Israel versus Judaism

Holocaust Victims Accuse

Published in 1977 by
Bnei Yeshivos
161 East Houston St., Suite 10
New York, NY 10013

Chapter Nine

If there exists such a thing as degrees of guilt, Dr. Mordechai Ehrenpreisz, the so-called “Chief Rabbi” of Sweden, reached the pinnacle and is worthy, from every aspect, to be crowned emperor of those war criminals of the Holocaust who emanated from the secular, national front.

Behind him there lay a “glorious” Zionist past as the friend and confidant of Dr. Herzl, as one of those present at the first Zionist Congress, and as a person invited to the first few Congresses to deliver lectures on Hebrew culture. His loyalty to Zionism was so great that when he ser ved as “Chief Rabbi” of Bulgaria, he decreed there that anyone who refused to donate to Zionist causes would be forbidden to have his sons circumcised. It was not the fault of Galician-born Dr. Ehrenpreisz that even the Jews of Bulgaria, who were devoid of any knowledge of Judaism, totally ignored this rule of their atheistic “rabbi.”

Ehrenpreisz came to the point of Jew—hatred, like many other advocates of secularism, by way of hatred of Judaism, which he nurtured for many years. Already in 1903, he published in the “Shiloach” (Volume 11) “A Manifesto,” proclaiming, “the new Hebrew frees him self from the chains of “sickly, accursed, dying tradition —— a tradition which cannot live and does not want to die, a tradition which darkened the light of our eyes, and chased away the beauty and tenderness from our sweet lives.”

In the midst of the flow of Jewish blood in the year 1943, Ehrenpreisz published his book, “Between East and West,” in which he analyzed the relationship between Judaism (let us, at least, differentiate) and Christianity. This is his conclusion, despite what the Christians did to our people through the generations:

“For 2000 years, both sides were frequently at fault in this matter. The theological opposition of the Christian churches to Judaism, which frequently caused serious clashes, brought about tragedies and poisoned social life for generations. One should create an attitude of appeasement between the religions on the basis of the feeling of mutual respect for the unique personality and the historical place of each religion. I agree wholeheartedly with the definition of the Anglican scholar, Trevor Harford, in regard to the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. The two religions are one, and are equal tunes, played on different instruments.”

“All of this was written concurrently with the fire and smoke billowing forth from the crematoria. About himself, he writes:

“The youth amongst whom I was counted was a rebellious group. We rebelled against the chains of religion as well as against a tradition that had developed to the point of ridiculousness, and which no longer possessed vitality. We wanted to be independent Jews, whose hearts were open to every greatness and to everything which was vital in that cultured humanity of which we were part.”

It is no wonder that a man who paraded under the banner of these ideas merited much praise from his comrades in ideology. For his 60th birthday, “Olam” (third issue, 1929), a publication of the World Zionist Organization, dedicated enthusiastic articles to Ehrenpreisz. Professor Klausner saw in him, “one of the creators of a new nationalistic culture, which raises its eyes to nature and its beauty, to art in all forms; one of the seekers of the synthesis of Judaism and humanity; one of the trio which stamped its seal on Galician Zionism: Ehrenpreisz, Neimark and Dr. Toon.”

On his 70th birthday, the supplement of “Davar” (9 Tishrei, 5700 — 1939) was dedicated to him. Nathan Greenblatt points to him as exemplary, “for his .violent attack upon worn-out traditions,” and the rest of his well-wishers hoped that he would return to his public activity. In deed, he did return to his diabolic dealings with the thousands of human sacrifices to his cruelty.

Dr. Ehrenpreisz had good fortune: While his teacher and friend, Dr. Alfred Nusing, a veteran Zionist ideologist from Herzl’s inner circle, was sentenced to death and executed by the Jewish underground in the Warsaw ghetto for his collaboration with the Nazis, Dr. Ehrenpreisz died in peace and honor in his bed in Stockholm.
Although Nusing struck only a few with his traitorous tongue, Ehrenpreisz is responsible for the cruel death of tens of thousands of Jews.

