Fury Unleashed


I’ve got to be completely honest right upfront and admit that writing a lengthy article about the summer of 1941 here in Romania is probably about the worst mistake I’ve ever made here on the blog.

For one thing, most people will find it boring and not even read it and secondly, those who do read it will take offense at something and hate or resent me for it. Nonetheless, I’ve become fascinated lately with the history of this country and my perambulations have taken me to the subjects I have written about below.

The story, as always for me, starts in 1848. I’ve written about this before in my post Szabadság, which began to scratch the surface of what happened in those heady days.

One more key development was the rise of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, who is nearly always referred to his initials here in modern Romania, i.e. “A.I. Cuza”, to distinguish him from several similarly named royal relatives. Born to a noble family in Moldova in 1920, AI Cuza was an accomplished, multilingual man with a distinguished military career by the time the 1848 Revolution occurred.

In Wallachia (including Bucharest), the focus was on overturning the Russian puppet government of Prince Gheorghe Bibescu (the situation was actually far more complicated as technically Wallachia was officially under Turkish dominion but the Russians had the de facto power).

A.I. Cuza helped participate in this (ultimately failed) revolution and made several key allies and ultimately ended up getting thrown in prison and shipped to Vienna. With the failure to gain Transylvania, for Romanian nationalists it must’ve seemed like the events of 1848 had ended in total disaster.

But less than 10 years later, Romania’s incredible lucky streak began. In 1856, a treaty was signed in Paris at the conclusion of the Crimean War, probably known best to English-speakers as the setting for the Tennyson poem Charge of the Light Brigade. For various and complicated reasons, Russia and Turkey (Ottoman Empire) had fought the Crimean War and the peace treaty at the end of it focused on making the Black Sea “neutral territory” to dissuade future hostilities between these two powers.

Although Romania had very little direct participation in the Crimean War, the Treaty of Paris awarded Moldova and Wallachia almost complete independence so that they would serve as a “buffer” between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

The treaty was signed in 1856 and by 1859, AI Cuza was out of jail and was officially elected as the ruling prince of Moldova. His allies and supporters in Wallachia from 1848 had now gained a lot more power and so also pulled strings so that a few months after he was elected the ruling prince of Moldova, AI Cuza also became the ruling prince of Wallachia.

Although on paper the two provinces weren’t officially one country, with a young and powerful prince ruling both lands, Romania was effectively born in 1859. By the end of 1861, it was made official and on February 5, 1862, the nation of Romania (using that name) came into being and Wallachia and (parts of) Moldova have remained united ever since.

It was then that Cuza made some of his greatest moves as the ruler of Romania, ably assisted by the brilliant Mihail Kogalniceanu. In a time when slavery was still legal in the United States, Cuza passed several laws to free Romanian peasants from forced labor (Ro: lucru de claca) and awarded them title to lands formerly owned by nobles. Cuza also tried (but ultimately failed) to pass a law wherein every male citizen would have the right to vote, a privilege previously held only by wealthy nobility.

Cuza also founded several universities (including one in Iasi which still bears his name today) and introduced compulsory but free primary school education for all citizens.

Unfortunately for Cuza (and for the Romanian people), his reforms were too fast and too much for the conservative nobility and the church (Cuza had confiscated a lot of land from the Orthodox Church) and along with factions of the military (known collectively as the “Monstrous Coalition” or Monstruoasa Coalitie) they ended up overthrowing him in 1866.

It was then that Romania made a truly bad mistake, although it must’ve seemed like a good decision at the time. To maintain the still shaky sense of sovereignty and independence from the major powers (Ottoman and Russian primarily), the nobles of Romania invited a prince named Karl (Charles in English and Carol in Romanian) of the Hohenzollern line to become the first king of (united) Romania. Having a Hohenzollern (whose family included several ruling monarchs of major western European powers) for a ruler made Romania seem like an equal to other nations.

It was this King Carol I who built the elaborately gaudy and tremendous expensive castle at Peles (and Pelisor next door), and who spoke no Romanian, that ended up costing Romania so much pain and suffering years later.

Although it was considered “modern” and “progressive” at the time, Romania modified its constitution in 1866 with the installation of Carol I on the throne. It was Article 7 of that constitution which perplexed me the most and led to the writing of this article because it specifically forbade all non-Christians from being citizens. This was clearly targeted primarily at Jews as they were a significant and powerful minority in the country at the time.

