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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Israel's Kasztner Trial - The Collaboration with the Nazis that still haunts Zionism

Review of Paul Bogdanor's 'Kasztner’s crimes - Tony Greenstein


Below is the unedited version of my review of Paul Bogdanor's Kasztner's Crimes which appears in the current issue of the Weekly Worker.  I have included a section on the Haganah paratroopers, in particular Hannah Szenes, which was left out of the version published in Weekly Worker for reasons of space.

This is the only critical review I know of, certainly from a socialist and anti-Zionist perspective, of a book that has garnered uncritical reviews.  The primary purpose of Bogdanor's book is to rehabilitate the reputation of the Zionist movement in Hungary by throwing Rudolf Kasztner, the leader of the Zionist movement in Hungary, to the wolves. 
Deportation of Jews from the town Koszeg, Hungary, 1944
It is not surprising that Yad Vashem, the Zionist Holocaust Propaganda Museum, which rehabilitated Kasztner's reputation and defended him to the hilt, has not responded to the book or its criticism of its premier historian, Professor Yehuda Bauer.

When Ken Livingstone was suspended for saying that the Nazis supported Zionism, people seized on the Nazi-Zionist trade agreement Ha'vara, which was agreed in August 1933.  However, although that was the first instance of Zionist-Nazi collaboration, the primary example was that of Rudolf Kasztner's betrayal of Hungary's Jewish population at a time in the war, May 1944, when the Nazis couldn't have carried out a mass deportation but for the collaboration of the Zionist 'Rescue and Relief Committee' which Kasztner headed (officially he was the deputy head).

Tony Greenstein
Paul Bogdanor - son of Vernon Bogdanor, Oxford's dry constitutionalist - dedicated anti-Communist and Zionist - in damning Kasztner he sought to rehabilitate Zionism's reputation during the Nazi era
Zionists persuaded people to take trains to Auschwitz
For years the Zionist movement defended Rudolf Kasztner - the leader of Zionism in Hungary during the Nazi occupation - against charges of collaboration with the Nazis. Yad Vashem, the holocaust propaganda museum in Jerusalem, gave its stamp of approval to the efforts to rehabilitate him. Tommy Lapid, chairman of its board of directors, is on record as saying: 
There was no man in the history of the holocaust who saved more Jews and was subjected to more injustice than Israel Kasztner.1
At first sight it is somewhat strange that Paul Bogdanor - who combines anti-communism and Zionism in equal measure - has written a book which accepts the long-standing anti-Zionist criticism of Kasztner.  That Kasztner was a Nazi collaborator who deceived Hungary’s Jews into boarding the deportation trains to Auschwitz with false information about being ‘resettled’ in a fictitious placed called Kenyermeze. Why then this about-turn?
Hungarian Jews waiting for the train to Auschwitz - they were misled by Kasztner and the Zionists into believing they were heading for the mythical Kenyermeze or Waldsee
Bogdanor claims that he initially set out to clear Kasztner. He was “tired of seeing Kasztner’s name come up repeatedly in anti-Zionist propaganda”. Bogdanor now argues that “the anti-Zionist claim that ‘Kasztner was part of a Zionist conspiracy with the Nazis to exterminate the Jews of Europe’ is nonsense”. He was “not acting on behalf of the Zionist movement: he betrayed it”.2

In the above quotation we can see where Bogdanor is coming from. No anti-Zionist has ever alleged that there was a Zionist conspiracy with the Nazis to exterminate Europe’s Jews - this kind of falsehood is Bogdanor’s trademark. It is a straw man. The Zionist movement did, however, collaborate with the Nazis.

When I accused Bogdanor of being a columnist for David Horowitz’s Frontpage Mag,3 he denied this, despite being listed as a columnist.4 He also contributed an article, ‘Chomsky’s war against Israel’,to The Anti-Chomsky reader,5 edited by Horowitz.  Frontpage Mag had previously published Bogdanor’s article, ‘The top 100 Chomsky lies’. Bogdanor has an obsession with Jewish anti-Zionists - myself included.6

The reason why anything that Bogdanor writes should be treated with the utmost caution is his political and intellectual dishonesty. Bogdanor would defend the slaughter of the innocents if he thought that King Herod was a Zionist.
Adolf Eichmann - Bogdanor maintained that everything he said couldn't be trusted but nonetheless ended up quoting from his 1956 interviews
An example of Bogdanor’s method is his criticism of Lenni Brenner, whom Ken Livingstone relied on when he said that Hitler supported Zionism. Bogdanor criticised Brenner’s use of an interview with Adolf Eichmann by Wilhelm Sassen, a Dutch Nazi journalist.7 Bogdanor described this interview as a “transparently worthless source”.8 Of course, just because a quotation is from a Nazi war criminal does not make it invalid, especially given that the interviews were conducted freely, long before his kidnapping.9 Otherwise one must eschew all Nazi sources: eg, The Goebbels diaries.

