In 1953 the leader of Hungarian Zionism, Rudolf Kastner, brought a libel action in Israel against a holocaust survivor, Malchiel Greenwald, who accused him of collaboration. Kastner was a senior official in the Israeli Labour Party Mapai and due to become one of its members in the next Knesset. Kastner had, in exchange for 700 (which grew to about 1680) of the Jewish elite - members of Zionist groups, the rich, family members etc. - (one thousand of the elite, bourgoeis and Zionsits, shipped out on a train, provided the Gestapo in Hungary with both lists of names and the whereabouts of Jews to be deported. Even worse, the Auschwitz Protocols, complied from the account of Rudolph Vrba (died March 26 2006) and his companion Wetzler, which detailed the whereabouts of Auschwitz and described the operation of the gas chambers, was suppressed by Kastner, who acted as the representative in Hungary of the Jewish Agency, the Palestine wing of the World Zionist Organisation. The result was that nearly 450,000 Hungarian Jews were deported before the Vrba/Wetzler report was broadcast on the BBC and printed in the New York Times in mid June 1944, 6 weeks after the deportation of Hungary's Jews and their extermination. But at least 100,000 of Budapest's Jews were saved, despite the best efforts of the Zionist organisations to suppress the Report.
In 1944 the Nazis were facing defeat. They weren't able to round up the Jews like in Poland. For one they were an assimilated community, secondly there were very few SS to do the job. Auschwitz was coming to the end of its life with its exposure in the West.
Kastner lost his libel action in the Jerusalem District Court where Judge Halevi wrote that he 'sold his soult to the devil'. After a fierce rearguard action (by which time Kastner, had been assasinated by Israel's Shin Bet) the verdict was reversed on political grounds. All the facts proved in the lower court were accepted as true and one aspect of the collaboration was upheld. SS Colonel Kurt Becher, who had led the SS in their task of liquidating Hungary's Jews, was imprisoned after the war by the Americans. Who rescued him? Kastner who testified, on behalf of the Jewish Agency, that Becher was a saviour of the Jews! Indeed he testified on behalf of all the war criminals with Eichmann - Wisliceny, Krumey - claiming they had rescued Jews!
This book contains much more about the deals between the Nazis and Zionists. The latter accepted the racial politics of the Nazis. They were the racial Jews. They too wanted a racial state, and after the war they got one. They even broke the anti-fascist boycott of Germany in 1933 because boycotts were 'unZionist' (the resulting Transfer Agreement (Ha'avarah)) led to 60% of capital investment in the Yishuv (Zionist state in the making) being from Nazi Germany.
The precursor of this book, that blazed the trail, was Perfidy, by famous Hollywood Producer Ben Hecht, who was himself an ardent Zionist. For 30 years the Zionists did their best to suppress Perfidy. They erased the name of Rudolph Vrba from Holcaust historiography (even today the Holocaust Propaganda Museum in Washington does not sell or have any mention of the name of Vrba - just as it removes the communists from Pastor Niemellor's famous saying about 'they came for the Jews....'
I have also added here a reply to the comment by a Zionist as it is of general interest.
Mikey Ezra unfortunately tries to defend the indefensible. He seems to forget that the leader of Hungarian Zionism, Rudolf Kastner, brought an action in an Israeli court in 1954 for libel against an elderly pamphleteer, Malchiel Greenwald, who had accused him of collaborating with the Nazis in Germany. He 'forgets' that those who testified against Kastner were primarily Hungarian Jews who had, notwithstanding Kastner's efforts, survived the Hungarian Holocaust. Some 20 survivors of the concentration camps gave evidence against Kastner. And according to Ben Hecht's Perfidy (p.173) on October 15th 1945 all the survivors of the deportation from Cluj `Zionists, Social Democrats, Communists, Jews of every sort - try him in absentia in a people's court and pronounce him a war criminal'. Mikey however, in the service of a state ideology, Zionist, knows better than those who survived against all the odds.
