The real resistance
Popular opposition to anti-semitism saved thousands of Jews under Nazi occupation, writes Tony Greenstein in this concluding article - despite rather than because of Zionism
1 that anti-semitism was something that affected all Germans and all classes, conveniently forgetting that in November 1932 the socialists (SPD) and communists (KPD) together outpolled the Nazis. Yet even in Nazi Germany itself, of the 265,000 deported or eligible to be deported by January 1942, some 20,000 were hidden by the populace and half of these survived.2 Gerald Reitlinger estimates that 19,000 pure German Jews survived the war and perhaps 33,000 in the greater Reich and protectorate.3
The deportation of Jews from Germany was never popular. On February 27 1943 the Wehrmacht munitions factories were surrounded and their Jewish workers arrested and taken for deportation. But Göbbels complained on March 2 that the round-up had not been that successful, as "our better circles, especially intellectuals", had warned the Jews. And four days later "after a crowd had demonstrated against the evacuation of a home for aged Jews, Göbbels had to suspend the whole action".4
When, between October 16 and November 13 1941, the SS deported over 19,000 Jews to Là³dz, the population was so disgusted that the Nazis distributed leaflets blaming the Jews for all ills and accusing those who sympathised with them of being traitors. A few even wore yellow stars in sympathy.5
On March 9 1942 Hitler complained to Göbbels about the presence of Jewish intellectuals in Berlin. However, "after a terrific commotion in artistic circles, particularly among actors", a number of Jews married to Aryans were released. The survival of nearly all the Mischlinge was due to the fear that it would meet with public anger and resistance. In February 1943, the Gestapo seized thousands of Mischlinge. Their Aryan wives followed them to where they were detained "and there they stood for several hours screaming and howling for their men". Faced with the secrecy of the deportation process being exposed, the Jewish husbands were released.6 After February 28, 18,000 Jews were left in Berlin, "precariously sheltered at night by Aryan friends".7
All three capitals in the greater Reich had their underground Jewish populations, and in Berlin and Vienna there were still skeleton Jewish communal organisations.8 In Vienna, the hidden Jews were known as 'U-Boats'.9 Despite their perilous position "they still faced better odds than the deportees who arrived at the killing centres".10
France had over 300,000 Jews, over half of whom were foreign, and most of those were stateless. The Zionist movement had little support among French Jews and most foreign Jews supported the communists.11 By autumn 1942 some 27,000 stateless Jews had been deported to Auschwitz,12 but when the Nazis sought permission to deport French Jews, the French authorities were implacably opposed to the request.13 The French also refused to revoke the naturalisation of Jews.
Several thousand Jewish communists were involved in the resistance and they were responsible for the rescue of thousands of children.14 The SS complained of the sympathy of the population with the arrested children and even the French police were unreliable. In Lyons, Klaus Barbie was prevented from arresting up to 3,000 Jews by the Italian Fourth Army.15 By April 1944, two months before D-Day, there were still 250,000 Jews in France: "The Nazis, it turned out, possessed neither the manpower nor the willpower to remain 'tough' when they met determined opposition."16 Contrary to the views of Herzl and Nordau, the roots of the emancipation went deep.
One of the reasons for the Nazis' failure was that the Judenräte (Jewish Councils), which were not set up in France till after 1941, had little support in the Jewish community. Even then the Nazis had to appoint two Jewish directors from Vienna "and the committee was boycotted by French-born Jews". 17
Belgium was ruled by a German military administration under general Falkenhausen. The Belgian railway men "contrived to leave doors unlocked or to arrange ambushes, so that Jews could escape".18 Even the Belgian police did not cooperate with the Nazis.
