Photo of Nazi medal commemorating Zionist collaboration with Hitler

Lenni Brenner
3 May 2007

It is only natural that contemporaries should be skeptical when they first hear accusations that Zionists collaborated with Hitler. Israel is constantly at war. The public projects Zionist pugnacity back onto the holocaust era and assumes that the World Zionist Organization opposed Nazism after Hitler came to power in 1933. In fact the opposite is true and it easily documented.

In 1983, London's Croom Helm Ltd. published my first book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators.

A London Times review declared that "Brenner is able to cite numerous cases where Zionists collaborated with anti-Semitic regimes, including Hitler's." The book attracted similar favorable scholarly comments, worldwide. Naturally specialist interest moved on in the subsequent decades, but today, thanks to the internet, unique visual confirmation of that collaboration has come to my attention and it is presented now to the public.

I related how Kurt Tuchler, a member of the German Zionist Federation Executive,

"persuaded Baron Leopold Itz Edler von Mildenstein of the SS to write a pro-Zionist piece for the Nazi press. The Baron agreed on the condition that he visited Palestine first, and two months after Hitler came to power the two men and their wives went to Palestine; von Mildenstein stayed there for six months before he returned. ...

Von Mildenstein wrote favorably about what he saw in the Zionist colonies in Palestine; he also persuaded Goebbels to run the report as a massive twelve-part series in his own Der Angriff (The Assault), the leading Nazi propaganda organ (9/26-10/9/34).... To commemorate the Baron's expedition, Goebbels had a medal struck: on one side the swastika, on the other the Zionist star."

I never located the medal. But in 2003 John Sigler, like myself an anti-Zionist Jew, found an image and description in a closed mail-bid coin sale. He bought a bronze version. A silvered token appeared in 2005. Silvering is often done to medals. It is about 1.5" in diameter and is thicker than a coin. There is no doubt re authenticity. John bought his bronze from the same respected coin dealer.

Recently John sent me a photo of the silvered bronze, for which I am very grateful. The Star of David side reads:

EIN NAZI FÄHRT NACH PALÄSTINA -- A Nazi Travels to Palestine.
The Swastika side reads
UND ERZÄHLT DAVON IM Angriff -- And tells about it in Angriff.

I happily forward it to the internet world, with documentation re von Mildenstein's visit and Zionist collaboration, and the first of the Baron's articles for Goebbel's journal.

Readers will doubtlessly have questions. Queries about the medal should go to John via www.onestate.org. Many questions about Zionist collaboration can be answered by going to Zionism in the Age of the Dictators at www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner/index.htm

Or readers can contact me at BrennerL21@aol.com. Do that and I'll also tell you how you can get a signed copy of 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis. I edited it in 2002. It has von Mildenstein's article and complete texts of many sources quoted in Zionism in the Age of the Dictators.


Werner Senator, a leading German Zionist, once remarked that Zionism, for all its world Jewish nationalism, always politically assimilates to the countries within which it operates. No better proof exists than the adaptation of the German Zionist Federation, the Zionistische Vereinigung für Deutschland, to the theories and policies of the new Nazi regime in 1933. Believing that similarities between the two movements – contempt for liberalism, 'volkish' racism and their mutual conviction that Germany could never be the homeland of its Jews – could induce the Nazis to support them, the ZVfD repeatedly solicited the patronage of Adolf Hitler.

The ZVfD goal became an "orderly retreat," Nazi backing for emigration of at least the younger generation of Jews to Palestine. They immediately sought contact with Nazi elements whom they thought would be interested in such an arrangement on the basis of a volkish appreciation of Zionism. Kurt Tuchler, a ZVfD Executive member, persuaded Baron Leopold Itz Edler von Mildenstein of the SS to write a pro-Zionist piece for the Nazi press. He agreed on the condition that he visited Palestine first. Two months after Hitler came to power the two men and their wives went to Palestine; von Mildenstein stayed there for six months before he returned to write his articles.

In 1937, in exile in America, rabbi Joachim Prinz candidly described the Zionist mood in the first months of 1933:

"Everyone in Germany knew that only the Zionists could responsibly represent the Jews in dealings with the Nazi government. We all felt sure that one day the government would arrange a round table conference with the Jews, at which – after the riots and atrocities of the revolution had passed – the new status of German Jewry could be considered. The government announced very solemnly that there was no country in the world which tried to solve the Jewish problem as seriously as did Germany. Solution of the Jewish question? It was our Zionist dream! We never denied the existence of the Jewish question! Dissimilation? It was our own appeal!.... In a statement notable for its pride and dignity, we called for a conference." [1]

The ZVfD's June 21, 1933 secret memorandum asked if they could

"be permitted to present our views, which, in our opinion, make possible a solution in keeping with the principles of the new German State of National Awakening and which at the same time might signify for Jews a new ordering of the conditions of their existence .... Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one's own tradition....

