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June 08, 1984 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-06-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

14 Friday, June 8, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

tore the Jewish world apart. So those
involved threw the details into a
closet and dropped the key into the
ground. I had to dig up the key and
open the closet."
At first, said Black, as he began
to find things, he couldn't understand
what he was finding. "For months,"
he said, "nothing made sense. There
were so many contradictions. Nazis
helping Jewish nationalism. Ameri-
can Jewish leaders refusing even to
criticize the Third Reich. Principal
players who said one thing in public
and did the opposite in private. Ev-
erything was upside down."
Slowly, though, as he "cleared
(his) mind of preconceived notions"
and put together more information,
things began falling into place.
Black 'started at Germany, 1933.
It was on Jan. 30 of that year that
Adolph Hitler was appoined interim
chancellor of Germany, riding a wave
of public desperation about the coun-
try's economic depression.
It was clear that, with more than
six million Germans unemployed,
Hitler's ability to survive in office
was dependent on economic recovery
which, in turn, was dependent on an
over-industrialized Germany's abil-
ity to sell its goods to other countries.
That would bring it the foreign cur-
rency it so desperately needed to pay
its huge foreign debts (including
World War I reparations), and to im-
port raw materials to continue man-
ufacturing.
Jewish reaction to the Nazis' war
against the Jews threatened Ger-
many. Tales of horror — of Jews
murdered in their homes, daughters
raped in front of their parents, rabbis
humiliated in the streets, community

.

Pact with
the De vil

A controversial new book by the son of
Holocaust survivors reveals an untold
story of an agreement between the
Nazis and the Zionists, designed to
create the State of Israel.

Continued from Page 1

writer, first heard the rumor about
such a deal while researching a story
about a group of neo-Nazis who were
threatening to march in the Chicago
suburb of Skokie in 1978. Black
thought the idea of a "deal with the
devil" impossible and so dismissed it.
But it wouldn't go away. Black had
always had trouble making sense of
the Holocaust his parents had
endured. Checking out the rumor, he
thought, might help him do that.
"I wanted to understand why
what happened, happened," Black
told The Jewish News. "I wanted to
make sense of it and understand why
my parents lived when six million
died." And so Black decided to work
on the story. 'But only if his parents
would approve.
As a girl, Black's mother had
been pushed by her mother through
the vent of a boxcar on their way to
the Treblinka death camp. She was
then shot by Nazi soldiers and buried
in a shallow mass grave. His father
had stepped out of line and escaped
on the way to another death camp
train. While hiding in the woods, he
saw the girl's leg protruding from the
snow — she was still alive. Together,
the two Polish teenagers survived in
the forest for two years until the end
of the war.
When Black (who got his last
name from a billboard for Black and
White Scotch whiskey that hislather
saw as his boat entered a U.S. harbor)
'presented his idea for a book about an
aspect of a period his parents knew
all too well, they were anything but
approving.
"There was screaming and yel-

ling," he said. "My mother said she
-would disown me, sit shim for me.
My father said he would strangle me
with his bare hands. He felt attacked.
He had worked all his life so his kid
could have what he never had and
suddenly he was seeing the kid set a
match to all he believed in; wanting
to give credence to the idea of Nazi-
Zionist cooperation, to show that the
Nazis did things that contributed to
the State of Israel."
Seeing that talking about the
idea wouldn't work, Black gave his
parents a 100-page outline of the
book, detailing what he hoped to
show — the desperation of the times,
the intentions of the Zionists, the
economic factors involved. His par-
ents were convinced. "Go," said his
father, "write the book."
It was, of course, not as simple as
that. It would cost five years of pro-
fessionally intensive and personally
exhausting work in four countries,
$100,000 of his own money, and in-
volve dozens of researchers tracking
down newspapers, sorting through
forgotten archives, thousands of
obscure documents and un-
catalogued microfilm.
In the course of the search, Black
would fear for his safety, find it
necessary to convince Jewish and
Zionist organizations to give him ac
cess to secret records; threaten Ger-
man officials to give him what he
needed, and keep all that straight
while trying to piece together a story
that had been hidden a very long
time.
"When the story leaked out in
1933, there was a massivegeshrei. It



17



Author Edwin Black, whose parents,
Holocaust survivors, initially opposed his
writing the book.

leaders found floating in rivers —
were reaching Jews outside Ger-
many and those Jews were reacting.
They launched protest campaigns
aimed at isolating Germany politi-
cally and economically and mobiliz-
ing Gentiles and the Allied govern-
ments against the Nazis. There were
spontaneous boycotts of German
products that sprang up in virtually
every country in Europe, North Af-
rica, the Middle East and the
Americas. It was apparent to
everyone that Germany could not
survive if its exports were not pur-
chakd.
Although the boycotts began to

.

grow in size and intensity, their suc-
cess depended on international coor-
dination by a worldwide Jewish body
with a popular following and political
access. The only such body was the
Zionist Organization.

T

he Zionists, however
were not interested in
working to establish a boycott that
would lead to Hitler's downfall and
make it easier for Jews to live in
Germany. Many saw the Nazi perse-
cutions as an opportunity that could
increase the Jewish population in
Palestine and the establishment of a
Jewish state there.
At the time, Palestine was a
British protectorate, sparsely popu-
lated, on the verge of bankruptcy, in
need, says Black, of "more hands and
more lands." The problem was that
restrictive immigration quotas, re-
quiring applicants to possess 1,000
British pounds (about $5,000), meant
that poor Eastern European Jews
who wanted to emigrate, couldn't,
while wealthier German Jews, who
could, didn't want to.
The Zionists began to fear that
the opportunity for a Jewish state
was rapidly slipping away. At the
same time they saw the outrages of
Hitler as another example of the need
for a Jewish state.
"Zionist ideology," Black writes,
"predicted periodic Jewish oppres-
sion in even the most enlightened
parts of the Diaspora. Hitler's Nazis
were simply the latest form of anti-
Semitism. But this time things were
different. In a macabre sense,
Zionists regarded the situation as
ideal.
"The German Jews were not im-
poverished. They were solidly middle
class men and women who had no
place in the German Reich, but who
could find an indispensable place in
the future Jewish nation. Waiting to
be born within the borders of the
Third Reich was Israel itself.
"The Zionists became convinced
they could exploit the Nazi move-
ment for the benefit of future, genera-
tions of Jews.
"They were," he adds, "deter-
mined not too react just to the emer-
gency but to use the emergency as the
impetus for a Jewish state."
And so, while German Jewish
groups were proclaiming their ina-
bility to stop the increasingly effec-
tive and damaging boycotts in other
countries, the Zionists made it clear
to Nazi officials that they could and
would stop the boycotts — in ex-
change for a transfer of Jews and
Jewish assets to Palestine.
But while such a deal would
meet the needs of both the Zionists
and the Third Reich, other Jewish
groups, most notably the American
Jewish Congress and the Jewish War
Veterans in the United States, be-
came increasingly convinced that the
boycotts could drive Hitler from
power within a matter of months: In
the meantime, the boycotts were the
only thing moderating Hitler's be-
havior. The transfer agreement pro-
posed by the Zionists would doom all
that. -
Thus the anguishing choice con-
fronting the Second World Jewish
Conference in Geneva in September
1933: Continue the boycott and wait
for Hitler to fall, or work now for the
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