Bogdanor asked if I was unaware that “Nazi mass murderers - and Eichmann above all - were pathological liars”.10 In reply I asked whether it is a principle that one never quotes or cites what Nazi murderers say? Perhaps one should not quote Nazi documents too? Sometimes even liars tell the truth. Or maybe Bogdanor is an exception to the rule?11 His response was: “Just as citing a Nazi sympathiser comes naturally to one who treats Adolf Eichmann as a truth-teller, so reliance on Stalinists is only to be expected from a writer for the Communist Party of Great Britain.12 Imagine my surprise when Bogdanor’s book came out and there was a reference in the footnotes to Eichmann’s interview for Life magazine!13

Bogdanor is obviously unaware that the Sassen interview with Eichmann was used extensively by the Israeli prosecution in the Eichmann trial. Eichmann’s Defence of his actions in organising the deportations to the death camps was that he was just following orders. The Prosecution quoted this from his interview: “I thought my orders through and participated in their implementation because I was an idealist.”14 Eichmann was then cross-examined using the “efficient weapon of the memoir that Eichmann dictated to Sassen”.15  Presumably the Prosecutor in the Eichmann trial was unaware that he was quoting from a “transparently worthless source”.

The Eichmann trial, which was held in Israel in 1961, was, according to Israeli historian and journalist Tom Segev, meant to “expunge the historical guilt that had been attached to the Mapai [Israeli Labour Party] leadership since the Kasztner trial”.16

Kasztner in the dock

Rudolf Kasztner - head of Hungarian Zionist movement - on the Knesset list of Mapai (Israeli Labour Party) was also a Nazi collaborator
Ever since Kasztner had come to live in Palestine in early 1947, rumours had followed him. An inquiry in 1946 by the Jewish Agency, at the Zionist Congress in Basel, dismissed complaints brought by Moshe Krausz, who headed the Palestine Office in Budapest, for “lack of evidence”.17

Bogdanor says that the Labour Zionists “felt compelled to issue a statement praising Kasztner’s ‘tremendous work during the war’” (p.264). It is difficult to see why Mapai felt under any such compulsion unless they felt that a failure to defend Kasztner would also rebound on their own record during the holocaust. Nor does Bogdanor explain why “the Jewish Agency had unceremoniously fired Krausz from his post” (p.270).

Kasztner, a senior official in Mapai, brought a libel action, at the insistence of the state, against Malchiel Gruenwald, a Hungarian Jew who had published a newsletter alleging that Kasztner was guilty of collaboration with the Nazis.

The first comprehensive account of what became known as the Kasztner trial was Perfidy by the Hollywood producer and screenwriter, Ben Hecht. Hecht was a supporter of the dissident Zionists, Peter Bergson and Shmuel Merlin of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jews of Europe. Bergson and Merlin had incurred the wrath of the US Zionist leadership under Stephen Wise and Nahum Goldman because they insisted on rescuing Jews, whatever the destination, whereas it was a cardinal principle for the Zionist movement that rescue should be centred on Palestine only.
When Hecht’s book came out he was demonised. My copy includes a ‘review’ article, ‘Ben Hecht’s Kampf’, by Shlomo Katz published in Midstream magazine. Hecht was subject to the same personal attacks and denigration as Hannah Arendt, whose Eichmann in Jerusalem - a book based on her reports of the Eichmann trial for the New Yorker - had touched on exactly those subjects that the trial had been designed to avoid.18 Arendt described how
… the campaign (was) conducted with all the well-known means of image-making and opinion-manipulation ... [it was] as though the pieces written against the book (and more frequently against its author) “came out of a mimeographing machine” (Mary McCarthy) … the clamour centred on the ‘image’ of a book which was never written, and touched upon subjects that often had not only not been mentioned by me, but had never occurred to me before.
The evidence accumulated against Kasztner, despite repeated attempts to exonerate him: for example, Gaylen Ross’s film Killing Kasztner: the Jew who dealt with the Nazis19 or Motti Lerner’s Kasztner,as well as Yechiam Weitz’s The man who was murdered twice and Anna Porter’s semi-fictional Kasztner’s train.