In 1939, with the intensification of persecution against German Jewry, the Swedish Parliament passed a law which permitted entry to tens of thousands of German Jews. The upshot of this decision would be their rescue from the certain death that would result if they would otherwise have been sent east. The Swedish Parliament thus displayed an outstanding humanitarian approach. But then something happened which dumbfounded the Gentiles, resulting in weakening the hand of those who were true friends of the Jewish people.

Dr. Ehrenpreisz, the “Chief Rabbi” of Sweden (since 1914), together with the leader of the Jewish community in Stockholm, turned to the Swedish government with the request that it not carry out the aforementioned decision of Parliament, using the excuse that the settling, even temporarily, of 10,000 additional Jews in Sweden could arouse a Jewish problem in this land that had never experienced anti-Semitism because of the small number of its Jewish citizens. The efforts of these two wicked community leaders succeeded in their goal and the Swedish government voided its plan to carry out its own Parliament’s law. But when, four years later, all of Danish Jewry was smuggled, overnight, into Sweden, Ehrenpreisz did not succeed in thwarting that wonderful rescue effort, since it came to him as a surprise, too.

Here it is appropriate to point out that the fear of anti-Semitism served only as an excuse for Ehrenpreisz, enabling him to convince the head of the Stockholm Jewish community to join in his criminal plan. But the true motivation of this Jewish veteran Zionist was outstandingly and typically Zionist, fitting in with the principle that even if death threatens the Jews, one should not find for them refuge outside of Eretz Yisroel. This principle also guided the British Zionists in 1942 in killing the proposed resolution which was virtually assured of being accepted, whereby Jewish refugees would be absorbed temporarily in areas under British protection (see Chapter 5).

Dr. Ehrenpreisz was shrewd enough to realize that in the event that his intention would be revealed, he would be unable to win support either in the Stockholm Jewish community or the Swedish government. He therefore chose to hide behind the selfish claim and seeming concern for the security of Swedish Jewry. Who else but Yitzchak Greenbaum, who served as chairman of the Jewish Agency’s “rescue committee” in Jerusalem (the wolf in the role of the shepherd), could fathom the mind of Dr. Ehrenpreisz? He therefore strongly urged him to join the “rescue committee” in Sweden, until, in 1944, Ehrenpreisz ac ceded to Greenbaum’s request. As our Sages expressed in the Talmud, “it was not without cause that the starling sought to be near the raven.”
Years passed and Ehrenpreisz’ disgrace became the topic of the day. On January 18, 1945, the Swedish Parliament conducted an inquiry into the country’s contribution in rescuing refugees of the persecutions during World War II and the years which preceded it. Mr. Kanut Peterssons, is a member of Parliament and a proven friend of the Jews, complained that the Swedish government did less in the field of rescue than it could have done. Representatives of the government defended themselves by pointing out that other neutral governments, such as Switzerland, did even less. We will quote from the official proceedings the following paragraphs. We have also deemed it ap propriate to present a facsimile of the government record, “Riksdagens Protokoll,” in order to erase any doubts concerning the truth of this matter, that an abomination was perpetrated upon us by our fellow Jews:

Member of Parliament Moller:
“It is no secret that persecuted Jews in the thousands at tempted to find refuge amongst us. It is also true that we then opposed receiving a large number of persons who were persecuted because they were Jews. And if it is a fact that there were opposing views as to whether this policy of limitation had its place or not, I ask that one shouldn’t forget that here in this country we have Jewish communities, and I dare to affirm to the Parliament that the Swedish government was no less generous than the Jewish community in Stockholm. I only request that this be written down in the record.”

Member of Parliament Kanut Peterssons:
“I do not deny this. On the contrary, the fact is well known to me that certain factions amongst the Jews here were not in the least interested in encouraging acceptance of Jewish refugees, but I ask only to answer what I have already mentioned, when we took up these problems. It appears to me that the policy of handling refugees by the Swedish government does not have to be decided from such a point of view, but rather from protection and concern for our tradition of culture and humanitarianism and in accor dance with our feeling for justice.”

Member of Parliament Moller:
“Your honor, Mr. Chairman, I do not oppose accepting the judgment of Mr. Peterssons’ words, but I ask that when we talk about this topic, the blame be divided, if such a thing is possible. In any event, we must note all the circumstances that influenced the policy that was enacted during that time.”

