Monday, 6 October 2008

Greenstein and Feivel Polkes - More Lies

Tony Greenstein likes to discuss Zionists and Nazis in the same sentence. The point of this is to try and imply some kind of linkage or similarity. It is of course the inverse of the truth. He has done it again with the following:

Historically of course the Zionist movement has often worked with Nazis against the common foe e.g. the Gestapo/Hagannah agent Feivel Polkes (whose file to this day is kept closed in Israel).
The above sentence is simply inaccurate.

1. Greenstein claims that the Polkes file is closed in Israel. We already know that Greenstein lied about reading Francis R. Nicosia's latest book, Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany. Claiming to have read it, he was forced to admit otherwise. Had Greenstein actually read it, he would be aware that Nicosia had clearly used the Haganah archive in Tel Aviv for information. Moreover, I have in my possession a copy of the "Secret Document of the Berlin Security Police Concerning Feivel Polkes of Tel Aviv" dated June 17, 1937. The clear stamp on my copy reads "The Central Archives for the Disaster and the Heroism, Yad-Washem, Jerusalem." There is therefore plenty of information available in Israel on Polkes.

2. Greenstein uses the example of Polkes to suggest that the Zionist movement worked with the Nazis. Here we need some historical context. In 1937 there were many Jews living in Nazi Germany. At that point in time the Nazis wanted the Jews out of Germany and Polkes, who worked for the Jewish self-defense organization in Palestine, the Haganah, had contact with a Nazi agent Franz Reichert who suggested to Polkes that there was a possibility of a substantial increase in Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine. As a result of this contact Polkes traveled to Berlin where he met Eichmann and other Nazis and tried to convince the Nazis to allow Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine. Following this meeting, Eichmann with his accomplice Hagan traveled to Palestine and on to Egypt. It was in Egypt that Eichmann met Polkes and where Polkes suggested ways of increasing Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine.

Had Polkes been successful in his endeavour, many more Jews might have been saved from their ultimate fate at the hands of the Nazis, but as Nicosia mentions, "Nothing of substance ever came from this contact."

Greenstein has used the example Polkes of the Zionist movement working with the Nazis. What Greenstein does not reveal is that it emerged in a subsequent interview with Polkes that the Haganah did not favour Polkes trip to Berlin. Shaul Avigur from Haganah's illegal immigration department also confirmed that Polkes's trip not requested by the Haganah. And as Nicosia comments, Polkes's brief encounter with Eichmann "came under severe criticism within the Haganah after his return to Palestine, and he was eventually relieved of his responsibilities in the organization."

All this can be seen on pages 123-126 of Francis R. Nicosia's latest book.


Chris said...

I just found this very late post in a search. You seem to miss the point entirely, and it speaks of your narrow-minded attempt to rationalise everything. ‘The Secret Document of the Berlin Security Police Concerning Feivel Polkes of Tel Aviv’ IS available, has been available for decades, with various copies, in Yad Washem, in Universities, in various archives, in websites, in books. It is the Haganah’s own file on Polkes that Israel refuses to release! There would be no point in Israel attempting to suppress the Nazi document, that was recovered ages ago by the allies, on which Israel does not have control, and is already widely circulated. Nor is there any doubt that there are files in Yad Washem and in Israel from various sources and from various places around the world for any scholar to use. The point is whether Israel has released its own private 'embarrasing' document. It has not.

Mikey said...


I do not know if you have Nicosia's book, Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, but in the event you do, please turn to p.294 in the bibliography. You will see here that Nicosia accessed at the Haganah Archives in Tel Aviv, reference 19.00042, an interview with Feivel Polkes.

Chris said...

Hello again. Since this is a year old, I don't want to start a huge debate on it. The point though is: the Haganah archive has tons of documents, files, interviews, and any number of material. Nobody has suggested that the Haganah is somehow pretending that Polkes never existed and has removed any document that may be related to him. That the Hagana archives contains an interview with Polkes is hardly surprising. I bet they've got tons of files collected from all over the place related to him, and if you go as a scholar to the archives, you can find any number of documents, and cite them as coming from the archives.
Now, admitedly I do not know what this guy Greenstein has said, as I've stumbled on this page by accident. But the argument that has always been made regarding Polkes specifically and the archive, is about Polkes' private file, that the Hagana created and kept for its members and their activities. Again, that the archive keeps documents and interviews, and that an interview with Polkes may be included, is not controversial or contested. Specifically, the archives would have no reasons to not publish documents that are available in any case through other sources and publically, such as an interview, or the Nazi report. The question is with the documents the Hagana produced for its own use and in its own operations and organisation, regarding its members.THAT is the file that is not made public.

But my main issue was with your own statement that you have a copy of 'The Secret Document of the Berlin Security Police Concerning Feivel Polkes of Tel Aviv' stamped from the Yad Washem and that this somehow refutes the argument made regarding the non-availability of the files... because it showed to me that you simply rushed to give a reply and missed the whole point of the argument or looked into it. The Berlin documents were recovered by the allies and have been available for decades. You can find quotes or the copy itself all over the place. It is from the Berlin documents that the accusations against Polkes are rooted. The controversy has always been that, there's these things about this man, which we all know from the Berlin documents, but the archives refused to release its own documents to find out what the Hagana knew and how deeply involved the organisation itself was. There has never been any controversy about the German files... and it seemed to me that if you did not understand that the German documents are the ones that people already know about, and base their accusations off, that nobody ever claimed they are secret (I've got my own copy right next to me as I write), you failed to grasp the nature of the controvery.

Now admitedly, 'I' have never been to the Haganah archives, and the last I heard what I would term as reliable information that the file being unavailable was in 2003. Who knows, maybe the file WAS made available for Nicosia, but neither of the examples you have given (the Berlin papers and the interview) are indications of this.

Mikey said...


You seem to be waffling on and I would be interested to know what you were searching for that led you to this post. In any event, Nicosia wrote an earlier book, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question (I.B. Tauris, 1985) where he stated on p.245n63 that there was a file on Polkes in the Hagana Archives but he could not get access. In his more recent 2008 book, he has specifically used that archive and he does not make the same claim in his notes. Indeed, the bibliography of the 2008 book shows that he used information on Polkes from the Hagana Archive and I have provided you a reference.

Whilst you waffle on about an alleged "'embarrassing' document" you are simply guessing that something exists that Nicosia has not turned up in his extensive research.

If you are genuinely interested in this strange affair, I suggest that read Nicosia's 2008 book. I suspect that you are not really interested and all you want to do is try and make some kind of link between Zionism and Nazism. The problem for you is that such an attempt will not pass any academic muster. As Nicosia states quite clearly on pp.2-3 of his 2008 book

"lest the reader imagine that the purpose of a study such as this is to somehow equate Zionism with National Socialism, Zionists with Nazis, or to portray that relationship as a willing and collaborative one between moral and political equals. The research, analysis, and conclusions contained in these pages do not in any way support such notions."

Now, if you want evidence of collaboration with Nazis, one need no further than look at the Arab Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

Anonymous said...

because the Mufti was stupid.
Showing himself in front of camera or on photos, even if more honest, was STUPID !