Zionism failed to support Jewish resistance in Shoah


Zionism’s Failure to Support Resistance

(excerpted from Nazi-Zionist Collaboration, pamphlet published in 1981 by BAZO-PS – British Anti-Zionist Organisation/Palestine Solidarity, London)

The World Zionist Organization prided itself on its international organisation and especially its intelligence network and so on. It was the only specifically Jewish international organisation which had liaison offices both inside and on the periphery of Nazi Europe, which had direct organisational links with Zionist groups throughout Europe and direct access to and political influence with the Allied powers, and which had been engaged in arms smuggling and financial operations. The only other international Jewish organisation was the Bund, which had far less resources and did far more to publicize the Holocaust and seek support for Jewish resistance in Europe.

The vast apparatus of the World Zionist Organisation, including its illegal armed forces in Palestine etc. was not used to publicize the Holocaust and support resistance, but took part in covering it up until the Allied powers decided to publicize it.

This vast Zionist apparatus was not used either for assisting beleaguered ghetto fighters or aiding rescue activities. Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel, organizer of rescue activities in Slovakia asks in his book ‘From the Depths’:

Why didn’t they try, from their place of freedom, to break through to us and send us a secret messenger? This question becomes greater when we see that the governments of Czechoslovakia and Poland, which were in free lands, sent secret messengers daily to their loyal people in the occupied countries. And therefore our amazement grows. Why don’t the great organizers of Jewry use these messengers if they have no other way? And during all of the years since we developed this method, those in the free countries did not once attempt to send messengers to us – rather, WE had to send them and to pay for them. How many did we send them only for the to return empty-handed – because those over there did not have time to answer ?” (Quoted in ‘The Holocaust Victims Accuse’ by Rabbi Moshe Shonfeld)

The only known assistance from the international Zionist movement to Jewish resistance in Nazi Europe was when the British Royal Air Force parachuted some volunteers from Palestine to make contact with partisan forces. Those who were escorted by Tito’s partisans from Yugoslavia to Hungary were handed over to the Gestapo by their Zionist ‘liaison’ in Budapest – Rudolf Kastner.

Many Zionists in Nazi Europe had no choice but to fight back against the Nazis and some acquitted themselves with honour in ghetto rebellions and partisan warfare, although these resistance activities were generally led by Communists and Bundists rather than by Zionists.

Large masses of Jews organised resistance movements and took part in partisan warfare throughout occupied Europe – usually under Communist leadership, often under direct command of the Red Army, and generally making quite a substantial contribution to the Allied war effort.

Generally, Zionists preferred MASSADA-like last stands to the more effective form of resistance – partisan warfare. But even at Warsaw, where their contribution was greatest, the majority of fighters were Communist, Bundist or unaffiliated. Moreover, although both left-wing Zionists and Revisionists did make a major contribution to the Warsaw ghetto rebellion, their first target was other Zionists, mainly mainstream ones, who were leaders of the Nazi sponsored Judenrat, the ghetto police and the Jewish Gestapo.

The leading pro-German, anti-British Zionist theoretician, one of the well known international leaders of a dissident faction in Zionism, Dr. Alfred Nossig, was shot by the Warsaw ghetto fighters as a Gestapo agent. Whatever role some Zionists played in the resistance activities, the plain fact is that they got little or no support from the international Zionist movement, whose leadership was too busy demanding unrestricted immigration and a Jewish Army in Palestine.

That is not to say that Zionists in Palestine were incapable of giving assistance to partisan warfare. On the contrary, both the mainstream Zionists and the Revisionists maintained very efficient clandestine armed forces in Palestine throughout the war, and these both had extensive arms smuggling operations which substantially depleted British armouries and forced the diversion of British troops to guard duty. But these arms were for use against the British and the Arabs, not against the Germans. Details will be found in ‘Cross Roads to Israel’ by Christopher Sykes (Nel Mentor, London, 1967).

Zionist Priorities During the Holocaust

Zionist policy during the Holocaust is best summed up in the words of Yitzhak Greenbaum speaking on ‘The Diaspora and the Redemption’ at a Tel Aviv meeting in February 1943:

For the rescue of the Jews in the Diaspora, we should consolidate our excess strength and the surplus of powers that we have. When they come to us with two plans – the rescue of the masses of Jews in Europe or the redemption of the land – I vote, without a second thought, for the redemption of the land. The more said about the slaughter of our people, the greater the minimization of our efforts to strengthen and promote the Hebraization of the land. If there would be a possibility today of buying packages of food with the money of the ‘Keren Hayesod’ (United Jewish Appeal) to send it through Lisbon, would we do such a thing? No! And once again No!”