Because the Jewish leadership had already fled, with 40,000 others, the Jewish Council commanded little authority and unsurprisingly very few Belgian Jews were deported.19 The resistance assassinated one of its leaders and henceforth the Judenräte "were as much afraid of the resistance movement as they were of the Gestapo".20
Nearly all Belgium's Jewish children were hidden in children's homes, schools for the sick and private residences.21 The one attempt at a mass round-up of Antwerp's Jews was on September 3 1943. At the insistence of queen Elizabeth and cardinal van Roey, they were released. When the country was liberated from the Nazis in the autumn of 1944, 25,000 Jews had been deported.
In Holland the Nazis set up a Jewish Council, the Joodsche Raad, which "unfortunately managed to win the trust of the Jewish population"22 and proceeded to deport the stateless Jews first - a quarter of the total Jewish population of 140,000.23 "The result was a catastrophe unparalleled in any western country; it can be compared only with the extinction "¦ of Polish Jewry."24 Three quarters of all Jews in Holland were exterminated. And yet this was despite the overwhelming opposition of the local populace. Eichmann recalled that "the battle for the Jews was especially hard and bitter" - the Dutch were resolutely opposed to anti-semitism, even though they faced the full weight of Nazi rule.25 The catholic church even forbade the administration of the holy sacrament to Dutch Nazis.26
When the Gestapo, along with some Dutch collaborators, raided the Jewish quarter in Amsterdam on February 11, the workers of the Kattenburg raincoat factory in the Waterloolein came to their help, and one worker died. The funeral of this worker six days later led to further riots.27 On February 19 1941 the Dutch Nazi WA raided the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, but they were beaten off by the Knokploegen combat groups - the majority of whom were socialists and communists. When 40 WA returned, and tried to march through the Jewish quarter two days later, 20 were wounded and one killed. Meanwhile Dutch workers began attacking the homes of prominent members of the WA.28
Holland was the only country in all Europe where students went on strike when Jewish professors were dismissed. Amsterdam was the only European city where there was a general strike against the deportation of Jews. But this was 1941 and the Nazis rushed four police and SS battalions to Amsterdam. The display of force succeeded and 60 Dutch workers were sent to German concentration camps.29 Many years later, dockers' leader Piet Naak was awarded a decoration from Israel for having led the strike. He sent it back saying that, just as he had supported the Jews in 1941, he now supported the Palestinians.30
A large number of Jews lived underground, at least half of whom were caught.31 Of the survivors, 8,610 were married to non-Jews, a few thousand were working for the government and at least 20,000 were hiding with Aryans. Nearly a thousand Dutch Jews in mixed marriages avoided deportation through false sterilisation certificates.32 When on June 20 1943 a large proportion of the Joodsche Raad were arrested, "the Jews found it difficult to conceal their delight".33
In Norway, the bulk of the 1,700 Jews were stateless German refugees, who were seized in October and November 1942. Sweden immediately offered asylum, and Swedish nationality, which the Nazis rejected, but as a result about 900 Jews were smuggled into Sweden. Some two thirds of Norway's Jewish community escaped deportation.34
Denmark was "almost the only happy-ending story" in Nazi-occupied Europe.35 The country retained its government until the autumn of 1943. The Danes were resolutely opposed to German anti-semitism and when the Nazis suggested introducing the yellow badge they were told that the king would be the first to wear it. The Nazis did not even manage to distinguish between native and foreign Jews.36
After riots broke out in Danish shipyards, when the dockworkers refused to repair German ships, Himmler decided to tackle the Jewish question. However, general von Hannecken, the military commander, "refused even to issue a decree requiring all Jews to report for work".37
On October 1 police were brought specially from Germany, to round up the Jews, but they were told that not to break down doors, because the Danish police might object and "they were not supposed to fight it out with the Danes".38 Just 477 Jews were seized and deported to the model camp, Thereinstadt. All returned, bar those who died natural deaths, including a 102-year-old woman.39 Most Jews had been forewarned and went into hiding. Many were shipped by fishermen to Sweden.
