Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Complicity


“The things I saw beggar description…The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering…I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations to propaganda.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower, on Holocaust denial

In my previous Blog entry I quoted Jan Karski  who stated, “It was easy for the Nazis to kill Jews, because ...the Jews were abandoned by all governments, church hierarchies and societies..."
In my previous blog entry I also mention that President Bill Clinton from his keynote address at the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 1993. In his address President Clinton became the first American president to ever explicitly acknowledge that the construction of the museum would, “redeem in some small measure the deaths of millions whom our nations did not, or would not, or could not save.

President Clinton's acknowledgment reflects only partially the depth of the western worlds guilt and lethargic response in the “complicity” of the Nazi actions to exterminate the Jewish people. The President’s acknowledgment, that the Holocaust dealt with a genocide that lasted for several years on an unimaginable scale with hundreds of thousands of culprits and their helpers in large areas of Europe under the eyes of a huge number of spectators, was emphasized in his statement that there are, 
“those of us here today representing the nations of the West,”(who) …” must live forever with this knowledge--even as our fragmentary awareness of crimes grew into indisputable facts, far too little was done.”
The most important statement in this view of “complicity” that the President made was, “Before the war even started, doors to liberty were shut”. These words by President Clinton’reveal a more sinister and deeper meaning in the use of the word “Complicity” in "Who will take them?" when one realizes where this statement was originally mentioned.

SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich refers to the world's “tactic complicity” in his overview of the persecution of the Jews by the Nazi regime to date at the opening of the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942SS-Obergruppenführer ReinhardHeydrich emphasizied; “that the main aim of the 'Jewish policy', he said, was, firstly, forced migration.
The men who sat at the table were among the elite of the "Third Reich". These were not your typical vision of anti-Semites for more than half of those present held doctorates from German universities. They were well informed about the policy toward Jews. Each understood that the cooperation of his agency was vital if such an ambitious, unprecedented and comprehensive policy was to succeed.

Among the agencies represented were the Department of Justice, the Foreign Ministry, the Gestapo, the SS, the Race and Resettlement Office, and the office in charge of distributing Jewish property. Also at the meeting was a representative of the General Government, the Polish occupation administration, whose territory included more than 2 million Jews. The head of Heydrich’s office for Jewish affairs, Adolf Eichmann, prepared the conference notes. We learn of this from the one remaining copy, out of 30 top-secret copies of the meeting's minutes, that Adolf Eichmann had prepared and was found in 1948 and confirmed as authentic by Adolf Eichmann at his trial in Jerusalem.
The real "burning" question is since ALL communiques sent to Hitler were monitored by the "Enigma" team at Bletchley Park was the copy of the meetings sent to Hitler intercepted by them and known to Churchill and Roosevelt?

In an HBO/BBC TV feature film co-production, "Conspiracy", General Heydrich (played by Kenneth Branagh) leads the meeting. He explains that Germany is facing the one drawback of world conquest: it continually increases its Jewish population as it annexes more and more neighboring lands.
 "Germany acquired 2.5 million Jews when we conquered Poland, and we will get 5 million more when we take Russia," he says. "Emigration of the Jews is not a solution, because: "Who will take them? Even in the US, as Jews are whispering in Roosevelt's ear, they turn them away." Then, with studied rhetoric, he announces: "From Lapland to Libya, from Vladivostok to Belfast, no Jews. Not one." This statement elicits an approving table-thumping by those present at the conference. 

A plaintive Yiddish ballad written in the 1930s by the Polish Yiddish actor Igor S. Korntayer, describes in stark terms the dilemma faced by German Jews desperate to escape from their homeland after Hitler came to power.

Vu Ahin Zol Ikh Geyn?
Tell me where shall I go,
Who can answer my plea?
Tell me where shall I go,
Every door is locked to me?
Though the world’s large enough,
There’s no room for me I know,
What I see is not for me,
Each road is closed, I am not free—
Tell me where shall I go.

America’s and the western worlds lethargic response "Who will take them?” to the Nazi measures that became embodied in the Holocaust is important to note in light of the discussion of  President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt’s proposal to the British to allow free Jewish immigration to the Palestinian Mandated Territory.

Just “How” complicit were the members of the US Department of State and the British Foreign Ministry-Whitehall - in thwarting Roosevelt plan and there by allowing the Nazis to exterminate the Jews of Europe? 

