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jan peczkis|Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The highlight of this book, on Jewish leadership and the Shoah, is the chapter by Aharon Weiss. I thank Polish scholar Ewa Kurek for bringing the work of Aharon Weiss to public attention. Unfortunately, however, this book has only a terse summary of Weiss’ extensive Hebrew-language research on the JUDENRAT and the Jewish Ghetto Police, the so-called JUDISCHER ORDNUNGSDIENST. (p. 201).



The following (except titles in CAPS) are direct quotes from Aharon Weiss:

THE JUDENRAETE AND THE MASS DEPORTATIONS (TO THE DEATH CAMPS)

However, when the waves of mass deportations began, and fears as to the fate of the deportees increased—even if the terrible truth was not known in all cases and in all places—under such conditions, continued accession to German demands, when these involved the surrender of Jews, was tantamount to willfully abetting in harmful measures against the community. This was the focal point around which behavior patterns of the different JUDENRAETE revolved--there were those who absolutely refused to surrender Jews to the enemy, while others adopted the approach that by sacrificing a part of the community, others might be saved. There were also JUDENRAT members whose actions were devoid of any concern for the communal welfare, and who were motivated purely by the desire to secure their own interests. (pp. 212-213).

THE JEWISH GHETTO POLICE: A MAJOR NAZI GERMAN TOOL IN THE SUCCESS OF THE HOLOCAUST

One central conclusion emerges from the data which has been amassed to date: Out of a total of one hundred communities in the General Government, the Jewish Police in eighty-six of them acceded to the demands of the Germans at some stage of their activities, including participation in the round-ups for mass AKTIONEN. The distinction in the various stages in the existence and operation of the Jewish Police is important because the vast number of episodes in which the Jewish Police ceded to German demands occurred most noticeably in the final stages of the ghettos’ existence, at a time when personnel changes had been effected within the ranks of the Police. Elements sensitive to public needs had either left the Police or had fallen victim to the Germans. The subservient policemen and commanders prevailed to the very end, although in most cases they found their death at Nazi hands. (p. 216).

In relation to the Jewish Police, we must reiterate that it was the weakest link, and its activities proved incompatible with the community’s stance. (p. 217).

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PERSECUTORS CORRUPT THE PERSECUTED: A FACT RECOGNIZED FOR JEWISH COLLABORATORS…[WHY NOT ALSO FOR POLISH COLLABORATORS?]

Joseph Michman wrote, “Long ago, Rabbi Jacob Emden commented on the sentence in the Passover Haggadah: “‘The Egyptians did us evil,’” interpreting it as ‘they made us evil.’ The rule that the persecutor is responsible for the corruption of the persecuted applies very pertinently to the moral position of the Jewish Councils.” (p. 257).

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For Further Reading:

JEWISH COLLABORATION WITH THE NAZIS: NO DOUBLE STANDARD

The classic, simplistic attempt to dismiss it all as "choiceless choices":

Versions of Survival: The Holocaust and the Human Spirit (Suny Series in Modern Jewish Literature & Culture)

In actuality:

FACT: Not all Choices Faced by Jews, Under the Nazis, Were “Choiceless Choices”

FACT: Jews Were Neither Totally Nor Consistently Powerless Under the Nazis

So: JEWISH COLLABORATORS CAN BE EVERY BIT AS MORALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR CONDUCT AS THE NON-JEWISH COLLABORATORS:

(Click on, and read my reviews of):

Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival during the Holocaust

Israel's Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood (Cambridge Middle East Studies)

A Narrow Bridge to Life: Jewish Slave Labor and Survival in the Gross-Rosen Camp System, 1940-1945

International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law (The Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law)

The Holocaust in Israeli Public Debate in the 1950s: Ideology and Memory

A Surplus of Memory : Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising(Hardback) - 1993 Edition

The Portable Hannah Arendt (Penguin Classics)

See also:

Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust

Eichmann in Jerusalem : A Report on the Banality of Evil (Revised and Enlarged)
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