The Danish Jews were fortunate that the Swedish Zionists had not learnt of the plans to rescue them. In 1939 the Swedish parliament passed a law permitting entry to German Jews. Chief rabbi Dr Ehrenpreisz requested the Swedish government not implement this legislation. But "Ehrenpreisz did not succeed in thwarting that wonderful rescue effort, since it came to him as a surprise too".40
In Italy and Italian-occupied areas, the deportations were carried out against "unremitting Italian opposition".41 When the Zionists protested about the extent of mixed marriages, Mussolini exclaimed that it was "proof of the perfect civic, political and above all moral equality between all Italians, whatever their remote descent".42
Italy was the scene of the only successful attack by partisans on a Jewish concentration camp, Servigliano.43 Italian opposition to the deportation of their Jews had a knock-on effect on other fascist regimes. General Roatta declared that it was "incompatible with the honour of the Italian army" to deliver Jews from Yugoslavia to the Nazis44 and even prevented the Nazis from commandeering Jewish apartments.45
When the Nazis occupied Vichy France, the Italian zone in the south became a place of relative safety for the 50,000 Jews living there. Twenty-two thousand Jews were deported to the interior of the Italian zone. Eichmann sent Alois Brunner to Nice and Marseilles, but by the time he arrived the French police had destroyed all the lists of registered Jews.46 When the Italian army left Yugoslavia, the Jews left with them.47
Mussolini for a long time had close relations with Zionist leaders such as Weizmann. In 1937 Zionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky came to an agreement with Mussolini whereby a navy school at Civitavechia would be established as a training camp for the revisionist youth group, Betar. Jabotinsky believed that "it would be better "¦ if fascist Italy became the mandatory power in Palestine instead of Great Britain".48
Even when Mussolini introduced, in 1938, anti-Jewish legislation, the exemptions were such that probably the majority of Jews were excluded.49 In December 1943 the Nazis decided to tackle the obstruction of the Italian authorities and arrest 8,000 Rome Jews themselves. Most of the intended victims were, however, warned in time and 7,000 escaped.50 In the spring of 1944 Italy the Nazis deported some 7,500 Jews to Auschwitz, of whom 600 survived.51 Of the 2,500 Jews in Trieste when the Nazis marched in, less than 500 were found on May 7 1945.52
In April 1941 when the Nazis entered Yugoslavia, they established the puppet state of Croatia under Ante Pavelià¦. By the autumn of 1943 34,000 Jews had been deported. Even then the country was not Judenrein ('cleansed of Jews'), as a paragraph in the anti-semitism legislation made 'honorary Aryans' of Jews who had made a contribution to "the Croat cause" - many of the ruling clique in Croatia were married to Jewish women. The 1,500 Jewish survivors in this area were all highly assimilated: "Assimilation in the east, when it was at all possible, offered a much better chance for survival than it did in the rest of Europe."53
In Serbia the Nazis faced the most determined partisan resistance. All Jews were killed on the spot. Some 5,000 of them who joined the partisans survived, again demonstrating that resistance always offered better chances of surviving than collaboration. Reitlinger suggests that many thousands more survived either in Italy or Albania or through rapid assimilation.54 However, by July 1942 Belgrade was officially Judenrein.55