In 1933 just as President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected and began his administration Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party also came to power in Germany. When Hitler’s Nazi party took control they began a systematic campaign of persecution aimed at its Jewish population. Under the'Jewish policy' of the  Nuremberg Laws (German: Nürnberger Gesetze) of 1935. Jews were excluded from German public life, deprived of their citizenship and forbidden to marry “authentic” Germans. The Nazis had succeeded in expelling much of the Jewish minority in Germany and in exiling those Jews still living in the country to an existence on the fringe of society. At the same time, the Nazis began to incrementally terrorize the Jews with the use of violence, which culminated in the nationwide pogrom known as Kristallnacht (“Crystal Night”) that took place in Germany and annexed Austria in November 1938.

The National Socialists had re-adjusted and manipulated the public opinion of Germany into the 'Third Reich' with it's dominance of racism: There was hardly any area in which the 'Jewish question' did not now play a major role in everyday life. With the official institution of 'dejudification' as a central part of German society  'racial legislation' and the 'Aryanisation' process had far-reaching effects upon the economy and in foreign policy, even before the war. The 'Third Reich' had succeeded in raising a 'Jewish question'. By means of compulsory emigration and expulsion, but also by repeated 'acts of revenge' and threats against the German Jews The Jews of Germany were held 'responsible' for the behavior of 'international Judaism' -"Communism" The extremity of the Nazi regimes persecution of the Jews in German controlled areas was made into an international problem that increasingly preoccupied the community of nations.

From 1933 -1941 the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration was largely inactive in response to these events. The Roosevelt administration’s effort to accommodate Jewish refugees from Germany and from Austria grew steadily in face of the escalation of their persecution in the years leading to World War II. Modest efforts were made and just as the war broke out and more and more of Europe’s Jews were caught in the Nazi grip, the U.S. State Department began cutting back at the bequest of the British who were fearful of the backlash from Arabs.

The Nazi policies were carried over into the period after the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939, with the aim of driving the Jews out of Germany and the territories taken over by the Wehrmacht. In the meantime, Jews were being concentrated in ghettos and concentration camps. A change in Nazi policy toward the Jews occurred only after the German invasion into the Soviet Union with “Operation Barbarossa” in June of 1941. Following quickly on the heels of the Wehrmacht were killing squads known as Einsatzgruppen (“emergency squads”) which systematically rounded up and murdered Jews in the newly occupied Soviet territories.

By November 1941 the Nazis had reversed their previous policy of promoting mass Jewish emigration, forbidding all Jews to leave German or German-occupied territory. Since the beginnings of Hitler’s invasion of Russia in Operation Barbarossa it was becoming known in the upper reaches of the Nazi leadership and government offices that Hitler intended all the Jews of Europe to be deported to the eastern territories and, by some means, to be executed toward the beginning of 1942.
For that purpose in mind the first experiment with hydrogen cyanide in the form of Zyklon B. was carried out at Auschwitz in a shed turned into a gas the chamber on September 3, 1941. This method was instituted for the mass-murdered of the Jews and the bodies then incinerated in crematoria. Able-bodied Jews were enslaved as forced laborers, only to share the same destiny somewhat later.

At the Wannssee Conference, of January 20, 1942, a calculated, industrialized campaign for the total annihilation or “the final solution of the Jewish problem” was instituted. Though the final protocol of the Wannsee Conference never explicitly mentioned extermination it was "understood" that “evacuation to the east” - a euphemism for concentration camps and that the “final solution”,was to be the systematic murder of Europe’s Jews.
At the core of the “evacuation to the east”  was the creation of extermination camps in occupied Poland, where Jews were to be sent by train from all Nazi-occupied territories.


Roosevelt’s Plan For Palestine


With the rise of Nazi Germany  during the years 1933 -1938 the Nazi regime free immigration of the Jews of Europe was of the utmost issue for Jewish circles. The critical period of 1938-1941 was the period of the beginnings of war in Europe. It was also the period of British appeasement to the Arabs of the severe restrictions of Jewish immigration in the White Paper of 1939.

President Roosevelt's interest in transferring Arabs from Palestine began in ‎‎October 1938 after a meeting with Justice Louis Brandeis‎‎Brandeis reported on this meeting to Felix Frankfurter who in turn passed on the report to ‎‎Stephen Wise and to presidential adviser and script-writer Ben Cohen. Brandeis pointed out in his report of this meeting how Roosevelt appreciated the significance of Palestine‎‎“the need of keeping it whole and of making it Jewish". He was tremendously interested - and wholly surprised - on learning of the great increase in Arab population since the First World War; and on learning of the plenitude of land for Arabs in Arab countries, about which he made specific inquiries.”

