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Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945

Yehuda Bauer

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The world has recently learned of Oskar Schindler's efforts to save the lives of Jewish workers in his factory in Poland by bribing Nazi officials. Not as well known, however, are many other equally dramatic attempts to negotiate with the Nazis for the release of Jews in exchange for money, goods, or political benefits. In this riveting book, a leading Holocaust scholar examines these attempts, describing the cast of characters, the motives of the participants, the frustrations and few successes, and the moral issues raised by the negotiations.

Drawing on a wealth of previously unexamined sources, Yehuda Bauer deals with the fact that before the war Hitler himself was willing to permit the total emigration of Jews from Germany in order to be rid of them. In the end, however, there were not enough funds for the Jews to buy their way out, there was no welcome for them abroad, and there was too little time before war began. Bauer then concentrates on the negotiations that took place between 1942 and 1945 as Himmler tried to keep open options for a separate peace with the Western powers.

In fascinating detail Bauer portrays the dramatic intrigues that took place: a group of Jewish leaders bribed a Nazi official to stop the deportation of Slovakian Jews; a Czech Jew known as Dogwood tried to create an alliance between American leaders and conservative German anti-Nazis; Adolf Eichmann's famous "trucks for blood" proposal to exchange one million Jews for trucks to use against the Soviets failed because of Western reluctance; and much more.

Tormenting questions arise throughout Bauer's discussion. If the Nazis were actually willing to surrender more Jews, should the Allies have acted on the offer? Did the efforts to exchange lives for money constitute collaboration with the enemy or heroism? In answering these questions, Bauer's book—engrossing, profound, and deeply moving—adds a new dimension to Holocaust studies.

Yehuda Bauer is Jona M. Machover Professor of Holocaust Studies and permanent academic chair, Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as chair of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. The author of fourteen books and many articles, he has also served as historical adviser for Claude Lanzmann's television series Shoah, segments of Abba Eban's Heritage, Aviva Kempner's Partisans of Vilna, and other documentaries.

"[An] exemplary work of scholarship and clear historical narrative. . . . A pathbreaking, superb contribution to Holocaust studies."—Kirkus Reviews

"Bauer's work . . . supplies complex and multi-dimensional solutions to some of the nagging and difficult problems facing those who seek to understand the destruction of European Jewry."—Yechiam Weitz, Jerusalem Report

"Bauer's book offers a very honest, painful and well-documented narrative of the efforts made to release Jews from the trap in which they were done to death."—Lionel Kochan, English Historical Review

"Bauer offers clear, learned opinions about the state of Holocaust studies and why the Holocaust occupies such a prominent place in our culture. . . . An excellent place to start for anyone wanting to learn about the questions dominating Holocaust scholarship today, written by a master of the field."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"For those seeking an all-embracing and penetrating analysis of the Holocaust, this brilliant work . . . is unparalleled. . . . A stimulating and compelling work. If a reader seeks a comprehensive and subtle interpretation of the Holocaust, its place in history, this is the book you would want to read."—Hadassah Magazine

"This work is of considerable interest to students of the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and World War II."—Foreign Affairs

"This is a well-researched book about contacts and negotiations between Nazi Germany and Jews from 1933 to 1945. Bauer upsets some long-held assumptions, and his work should be welcomed by laymen and specialists alike."—Raul Hilberg

"A work of brilliance and power. It deserves an honored place in the literature of the shoah and further secures Bauer's standing as the foremost Holocaust scholar of our generation."—Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler

"No book of recent years has managed better to combine startling new findings with an evocation of the meanings that alone make the study of historical 'facts' worthwhile."—Franklin H. Littell, Holocaust and Genocide Studies
ISBN: 9780300068528
Publication Date: August 28, 1996
328 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4