What was said in the preceding dialogue between the members of Parliament, Moller and Peterssons, in formal parliamentary terms, is so incriminating and astounding in its implications that it can cause hearts to tremble, even in our hardened generation. The representative of the government justifies himself by explaining that due to the influence of the leaders of Swedish Jewry, the gates were locked to the refugees. The opposition member of Parliament is saying that the Swedish government was obligated to act according to Swedish humanitarian tradition and not to consider the cruel position of the leadership of the Stockholm Jewish community. In the end, the representative of the government admits and agrees with the ideas of the opposition, only asking that the matter be set down in the record, so that future generations would know who was to blame for the abandonment of tens of thousands of men, women and children to their slaughter.

The representative of the rescue committee in Stockholm gave his counterpart in Jerusalem the details of the debate in Parliament and demanded that a special investigation panel be created; but for reasons of mutual Zionist interests, the matter was, of course, covered up. However, Dr. Norok, who later served as Postmaster General of the State of “Israel,” acted differently under similar circumstances. When he arrived in Stockholm in 1946, after his entire family was wiped out and he learned about Dr. Ehrenpreisz’ deeds, he left Stockholm in anger and released the details of the scandal to American newspapers.

In 1945, after a ruling on the subject in the Swedish Parliament, it was no longer in Dr. Ehrenpreisz’ power to prevent the opening of Sweden’s doors to the survivors of the concentration camps. And in deed, the Swedish government and people excelled in their hospitality. The government concerned itself with the financial and physical sup port of the weak and sick survivors, established special camps for them and demonstrated great efforts in rehabilitating them.

On the other hand, it refrained from getting involved in their religious matters and handed them over, as seemed proper from its perspective, to the “Chief Rabbi,” Dr. Ehrenpreisz. Dr. Ehrenpreisz threw himself into the task immediately with an almost “Israeli Sabra” feeling for secularizing survivors, as if these were new immigrants arriving in Israel from Yemen or the Atlas Mountains.

Where reigns an atmosphere of secularism, the missionaries suddenly crop up and swoop down like vultures on the carcass. Rabbi B.Z. Jacobson testifies in his memoirs that matters came to such a point that the missionaries, who went about in the refugee camps un restrained before the eyes of r. Ehrenpreisz and his representatives, succeeded in snaring 14 Jewish girls in their nets, persuading them to renounce their faith. This news raised a furor in the midst of Swedish Jewry. The Swedish government (which did not yet have before it the example of a secular “Jewish” government in Eretz Yisroel) forbade the missionaries to set foot in the refugee camps. Then Dr. Ehrenpreisz, with renewed vigor, rose like an old, Zionist lion, demanding that the government forbid, hand in hand with the missionaries, entry into the camp to the Orthodox rabbis, Rabbi B.Z. Jacobson and Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe (who is today the dean of Yeshivas Be’er Yaakov).

Again it was proven to what extent the Zionist ideology embraces the arms of the world and how, with amazing single—mindedness, it passes over boundaries and periods of time. Twenty years later, Ima Talmi, representative of Mapam in the Knesset, declared that she opposes any religious preaching —— either of the missionaries or (to differentiate a thousand times) of the rabbis. And if someone will try to convince himself or others that these are exclusively the ideologies of the Hebrew Yevsektsia, we might note that again, only recently, in the Knesset, the representative of Mapai, Bar—Rav—Hai (who served as chairman of the Hebrew community in Haifa during the mandate), declared that Agudas Yisroel, which sponsors a separate and independent educational system, has no moral right to demand prohibition of missionary teaching, which is also separate from the general public educational system — — as if to say, G —d forbid, that all the factions are equal. In its praise, we should point out, the Swedish government refused to yield to Dr. Ehrenpreisz’ demand and greatly encouraged the rabbis and other Orthodox individuals who were active in public service to develop broad—programs to strengthen the Jewish awareness of the masses of refugees in the camps and to bring them back to a Torah way of life.