(Shonfeld, op. cit., p.26)

Greenbaum confirms this in his postwar book ‘In Days of Holocaust and Destruction’:

…When they asked me, couldn’t you give money out of the United Jewish Appeal funds for the rescue of Jews in Europe, I said, ‘NO!’ and I say again ‘NO!’…one should resist this wave which pushes the Zionist activities to secondary importance.” (ibid., p.26)

Notice that Greenbaum had not only insisted that buying land from the Arabs was more important than rescuing Jews in Europe, as he admitted after the war, but he had even called for less to be SAID about the slaughter, so as not to distract attention from buying land! It was an explicit call for a conspiracy of silence.

Greenbaum, whose son was an exceptionally notorious Kapo at Auschwitz, was not just some insignificant Zionist functionary shooting his mouth off. He was Kastner’s immediate superior in the Jewish Agency, as head of the Rescue Committee for European Jewry, and he became a cabinet minister in Israel’s first Government.

Greenbaum’s policy was the Zionist movement’s policy (Greenbaum was actually in a minority in the Zionist leadership on this question. The damning fact is that he was left in charge of the ‘rescue committee’ after openly expressing his opposition to the use of Zionist money for rescue activities). Kastner was only carrying out an agreed policy.

This policy was summed up in the slogan ‘one goat in Eretz Israel (Hebrew name for historic Palestine) is worth an entire community in the Diaspora”

As Rabbi Shonfeld comments:

The rescue committee of the Jewish Agency falsely bore the name ‘rescue’. It would be more appropriate to call it the Committee for Covering Up, Ignoring and Silencing…the thoughts of Zionist officials and especially the chairman, Greenbaum, were steeped in plots and schemes to use the holocaust and its consequences to build up the national home and to realize the demands for establishing a Jewish State.” (Shonfeld, op.cit., p. 56)

This attitude was further demonstrated in a letter from Nathan Schwalb, representative of the Jewish Agency in Switzerland, to the Rescue Committee for Czech Jewry:

Since we have the opportunity of this courier, we are writing to the group that they must always remember that matter which is the most important, which is the main issue that must always be before our eyes. After all, the allies will be victorious. After the victory, they will once again divide up the world between the nations as they did at the end of first war. Then they opened the way for us for the first step and now, as the war ends, we must do everything so that Eretz Yisroel should become a Jewish state. Important steps have already been taken in this matter. As to the cry that comes from your country, we must be aware that all the nations of the Allies are spilling much blood and if we do not bring sacrifices, with what will we achieve the right to sit at the table when they make the distribution of nations and territories after the war? And so it would be foolish and impertinent on our side to ask the nations whose blood is being spilled in order to protect our own blood. Because ‘rak b’dam tihyu lanu haaretz’ (only through blood will the land be ours). As to yourselves – members of the group – you will get out, and for this purpose we are providing you with funds by this courier.” (Ibid., pp. 26-28).

As Rabbi Shonfeld comments:

Here Mr. Schwalb expressed the complete Zionist ideology and stated clearly and openly the politics of the Zionist leaders in the area of rescue: The shedding of Jewish blood in the Diaspora is necessary in order for us to demand the establishment of a ‘Jewish’ state before a peace commission. Money will be sent to save a group of ‘chalutzim’ (pioneers, while the remainder of Czech Jewry must resign itself to annihilation in the Auschwitz crematoria.” (Ibid., p. 28)

Suppressing the News

There is no doubt about the fact that the Zionist leadership kept quiet about the Holocaust while it was going on. Kastner was able to excuse his own silence about Auschwitz by telling the Court that other Jewish Agency representatives suppressed the news he sent out while negotiations proceeded:

I learned that the Jewish Agency and Joint Distribution Committee representatives in Switzerland, Moshe Shwalb and Saly Mayer, did not give out information to the press about the mass killings. They failed to give the press the news I sent from Budapest. I sent cables also to the Istanbul Rescue Committee (of the Jewish Agency). They were also kept secret from the press. I informed them almost daily by cables about the pace of the extermination. My cables were never published anywhere.”(Hecht, op. cit., p.91).

Indeed, as Ben Hecht explains:

There will be many witnesses to testify about this silence during Greenwald’s trial, among them Professor Aktzin, dean of the Law Faculty of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I quote from the trial record:

‘Tamir: Is it true that the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency did suppress the news of the extermination in the United States up to and through 1941?

“Professor Aktzin: The Zionists, Jewish Agency and Joint Distribution Committee did refrain from publicizing in the American press the massacre of Jews.’

While the war was still on in 1945, a Jewish mission of survivors from Poland came to the annual meeting of the World Jewish Congress. They came with accusations, and the leaders of the Jewish Congress listened stoically to their plaint. The survivors from Poland accused these leaders of Zion of having failed to arouse the nations of the world to the fact that the Jews were being exterminated. The mission accused the leaders of Jewry of having neglected practical possibilities of rescue and help. The leaders stated that the omissions were the result of a deliberate decision. They offered as explanation ‘the opinion of the executive board was that it was inadvisable because of own diplomatic ties with these governments’ (Of the Free World). (ibid., pp. 92-3).

