Evreii Germani drept germani și considra că prima sa datorie era să combată anti-semitismul.

De pe această poziție fundamentală, CV respingea categoric sionismul. Astfel, a fost adoptată o rezoluție a consiliului central al CV, pe 10 Aprilie, 1921, încheindu-se cu următoarele cuvinte: ”Dacă efortul de relocare în Palestina ar fi nimic altceva decât sarcina de ajutor și asistență, atunci din punctul de vedere al Centralverein nimic nu se poate spune împotriva promovării acestui efort. Cu toate acestea, colonizarea în Palestina este în primul rând un obiectiv al politicii naționale evreiești și prin urmare, susținerea și promovarea ei trebuie respinsă”

  1. În consecință, CV (Uniunea Centrală) a fost cea care, în anii dinaintea venirii lui Hitler la putere, a stat mai presus de toate în fruntea partidelor ți organizațiilor progresiste în lupta lor împotriva anti-semitismului. Cu privire la această atitudine, autorul evreu Werner E. Mosse remarca: ”În timp ce liderii CV au considerat că este de datpria lor să reprezinte interesele Evreilor Germani într-o luptă politică activă*, sionismul a fost pentru… o non-participare sistematică a Evreilor în viața publică germană. Respingea din principiu orice fel de participare.

 

5 Dr. Alfred Wiener. Jutifti und Ataber in Paliistina (Jews and Arahs in Palestine^, Berlin,

1929, p. 36.

H According to Wiener, op. at., p. 36.

7 Quoted from Kurt l/tcwenstem, Die inmrjuduche Rtaktion aufdie Krise d(f deutsc/ien Demokratie

(The Internal Jewish Reaction to the Crisis of German Democracy), in „The Crucial Year

1032,” p. 363.

a Quoted’ from Dr. Alfred Wiener, Knlisth Heist (lurch Paliistina ‘Critical Journey (hrough

Palestine), Berlin, 1927, p. 8.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 57

in the struggle led by the CV.” 9

Atitudinea sioniștilor fată de amenințarea dominației fasciste în Germania a fost determinată de anumite preuspoziții ideologice comune: atât fasciștii, cât și sioniștii credeau în teorii rasiale neștiințifice și s-au întâlnit pe  același teren în credința lor în astfel de generalizări mistice cum ar fi ”caracterul național” (Volkstum) și ”rasă”, și uniii și alții erau șovini și înclinați spre ”exclusivism rasial”.

 

Thus the Zionist official Gerhart Holdheim wrote in 1930 in an

edition of the Suddeutsche MonutshefU, dedicated to the Jewish question

(a publication in which, amongst others, leading anti-Semites aired

their views): „The Zionist programme encompasses the conception of

a homogeneous, indivisible Jewry on a national basis. The criterion for

Jewry is hence not a confession of religion, but the all-embracing sense

of belonging to a racial community that is bound together by tics of

blood and history and which is determined to keep its national individuality.”

10 That was the same language, the same phraseology, as the

fascists used. No wonder then that the German fascists welcomed the

conceptions of the Zionists, with Alfred Rosenberg, the chief ideologue

of the Nazi party, writing: „Zionism must be vigorously supported so

that a certain number of German Jews is transported annually to Palestine

or at least made to leave the country.” 11 With an eye on such statements,

Hans Lamm later wrote: „..it is indisputable that during the

first stages of their Jewish policy, the National Socialists thought it

proper to adopt a pro-Zionist attitude.” 12

With considerable perspicacity the CV remarked that the recognition

by the Zionists of „certain postulates of the German nationalists”

provided the anti-Semites with ammunition, and in a declaration of

policy made by the CV, there was even talk of Zionism having dealt

the movement a „stab in the back” in the struggle against fascism l3

Bui the Zionists saw that only the anti-Semitic Hitler was likely lo push

the anti-Zionist German Jews into the arms of Zionism. Robert Weltsch,

who was then editor-in-chief of the German Zionist paper, Judhche Rtend-

* Werner E. Moss?, Der j\fiedeigang der deutsthen Republikund die Judm{The. fall of the German

Republic and theJew5) in „The Crucial Year 1932 ” p. 38.

10 Gerhard Holdheim, Der ^iomsmus in Dmtuhland (Zionism in Germany) in Siiddeutsehe

Monatshefte 1 2; 1930, p. 855.

11 Alfred Rosenberg, Die Spur desjuden im Wondet der geitm (The Trail of the Jews in the

Changing Ages), Munich, 1937, p. 153.

13 Hannah Arendi. Eichmann in Jerusalem (London, 1963), p. 53.

13 CV-Zdtung, IX, July II, 1930.

 

 

58 JOURNAL Ol* PALESTINE STUDIES

sckau, declared on January 8, 1933 (three weeks after Hitler’s assumption

of power) during the meeting of the iocal ZVFD Council” „The antiliberal

character ofGerman nationalism [i.e., the reactionary tendencies

of the German bourgeoisie — K.P.] meet with the anti-liberal position of

Zionism and here we are faced with the chance of finding, not a basis for

understanding but one for discussion.”‘ 4

The call to Hitler on January 30, 1933 to become the head of government

was followed by the take-over of all positions of authority by the

National Socialist Parly, which meant that sworn anti-Semites were

now in power. The German Jews contemplated these happenings with

deep misgivings, for the programme of the Nazi party included the

demand to strip the Jews of citizenship (Point 5) and the removal of

all Jews from public offices (Point 6), as well as the expulsion of all

the Jews who had emigrated to Germany after August 2, 1914 (Point8i.

Only the Zionists saw some benefit in this turn of events. (The British

historian Christopher Sykcs, certainly no anti-Zionist, gives as his

opinion „that the Zionist leaders were determined at the very outset

of the Nazi disaster to reap political advantage from the tragedy.” 16

The first public expression of this came from the Berlin Rabbi, Dr.

Joachim Prinz, who was a committed Zionist and who directly after

January 30, 1933, described the Hitler takeover as the „beginning

of the Jew’s return to his Judaism.,,IB In reference to the mounting

fascist terror against the German Jews, Prinz wrote: „No hiding place

hides us any longer. Instead of assimilation, wc wish for the recognition

of the Jewish nation and the Jewish race.’ 117 This was definitely not the

view of an isolated individual. The Jiidische, Rundschau, the official organ

of the ZVFD, wrote on June 13, 1933:

Zionism recognizes the existence of the Jewish question and wants

to solve it in a generous and constructive manner. For this purpose,

it wants to enlist the aid of all peoples; those who are friendly to thfc

Jews as well as those who are hostile to them, since according to its

14 Minutes of the Session are in the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, quoted by Kurt

Loewertstein in „The Crucial Year 1932,” p. 388.

14 Christopher Sykcs, Gosiroatfs U> brad (London, 1965); German edition Kwtzitvge nock,

Israel (Munich, 19G7), p. 151.

‘* Quoted from Hans Lamm, L’ber du innere ami dussere Entwicklung den DeuUchen Judentums

hnDritten Reich (On infernal and external development ofGermanJewry in the Third Reich),

indugiiraldissertatioi^PhilosophischeFakultatderFriedrich-AIexander-UniversitatKrlangeii,

1951, p. 161.

17 Hans Lamm, ibid.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 59

conception, this is not a question of sentimentality, but one dealing

with a real problem in whose solution all peoples are interested.18

By employing this argument, Zionism was adopting the same political

line as the fascists.

On June 21,1933, there was finally an official Zionist declaration of

policy regarding the fascist takeover of power: „The Declaration of

the Zionist Union for Germany in Reference 10 the Position of the Jews

in the New Germany.” In one section of this extensive document, it was

emphasized that „In our opinion one of the principles of the new German

state of national exaltation would make a suitable solution possible.” 19

The ZVFD, in its document, then cast a historic glance back at the

position of thejews in Germany, using such fascist terms as „ties of blood

and race” and exactly like Hitler, postulating a „special soul” for the

Jews. Then the Zionists stated: „For the Jew, too, origin, religion, common

destiny and self-consciousness must be of crucial significance in

shaping his life. This calls for the surmounting of the egoistical individualism

that arose in the liberal age, and this should be achieved through the

acquisition of a sense of common unity and a joyful assumption of responsibility.”

