Response to an Anti-Zionist Reader

letter-447577_1280

One Esther has taken part in a lively discussion occassioned by Rabbi Landesman’s recent guest column. Recently, she issued a challenge:

Now I’m going to put a question to you, Rabbi Adlerstein and commenters:

These posts ask why we don’t celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, Yom Zikaron, Yom Haatzmaut. I ask you: Why don’t you commemorate the terrible crimes commited by Zionism?
You ask the non-Satmar non-Zionists: You don’t agree with Satmar on the question of statehood, so why aren’t you grateful to those who gave their lives for the State?
I ask the non-Zionists and religious Zionists: You agree with Satmar on the question of the crimes of Zionism, so why aren’t you angry? Why aren’t you lamenting the terrible losses klal yisrael suffered at their hands? The generations of every boy who had his peyos cut off by force, every girl who had her modesty compromised, cry out to us. Why is nobody talking about it? How can any torah-true Jew praise Zionism? Could you bring youselves to praise German culture or music? You do believe in גדול המחטיאו יותר מהרגו, don’t you?

Two different answers come to mind, Esther.

The first is that we do mourn and commemorate those losses, all the time. Every time we daven, and implore Hashem to send Moshiach. Everytime we cry through kinos on Tisha B’Av. Every time we pick up a mussar sefer and remind ourselves of the strength of the yetzer hora. At all these times, we become painfully aware of how much we all set back HKBH’s plan for the world – you, me, secular Jews, and everyone else who does aveiros. The solution is to become better ovdei Hashem, not to rail at the shkotzim.

The second answer is that, no, I don’t agree about the “crimes of Zionism.” Zionism committed no crimes. People committed crimes. I decry those crimes fully and vigorously. Labeling them crimes of Zionism obscures all the differences between life a century and a half ago, fifty years ago, and today.

In the middle of the 19th century, a prolonged ideological battle for the Jewish soul was waged in Europe. All kinds of secular alternatives to the emes of Torah appeared, enticing Jews to redefine their Jewishness: Bundism, socialism, communism, anarchism, theater, literature (Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian). Only one survived that tumultuous century: Jewish nationalism, most successfully in the form of secular Zionism.

Many understood the danger posed to tens of thousands of yidden who, riding on the meretricious allure of the modern world, might give up the old for a ticket to a Jewish life of security and dignity. They knew that secular Zionism had to be resisted. They had to make it abundantly clear that working for a secular state could not be a substitute for Torah.

The battle was long, deep, and at times bloody.

It is also over, and has been for some time. Only people who are living in the past don’t realize it.

There are no more deliberating which way to go. People came to the fork in the road decades ago, and made their choices. Too many made them tragically – and we mourn for them. These are not issues for their children and grandchildren. They are interested in surviving maniacal enemies, and putting food (most often kosher) on the table.

If it would make you feel better, you should get people together at a large assifah and declare unilateral victory. Those who thought they could stamp out Torah, and win security for world Jewry through a Jewish State were wrong on both counts. Get a life. The Zionism that haunts you is a dinosaur. Zionism today is standing up to a world that says that all nations are entitled to a country of their own, except Jews. I am not uncomfortable with that Zionism. Neither are 90% of the bnei Torah I know, even if it never would occur to them to use the word.

The old battle is over. Today, there is a new one. It is a battle to take care of the single largest concentration of Yidden on the face of the earth. As Rabbi Landesman has pointed out pithily in a few of his postings and comments, too many of us are preoccupied with the dangers of separate-seating concerts and women’s shoes without rubber soles, and take no real responsibility for the opportunity HKBH (not the Soton, chas v’shalom) gave us, which is to act as a nation, not a collection of neighborhoods.

One close friend of mine does own up to that responsibility. He buys huge quantities of soda, Danish, and grape juice every erev Shabbos, and delivers them Shabbos morning (through a small army of volunteers, including American haredim) to each and every soldier they can find in the Old City, just to say “Thank you! We appreciate what you do for us!” So do the legions of dati-leumi volunteers who set up non-shul shuls for the Yamim Nora’im for secular Jews who have shown themselves open to participating in a davening, but feel themselves alienated from shuls. So do some courageous Roshei Yeshiva (R Asher Weiss, shlit”a comes to mind) who have quietly but regularly gone to yeshivot hesder to give shiurim, broadcasting the message that Torah unites us and that we are one people.