The Nazis complained that Bulgaria had "no understanding of the Jewish problem", according to Lucien Steinberg. It had a strong Communist Party, led by Georges Dimitrov, who had ridiculed Himmler in the Reichstag fire trial. "While communist parties sprang to the defence of the hunted Jews everywhere in occupied Europe, they were more vigilant in Bulgaria than elsewhere."56 In January 1941 the government had agreed to introduce anti-Jewish legislation, but various exemptions rendered it meaningless, with the result that "an epidemic of conversions broke out". In July 1942 the Jewish badge was introduced, but 80% of Jews57 did not wear it and those who did received so much sympathy that "they are actually proud of their sign".58
The Bulgarian government then decided to expel all Jews from Sofia to the countryside, which was not what the Nazis wanted, since this caused their dispersal. Not that it mattered. In protests organised by the communists, tens of thousands of Bulgarians demonstrated outside the palace and took to the streets, trying to stop the Jews being taken to the rail stations.59 The Nazis were also unable to form a Jewish Council: "The same thing happened in Bulgaria as was to happen in Denmark "¦ the local German officials became unsure of themselves and were no longer reliable." The German ambassador, Adolf Beckerle, informed the SS that nothing more could be done. The result being that "not a single Bulgarian Jew had been deported or had died an unnatural death" when Bulgaria was liberated in August 1944.60
Greece was different. Two thirds of Greek Jewry lived in Salonika. Reitlinger estimates their population in 1941 at 67,200. The Nazis immediately set up in October 1942 a Jewish Council headed by chief rabbi Koretz, who, when he gave a speech at the Monasteriotes synagogue extolling the new life in Poland, required police protection.61 There were no anti-Jewish decrees till July 1942.62 In Athens so effectively were Jews hidden that only two transports to Auschwitz were filled from the Greek capital in 1944.63 The only Jews exempt from deportation were those with foreign passports and the personnel of the Judenrat, who were eventually sent to Bergen-Belsen. Except for those who had managed to escape south to the Italian zone and a few hundred Jews in Salonika living underground or at the sorting camp at Pavlo Mela,64 nearly all Greek's Jews perished in Auschwitz. Judenrat chairmen Koretz and Albala were sent to Bergen-Belsen as 'exchange Jews'. On August 17 1944 the last Greek transport reached Auschwitz. It contained the entire Jewish population of the isle of Rhodes - some 1,200 people.65
Romania was the most anti-semitic country in pre-war Europe. It had the highest number of Jews after Poland.66 In August 1940, marshal Antonescu, head of the Iron Guard regime, declared all Romanian Jews to be stateless, with the exception of a few hundred families. . "The Zionist movement and indeed the whole of the Zionist organisation"¦ was looked upon quite favourably by the Romanian authorities."67 Even after the fall of the Iron Guard government in the summer of 1941, Romanian soldiers engaged in massacres and deportations.
The Romanians entered Odessa in south Russia on October 16 1941. After a landmine destroyed their headquarters, Antonescu took his revenge by killing 22,000 Jews between October 23 and 25.68 Some 120,000 Jews of the eastern and western territories of Romania were deported beyond the Dniester river to Transdniestria.69 Prime minister Ion Antonescu formed a Judenrat on December 16 . On April 10 1944 the Red Army encountered Jews for the first time since their advance - a ghetto of 9,000 workers, the only survivors of the almost complete extermination of Besserabian Jewry three years earlier.70 By August 1942 the Romanians had killed nearly 300,000 Jews. But then everything changed.
In the autumn of 1942 more than 70,000 Jews lived between the rivers Dniester and Bug. In February 1943 Zionist activist Ben Hecht placed an advert in the New York Times, which read: "For sale - 70,000 Jews at $50 apiece. Guaranteed human beings." Hecht had read a Swiss newspaper clipping of an offer by the Romanian government to allow these Jews to leave Romania for that price.
