LEHI propose an alliance to Hitler

LEHI propose an alliance to Hitler

Date: Dec 1940
 
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Here is how Israel Shahak described events (in this article):
A concrete proposal of the alliance addressed to "Herr Hitler" followed in late December of 1940. It was facilitated by the fact that Syria and Lebanon were then still under the rule of the French Vichy regime. Consequently, there existed a Nazi diplomatic post in Beirut, while movement between Palestine and Lebanon was free. The proposal was unanimously approved by the entire LEHI command. A LEHI member, Naftali Lubenchik, was arrested for the actual delivery of the proposal to the German Consulate in Beirut. He did it disguised as a Maronite and with assistance from some Lebanese friends of LEHI. Lubenchik did meet a senior representative of the German Foreign Ministry in Beirut, Otto Werner von Hentig, who forwarded the proposal, along with his own memorandum, to Berlin. After the war, the documents were found in German archives. Hentig was alive until 1984, so various Israeli journalists and scholars had plenty of opportunities to interview him. The interviews have been published. The full text of the proposal was published in Israel in the original German and in a Hebrew translation, the latter in a collection of documents edited by Heller (In a Struggle for a State [Be'ma'avak Le'medina], Zalman Shazar Center, 1985, p. 308 ff). It has also been summarized and discussed in Hebrew-language sources too numerous to be listed. Following this publicity, LEHI veterans did finally acknowledge that they had indeed sought an alliance with the Nazis and in the end even published the proposal in their own major propaganda piece, In Purple: The Life of Yair -- Abraham Stern, by Ada Amichal-Yevin (Hadar, 1986), which contains an extravagant apology of LEHI's whole approach to the Nazis. As Heller acidly notes, however, there was a significant omission in the text as published there. To understand it, one has to know that, among its other falsehoods, the document was signed in the name of the parent organization from which LEHI had split, i.e., ETZEL. The omitted passage reads: "Given its world view, ETZEL bears the closest possible similarity to European totalitarian movements."

The principles of the alliance as proposed in LEHI's document submitted to Hentig were to be LEHI's unconditional acceptance of the Nazi "New Order" in Europe, together with "a state of the Jews to be established on nationalist and totalitarian foundations and tied to the German Reich." The state was to be established "within its historic boundaries." Yair considered it impolitic to explain to Hitler in full geographical detail exactly how those "boundaries" were envisaged. In the event the Nazis accepted the offer, "LEHI would join the war, fighting on the side of Germany, provided the latter would recognize the aims of the Israeli Liberation Movement." The "state of the Jews" would commit itself to being "allied with the German Reich." The alliance, as the document carefully explained, "would be our answer to a recent speech of the Chancellor of the German Reich, in which Mr. Hitler expressed his readiness to rely on any conceivable coalition and configuration of forces promoting isolation of Britain and thereby contributing to its ultimate defeat." Heller adds that subsequent LEHI proposals forwarded to Hentig and listed by him in his own memorandum, "without hesitation suggested a cooperation [with the Nazis] in military, political and intelligence domains within Palestine, and after suitable organizational preparations, also outside Palestine."

Unfortunately for LEHI, the Nazis did not even bother to reply to its proposals. Heller explains that, as a civil servant from pre-Nazi times, Hentig was devoid of all real influence. More decisively, however, the proposal conflicted with Hitler's ideology and deepest emotions. According to Heller, Yair looked forward impatiently for a German reply. But even though it never arrived, Yair became all the more firm in his belief that an alliance with the Nazis was indispensable. He was impressed by the victories of the German army over the British, which in March-April 1941 rescued the hard-pressed Italians; and he was also impressed by the Nazi conquest of the Balkans at the same time. He anticipated the Nazi conquest of the entire Middle East as a distinct possibility. Heller recounts how on May 10, 1941, LEHI was emboldened enough by those Nazi victories to reveal a little about its pro-Nazi leanings, previously kept in strict secrecy, through its clandestine broadcasting station. Together with the usual excoriation of the British as the real enemy, Yair demanded in this broadcast an immediate attack on the Arabs, another real enemy. An overwhelming majority of the Jewish public in Palestine responded to this broadcast with utter resentment.

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Other events which refer to this one

  • 11 Jan 1941 German diplomat in Ankara relays LEHI proposal for alliance with Nazis

  • Material about this event in the database


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