18

According to Ken Livingstone (UK Labour politician, former Mayor of London), Hitler supported Zionism:

Evening Standard:

Mr Livingstone told BBC Radio London he had never heard anyone in the party say anything anti-Semitic. Then he went on: “Let’s remember, when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel.

"He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.

The Guardian has the exact same quote, as do many others.

Although the claim does not appear to be explicitly challenged, Livingstone was suspended from the Labour-party for “anti-semitism”, which does imply that his remark was considered controversial within the Labour Party. Is it accurate and fair to say that Hitler (at one point) supported Zionism?

  • 4
    It is clear from Hitler's writings that he hated Jews. But his policies when he first came to power where often pragmatic and opportunistic (at least if you agree with A J P Taylor). So he might have pragmatically "supported" Zionism without that being his long term goal or his intent. This isn't what most people mean when they say "supported" which might explain the controversy about Livingstone's remarks. – matt_black Apr 28 '16 at 14:39
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    @matt_black True, support has different meanings. And to say before he went mad is a rather poor choice of phrasing, since it implies he wasn't mad already. I don't think either Livingstone or the sources supporting his claims suggest that Hitler supported Zionism for wishing a bright Jewish future, but rather to get rid of the problem (perhaps one could compare to how Native Americans in the USA were forcibly moved to reservations). I can see it is quite disingenuous to refer to both in the same way. – gerrit Apr 28 '16 at 14:48
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    Isn't this just a question of an individual's motives, and therefore off-topic? – Oddthinking Apr 28 '16 at 15:12
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    @Oddthinking I don't interpret the claim as being about motives. I am quite sure that Livingstone was referring to the Haavara Agreement, which can objectively be called support in the sense of helping logistically. What Hitlers motivation was is historically relevant, but I don't think it's essentially within the scope of the question. – gerrit Apr 28 '16 at 15:23
  • @gerrit You might want to remove the part about Livingstones suspension from the question. It's not really relevant to the claim, and it's a bit one-sided. Livingstone said a lot of things, in a specific context; your formulation and comment might imply that an allusion to the Haavara agreement is what got him suspended, which I really don't think is the case. – tim May 4 '16 at 15:16
27

Wiktionary support, verb:

  1. To back a cause, party, etc., mentally or with concrete aid.

  2. To help, particularly financially.

Although there is evidence that Hitler agreed to (perhaps initiated) a framework for resettling Jews to Palestine, this does not imply he backed the Zionist cause in the political meaning of support.

The Haavara Agreement was a resettlement agreement between Nazi Germany and the Zionistische Vereinigung für Deutschland (Jewish Association for Germany). The latter had some 20,000 members in the late 1920s. According to The Transfer Agreement, this rescued 60,000 Jews:

This book documents the agreement between Nazi Germany and an organization of Zionistische Vereinigung für Deutschland in 1933 to salvage the smallest amounts of German Jewish Assets and the voluntary emigration of German Jews to Palestine before the Third Reich implemented confiscation, expulsion and then extermination. The Transfer Agreement rescued some 60,000 German Jews. A sweeping, worldwide economic boycott of Germany by Jews helped spur a deal between the Nazis and Zionists1. At that time, there were few Jews in Palestine, but from 1933 through 1936, 60,000 German Jews immigrated into the region2, bringing with them a portion of the assets they once held in Germany3.

1 Edwin Black discusses The Transfer Agreement Book TV on C-SPAN, George Mason University, History News Network.

2 U.S. Holocaust Museum Article on Refugees

3 Edelheit, Abraham J.; Edelheit, Hershel (1994). History of the Holocaust : a handbook and dictionary. (New ed.). Boulder: Westview. p. 44. ISBN 978-0813322407.

Black, Edwin (2009), The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine, Tradeselect Limited, 2009, ISBN 978-0914153139

The number 60,000 is disputed:

How many German Jews settled in Palestine? Black says 60,000 between 1933 and 1941, all of them through some form of the agreement. He cites no sources for these figures. Yisraeli, using German foreign-policy documents, tells of 32,995 emigrants between 1932 and 1937, of whom only 12,500 used the transfer agreements.

For comparison, there were around 523,000 Jews in Germany in January 1933.

As far as I'm aware, the historical veracity of this agreement is undisputed, so in the logistical/organisational sense, one can say that Hitler did indeed effectively support Zionism.

However, in the ideological meaning, it is not shown that Hitler backed the cause of Zionism, which traditionally aims a better future for the Jewish people. To the contrary, there is overwhelming evidence that Hitler hated Jews before, during, and after the Transfer Agreement.

In summary:

  • Hitler did aid Jews (Zionists) to get from Germany to Palestine, but
  • Hitler hated Jews and he certainly wasn't a Zionist.

See also: Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries.

  • Why the downvote? – gerrit Apr 28 '16 at 19:25
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    and Hitler would presumably have agreed to aid Jews to go from Germany to any other country as part of his policy to make Germany "Judenrein" (free of Jews). – Avrohom Yitzchok May 1 '16 at 9:51
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    So a better wording would be "The Nazis permitted Jews to flee from German persecution to Palestine whilst allowing them to retain some of their fortune, but only if they spent it on German goods". Have to squint very hard to interpret that as 'support'! – Benjol May 4 '16 at 13:20
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    @Benjol True, and the same is true for the Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries. One could argue this also had the effect of supporting zionism, even when Arab leaders at the time could hardly be described as zionists. I added a link to the Wikipedia article on that history. – gerrit May 4 '16 at 14:09
  • Quoting from that article: Like most Arab League states, Iraq initially forbade the emigration of its Jews after the 1948 war on the grounds that allowing them to go to Israel would strengthen that state. Interesting history, but beyond the scope of the question. – gerrit May 4 '16 at 14:15
-5

There is no reliable data that Hitler supported Zionism.

But, Hennecke Kardel, german officer, wrote a book called "Adolf Hitler, Founder of Israel" (1974). In this book you can find the details of such a statement.

It is difficult to imagine that the United Nations would take a decision on the establishment of the State of Israel, if Hitler had not organized the Holocaust.

Some right-wing sources give evidences that Zionists funded Hitler's rise to power in Germany.

In any case, there is some evidences of some relations and cooperation of the Zionists with the Third Reich.

(both last sources is unreliable, belongs to followers of Holocaust revisionism)

But before the establishment of Israel, many states have cooperated with the Zionists, for example, see Balfour Declaration.

  • 1
    Veterans Today is not a reliable source, and the VT article you linked to is very unreliable. – Andrew Grimm May 2 '16 at 11:57
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    Oh, and you also cite the Institute for Hostorical Review, a holocaust denial organisation. – Andrew Grimm May 2 '16 at 11:58
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    not really, no. – Andrew Grimm May 2 '16 at 12:58
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    @AndrewGrimm What do you think should be changed in the answer? – federk May 2 '16 at 14:51
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    Finding some more reliable sources. – Andrew Grimm May 2 '16 at 20:24

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