We take rightful pride in the chesed organizations we support. But they afford us ill-deserved complacency. If we took the idea of Klal Yisrael seriously, we would be deeply concerned with all her problems: Jews dying on the street, homeless; violence in the public schools (yes, the public schools, where our own children will never attend), the growing gap between rich and poor, the physical comfort and morale of our soldiers.

R Kook zt”l urged us to be patient – after hundreds of years in which we did not function as a nation, it would take time till we did. I am running out of patience; I hope that the Ribbono Shel Olam isn’t.

Why don’t we commemorate the victims of secular Zionism? One reason, Esther, is that with all protestations about ahavas Yisrael, too many of us have been taught about us vs. them. Especially if the “them” are in cahoots with the Sitra Achra, we have an easy way not to take responsibility. Continuing to point to Zionism as the cause of the divide between groups in Israel is a distraction we cannot afford.

Let me tell you a little about myself. Like most people who spent serious time learning in yeshiva, I was an anti-Zionist. I might have continued, were it not for people like you. What shifted me was not warming up to the “others,” but gradually being repelled by the lies in our camp. After a while, I could not live with the inconsistencies, with the historical revisionism (no, the gedolim in pre-War Europe were not all anti-Zionist. As Rabbi Bulman told us many times, charedi Europe was split. Germany and Hungary – home to Satmar – were anti-Zionist, while the majority of leaders of Polish Jewry were sympathetic.) I especially grew weary and revolted (as I suspect many of our readers are, from all parts of the Orthodox continuum) of the jumping through hoops to prove that we didn’t really have to have so much appreciation for the soldiers who protected our lives with theirs, and the citizens whose money we (not Satmar) eagerly and greedily took.

Now it’s my turn to ask a question, Esther, although I ask it largely rhetorically. You cry for the thousands of neshamos that were lost to the die-hards of decades ago, as we all should. Have you ever thought of the tens of thousands since then who might have been brought back to Yiddishkeit – but were and are turned off by what you represent to them? Don’t kid yourself. They don’t see, for the most part, the sincerity and the chesed. They see people who in their eyes are fixated on the past, who’ve created cocoons for themselves in which they can avoid the issues that everyone they know faces. People who are contemptuous of the sons they’ve sent to battle in their place. People whose leaders are powerful enough to keep the 20th century out of their enclaves, let alone the 21st, yet cannot stop their youth from burning garbage cans as a sign of protest. They see in you a life style that to them more resembles that of the Arab primitives around them. They do not see the noble people that the little they know of Jewish history tells them we are.

Perhaps one of the delusions under which you labor tells you that all those Israelis are in the thrall of the kochos ha-tumah, and could not be brought back. Forgive me for disturbing your hallucinations with reality. I know differently, from personal experience. So do many readers of this blog. And it is for them that I write, not for you. I don’t expect to make a dent in your thinking. I do hope to give chizuk to the tens of thousands of frum, ehrliche Yidden – with yeshiva background – who have been living uncomfortably with an approach that once worked, but needs a reality check and some updating now. They are not alone. They need to trust their intuitions a bit more, and take stock of how and where they can use the talents HKBH gave them in the service of our people – especially in Israel.

A parting word for Esther. Do you really want to take stock of who has damaged the honor of Torah, and cost us Jewish souls? You may find that you have more in common with those accursed Zionists than you think.

You may also like...

