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Beyond the UN's Rhetoric

Holocaust History

by LENNI BRENNER

The United Nations’ January 24th holocaust commemoration came & went with little impact on the worldwide public’s understanding of that era’s politics. The slaughter of between 5 and 6 million Jews has become history’s best known black hats/white hats movie. Nazism has been thoroughly scrutinized by historians. The educated public has a good grasp on what happened, but, for the most part, they knoweth not why.

That broad public knows even less about the white hats, the Jews. Anne Frank, to young to have any politics, has become the best known victim. But of course the adult generations had their sundry ideologies. These have been studied in detail by historians. However, few beyond them, Jew or gentile, are aware of the research.

This is understandable. WW ll ended 59 years ago. But some of that story still has contemporary significance. Israel’s present government is based on a coalition of Arial Sharon’s Likud, & Shimon Peres and the remnants of the ‘left’ Zionist tradition. Both factions had their supporters in the ghettoes of Nazi-occupied Europe.

Sharon was born into a family of supporters of Vladimir (Zeev) Jabotinsky and his Zionist Revisionist movement. When Sharon became a teenager, he abandoned Revisionism for the Peres’s Labor Zionism. He was a Laborite while he became famous as a field general. But he subsequently returned to Revisionism, In its latest form, the Likud.

In 2003, Moshe Arens, a former Likud defense and foreign minister, ran an article in the 4/18/03 New York Sun, a daily that exists only to tell us of the greatness of capitalism and Zionism. His curious essay, below, is a good start, re getting a feel for holocaust Jewry’s politics. I sent in a critique, also below, which the Sun’s editor, Seth Lipsky, a gentile, a former editor of the Wall Street Journal, and a featured speaker at Jabotinsky commemorations, didn’t dare run.

Read them both, with the realization that it is unlikely that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan read Arens’ article. But then ask yourself a question: If he had read it, would he have added anything to the platitudes he uttered on the occasion? Then ask some more important questions. What do the grim facts about the history of Sharon’s Likud tell us about the legitimacy of the Zionist state? What can the Palestinians expect to get in the way of their rights from today’s Zionist Revisionists?

***

Warsaw Ghetto: The Debt of Truth
By MOSHE ARENS

This weekend will mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the revolt in the Warsaw Ghetto, dramatized recently in the film "The Pianist." The revolt, the first major uprising against the Germans in World War II and the most prominent act of Jewish resistance to the German slaughter of the Jews of Europe, has become a symbol of heroism. It was a desperate battle that pitted a small group of Jewish fighters against the might of the German army, a battle for the dignity of man and the honor of the Jewish people.

Two organizations of Jewish fighters had been preparing themselves for the revolt. Best known by the initials of their Polish names, they were: ZOB, for Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, a confederation of Socialist-Zionist movements, the anti-Zionist Socialist Bund, and the Communists, led by Mordechai Anielewicz; and ZZW, for Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowi, composed mainly of Zionist-Revisionist Betar members, led by Pawel Frenkel, David Apfelbaum, and Leon Rodal. Considerable rivalry and even animosity existed between the two groups, all attempts at uniting them having failed. Only a semblance of coordination between them was established prior to the revolt.

Only those who are acquainted with the fratricidal animosity that characterized the relationship, during the years leading up to the war, between the Socialist Zionist parties and the Revisionist Zionist Party, headed by Zeev Jabotinsky, can begin to comprehend the inability or unwillingness to unite the two Jewish military organizations at that desperate time. The movements that founded ZOB considered Betar to be a semi-fascist movement, whereas they saw themselves as representing all the workers’ parties and progressive movements in the ghetto. The Socialist Zionist movements found it easier to bring the anti-Zionist Bund and the Communists into their ranks than to unite with ZZW. They all seem to have been united in their disdain for the Revisionist youth. The initiative undertaken by senior Revisionist leaders in the ghetto to unite the two fighting movements was rejected by ZOB.

After more than 300,000 of Warsaw’s Jews had been sent to the gas chambers at Treblinka in the summer of 1942, only about 60,000 Jews remained in the Ghetto. They now lived in three unconnected Jewish sectors. The central sector, which contained the houses inhabited by part of the surviving Jewish population, and two German workshop areas where Jewish slave-laborers were producing goods for the German war machine. In each of these areas, there were units of ZOB and ZZW fighting units. The headquarters of both organizations were located in the central sector; ZOB headed by Anielewicz at Mila Street 39, ZZW headed by Frenkel, at Muranowska Street 7.

Only scant documentation is available regarding the fighting in the Ghetto. Yosef Kermish, at the time head of the Yad Vashem archives, wrote in 1965 in his preface to a collection of documents on the Warsaw Ghetto revolt: "As for the revolt itself and the actual preparations for it, the Jewish and Polish sources are regretfully not sufficiently adequate . What is missing in the Jewish and Polish sources regarding the revolt must necessarily be complemented from German sources that were written by the enemy himself. The most important of the German documents regarding the revolt are the reports of [German General] Juergen Stroop, that were written at the time of the events themselves." Stroop sent daily reports on the action in the Ghetto and a summary report was written by Stroop on May 16. It is from these reports that a picture begins to emerge on the course of the revolt.

In examining Stroop’s reports one’s attention is drawn to the following statement that appears in his summary report: "The main Jewish combat group in which participated also Polish bandits, retreated already on the first or second day to a place called Muranowski Square. There it was reinforced by a significant number of Polish bandits. The group wanted to fortify itself in every way possible in order to prevent us from penetrating. On the roof of a concrete building they raised the Jewish flag and the Polish flag, as a signal of war against us."

