Holocaust Victims Accuse
Published in 1977 by
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"Just as the stars are in the heights of the universe, so it is with your sons: When they rise, they rise up to the heavens; and when they descend, they descend to the dust." (Pesikta Zutrasi)
WHEN THEY DESCEND — DOWN TO THE DUST
The previous chapter of this series dealt mainly with the avoidance and the blocking of rescue opportunities by the Zionist leader, Sali Mayer, who, in his position as representative of the Joint, and also as chairman of the Zionist Communal Board in Switzerland, had in his hand (together with the Jewish Agency representatives in Switzerland) great authority and control over the monetary sources of world Jewry. It has been pointed out that Sali Mayer was loyal to the approach of the Zionist leadership which was, essentially: Since we are united in this war with the Allied powers, we are obligated to identify our activities with their interests, even when it will cost us the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews.
Dr. Hecht, an economist from Haifa, testified during the Kastner trial:
"In 1939, we illegally transported as many Jews as possible from the German border via Switzerland. The Swiss government at that time did not wish to flood Switzerland with refugees, and Sali Mayer fully agreed with this policy. All of the steps that were taken against Jewish refugees —— their imprisonment and the curfew imposed on them not to leave at night — — were carried out with the full concurrence of Sali Mayer. The officials of the Jewish Agency in Switzerland did not do a thing to oppose these decrees against foreigners by the Swiss. I knew Sali Mayer, and I could confirm that the mayor of Zurich, Dr. Brunner, helped us more than he did. Sali Mayer began to aid us with transports only after Dr. Rothmond and Dr. Brunner demanded this of him.”
After Rav Weissmandel, may his memory be blessed, succeeded in halting the expulsion of the Jews of Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942 through bribery payments and agreements with the Nazi, Wisliceny, he began bargaining anew over the rescue of all of European Jewry. On May 10, 1943, the rescue committee of Rav Weissmandel in Slovakia prepared a new pact with Wisliceny, who represented Himmler. This stated that by June 10, for the sum of $200,00. Â the deportations in all occupied areas in Europe, with the exception of greater Germany and Poland, would cease until August 10. During this time, conditions would be set for paying $3 million, to stop in their entirety the transports to the concentration camps. As a sign of good will in the meantime, the deportations would be halted from the day of this agreement until the first payment on June 10. Rav Weissmandel passed the details of this pact to Switzerland, and added his comments and pleas:
“The truth can be stated, that if world Jewry treated us as the governments—in—exile living ii countries treat their brethren in the occupied lands, if only we had in our hands a very small part of the money that world Jewry has in its hands — — without limitations and without advice, but on the contrary, with requests and pleas: â€˜Take the money! Here is all the money in the world. Just rescue, rescue!’ — — then, perhaps, several hundreds of thousands would not have been murdered. However, advice we have heard and suggestions we have received — — but very little money: less than a drop in the ocean. The boiling blood of our brethren, the children of Israel, is already screaming at us and shouting at you for the past — — the awful, tragic past. Therefore, we adjure you with all oaths: Remember that the evil one (Hitler) still has in his occupied lands and under his influence close to three million Jewish souls. It is possible to save one soul for two or three dollars. The merchandise is already in the market, market day is already set and we cannot delay even by one hour. They are preparing everything to start the deportations, but it is in our hands to keep it from actually beginning. Be aware that these transports mean but one thing: a horrible, awful murder. I know that there is hesitation about this sin of giving money to the evil nation (Germany), which is a criminal sin for the allied governments.
But which sin is harsher: giving money to enemy countries, or murdering tens of thousands of our Jewish brethren? We have already paid a very high price — — with four million pure and holy souls, who were murdered and strangled in the gas chambers and crematoria of Belzitz and Melkini, etc. — — and we have but one obligation: to say to their blood, â€˜Enough!’ with all the power and ability within our hands.
“We place a tearful plea and request before you. You have but one responsibility: to collect money — — more money and more money. Advice and suggestions leave to us. We have everything. There were many ways to rescue and it is a pity that they were forfeited. And there are still many ways to rescue. We lack only one thing which we cannot acquire — — and that is money. If only we had the power to put a breath of life into these letters, how good and pleasant it would be. Then we would swear by them, saying. Come before our brethren in the free lands and tell them and cry before them — — over the souls of the elderly men and women who were pierced by bayonets, who were murdered by bullets in their weary beds, over the souls of hundreds of thousands of beautiful children, pure children, who were murdered in the camps, children who were buried alive by the thousands in one grave; over the souls of thousands upon thousands who were gassed in the smoking ovens of murder — — and with the power of their pure souls, awaken mercy in the hearts of our brethren, the children of Israel. We ’know very well that they are able to give money. This is the only request that is asked of you: That you give the money in order to save the remnant in Poland and the remnant that is destined to go to Poland.”