The State, which insisted on Kastner's libel action, in the form of its Attorney General, Chaim Cohen was quite explicit that the Zionist practice was to save the few out of the many. It was called 'selectivity'. Those who wish to read up on these things can read e.g. Lenni Brenner's Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, Ben Hecht's 'Perfidy' or indeed S Beit Zvi's 'Ugandan Zionism in the Crucible of the Holocaust'. The latter two are Zionists. All agree that the aim of Zionism was the political goal of achieving statehood and everything else was secondary. Let me quote Attorney General Cohen, was by this time was not so much prosecuting a libel action as defending Kastner:
`If in Kastner's opinion, rightly or wrongly, he believed that one million Jews were hopelessly doomed, he was allowed not to inform 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.... 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?' Hecht, p.195.
Kastner incidentally failed in his libel action in the Jerusalem District Court, because of the evidence amassed. All the factual findings of the lower court were upheld by the Supreme Court which, on narrow political and legal grounds, primarily that one couldn't judge the past or what constituted collaboration, reversed the previous verdict by a majority verdict (with 2 judges rejecting Kastner's sophistry). However they upheld the charge of collaboration on one key issue, that Kastner went to Nuremburg to testify in favour of the Nazi war criminal, Lt. Col. Becher (later promoted) of the SS. In fact it later turned out that Kastner had testified in favour of 3 more Nazis - SS General Hans Juttner, Krumey and Wisliceny, the architect of the Holocaust in Slovakia, who was hanged in Bratislava after the war.
These are the facts that Mikey would like erased. If he had read the 300+ page Report of Kastner to his bosses in the Jewish Agency after the war, a Report which doesn't even mention the Auschwitz Protocols whereby Vrba and Wetzler, the Auschwitz escapees reveal the existence of the Auschwitz extermination camp, he would notice the REPEATED references to the train rescue of the Prominents. Its primary purpose was to rescue the Zionist and Jewish elites, the Prominents. Some others scrambled aboard at the last minute, others included nearly 400 friends of Kastner's from Cluj, his home town and some of the Orthodox Jewish establishment. What it didn't consist of was the working classes of Hungarian Jewry.
As to the alleged 'mistakes'.
(1) dealt with
(2) Kastner and the Jewish establishment, including the Judenrat that was set up, certainly did provide lists of local Jews. The allegation is in Eugene Levai's 'Black Book of Hungarian Jewry.' amongst other sources.
(3) The Zionist Moshe Krauss was a bitter enemy of Kastner and in a minority of one. A number of dissident Zionists wanted rescue above all, unlike the Zionist leadership. People like Ben Hecht and Bergson/Merlin of the Emergency Committee in the USA that Zionist leader Stephen Wise labelled as 'bad as Hitler' despite being responsible for the creation of the War Refugee Board which saved some hundreds of thousands of Jews. Wise and the American Jewish Congress and US Zionist Organisation had done their best to attack other Jews who did want to make rescue, as opposed to statehood their priority. There is no genetic or biological quality among Zionists which prevent their wanting to oppose anti-Semitism. The problem is the politics of the Zionist movement which mitigate against the most natural inclinations to oppose racism. So some Zionists live with these contradictions until one or other gives way.
The Auschwitz Protocols were handed to Kastner on April 29th by the Slovak Jewish Council leader and also a Zionist, Oskar Neumann. This is testified to by a number of sources including Vrba. Kastner sat on them. The only people told were his own comrades, the passengers on the train of the elite and political associates. They were however translated into a number of languages and passed to the Vatican, other emissaries and Jewish leaders and were first publicised by papers in Switzerland. That is what led to the threats by the WRB, Anthony Eden and the decision of July 9th by Admiral Horthy, the Hungarian Regent, to call a halt to further deportations, thus saving the bulk of Budapest Jewry.
But by Mikey's own admission it wasn't Kastner, who we know received the Auschwitz Protocols, who sent them to Switzerland but Krauss. In fact it was probably the Vatican Nuncio who sent them to Switzerland although they were by this time widely disseminated in diplomatic pouches.
4. Auschwitz ended its life on November 25th 1944. It began in 1941 as a labour camp which became transformed with Birkenau into an extermination camp. Mikey's pedanticism fools noone. Vrba and Wetzler specifically escaped from Auschwitz because of the imminent preparations of the camp for the Hungarian deportees, including the construction of a new ramp which would take those to be murdered right up to the gas chambers. That this acceleration of the Holocaust went hand in hand with the decision to close Auschwitz and the death camps seems to have escaped Mikey.
5. It is generally accepted that the 'right-wing terrorists' were in fact agents of the Shin Bet. See Hecht's Perfidy (as an arch-Zionist, according to Mikey's 'logic' Hecht is an impeccable source).