20

After this avowal and reiteration of fascist theses there followed open

recognition of the fascist state: „On the soil of the new state [i.e., fascist

Germany], which drew up the race principle, we want to arrange the

whole structure of our community in such a way, that for us, too, a fruitful

application for the fatherland can be made possible in the sphere

allotted to us.” n In conclusion, the Zionists condemned the struggle

against the Hitler regime of the anti-fascist forces, which in the spring

of 1933 had called for an economic boycott against Nazi Germany. „The

boycott propaganda which they are making against Germany is in its

very nature un-Zionist, since Zionism does not want to fight, but to persuade

and to build.” 22

In order to grasp the full significance of this declaration by the ZVFD,

im

16 Hans Lamm, op, ciL, p. 156.

10 Quoted from In £wei Wdtm. Siegfried Moses turn 75 Gebuttstag (In Two Worlds. For

the 75th birthday ofSiegfried Moses), Tel Aviv, 1962, pp. 1 18 IT.

80 „Ausserung der Zionistischen Vereinigung fur Deulschland 2ur Stellung der Juden i

neuen deutschen Staat” (Statement of the Zionist Union of German) regarding the State of

the Jews in the new German StateJ, published in Zjaei Welttn, Siegfried Moses turn 75 (Jeburtstag

(Tel Aviv, 1962), p. 118 ff.

» Ibid.

« Ibid.

 

 

60 JOURNAL OP PALESTINE STUDIES

one must again remember what had preceded it. ‘1’hc persecution of

the Jews had already started and reached its first climax in a big pogrom

on April I, 1933, that encompassed all Germany. In the first days of

March 1933, German Jewish citizens were mistreated in German cities

(for example, Jewish shops in Brunswick were ransacked on March 1 1,

1933, and on March 13, Jewish lawvers were manhandled in front of the

Hall of Justice in Breslau). The fascist authorities issued the „Law for

the Restoration of the Character of Vocational Professions,” which,

amongst other things, led to the removal of 2000 Jewish scientists and

scholars from German universities. The Eighteenth Zionist Congress,

which convened in the summer of 1933, was nevertheless cool about this

:

when, during the session of the Zionist Congress taking place on August

24, 1933, the position of the German Jews was to be discussed, the

Congress Presidium moved to prevent the discussion. 23 It also strenuously

and successfully attempted to prevent the introduction of a resolution

calling for the boycott of German goods, and placed great emphasis

instead on the need to arrange the emigration of the German Jews. Protests

against the events in Germany were kept to an absolute minimum.

The fascists rewarded the Zionists for their „restraint” and allowed

the ZVFD to go on with its work unhindered. (This was at a time when

all democratic and anti-fascist parties and organizations in Germany

were subject to the most rigorous persecution, with their officials and

members behind bars in prisons and concentration camps.) At the same

time, the fascists placed all kinds of obstacles in the path of the non-

Zionist organizations. These hindrances struck at the CV above all, for

prior to 1933. the fascists had already seen the CV as „their chiefJewish

opponents,” as is indicated by numerous examples from the Nazi press. 24

The CV had always charged the Zionists with showing little interest

in the „struggle [against fascism] … and that [Zionism) followed a

policy of indifference [in the face of the encroaching fascist danger]

because it did not feel itself involved.” M

On March 1, 1933 the SA fascist terror troops occupied the central

office of the CV and closed it. On March 5, 1933, the CV in Thuringia

was banned because of „high treasonous intrigues.” At the same time,

23 See Joseph B. Schcchtman, Fighter and Prophet. The Vladimir Jabotinsky Story {New York/

London: 1961), p. 194.

aj Arnold Paucher, Der judische Abwehrkampf gegen Antisem.iti.imia und JVationatsoziaiismus in

den leUtmJahren der Weimanr Repubiik (Thejewish Struggle against anti-Semitism and National

Socialism in the Last Years of the Weimar Republic). Hamburg, 1968, p. 32.

” Arnold Paucher, op. at., p. 43.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 61

the Nazi state turned against other non-Zionist Jewish organizations,

which, like the „Reich League ofJewish Veterans*” Tor instance, represented

a Jewish German nationalist position. Also banned was the

„Union of National German Jews.”

With this fascist support, the leaders of the Zionist Union for Germany

were able to obtain a leading position amongst the German Jews for

the first time. In the autumn of 1933, the „Reich Deputation ofGerman

Jews” was founded and all large Jewish organizations including the GV

and the ZVFD participated in it. The leader of the Reich Deputation

was Rabbi Dr. Leo Baeek in whose person the divided attitude of the

Reich Deputation towards Zionism was mirrored; Baeck was at one and

the same time a member of the main council of the CV as well as the

president of the Zionist settlement fund „Keren Haycsod” in Germany.

The newly-erealed Reich Deputation offered the Zionist leaders a

broader platform for their activity.

The Reich Deputation was not, as is sometimes claimed, founded at

the behest of the fascist authorities. Ball-Kaduri writes: „So it came

about that the establishment of the Reich Union took place without

any interference from the state; with the establishment process completed,

this was simply reported to the Reich Ministry of the Interior—the Gestapo

did not show any interest at all.” 26 It was only on July 4, 1939 that

the ordinance regarding the compulsory establishment of the Reich

Union of Jews in Germany was issued, changing the organization’s

name from Deputation to Union. This ordinance made it obligatory

for all Jews to become members of the Reich Union. Paragraph 2 of

this ordinance also fulfilled the Zionist aims by saying: „The Reich

Union has as its goal the promotion of the emigration of all Jews.”27

The higher echelons of the Na/i party allowed various kinds of political

activity. In this regard, for example, the Bavarian political police

noted on July 9, 1935:

The Zionist organizations have for some time been collecting

donations from their members and sympathizers with the intention

of promoting emigration, the buying of land in Palestine, and the

gaining of support for settlement in Palestine. These collections do

not require government permission as they are held in closed Jewish

circles. Moreover, on the part of the state police there is no objection

against these arranged meetings since they deal with such funds as

are meant to promote the practical solution of the Jewish problem.

26 Ball-Kaduri, op. cit., p. 147.

27 Rtkliijiesetzblalt :’Reicli Law Bulletin} Part I, No. 1 18/1939* pp. 1097 ff.

 

 

62 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

After 1933, the fascists permitted the Zionists to continue with their

propaganda. While all the newspapers in Germany were placed directly

under the supervision of the Ministry of Propaganda (the newspapers

published by the Communists or the Social Democratic Party or the

trade unions and other progressive organizations were banned) the

Zionist JUdische Rundschau was allowed to appear unhindered.

Winfried Martini, the then correspondent in Jerusalem of the Deutsche

Ailgemeim %titung who, according to his own testimony, had ”close personal

ties with Zionism” remarked later on the „paradoxical fact” that

„of all papers, it was theJewish (i.e. Zionist] press that for years retained

a certain degree of freedom which was completely withheld from the

non-Jewish press.” 28 He added thai, in the JUdische Rundschau there was

very frequently to be found a critical view of the Nazis without this in

any way leading to the banning of the paper. Only with the end of the

year 1933 onwards did it lead to a ban on selling this paper to non-Jews.

The Jews should, according to the wish of the fascists, be converted to

Zionism, even if this were done with arguments directed against the

fascists. In this fashion, the circulation of this Zionist paper, which had

until then been small, 2″ underwent a rapid swing upwards.

That the Zionist newspaper could congratulate itself on being in the

good books of the fascist leaders is understandable, when the position

of the paper vis-a-vis the boycott of the Jews on April 1, 1933, is considered.

This organized pogrom against Jewish citizens in Germany

which aroused indignation all around the world and anger and revulsion

in all decent Germans was not condemned outright by the paper; rather

it was evaluated as a confirmation of Zionist views: „the fatal error of

manyJews that one can representJewish interests under another cloak is

removed,” wrote the JUdische Rundschau referring to the pogrom; „The

First of April 1933 can be a day ofJewish awakening and Jewish renaissance.”

30

The freedom of activity for the Zionists included the publishing of

books as well as the newspaper. Until 1938, many publishing houses

(among others, the Judische Verlag in Berlin-Charlottenburg and the

Schochen-Vcrlag, Berlin) could publish Zionist literature unhindered.

Thus there appeared with complete legality in fascist Germany works by

Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion and Arthur Ruppin.

M Wiiifricd Martini. „Hitler und diejuden” (Hitler and (he Jews) in Christ mid Weltf Suittgart,

Junclb( J 961.