The holocaust historians at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official “World Holocaust Memorial Center”, led by Yehuda Bauer, have for years tried to exonerate Kasztner. Bauer wrote that it seems to me there are not many people who [like Kasztner] saved many Jews in the holocaust. There are certainly not many who saved for sure 1,684 Jews and contributed to the rescue of tens or hundreds of thousands.20

Kasztner's trial began on January 1 1954, presided over by Benjamin Halevi of the Jerusalem District Court: On June 21 Halevi found that 
“when Kasztner received this present [a train out of Hungary for Kasztner’s friends and the Zionist/Jewish elite] from the Nazis, he had sold his soul to the German Satan.”21
Krumey - a ruthless mass murderer who learnt his trade in Poland and Austria - organised the deportation of Hungarian Jewry - Eichmann's Deputy - Kasztner testified for him on behalf of the Jewish Agency
Halevi went on:
Eichmann did not want a second Warsaw. For this reason, the Nazis exerted themselves to mislead and bribe the Jewish leaders ...
The Nazi patronage of Kasztner, and their agreement to let him save 600 prominent Jews, were part of the plan to exterminate the Jews ... The opportunity of rescuing prominent people appealed to him greatly. He considered the rescue of the most important Jews as a great personal success and a success for Zionism.22 
On May 2 1944, 13 days before the trains started for Auschwitz, Kasztner had reached an agreement with Hermann Krumey, Eichmann’s deputy in Hungary:
Kasztner possessed at that moment the first news about the preparation of the gas chambers in Auschwitz for Hungary’s Jews … [he could] warn the leaders and the masses about the real danger of the imminent total deportation facing Hungary’s Jews, and immunise them against Nazi deceptions ... The other way opened for Kasztner by Krumey was the method of rescuing Jews by the Nazis themselves, with their help, according to agreement with the heads of the SS 23

Deceit

On April 24 Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Rosenberg, two Jewish escapees from Auschwitz, reached Slovakia. They described to the Jewish Council Auschwitz’s purpose (which previously had been thought of only as a labour camp) and provided details of the gas chambers and crematoria, as well as an estimate of the numbers of those killed. On or around April 29 Kasztner was given a copy of their report - known as The Auschwitz Protocols - and one was sent to his counterpart in Switzerland, Nathan Schwalb. Both Kasztner and Schwalb took a decision to suppress them.  Halevi found that:
… Kasztner understood very well … that the Prominents as a whole and his friends in Kluj in particular would not be rescued from the holocaust if the mass heard a hint about the real purpose of the operation: to save the leaders from the holocaust prepared for the people.
The association with the heads of the SS, on which Kasztner placed the entire fate of the rescue, forced him to withhold his information about the extermination plans from the majority of Hungary’s Jews (p145).24
Once Kasztner had agreed to be a partner of Eichmann, there was no way out: “Kasztner didn’t want to destroy by his left hand what he built with his right …”25
Kasztner took no steps, as leader of the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee (Vaada),26 to warn other Jewish communities, despite having access to a telephone and permits with which to travel.27 The evidence given by survivors of the Hungarian holocaust was that Kasztner and his friends went out of their way to deceive the Jews as to the destination of the trains. They were told they were going to be resettled in Kenyermeze.

Hecht quotes Levi Blum, who told of a 1948 celebration for Kasztner in Tel Aviv, given by those on the train, and how he confronted Kasztner:

I yelled at Kasztner, “You were a Quisling! You were a murderer! … I know that you, Kasztner, are to blame for the Jews of Hungary going to Auschwitz. You knew what the Germans were doing to them. And you kept your mouth shut.” Kasztner didn’t answer me. I asked him, “Why did you distribute postcards from Jews supposed to be in Kenyermeze?” 28

Elie Wiesel, the Zionist activist, was deported with his family to Auschwitz. Their non-Jewish servant infiltrated the ghetto and begged them to come with her to a shelter she had prepared: “... we would surely have accepted her offer, had we known that ‘destination unknown’ meant Birkenau” (pp.109-10). Kasztner did not merely suppress the Auschwitz Protocols. He, Vaada and the Jewish Council actively deceived Jews as to their destination. Both the Jewish leaders and the Zionists collaborated in the destruction of the Hungarian Jewish community.