119 Responses

  1. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    R. Weissmandel knew Halacha. I’m just not sure he knew all the facts. As to the Va’ad Hatzalah, I used to be friends with R. Kalmanowitz’s assistant during those years; a well respected rabbi in Massachusets. I had many a long conversation with him when I read Zurrof’s book about the Va’ad Hatzolah. This rabbi was very close to R. Eliezer Silver as well, even after the War. He often emphasized that Va’ad’s work was all leshem Shamayim, something I don’t doubt. But he also acknolwedged that they ruthlessly competed with other well established organizations, also working lesheim Shamayim, for resources and money. Why don’t you read the book. Rabbis, gedolim even, don’t have the exclusive on doing G-d’s work.

  2. Esther says:

    One last thing:

    Many frum Jews did bad things and R. Weissmandel knew the laws of lashon hara. BTW Vaad Hatzala found a way to save Jews despite the war refugee board. If there’s a will…

  3. Esther says:

    Mr. Schwartz, you CHOOSE to believe Zuroff; I CHOOSE to believe Dr. Kranzler.

    “You never understood that as far as the world is concerned, there is no difference.”

    You never understood my comment and it’s a waste of time to clarify. I hope the other readers did understand.

    Your oversimplification of things is exasperating. I don’t have the time or patience to write a history of the Holocaust here and there is a LOT more to write about the Kastner affair with evidence from eye-witnesses that prove my assertions. But to answer your question: Do you think Kastner was the supreme authority of the Satmar rebbe? Don’t you know that many Polish chassidim escaped to Hungary and told of the atrocities there? Most chose not to believe them, but some of those close to the rebbe fortunately did and wisked him out at great expense and self-sacrifice.

    As for your despicable accusations against a gadol of such stature who was held in the greatest esteem by his adversaries and whose ahavas yisrael you can’t even fathom, you don’t seem to have the foggiest notion of the relationship between a rebbe and his chassidim and I can’t really explain it fully here. Let me just illustrate.

    When the Satmar rebbe visited Israel, one of his fellow inmates of the Kastner train, a prominent Zionist, wrote an article in a Hungarian-Israeli newspaper describing in the most glowing terms the rebbe’s greatness in Bergen-Belzen. He wrote that when they arrived in Switzerland, the local Jews came out to welcome them, throwing fruits and bread and calling out, “Where’s the rebbe? Where’s the rebbe?” He walked next to a famous secular author who said angrily, “Everyone reads my books and now nobody cares about me. Nobody asks about me. They only ask for the rebbe!”

    Had the rebbe refused to be saved (which he might well have at first) can you imagine the pain he would have caused not only his chassidim but all of frum Jewry?

    The saintly Galanter rav hy”d was taken off the train to Auschwitz and he climbed back on again and again. His followers would’ve gladly given their lives to save him but he wouldn’t leave them. It was the noblest act we can imagine, but למעשה they would have gone to their deaths much happier knowing that their rebbe has been saved. And how much more could he have accomplished had he let himself be saved to guide the שארית הפליטה after the war. That’s the way Satmar, Gerer, and Belzer rebbes took. How dare you cast aspersions on these spiritual giants? Unless you’re on a diet and a workaholic, you probably eat and sleep more than all three of them. They were old and frail – you think their comfort or lives meant anything to them? You think they were like the rebbes of today? They lived כולו לשם שמים, כולו לטובת הכלל – way above our notions of morality or spirituality, and none of us is great enough to judge them.

  4. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    Esther, one last thing, in response to your lashon hora about Soly Meyer in post #113. He was a frum Jew.

  5. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    Esther, if you want to reduce this to a point of whom to believe, then please answer my most basic question. If Kasztner is responsible for lying to the Jews of Hungary, telling them there was no danger and not informing them of the impending doom, and if that deception worked and Hungarian Jews believed that any resettlement was to be to work camps, why did R. Yoilish get on that train out of “Dodge?” Why was he unprepared to resettle with his Chasididm and be their rav in the new locale? Until you resolve that issue, there really is nothing further to discuss. For me it’s not a problem. But I think it’s a near fatal flaw to your construction of the facts.

  6. Esther says:

    Call me old-fashioned but I choose to believe those who believe that מדבר שקר תרחק is a מצות לא תעשה in תורה מן השמים, and that they will suffer divine punishment for lying.