Reading documents and constitutions only give you dry facts. They don’t really tell you the why of it all and I couldn’t find anything explaining why preventing Jews from becoming citizens was important enough to Carol I and the powerful elite of Romania (including definitely the Orthodox Church) that it needed to be included in the constitution.

But it was while researching World War 1 for my article Die Stadt Bukarest ist von meinen Truppen besetzt that I discovered a partial answer. As I had mentioned, the American Ambassador at the outbreak of World War 1 (1914), Charles Vopicka, spoke German and thus could and did discuss many subjects with King Carol.

Vopicka specifically asked Carol why Jews had been excluded from holding citizenship in Romania. From Vopicka’s book (page 270 – original spellings included):

Soon after I arrived in Bucharest and had been received as Minister of the United States to Roumania, I began an investigation to ascertain why so few Jewish subjects of that country were permitted to become citizens, and why so much ill feeling existed against them. I even spoke to King Carol and to the present King Ferdinand concerning it.

King Carol said to me: “The Jews are better educated than the Roumanians, so we must first build schools where our own people may be taught. Then in 20 years the Roumanians will be well enough educated to vote on the question of whether or not the Jews shall be admitted to citizenship.

To this I answered: “That is too long a time.

King Carol died in late 1914 after ruling the country for 48 years, so “apparently” all the schooling of Romanians and exclusion of Jews after all that time still hadn’t been “enough” for him.

But what Vopicka didn’t know was that in 1907, there had been a massive revolt in Romania (called Rascoala in Romanian). Under Carol’s reign, almost all of A.I. Cuza’s reforms had been rolled back and most of the country (and land) was controlled by a few rich families.

Since their estates were so massive, the ruling nobles employed administrators to ensure that the goods produced and tax payments (landless peasants owed a form of tithe to the nobles) were collected and many of these administrators were Jewish. The 1907 revolt started out in Moldova with a violent protest against a Jewish administrator but soon spread across almost the entire country.

King Carol sent in the military (reports say up to 140,000 troops) and the uprising was brutally crushed. Vopicka knew next to nothing about it precisely for the same reason that modern historians know almost nothing – King Carol ordered the destruction of all documents about the revolt. How many peasants were killed or injured is unknown, as is the details about what the army did to put down the uprising.

Through my research I also found another curious fact – that between 1881 and 1902, literally every single commercial enterprise (business) registered in Romania was owned by Jews. The literacy rate at this time was about 13% (meaning 87% were illiterate), therefore King Carol’s schools for Romanians were a total failure and that Jews were the only segment of society that was prospering besides the ruling nobility and Orthodox Church.

When one segment of society (poor, illiterate Romanian peasants) are pitted against another segment of society (Jews) by a disdainful and anti-semitic nobility, not to mention a church that regularly described Jews as “Satanic”, it’s only natural that there will be a violent clash.

We’ll never know much about what happened in 1907 but thanks to Vopicka and the research of Andrei Pippidi (PDF), we do know that two pogroms (a massacre of Jews) almost happened during World War 1.

In 1914, King Carol died and was replaced by his nephew Ferdinand, who was a far more capable and humane leader (he also spoke Romanian). After making a brave stand in Iasi and seeing his country nearly wiped off the map by the Allied Powers, he rallied the troops and by 1918 was able to preside over a newly-enlarged country that now included Transylvania and the Banat.

Ferdinand also oversaw the 1923 Constitution which finally granted citizenship to Jews as well as giving all male citizens the right to vote.

Unfortunately for Romania, Ferdinand died in 1927 and was succeeded by Mihai, his grandson, still alive today and officially the King of Romania although that title is meaningless in 2013. Technically Ferdinand’s son Carol II should’ve succeeded to the throne but Carol II began an affair with a (half) Jewish woman named Magda Lupescu and renounced any intention of becoming king.

So young King Mihai (age 6) technically became king in 1927 but in a surprise move, his father Carol II returned from his adventures abroad in 1930 and usurped the power from his son. Romania began some of its most troubled years in this period as a number of factions struggled for supremacy, one being the king himself (who like his namesake Carol I, was only interested in himself), Ion Antonescu and the fascists, the Communist Party and the Iron Guard.