The Historian Zaha Bustami commented that it was, “…difficult to tell who brought up ‎‎this subject during the meeting, but the information on Arab demography was provided ‎‎by Frankfurter.” Who had met with FDR a few days earlier a meeting to discuss the ‎‎Palestine situation; however there are no records of what Roosevelt said at this meeting. 

On 25th of October 1938, Roosevelt had a meeting with the British Ambassador to the ‎‎U.S. Sir Ronald Lindsay. Lindsay wrote that the President was “impressed by the fact ‎‎that the Arab population had increased by 400,000 since the establishment of the [League ‎‎Of Nations] Mandate.” 

FDR also contemplated the creation of a program of well-digging across the JordanRoosevelt firmly believed that, “we ought to be able to find that money for the purpose”. FDR believed that once a large quantity of water would be made available for irrigation and the cultivable land thus created in Trans-Jordanian territory it;
‎‎“should be set apart for Arabs from Palestine. They should be offered land free, and that ought to be enough to attract them; and failing the attraction, they should be compelled to emigrate to it. Palestine could thus be relieved of 200,000 Arabs”.
FDR also added that it would “be necessary to prescribe that no Arab should be allowed to immigrate into Palestine, and no Jew into the Arab lands.” ‎‎

The Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle, later recalled that,” The President was full ‎‎of Palestine” and that FDR called on Ronald Lindsay to call a conference of Arab ‎‎princes. FDR was adamant in having them lay down; “say ‎‎$200,000,000 buying a farm for every Arab who wishes to leave Palestine, the money chiefly to be used in digging wells, which is perfectly possible in the Hedjaz.” Here, it is quite clear that Roosevelt intended the Arabs to "foot the bill" for the transfer of the Arabs of Palestine.
British Ambassador Lindsay therefore asked Lancelot Oliphant of the British Foreign ‎‎Office to have someone prepare a “short answer to this scheme” to have in readiness, ‎‎although he stressed that he would not take the initiative in sending a reply to the ‎‎President. Lindsay’s request was first dealt with by Lacy Baggalay of the Foreign Office. He first quoted experts, who held that the possibilities of finding water in quantity by boring in Transjordan were, “quite restricted”. He then continued, “But even assuming that water could be found in large quantities, it is now out of the question that any Arabs should be ‎‎'compelled' to emigrate to the lands thus brought into cultivation."

"Whatever else may remain uncertain about the problem of Palestine, the impossibility of compulsion on this scale is now beyond dispute."

There are those who blame the genesis of Roosevelt's idea of a forcible or voluntary eviction of Palestinian Arabs to Trans-Jordan or other neighboring lands on Roosevelt’s contacts with Zionist circles in the summer of 1938 perhaps in discussions with Brandeis and Frankfurter.

So "Who" actually had given Roosevelt the idea that irrigation of the Transjordan desert would create a ‎‎suitable location for the Arab transferees? The indications are that it came from the State ‎‎Department where at that period Edward Norman was in contact with government ‎‎officials to advance his own transfer plans. Although Norman was at the time in contact ‎‎with the State Department, his plans were in fact to irrigate Iraq by means of the dams it ‎‎had recently constructed.‎‎ ‎

Roosevelt summoned Lindsay for a further meeting, presumably during the first half of ‎‎November. At this meeting, the President said that he thought that “the British should call ‎‎in some of the Arab leaders from Palestine and some of the leaders from the adjoining ‎‎Arab countries.”

"The British should explain to them that they, the Arabs, had within their ‎‎control large territories ample to sustain their people.” He also pointed out that Jewish ‎‎immigration to Palestine and Transjordan would not harm the Arabs since there was ‎‎plenty of room for everyone. Roosevelt then went on to propose transfer of Arabs, “Some ‎‎of the Arabs on poor land in Palestine could be given much better land in adjoining Arab ‎‎countries."

British Ambassador ‎‎Lindsay answered Roosevelt by saying that there was opposition in both the Arab and ‎‎Moslem world but the President “belittled this opposition and thought it due largely to British indecision and conflicting policy.”