The response of Stephen Wise of the American Jewish Congress was to issue a statement on February 23 1943 denying that such an offer had been made, and stating that "no collection of funds would seem justified".71 In fact, as undersecretary of state Adolph Berle confirmed to Bergson, the story was indeed true. Wise later claimed that on July 22-23 he personally obtained permission from Roosevelt to ransom the Romanian Jews, but that the arrangement was held up in the state department for five months.72 In August 1944 Romania surrendered to the Red Army and about half of its 850,000 Jews survived.73
The extermination of the Polish Jews was part and parcel of the Nazis' demographic policy of creating an "empty space" (volkloser Raum) in the east. Some three million, more than 90%, were murdered.74 Reitlinger argues that the official figure of 157,420 who returned after the war from Russia is dwarfed by the number of Jews from Polish White Russia who chose to stay in the Soviet Union. Up to 700,000 may have escaped from Poland and eastern Galicia into Russia. A quarter of a million Jews, including those in Auschwitz, the Là³dz ghetto and the hidden Jews survived the Nazi occupation.75 (The fact that such large numbers remained concealed is testament to the fact that anti-semitism was not all-pervasive.76 ) Reitlinger estimates that between 60,000 and 70,000 of the Baltic Jews escaped the holocaust by escaping to Russia.77
The Ukraine contained the true 'reservoirs of eastern Jewry'. In addition to the 568,000 Jews from east Galicia, annexed in 1939, over two million lived here.78 When the Russians retreated in 1941, most employable Jews left with them, leaving only their families. German paramilitary Einsatzgruppe C reported that rumours about the fate of the Jews had already preceded them and that many Jewish communities were reduced by 70%-90% - and in some cases 100%. According to Einsatzgruppe B, "in many towns the Soviets had evacuated the entire Jewish population". But for the Bolshevik revolution, despite all the subsequent Stalinist horrors, at least a million and a half more Jews would have died.79 And this is the measure of the utter uselessness of the Zionist 'solution' to the Jewish question.
Even in the Ukraine, Einsatzgruppen C reported that "Almost nowhere can the population be persuaded to take active steps against the Jews".80 A few weeks later they complained again that the inhabitants would not betray the hidden Jews. It was in the Baltic area, where Einsatzgruppen A operated, that the Nazis were able to count on local support. Even here Stahlecker observed: "To our surprise, it was not easy at first to set in motion an extensive pogrom against the Jews."81 On September 21 1942 the Nazis whined that Jews were being hidden by Poles and that the same was occurring in Galicia. Several thousand Jews joined the partisans.82
The communists led the resistance in the ghettos, Warsaw excepted. But the Soviet Union and Stalin played no part in forming the partisans, since they had put their trust in the Nazi-Soviet pact.83
Holocaust reparations fraud
Exploitation of the holocaust by the Zionists has never been more blatant than when it came to the question of reparations. In 1952 the German government signed an agreement to pay $120 million to the Jewish Claims Conference (CC), to go to individual survivors of the death camps. The CC promptly annulled the agreement with Germany, using the money for Zionist projects.84
In August 1998 the CC secured a $1.25 billion settlement from the Swiss banks. Despite the fact that the USA was also a primary haven for transferable Jewish assets in Europe, no similar compensation scheme has been sought from them. Likewise Israel.85 Edgar Bronfman of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) admitted that they had accumulated "roughly $7 billion in compensation monies".86
The CC wanted a chunk set aside for its own 'special fund'. Michael Kleiner, a member of the Israeli Knesset, described the CC as a Judenrat which "sits on a huge pile of money belonging to private individuals, but is doing everything to inherit [it] while they are still alive".87 Rabbi Israel Singer, secretary general of the WJC, said that the monies should "meet the needs of the entire Jewish people, and not just those Jews who were fortunate enough to survive the holocaust and live into old age".
Historian Henry Friedlander has calculated that only 475,000 prisoners survived the Nazi camps in spring 1945. As Jewish prisoners made up no more than 20% of the total, it is clear that 100,000 at most survived.88 In a May 1999 state department briefing, Stuart Eizenstat estimated the number of surviving slave labourers at between 70,000 and 90,000, putting the number of Jewish survivors at 20,000. Yet when it negotiated with Germany for compensation in 1999, the Zionists estimated the number of former Jewish slave labourers still alive at 135,000, a third more than in 1945!89
Not surprisingly holocaust-deniers use these false statistics to 'prove' that there was no holocaust. If 135,000 survivors of the camps are alive today, then 600,000 must have survived the war - half a million more than previously thought.