  7. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    ESTHER: R. Weissmandel was negotiating with Wisliceny about buying off 1 million Hungarian Jews for $2 million
    D.S. Wasn’t the problem that R. Weissmandel couldn’t come up with the money and eh turned to Kasztner for help?

    ESTHER: when Kastner stuck his nose in and offered Eichman to silence the Jews for the price of 600 zionists.
    D.S. Proof? The fact is that Kasztner did not silence anyone. Eichmann used the Central Committee to do that. Indeed, Szita Szabolcs, in her book about the period records a statement made during a meeting between Eichmann and the Central Committee where Eichmann told the committee that Germany has a far worse reputation than it deserves vis-a-vis the Jews. A member of the committee apparently then said “I knew that the Zionists are exagerating” or words to that effect. Silence? HA!!!

    ESTHER: His “self-sacrifice”, if there was any (he might well have been offered protection by the Nazis for cooperating with them), was on behalf of zionism, not Jewry.
    D.S. You never understood that as far as the world is concerned, there is no difference.

    ESTHER: He included rabbis in his transport because he needed the money of the wealthy Orthodox Jews of Budapest to fund it.
    D.S. HUH?

    ESTHER: That was after R. W’s deal with Wisliceny to buy off Czechoslovakia’s 40,000 Jews for $50,000 fell through because Soly Mayer and his Swiss cronies wouldn’t pay $1.25 per Jew. (They didn’t believe R. W. BECAUSE he was an Orthodox rabbi.)
    D.S. Soly Mayer was not the culprit. The US Treasury department was. They would not allow the transfer of funds for this purpose.

    ESTHER: You write with contempt about our holy rebbes while you praise this secular zionist who most probably has the blood of Hungarian Jewry on his hands. Foul! Who saved the Mirrer yeshiva? Rabbi Kalmanowitz and the Vaad Hatzala. Who interfered with their efforts? R. Wise and other American and Swiss Zionists. If not for them, the Vaad could have saved so many more. (The zionists from Bergson’s group were the only ones who helped save Jews.) R. Weissmandel would have saved tens of thousands of Jews, maybe over a million, if NOT for Kastner & co.
    D.S. Read Zurroff’s book on the Va’ad Hatzala. Read how they interfered with fundraising on behalf of rescue of European Jews. Read about their duplicative work, and how they interfered with the far more expansive work being done at the time by other larger, better connected and more experienced organizations.

    This was official secular Zionist and Jewish Agency policy. Yitzchak Greenbaum said, “When they asked me, ‘won’t you give keren kayemet funds to save the Jews of Europe?’ I said NO, and I say again NO… One cow in Palestine is worth all of Nolevki (the main Jewish street of Warsaw).”

  8. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    I did a Google search of the quote Esther ascribes to David ben Gurion. It seems to have alot of traffic among various anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist websites. But I didn’t see a single scholarly (i.e. university or other similar institution affiliated web-site discussing it). Moreover, I didn’t see a reference to it in a scholarly book or journal. As such I believe this is a made up quote. But in the interests of giving it fair play here, perhaps Esther, who put the quote up here and is therefore in a position to defend it, can answer a few questions:
    1. Where and precisely when in “Great Britain” did the alleged meeting take place?
    2. Who was in attendance?
    3. What were ben Gurion’s complete remarks (i.e. put the quote in its full context)
    4. What was the reaction of those who heard him on that occaision?
    5. When and where was this quote first publicised? Who first published it? Was its (i.e. the quote’s) reliability and that of the publisher tested and affirmed at the time of publication?
    6. Did ben Gurion or any other member of the Zionist heirarchy respond to the publication of the quote? What was the response?

    Perhaps answering these questions will shed some light on the issue

  9. Binyomin Eckstein says:

    Daniel B. Schwartz,

    I’m sorry to burst the bubble here, but even Shabbetai Teveth, who wrote a book striving mightily to defend Ben-Gurion from accusations about his attitude during the Holocaust, could not deny this statement.