Roosevelt had also thought of ideas of how to finance this transfer. He thought that “if a plan was devised for a settlement of 100,000 families costing $3,000 a family or ‎‎$300 million the funds might be raised” by the American Government, the British and French Governments, and private subscriptions - largely Jewish; each of these bodies would contribute $100 million.‎‎

Towards the end of December the British Charge d'Affaires in Washington met with ‎‎Sumner Welles and handed him a memorandum on transfer received from the British ‎‎Government, adding that Roosevelt would probably be interested in it.‎‎ ‎After pointing out that the latest available evidence did not bear out the belief that any ‎‎considerable quantity of water could be obtained in Transjordan at shallow levels by ‎‎boring wells, the memorandum continued,
“Suggestions have also been made that if the free offer of cultivable land in Transjordan did not suffice to attract the Arabs from Palestine; they might be compelled to emigrate from it, with the object of vacating land in Palestine for settlement by Jews.”

Until the Wannssee conference of January 1942 there was still hope in Jewish / Zionistic circles that the Nazis would allow mass Jewish immigration. With the inevitable invasion of Poland by the Nazis in September 1939 the doors of Europe began to close and the fate of European Jewry was sealed.

The British Government “Complicity” can be found in Whitehall’s fear of the repercussions in BritainIndia and the Moslem world if they should back Roosevelt's plan of Arab "resettlement". They saw the threat to the sources of raw materials and oil for the Empire in agreeing to Roosevelt’s proposals. Their Empire would be in jeopardy due to their promises made to the Jews. 

Lancelot Oliphant of the British Foreign ‎‎Office brought, in his words, the “fallacy” which Roosevelt was using to try and solve the Palestine problem in a reply sent to Lindsay saying that the British government would not even contemplate such an idea. That  His Majesty's Government would be accused of such a thing. That it would be “thoroughly unjust” to compel the "long-established community" the Arabs to transfer from Palestine “to make room for immigrants ‎‎[Jews] of a totally different race who have had no connection with [Palestine] for at least 2,000 years.”

The British Government also felt that the problem of ‎‎“redistribution of the Arab and Jewish communities in Palestine and across the Jordan”, was not one of finance but rather of politics.On two occasions, Roosevelt raised his plan with British representatives but he was ‎‎‎“firmly told that no amount of financial inducement would move the Palestinian Arabs.” Roosevelt however, was unconvinced by this British reply.
Chaim Weizmann had his first meeting with Roosevelt in February 1940. At this meeting, Roosevelt put forward the idea of bribing the Arabs, asking Weizmann “What about the Arabs? Can't that be settled with a little baksheesh?” Weizmann replied that “it wasn't as simple as all that. Of course the Jewish people would compensate the Arabs in a reasonable way for anything they got, but there were other factors appertaining to a settlement.”

In December 1942 two and a half years later, Roosevelt told Treasury Secretary, 
Henry ‎‎Morgenthau, “I actually would put a barbed wire around Palestine, and I would begin to ‎‎move the Arabs out of Palestine.... I would provide land for the Arabs in some other part ‎‎of the Middle East.... Each time we move out an Arab we would bring in another Jewish ‎‎family.... But I don't want to bring in more than they can economically support.... It ‎‎would be an independent nation just like any other nation.... Naturally, if there are 90 per ‎‎cent Jews, the Jews would dominate the government.... There are lots of places to which ‎‎you could move the Arabs. All you have to do is drill a well because there is a large ‎‎underground water supply, and we can move the Arabs to places where they can really ‎‎live.” 
In October 1943, the question of “barbed-wire” around Palestine came up again in a ‎‎conversation between Roosevelt and Judge Samuel Rosenman, Justice of the New York ‎‎Supreme Court and speechwriter and counselor to RooseveltRoosevelt had spoken of ‎‎the “possibility of settling the Palestine question by letting the Jews in to the limit that the ‎‎country will support them - "with a barbed-wire fence around the Holy Land.” Rosenman ‎‎thought that this would work but only “if the fence was a two-way one to keep the Jews in and the ‎‎Arabs out.”

What should be mentioned here is that Roosevelt already knew full well of the extent Nazi program of mass genocide. He had been informed by Churchill in the Casablanca Conference January 14 to 24, 1943, of the entire text of the Protocols of the Wannssee conference gleaned from the transmission of the file through the Abwehr G312 “Enigma” program at Bletchley ParkRoosevelt had also read the Polish Foreign Minister Count Edward Raczynski's note which had been addressed to the Governments of the United Nations on 10 December 1942 entitled, "The mass extermination of Jews in German occupied Poland", which provided the Allies with the earliest and most accurate accounts of the Holocaust.
In addition to being informed by documents and Intelligence reports during the course of 1943 an officer in the Związek Walki Zbrojnej (abbreviation: ZWZ or Union of Armed Struggle) of the Polish underground, Jan Karski, traveled to Washington as an emissary of the Polish Resistance to meet with PresidentFranklin Roosevelt and report directly to the President on the European conflict and specifically conditions in his own country, Poland.