” Ball-Kaduri, op. cif., p. 91.

su JUdische Rundschau, April 4, 1933.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 63

The Transfer of Capital

The first days of Nazi domination in Germany also brought about the

beginning of economic collaboration between fascists and Zionists. In

May 1933 the Zionist citrus-planting company „Hanotca” in Palestine

was already applying to the Reich Ministry of the Economy for permission

to transfer capital from Germany, thereby paving the way for the

Haavara agreement that came later.

The „Hanotea” bought the German goods that it required, paying

for them from the German bank accounts of Jewish emigrants. The

emigrants then left Germany and received the equivalent value of the

payments in real estate.*’ As the experiences of the „Hanotea” seemed

successful to the Zionist leaders, negotiations were carried out in the

summer of 1933 between the Zionist side and the German Ministry of

the Economy, leading to the signing of the so-called Haavara agreement.

The Haavara negotiations of 1933 were one of the occasions of Zionist

history over which a veil has been drawn, since they constituted an

instance of economic cooperation at a time when anti-fascist forces were

attempting to lead a boycott against Nazi Germany. In commenting

on these efforts, Nahum Goldmann, who then occupied a leading position

in the Zionist movement, later wrote:

However, many Jewish groups refused to participate [in the boycott],

either because many Jewish firms happened to be the business

agents of German enterprises, or because some Jewish organizations,

namely those in the United States, look up the position that

it was unpatriotic to organize a boycott against a country with

whom one’s country maintained normal trade relations.52

This argument may be valid in detail, but it veils the truth nevertheless,

for those who broke the boycott were in the first place the Zionists

themselves.

There are conflicting versions of the circumstances which led to the

Haavara agreement. One version presents the view that the initiative

for the negotiations with the fascist authorities came from the

Zionist l.’nion for Germany, which had interested Hoofien, the

Director-General of the Anglo-Palestine Bank in Palestine, in the project.

Hoofien, it is reported, travelled to Berlin in 1933 and there entered

31 See Werner Feilchenfeld, Dolf Michaelis, Ludwjg Pinner,/YtftWtfra-Tr<wi.f/«- nark Patdstina

nnd Einwandtrung dmticher Jitdm, 1933-1939, (Haavara Transfer to Palestine and the Immigration

of GermanJews, 1933-1939), Tubingen, 1973.

  • *2 Nahum Goldmann, Slaafsmtm ohne Slant (Cologne; Berlin, 1970), p. 197. (The Autobiography

of Nahum Goldmann)

 

 

64 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

negotiations with Oberregierungsrat Harienstcin of the Reich Ministry

of the Economy.33 (For this reason the Haavara agreement is also often

called the Hoofien Agreement, an appellation which reduces responsibility

for the whole event to the sole personage of Hoofien.) Insofar as

Hoofien was involved (an involvement which was probably necessary

since it was a matter dealing with concrete agreements over questions

of transfer that required the expertise of a professional banker) it is to be

assumed that a matter of such importance could not be born of private

initiative, and that ii could not be set in motion without the authorization

of Zionist institutions. Indeed it can be seen from other publications

Lhat the negotiations were handled in Berlin by the then chiefof the political

department of the Jewish Agency: Ohaim Arlosoroil.34 Finally,

the agreement of 1935 was officially approved by the World Zionist

Congress

!

In the words of Ball-Kaduri, the Haavara agreement was concluded

„in the form of a letter addressed to Herr Hoofien by the Reich Ministry

of the Economy. The negotiations were carried out in a smooth way, as

the Nazis were at that time still ‘Zionist’ inclined.”3 *

As a result of the agreement reached in Berlin, two companies were

established: the Haavara company in Tel Aviv, and a sister company

named Paltreu in Berlin. The procedure was carried out in the following

manner: the Jewish emigrant paid his money (the minimum sum was

around a thousand pounds sterling) into the German account of the

Haavara (at the Wassermann Bank in Berlin or at the Warburg Bank

ao BaU-Kaduri, op. cit., p. 155.

34 This is at least what the chairman of the Commission lor Foreign and Security Affairs of

the Israeli Knesset, Meir Argov. said in a parliamentary debate over the reparations agreement

between Israel and ihr Federal Republic ofGennany (minutes ofthe Knesset onJune 30, 1959).

It remains to be said thai the sudden assassination ofArlosoroil*gave rise to the assumption that

it could have been connected with the negotiations with Nazi Germany. ArlosorolT was killed,

in his flat on June 16, 1033 by two unidentified persons. His wife identified ihe murderer as a*

certain Abraham Stavsky, who was an active member of the Revisionist party led by Vladimir

Jabotinsky (this party being the precursor of the Irgunf. The Palestinian police arrested those

whowere suspected of the murder, but released them soon afterward. The police officer Yahuda

Tannenbaum-Arezki, who belonged to the Zionist Mapai Party, declared despite the clear

identification of Stavsky that „Abraham Stavsky did not kill Arlosoroil, Arabs did.” Vladimir

Jabotinsky himself demanded”to look for the murderers among the Arabs. „But interestingly

enough, a few days later— on July 7, 1933 David Ben Gurion accused Jabotinsky of collaborating

with the German fascists (in order to divert attention from hisown collaboration?).

Sec in this connection Joseph B. Scheehtrnan’s book, opxil, pp. 135, 202, 203. Also Albert M.

Hyamsott, Palestine under the Mandate (London, 1950), who made the observation that Arlosoroil”

was murdered „a few days after his return from Germany.”

xh Ball-Kaduri, op,til.s p. 155.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS <>”>

in Hamburg). With this money, the Jewish importers could purchase

German goods for export to Palestine, while paying the equivalent value

in Palestinian pounds into the Haavara account at the Anglo-Palestine

Bank in Palestine. When the emigrant arrived in Palestine, he received

from this account the equivalent value of the sum he had paid in Germany

(at which point Ball-Kaduri remarks: „after remitting the rather high

expenses.”)36

In connection with the emigration to Palestine that had been caused

by the Haavara agreement, the Zionists established their own Palestine

Shipping Company, which bought the German passenger ship „Hohenstein”

and renamed it „Tel Aviv.” This ship embarked on its first trip

from the German port of Brcmcrhaven to Haifa at the beginning of

  1. On this trip, the ship bore on its stern the Hebrew letters of the

new name „Tel Aviv/9 while from the mast fluttered the swastika; „a

combination of metaphysical absurdity” wrote one of the passengers

later.*7 The captain of the ship, Lcidig, was a registered member of the

Nazi Party!

The Haavara agreement doomed the attempt at an economic boycott

of the Nazi state to failure and assured the fascist economy an extensive

and unbroken export market in a situation where world trade still

suffered from the traces of the international economic crisis of 1929.38

This was emphasized in a memorandum by Stuckart. the Nazi State

Secretary of the Reich Ministry of the Interior. In this memorandum

dated December 17, 1937, it was stated: *’The main advantages [of the

Haavara agreement] are the following: the influence of the Haavara

group in Palestine has led to the unusual but hoped-for contingency

wherein of all places, Palestine is the country in which German goods

are not boycotted by theJewish side…” 3* At the same time, the Haavara

procedure made possible a broadening of the Jewish emigration movement

from Germany to Palestine, Leading to the strengthening of the

Zionist position in Palestine. The immigrants from Germany brought

with them a higher degree of economic knowhow. among other things.

afl Ibid.

‘”” Wintried Martini, „Hcbraisch untenri Hakenkreuz,” (Hebrew under the Swastika) in

Die Welt Hamburg, January 10, 1975.

3fi Nevertheless, in a report analysing German exports that was laid before Hitler towards

die end ofMay 1933. it was concluded diat : „The prospects for the sale ofGerman goods abroad

are extremely had. The situation is not only politically unsatisfactory, but also economically

so1 ‘ (quoted in Kurt Patzold’s Fasehismus, Rossmteahn, judemxrfolgerung (Fascism, Racial

Madness, Persecution of the Jews), Berlin, 1975, p. I’i3.

39 Quoted from Kem&tdunJ {Mark J), (Berlin: Helmut Eschwege, 1966), p. 132.

lili

 

 

JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

This also resulted in „selectiveness.” As the agreement demanded a

minimum payment of a thousand pounds from the emigrant, only

members of the .Jewish bourgeoisie were able to avail themselves of its

advantages, while workers ofJewish origin were left to their fate.™ Thus

in a recent examination of fascist racial policy, the following evaluation

of the Haavara agreement can be considered perfectly just: „The solidarity

principle that required the Jews in Germany to stand against

their persecutors was torn asunder by capitalist interests. Pecunia nanolet.