    From the NY Times review of the book:

    “A third episode involves a remark Ben-Gurion made soon after Kristallnacht in reaction to a British decision not to permit 10,000 Austrian and German Jewish children to go to Palestine but instead to offer them refuge in Britain. He stated: ”Were I to know that all German Jewish children could be rescued by transferring them to England and only half by transfer to Palestine, I would opt for the latter, because our concern is not only the personal interest of these children, but the historic interest of the Jewish people.” Teveth strives to show that what he calls this ”unfortunate, brutal remark” did not really mean what it seems to, or was spoken in a burst of anger. In this instance, his explanations are less convincing.”

  10. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    Esther I need to hear a recording of Ben Gurion saying that and ahve the recording authenticated by an expert before I would even consider believing he said anything like that. There simply is no way. But Ben Gurion did famously say, in response to a British White Paper limited immigration into ISrael: “We will fight the war as if there were no White Paper and fight the White Paper as if there were no war.”

  11. Esther says:

    Ben Gurion informed a meeting of Labor Zionists in Great Britain in 1938: “If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Israel, then I opt for the second alternative.”

  12. Esther says:

    R. Weissmandel was negotiating with Wisliceny about buying off 1 million Hungarian Jews for $2 million when Kastner stuck his nose in and offered Eichman to silence the Jews for the price of 600 zionists. His “self-sacrifice”, if there was any (he might well have been offered protection by the Nazis for cooperating with them), was on behalf of zionism, not Jewry. He included rabbis in his transport because he needed the money of the wealthy Orthodox Jews of Budapest to fund it.

    That was after R. W’s deal with Wisliceny to buy off Czechoslovakia’s 40,000 Jews for $50,000 fell through because Soly Mayer and his Swiss cronies wouldn’t pay $1.25 per Jew. (They didn’t believe R. W. BECAUSE he was an Orthodox rabbi.)

    You write with contempt about our holy rebbes while you praise this secular zionist who most probably has the blood of Hungarian Jewry on his hands. Foul! Who saved the Mirrer yeshiva? Rabbi Kalmanowitz and the Vaad Hatzala. Who interfered with their efforts? R. Wise and other American and Swiss Zionists. If not for them, the Vaad could have saved so many more. (The zionists from Bergson’s group were the only ones who helped save Jews.) R. Weissmandel would have saved tens of thousands of Jews, maybe over a million, if NOT for Kastner & co.

    This was official secular Zionist and Jewish Agency policy. Yitzchak Greenbaum said, “When they asked me, ‘won’t you give keren kayemet funds to save the Jews of Europe?’ I said NO, and I say again NO… One cow in Palestine is worth all of Nolevki (the main Jewish street of Warsaw).”

  13. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    I’d like to point out one more fact, which sheds light on Kasztner’s character. During the relevant time period he made several trips to Switzerland, meeting with Soly Mayer, the representative of the Joint. It would not have been difficult for Kasztner to escape while he was in Switzerland and survive the war as a refugee. He didn’t though. He returned to Budapest. Just how perfidous could he have been?

  14. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    No matter how you turn it, Kastner’s act and guilt are unparalleled.
    ________________________________________________________________________

    The man must have been a horrible scoundrel, saving 1,700 people and averting the deaths of 15,000 more. How many lives did the rebbes save?

  15. dovid says:

    D.S. “Pinchas Freudiger, the Rosh Hakahal of the Orthoodx kehilla in Budapest who fled to Romania after being tipped off by a sympathetic csender of the fate that awaited him and Hungarian Jewry.”

    If he truly was tipped that Hungarian Jewry was in danger and he just saved his skin, he was derelict of his duties. Being Rosh Hakahal is not about honor but responsibility. He was supposed to alert the kehilla. Assuming that you have the story right, Mr. Pinchas Freudiger still is heads and shoulders above Rudolf Kastner. At least he didn’t collaborate with the Germans into fooling the Yiden to stay put like Kastner did. No matter how you turn it, Kastner’s act and guilt are unparalleled.