Back to the aftermath of the 1954 trial. The Mapai (Labour Zionist) government submitted an immediate appeal to the supreme court against Halevi’s verdict. Kasztner’s representative, attorney general Chaim Cohen, outlined the basis for the appeal:
If in Kasztner’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 hundreds and entitled not to warn the millions. In fact, if that’s how he saw it, rightly or wrongly, that was his duty.
... But what does all this have to do with collaboration? ... It has always been our Zionist tradition to select the few out of the many in arranging the immigration to Palestine. Are we therefore to be called traitors?29
In January 1958 the supreme court cleared Kasztner by a majority of four to one. Shimon Agranat gave the leading opinion for the majority. Kasztner “had the right to keep silent”, said Agranat, and his decision to include a high number of Zionists on the train was “perfectly rational”.30
Col. Kurt Becher of the Waffen SS - Kasztner testified on his behalf at Nuremburg on behalf of the Jewish Agency

The supreme court did not challenge the facts found by the lower court. Rather it disagreed with the verdict on political grounds. All five judges upheld Halevi’s verdict on the “criminal and perjurious way” in which Kasztner after the war had saved Nazi war criminal Kurt Becher,31 the personal representative of Himmler in Hungary.

Kasztner was extremely proud that he had rescued the “prominent Jews”.32 There was no doubt that he was aware of the fate of those who were being deported. He boasted that he was the best informed about the perilous situation of the Jews at that time: “We had, as early as 1942, a complete picture of what had happened in the east to the Jews deported to Auschwitz and the other extermination camps.”33

Chaim Cohen said:
The man Kasztner does not stand here as a private individual. He was a recognised 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.34
Bogdanor never explains why, if Kasztner was a lone individual, he was defended so avidly by the Zionist institutions, including its supreme court.

Bogdanor’s motives

When Bogdanor says that his original intention was to write a book exonerating Kasztner we can believe him. The evidence is so damning against Kasztner that the first question to ask is why, for over 60 years, has the Zionist movement defended a war criminal who, Bogdanor admits, was a Nazi agent?
SS General Hans Juttner - former head of the SA - Kasztner testified in his favour on behalf of the Jewish Agency
At the Nuremburg trials Kasztner had not merely given evidence on behalf of Kurt Becher of the Waffen SS, but also on behalf of SS general Hans Juttner and Herman Krumey - Eichmann’s deputy in Hungary, who organised the mechanics of the deportations. Kasztner even tried to save Dieter Wisliceny, the butcher of Slovakian and Salonikan Jewry, from the gallows in Czechoslovakia in 1948.

Bogdanor pretends that Kasztner gave this testimony as a private individual. In fact he represented both the Jewish Agency and the World Jewish Congress. Shoshana Barri concludes in her painstaking dissertation: “It is clear, however, that the Agency did know of the testimony’s existence, since Kasztner’s intervention on behalf of Becher at Nuremburg is mentioned in his July 1948 letter to Kaplan.”35 Kasztner emphasised in his Nuremburg statement of August 4 1947 that “he was testifying not only on his own behalf, but on behalf of the Jewish Agency and the World Jewish Congress”.36
Dieter Wisliceny - ruthless and cunning member of Eichmann's Judenkommando - he organised the first mass deporations in Slovakia in 1942 before plying his trade in Salonika and then Hungary.  Hanged by the Slovaks after the war, Kasztner testified on his behalf and tried to save his life
Bogdanor argues, citing an interview in Ha’aretz of December 2 1994 (conducted by Gideon Raphael, who helped found Israel’s foreign ministry), that both he and Eliahu Dobkin of the Jewish Agency had strongly objected to Kasztner testifying on behalf of the Jewish Agency. Dobkin, who was a signatory to Israel’s Declaration of Independence, denied at the trial that he had even heard of Becher. Raphael in the same interview accepted that Dobkin’s testimony at the Kasztner trial - i.e., that he had never heard of Becher - was a lie. Barri refers to archival material of the Jewish Agency, which suggests that they both knew of Kasztner’s testimony on behalf of Becher.

Bogdanor asks why Kasztner changed his testimony between September 1945 - when he gave an affidavit condemning Becher, Krumey and company as cold-blooded killers - and January 1946, when he called them rescuers. What Bogdanor fails to mention is why did Kasztner again change his mind when he wrote a 300-page report for the Jewish Agency in the summer of 1946, before giving his testimony at Nuremburg in 1947? 

Bogdanor suggests that Kasztner was coming under pressure from holocaust survivors arriving in Israel, who alleged that he was a collaborator. According to Bogdanor, the way to clear his name was to show that these Nazi war criminals had actually been going around with Kasztner saving Jews from extermination. In other words the best way for Kasztner to prove he was not a collaborator was by testifying in favour of Nazi war criminals!