6. Quite why it is an abuse of process to call someone to the stand over a dozen times escapes me. Kastner brought the action, at the State's behest it is true, therefore given the fact that he repeatedly lied it is quite in order to recall him to the witness box. The lower court judge, Benjamin Halevi, was one of the 3 judges who later judged Eichmann. If he was such a poor judge he would hardly have been chosen for this latter role but Mikey, being one of the innumerable defenders of Israel and Zionism, right or wrong, cannot accept that some Zionists do actually have a measure of independence from the movement rather than behaving like automatons. In fact Halevi was initially in the trial extremely hostile to Tamir and those who were accused and started off the trial by suggesting they might like to change their pleas! He was convinced by the wealth of evidence of survivors who testified to how Kastner had reassured the deportees that they were going to a settlement camp Kenyermeze when he knew they were going to their death. Romania at that time had changed from the Axis to the Allies and was a refuge for any Jew who could make it. Thousands of Jews could have fled. Everywhere in Europe, even in the heart of Nazi occupied Poland and Ukraine, the odds of surviving were far higher if you escaped into the forests than if you stayed in a ghetto. To escape into Romania was virtually a guarantee of survival, certainly higher than the 98% chance of being murdered if you went to Auschwitz.
When Halevi said that Kastner had 'sold his soul to the Devil' it is difficult to disagree.
7. The Supreme Court decision, which in fact was a series of 5 opinions, certainly didn't exonerate Kastner but found that one couldn't judge these things in hindsight. It certainly didn't find that he negotiated to save all Jews and his own evidence, which is more to the point than a political court, was that his primary concern was with the train of the Prominents. At no stage did Kastner negotiate on behalf of all Hungarian Jews. On the contrary he kept quiet about the Holocaust.
Let me cite Rudolph Vrba, the hero who escaped from Auschwitz who wrote in the Daily Herald in February 1961: "I accuse certain Jewish leaders of one of the most ghastly deeds of the war. This small group of quislings knew what was happening to their brethren in Hitler's gas chambers and bought their own lives with the price of silence. Among them was Dr Kastner ... I was able to give Hungarian Zionist leaders three weeks notice that Eichmann planned to send a million of their Jews to his gas chambers ... Kasztner went to Eichmann and told him, `I know of your plans; spare some Jews of my choice and I shall keep quiet.' Eichmann not only agreed, but dressed Kasztner up in SS uniform and took him to Belsen to trace some of his friends."8
I think Vrba is in a position to know better than Mikey as to whether or not Kastner was the hero that Mikey paints him out to be.
8. Becher was a Lt. Col. in the SS who was apparently promoted to Lt. General in January 1945. Clearly he was a leader of the SS.
9. Kastner was a representative of the Jewish Agency in Hungary. At no time has the Jewish Agency ever dissociated itself from what he did in Nuremburg. On the contrary the evidence is that it was fully aware of what he was saying and doing. I can only suggest that Mikey reads Shoshana Barri's (Ishoni) article 'The Question of Kastner's Testimonies on Behalf of Nazi War Criminals. As it is contained in Vol. 18 Nos. 2& 3 of The Journal of Israeli History, this can hardly be considered an anti-Zionist source! Barri states that 'The Jewish Agency was informed of all the January 1946 statements [of Kastner on behalf of the Nazi war criminals] shortly after they were given.' (p.143) or 'He [Kastner] emphasized that he never doubted Becher's sincere intentions and that he was testifying not only on his own behalf, but on behalf of the Jewish Agency and the World Jewish Congress.' (citing Kastner statement of 4.8.47., Prosecution Exhibit 73). Barri writes that 'It is unclear, whether the JA was familiar with this testimony word for word. It is clear, however, that the Agency did know of the testimony's existence....' pp. 143-4 and likewise 'According to the archival materials, then, the Jewish Agency knew of Kastner's testimony on behalf of Becher. During the trial, however, the public was given a different impression.' (p.151).
It is clear that the Jewish Agency did know and that Eliahu Dobkin of the Jewish Agency lied in the trial concerning the Jewish Agency's involvement. That clearly is Barri's view and this as I say is a well-researched article by someone with no anti-Zionist axe to grind. So maybe Mikey can tell us who was lying. Kastner or the Jewish Agency. It is however very clear from the evidence that the Jewish Agency couldn't dissociate themselves from their representative because, if what Barri says is true, he was acting at least in part on their instructions. And for the sordid reason that the Jewish Agency wished to lay their hands on the property of the Hungarian Jews.