Meanwhile, the measures undertaken by Jewish contractors with the

sole aim of bringing capital out of fascist Germany to Palestine were

receiving a high degree of consecration. It was claimed that the capital

brought over to the Near East was placed at the service of the Jews. In

reality however, in Palestine it served the same purpose as it did before

in Germany: the profit interests of its owners****1

The same book affirms that „the Zionist International wanted the

Jewish emigrants from Germany to arrive on Palestinian soil not as

have-nots, but as owners of capital that would help in the building of

a capitalist state. Out of this desire, grew the Zionist interest to unite

themselves with the anti-Semites.*” 4’-5

Indeed, prior to the (bunding of Israel, the Haavara transfer was a

huge booster for the Zionist economy in Palestine. Zionist sources speak

oi a sum of 1 39.6 million Reichroarks— an enormous sum for that timebeing

transferred from Germany to Palestine.43 Another source gives the

40 According to statements from Aenn^eic/itn Jl, ihe annual number ofJews leaving Germany

was; 1934. about 23,000: 1935, 20,000; 1937, 23,000; and from January 1938 to September

1939, 157,000. Despite the cflorls of the Zionists, only a part of this total emigrated to Palestine

(in 1934. 37 percent; in 1935, 36 percent and 1937, 10.8 percent;. Feilchenfeld, Michactis,

and firmer give jrj (heir already-mentioned book the number ofJewish Germans who immigrated

to Palestine by way of the Haavara transfer as being 50,000. The paper Tagesspiegkf,

which appeal’s in Berlin, estimated the total number ofGerman emigrants to Palestine between

1933 and 1940 as being 70.000 ; Tagessftieget, February 15, I97’l }. According to Zionist statements

the immigrants from Germany made up in this period around ‘lb percent of the total

ofJewish immigrants in Palestine. Working out (he Haavara transfers in the context of the

social strata oi innnigration gives an idea of immigrants according to their financial standing.

The proportion ofimmigrants possessing more than a thousand Palestinian pounds increased

from 10.3 percent of all immigrants in the year 1933 to 18.1 percent in the year 1936, while

the number of immigrating Jewish workers sank in the same period from 35.8 percent to 17.2

 

 

percent. See Dr. T. Canaan. Conflict in the Land of Peace (Jerusalem, 1936,1, p. 41

.

*’ Kurt Pauold, Op. at., p. 190.

g2 Kurt Pattold, op, nt- p. 277.

,:

> See Feilchenfeld ct. al., p. 277.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 67

amount transferred as eight million pounds sterling 41 The capitalist

Zionist economy thus grew. It was not a coincidence that the most important

projects in Israel were founded or directed by emigrants from Germany.

The largest Palestinian foundry and the cement industry were

founded by the onetime director of the Berlin electricity and water

company, Dr. Karl Landau. Dr. Arnold Barth of Berlin, Dr. Siegfried

Sahlheine of Hamburg and Herbert Forder of Breslau were the first

organizers of the Bank Lcumi. Frit/ Naphtals of Berlin and George

Josephthal of Nuremberg made a gin.nl enterprise out of the insignificant

„Arbeitcrbank.” Some of the most important of Israeli firms were

founded by Yekuliel and Sam Federmannor Chemnitz (now called Karl-

Marx-Stadt); Yekutiel’s entry in Who’s Who in Israel {\9(y’2) describes him

as „‘founder, the ‘Israel Miami Group” fDan Hotel); Israel partner of

‘Isasbest’; founder and partner ‘Israel Oil Prospectors Corp., Ltd.’;

started (he first oil drilling

;Mazal I’; president of numerous oiher

companies/’

The economic agreements between the Zionists and German fascism

were approved by all institutions of the Nazi Reich. The Foreign Office

had already taken up a pro-Zionist attitude on many occasions before

  1. (There were meetings between Chaim Weizmann and State

Secretaries von Schubert and von Bulow.) 45

Only after the outbreak of the Palestinian Arab rebellion of I93f> did

the first difierenee of opinion set in amongst the various fascist institutions

about the usefulness of continuing the Haavara transfers. The

Foreign Office now realized that the de facto support for Zionist policy

would alienate Arabs against Hitlers Germany—a prospect thai was

not in the interest of the Nazi Reich. Dohle. the German Consul-Gcneral

in Jerusalem, was spokesman for (his point of view, and in an extensive

memorandum dated March 22, 1937, he declared that „Lhrough our

promotion of Jewish immigration… the position that was again

captured by the Germans… would come to grief.”” In taking this stand,

Dohle was naturally not moved by concern for the Arabs as much as

H Meyer Weisgal and Joel Carmichael (Editors), Chaim Weitmanu, A Biography by Several

Hands (New York, I V>C> I >

~

  1. Z\’2.

4* According to Ernst Marcus . Dux detitstfte dtawtiflige Am/ mid die Palusfuiafrage in dm

Jcthrcn i’iS’i- 1939 {The German Foreign Office and (he Palestine Question in ihe sears I!I3!»-

10:50} YWA 01/11; queued l>y Ball-Kaduri. op. at., p. I „‘I

.

,a Report by Dohle <!a<ed March 22, 19157. The. Chief of the Foreign Allans Organization

in the German Foreign Cilice. Haavara. 1938, Series 72, Jewish Slate. Palestine (Political

Archives of the Foreign Office in Bonn); quoted by Heinz TUlmann, DentstMauds Amberpolitik

iin iwrikn WeUkrieg (Germany’s Arab Policy in the Second World War), Berlin . 1%5,

  1. 63.

 

 

68 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

he was anxious about the political interests ofGerman fascism. He added

(hat Germany need „not worry unduly about the sympathies of Palestinian

Arabs regarding Germany, since what is required is not even a

question of an active Arab poliey so much as the need to avoid the conspicuous

promotion lent -co the building of the Jewish national home.”47

Dohle feared ”that the Arab mood might turn around, and that wc

might be accused ofactively participating in the fight against them. ,,4tl

Dohlc’s fears were shared by other fascist authorities. Thus the Office

for Foreign Trade at the Auslandsorganisation of the Nazi party

(the parly office in charge of foreign affairs) stated in all frankness:

„Politically, it [the Haavara transfer] means giving valuable support to

the establishment of a Jewish national home with the help of German

capital.””

On December 17, 1937 it was stated in the already quoted memorandum

of Stale Secretary Stuckart of the Reich Ministry of the Interior

that since the beginning of the Arab rebellion in Palestine „the advantages

of the [HaavaraJ procedure have grown smaller while the disadvantages

are becoming larger.” 51″‘

Stuckart was of the opinion that il the establishment of a Jewish state

was unavoidable, then „everything that would promote the growth of

such a state should be refrained from.” Then Stuckart declared clearly:

„There is no doubt that the Haavara procedure has made the greatest

contribution to the tremendously rapid building of Palestine fi.e,, the

Zionist colonies — K.P.]. The procedure did not only come up with the

largest sums of money (from Germany!): it also provided the most intelligent

men amongst the immigrants, and finally, provided the necessary

machines and industrial equipment — also from Germany.” 5l

The fears of these officials [which, as wc shall see. contradicted the

views of the SS and the Gestapo) were finally brought before Hitler.

Hitler, as is seen in a memorandum of the Political Trade Department

of the Foreign Office, dated January 27, 1938, decided that the Haavara

procedure should be continued. 52 This positive stand taken by Hitler

vis-a-vis the strengthening of the Zionist colonization of Palestine stayed

unchanged in the face of complaints emanating from the Foreign Of-

17

Hciii/. Tiiltnann, op. cil, t p. fiS.

,B Heinz Tillmann, op. cit,. p. 65.

*B Mcmornnrium by iheOfticc ofthe: Chiefof the: Foreign Aflaiis Organization ofthe NSDAP

(Nazi Party), dated June I). 1937, quoted by TiHmunn, op, cil.. p. <>7-

5,1 Kennzeichen’j,?. 133.