Greenbaum justified the Zionist leaders policy of hiding the facts about the Holocaust from the public, in a speech he made at Sokolov House on 1 January 1964. He said:

Whoever is building the homeland and is battling for the very existence of the homeland, is excused from knowing; for he has another, greater obligation.” (Shonfeld, op.cit, p.79)

Thus after the war too, Greenbaum reaffirms that the Holocaust had to be covered up because the knowledge that European Jewry was being exterminated would have distracted attention from the more important question of building a Jewish State in Palestine. This was also the occasion on which Greenbaum produced another gem:

It would have been worthwhile to sacrifice another million Jews for the glory of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt” (ibid., p.79)

Zionist Leaders Admit Inactivity

Despite the popular impression, Zionist leaders do not seriously contest that they were inactive during the holocaust. Here is Dr. Nahum Goldmann, President of the World Jewish Congress speaking at a commemorative meeting on 4 March, 1962:

There is no doubt that future Jewish history will judge the generation of the Holocaust which lived in free lands as guilty. It will accuse it of failing to adequately prepare for the Nazi danger in its beginning stages, and of not daring to fight desperately the annihilation in this period. I do not know whether, in the time of the war, the Allies could have prevented the death of millions of Jews. But there is no doubt in my heart that it was possible to save tens of thousands of Jews with active, daring measures by the democratic governments. But most of the responsibility lies upon us, due to our self-satisfaction with requests and routine demands and to the fact that groups of Jews did not have enough courage to pressure the democratic governments with dramatic means and motivate them to act drastically. I will never forget the day on which a telegram from the Warsaw ghetto was delivered to me, it was addressed to Rabbi Stephen Wise and to myself. We were asked why Jewish leaders in America do not protest day and night on the stairs of the White House until the President orders the bombing of the concentration camps and the railway tracks leading to them. We did not do so because the majority of Jewish leaders then were of the opinion that they should not interfere with the free world’s war effort against the Nazis with stormy protests. Therefore we should not transfer the guilt to those who suffered and paid with their lives. If there is a basis to the historical ‘I accuse’, let us have the courage now to direct it against that part of the generation which was lucky enough to be outside of the Nazi domination and did not fulfil its obligation toward the millions killed.” (reported in the Israeli daily paper Davar, 22 April 1964).

While admitting most of the responsibility for the deaths of tens of thousands, if not millions of Jews who could have been saved, Goldmann tries to spread the blame around a bit, to include everyone who was not actually a victim of the holocaust.

As Rabbi Shonfeld comments on this speech:

Today all have regrets: the past Nazis, the good Germans, the merciful Catholics, the very democratic British and Americans, and even the Jewish secular leaders. However, as we said, the statute of limitations against war crimes is not to apply to the Nazis and their accomplices, whether non-Jews or Jews…” (Ibid., p. 70)

Actually, Nahum Goldmann received and ignored so many similar messages during the holocaust that he was bound to become confused after 20 years.

The telegram from the Warsaw ghetto did not refer to bombing concentration camps and railway tracks.

It came from the ‘Jewish National Committee’ in Warsaw, via the Polish underground, on 21 January 1943, and simply read as follows:

We notify you of the greatest crime of all times, about the murder of millions of Jews in Poland. Poised at the brink of the annihilation of the still surviving Jews, we ask you:

  1. Revenge against the Germans
  2. Force the Hitlerites to halt the murders
  3. Fight for our lives and our honour
  4. Contact the neutral countries
  5. Rescue 10,000 children through exchange
  6. 500,000 dollars for purposes of aid

Brothers – the remaining Jews in Poland live with the awareness that inill admit to, and this interpretation is widely accepted, is that they deliberately refrained from putting sufficient pressure on the Allies to intervene to rescue Jews, because they did not want to prejudice friendly relations and the future establishment of a State of Israel with British and American support.

That admission is damning enough, and has been quite sufficient to justify the use of the term ‘collaboration’ by Zionist Revisionists who themselves accept the theory that the conspiracy of silence was in response to British pressure, and who naturally regard immigration to Palestine as the central question in rescuing Jews.

A great deal of the exposure of Nazi collaboration by the mainstream Zionist leadership was carried out for political reasons by Revisionists who rightly say that agreeing to remain silent about the holocaust, while millions were being murdered, amounts to collaboration with the murderers.