Each and every individual letter, burning as it flowed from the pen of Rav Weissmandel certainly had a soul, but the people whose hearts they were intended to make tremble lacked a Jewish soul. Sali Mayer and Nathan Schwalb (representative of the Jewish Agency), were not moved by the piercing cry. Three million dollars, which could have saved a million Jews, are collected today at a joyous celebration in the United States, for the Weizmann Institute. But at that time of emergency, these nationalists —— who had the influence and the money —— refused to give it to the highest purpose for which the money had been raised: redeeming those doomed to die.
On June 18, 1943, Rav Weissmandel prepared another letter in which he announced that he had managed to extend the final date to July 1. But then, too, no one listened. Again it was proven that the bargaining in which Rav Weissmandel was engaged, was neither the fruit of his imagination, nor a Nazi scheme: For just as the bribed Nazis had, been true to their agreement in Slovakia, so they kept their promise as to this new pact, from which emanated the Europa Plan. In the first revelations by escapees from Auschwitz, which Rav Weissmandel arranged to be smuggled to the West, reference was made to that event which was a mystery for all of those incarcerated in the camp: For a full month, during the spring of 1943, not one transport arrived there, and the crematoria had also stopped burning. Although the official explanation was that they were checking the furnaces, no repairs were actually carried out. This means that the Nazis were prepared to keep the agreement if the Jewish side fulfilled its part. However, dooming European Jewry, all of the bargaining was unimportant to Zionist leaders. To them, Rav Weissmandel was just a bother —— whose eyes could not perceive the Jewish state in the making that was rising from the waves of blood, and whose eyes were, instead, focused on the nightmare of bloodshed.
The leaders not only refused to bring about a Â redemption, but they also desired no information about the happenings. Rav Weissmandel 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 organizations 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 them to return empty—handed —— because those over there did not have time to answer!”
WHOSE BLOOD IS REDDER?
In the coming chapters we will relate, with the Almighty’s help, about the many opportunities for rescuing that Sali Mayer and his associates foiled. In only one case did Mayer find it fitting to open his purse generously. He gave money to Kastner to redeem 1,700 Hungarian Jews, 688 of whom Kastner had bought from Eichmann, and who were transferred from Hungary, via Bergen—Belsen, to Switzerland. Here, where it involved saving the elite —— for the most part Zionist activists and relatives of Kastner ——Sali Mayer forgot the principle of not giving money to the enemy. Rav Weissmandel pleaded in vain to save one million Jews for $3 million, while $1,000 per head was granted without hesitation. In this case, also, Sali Mayer acted in accordance with the guidelines which were a cornerstone of Zionist policy: Selectivity. The fundamental point of this approach was based on the assumption that the multitude of Israel was “economic and moral dust” (as stated by Dr. Chaim Weizmann before the Zionist Congress of 1937), which, at best, was destined to serve as a footrest for the legs of the thin layer of national nobility. Ben Hecht writes justly in his English—language book, “Perfidy”:
’The truth about Weizmann is that he was stirred by the Jewish dream of a New Zion, which somehow did not include the Jews of reality —— of Petticoat Lane, Hester Street, the Warsaw Nalevki, and the ghetto of Pinsk.
“in the 1930s, Dr. Weizmann made many eloquent speeches ex plaining the aims of his Zionism. lie offered the world a picture of a Zionism toiling to turn Palestine into a Tiffany’s window for glittering Jews, and not another ghetto for pushcart vendors and lowly talus— wearers.
Israeli Supreme Court Justice Chaim Cohen, who served as legal counsel for the “State of Israel” during the Kastner trial, presented in his protest against the incrimination of Kastner, an additional expression of the political philosophy of Zionism. He writes, among other things, in his appeal to the Supreme Court:
“if in Kastner’s opinion rightly or wrongly, he believed that one million Jews were hopelessly doomed, he was allowed not to in form them of their fate; and to concentrate on the saving of the few.
“He was entitled to make a deal with the Nazis for the saving of a few hundred and entitled not to warn the millions, in fact, if that’s how he saw it, rightly or wrongly, that was his duty...
“If you don’t like it, if it doesn’t coincide with your own philosophy, you may criticize Kastner and say his policy was a mistaken one. But what does all this have to do with collaboration?... It has always been our Zionist tradition to select the few out of many in arranging the immigration to Palestine (the Weizmann Blueprint). Are we therefore to be called traitors?...
