The Holocaust was a self-perpetuating spiral between Germans, Christians, and Zionists. The Germans started by pushing the Jews to emigrate peacefully, and entered into expensive haavara agreements with Zionists, essentially supplying Jewish emigrants with scarce foreign currency. When local Jews did not respond to haavara calls, Zionists were not eager to admit the “human waste” to the land of the new Jew, and Britain refused them entrance to Palestine. The Germans pushed harder, but other countries closed their borders to refugees. First Switzerland demanded that Germany stamp the Jews’ passports with J, so the Swiss could deny them entrance despite their open border policy with Germany. Then, at the Evian Conference, the other Western countries made it clear to Germany that they didn’t want to have anything to do with Jews, either.
For a time, the Germans toyed with the idea of forcible resettlement of Jews, first to Madagascar, then to Siberia, the place later earmarked for us by Stalin, the darling of Israeli communists. Though the Siberian plan amounted to planned starvation, it still fell a bit short of extermination.
Unable to reach into Siberia, Germans tested the West’s reaction to extermination. Already by 1941, Western newspapers had reported mass murders of Jews, but there was no outcry comparable to that aroused by the Nazi killings of mentally ill Germans. Anticipating the stream of Jewish refugees, all countries closed their borders to immigrants. The British even closed immigration to Palestine, ostensibly caving in to Arab demands, though they couldn’t have cared less about the wishes of Palestinian peasants.
The Germans got the hint and built death camps. Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi, both inmates in Buna concentration camp near Auschwitz, reported continuous aerial attacks on Buna and nearby factories, and the overflights of bombers en route to Germany—but not a single bomb touched Auschwitz. The Germans understood that they could proceed openly.
Toward the war’s end, the Germans became increasingly concerned about the world’s eventual reaction to their crimes. They sensed they would become the scapegoat for the world’s slaughter of Jews. Germans, Romanians, and Hungarians offered Zionists and the Allies several deals which could have saved up to a million Jews. Germans saw that as a way to acquit themselves, but also tried to preserve their anti-Semitic reputation and benefit from the deal; thus, they asked for a token payment of 10,000 trucks. During his trial, Eichmann testified that the offer was real; his contention is reinforced by similar offers from Romania and Hungary. By 1944, American industrial production was in full swing. The requested number of trucks was nothing: the Roosevelt Administration supplied the Soviet Union with 400,000 trucks under the Lend-Lease program; the total wartime production of trucks exceeded one million. The Germans asked for merely 1 percent of that number at a time when the outcome of the war was already decided, the Allies needed very little in the way of new supplies, and the trucks clearly had no offensive purpose for the Germans. Even so, the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union jointly rebuffed the German offer. The British response was that they wouldn’t submit to extortion; no doubt, their reply would have been different had the Germans offered to release a million English women and children. The Allies also made it clear to Zionist leaders that even if the Jews collected the necessary money, they would not open the borders to let a million refugees through. They also refused to let them into Palestine (contrast that with the world’s condemnations of Israel for trying to protect her borders against the onslaught of African economic migrants). Though it is disheartening to know that the Zionist establishment acquiesced rather than fighting the Allies’ decision in the media and through diplomatic channels, in all likelihood they could have changed nothing. The Allies signaled Germans with utmost clarity to proceed with murdering the Jews.
The Nuremberg trials confirm the Allies’ attitude. Close to 200,000 Germans were directly involved in the extermination: they herded Jews to slaughter, guarded camps and death pits, and performed other indispensable functions. Even the most lenient judge would have found them to be accessories to murder. Of them, at least 40,000 Germans (besides a larger number of Ukrainians and Croats) were directly involved in killing Jews. Not even one percent of them were sentenced to death or very long jail terms in the Nuremberg and de-nazification trials.
Besides the ridiculously small compensation to survivors, Germany paid reparations to Israel which, theoretically, compensated for the abandoned Jewish property. In practice, the reparations were a lump sum amount. In 1945, Chaim Weizmann estimated the abandoned Jewish property at $8 billion; during the drawn-out Israeli-German negotiations, the amount was cut down to $750 million spread out over more than ten years. The payments were not adjusted for inflation and no interest was added. East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Byelorussia, France, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and every other country whose population happily joined hands with the Germans in exterminating the Jews, paid no reparations. The Christian nations profited immensely from the extermination. Even the otherwise friendly Netherlands and Italy confiscated the abandoned property of murdered Jews.
Two years after Holocaust, Germany was again a respected member of the international community. It is impolite to call Germans a nation of murderers and remind the young Germans of their grandfathers’ atrocities. Polls indicate a quarter of Germans harbor anti-Semitic feelings; the real figure is probably higher, as many shrink from revealing such feelings to pollsters.
Two years after the Holocaust, Britain voted against establishing a Jewish state, and the United States abstained in the UN vote. Israel was repeatedly slapped with weapons embargoes (which the Arabs never had to endure). As a direct result of the US-imposed sanctions, Israel’s casualties in the War of Independence amounted to a whopping 7 percent of her population; in WWII, the US casualties in Europe amounted to 0.2 percent of its population, and the Soviet ones to 2 percent. No foreign government or media channel has the slightest problem with Arabs having killed and maimed more Jews in the post-Oslo hostilities than in the Yom Kippur War. Both Russia and the West prevent us from defusing the Iranian nuclear threat even with our own army, with no help required from them.
Israel had no person more dovish than Abba Eban. He called the pre-1967 boundaries of Israel “the Auschwitz borders.” Through the “peace process,” the world has pushed us back into those borders.