One of history’s ugly pages: Nazi-Zionist cooperation
The transports on route to Palestine were to travel through the territory of Slovakia, onwards along the Danube to the Black Sea, with Germany helping in obtaining transit visas and travel documents.
The Nazi-Zionist agreement* of 1933
It was a marriage of convenience, principles aside. Both parties have no illusions about each other. The Nazis and Zionists perceived a common ground: the former wanted to get rid of the Jews, the latter to take them to Palestine. The Third Reich saw the emigration of Jews as an effective way of “solving the Jewish question” and was keen on pushing its Jewish citizens to leave, “voluntarily” if possible.
The centerpiece of German-Zionist cooperation during the Hitler era was the Transfer Agreement, a pact that enabled tens of thousands of German Jews to migrate to Palestine with their wealth. The Agreement, also known as the Ha’avara (Hebrew for "transfer"), was concluded in August 1933 following talks between German government officials and Haim Arlosoroff, the head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency of Palestine who was the main negotiator from the Zionist side. Through this unusual arrangement, each Jew bound for Palestine deposited money in a special account in Germany. The money was used to purchase German-made goods (e.g. agricultural tools, building materials, pumps, fertilizer, and so forth), which were exported to Palestine and sold there by a Jewish-owned company in "Tel-Aviv" called Ha’avara Ltd. Money from the sales was given to the Jewish emigrant upon his arrival in Palestine in an amount corresponding to his deposit in Germany. German goods poured into Palestine through the Ha’avara deal. The Agreement thus served the Zionist aim of bringing Jewish settlers and development capital to Palestine, while simultaneously serving the German goal of freeing the country of an unwanted alien group. The agreement was in force until the 3rd of Sept. 1939 (i.e. until the declaration of war on Germany by Great Britain). As a result of the Ha’avara Agreement, 55,000 Jews immigrated and settled in Palestine in the period 1933–1939.
The Zionist thinking and logic behind the agreement was, as Artur Patek put it, "We have to give a Zionist answer to the catastrophe which faces German Jewry: to transform this disaster into a chance for developing our country."
There was opposition to the deal from within certain segments in the Zionist movement, in particular from the mainstream US leadership of the World Zionist Congress and American Jewish Congress who were behind an effective Anti-Nazi economic boycott campaign in 1933 and saw their efforts undermined by the agreement. However, they failed to persuade the Nineteenth Zionist Congress in August 1935 to vote against it.
Visit of the Nazi leader von Mildenstein to Palestine, and the Nazi/Zionist medal!
The Israeli leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published in its English version an article in 2018 titled “A Nazi travels to Palestine: A swastika and Star of David on one coin”.
Here is the interesting story:
In 1933, during the first months after Hitler’s takeover, Nazi policy on the ‘Jewish Question’ was in flux. The Zionist Federation of Germany asked Dr. Kurt Tuchler, a German Jewish judge and one of its active members, to identify moderate Nazi officials and win them over. Tuchler contacted his friend, the SS official Leopold von Mildenstein - who was working at the Jewish Desk of Nazi party and was known for his journalistic writing - and invited him to visit the Zionists in Palestine. The two traveled together, with their wives, by car! Both men 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, one of Geobbels propaganda outlets that appeared in late 1934 under the heading "A Nazi Travels to Palestine." The series expressed great admiration for the pioneering spirit and achievements of the Jewish settlers. Zionist self-development, von Mildenstein wrote, had produced “a new kind of Jew." He praised Zionism as a great benefit for both the Jewish people and the entire world. A Jewish homeland in Palestine, he wrote in his concluding article, "pointed the way to curing a centuries-long wound on the body of the world: the Jewish question."
Der Angriff issued a special medal, with a Swastika on one side and a Star of David on the other, to commemorate the joint SS-Zionist visit.
In 2018 the Israeli collectors’ house CollecTodo organized an online auction in which the unique brass coin medal was sold for $850 to an American Jew.
Adolf Eichmann’s dealings with the Zionists
By the end of the 1930s, official circles within the Third Reich were actively supporting Aliyah Bet (Hebrew for Jewish individual immigration), and one of the instigators of this undertaking was Adolf Eichmann, the famous Nazi officer responsible for “mass deportation of Jews to concentration camps during World War II," who created the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) in August 1938 with its headquarters in Vienna. The Zentralstelle was the contact point for all Jews who were ready to immigrate and was in fact in charge of all practical and logistical matters including coordination with Mossad emissaries from the Zionist side. The transports on route to Palestine were to travel through the territory of Slovakia, a client state of the Third Reich, and from there onwards along the Danube to the Black Sea, usually on hired barges and vessels of the (German Association of Danube Navigation). The German side helped in obtaining transit visas and travel documents.