  16. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    Daniel Schwartz:

    Your post #99 contradicts your post #96, where you stated that “Pinchas Freudiger … fled to Romania after being tipped off by a sympathetic csender of the fate that awaited him and Hungarian Jewry. He too fled without alerting anyone as to his intentions, and without sharing the information he had.”

    And at Eichman’s trial, he would testify that everyone knew? Sounds like the rationalization of a man who feels guilty for not warning others.

    Comment by Lawrence M. Reisman — June 11, 2009 @ 11:54 am
    ________________________________________________________________________
    When telling over the story of how he helped Freudiger, my father never identified him with his first name. I therefore assumed it was Pinchas. When I read Pinchas Freudiger’s testimony, I realized the mistake. As to that testimony, he doesn’t say people knew. He spoke about the climate in Hungary at the relevant times. From that descriptions, it’s impossible to say people didn’t know what was occuring and about to occur.

  17. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Daniel Schwartz:

    Your post #99 contradicts your post #96, where you stated that “Pinchas Freudiger … fled to Romania after being tipped off by a sympathetic csender of the fate that awaited him and Hungarian Jewry. He too fled without alerting anyone as to his intentions, and without sharing the information he had.”

    And at Eichman’s trial, he would testify that everyone knew? Sounds like the rationalization of a man who feels guilty for not warning others.

  18. Esther says:

    R. Weissmandel greatly mourned the fact that he did not know Satmar rebbe well enough before the war. He said he thought the rebbe was an extremist and it would be difficult to work with him. After the war the two rabbis were inseparable. If only they had worked together, much more could have been accomplished with their combined brilliance, creativity, ahavas yisrael and charisma. But the true answer to all the how’s and why’s is that it was a gezar din min hashamayim, about which can be said משיב חכמים אחור ודעתם יסכל – the wisdom of the wise was taken and twisted, as it was during the churban bais hamikdash.

  19. Daniel B. Schwartz says:

    DOVID: Rabbosai, people tend to be consistent in their actions throughout their adult lives. One is not a tzaddik today, becomes a rasha tomorrow, and reverts to tziddkus the day after. While we do averos, the range between our high and low is fairly narrow.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    D.S.: Unless that person suffered a severe trauma, like a war.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    DOVID: All I am saying is that both the Satmar Rebbe on one hand, as well as Kastner on the other hand were quite consistent throughout their lives.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    D.S. How do you know?
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Dovid: Given Kastner’s actions after the war, when he was not under the gun, when he was subject to no pressure, reflect his mind and character, and give 100% credence to those who claimed that he turned himself into a useful tool to the Nazis to destroy Hungarian Jewry.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    D.S. According to your theory, please answer the obvious question: WHY? How did Kasztner benefit from what you claim he did?
    ________________________________________________________________________
    DOVID: How can you believe that the reason he saved the Nazis was because he gave his word? Kastner certainly knew that a promise made under duress is not a promise. He saved them because he warmed up to them.
    ________________________________________________________________________D.S. Pardone` mois mon ami, that was a reference to Porter. I have two different possible reasons, a character flaw or a variation of the well known Helsinki Syndrome. Please don’t miscnostrue what I wrote.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    DOVID: [DELETIA}
    D.S. What did the Vizhniter Rebbe do in response to the information this Mr. Friedman gave him?

    I don’t know why he didn’t take Reb Friedman’s revelation at face value. I didn’t follow up on it.
    ________________________________________________________________________D.S. Are you prepared to now consider the question?
    ________________________________________________________________________
    DOVID:

    D.S. Then neither were the actions of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe defensible.

    Big difference between the Vizhnitzer Rebbe and Kastner. Kastner obtained the information from its source. Friedman was acting on hearsay.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    D.S. And what of Pinchas Freudiger or Emil Hirsch, or Otto Komoly or Hofrat Stern, who also heard the information “from its source?” Why is Kasztner the only one who is singled out for derision? Why is he worse in your eyes (assuming what you believe about him is true) that Mordechai Richler, or any other Jew who was forced onto a Judenrat and found himself between Scylla and Charybodis? As opposed to those I named herein, Kasztner managed to get over 1,000 people on a train out of harm’s way. He further averted the deaths of 15,000 more who had been deported. Just how many Jews did the Satmer Rav save?
    ________________________________________________________________________
    DOVID:

    D.S. Why would they have believed Kasztner more than Friedman?

