Six days in June: Betrayal, endurance and victory

 

“Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews. As soon as I have the power to do so, I will have gallows built in rows—at the Marienplatz in Munich, for example—as many as traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged indiscriminately, and they will remain hanging until they stink; they will hang there as long as the principles of hygiene permit. As soon as they have been untied, the next batch will be strung up, and so on down the line, until the last Jew in Munich has been exterminated. Other cities will follow suit, precisely in this fashion, until all Germany has been completely cleansed of Jews.”

Statement by Adolf Hitler to Josef Heil, 1922. Quoted from Gerald Fleming’s “Hitler and the Final Solution“, page 17.

On the 25th of August 1939, the Zionist General Council ordered the early and immediate dissolution of the 21st Zionist Congress, being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Amid the drum beats of impending war in Europe, the 576 delegates filed out of the building with the words of Dr. Chaim Weizmann still ringing in their ears:  “we will not resort to the law of the jungle”.

Three months before, on the 23rd of May, the British government had formally ratified its White paper policy, regarding the immediate future of the then British protectorate of Palestine.

This policy, drafted unilaterally after the failure of both Arab and Jewish parties to come to an agreed upon position called for: the establishment of a Jewish ‘national home’ in an independent Palestinian state within 10 years; and an immediate suspension of all Jewish migration, with an ongoing annual maximum of 75,000 to be rigorously enforced.

As had been demonstrated by the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, the safety and protection of Jews living in Palestine could not be assured, and the use of the words ‘national home’ was deliberately vague and did not impart any degree of certainty or political will, desired by the delegates.

Something of a ‘perfect storm’ was brewing, as the Jewish people in continental Europe suddenly found themselves abandoned, with their prospects and options for escape restricted even more by this latest of political betrayals.

One month later, the German army crossed the Polish border and the planned annihilation of the Jewish people was to begin in earnest.

As war raged throughout continental Europe, a little-known struggle began between the competing parties, for control of the vital Middle Eastern oil reserves, culminating in the brief four-week long Anglo-Iraqi war of May 1941.

One of the leading figures in this shadowy conflict was Haj Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

Husseini had actively encouraged the failed coup d’état in Iraq, and afterwards had fled to Italy and then Germany with support from wealthy donors.

He became a leading figure in Nazi Germany, being on speaking terms with many high ranking Nazis, most notably Adolf Hitler whom he spoke with on some occasions.

In 1947, Simon Wiesenthal alleged that Husseini had accompanied Adolf Eichmann on an inspection tour of both Auschwitz and Majdanek. While this claim was unsourced and vociferously disputed by adherents of the Mufti, the claim was to resurface again in 2008: after a survivor of the Monowitz Camp (Auschwitz III) was to tell Emerson Vermaat that he had witnessed a large party of strangely dressed men; accompanied by the SS; and was informed by an SS officer that they were the Mufti and his retinue.

While his encouragement and knowledge of the ‘final solution’ is well documented, Husseini’s complicity was never proven and after the war’s end, he was to return to Palestine, along with an exodus of Jewish survivors of this most terrible and shameful attempt at industrial scale genocide.

Their newly found refuge from the ravages of the Holocaust proved elusive however, as the struggle for Palestine was to become increasingly bitter and fought amongst would be neighbors, culminating in the onset of all-out war in May of 1948, when the armies of Egypt; Syria; Iraq and Transjordan, all invaded this newly proclaimed and recognised state of Israel.

The war was to drag on for another year with bitter fighting and atrocities carried out on all sides.

Various attempts at ceasefires were broken as the competing parties struggled for ultimate control; fighting village to village and street to street.

Finally, in February of 1949, separate armistice agreements were to be signed between Israel and its Arab neighbours which included the recognition of ceasefire lines, to be monitored and supervised by the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation.

The world had witnessed the unexpected establishment of a Jewish State.

How long this tiny nation would be allowed to exist however, was yet to be determined.

 


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ORANGE

  • A large round juicy citrus fruit with a tough bright reddish-yellow rind.

AMBER

  • Hard translucent fossilized resin originating from extinct coniferous trees of the Tertiary period, typically yellowish in colour. It has been used in jewellery since antiquity.

ORINJAMBA

  • Fifth generation Kiwi, social-political writer who left the Left sometime back and turned right. Heavily reliant on spell check with hopefully the intelligence to admit when he’s wrong and the humility to see the truth, irrespective of where it’s found.

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