In his book, “Pairos Mefezurin,” which he published in Stockholm in 1948, Rabbi Jacobson was compelled, for obvious reasons (as a refugee in a foreign country), to only hint at the ruins which Dr. Ehrenpreisz and his comrades made of the refugees’ souls —— particularly amongst the girls, all of whom came from religious homes. He wrote the following:

’The reason it is so difficult for the refugees to maintain in Sweden a life that is faithful to the ways of their fathers is not appropriate for me to say, as it would be beneath my dignity to specify exactly who is causing the damage; but the sensitive will understand. ’Those who know at the time have to be silent’. Only one thing do I wish to emphasize fully: the government has no hand in the hardships. Its intentions were good and it certainly wanted to protect the interests of the Orthodox. Those who caused the destruction came from within, and that is enough to say.”

There is a special place of honor set aside for Dr. Ehrenpreisz in Zionist history. When Dov Sodden, as befits a lecturer at Bar Ilan University, demands recognition for the rights of Reform worship in Israel in his essay, “Regarding the Question of Reform in Israel,” (published in the Reform periodical. “Prozdor,” eighth issue), he brings up with much graciousness the following convincing reason:

“And truthfully it would be the luck of the dreamers of a State of Israel and its builders, like Mordechai Ehrenpreisz and Stephen Wise, etc., who have already passed away, that if they would want to live in our State, they could not live according to their faith if the State recognizes only the Orthodox.”

The dependence on the two war criminals, Dr. Ehrenpreisz and Stephen Wise, in an argument for Reform in our Holy Land is typical and speaks for itself. Indeed, Reform is fitting for them and they for Reform.

Regarding the shameful silence of the Pope and the sympathy hid den therein following the Nazi atrocities, there was a playwright by the name of Hochhuth, who tried to arouse (by means of a “Deputy”) the world’s conscience, although the Pope acted in keeping with the principle that it is a fact that “Esau hates Jacob.” But where is the playwright who will open the eyes of our people, and will engrave in its memories, how the priests of Reform and the leaders of the secular front actively prevented the rescue of our doomed brethren, because of nationalistic reasons? The figures of Ehrenpreisz and his cohorts still await a Jewish Hochhuth.

Although Ehrenpreisz and his comrades succeeded in gaining recognition and status, and were able to climb up the rungs of the social ladder, the truth of the matter remains that they stayed at the periphery of the Jewish people. They were amongst those whom the cloud (of glory) didn’t tolerate. They really existed outside of the mainstream of our people. Nevertheless, within the cloud, hundreds of thousands of Jews lived amidst the most trying moral and physical depravity, but still remained pure and holy even in their lifetimes. Thousands of unnamed Jews were crowned with the unique qualities in which our nation has excelled. We will draw upon the example of one individual Jew amongst the crowded cattle cars which transported our brethren to their deaths. Rabbi Weissmandel tells in his book, “Min HaMaitzar” (“From the Depths”), what he witnessed at the train station in Nitra at the time of the deportations to Auschwitz:

[Photo of The railway station In Nitra]

“Rabbi Izik Rosenzweig (may the Almighty avenge his blood), a great and famous scholar, who was poor and supported himself by raising chickens, stood and entreated his oppressors from the window of the death transport. They mocked him and spat on him, for how could these “merciful” Christians understand the desire of this “cruel” Jew, whose wife and small children surrounded him as he pleaded with his oppressors, saying: ’Go to my house and give food and water to the chickens, because they have not eaten or drunk for an entire day.’ Reb Izik, of blessed memory, continued thus until he saw his friend, Reb Moshe Yuda Tziltz (may the Almighty avenge his blood), who at the time was still excluded from the deportation decree, standing a-t a distance. Reb Izik shouted to him: ’Causing distress to living creatures is prohibited by the Torah. Give water and food to the chickens’.”

This one martyr demonstrates to us not only his own uniqueness, but the uniqueness of all of these people —— this nation of Israel —— the “rebellers against light;” “those who walked in the dark,” at whom Ehrenpreisz and his ilk pointed their barbs and, because of sickly self—hatred, tried to uproot their traditional character and give them the “illumination” of European culture. R Izik Rosenzweig, may his memory shield us, and Mordechai Ehrenpreisz, whose memory is to be cursed, are the representatives of two worlds, perceptions and out looks, who struggled over the hegemony in the midst of the nation, in the struggle between holiness and the profane.

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