10. Since Eichmann wasn't on trial in Nuremburg and since Kastner was dead by the time Eichmann was brought to trial in Israel in 1961 it is difficult to know how he could have testified against him! 11. We agree that the Zionists signed the Transfer Agreement (Ha'avarah). It led to 60% of capital invested in the Yishuv, the pre-state Zionist community in Israel, coming from Nazi Germany and breaking the anti-fascist boycott of Germany. It rescued the richest Jews who were the most able to escape. It left isolated the weakest, the elderly and working class German Jews. It was condemned then by most Jews as an utter disgrace. It had everything to do with strengthening the Zionist economy in Palestine and nothing to do with their rescue. It certainly didn't rescue 'tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazis' because it only applied to those with £1,000 or more, the capitalist Jews.
For example the arch-Zionist historian, Otto Dov Kulka writes in his 'Public Opinion' in Nazi Germany and the 'Jewish Question' in the Jerusalem Quarterly, 1982 Vol. 25 that:
'Another aspect of the critical attitude towards the anti-Semitic Nuremburg legislation - or at least concern about its possible ramifications - was especially noticeable among economic circles. I am referring to apprehension about the response of the Western world, and especially the possibility that the economic boycott of Germany would be intensified. Such fears related specifically to retaliatory measures that might be taken by Jews and economic circles under their sway in various countries.'
This was why the Nazis agreed to the Ha'avarah agreement. Is it seriously suggested that they were interested in the saving of Jews? Why should they agree to something that led to a capital outflow from Germany unless they saw the usefulness of having a Jewish group - the Zionists - trading with Nazi Germany as a means of deflecting the Boycott.
Kulka goes on to say:
'.... Similarly, various Lgbb, from Prussia report concern about the prospect of aggravated economic measures and prsent concrete data on the spread of the boycott (the cancellation of export orders and of participation in the Leipzig Fair with the Nuremberg Laws explicitly cited as the reason) that was brought to the attention of the authorities by 'autoritative eeconomic and industrial circles'.
There is no doubt that the Nazis feared a boycott and even so devoted a Zionist historian as Kulka admits to this.
12. I don't have space or time to dwell on Vrba. An excellent book on the subject is by Haifa University Professor Ruth Linn 'Escaping Auschwitz - A Culture of Forgetting.' Even mention of Vrba's name was obliterated by Bauer and the other Zionist historians. It appeared nowhere in Israeli history books, his Protocols were only located with difficulty in Yad Vashem, rather than being prominent as being amongst the most important of all holocaust documents. His name was repeatedly erased from historical writings in Israel, being referred to as the '2 escapees'. They were subject to repeated attacks, not least by Bauer. In fact the first time Vrba's opinions and views were openly debated with Bauer was in a German magazine! Yes, thanks to Linn's efforts Vrba was indeed honoured, not before time, with an honorary degree by Haifa. And Bauer and other Zionists condemned them for this! But read the book and see for yourself. I believe Amazon also sell it.
I am a Jewish anti-Zionist and I won't cover up for the crimes that the Zionist movement carried out by prioritising the achievement of a state and, in some cases, actively opposing rescue. You can read the article I wrote on these subjects, as part of a 4 part series in
But maybe the last word in this debate should be left to Rabbi Solomon Schonfield, who was appointed as Chairman of the Chief Rabbi's Rescue Committee during the second world war. He was certainly no anti-Zionist but this is what he wrote in a letter to the Times of 6 June 1961:
My experience in 1942/3 was wholly in favour of a British readiness to help openly, constructively and totally, and that this readiness met with opposition from Zionist leaders who insisted on rescue to Palestine as the only form of help.
There are plenty of hacks and Israel 'right or wrong' propagandists like Mikey, who on the one hand will wax lyrical about the starvation of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto and yet support the starvation siege of Gaza today, but some of us prefer to be consistent and condemn both. A war crime is a war crime whoever commits it. Tragically the Zionist movement collaborated during the war and then used the experiences of Jews as a rationale for visiting death and destruction on the Palestinians.