[A]n answer to the Jewish question truly satisfying to the national state can be brought about only with the collaboration of the Jewish movement that aims at a social, cultural, and moral renewal of Jewry.... Zionism believes that a rebirth of national life, such as is occurring in German life through adhesion to Christian and national values, must also take place in the Jewish national group. For the Jew, too, origin, religion, community of fate and group consciousness must be of decisive significance in the shaping of his life....

On the foundation of the new state, which has established the principle of race, we wish so to fit our community into the total structure so that for us too, in the sphere assigned to us, fruitful activity for the Fatherland is possible....

Our acknowledgment of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we, too, are against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group....

We believe in the possibility of an honest relationship of loyalty between a group-conscious Jewry and the German state.... For its practical aims, Zionism hopes to be able to win the collaboration even of a government fundamentally hostile to Jews, because in dealing with the Jewish question no sentimentalities are involved but a real problem whose solution interests all peoples, and at the present moment especially the German people.

Boycott propaganda, such as is currently being carried on against Germany in many ways, is in essence un-Zionist, because Zionism wants not to do battle but to convince and to build.... Our observations, presented herewith, rest on the conviction that, in solving the Jewish problem according to its own lights, the German Government will have full understanding for a candid and clear Jewish posture that harmonizes with the interests of the state." [2]
Talk of 'blut' reached Wagnerian proportions in the August 4, 1933 issue of the Jüdische Rundschau, the ZVfD organ. "Rasse als Kulturfaktor" argued that Jews should not merely accept silently the dictates of their new masters; they had to realize that race separation was wholly to the good:
"We who live here as a 'foreign race' have to respect racial consciousness and the racial interest of the German people absolutely. This however does not preclude a peaceful living together of people of different racial membership. The smaller the possibility of an undesirable mixture, so much less is there need for 'racial protection'.... Only rationalist newspapers who have lost feeling for the deeper reasons and profundities of the soul, and for the origins of communal consciousness, could put aside ancestry as simply in the realm of 'natural history.'" [3]

Prior to 1933, German Zionism was an isolated bourgeois political cult. While leftists were fighting the brownshirts in the streets, Zionists collected money for trees in Palestine. Suddenly in 1933 this small group conceived of itself as properly anointed by history to negotiate secretly with the Nazis, to oppose the vast mass of world Jewry who wanted to resist Hitler, all in the hope of obtaining the support of the enemy of their people for the building of their state in Palestine. They were wholly deluded. No modus vivendi was ever even remotely possible between Hitler and the Jews. Given their failure to resist during Weimar, and given their race theories, it was inevitable that they would end up as Nazism's Jewish jackals.

Economic collaboration began in August 1933 with the Ha'avara (Transfer) agreement between Berlin and the World Zionist Organization. Jews could put money into a German bank. It was used to buy export items which were sold by the WZO, usually but not exclusively in Palestine. When the emigres arrived there, they received payment for the goods that they purchased, after they had been sold.

Ha'avara's attraction remained the same throughout its operation. It was the least painful way of shipping Jewish wealth out of Germany. However the Nazis determined the rules, and by 1938 average users lost between 30% and 50% of their money. Nevertheless, this was three times, and eventually five times, better than losses endured by Jews whose money went to other destinations. [4]

Some 60% of all capital invested in Palestine between August 1933 and September 1, 1939, the beginning of WW ll, went through Ha'avara. In addition, Britain set an annual Jewish immigrant quota, using the country's weak economic absorptive capacity to limit their number; but "capitalists" bringing in over $5,000 were allowed in over quota. The 16,529 capitalists were an additional source of immigrants. Their capital gave Palestine artificial prosperity in the midst of the worldwide Depression.

The WZO solicited new customers for Germany in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Zionists exported oranges to Belgium and Holland using Nazi ships. [5] By 1936 the WZO began to sell Hitler's goods in Britain. [6]

In 1937, the Labor Zionist Haganah, the WZO's underground military arm under the British mandate, negotiated directly with the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the SS Security Service. Haganah agent Feivel Polkes arrived in Berlin on February 26, 1937. Adolf Eichmann, von Mildenstein's protege, was his negotiating partner. The Eichmann-Polkes conversations, in a report by Eichmann's superior, were in SS files captured after WW ll.