“Kastner did nothing more and nothing less than was done by us in rescuing the Jews and bringing them to Palestine... You are allowed — — in fact, it is your duty — — to risk losing the many in order to save the few... The man Kastner does not stand here as a private individual. He was a recognized representative, official or non-official, of the Jewish National Institutes in Palestine and of the Zionist Executive; and I come here in this court to defend the representative of our national institutions... There was no room for any resistance to the Germans in Hungary and (that) Kastner was allowed to draw the conclusion that if all the Jews of Hungary are to be sent to their death he is entitled to organize a rescue train for 600 people. He is not only entitled to it, but is also bound to act accordingly.” (Cohen continued explaining that this attitude toward extermination had always been the system of the national Jewish institutions, who gave emigration certificates to Palestine only to a few of the masses who wanted to emigrate — — emigration based on selectivity.)
Not long ago, the musician, Bernblatt, was brought to trial in Tel Aviv for having collaborated with the Nazis. This Bernblatt, although he gave Jewish orphans to the Nazis for extermination, said in his defense at the trial that he did as much as possible to help the underground group called “Gordonia”. If only Chaim Cohen had been a defense counsel rather than a chief justice, he certainly would have commended Bernblatt, just as he had commended Kastner, for, in the spirit of the Zionist philosophy, he saved the few by abandoning many. The witness, He who appeared at the Bernblatt trial, remarked:
“The ’Judenrat’ served as an instrument for keeping things calm. Ii lulled both the youth and the adults into a false sense of security, so that they shouldn’t think about rescue activities. Un fortunately, most of the members of the Judenrat were Zionists. They thought that by collaborating with the Germans, they were doing a good thing. By preparing the lists of Jews who were sent to their deaths, they thought that they were saving other Jews. The heads of the Judenrat suffered from a superiority complex, thinking that they were doing a historic thing in order to redeem the nation — — and the entire Jewish population feared them” (“Ha’aretz”, September 24, 1963).
On the same subject, it is fitting to quote the words of the lawyer, Shmuel Tamir, in his concluding speech in the Kastner trial, in order to prove that human nature is the same the world over. Whether in Poland, Hungary, the United States or Eretz Yisroel, the Zionists take one line of action: overpower and. rule, choose and discriminate! Finally, their ancient dream materialized seizing the “kehillos” (communities), even within the framework of the Judenrat, served as the precedent to the government of an independent state.
“At that time a very special process was occurring among Hungarian Jewry. The Zionist minority, which was a small minority within Hungarian Jewry, was ruling over all of the Jews. The assimilated majority, called “Neologists”, and the religious, called “Orthodox”, retreated and gave way to the Zionists. Brand confirms this in his memorandum, as does Freudiger in his testimony.
“Among the Zionists themselves, after having received money from Eretz Yisroel through Kastner’s group, “Ichud”, the minority governed. According to the testimony of Kraus, this group constituted less than a quarter of the Zionist movement, resulting in a situation that was paradoxical: The minority among the Zionists ruled over Hungarian Zionism, therefore controlling all of Hungarian Jewry. This minority, headed by Kastner, con trolled the internal lives of one million people. When the Germans searched for collaborators among the Zionists, they immediately met Kastner and his colleagues; for they, too, were doing all that they could to make contact with the Germans.”
And here is another document, the letter of Henry Montor, vice president of the United Jewish Appeal in the United States, concerning several hundred Jews from the Balkans who, in February, 1940, crow ded into a ship on the Danube with no possibility of going ashore into Nazi territory. These were illegal immigrants, among whom were elderly men and women, and children who were not organized and certified by the official Zionist organizations. Their lives were endangered by hunger and thirst. They needed money to compensate the captain to agree to bring them to Palestine. The United Jewish Appeal refused to help them. Henry Montor writes the following to Rabbi Baruch A. Rabinowitz of Congregation “B’nei Abraham” in Maryland:
Rabbi Baruch E. Rabinowitz
Congregation B’nai Abraham
Dear Rabbi Rabinowitz:
Knowing your helpfulness to an interest in the United Jewish Appeal for Refugees and Overseas Needs, we are, of course, concerned with the sentiments voiced in your letter of January 29th.
I am enclosing herewith two items which may be helpful in revising your judgment on several aspects of the situation relating to the refugees on the Danube: one is a clipping from The New Palestine of January 26th and the other is a translation of a column by Mr. Jacob Fishman, distinguished Contributing Editor of the Jewish Morning Journal, who provides an impartial analysis of the issues as they relate to public agencies.