In 1942 Karski was selected by Cyryl Ratajski, the Polish Government's Delegate at Home, to perform a secret mission to gather information about Nazi atrocities in occupied Poland. In order to gather evidence, Karski met Bund activist Leon Feiner and was twice smuggled by Jewish underground leaders into the Warsaw Ghetto for the purpose of showing him first hand what was happening to the Polish Jews. Karski had visited Bełżec death camp disguised as a Ukrainian camp guard and had gained first hand eyewitness to the extermination of the Jews of Europe. Karski reported to the Polish, British and U.S. governments in 1942 on the situation in Poland and especially on the the extermination of the Jews. He had done so by smuggling out a microfilm with further textual information in German as proof from the Underground Movement on the extermination of European Jews in occupied Poland.

Karski met with Polish politicians in exile including the Polish Prime Minister Władysław Sikorski , as well as members of political parties such as the PPS, SN, SP, SL, Jewish Bund and Poalei Zion. He also spoke to Anthony Eden, the British foreign secretary who reported the meeting directly to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in a detailed statement on what Karski had seen in Warsaw and Bełżec. Karski then traveled to the United States to report to President Franklin D.Roosevelt.

Roosevelt requested that Karski meet with Justice Frankfurter and Rabbi Stephen Wise, as it would be of vital concern for them to be apprised of the horrors befalling their fellow Jews in Poland. Frankfurter and Wise listened to Karski’s detailed eyewitness accounts from Belzec concentration camp of the program of extermination of the Jewish people carried out by the Nazis.

When Roosevelt, Frankfurter and Wise were told by Karski’s of the,“the unprecedented' extent of the genocide”, Felix Frankfurter stated that he was unable to "conceive the inconceivable" of the full extent of the methodical extermination of the Jewish people.

In April 1944 two prisoners, Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, managed to escape from Auschwitz and the Polish Underground once more provided information that they gave to the Allies – together with intelligence gained from two other prisoners who escaped shortly afterwards. This information formed the basis on the workings of Auschwitz
that became known as the “Auschwitz Protocols”. This was the first absolute and conclusive proof the Allies received that mass murder was taking place at Auschwitz.

Limited information about the camp had reached the West before this date, but the Auschwitz Protocols removed any reasonable doubt about the scale and nature of the crime, and the Western media were quick to report the news. On 18 June the BBC broadcast a radio story about Auschwitz, and on 20 June the New York Times carried a report which explicitly mentioned the ‘gas chambers’ at Auschwitz/Birkenau.

At the beginning of November 1944, Roosevelt was elected President for an ‎‎unprecedented fourth term. A few days later, Roosevelt discussed the Palestine situation ‎‎with the Under-Secretary of State, Edward Stettinius. Roosevelt had developed his ideas for the transfer of the Arabs from Palestine as time progressed as he heard from State Department officials and Military Intelligence reports of the events happening in Eastern Europe against the Jews. Some believe that Roosevelt's views had become more extreme in his criticism of British policy in Palestine, which was ruled by Whitehall’s  pro-Arab Middle Eastern stance as Arab "complicity" with the Nazi regime became more apparent.

After telling Roosevelt of their ‎‎difficulties regarding Palestine, Under-Secretary of State, Edward Stettinius wrote in his diary, “He thinks Palestine ‎‎should be for the Jews and no Arabs should be in it”. Roosevelt felt confident ‎‎that he would be able to “iron out” the whole Arab-Jewish issue. Originally recommending the transfer of two hundred thousand Arabs, Roosevelt eventually ‎‎stated unequivocally that “Palestine should be for the Jews and no Arabs should be in it.” and that as stated in the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate that, "The Mandated area of Palestine should be exclusive Jewish territory.”‎‎ ‎

Almost all the statements that are quoted on this subject were not written by Roosevelt himself, but by the various people he worked and met with. There are no recordings nor written notes either. This however, is characteristic of Franklin D. Roosevelt since he was a man who always had one eye cocked on historians who would someday assess his role in history. He tried to cover his historical tracks, using unrecorded telephone conversations and unrecorded private interviews but we do have the recorded comments from those present with Roosevelt and their diary entries.  

Franklin D. Roosevelt died on the afternoon of April 12 at the Little White House at Warm Springs, Georgia and with his death so did his Plan for a Jewish Palestine with out the Arab "Problem". Once again the infamous historic statement “What If” resounds through history…


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