The Gribetz plan to allocate and distribute the Swiss monies to the holocaust survivors went even further down this road. It argued there were nearly 700,000 Jewish survivors of the slave labour camps still alive. If true it would mean at least 2.8 million Jews survived the camps. In which case the figures for the numbers of Jewish dead during the war would be less than three million. It seems that the Zionist leaders have all but admitted that the holocaust-deniers are correct.90
The WJC declares that it has amassed $9 billion in holocaust compensation funds, which it maintains belong to the Jewish people: ie, the WJC itself.91 However, when it held a holocaust reparations gala at New York's Pierre Hotel on September 11 2000, elderly Jewish survivors, not consulted in advance of - let alone invited to - the "star-studded gala", picketed outside.92
Lessons of the holocaust
The essential feature of the holocaust for Zionist propagandists is its uniqueness. According to them, there are no lessons for humanity, no universal messages as to how human beings conduct themselves - certainly nothing to be learned about racism and fascism. The only message is that whatever Israel does in the name of the Jewish people is justified. For Yehuda Bauer the holocaust's uniqueness lies in the attempt to annihilate a whole people and what he terms "the quasi-religious, apocalyptic ideology" of the Nazis.93 Indeed, by "subsuming the Jewish losses under a universal or ecumenical classification", one is effectively justifying anti-semitism.94 It is a "betrayal of Jewish history".95
This claim to uniqueness is a "distasteful secular version of chosenness".96 It arises from the fear that comparisons might be drawn between the Nazis' treatment of Europe's Jews and Israel's behaviour towards the Palestinians. This injunction against comparing the holocaust to anything else breaks down, however, when the Zionists themselves make the comparison! When Begin compared the PLO to the Nazis, that was fine, but when the people of Beirut were being bombed by Israeli planes, comparisons with the Warsaw ghetto were not on.
In fact there are any number of lessons to be drawn from the holocaust. Firstly it was not unique to the Jews. Not only did it encompass both gypsies and gays, but it would also have extended to the Poles and the Slavs.97 Poles in Germany were forced to wear a distinguishing badge, with a 'P' replacing the yellow star.
The use of gas chambers to murder the Jews was a direct continuation of the Nazis' murder of the physically and mentally handicapped, of whom more than 50,000 died between December 1939 and August 1941.98 The euthanasia programme, a "psychiatric holocaust",99 was brought to an end by the opposition of the German people. In the summer of 1941, according to Dr Fritz Mennecke, Hitler's train was held up by a large crowd who jeered the Führer.100 It culminated in the sermon of bishop Galen of Münster on August 3 1941, whose words, "especially his references to the threat of death hanging over invalids and seriously wounded soldiers, spread like wildfire".101 Even those populations in the east which had been indifferent to the Einsatzgruppen began to "perceive the true nature of the German racial ladder".102
There are other lessons. The refusal of the Americans and the British to open up their borders to the refugees and the failure to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz raises questions about the Zionists' quiet lobbying - "they made the point without much emphasis".103
And in fact the attempted liquidation of whole peoples is anything but unique - from the slaughter of an estimated 10 million Africans in the Belgian Congo, to Rwanda, the Armenian genocide104 and the Atlantic slave trade. But if, as the Zionists argue, the holocaust is unique, then it must be beyond understanding. It has no cause beyond the Jews themselves.
Despite accusations of 'anti-semitism' against their critics the Zionists systematically worked to sabotage rescue efforts during the holocaust. Zionism has always preached acquiescence in the face of actual anti-semitism. When president Reagan declared, at the Bitburg cemetery in 1985, that the German soldiers and Waffen SS were "victims of the Nazis just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps", the Zionist response was one of understanding.105
The Simon Wiesenthal Center gave Reagan the 'Humanitarian of the Year' award in 1988 and in 1994, the Anti-Defamation League awarded him its 'torch of liberty'.106 As Nathan Perlmutter of ADL explained, "real anti-semitism" consisted of policies "corrosive of Jewish interests", such as affirmative action and cuts in the defence budget!107
The cynical way that Zionist propagandists and fundraisers use the holocaust is best described by Israeli writer Boaz Evron: holocaust awareness is "an official, propagandistic indoctrination, a churning out of slogans and a false view of the world, the real aim of which is not at all an understanding of the past, but a manipulation of the present".108