What this crackpot theory demonstrates is that Bogdanor will go to any lengths in order not to reach the most obvious answers. The reason that the Zionist leadership in Israel had no objection to Kasztner’s testimony was because they knew that they too were equally guilty (pp.254-59). After the war the Israeli state employed Nazi war criminals like Walter Rauff, the inventor of the gas truck, which was used both in the so-called Euthenasia campaign between 1939 and 1941 and then at the end of 1941 was used in the first extermination camp, Chelmno. Clearly there was no principled objection to Kasztner’s testifying on behalf of Nazi war criminals.37

What is remarkable about Bogdanor’s book is that it contains very little that was not already known. The primary evidence against Kasztner came from the survivors of the Hungarian holocaust, who testified that they had been deliberately fed misinformation to persuade them that they should board the trains. Bogdanor tries to exonerate the Zionist movement by pretending that, but for Kasztner, the Zionist resistance and Hehalutz youth movement would have led an uprising and that the deportations would have been foiled. Randolf Braham, the historian of the Hungarian holocaust, quotes Gyula Kádár, the former head of the Hungarian military intelligence service, as saying that “If [Hungary] had had as many ‘resistance fighters’ before March 19 1944 as it had in May 1945 and later, Hitler would not have risked the occupation of the country.”38 According to Edmund Veesenmayer, Hitler’s plenipotentiary in Hungary, “a day in Yugoslavia was more dangerous than a year in Hungary”.39

Braham writes that 
‘Like the claims of many other rescuers, the post-war accounts by their leaders are also sometimes self-serving and shrouded in myths.... One cannot possibly determine the exact number of Jews who were actually rescued by the Halutzim. Their rescue and relief operations, however relatively modest, were real. The myths lie in the leaders’ basically self-aggrandizing post-war accounts that exaggerate both the scope and accomplishments of these operations.’
Braham specifically mentions  Yehudah Bauer’s reliance on ‘self-serving testimonies’ that Joszef Meir, of the left-Zionist Ha-Shomer ha-Za’ir, was involved “in sabotage and the derailing of trains” commenting caustically that ‘No corroboration for this claim has been found to date.’ 40

Approximately 1,500 Hungarian Jews escaped across the Hungarian-Romanian border, the majority of whom “managed to save themselves without the aid of any rescue groups”.41 Braham quotes Gyula Kádár: “Had Hungary had as many mass rescuers during the German occupation period as were identified or self-proclaimed after the war, most of the Jews of Hungary would have survived the holocaust.” Braham concludes that “there is a potential danger that the myths of rescue, if left unchallenged, may acquire a life of their own, threatening the integrity of the historical record of the holocaust.”

The problem with Bogdanor’s account of the Kasztner affair is that he has no integrity. His only concern is to exculpate a Zionist movement that even the most assiduous and devoted of Zionist historians - such as Shabtai Teveth, Ben Gurion’s official biographer, raises serious questions about. Teveth titled the chapter on the holocaust in his biography of Ben Gurion ‘Disaster means strength’, writing that “the war and the holocaust were not in his power to control, but he again resolved to extract the greatest possible benefit from the catastrophe”. Teveth concluded:
“If there was a line in Ben Gurion’s mind between the beneficial disaster and an all-destroying catastrophe, it must have been a very fine one.”42 
Such subtleties entirely pass Bogdanor by.

Bogdanor spends some considerable time on the affair of the three Haganah agents, Hannah Senesh, Yoel Palgi and Peretz Goldstein who parachuted into Yugoslavia and joined Tito’s partisan fighters in March 1944.  In June they crossed into Hungary.  Szenes was almost immediately arrested.   When the other two parachutists arrived in Budapest Kasztner informed the Gestapo of their arrival and ‘persuaded’ Palgi to hand himself in and forced Goldstein into surrendering.  Despite repeated requests from her mother, Kasztner refused to provide any help to Hannah.  This was brought out clearly when both Kasztner and Hannah’s mother, Katrina, were cross-examined in the Kasztner trial.[43]
Kasztner’s motives are not difficult to discern.  The parachutists were Haganah and British agents.  Given Kasztner’s relationship with the Nazis, the arrival of these agents threatened his cosy relationship with the Nazis.  He therefore abandoned them. All three were tortured by the Hungarian secret police and Szenes was executed on November 7th.  Goldstein was sent to Oranienberg concentration camp where he died. Palgi was the only one who survived, having escaped from a train to Germany.  He later testified in the Kasztner trial. 

