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Nazi-Zionist Collaboration 9: Betrayal in the ghettoes

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Zionists can react to 3CR broadcasts about these facts however they like.  They can get angry, they can give up Zionism or they can just not listen.  The one thing they cannot be permitted to do is to prevent other people from listening. 

Having explained the Kastner case and its background, there seems little need to go into other individual cases in similar detail. 

We will not tell the full story of Rumkowski, a Zionist leader in Lodz who, under Nazi auspices beat Weizmann and Ben Gurion to it, by trying to establish an autonomous Jewish State with himself as King, in the Kafkaesque setting of a large concentration of individuals destined for the furnaces.  Or the stories of Merin, Moldetsky, Barash etc, and how these Zionists served the Nazis as leaders of the Judenrat. 

Apart from Kastner, only one other name is mentioned in the list of complaints from the Victorian Jewish Board of Deputies, (VJBD) so we will take him as the other Nazi collaborator closest to the VJBD's heart. 

9.1       Jakob Gens


Yes, after pointing out that the international Zionist movement failed to help the beleaguered ghetto fighters, Palestine Speaks did go on to say: 

‘…Many prominent European Zionists helped to sabotage Jewish resistance.  Revisionist Zionist Jakob Gens, betrayed well known resistance leader Itzhak Wittenberg to the Nazis.’ 

It is not clear what part of this statement the VJBD is objecting to, or why it has stopped quoting this broadcast at the name of Jakob Gens and left out the other Zionists who collaborated with the Nazis named immediately after him. 

But the facts are clear, Jakob Gens was prominent.  He was a revisionist Zionist.  He did betray Itzhak Wittenberg, who was a well known resistance leader. 

For details see ‘Jewish Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe’ by Reuben Ainsztein.92  This book also tells about the other side of the coin from collaboration by a minority -extensive and heroic resistance against incredible odds.  Jakob Gens was a Revisionist Zionist originally from Kovno.  A member of the Revisionist para-military force, the Brit Hakhayil, he fought alongside other Lithuanian fascists on the side of the Axis against the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. 

Along with many other Revisionists, Gens joined the Jewish Police and became its Deputy Commander in the Vilna ghetto, originally serving under fellow Revisionist Muszkat, a lawyer from Warsaw.  He later became Chief of Police and then dictator of the whole Ghetto, appointing Salek Desler, another Revisionist, as his police chief. 

It is notorious that the Revisionists provided a comparatively large number of the Jewish police and this is attributed both to their fascist outlook and their paramilitary training in the organizations commanded by Menachem Begin – the Brit Hakhayil and the Betar. 

Known as ‘blue shirts’ in a similar way to the other fascists' ‘black shirts’ and ‘brown shirts’, these organizations enjoyed the distinction of being the only political organizations allowed to wear uniform and party insignia in Nazi Germany, apart from the Nazis themselves.  We have our very own Betar in Australia, which, wearing the same ‘blue shirt’ uniform, provoked ‘violent incidents that were used to cancel visas for a PLO delegation to avoid ‘disturbances.’   

The Jewish police were notorious as a corrupt instrument of Nazi oppression even worse than the Judenrat themselves.  One survey showed that Zionists made up 98 percent of all Jewish police whose party affiliation was known, and Revisionists, a small minority among Zionists as a whole, made up nearly half of these.93 

Gens was known as the worst of the Jewish police chiefs and ghetto dictators.  He personally took part in the selection of Jews for extermination.  In addition, his were the only Jewish police known to have actually participated in the extermination firing squads, rather than just handing people over for the Nazis to murder them.  He was certainly prominent alright! 

Not only did Jakob Gens betray Itzhak Wittenberg, the Communist leader of Vilno's United Partisan Organization, but he did so twice.  The first time, Gens invited Wittenberg to a secret meeting and then pointed him out to Nazi police.  After Wittenberg was freed by the partisans and the Nazis demanded his return, Gens mobilized 400 thugs armed with clubs to comb the ghetto for him.  Wittenberg had to surrender to the Nazis because Gens thugs were threatening civil war within the ghetto at the same time that the Nazis were threatening to destroy the whole ghetto if he were not handed over. 