&1 tCmnzeiiJlm J, p. 1 33,

” Sec: TiHmann. op. cit, p. <i9.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 69

(ice and the Auslandorganisaiion of the Nazi Party about the rising hostility

ofthe Palestinians to Germany. Thus the office ofthe Auslandsorganisation

at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded anew in a memorandum

dated November 12. 1938 that „an initiative should be undertaken

for the overdue cancellation of the Haavara agreement.*’ 53 Jon and

David Kimchc confirm the fact that Hitler, „with unambiguous determination,

ordered the promotion of mass immigration to Palestine,” b* and

that Hitler laid down the fundamental decision that the „Jewish emigration

should be further promoted by all available means. There can

thus be no question about the Ffihrer’s opinion that such emigration

should bo above all channelled towards Palestine. M S5 Finally, even

Winfried Martini confirms the pro-Zionist position of leading fascist

circles during the Arab revolt of 1936-39. He writes that as a correspondent

of the Deutsche Allgemeine Quitting in Palestine, his reports about the

revolt „were rather clearly favourable to the Jewish side,” and that this

did not draw any objections from any Nazi officials. sa

Hitler thus remained the guarantor of the Haavara transfers, which

were only halted at the outbreak of the Second World War. OT

Cooperation with the Nazi Intelligence Services

During the first days of fascia! domination in Germany, the Zionists

held a direct line to the fascist repression apparatus which developed

into loose collaboration between the Zionist leadership and the terror

organizations of the Nazi Reich (the Gestapo, SS, etc). Before 1933, the

Zionist official, Leo Plant, already „had a connection” with the political

police and with the police official Oberregierungsrat Rudolf Diels (supposedly

a schoolfriend ofPlant). When Diels was first appointed chiefof

the secret police in 1933, he retained his connection with Plaut. „Indeed

Plaut even had the secret telephone number of Diels and could call him

anytime.” 5fl One can only speculate about the details of these contacts

because the documents regarding them are kept under lock and key at

h* Heinz Tittmann, of), til., p. 30.

54 Jim and David Kimdie, Da %pnus and daHerzera Wegm {Secret Roads), Berlin, 1956.

  1. 26.

M Kimche,qfr, «/., p. 28.

56 Winfried Martini, „Hitler und die Juden,” in Christ itnd WeU, Stultgart, June 6, 1961.

‘•>’ The emigration ofJews from Germany was prohibited in 1941 by order of S.*> Chief

Hhninler; arc Leon Poliakov and Joseph VVulfT, Das Drill* Reich und die Juden (The- Third

Reich and the Jews). Berlin, 1935. p. 89.

m Ball-Kaduru op. til., p. 118.

 

 

70 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

the Yad-Vashem archives in Jerusalem. However, it is to be supposed

that it was through these contacts that a meeting was arranged between

the then Prussian Prime Minister Hermann Goering (later sentenced lo

death by the Nuremberg International Tribunal as a war criminal) and

the leaders of German Jewish organizations. The meeting took place on

March 26, 1933. Among the representatives of the Zionists taking part

was the official, Kurt Blumenfeld, but he was silent about this episode

in his memoirs.39

Such contacts were conducted covertly, but evidence exists pointing

to preparations then underway for cooperation between the Zionists

and the SS (the organization that dominated the whole police and secret

service apparatus of the fascist state). Not long after the takeover of

power by the fascists, the paper Der A?igri/J, published by the chief Naz-i

propagandists, carried a travel report from Palestine, which presented

Zionist colonization in Palestine in positive terms. The report, entitled

„A Nazi travels to Palestine,” „was almost devoid of criticism.” 60

The writer’s pseudonym of „Lim” concealed the identity of SSUntersturmfuhrcr

(equivalent in army rank to lieutenant) Leopold von

Mildenstein. Mildenstcin was active in the SD (the security service of

the SS) which was originally established as the internal secret service

organization ofthe Nazi party, but which from 193-1 ceased to be merely

the party police and police-command instrument, and developed into

the dominant internal political secret service of the fascist dictatorship. 61

It also became the organization for the political command and cadreformation

body of the fascist security police. That Mildenstcin should

have been the man to write an outspokenly pro-Zionist series of articles

was no mere coincidence, since in 1934 in Office II of the SD (inland)

there had been born Department 11-112, the so-called „Judenreferat”

(Office forJewish Affairs) presided over by himself. According to Martini

Mildenstcin was „discreetly advised by the Zionist officials” during his

Palestine trip. 62 Mildenstein’s department was in charge of fascist Jewish

policy until 1938. This policy was formulated by the official organ of

the SS, Das Schmarze K’orps, in the following words: „The time may not

be far distant when Palestine once again receives the sons whom it lost

a thousand years ago. Our wishes along with the good will of the stale

SH Kurt Bluuicufcld, livlthte Judmfrage (The Jewish Question F.xpcrinicctl), Siudgart,

19G2.

*’ Winfrictl Martini in Christ and WiU. op. (it

fi1 Atwin Rammc, B& Sirfurheitsdienst (Ur SS (The Security Service of the SS), Berlin, 11)70,

  1. 59-

fli Winfried Martini in Christ uttd tVetty op. cii.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 71

accompany them.” 83 There have been attempts to depict the pro-Zionist

policy of the SS as being the personal attitude of Mildcnstein, rather than

the reflection of an official entente between Zionists and fascists. But not

only does the quotation from the Sckwarze Korps contradict this;Mildenstein

himself, a few years later, extracted his Palestine travel report from

(he Angriffxo publish it in book form. But this time he turned the originally

pro-Zionist tendency into unmasked anti-Semitism.M

The Zionist leaders who had ”discreetly advised” the director of the

SD „Judenrcfcrat” during his Palestine trip, continued their contacts

with the SS and SD. Naturally, few details are known about these contacts,

the record of which is highly classified material. One of the fewdocuments

about these occurrences that is available is a memorandum by

Professor Franz Six,*5 dated June 17, 1937. which bears the classification

„Secret Matter for the Command.

fifi This memorandum contains information

about a visit of the Zionist emissary Feivel Polkes to Berlin. Polkes

was a member of the general staff of the Zionist underground army, the

Haganah, with the rank of commander, 67 SS-Oberscharfiihrer Herbert

*:* Dm Sthwarze Korps, Berlin, May 15, 193^.

Ii4 Leopold voiiMildcnsteiifs book appeared in 194 1.

* a Professor Dr. Fran/*Alfred Six, born qn December 8, 1909. was a member of the Nazi

Party from 1930, In 1936 he was appointed SS*Haupt$tunnfuhrcr to the post of director of

the Central Department ofthe Press and Library at the SI) main office. Then he took over the

directorship ofthe Department II (inland) in tlie SDmain office. Six was sentenced to twenty

years imprisonment for war crimes by an American tribunal in April, 1948, In January 1951.

this sentence was reduced to ten ycais and on September 3Q- 1-952 he was released- The Israelis

who arc always on the hunt for Na/i war criminals have not shown any interest in exposing

Six, who was privy to the collaboration between the Zionists and the Fascists.

iiz This document is kept in the archives ofthe American Commission for the Study ot War

Documents in Alexandria, Virginia, USA- These documents were also made available on

microfilm to other archives (exact designation : Records of the Reich leader of the SS and

ChicI of German Police^ Washington, 1958). The documents quoted here are available on the

RFSS film roll 411, frames 2936012 and 2936069. Alwin Ramme writes in his book Dtr

Sicfarkdtsdienst dtr SS on page 21 : **Thc evaluation of these films is made difficult because of

their bad quality in parts. Documents which are especially revealing air often photographed

badly and rendered dillicult to read this having been done not unintentionally by those in

charge1

* (National Archives, Washington).

*7 According to recent information, Feivel Polkes today lives in Haifa. Tuvia Friedmann,

author of die book hh Jogle Ekhmam (I Hunted Eichmann) and director of the Institute for

Documentation in Haila, stated in a letter datedJanuary 25, 1970 that the documents concerning

Polkes* visit to Berlin have been known in Israel since 19*17; he also stated that he had talked

to Polkes about these events and Polkes had declared that it was all

41a misunderstanding/’

1’Yiedmann further wrote that it was allegedly not puasiblc to cheek this complicated matter

further since only copies were available and not the original documents*

 

 

72 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

Hagen, who succeeded Mildcnstein as director of the Judenreferat,

claimed in his papers that Polkes held the „leadership of the whole selfdefence

apparatus of the Palestinian Jews.” 88

In Palestine, Polices had been in close contact with the correspondent

of the ”German News Agency,” Dr. Reichert, who was active in the

Palestine espionage network of the SB, This ring was directed by the

SB agent Otto von Bodelschwingh, who lived in Haifa as a salesman. It

was Dr. Reichert who acquired an entry visa for Polkes to visit Germany.