It is most difficult to deal with this delicate issue in a public way, but I feel that accurate knowledge by you of the facts involved is most essential for us. I am, therefore, taking the liberty of writing this letter to you with as full a description of the facts as may be comprised in a letter.
The United Palestine Appeal is a fund— raising instrument of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, as well as the Jewish National Fund. Whatever may be the attitude of the Jewish Agency toward unregistered migration to Palestine, it cannot, as a legally con stituted body, publicly emphasize any interest in or sympathy to such immigration as it may and does have. A t the present time, the Jewish Agency for Palestine is engaged in conversations with the British Government for an issuance of a new labor immigration schedule for the six—month period beginning April 1st. As you know; even provisions of the White Paper provide for an annual immigration schedule of 10,000 a year, aside from such certificates as may be made available to refugees from the total number of 25,000 separate certificates which the Government promised to place at the disposal of refugees. Public emphasis on unregistered immigration and acknowledgement by such a body as the Jewish Agency that it not only endorses, but finances such un registered immigration can only strike a disastrous blow at the possibility of facilitating the entry of legal, properly qualified immigrants into Palestine...
The facilitation of unregistered immigration to Palestine is one of the most serious tasks that face the Jewish people now and in the future. Two elements must be kept in mind: First, the needs of refugees escaping from certain destruction in Europe, and, secondly, the requirements of Palestine for immigrants who can con tribute to the constructive growth of the country in order that room may be made for additional immigrants. Whatever interest in unregistered immigration may have been exhibited by individuals associated with the Jewish Agency for Palestine was based on a Â recognition of the fact that “selectivity” is an in escapable factor in dealing with the problem of immigration to Palestine. By “selectivity” is meant the choice of young men and women who are trained in Europe for productive purposes either in agriculture or industry and who are in other ways trained for life in Palestine, which involves difficulties and hardships for which they must be prepared physically and psychologically. Sentimental considerations are, of course, vital and everyone would wish to save every single Jew who could be rescued out of the cauldron of Europe.
But when one is dealing with so delicate a program as un registered immigration, it is, obviously, essential that those people sent to Palestine shall be able to endure harsh conditions under which they must live for weeks and months on the Mediterranean and the difficulties which await them when they land on the shores of Palestine. It is tragically true that scores of some of the un registered immigrants who have been undernourished and under- clothed on the unseaworthy boats that cross the Mediterranean died in the hulks of those ships.
Certain responsible and experienced persons have been facilitating the immigration of Jews to Palestine on an unregistered basis. During the past four weeks, for example, some 2,200 of such young men and women from Germany, Poland and elsewhere have been brought together on the Danube for transport to Palestine. Seven hundred and fifty were shipped on one boat. You will not have seen in any of your newspapers reference to this activity, because these responsible individuals are not concerned with making prestige for a party or a political enterprise, but are profoundly desirous of assuring the safe arrival of these productive young men and women into Palestine. They recognize that the greater the publicity that surrounds such activities, the less possible is it to carry on with the entry of Jews into Palestine on this basis.
You will recall that one of the sad aspects of the case of the “St. Louis” was the sensational publicity that reached every front page of the country’s press and thus made it difficult for the Cuban Government to retreat from the original and unwise decision that it had originally made for the exclusion of the 900 passengers on the “St. Louis”.
When the...transport on the Danube became a public issue two weeks ago, a responsible individual indicated.., that this particular affair could be satisfactorily liquidated... if it were to agree to “selectivity” in immigration...
A great many of the passengers were old men and women, whose fate must be the sincerest concern of every Jew, but who were, obviously, not fitted for the hazardous journey across the Mediterranean in boats whose captains consented to this traffic only because of the exorbitant amounts they could command...
In public discussion, it is considered inadmissible for a Jew even to conceive of the possibility of criminals in Jewish ranks, but in as much as this is a confidential letter, I think it is fair to you and to the interests with which you are concerned to point out that many of those who have been brought into Palestine by the Revisionists, on this purely money basis, have been prostitutes and criminals — — certainly an element which cannot contribute to the upbuilding of a Jewish National Home in which Jews everywhere might take pride. The increased incidence of crime in Palestine in the past year is the most tragic reflection of the haphazard and irresponsible guidance of unregistered immigration by certain groups.
Those who have concerned themselves throughout their lifetime with the building of a Jewish National Home in Palestine have been directing their aspirations toward two objectives: The first is to make possible the entry into Palestine of Jews who need homes, and the second has been to create in Palestine a center where Jewish ideals might be translated into reality.