Bogdanor adds nothing to what isn’t already known.  Bogdanor alleges that the purpose of the parachutists’ mission was to ‘organize resistance and rescue attempts.[44]  This is highly unlikely not least because 32 agents were unlikely to have any effect on the capabilities of the already extant resistance in for example Yugoslavia.  Their true purpose was ‘to reconstruct the crumbling Zionist youth movements there [Europe] after the war’ [45]  
Yechiam Weitz explained that although the parachutists ‘outwardly defined theirs as a rescue mission... their primary goal was in effect to influence the survivors to choose Palestine as their ultimate destination.’  In short to rebuild the Zionist infrastructure in Europe.[46]  As the war was coming to an end, the Zionist leaders became concerned that the survivors of the Holocaust might not choose to go to Palestine.[47]  As Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times, declaimed:
The unfortunate Jews of Europe’s D.P. Camps are helpless hostages for whom [Israeli] statehood has been made the only ransom... why in God’s name should the fate of all these unhappy people be subordinated to the single cry of statehood.’  [48]
Vaada, which was formed in January 1943, allegedly gave assistance to refugees from Poland, Vienna and other Nazi-occupied countries. One suspects that it mainly confined its assistance to Zionists. In his first chapter, ‘The underground’, Bogdanor leads us to believe that there was a veritable rescue organisation that saved up to 25,000 Jews. In fact most Jews who escaped to Hungary from Slovakia and other countries did so without any help from Vaada.

Rudolph Vrba gives us an insight into how Vaada operated, when he described how he fled as a boy of 17 across the border from Slovakia to Hungary. In Budapest he went to the headquarters of the Zionist organisation. After having told his story, a stern-faced man in his middle-30s responded:
“You are in Budapest illegally. Is that what you are trying to say?”
“Yes.” “Don’t you know you are breaking the law?” 
I nodded, wondering how a man with such a thick skull could hold down what seemed like a responsible position. 
“And you expect to get work here without documents?” “With false documents.”
At this point Vrba remarks that, if he had torn up the Talmud and jumped on it, I do not think I could have shocked him more ... he roared: 
“Don’t you realise that it’s my duty to hand you over to the police?” 
Now it was my turn to gape. A Zionist handing a Jew over to fascist police? I thought I must be going mad. 
“Get out of here! Get out as fast as a bad wind!” 
I left, utterly bewildered. It was nearly three years before I realised just what [the National Hungarian Jewish Relief Action] and the men inside it represented.

Vrba was forced to make his way back to Slovakia. Caught at the border, he ended up in Majdanek concentration camp and then Auschwitz.49

Time and again in his book Bogdanor betrays his primary motivation - to exonerate the Zionist movement at Kasztner’s expense. When he mentions the leaders of the Central Jewish Council he describes these bourgeois worthies - led by Samu Stern, a friend of Hungarian regent Miklós Horthy - as “anti-Zionist personalities”. They were nothing of the kind. Their distinguishing feature was that they were bourgeois politically. As even Bogdanor mentions, Abwehr (Nazi intelligence) agents “offered Kasztner’s committee control over the official Judenrat” (p19).

Bogdanor cites Alex Weissberg when accepting that “in the few days that followed the German invasion we became the leaders of Hungarian Jewry. Even Samu Stern deferred to their decisions” (p.24). Bogdanor cites the testimony of Kasztner at the trial: “The Judenrat body handling the provincial towns was a Zionist body” (p.101). Vaada had immunity passes and were able to use their own cars, had telephones and did not have to wear the yellow star.

Representative of Zionism

What then can be said in favour of Bogdanor’s book? There can be little doubt now as to the role of Kasztner in betraying and deceiving the Jews of Hungary - not least in his home town of Cluj (Kolosvar), which was only two-three miles from the Romanian border. In falsely claiming that it was impossible to cross because the Nazis had increased their patrols, Kasztner actively helped send the Jews of that region to their death. It is a fact that most of those who attempted to cross that border actually succeeded.

Bogdanor’s recounting of the testimony of the Hungarian holocaust survivors in the Kasztner trial and how they were tricked into getting onto the trains is revealing (pp.89-94), although most of this too is in Perfidy. But his suggestion that Kasztner acted as a lone wolf is unsustainable. He was one of a number of members of Vaada and all but one survived the Holocaust (pp. 52-56). The suggestion that “the Jewish Agency was being deceived by Kasztner” has no foundation. By his own account, the Jewish Agency ‘Rescue Committee’ had been transformed into “a client body of the most dangerous Nazis” in the SS (p.59). Even Bogdanor is forced to admit, regarding Palestine, that there was a “disastrous aversion of the Labour Zionists to publicity in matters of rescue” (note 16, p.85).
However, he never asks why this was the case.