Thus Greenwald’s defence counsel in the Kastner case, Shmuel Tamir, formerly Minister for Justice in the State of Israel, points out that Davar, the official Zionist Labour Federation newspaper, did not publicize the holocaust and even ran an editorial saying:

The Nazi denial of extermination has a good foundation. Not as many were annihilated as was feared.” (quoted in Hecht, op.cit. p.145)

Tamir says:

Until mid-July, six weeks after the killing of twelve thousand a day had begun, still not a single authoritative word is uttered by the Jewish Agency or any Zionist officials that the deportation had started – that already half a million were exterminated.

The Jewish Agency had by then the best and most exact informative source on the fate of the Jews of Hungary, and on the deportation, and there was no British censorship of such items, as was proven in Court. …For a full month and a half, Mr. Sharett and the Jewish Agency are knowingly and wilfully suppressing all the news known to them.” (ibid., p.147)

He continues:

And why this suppression of the dreadful news by Ben-Gurion, Sharett, Weizmann and all the official leaders of Jewry? Because, had the masses in Palestine known then what was happening in Hungary, and known then the stony hearts of their leaders, a storm would have risen in our land. Power would have fallen out of their hands. And this, it seems, was more important to them.

There is no other explanation. Therefore I said: “Collaboration here, parallel to collaboration there. But if the collaboration there has developed under German pressure, here we talk of men who lived in the free world, whose discretion could be more balanced, who were in control of good youth, wonderful youth, which awaited a command. The fact remains that the moral and historical responsibility, as far as Jews are concerned, lies first and foremost on those who lived in the free world. And though I am here to prove the guilt of Kastner, I say that his responsibility is lesser than that of the leaders of our free Jewish world” (ibid., p.148)

Ben Hecht, a supporter of the same Zionist party sums up:

These organizations, these philanthropists, these timorous Jewish lodge members in Zion, London and America, these Zionist leaders who let their six million kinsmen burn, choke, hang, without protest, with indifference and even with a glint of anti-Semitic cunning in their political planning, I sum up against them…

…My faith says that nearly all the six million Jews could have been saved and the horror of our century saved with them – had the powerful American Jewry alone united in a campaign to save them. And had those Palestine leaders who stayed mum on the slaughter and were garrulous as geese on the needs of Zionism in Palestine – had they cried out – would they have survived as leaders ? Would the British have ousted them, and gutted the ‘dream of Zionism’?

Again, I do not know, I know only that, by my measure, such honorable human behaviour would have been of deeper worth to the world than a dozen States of Israel.” (ibid., p. 193)

But the truth is far worse than what Zionists will admit to joining a conspiracy of silence under British pressure. As will be shown shortly, the only British pressure was against immigration to Palestine, and it was Zionists who were exerting pressure on Britain not to rescue Jews from the holocaust.

A fairly accurate account of Zionist thinking at the time is given by Mapai leader Eliezer Livneh, expressing his regrets in a column entitled ‘Thoughts on the Holocaust’ in the newspaper Yedi’ot Aharonot (Shonfeld, op cit., pp.24-25):

Our Zionist orientation educated us to see the growing land of Israel as the prime goal and the Jewish nation only in relation to its building the land. With each tragedy befalling the Jews in the Diaspora, we saw the state as the evident solution. We continued employing this principle even during the holocaust, saving only those who could be brought to Israel. The mandate’s limitation on immigration served as a political factor in our battle to open the doors to aliya (immigration) and to establishing the state. Our programs were geared to this aim and for this we were prepared to sacrifice or endanger lives. Everything outside of this goal, including the rescue of European Jewry for its own sake, was a secondary goal. ‘If there can be no people without a country’, Rabbi Weissmandel exclaimed, ‘then surely there can be no country without a people. And where are the living Jewish people, if not in Europe?’

The Very Existence of the ‘Jewish Agency’ Helped the Nazis

As the Revisionist newspaper Herut asks:

How are we to explain the fact, that the leaders of the Jewish Agency and the chiefs of the Zionist movement in Palestine kept silent? Why didn’t they raise their voices? Why didn’t they shout about it over the whole wide world? Why didn’t they appeal in broadcasts of their ‘secret’ Haganah radio station to Jews in ghettos, camps and villages to flee to the woods, to mutiny and fight, to try to save themselves? By silence they collaborated with the German to no less extent than the scoundrels who provided the Germans with the death lists. History will yet pronounce its verdict against them. Was not the very existence of the Jewish Agency a help for the Nazis? When history tries the so-called Judenrat and the Jewish police, she will also condemn the leaders of the Agency and the leaders of the Zionist movement” (Herut, 25 May 1964, Cited in Bolshakov, op.cit., p.40)

And that really is the verdict of history.

Just as Judge Benjamin Halevi found that the Zionist Jewish Agency’s ‘Relief and Rescue Committee’ in Budapest was a department of the Nazi SS, alongside the departments for extermination and looting, so we must find that the very existence of the Jewish Agency (the World Zionist Organisation) was a help to the Nazis in carrying out and covering up their crimes.

By piotrbein