18 September 2010

Letter from Lhasa, number 178. (Dwork 2009): Flight from the Reich

Letter from Lhasa, number 178. (Dwork 2009): Flight from the Reich

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Dwork, D., and R. J. van Pelt, Flight from the Reich. Refugee Jews, 1933-1946, W. W. Norton, 2009.

(Dwork 2009).

Debórah Dwork,

Robert Jan van Pelt

“Anne Frank, possibly the most famous and certainly the best loved refugee Jew, is rarely coded as a refugee at all. (...) Anne was a German-Jewish refugee who officially held German nationality until Berlin stripped all Jews living outside the borders of the Reich of their citizenship. This included German Jews deported to the east and German Jews, like the Franks, who had fled. All became stateless.

“The TV show producers proposed that Anne receive posthumous citizenship. Some members of parliament supported this move, Alas, the ministry of justice informed the public, the law did not allow posthumous naturalization. It fell to Micha Wertheim, a popular comedian with an ironic sense of humor, to call the nation’s attention to the obvious: refugees need citizenship from host countries while they are alive, not when they are dead. (...) Turning to current affairs, Wertheim pointed out that Rita Verdonk, minister of integration and immigration, had adopted a xenophobic platform, sharply limiting asylum in the Netherland. (...) And he suggested: “Instead of supplying dead people with passports, the Minister could spend her time better protecting people who are still alive.”

“If the Dutch no longer recall that Anne was a German-Jewish refugee, it is not surprising that no one else does either.”

(Dwork 2009, p. xi-xii)

About Walter Benjamin, 1940, along the [temporarily] closed Spanish border and after having illegally crossed the Vichy-French border: “Benjamin died alone and afraid in a strange town, sharing the fate of many unknown refugees who succumbed during their flight or exile.”

(Dwork 2009, p. xv)

““Formerly man had only a body and soul. Now he needs a passport as well, for without it he will not be treated like a human being.” How different had been the world before the outbreak of the Great War, when “people went where they wished and stayed as long as they pleased. There were no permits, no visa. ... One embarked and alighted without questioning or being questioned, one did nor have to fill out a single one of the many papers which are required today.” After the war, by contrast, “the world was on the defensive against strangers,” Zweig remembered.”

(Dwork 2009, p. 53)

Different levels intersect in this book: historical exposition, individual and collective cases, legal considerations, sociological and philosophical evaluations. ...Probably also other ones. Life, the life of people overall, in made of multiplicities of aspects.

The world was generally closed to Jews trying to escape persecution. In the Anglophone world one should be called from institution or from private people by the so called affidavit. There was no way to be accepted as refugees.

“Refugees held no status in the American system.”

(Dwork 2009, p. 144)

“As the situation worsened, many consuls grew sceptical of the assurances promised by the person offering support. Affidavits carried a moral obligation but were not legally binding.”

(Dwork 2009, p. 145)

Where consuls were more understanding, there were no Jews because they had already fled and so their visa applications could not be processed.

Similar situation there was in the UK, where the only way for being admitted was or to be a Freud or to be called as a worker from someone. Actually, apart from individuals, whole families should be called as workers, or they could not reach the UK if they did not want to be dismembered.

Switzerland cooperated with Nazi Germany and even, in cooperation with Germany, required visas only for German Jews, not for other Germans, visas were not generally given. Swiss, or Germanic Swiss, population was from the Nazists’ side.

“Still, the St. Gallen police chief Paul Grüninger continued to provide false papers to refugee who stole into Switzerland, and the somehow managed to send Swiss entry permits to Jewish inmates in Dachau, which released them and got them out of the country. (...) Grüninger was refused access to his office in April and fired in May 1939. Put in trial in 1940, he was convicted for falsifying documents, fined, and stripped of his job, benefits, and pension. The judges noted that he had not sought personal profit; his actions arose from the “objectively illegal, but subjective humanly understandable and forgivable” wish to give shelter to people in need. If the judges showed sympathy, Grüninger’s neighbors did not. Shunned, he led a life on the margins of St. Gallen society, surviving on odd jobs until shortly before he died in 1972.”

(Dwork 2009, p. 161-162)

Groups of Jewish children were sent to Holland and also somewhere else. WWII will shown that continental Europe will not be too safe as a resettlement area.

Occupied a great part of continental Europe, Germany had reconsidered old plans of sending the Jews to Madagascar. They did not concretise, and happened what happened. Despite the presented data, 3 millions, 6 millions, 9 million, are continually changing and mixed up, European Jewry was destroyed, and a substantial part was killed. It was considerably more than decimated. Jewish settlements were cleansed. Jews’ properties were de facto expropriated, stolen, to non-Jews’ benefit.

“Once the German leadership had decided that murder was the solution to the Jewish Problem in Russia, it soon became the “Final Solution” to the Jewish Problem in all of Europe. The Nazi leadership forbade emigration in autumn 1941. Annihilation had taken its place.

“Hitler passed a death sentence on all Jews soon after America entered the war on the allies’ side.”

(Dwork 2009, p. 197)

The book goes on, for a while, with stories of illegal emigration to safe areas of Europe, while rabbis and Jewish “aristocracy” (the ones had not yet reached safe areas of the world, or also some safe areas in Germany, as a strange hospital for Jews in Berlin protected from the German government/State until the end of the war) cooperated with Nazists. While Soviet Union, obsessed to control and dominate everything and everybody on its territory, offered citizenship, but also forced labour, to whoever was in the area it incorporated, so also to escaped Jews.

Lives as refugees...

What triggered the mass extermination of all the European Jews was the war with the USA.

“The entry of the United States on the Allies’ side in December 1941 cemented the Germans’ decision to murder the Jews of Europe, and Hitler announced that his prophecy of their annihilation would be fulfilled.”

(Dwork 2009, p. 287)

Naturally, everybody knew and anybody did anything, included the Zionists who fought as Allies’ allied.

After WWII, Jews became object of the new war, that between the British Empire and the USA. For the UK, the Jew were destabilizing for their Empire. The UK had the political leadership of WWII. Not casually it de facto cooperated with the Jews extermination. Finished WWII, the USA wanted to destabilize the British Empire at their profit. So, they were opener to Jews instances.

The large majority of survived European Jews had to reinvent a life as refugees, sometimes obliged to reach Palestine and other times obliged not to reach it.

Finally a “Jewish State” was created (1948), as a foreign appendix of the USA and with the British world very actively working for destroying it. Prostitution [even to the USA] does not pay. So, the “Jewish State” is surviving small and relatively weak under US protection. At the same time, it is a useful shelter for the Jews decided to live there and also a protection, in some way, for the organized Jews [at least the ones officially registered or certified or certifiable as Jews] of the world. The UK and the USA have involved and are involving Israel in THEIR wars as the one against the Persian space which would be no treat to Israel, if it were powerful, it had defeated the Arab section of the British Empire, given citizenship rights to ALL its subjects [even partial citizenship rights, but total legal rights, would be better that an impossible Palestinist State] and if it were absolutely independent from the evil US Empire and from whatever other empire.

Dwork, D., and R. J. van Pelt, Flight from the Reich. Refugee Jews, 1933-1946, W. W. Norton, 2009.