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The Transfer Agreement: The Untold Story of the Secret Pact Between the Third Reich & Jewish Palestine Hardcover – May 1, 1984

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Hardcover, May 1, 1984
$39.70 $5.49
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Editorial Reviews


A fascinating book creating controversy all across the country. Black applied his established investigative journalism techniques to history. The result is an extraordinary book. -- Bill Kurtis, CBS Morning News

A struggle to write a painful chapter in Jewish history. What Black began uncovering was a tangled account of an anguished moment in history, one that he at the center had to piece together from...forgotten archives, pre-WWII newspapers, and government records. -- Jan Cawley, Chicago Tribune Magazine

Black poses the controversial question: 'Was it madness or was it genius?' The many fascinated readers will have to decide for themselves. -- Booklist, American Library Association --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Edwin Black is the son of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. He was the founder of Chicago Monthly and frequently contributed to the Chicago Tribune and other publications. He lectures and writes extensively on Jewish and Israeli subjects, and is the author of the Apocalyptic techno-thriller Format C: --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1st edition (May 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0025111302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0025111301
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,099,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a typical Edwin Black book. As in his other important Holocaust related work, IBM AND THE HOLOCAUST, he goes into great detail on events, speeches, and other occurrences that took place mainly in 1933 with the rise of Hitler to power. The Nazis did not waste any time and immediately started with the persecution of the approximately half a million German Jews. There was an immediate world wide boycott against German commerse. The labor Zionists in Palestine and elsewhere, being opportunistic in nature, used this calamity that preceded the Holocaust and negotiated a secret deal with the Nazis. The Nazis allowed some Jews to leave Germany for Palestine with money, and in return the Zionists did not participate in the boycott against German goods. Information about this shameful affair was suppressed by all Israeli goverments headed by labor in the last 50 years. Black's description of this affair is very detailed but overly repetitious. A major problem is the lack of sufficient summaries. Black describes the events and more or less leaves it to the reader to arrive to conclusions. Examples: he mentions the complete silence of FDR on the persecution of the German Jews (which lasted later throughout the war) but there is no comment on it. There is a good description of the paranoid hatered of Jabotinsky and his followers by the labor Zionists but no comment on it. In several comments, however, Black expresses the opinion that the transfer agreement was beneficial to the future establishment of Israel because of the German goods and some German Jews that went to Palestine. The price was dealing with the devil. History showed otherwise. The transfer agreement constituted a minor factor in the establishment of Israel, and that is why Ben Gurion and his cronies tried to hide it.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This was an area of World History that I had no clue about prior to reading this book. This is indeed a tragic story of the plight of Jews in Europe during Hitler's regime. This book was so suspenseful I simply could not put it down. Black does an excellent job of engaging the reader and does not reveal the details of unfolding events until the last moment. Simply WOW!

As person who is not Jewish I think it is important for everybody to learn the lessons of the Third Reich and the Holocaust. However, equally important is that there were greedy and ideology zealots that contributed to the growth of the Third Reich via the Transfer Agreement, i.e., Sam Cohen and even Hoffien and Landauer. The Transfer Agreement was just that a business arrangement to transfer German Jews to Palestine in return German exports would be bought through Zionist entities to ensure the economic growth and wealth of Palestine. Moreover, what was incredibly stunning was the ability of the 18th Zionist Congress to go against the international boycott movement by suppressing the Revisionists- strong arming them into abandoning their ideology.

This makes me wonder what would have happened if the boycott prevailed and the Third Reich "cracked"? Would there still be a Germany today? Would we even have had the Holocaust? I know it may sound harsh and I am sure I will be labeled an anti-Semite because of this, but the reality is according to Black, the Zionists contributed significantly to the rise of the economic and military might of the Third Reich.

This book is simply a phenomenon in and of itself. It completely forces one to reshape how they view events during that time period. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn about a different dimension of relationships between the Third Reich, German Jews, and Zionists. This will definitely throw you off and have you thinking for days. Definitely one of my top 10 books of all time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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