It was in Muranowski Square and the neighboring houses on Muranowska Street that ZZW fighters armed with rifles, sub-machine guns, machine guns, and Molotov cocktails had established fortified positions and succeeded in holding up the advance of the German forces during an entire day’s fighting on the second day of the revolt, April 20, 1943. It was the scene of recurrent fierce battles between ZZW and Stroop’s forces in the days to come. This is corroborated by testimony given after the war by a number of Poles who participated in these battles. Here, heavy casualties were sustained by the ZZW, which lost many of its leading fighters.

During the entire revolt there was fighting throughout the Ghetto by ZOB and ZZW fighters. The fiercest battles, which lasted several days and were possibly the most important of the revolt, seem to have been waged by ZZW in the area of Muranowski Square. Yet the story of the heroic struggle in the Warsaw Ghetto, the myth of Jewish heroism that has captured the imagination of so many, has left little room for the participation of the fighters of the ZZW in the revolt. Maybe this was inevitable, since none of the leaders of the underground organized by Betar survived the revolt.

To the best of our knowledge, Pawel Frenkel, together with some of his comrades, fell in a battle with German troops and Polish police on May 11 in Warsaw, after surviving the fighting at Muranowski Square. Most of the ZZW fighters were killed in the revolt. The story of the revolt has come down to us primarily through two ZOB leaders who survived the fighting: Yitzhak Cukierman, who was the ZOB’s liaison to the Polish underground outside the Ghetto during the revolt, and Marek Edelman of the Bund who fought in the Ghetto. Edelman, in his book, "The Ghetto Fights," published shortly after the war, makes no mention of the ZZW. Cukierman, on arriving in Israel after the war, spoke disparagingly of the ZZW.

It seems that political considerations colored their reports of the fighting in the Ghetto. Indicative of this is a report sent by the Jewish National Committee in Warsaw to the London Representation of Polish Jewry on May 24, 1944, signed by Yitzhak Cukierman and others, which contains the following passage: "Let the Workers’ Movement throughout the world know, that the organizers of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt and its leadership were The Workers’ Movement for Labor Eretz Yisrael and that hundreds of the fighters struggled and fell inspired by this ideal, so that their death will be one of the foundations for a socialist future of the Jewish masses in Eretz Yisrael." For the ZZW there was nobody left to present their side of the story.

Sixty years have passed since the outbreak of the revolt in the Warsaw Ghetto. As it becomes a legend it should be freed of political bias and made to conform as close to the actual course of events as possible. This is a debt we owe to the heroes of the revolt.

***

Re Moshe Arens’ 4/18 "Warsaw Ghetto – The Debt of Truth"
By LENNI BRENNER

Moshe Arens’ 4/18 "Warsaw Ghetto – The Debt of Truth" condemns the refusal of the Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, the Socialist-Zionist, Stalinist and Bundist underground, to unite with Betar’s Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowi in their final battle. "ZOB considered Betar to be a semi-fascist movement."

He blames this on "fratricidal animosity … between the Socialist Zionist parties and the Revisionist Zionist Party, headed by Zeev Jabotinsky." But all ideologies, Jewish or gentile, saw classic Revisionism as fascist.

Jabotinsky loved pre-Mussolini Italy and condemned him as a "head buffalo." However, he grasped that Britain wasn’t going to set up a Zionist state, and wished for Rome as a substitute Mandatory. In New York’s 4/11/35 Jewish Daily Bulletin, he implored readers to stop using "’Fascism’ as a cuss word." It was

"the official doctrine of … one of those countries where Jews enjoy full equality…. It is very unwise to insist on antagonizing one of them by turning to abuse a term and an idea which is so highly cherished." Indeed, "the Permanent Mandates Commission which supervises Palestinian affairs has an Italian chairman …. Responsible leaders ought to take care."

The 3/36 issue of Revisionism’s L’Idea Sionistica reported the establishment of a Betar squadron at Mussolini’s naval academy:

"A triple chant ordered by the squad’s commanding officer — ‘Viva L’Italia!, Viva IL Re!, Viva IL Duce!’ resounded …. This year there are 49 cadets …. The majority are university students and 30 of them belong to the GUF." (Gioventù Universitaria
Fascista – University Fascist Youth- LB)

London’s 6/12/36 World Jewry reported an interview with Wolfgang von Weisl, Revisionism’s financial director: "He, personally, was a supporter of Fascism, and he rejoiced at the victory of Fascist Italy in Abyssinia as a triumph of the White races against the Black."

Mussolini became Hitler’s ally against the left in Spain and expelled his Betar fans. But as late as 1/40, Ha Dagel, their Harbin magazine, had photos of them on stage with Japanese, puppet Manchukuo and Zionist flags:

"The Third Congress of the Jewish Communities of the Far East welcomes the Great Empire of the Rising Sun’s aspiration for the establishment of peace and a new order in East Asia …. The Third Congress … calls on the Jewry of the Far East to actively participate in establishing the new order and in building East Asia, guided by the principle of struggle against the Comintern, in close collaboration with all nations."

Each ZOB constituent must be held accountable for its role in the 1930s and holocaust. But in 1943 they faced military defeat, with or without the ZZW, at the hands of Hitler, self-proclaimed disciple of Mussolini and Fascism. Historians will forgive them for refusing to sully their defense of Jewish honor, by accepting as comrades, adherents of their murderers’ ideology.

LENNI BRENNER is the author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, and the editor of 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis . He has also just edited Jefferson & Madison On Separation of Church and State: Writings on Religion and Secularism (Barricade Books). He can be reached at BrennerL21@aol.com.