Repeatedly the Jewish Agency executive in Jerusalem refused to take the Nazi threat to Hungarian Jewry seriously. Vanya Pomerantz, a member of the agency’s Istanbul mission, informed them on May 25 1944 that 12,000 Jews a day would be deported, beginning the following week (in fact the deportations had already begun).  On June 11 Gruenbaum was alone in informing his Jewish Agency
colleagues that 12,000 people a day were being transported to their deathsYitzhak Gruenbaum was alone in describing the Nazi ‘offer’ as a “satanic provocation”.  On June 18 he noted that the deportations were continuing incessantly. But the public and the world were told nothing.50
Bogdanor says that at their meeting of June 11 (and also May 25) Gruenbaum’s colleagues, including Ben Gurion, were “confused” because of Nazi deception.(pp.130-131)

Given that over five million Jews had already been murdered by the Nazis, it was obvious that the Jews of Hungary were in mortal danger. It was not ‘confusion’, but indifference, that led the Jewish Agency executive initially to reject even a call on the Allies to bomb Auschwitz or the railway lines leading to the camp. They had a more important priority: building their racist state. The fact that it was the Swiss, not the Palestinian, press that broke the news of the deportations, which led to Horthy putting an end to them, speaks volumes. The Jewish Agency was content with private, routine pleas to the Allies. It undertook no propaganda campaign to put pressure on the Horthy regime.

It took the Czech government in exile and the Swiss press, at the end of June, in tandem with Pope Pius XII, King Gustav of Sweden and the American bombing of Budapest on July 2 1944, to halt the deportations to Auschwitz. Despite the Zionist axiom that Jews can only rely on other Jews, it is a fact that it was non-Jews, not the Zionists, who saved a quarter of a million Hungarian Jews. It was the Swedish count, Folke Bernadotte, who was responsible for negotiating with Himmler for the rescue of over 30,000 concentration camps inmates; and Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who was responsible for rescuing thousands of Jews in Budapest. Bernadotte’s reward was to be murdered by pro-Nazi Zionist terrorists of the Stern Gang, with the knowledge and support of the Labour Zionist Haganah, in Jerusalem in September 1948. Wallenberg died at the hands of the Stalinist criminals in Russia.

Bogdanor accepts that Kasztner had been “recruited as a collaborator by the Nazis” (p.71), but this is, of course, exactly what anti-Zionists have maintained for years! And his conclusion - that Kasztner claimed false credit regarding the Jews sent to Strasshoff in Vienna (some 12,000-16,000 of whom survived, because the Nazis needed labour to dig anti-tank ditches) - is also well known. I agree with his conclusion regarding the Nazi offer of one million Jews in exchange for 10,000 trucks to be used against the Russians in the east - the so-called ‘Blood for Trucks’ deal.51 It was clearly meant to distract from the deportations.