The whole structure of the Jewish National Home, resting on delicate political, geographical, economic and social foundations, must ultimately topple if its underpinnings are weak and unsound. What Palestine needs today are young people who have an understanding of what the Jewish National Home is meant to be and whose energies and resources of talent are such as to create the possibilities for additional large immigration.
There could be no more deadly ammunition provided to the enemies of Zionism, whether they be in the ranks of the British Government or the Arabs, or even in the ranks of the Jewish people, if Palestine were to be flooded with very-old people or with un desirables who would make impossible the conditions of life in Palestine and destroy the prospect of creating such economic circumstances as would insure a continuity of immigration...
No reasonable person has ever said that Palestine could hold all the millions of Jews who need its shelter, even if legal and un registered immigration combined were to make feasible the en try of all these millions of Jews.. .We start then with the assumption that Palestine can provide for only a segment of those who need its freedom and security. That is due to a combination of political hindrances and financial handicaps. Until the resources of Palestine are adequately developed, immigration of from 30,000 to 60,000 a year may be possible, until a larger number might consistently and continuously be reached. Under these circumstances, therefore, is it not essential for responsible leaders to concern themselves with the necessity of selecting immigration, particularly under the arduous conditions that surround unregistered immigration at the present time?...
Hoping that I have indicated our very great respect for your views and judgment, I am
The principle of selective “aliyah”, which the Zionist leaders practiced, does not prevent them from placing the blame, with surprising hypocrisy, on Torah leaders; as if it were they who hindered numerous religious Jews f rpm going to the Holy Land and, in so doing, abandoned them to be killed. This is the way of the Satan: “He comes down and deceives, goes up and angers, takes permission, and takes souls.”
WHEN THEY RISE, THEY RISE UP TO THE HEAVENS
Against the background of the gloomy figures of Zionist leaders — who considered the holocaust as a diving board for personal careers, and as fertile ground for attaining political goals —— the vision of a sinking, unloved world gave way to a long—awaited national revival. Against such a background there shone with a Heavenly glow the personalities of the faithful shepherds of Israel, who suffered the afflictions of their fellowmen and shared the troubles of the multitudes of the Jewish people. They made themselves holy and worked to sanctify others.
The following is told in the book, “Toras Avraham”, a collection of discussions and articles by and about the “mashgiach” (spiritual ad visor) of Slobodka Yeshiva, the martyred Rav Avraham Grodzensky:
“After the ghetto of Slobodka was established, the students of the yeshiva and the kollel became forced laborers. During all the years of the ghetto, he (Rav Grodzensky) did not cease to speak and reflect on the fear of the A/Mighty. When the yeshiva stu dents became used to the hard work, he again began to have discussions with them each Shabbos night. During the entire darkness of the holocaust, his spirit did not fail, nor did the glow leave his face. Once, during the “aktzions” (on—the—spot murders), terrible fear, mourning and depression fell upon the ghetto inhabitants. Shabbos arrived and he detected the despair and sadness on the .face of one of his students. He remarked to him that one must receive the holy Shabbos in joy.
“The ghetto years were intense, constant preparations for sanctifying the Almighty’s Name. From the first days of the ghetto, the memory of this shocking scene was deeply engraved upon the hearts of the survivors: Rav Elchanan Wasserman had found refuge in the home of Rav Grodzensky, where many Torah scholars were gathered. Rav Grodzensky turned to Reb Elchanan and asked him to deliver a lecture on Jewish law to all those pre sent. He asked him to prepare a lesson on the timely topic of sanctifying the Almighty’s Name. The righteous scholar did not refuse, and in a few hours came out of his room and spoke on this subject. Rav Grodzensky concluded with a deep, stimulating talk on behavioral attitudes on the same topic. This scene left a strong impression on all present — — it both alarmed and strengthened them.
“Who could have paid attention to his neighbor’s fate in those bewildering days? When tens of thousands stood in the assembly square for the great selection process of the “aktzions”, each per son heaved a deep sigh of relief when he was directed to the “good” side and his own life was saved...Not so with Rav Grodzensky: When he was sent to the living side, he cried endlessly all that day over all of his acquaintances who had been doomed to die. As he received news of those who were to be murdered, he shed rivers of tears anew. Even in this situation, his heart yearned only to bear the yoke with his fellowman.
“The last days of the Slobodka ghetto came about. Rav Grodzensky was cruelly beaten when the Germans discovered the bunker where he hid together with several yeshiva students. He was brought to the ghetto hospital. It was known that the Ger mans were going to burn down the hospital, with all of the patients inside. He said to the last of his students who visited him that he would lovingly receive the judgment of Heaven, but his heart trembled within him over the image of the Almighty — — which would be desecrated by these evil people.”