Polkcs stayed in Berlin from February 26 to March 2, 1937, holding

several meetings with SD agents representing the Nazi regime, two of

which were with SS-Hauptscharfuhrcr Adolf Eichmann (Eichmann

had by then taken up work at the „Judenreferat”). Here, Polkes offered to

collaborate with the German regime telling Eichmann that he was interested

above all in ”accelerating Jewish immigration to Palestine, so

that the Jews would attain a majority over the Arabs in his country. For

this purpose, he worked together with the secret services of England and

France and he also wanted to cooperate with Hitler’s Germany.” 8*

Hagen noted further in his report about Polkes* visit to Berlin: „He also

declared his readiness to provide Germany with services in the form of

information, so long as that did not conflict with his personal objectives…

lie would, among other things, vigorously support the foreign interests

of Germany in the Middle East…”70, Hohne commented on Polkes’ oiler

with the words: „…behind it there clearly stands the immigration policy

of the Haganah/’71

The SS immediately awarded Polkes’ cooperative intentions with the

instructions put forth by Six. „Pressure is being exerted on the Reich

Deputation of the Jews in Germany in order to compel Jews emigrating

from Germany to head only to Palestine and not to any other country.’ 1

That was exactly what the Zionists wanted, but Six added: „Such a

measure lies entirely in the German interest and it is already being put

into effect by the Gestapo.” 72

Feivel Polkes, the Haganah commander, went out of his way to help

in the development of cooperation between Zionists and fascists; he

even extended an invitation to Eichmann to visit Palestine as attest of the

»i<l RFSS film roll 411.

<iW Quoted from Hein* Hohne, DerQrden unttr ifem Toteiikoftf [Owlet under ihe Skull},Gutersloh,

1 967, p. 309.

” Memorandum by Hagen, RI’SS film roll -1.1 1 . p. 4.

” Heinz Hohne, op, cit., p. 330.

72 Memorandum bv Six in RFSS film roll 411.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 73

Haganah. Six noted: „In the work of making contacts, the name of SSHauptscharfiihrer

Eichmann of Department 11-112 comes to mind

before any other. He had talks with Polkes during the latter’s stay in

Berlin and he was invited by him ro visit the Jewish colonics in Palestine

under his guidance.” 7*

The trip to Palestine undertaken by Eichmann and Hagen is only

an episode in the history of collaboration between Zionism and Nazi

Germany. But it was both a meaningful and revealing one that has

become the subject of considerable falsification. Rather than admit the

feet that the infamous and notorious murderer of the Jews, Adolf Richmaim,

was at one time invited to Palestine by the Haganah, Zionist

writers reversed the blame and claimed that the purpose of Eichmann’s

visit was to make contact with the Palestinian rebels, or even to conspire

with the Mufti ofJerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini. The inventor of this

story seems to be the well-known Zionist Simon Wiesenthal,who by 1947

was already making the claim that Eichmann had planted a network of

agents in the Palestinian settlement of Sarona and had taken up „contact

with the Grand Mufti.”74 In 1951 Leon Poliakov published a similar

version in Die l-Velt,~5 and Gerald Reitlinger borrowed it two years

later for his book The Final Solution^”6 in which Eichmann was supposedly

sent to Palestine „in order to make contact with the Arab rebels.*

1

From then onwards the legend grew, with the American Quentin

Reynolds even claiming that Eichmann had paid a visit to the Grand

Mufti. 77 Eichmann’s biographer Comer Clarke went so far as to claim

that Kichmann carried with him 50.000 dollars in „Na/i gold 11

lo offer

to the Palestinian rebels.7*

When such myths are compared with the actual events, one reason

why the Israeli government was so anxious about holding the trial of

Eichmann in Israel and in no other place becomes clear; only in Israel

could Zionist contacts with the Nazis be kept out of public view. 7** Only

!VI Ib’uL

:* Simon Wiescnthal, Qrttsstmtfti-GrossQg&U far Achse (Grand Mufti – Grand Agent of the

Axis:, Sakhurg,’Vienna, 1947, p. 12.

;;* Loon Poliakov. Ilreviaire <le la liaiite f Paris, 3951 ;.

Jtt Gerald Reitlinger, The Fimd Solution f London, 1953).

,T Qucmin Reynolds. Minister ofDeath (New York, jytiOj, pp. 77-78.

;s Comer Clarke. Eichmann, The Man o»d li’ts C’rimtt fNew York. I960:, pp. 35-37.

™ ‘Hie prosecution in the Eichmann trial produced a document that was allegedly writien

by Haj Amin al-Husscini, and which referred to Eichmann as „a jewel for the Arabs.” This

„piece of evidence” was such a crude falsification that even the pro-Israeli Allgemeine £eitung:

 

 

74 JOURNAL OV PALESTINE STUDIES

there would there be enough pressure for Eiehmann. on trial lor his life,

to make false declarations before the court. „It is true,” said Eiehmann

during his trial, „that one of the purposes of ray Palestine trip in 1937

was to lake up contact with Mufti AI-Hiisseiru.”80 But the travel report

of Eiehmann and Hagen found in the seerei archives of SS Chief Hiramler

paints a different picture.81 This is the gist of the travel report: Eiehmann

and Hagen left Berlin on September 26, 1937, in the guise of

editors of the Berliner Tageblatl. arriving in Haifa on October 2, 1937, on

the ship Romania. As the British authorities refused to allow the two SS

emissaries to disembark (pointing to the Arab revolt), Eiehmann and

Hagen went on to Egypt. Here they met not Haj Amin AUHusseiniy88

but their old acquaintance, Feivcl Polkes the Haganah officer.

The travel report of Hagen and Eiehmann contains an exact rendering

of the conversations with Polkes which look place on October 10 and

1 1, 1937 in Cairo’s Cafe Groppi. Polkes at once laid out the Zionist plans

in complete frankness before the SS mem[Polkes* statements as noted down

by Eiehmann and Hagen are no( only interesting in connection with

Zionist -fascist cooperation, but are also important as testimony to the

expansionist policy of the Zionists): „The Zionist stale must be established

by all means and as soon as possible so that it attracts a stream

of Jewish emigrants to Palestine- When the Jewish state is established

according to the current proposals laid down in the Peel Paper,” 3 and in

line with England’s parlial promises, then the borders may be pushed

further outwards according to one’s wishes.”

Polkes then praised the results of the anti-Semitic terror in Germany:

„Nationalist Jewish circles expressed their great joy over the radical

German policy towards the Jews, as this policy would increase theJewish

population in Palestine, so that one can reckon with a Jewish majority

in Palestine over the Arabs in the foreseeable future.”

Polkes once again pointed to the necessity of accelerating the removal

concluded on June 2(i, 1961 that „die value of this document is questionable-.” Hannah Arcndt

writes in her book Kidnnaun in Jerusalem thai one of the motives for holding: the iriitl in Israel

was**to ferret out other Nazis – lor example the connection between the Nu/is and some Arab

rulers*’ (p.8.) But Hannah Arcndt finally came to (he conclusion that the claims over Eichmann’s

contacts with Haj Amin al-Nusseini „were unfounded” fp. 10).

HJtm tyrcker fytunii, Zurich, July 12, 1961.

»i RFSS film roll 411.

Hi According to Gerald Rcill Niger’s claim ‘Sec Die Fsdiosimg, Berlin. 195(5, p. 29).

8H A Royal Commission under Lord Peel examined the situation in Palestine in 193? after

llic outbreak of the Arab revolt and discussed a first plan to divide Palestine into :i Jewish and

an Arab.stale.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 75

of Jews from Germany, and repeated his readiness to provide the SI)

with secret information. He did come up with two pieces of”information”

immediately, as Eichmann noted m his travel report. The first was

designed to arouse fascist hostility against the Arab nationalist movement.

Eichmann noted: „According to Polices’ information, the Pan-Islamic

World Congress convening in Berlin is in direct contact with two pro-

Soviet Arab leaders: Emir Shckib Arslan and Emir Adil Arslan.” The

second item which Eichmann registered in his travel report concerned tha t

party which had unequivocally committed itself to the forefront of the

struggle against fascist terror and anti-Semitic outrages: the German

Communist Party. „The illegal Communist broadcasting station whose

transmission to Germany is particularly strong, is, according to Polkes*

statement, assembled on a lorry that drives along the German-Luxembourg

border when transmission is on the air.” (This information offers

an interesting insight into where the Zionist leaders saw their allies and

where their opponents!)

