Saturday, 28 May 2016
Ken Livingstone attacked for telling the truth about Das Dritte Reich and the Jewish Question
Policies regarding what National Socialist Germany called the Jewish Question were evolving as was evolving the geopolitical situation in Europe and elsewhere.
The first stage was Voluntary Immigration and in this regard the 1926 Balfour Declaration combined with the declared aim of the Zionist Movement of creating the Jewish State of Israel in Palestine coincided with the policy of Voluntary Immigration.
This is why one of the first if not the first Jewish Agency for Palestine was created in National Socialist Germany.
Following the München Pakt of 1938, the belief was that there wasn't going to be any war in Europe. Neville Chamberlain on his return to Britain after signing the documents that secured the transfer of the Sudetenland to Das Dritte Reich told everybody that peace in Europe had been safeguarded. The images of a delighted Neville Chamberlain on his return from Germany tell things as they were. Germany and Britain were then in very good terms and since Britain controlled Palestine at the time the idea of creating a State of Israel and sending Jews from Europe to Palestine was a very plausible thing to do.
The problem was that many Jews across Europe were not so enthusiastic about leaving behind the wealth and comforts of Europe to have a primitive existence in what was then Palestine. Therefore, despite all the calls of alarm raising across Europe about the way Jews were being treated, most Jews chose to stay in Europe, although some of them including Albert Einstein had left Europe even before the rise of Adolf Hitler to power in 1933. Albert Einstein left Germany in 1932.
The next stage would have been Deportation. Deportation or Expulsion would have been extremely difficult because in some countries - including Britain - Jews coming from Germany were thought to be Germans. When a group of Orthodox Jews wearing their typical attires arrived in Britain they went sent to Australia. There was little awareness amongst the general public about events happening in Europe.
On September 1, 1939, the period of goodwill between Britain and Germany was coming to an end. Neville Chamberlain sent an ultimatum to Germany asking Germany to withdraw its armies from Poland. On September 3, 1939 both Britain and France declared war against Germany. Voluntary Immigration and Deportation were no longer valid options.
On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. All the peaceful avenues were coming to an end. The beginning of Unternehmen Barbarossa was in itself confirmation that for Jews in Europe options were quickly running out. It must be said that policies about Jews, even in occupied countries, were not always clear. Poland was divided in several sectors under German occupation and there was differential treatment. In some areas they treated with extreme cruelty and in others treatment was not so harsh and life expectancy was higher.
One fundamental event took place in Berlin that is known as the Wannsee Conference. On January 20th, 1942, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and other heads of the SS and of the Wehrmacht met to discuss the Jewish Question and the next stage. But let us be clear. The Wannsee Conference took place in 1942, in the winter of 1942, after the start of Unternehmen Barbarossa.
The decisions made in January 1942 would have been inconceivable when Germany still had the options of Voluntary Immigration and Deportation.
Ken Livingstone is absolutely right. At the initial stages, Adolf Hitler wanted to get rid of Jews by either Voluntary Immigration or Deportation. Germany worked together with the Zionist Movement because at the time, Germany wanted to get rid of Jews and the Zionist Movement wanted to take Jews to Israel to implement what had been promised in the 1926 Balfour Declaration.