By February 1939, through the intermediacy of Eichmann and his office, around 100,000 Austrian Jews had emigrated. In early 1939, Eichmann appointed Berthold Storfer, a banker and merchant from a Jewish family of Romanian/Ukrainian origins, and entrusted him to coordinate all matters related to Aliyah Bet in his name. He granted Storfer the power of attorney to cover all matters of Jewish emigration on behalf of the Reich. From then on, Mossad agents and the Zionists had to contact Storfer. On Eichmann’s recommendation, Strofer could reject or change the plans proposed by the organizers of Ha’apala (another Hebrew term for Jewish immigration).
The Zionists in Palestine were pleased with the results of their work with the Germans and how it progressed. In a meeting of the Jewish Agency at the end of 1938, David Ben-Gurion said “Without mass Aliyah (yet another Hebrew term for Jewish immigration) Zionism is condemned to failure and we to the loss of this country”.
What the ex-Mayor of London said
During a radio talk in 2014, the brave leftist Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008, outraged the Jewish organizations in the UK by his remarks about the Zionist-Nazi cooperation in the 1930s. Before that in his memoirs in 2011, he mentioned striking notes about Hitler’s early support of the Zionists.
Referring to the cooperation between the Gestapo and the Mossad agents to facilitate Jewish immigration to Palestine, he said, “The Zionists were the one group of Jews that Hitler was prepared to work with." He added that “Hitler’s policy was originally to send all of Germany’s Jews to Israel (i.e. Palestine) and there were private meetings between the Zionist movement and Hitler’s government which were kept confidential, they only became apparent after the war." And before that, Livingstone had written “Labour Zionist Chaim Arlosoroff negotiated a pact with the Nazis to set up a trading company, Ha’avara, to sell Nazi goods, thus undermining the boycott organized by trade unionists and communists." Livingstone stated, “Of course, it was support in exactly the same way that medals were printed, were made, which had the Swastika on one side and the Poale Zion star on the other, literally there is such a history of collaboration”.
Livingstone also said, “And when, in July 1937, many senior Nazis gathered at their foreign office, saying: 'we should stop sending Jews to Palestine because it could create a Jewish state,'" in the middle of that meeting, a directive comes specifically from Hitler saying, “No, we will continue with this policy."
Livingstone went on to mention more details about the relationships between the two parties, describing the Zionists as “collaborationists”. Obviously, he is a good reader of history and fully aware of the pre-World War II Zionist activities. Understandably, Livingstone’s remarks caused a great deal of outrage amongst the Jewish organizations and Zionist lobby in the UK. It was ironic that such a well-known progressive leftist was eventually forced to leave the Labour Party under anti-Semitic accusations!
How do present-day Zionists justify the collaboration?
The British Zionist writer, Paul Pogdanor, published a long article in the Fathom online journal in 2017 attacking Ken Livingstone and calling the Zionist collaboration with the Nazis a “myth”. He tried very hard to refute the “tissue of falsehoods." Here are some of his arguments:
· The purpose of the Ha’avara or Transfer Agreement was "to rescue German Jews and to preserve a fraction of their property from being stolen by the Nazi regime... And about breaking the boycott of Nazi goods, he said, “It would have been better to maintain the boycott” but then excused the Zionists for the sake of the “German Jews snatched from the claws of Nazism."
· “The approximately 80,000 German, Austrian, and Czech Jews who were able to immigrate legally and illegally to Palestine between 1933 and 1941 represent 80,000 potential victims of the Nazi genocide who were saved."
· About the Swastika/ star of David medal, he said “The medal was pure propaganda, created by the Nazis to pretend that they wanted an ‘honourable’ solution to the ‘Jewish Question’ and that Jews were their equal partners in finding such a solution."
· About the 1937 Hitler’s instructions to the Nazi leaders to continue supporting the Jewish immigration to Palestine, he said, “Hitler’s directive called for the emigration of German Jews to all destinations, not just to Palestine."
Obviously, Pogdanor failed to “refute” any of the historical facts about the Zionist collaboration with the Nazis. He actually acknowledged the essence of Zionist–Nazi cooperation but simply offered some “moral” excuses in an attempt to cover up for the immoral actions of the Zionists. If we were to buy the notion that actively cooperating with the Nazis was morally justified on basis of “rescuing the innocents” then anything, no matter how bad it is, can be justified in this world on similar grounds. Confronting evil should be abandoned in favor of tyrants’ appeasement, according to his logic.
* The Nazi-Zionist agreement of 1933 is an undisputed fact. It is well-documented in the works of all reliable historians. In this article, we refer mainly to the excellent work of the Polish professor Artur Patek from the Faculty of History at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow “JEWS ON ROUTE TO PALESTINE, 1934 -1944”, the English version of the original book published in Polish in 2009 and Translated by Guy Russel Torr and Timothy Williams.