"Polkes is a national-Zionist. He is against all Jews who are opposed to the erection of a Jewish state in Palestine. As a Haganah man he fights against Communism and all aims of Arab-British friendship.... He noted that the Haganah's goal is to reach, as soon as possible, a Jewish majority in Palestine. Therefore he worked, as this objective required, with or against the British Intelligence Service.... He declared himself willing to work for Germany in the form of providing intelligence as long as this does not oppose his own political goals. Among other things he would support German foreign policy in the Near East. He would try to find oil sources for the German Reich without affecting British spheres of interest if the German monetary regulations were eased for Jewish emigrants to Palestine." [7]

Berlin didn't take up the Haganah offer, but patronage of Zionism continued. The SS was the most pro-Zionist Nazi element. Other Nazis even called them "soft" on Jews. Von Mildenstein, the head of the SD's Jewish Department, studied Hebrew. Maps on his office walls showed rapidly increasing strength of German Zionism. [8]

In May 1935, SD chief Reinhardt Heydrich wrote an article, "The Visible Enemy," for Das Schwarze Korps, the SS official organ: "The time cannot be far distant when Palestine will again be able to accept its sons who have been lost to it for over a thousand years. Our good wishes together with our official good will go with them." [9]

In 1934, SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler was presented with a "Situation Report – Jewish Question" by his staff. The vast majority of Jews still considered themselves Germans and were determined to stay. As force couldn't then be used, for fear of international repercussions, the way to break down their resistance was to instill distinctive Jewish identity amongst them by promoting Jewish schools, athletic teams, art and music, and Hebrew. Combined with Zionist occupational retraining centers, this would induce them to abandon their homeland. Nazi policy was therefore to increase support for Zionism, so that Jews would see that the way to ward off worse trouble was to join the movement.

Zionists were still persecuted as Jews. But within that framework it was possible to ease the pressure. On January 28, 1935, the Bavarian Gestapo circularized the regular police that henceforward:

"members of the Zionist organizations are, in view of their activities directed towards emigration to Palestine, not to be treated with the same strictness which is necessary towards the members of the German-Jewish organizations [assimilationists]." [10]
Prinz sorrowfully admitted that
"It was very difficult for the Zionists to operate. It was morally disturbing to seem to be considered as the favoured children of the Nazi Government, particularly when it dissolved the anti-Zionist youth groups, and seemed in other ways to prefer the Zionists. The Nazis asked for a 'more Zionist behaviour.'" [11]

The Rundschau was banned on at least three occasions between 1933 and November 1938, when the regime finally closed down the ZVfD's headquarters after Kristallnacht. After 1935 Labor Zionist emissaries were barred from the country. But even then Palestinian Zionist leaders were allowed to enter for specific meetings. Arthur Ruppin was granted permission to enter Germany on March 20, 1938, to address a mass indoor Berlin rally on the effects of the post-1936 Arab revolt in Palestine. Zionists had far less trouble than their assimilationist rivals, and Communists were sent to concentration camps while the Rundschau was hawked in Berlin's streets.

Today's Zionists can't claim that their predecessors were duped by Hitler. They conned themselves. His theories on Zionism, including the Jews' alleged inability to create a state, had been there, in plain German, since publication of his Mein Kampf in 1926. They convinced themselves that, as racists against mixed marriage, believing that Jews were aliens in Germany, Hitler would see them as the only "honest partners" for a diplomatic detente. [12]

Nor can it be claimed that the WZO collaborated to save Jewish lives. After the 1938 Kristalnacht pogrom, London, hoping to ease pressure for increased Jewish immigration into Palestine, proposed that thousands of children be taken into Britain. But David Ben-Gurion, later Israel's first Prime Minister in 1948, denounced the plan on December 7, 1938:

"If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel." [13]
Five days later he warned the WZO Executive:
"If Jews will have to choose between the refugees, saving Jews from concentration camps, and assisting a national museum in Palestine, mercy will have the upper hand and the whole energy of the people will be channelled into saving Jews from various countries. Zionism will be struck off the agenda not only in world public opinion, in Britain and the United States, but elsewhere in Jewish public opinion. If we allow a separation between the refugee problem and the Palestinian problem, we are risking the existence of Zionism." [14]

1. Joachim Prinz, "Zionism under the Nazi Government," Young Zionist (London, 
November 1937), p. 18
2. Lucy Dawidowicz (ed.), A Holocaust Reader, pp. 150-5
3. "Rasse als Kulturfaktor," Jüdische Rundschau (August 4, 1933), p. 392
4. Mark Wischnitzer, To Dwell in Safety, p. 212
5. "Reflections," Palestine Post, (November 14, 1938), p. 6
6. Yehuda Bauer, My Brother's Keeper, p. 129
7. David Yisraeli, The Palestine Problem in German Politics 1889-1945, 
Bar-Ilan university, Appendix (German): Geheime Kommandosache Bericht, pp. 301-2
8. Heinz Hohne, The Order of the Death's Head, p. 333
9. Ibid and Karl Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz, pp. 193-4
10. Kurt Grossmann, "Zionists and Non-Zionists under Nazi Rule in the 1930s," 
Herzl Yearbook, vol. VI, p. 340
11. Prinz, Ibid
12. Jacob Boas, The Jews of Germany: Self-Perception in the Nazi Era as 
Reflected in the German Jewish Press 1933-1938, Ph.D. thesis, University of 
California, Riverside, (1977), p. 111
13. Yoav Gelber, "Zionist Policy and the Fate of European Jewry (1939-42)," 
Yad Vashem Studies, vol. Xll, p. 199
14. Ari Bober (ed.), The Other Israel, p. 171