Gens betrayals finally led to the Vilno partisans, which were among the best organized in Europe, being defeated with hardly a fight when the ghetto was finally liquidated.  Gens himself, like most other collaborators, was finally killed in his turn by the Nazis, despite Dr. Foster's belief that this is an odd way to treat collaborators.  Apparently the Nazis had this thing about Jews, whether collaborators or not. The Nazis were very odd people by normal standards, and even by Dr. Foster's standards too. 

As Dr. Foster admits, the fact that most European Zionists, whether collaborators or not, were exterminated, like the fact of Zionist participation in resistance activities, ‘cannot be unknown to anyone who has concerned himself with the details of the Holocaust.’ Indeed it is unlikely to be unknown to anyone who has even heard of the Holocaust, without going into details, since the vast bulk of literature on the subject is Zionist propaganda and stresses these points. 

Why then Dr. Foster believes it should be incumbent upon 3CR programs to drive the point home too, is hard to understand.  Finally, it is also true that Itzhak Wittenberg was a ‘well known’ resistance leader.  There is a Yiddish folk song commemorating him and there is even a study group named after him in Melbourne. 

He will continue to be commemorated on 3CR, and his betrayers will continue to be accused, whether the Victorian Jewish Board of Deputies likes it or not. 

9.2       Most Collaborators Were Zionists


Zionist collaboration with the Nazis in the other ghettoes of occupied Europe is a different matter from the Hungarian collaboration, in that the people concerned were not acting as representatives of the Jewish Agency (World Zionist Organization) like Kastner, but as individuals out to save their own necks and make a bit on the side.  Also, the Zionist movement as such has only tended to apologize for individual initiatives rather than explicitly endorsing them as with Kastner. 

Not all Zionists collaborated and not all collaborators were Zionists. 

Nevertheless, the fact that some two thirds of the hated Jewish Councils (Judenrat) were Zionists, tells us something about Zionism, remembering that Zionists were only a small minority of European Jewry. 

That statistic comes from ‘Judenrat’ by Isiah Trunk,94 a disgusting 660 page well footnoted scholarly apologia for the behavior of these collaborators, apparently produced to counter the general reputation of the Judenrat expressed by survivors of their treachery and summed up in the material we quoted from Hannah Arendt. 

This work aims to prove that even if the Judenrat had not collaborated, just as many would have been killed regardless. The fact that Zionists feel a need to prove something like that, and imagine it exonerates rather than damns them, also tells us something else about Zionism. 

9.3              Only the Zionist Parties Collaborated


The only Jewish political parties implicated in collaboration with the Judenrat were Zionist parties.  Although various ‘community leaders’ including- some religious people as well as outright criminal elements collaborated, no non-Zionist political parties did so.  The Jewish Communists certainly did not, and even the Bund, itself a ‘Jewish nationalist’ party never stooped so low as to collaborate with the Nazis, but honorably organized resistance.  The Communists and Bundists were the two largest parties in the ghettoes. 

In contrast, almost the entire Central Committee of the General Zionist party were members of the Judenrat, and every, Zionist party furnished its quota of collaborators.

The left-wing Zionists and the extreme right-wing Revisionists were the strongest in organizing resistance, but members of these parties were collaborators as well as other members being resistance fighters.

Generally left-wing Zionists collaborated far less than the centre and right, but they too provided individual collaborators.  For example, Abraham Gancwajch, formerly head of Hashomer Hatzair in his native city became a Gestapo agent and head of the notorious ‘Thirteenth’ or Jewish Gestapo, which was even worse than the regular Jewish Police in the Warsaw ghetto. 

How did it come about that Zionists were so prominent among the collaborators when they were such a small minority of European Jewry?  How did they come to be in positions of community leadership when they had not been before the war? 

For answers to these questions we need to go back to the beginning of Nazi-Zionist collaboration.


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Created by anita
Last modified 2005-08-18 12:30 AM

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