What is abundantly clear from Bogdanor’s book is that the Zionist movement did indeed collaborate with the Nazis during the war and obstructed the rescue attempts of others. This continues to haunt the Zionist movement today, Bogdanor notwithstanding.
Notes
1. Ha’aretz July 23 2007: www.haaretz.com/yad-vashem-hopes-kastner-archive-will-end-vilification-1.226041.
2. www.timesofisrael.com/on-quest-to-clear-kasztner-historian-shocked-to-prove-nazi-collaboration.
3. ‘Why Ken Livingstone got it right over Nazi support for Zionism’, June 17 2016: http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/why-ken-livingstone-got-it-right-over.html.
4. http://archive.frontpagemag.com/bioAuthor.aspx?AUTHID=3012.
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anti-Chomsky_Reader.
6. ‘Tony Greenstein and the Nazi apologists’: www.paulbogdanor.com/antisemitism/greenstein/nazi.html.
7. Reprinted on the Nizkor site, which is dedicated to rebutting holocaust denial: www.nizkor.org/hweb/orgs/german/einsatzgruppen/esg/trials/profiles/confession.html.
8. http://fathomjournal.org/an-antisemitic-hoax-lenni-brenner-on-zionist-collaboration-with-the-nazis.
9. http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/why-ken-livingstone-got-it-right-over.html.
10. ‘Tony Greenstein’s house of cards’: www.paulbogdanor.com/antisemitism/greenstein/tonygreenstein.pdf.
11. ‘Paul Bogdanor and the Zionist three-card trick - why Ken Livingstone was right’ (part 2): http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/paul-bogdanor-and-zionist-three-card.html.
12. ‘Tony Greenstein’s sleight of hand‘: www.paulbogdanor.com/antisemitism/greenstein/tonygreensteinreply.pdf.
13. Bogdanor, p27, note 1.
14. S Minerbi The Eichmann trial diary New York 2011, p144.
15. Ibid p152.
16. T Segev The seventh million New York 1993, p328.
17. Ibid p258.
18. New Yorker February 16 1963 and subsequent issues: www.newyorker.com/magazine/1963/02/16/eichmann-in-jerusalem-i.
19. http://forward.com/culture/116718/kasztner-hero-or-devil.
20. ‘Israel Kasztner vs Hannah Szenes: who was really the hero during the holocaust?’: www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.557024.
21. B Hecht Perfidy New London 1997, p180.
22. Ibid pp179-80.
23. Part of Akiva Orr’s contribution to Jim Allen’s book, Perdition: a play in two acts (London 1987), pp88-89.
24. Ibid pp91-92. In fact that information was sent to Schwalb almost immediately. See F Baron, ‘The “myth” and reality of rescue from the holocaust: the Karski-Koestler and Vrba-Wetzler reports’ The Yearbook of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies No2 (2000), pp171-208.
25. A Orr, p90.
26. Porter confirms that Kasztner’s job was co-funded by the US-based Joint Distribution Committee, a non-Zionist Jewish charity, along with the Jewish Agency. The latter had sought to set up a Relief and Rescue Committee in Budapest, only to find that one had already been established (A Porter Kasztner’s train London 2009, p61). Akiva Orr describes Kasztner’s Relief Committee as “affiliated” to the Jewish Agency Relief Committee in Palestine (in J Allen Perdition: a play in two acts London 1987, p81). Krausz was a member of the religious Zionist Mizrahi, whereas the Jewish Agency was controlled by Mapai. Randolf Braham says: “The Rescue Committee of Budapest was established early in 1942, under the auspices of the Rescue Department of the Jewish Agency for Palestine” (Patterns of Jewish leadership in Nazi Europe 1933-1945 p281, Jerusalem 1979).
27. B Hecht Perfidy New London 1997, pp113-15.
28. Ibid p109-10.
29. B Hecht Perfidy New London 1997, p195.
30. Lob p280.
31. B Hecht Perfidy New London 1997, p247.
32. H Arendt Eichmann in Jerusalem Old Saybrook 2011, p132; RL Braham The politics of genocide - holocaust in Hungary Hilberg 1981, p134.
33. RL Braham The politics of genocide - holocaust in Hungary Hilberg 1981, p881.
34. B Hecht Perfidy New London 1997, p268, note 159.
35. Kaplan was the Jewish Agency treasurer, as well as being Israel’s first finance minister and deputy prime minister.
36. S Barri (Ishoni), ‘The question of Kasztner’s testimonies on behalf of Nazi war criminals’ Journal of Israeli History 18: 2, 144 (1997).
37. www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/in-the-service-of-the-jewish-state-1.216923.
38. RL Braham, ‘Rescue operations in Hungary: myths and realities’ East European Quarterly Vol 38, summer 2004, p173.
39. Ibid p990.
40. Ibid pp37-39.
41. Bauer estimates that up to 5,000 escaped - Y Bauer Jews for sale? Yale 1996, p160.
42. S Teveth The burning ground 1886-1948 Boston 1987, pp854, 851.
43   Ben Hecht, Perfidy, pp. 127-132.
44    Bogdanor, p. 159.
45 What Did Really Happen in Hungary? Review of "Into the Inferno: The Memoir of a Jewish Paratrooper Behind
       Nazi Lines" by Yoel Palgi, Rutgers University Press. Judith Baumel, Ha’aretz 13.6.03.
46     Even anti-Zionist author Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, 1983, p. 260, Croom Helm, London, described the purpose of the Haganah parachutists as to ‘organise Jewish resistance and rescue’.
47      Yechiam Weitz, Jewish Refugees and Zionist Policy during the Holocaust, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), p. 359.
48      New York Times, 27.10.46. cited in Tom Suarez, State of Terror – How terrorism created modern Israel, 2016.
49.      R Vrba I cannot forgive London 1964, pp.27-28.
50.     Shabtai Beit Zvi, p.316.   Minutes of Jewish Agency 11.6.44.
51.      Tony Greenstein, ‘Zionist-Nazi collaboration and the holocaust: a historical aberration? Lenni Brenner revisited’ Holy Land Studies 13.2 (2014), p.208.

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