In This Review
Jews for Sale? Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945

Jews for Sale? Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945

By Yehuda Bauer

Yale University Press, 1994, 306 pp.

Bauer, a well-known Israeli historian, tries to uncover the murky story that some Nazis negotiated with some Jews -- even at the height of the Holocaust. He begins with the only actual agreement reached between Nazis and Jews at the very beginning of Nazi rule. That agreement gave German Jews a chance to transfer some of their capital to Palestine. It was reached when the Nazis were aiming to exterminate the Jews, but even in that period some Nazis, Himmler included, made tentative gestures at bartering Jews for material or political gain. A few self-chosen Jews were used to contact Allied representatives, including agents of the Office of Strategic Services, in hopes of reaching an accommodation with the West so as to press the fight against the Soviet Union. Much of the book deals with the fate of Hitler's last victims, the Hungarian Jews.

Bauer engages in contemporary controversy: he defends most Jewish "negotiators" against charges that their efforts smacked of collaboration or treason. Although it somewhat neglects the vast secondary literature of recent years, the widely researched book touches on moral-psychological themes including the difference between having information and "internalizing" or believing it. An inconsistent work but of considerable interest to students of the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and World War II.