    I don’t have the answer. I have it from my mother that Jews listened to BBC and the Voice of America (even though it was illegal to own a radio). The Allies kept repeating that they were about to open the western front and that the Russians reached Iasi, about 250 miles away. This was in Jan-May 1944. The Russians stopped their offensive for several months and the Allies opened the second front only in Sep. 1944. Kastner’s spin that the Jews were being sent to farms and factories to replace the Hungarians that were sent to fight made a lot of sense to them. Were they in denial? Probably. Kastner told them what they wanted to hear. Picking yourself up, cross the border and go into a foreign, unfamiliar place where you don’t know the language and don’t know your way around is quite difficult. They chose to believe Kastner.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    D.S. If Kaasztner was that good, why was anyone at all interested in boarding his train? If R. Yoilish truly believed that Jews were not in danger, why did he not stay in Hungary? Why was he not prepared to relocate with his chassidim and be their rebbe in the new locale? No one forced R. Yoilish onto that train.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    DOVID:

    D.S. Moreover, the Klausenberger rav was a talmid of R. Yoilish. I doubt he would have a taken a seat on the train before his rebbe.

    The issue was not deference to his rebbe. The Klausenberger rav was NOT give the choice of having a seat in Kastner’s transport. He was not ‘chashuv’ or known by the Jewish Agency.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    D.S. Sure he was. It was well known that he was hand picked by the satmer Rav to be the Rav of the chassidim in Kolosvar to counteract the kehilla Rav Glasner, who was a zionist. But you’re right, the Klaunsenberger Rav didn’t have a choice. But R. Yoilish did.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    DOVID:

    D. S. Moreover, R. Michoel Ber Weismandel was telling everyone he could of the killing. Why didn’t the rabbonim listen to him?

    I don’t know the answer. I am only speculating they were not in contact with the Rabbi Weissmandel. Had they gotten the news from him, they would have taken action and alert everyone.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    D.S. Pinchas Freudiger testified at Eichmann’s trial that he was in touch with R. Weissmandel throughout. Read his testimony. You’ll see that information, in the form of ever repressive anit–Jewish legislation, arrests, killings was manifest everywhere. The Germans did not call the Budapest Judenrat by that title, since Hungarian Jewry already knew what the term “Judenrat” implied. thus it was labeled the Central Committee of Hungarian Jews. People knew but there was nothing to do.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    DOVID:

    D.S. I don’t know from where the quote you provide comes, ..

    I provided the source when I submitted the posts.

    D.S. Why are you so kind the rebbes and so harsh with Kasznter? Why is it that the Rebbes’ failure to act decisively and alert their chassidim labeled hester panim, while Kasztner’s alleged actions are deemed perfidy? Why is Kasztner, a Jew from a frum home, now given the benefit the doubt? Why of all people is he throught to be the one who knew everything and did nothing?

    Because Kastner KNEW. The Rebbes didn’t. And being from a frum home means nothing. Did HE (not his father and mother, but him), did he have iras shomaym? Would anyone, with a minimum amount of decency, frum or not, contemplate saving SS officers from what was due to them? I beg to differ with you, but IMHO there is absolutely no room for giving Kastner the benefit of the doubt.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    The Rebbes knew, everyone knew. If you want to pillory Kasztner, then you must also ascribe similar blame to the Rebbes, mainly the Satmer and Belzer and the Bobover rebbes who fled and didn’t tell their chassidim to do likewise. It’s very convenient to use Kasztner’s post war defense of Becher and bootstrap it to what happened during the war, as you have done. But in doing that and in filtering everything through a “R. Yoilish lens,” you fail to acknolwedge that he and other players (The Klausnberger Rav, R. Weissmandel and Ben Hecht etc)
    had their own agendas after the war and mustered up facts to serve those agendas. The truths of history are arrived at only when one considers all the evidence in its context.