* Lew’s review of “The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Secret Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine” by Edwin Black … research for the sequel to the recently published “A FLOOD OF EVIL”
Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 13, 2016
Edwin Black tells a piece of history which is not well known, perhaps purposely kept from public view because it is so embarrassing to the participants.
In 1933, the worldwide Jewish community began a protest versus the antisemitic Nazis who had just come to power by organizing a huge and successful boycott versus German goods. This action inflicted severe damage on the German economy and threatened to create so much chaos that the Hitler government was expected by many to fall before winter.
However, a group of Zionist leaders (but far from all Zionists) undermined the boycott in order to carry out a Transfer Agreement with the Nazis that allowed some wealthy Germans to emigrate to Palestine with some portion of their wealth. Working against the boycott was part of that deal. The motivations of these Zionists varied from a fervent desire to bolster Palestine’s chances to survive to personal financial gain. The motivations of the Nazis were clear. Terrified by the prospects of the boycott to destroy the German economy, they made a deal with Jews they had sworn never to accommodate.
In addition to the economic impact of the boycott, it served as a focal point of moral outrage against the Nazis that evoked worldwide sympathy among Jews and Christians alike. Had it continued, that moral outrage might have become even more important than the economic devastation it caused the Nazis.
Rabbi Stephen Wise, the most important American Jewish leader of the time, spoke for the boycott but in the end failed to support it. Wise’s motivations were never clear, since he worked hard to keep his actions hidden, but my reading of Black’s detailed presentation is that Wise was far more interested in his personal power and prestige than he was in bringing down Hitler. Wise said he supported the boycott but when the moment came, he did not; it is this duplicity which I find far more disgusting than his decision.
Without Wise’s support, the boycott failed, the western countries (US, Britain & France) failed to effectively oppose Hitler, and the worst demagogue in history stayed in power. While nobody in 1933 could have predicted the Holocaust, in the end the result was that 60,000 Germans got to Palestine via the Transfer Agreement, 3,000,000 Jews were murdered, and 60,000,000 lives were lost as a result of Hitler’s aggressive wars.
In hindsight, my conclusion is that the decision to favor the Transfer Agreement over the boycott was a horrible one. At the time, the decision was excruciatingly difficult, and I hope I am able to show those difficulties by having my characters struggle with it in the sequel to A FLOOD OF EVIL.
A FLOOD OF EVIL
is available in paper and kindle formats on amazon
TWO RECENT REVIEWS OF A FLOOD OF EVIL ON AMAZON
***** By KarynH on November 2, 2016 … Lew’s style of writing in this book plays in one’s mind like a series of vignettes, which I think works quite well for the story. It moves you back and forth through time, revealing bits here and pieces there, and for me it was like watching a movie. There’s enough historical and geographical accuracy for the book to feel like a story told by actual people who lived through the experiences. By the end, I felt as though I had watched a puzzle come together, piece by piece.
***** By Amazon Customer on November 19, 2016 … We have all heard the story of the rise of the Third Reich, but have we understood it through the lives, the feelings, the passions, the fears of individual people? So often we are told about movements, but those movements were made up of people, people with their own struggles of identity, ambition, love …. all placed in one of the most traumatic times in recent history. Come, look through their eyes, feel their own emotions, question what is happening, and ponder if this is fiction or fact.