The meetings between Eichmann and Polices were not isolated accidental

events. They fall into a longer-term framework of cooperation

between fascists and Zionists. Following the trip ofEichmann and Hagcn,

ihe collaboration was cemented bv the „Mossad Alivah Beth,” which

had been created by the Maganah as an illegal immigration organization,

after Britain had throttled Jewish immigration to Palestine as a result

of the Peel paper. At the end of 1937, i.e., a few months after Eichmann’s

trip, emissaries of the Mossad were taking up activity in the house of

the Reichsvereinigung (Reich Union) at Meineckestrasse 10, Berlin-

Charloltcnburg,84 with the permission of the fascist authorities in Berlin.

The two emissaries, Pina Ginsburg and Moshe Auerbach, had travelled

to Germany from Palestine for this purpose.

Jon and David Kimchc, in their book Secret Rocuiw dated Ginsburg’s

arrival in Berlin in the summer of 1938.** Ginsburg had introduced

himself officially to the Gestapo as emissary of the „Union of Communal

Settlements,” declaring that he was there on a special mission, and that

his task converged with the intentions of the Nazi government, his

objective being the organization of the emigration of German Jews to

Palestine. Only with the support of the Nazi leaders could (he project be

carried through on a large scale.86 The Gestapo had then discussed with

Ginsburg „how to promote and expand illegal Jewish immigration into

Palestine against the will of the British mandate government.”

ftl Heinz Hohm-. op, cil.. p. 319.

H Jon and David ICimche, Da £orn& anddei HozehsWegen, op. at., p. 13.

hfi thid.. p. 14.

 

 

76 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

The fascist authorities had in the meantime begun to change their

methods of pressure on the German Jews. They no longer left it up to the

Zionist organizations alone to arrange emigration to Palestine. In Vienna

(Austria had been occupied by Hitlers Germany in March 1938J, the

„Central Office forJewish Emigration1

‘ was established and placed under

the charge of Adolf Eichmann, In the early summer of 1938 Eichmann

had met another emissary of the Mossad, Bar-Gilead, in Vienna. The

latter requested permission to establish training camps for emigrants so

that they could be prepared for their work in Palestine. 87 After passing

on this request to Berlin, Eichmann granted permission and supplied

all the requirements for the establishment of training camps. By the end

of 1938, around a thousand youngJews had been trained in these camps.88

In ihe meantime, Ginsburg in Berlin was able, with the help of the

Nazi authorities, to establish similar training camps. Jon and David

Kimchc wrote: „The Palestinian [Ginsburg], who had come to Berlin

prepared for anything, had no pangs of conscience against supping with

the devil and securing his own portion of the meal.” 89

In her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arcndl commented in

reviewing the information of the Kimches:

…these Jews from Palestine spoke a language not totally differeiu

from that of Eichmann,.. they had been sent to Europe by the

communal settlements in Palestine, and they were not interested

in rescue operations — that was not their job. They wanted to .select

„suitable material” and their chief enemies… were not those who

made life impossible for Jews in the old countries, Germany and

Austria, bui those who barred access to the new homeland; that

enemy was definitely Britain, not Germany… they were probably

among the first Jews to talk openly about mutual interests…90

The Proposalfor a War Alliance with Hitlet

While- the majority group in the Zionist movement, the wing of the

„Labour” party (Ben Gurion, etc.) and the „General Zionists” (Weizmann

and the others), carefully camouflaged their contacts with the

fascists, and spoke in public against them, the right wing of Zionism, the

Revisionist party (the forerunner of the terrorist Irgun Zvai Leumi and

the later Herut party in Israel; had openly expressed its admiration on

m ibid., p. 16; even this meeting plays no part in the Eichmann trial.

„*/*«/.. p. 17.

IbU.,p. 14.

Hannah Arcmli. op. cit.. pp. 55-50. (111

Tim

 

 

SECRET CONTACTS 77

many occasions before 1933 for people like Hitler and Mussolini. An

example of this is (bund in a trial held in Jerusalem in 1932 when the

lawyer Cohen, a member of the Revisionist party, declared in defending

the perpetrators of outrages in the university: „Yes, we entertain great

respect for Hitler. Hitler has saved Germany. Without him it would have

perished four years ago. And we would have gone along with Hitler ifhe

had only given up his anti-Semitism.

ni

Vladimir Jabotinsky, the then leader of the Revisionists, who maintained

good relations with the fascist movement in Europe,92 was also

accused ofattempting to seek a close relationship with Hitler’s Germany.

There was now clearly a competition among the different Zionist factions

to achieve private collaboration with the fascists while publicly denouncing

each other’s similar activity. (Reference should be made to the

circumstances surrounding the assassination of Chaim Arlosoroff.) The

Zionist paper Davar in July 1933 published an article by David Ren

Gurion which contained a strong charge: „..Just after Hitler’s accession

to power in Germany, when the persecutions ofJews and Marxists were

at their height, Mr. Vladimir Jabotinsky arrived in Berlin and in a public

address incited against Marxists and Communists in Zionism and in

Palestine.

ya If that was the case, then it meant that Jabotinsky wanted

to torpedo the Zionist-fascist negotiations in order to bring himself into

the game as a negotiating partner with the Nazis. Nonetheless, Jabotinsky

strove to refute Ben Gurion’s charge by pointing out that he had

spoken on Radio Warsaw on April 28, 1933 and demanded the setting

up of a worldwide economic boycott of Germany, simultaneously with

the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish stale „as the only adequate

answer to the Hitlerite menace/’114 There was an obvious allusion here

to the Zionist majority’s Haavara negotiations. But Jabotinsky could not

dispute the fact that the Revisionist paper Hazit Haunt, appearing in

Palestine, „was allegedly treating this movement [the fascists] with a

pronounced slant of sympathetic understanding. The editors of the

paper… he was told, though aware ofHitler’s rabid anti-Semitism, saw in

ai Die Wetibiilmi; Berlin, May 31, 1932.

92 Vor a titnc the Italian dictator Mussolini had supported the Revisionists and permitted

them to establish in Italy a school for training navy soldiers. Jabotinsky hod hi 1932 made the

proposal thai the mandate over Palestine should go to Italy because Mussolini would be more

amenable to furthering the cause of theJewish .state than Britain was.

„”Joseph Schechtmann, op. «/-, p. 215.

» Ibid., p. 214.

 

 

7ft JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

National Socialism elements of a genuine movement of national liberation.”^

For fascist Germany, collaboration with the Zionist majority was

undoubtedly more important than cooperation with the Revisionist

„opposition. 1* Nonetheless, even the Revisionists were allowed to continue

their political activities, in Germany. The members of the Revisionist

youth organization „Bril Trumpcldor” (about whom Schechtmann

mentions reports that it* ‘was adapting itself to certain features of the Nazi

regime”) S6 was the only non-fascist organization in Germany to receive

from the Nazis the permission to wear uniform.

It was, finally, members of the Irgun, who, in their intention of collaborating

with the German fascists a year and a half after the outbreak

of the Second World War [at a time when the massacre ofJews in occupied

Poland had already begun) went so far as to make the fascist authorities

an incredible offer of cooperation. (The Irgun, which split from

the Haganah and then rejoined forces with it in 1948, has been an integral

part of the State of Israel since then; its longtime leader Menahem

Begin served in the Israeli government as a minister from 1967 to 1970

and today leads the Likud bloc in the Israeli parliament.)

A lew months before the cooperation offer of January 1941, a split

had taken place between the then minority faction of the Irgun which

supported Britain against Nazi Germany in the war, and the grouping

in the Irgun that was opposed to any such pro-British policy. Irgun

committee member Abraham Stern played a prominent role in this latter

grouping which was supported at the time of the split by most Irgun

members. It was by the anti-British activists of this group that the offer

of Irgunisi collaboration was made.

