So why the headline? Well, zionism has a long and ignominious history of collaboration with antisemitism. This collaboration is both ideological and practical. It reached its highest and most grotesque form with the rise of the nazis in Europe. This is documented by many sources. Lenni Brenner's work is possibly the best known but it has been touched on by Hannah Arendt and by Israel Shahak. It's a curious thing that in Mein Kampf Hitler claims that zionists are the worst of all Jews. That was before he was in power of course. Once he was in power he found the zionists the most amenable to his rule. In fairness to the zionists who collaborated from the outset they probably didn't predict the holocaust but once the holocaust was in progress the collaboration continued.
Israel Shahak reported a classic example of ideological collaboration in the form of Joachim Prinz's celebration of Hitler's triumph at the polls in 1933:
We want assimilation to be replaced by a new law: the declaration of belonging to the Jewish nation and Jewish race. A state built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race can only honored and respected by a Jew who declares his belonging to his own kind. Having so declared himself, he will never be capable of faulty loyalty towards a state. The state cannot want other Jews but such as declare themselves as belonging to their nation. It will not want Jewish flatterers and crawlers. It must demand of us faith and loyalty to our own interest. For only he who honors his own breed and his own blood can have an attitude of honor towards the national will of other nations.Well it seems the nazis too found something to celebrate in the rise of zionism and in the collaboration between these two racial supremacist movements and something to commemorate in their collaboration. Here's Lenni Brenner who:
related how Kurt Tuchler, a member of the German Zionist Federation Executive, "persuaded Baron Leopold Itz Edler von Mildenstein of the SS to write a pro-Zionist piece for the Nazi press. The Baron agreed on the condition that he visited Palestine first, and two months after Hitler came to power the two men and their wives went to Palestine; von Mildenstein stayed there for six months before he returned....Von Mildenstein... wrote favorably about what he saw in the Zionist coloniesin Palestine; he also persuaded Goebbels to run the report as a massive twelve-part series in his own Der Angriff (The Assault), the leading Nazi propaganda organ (9/26-10/9/34).... To commemorate the Baron's expedition, Goebbels had a medal struck: on one side the swastika, on the other the Zionist star."Well here's a picture of that medal:
So why the headline? It just happened to be the name of the file I was sent. Oi! the banality! Anyway, apparently, queries about the medal should go to John Sigler via www.onestate.org.
A coin with two sides
Such publicity must have been a bit of a shock to the magazine's editors and writers, though it can't have harmed circulation figures, I imagine. I even invested 60p in a copy of the January 1980 issue myself. (Nowadays I think the magazine costs over £3.00).
What caused the furore was an article entitled "A Nazi travels to Palestine", by Jacob Boas. Or rather, it was the publicity for the article, because people started kicking up a fuss before they could even have read what Boas had to say in it.
Boas's article described how Baron Leopold Itz von Mildenstein, a member of the Nazi party and of Hitler's SS, set out in the Spring of 1933, accompanied by his wife and Kurt Tuchler, an official of the Zionist Federation of Germany, also with his wife, on a journey to Palestine.
Hitler had just become Chancellor, and begun his anti-Jewish policies. Julius Streicher wanted to drive the Jews out of Germany. But the Nazis were not clear about how they intended to set about this without disrupting the already Depression-beset German economy, and nor did they know what the effects might be on Germany's relations with the rest of the world.
The Zionists, for their part, were enjoying an upsurge of support among German Jews after Hitler took office in January 1933. Most had seen little point before in leaving a country where they were well-established to take their chances in poor and troubled Palestine. They saw themselves as good Germans whose future, like so much of their past, was in the Fatherland. But now Hitler was telling them otherwise.
The Juedische Rundschaue, fortnightly paper of the Zionist Federation, saw its circulation climb from less than 10,000 to almost 38,500 by the end of 1933. It declared that only those whose commitment to the Jewish people was beyond reproach could defend Jewish rights. It also said that only the Zionists were capable of approaching the Nazis in good faith as "honest partners".
The Zionists proposed that the status of German Jews be regulated on a group basis, and asked for government help towards emigration. Von Mildenstein, approached to write something favourable about Zionism and its project in Palestine, agreed on condition that he could make a visit, accompanied by Kurt Tuchler. He was favourably impressed, and saw advantages for Germany, as well as for the SS as proposers of a policy.
A series of article entitled "Ein Nazi faehrt nach Palestina" began in September 1934 in Der Angriff , Goebbels' newspaper. It ran for twelve parts. Von Mildenstein saw in the Jewish settlement on the land a form of rebirth fitting Nazi notions about blood and soil, as well as a way of ridding Germany of Jews. But life was difficult in Palestine, and problems were looming, in Palestinian Arab resistance to Zionist colonisation and British rule.
Though the SS gave privileges to Zionists over other Jewish groups, assisting their youth movements, and giving them the right to wear uniform and fly the blue and white flag, Von Mildenstein's own star faded amid rivalries and policy failures, while a man he had brought into the Jewish department came to the fore, one Adolf Eichmann.
Himself a survivor, born in Westerbork concentration camp, Boas is a noted Holocaust historian and educator, who did not go out of his way to sensationalise this episode or demonise those taking part. He did not go on to consider later responsibilities, the role of the Evian conference, or Jewish Agency agreements, or whether more Jews could have been rescued if they could have gone elsewhere. His part of the story ends there, in 1936.
But while Von Mildenstein was influencing policy, Der Angriff had a medal struck to commemorate his voyage to Palestine, a medal with the Nazi swastka on one side and the Star of David on the other. History Today used this motif in publicity for its January 1980 issue with Jacob Boas article.
This brought howls of outrage from Zionist student spokespersons and others convinced it was their duty to protect Zionism from any suggestion that its leaders ever collaborated with Nazis, and to denounce History Today's supposed motives as well as an article they had not yet read. For some this subject remains taboo, even when broached by an objective and even fairly sympathetic historian, as Boas was.
When Lenni Brenner, author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, came to
speak in Britain a few years after this row, all hell broke out, as I can testify, having been on the receiving end of a few punches when I tried to stop some Zionist yobbos breaking up a meeting and throwing furniture around. Whether or not one likes Brenner, or agrees with his approach, his opponents were unable to debate the facts in his books, and had to persuade themselves they were tackling something else.
Now I am grateful to Lenni Brenner for sending a picture of a solid reminder of the past. He writes that John Sigler, an anti-Zionist Jew, has found one of Goebbels' medals, struck to commemorate Von Mildenstein's trip.
Nazis and Zionists were not evenly matched in the nightmare of the 1930s and nor were their motives equally evil. But today's Holocaust revisionism and denial, whether from neo-Nazis or their dupes, has as the other side of its coin, or medal, the way the Zionist propaganda machine has sought to monopolise and distort this piece of history for its own ends, leaving out and denying whatever does not fit its myth. History must be rescued from both sets of foes.
Labels: ZioNazi medal?