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Showing 1-10 of 21 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 41 reviews
on July 19, 2004
I cannot praise the author, his research, his explanations and his writing enough for this singular tome. Like other reviewers have said, the reader goes into this book, whether Jewish or not, with their mouth open at the incredibility of this occurence. It's easy enough in hindsight to make judgement calls about what the the leaders of the Jewish community world-wide should have done about Hitler's rise to power. However, given the economic situation of the time and the Reich's strategems to place all blame for Germany's economic hardships on the Jews throughout Europe, it's hard to determine that even had the massive boycotts been organized and on schedule, would they have work? And even more important, if Hitler was ousted due to the economic stranglehold on Germany,who or what would have taken his place? And would that have been any less devastating for the Jews in Europe.
There are few obvious heros and anti-heros in this book, except for the Nazis as being the ultimate in villains. One man paid dearly for his attempts to save European Jewry...with his life. It was not conclusive as to whome the assassins were and who put out the price on his head. It's all too easy to blame the reactionary groups, but there are obvious questions about whether his death was one of convenience so that blame could be placed by the leading group of Mapai at the door of the reactionary Jewish groups.
Sam Cohen was a businessman through and through. His reasoning to press The Transfer agreement was purely motivated by money, and not the need to either save European Jewry or to establish Israel as a separate state. It is this 'selling' of the agreement by so many that is so mind-boggling. So many were willing to take the wealth of German Jewry (and later the funds that were supposed to be used to save the lives of Jews who had no homes or businesses to return to) and use it to set up a home in's beyond my ability to pass judgement on these men as to their motivation, yet I am not certain I could possibly decide to shake the hands of these men. The fact that there was a need to set up a Jewish state, and that there was all this money to fund its establishment is beside the fact. At no other time, was any other method even considered to rescue the millions of Jews trapped, even the children...this is so reprehensible as to curdle anyone's blood.
And though this happened, our countries, including the U.S. and Britain were equally at fault for closing immigration quotas, even though they knew what was going on in Germany. It was easier to merely close their eyes and ignore The Holocaust, until it became obvious that no one was safe from Hilter and his cronies.
This story is just so incredible that I wish there was some way to make it into a movie that does the story justice. I don't suppose that is a possibility. But it is a tremendous story that needs to be included in European history, as it's impact was great. Edwin Black did a fantastic job. (...)
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on January 18, 2014
Here is a book that sticks to the facts. It was a story that needed bringing into the open rather than having people mutter "Yes, we know it went on, but it mustn't be talked about.".
And what is there in it that made so many people, especially Palestinian Jews needlessly embarrassed?.
In the long term, the losers were the Nazis, the winners were the the Jewish agriculturists and industrialists of Palestine.
The British, whose Middle East exports the Germans initially intended to harmn from the scheme , benefited from being able to purchase local equipment and food for troops engaged in the middle east and north African campaigns.of WW2.
The money could only be used to buy German equipment not Palestinian land. So even Palestinian fellaheen benefited from greater urban employment after losing rented smallholdings sold to the Jewish Agency by Levant landlords cut off from their Palestinian estates by the Sykes Picot agreement..
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on October 25, 2011
A revelatory account of the world Jewish community's attempt to fight the incipient Nazi regime's goal of the total destruction of the Jewish race. Rather than sit back and wait to see if conditions in Germany improved, this book documents the aggressive response of the international Zionist movement (and other Jewish groups) to combat the rabid anti-Semitism practiced almost immediately after Hitler's ascension to power. Two opposing views surfaced among these groups to how effectively to respond to the growing Nazi threat: an anti-Nazi boycott to economically destroy the Reich and a trade agreement with the Nazi to allow jews to emigrate to Palestine in exchange for stopping the boycott and indeed purchasing German goods to be used in the economic development of Palestine.

In case you don't think you've read that right, let me say it again: The labor faction of the Zionist movement were in favor of establishing a trade agreement with the Nazi regime under which there would be a substantial, yet limited, emigration of German Jews to Palestine in exchange for rescinding the call for anti-Nazi boycotts AND agreeing to purchase German goods! This, to me, at least was an astonishing revelation! I believe I've read my fair share of histories dealing with that time period, and nowhere, especially in accounts dealing with the formation of the state of Israel, had this information been revealed.

Leave it to Edwin Black again to expose the machinations that went into the agonizing decisions taken by the international Jewish community to fight for the lives of their brethren while at the same time having the will (yes will!) to look beyond the horrifying reality of 1933 and to building a future where the Jews would never again be victims of the deranged psychosis of anti-Semitism.
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on August 27, 2014
The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black tells the full account of how the Zionists worked with Hitler as middlemen to sell German exports during the worldwide, very effective, boycott against Germany in 1933 and later, that Jewish and non-Jewish groups around the world were supporting. They also made Israel/Palestine a major market for German goods under the agreement.

I didn't realize that there was ever such a boycott that actually brought the early Nazi regime virtually to its knees. The German people were on the verge of starvation because they needed a strong export market and couldn't sell their products under the boycott and were also burdened by the payments they had to make under the Treaty of Versailles. Because of the financial distress the Nazi national government created an official movement to create "One Pot Meals" that cost no more than 50 pfennigs so that people could survive the winters.

The Zionists, against the will of the majority of world Jewry, lied about the agreements they had made to get about 50,000 select Jews and a portion of their assets out of Germany and into Palestine. Then the Zionists took 90% of the assets to build Palestine and left them the rest to make their lives there. They also selected certain Jewish youth from other European countries that they put into training programs to teach them to help build Israel and arranged to get them to Palestine through the same program. They decided that the others would be left to deal with their fate in service to the creation of Israel. (I guess they didn't have a voice in that decision.)

The Transfer Agreement and the abandonment of the worldwide boycott was a tremendous struggle among the various Jewish groups around the world and is still not well known or acknowledged.

The author's parents were Holocaust survivors and the afterword was written by Abe Foxman, head of the ADL. He acknowledged the account and basically said that if you disagreed with what they did you were an anti-Semite - as usual. I wasn't impressed with his reasoning since it was a devious plan that created a terrible scandal among Jewish people who were working to create economic problems that were designed to bring down the Nazi government. There has been a continuing discussion about whether it could have worked if not undermined by the Zionists.

Obviously, I have great concerns that the worldwide boycott might have brought about the fall of Nazi government and have resulted in saving millions of lives and possibly even avoided the scourge of World War II.
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on February 10, 2015
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on February 22, 2015
A fascinating read. Although the author says to start with his later books, and then read The Transfer Agreement, I dove into this book instead. I now what to read Mr. Black's other books.
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on May 11, 2015
Excellent..Well written and very informative. Definitely worth buying as it is an important part of history.
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on August 12, 2016
Its good but Edwin Black's 1975 article on the JFK Chicago Plot in The Chicago Defender is much better. The contrast is interesting because it shows what is completely off limits in our 100% Corporate Society in the year 2016.
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on October 19, 2015
Graet and rigorously researched scholarly work. Black's books are astounding and brilliant. Like 'IBM and the Holocaust', 'Farhud'- expulsion of Iraqi Jews, etc.
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on February 5, 2015
Important, little known facts about how Hitler actually helped the state of Israel get stated. Zioniests killed a plan to boycott German products in exchange for Hitler's help transporting Jews from Germany to Palestine. A boycott could have destabilized Hitler's regime, making it end early. Instead, Hitler grew into an international menace. The East European Jews who died in Nazi concentration camps have these Zionists to thank for their fate.
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