The offer that was extended is contained in a document whose full details

have until now been very secret. It is taken from a report by the Naval

attache at the German Embassy in Turkey – an official who was in charge

of secret missions there. This report* which is still kept in a locked archive

in Britain, tells of contacts the attache had with emissaries ofthe „Irgun

Zvai Leumi (National Military Organization — NMO).” A memorandum

dated January 11, 1941 speaks of „Fundamental Features of

the Proposal” by the Irgun „concerning the solution of the Jewish

Question in Europe and the active participation of the NMO on the side

of Germany.”

sn lbiii..\>. 217.

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 79

The note’s text is as follows:

It is often slated in the speeches and utterances of the leading statesmen

of National Socialist Germany that a New Order in Europe

requires as a prerequisite the radical solution of the Jewish question

through evacuation. („Judcnreincs Europa”)

The evacuation ofthe Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition

for solving the Jewish question; but this can only be made possible

and complete through the settlement of these masses in the home

of the Jewish people, Palestine* and through the establishment of

a Jewish stale in its historic boundaries.

After confirming their joint fundamental views of Zionism and fascism

in this fashion, the Irgun activists offered their organization as an ally,

as the document went on to say:

The solving in this manner of the Jewish problem and thus the

bringing about with it of the liberation of the Jewish people once

and for all, is the objective of the political activity and the years

long struggle of the Jewish freedom movement: the National Military

Organization (Irgun Zvai Lcumi) in Palestine.

The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the

German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist

activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans

[one should notice in this respect the fascist-Zionist cooperation

in the years stretching between 1933 and 1939—K.P.] — is of the

opinion that:

  1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a

new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and

the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are cmbodied

by the NMO.

  1. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed Hebrew

nation (volkisch-nationalen-Hebraertum! would be possible and

  1. The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and

totalitarian basis and bound by a treaty with the German Reich

would be in the interest, of maintaining and strengthening the future

German position of power in the Near East.

Thus what was on offer was no more and no less than the establishment

ofa fascist Jewish state in Palestine as an allv of German fascism !

„Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine oilers

to take an active part in the war on Germany’s side, provided the abovementioned

national aspirations of the Jewish liberation movement are

 

 

80 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

recognized by the German Reich government.v

After thus proposing to

participate actively with German fascism in the fight against the anti-

Hitler bloc, the lrgun Zionists went on to make their proposal even more

specific in the document:

This offer by the NMO, whose validity extends over the military,

political and information levels, inside and also according to certain

organizational preparations outside Palestine, would be bound to

the military training and organizing ofJewish manpower in Europe,

under the leadership and command of the NMO. These military

units would take part in the fighting to conquer Palestine, in case

such a front is formed.

The indirect participation of the Israeli freedom movement in the

drawing up of the New Order in Europe, already in its preparatory

stag*-, would be connected with a positively radical solution of the

European Jewish problem in conformity with the above-mentioned

national aspirations of the Jewish people. This would strengthen to

an uncommon degree the moral basis of the New Order in the eyes

of the entire world.

The cooperation of the Israeli freedom movement would also

be in line with one of the recent speeches of the German Reich

Chancellor in which Hcrr Hitler stressed that any combination

and any alliance would be entered into in order to isolate England

and defeat it.

This astonishing document requires no further comment. It need only

be added that the anti-Semitism and the liquidation work that had already

started to eliminate European Jews prevented German fascism

from accepting this alliance offer. But two years later, the lrgun was embarking

on terrorist raids against British institutions in the Near East,

thereby actively weakening the ami-Hitler alliance in its fight against

German fascism, a fight that would also lead to the rescue of European

Jews.

 

Conclusion

Whenever the story of fascist-Zionist cooperation is revealed, Zionist

writers use the ready excuse that contact with the Nazis was only takeYi

up with a view to saving the lives ofJewish citizens. Even though some of

the above-mentioned facts contradict this argument, there are still two

questions to be raised; Was there really no other way to save the European

Jews? Was this the real motive of the Zionists as they dealt with the

devil?

 

 

THE SECRET CONTACTS 31

There can be no question about the (act thai the only possibility of

preventing millions ofJews from being murdered (as well as preventing

the Second World War, which cost the lives of millions) lay in overthrowing

the fascist dictatorship when it was just at the beginning of its

period of domination. But the Zionist leaders were uninterested in this — their sole objective was to increase the number of the Jewish population

in Palestine. As they shared the anti-assimilationisi views of Nazism

concerning the Jewish race, the fascist dictatorship was no tragedy for

them, but a confirmation of their position. As David Ben Gurion put it:

„What Zionist propaganda for years could not do, disaster has done

overnight.” w

The Zionist leaders not only did nothing against fascism ; they even took

action that sabotaged the anti-fascist front (through the prevention of an

economic boycou by [heir Haavara agreement). In practice, they also

rejected attempts to save the German Jews which did not have as their

aim the settlement of the Jews in Palestine. The following example is

from the Evian Conference: When after 1933 the majority of the capitalist

countries refused to take in Jewish refugees from Germany, the American

President, Roosevelt, called for a world conference on refugees to convene

in the Swiss town of Evian. This conference took place between June

6-15, 1938, with 32 capitalist countries attending. The conference failed,

since the participants refused to take in Jewish refugees. One would

assume that the Zionist movement, which was also represented in Evian,

would have attempted to exert pressure on the governments to lift the

restrictions. But, on the contrary, the Zionist leaders tabled a motion at

the beginning of the conference calling for the admission of 1.2 million

Jews into Palestine. They were not interested in other solutions and, as

Christopher Sykes later commented: „‘They looked on the whole thing

with indificrcnt hostility from the very beginning… the* truth of the

matter was that what was being attempted m Evian in no way conformed

with the idea of Zionism.”98

Thus the Zionist leaders share the responsibility for the failure to

rescue a greater number of European Jewry. One should in all justice

remember that thoseJews who survived the monstrous fascist domination

owed their lives to the soldiers of the anti-Hitler bloc, and especially to

those of the Soviet army, who underwent terrible sacrifices in defeating

the fascist dictatorship.

Zionist leaders falsify history when they claim today that no one during

the years of fascism stood by the side of the persecuted Jews except the

Zionists. Robert Wcltsch, who himself had in the year 1933 taken up no

,,T David Ben Gurion, Rchirfh and Destiny of Israel (New York, 1954), p, 41.

ftx Christopher Sykcs, Crossroads to Israel (I>r»ndon. 19rJ5).

 

 

32 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

clear stand against the fascists, advanced (he thesis thai no one at all in

Germany had taken up the eausc of the persecuted. ftfl

Bui the study of historic documents shows this to be incorrect. Apart

from the many courageous acts of individuals to help the persecuted, the

German Communist Party from the very first days of the fascist dictatorship

condemned the anti-Semitic outrages as an integral ingredient of (he

regime in power. While the Zionist organization Hashomer Ha/air in

Germany was still declaring in 1982 ”that participation of the Chaluzian

youth ,0° in the struggle of the German working class… was not the way

to express our political engagement,” l01 and while tor the Hashomer

Hazair „the resistance against the communists was of particular importance”

,,)2 the German Communist Party was making the following

declaration in reference to the Jewish pogrom of November 9, 19138:

”The German working class stands in the forefront of the struggle against

the persecution of the Jews. . . the liberation of Germany from the shame

of theJewish pogroms will coincide with the hour of liberating the German

people from ihe brown tyranny.”108

The German communists called for the selling up of an anti -fascist

popular front, but the Zionists were not interested. During the Nineteenth

Zionist Congress in Lucerne in 1935 Chaiin Wcizmann stated:

‘The only dignified answer to all that has been done to the Jews in

Germany is a large and a beautiful and a just, home in Erelz Israel a

strong home.'” l04

9» Sec Kurt Pauold. op. at., p. 77.

ll>0 „Ghaluziftn” means a Zionist volunteer for emigration.

,ul Jiidii(th< Rundictutu.. August 30, 1932.

IM Ball-Kaduri, op. til,, p. 396.

„”‘ Quoted from Keanzticfmi J, p. 105.

Ml4 Ghairn Weimiann, Reden and Aiifsat& (Speeches and Essays) Berlin, 1937, p. 259.

[1] 4 These statistics are compiled according ro Esta Bennathan. „Die demographische und

wirtschafilichc Struktur der Juden,” Entscheidungsjahre, 1932, £ur Judenftage in der Weimarer Republik („The demographic and economic structure of the Jews,” ifi The Crucial te/u, 1932, Concerning the Jewish Question in the Weimar Repttb/if), Tubingen, 1966, pp. 89, 95.