By 1938, yet another constitution was in place, the new one granting absolute power to King Carol II. But by 1940, he had lost the power struggle with Ion Antonescu and effectively ceded those absolute powers to Antonescu, who then began calling himself the Conducator, essentially the Romanian version of the title his counterpart Adolf Hitler had adopted in Germany – Führer or “The Conductor” of an entire nation.

The fascist government of Antonescu was vehemently anti-semitic. And in active collaboration with the Germans, the fury and horror of the summer of 1941 was unleashed, starting with the Iasi pogrom that left at least 13,000 Jewish citizens of that city dead.

A young Jewish baby (1 year old) named Jean Ancel was in Iasi during that awful summer and was hidden away in a basement and managed to escape death although almost every member of his family died in the massacre. When he was 23, he emigrated to Israel and dedicated himself to researching and documenting what happened to the Jews of Romania and Bessarabia during the war.

It is thanks primarily to his research that the official 2004 final report on the Holocaust in Romania was presented (Romanian language version here – both versions lengthy PDFs).

Obviously the suffering and hatred towards this minority was awful and evil beyond belief, tens of thousands of completely innocent people (not to mention decorated combat veterans who had faithfully served in past conflicts) were killed or put to death in concentration or work camps, robbed, beaten and raped, the fury and discrimination that had been building up for decades unleashed in a bloody wave that swept over the entire continent that led to the deaths of over 300,000 Jews dead in territories controlled by the Romanian administration (which included lands now part of the Republic of Moldova as well as Ukraine due to larger political maneuverings between the Soviet Union and Germany).

What struck me the most, however, was not the violent persecution of Jews in areas controlled by Romanian forces, as that was a mere “drop in the bucket” of the larger context of World War 2, a seemingly inevitable result of long-standing hostility towards Jews by the Orthodox (and Catholic) Church, a huge gap between the social standing and literacy rates between Jews and Romanians and decades of misrule and anti-semitism on the parts of two kings as well as Antonescu’s absorption of Iron Guard beliefs about Romanian “purism” and anti-semitism, but the sheer incompetence (which seems to be an endemic trait of Romanian leadership) at how Antonescu’s forces went about the task of “liquidating” the Jewish population.

Time and time again, even the cold-blooded killers of Einsatzgruppe D were dismayed by the incompetent and sloppy manner in which Romanian forces were executing Jews. The Germans were dumbfounded that the Iasi pogrom in the summer of 1941 had been conducted openly in daytime by members of the police (and to a lesser extent, the military) wearing full uniform, gunning down people on the streets and leaving their bodies to rot.

Antonescu himself became furious at his own commanders for failing to turn over seized property and money taken from Jews to the government (page 35 of the 2004 Holocaust report):

The first phase of extermination was executed in Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina under Antonescu’s direct command.

General C. Niculescu’s Committee for the Investigation of Irregularities in the Chişinău ghetto (formed at Antonescu’s request to probe the rapid and inexplicable enrichment of certain officers and the “failure” to confiscate deportees’ gold) found that between the establishment of the camps—after the “cleansing of the land”—and the beginning of the deportations, “25,000 Jews died of natural causes, escaped, or were shot.”

In fact, one of the primary reasons Antonescu outlawed the Iron Guard in early 1941 was precisely because it had been seizing so much wealth from Jews in Bucharest and not turning it over to his government.

Antonescu’s forces moved rapidly through Bucovina, Bessarabia and clear into Ukraine (including the city of Odessa), rounding up and shooting, robbing and raping Jews as they went. The Germans were quite alarmed, especially as Jewish prisoners were held in extremely unsanitary conditions and thus became breeding grounds for diseases, primarily typhoid fever.

The Germans weren’t worried about the health of Jews of course but the fact that the disease was highly contagious and was endangering the German population in the region.

On February 5, 1942, the local German commander sent a telegram to Prefect Loghin of Berezovka (near Odessa) inquiring about this (page 64 of the 2004 Holocaust report):

Some 70,000 Jews have been concentrated on the [Romanian] side of the Bug, approximately 20 kilometers [12 miles] into [Transnistria], opposite the towns of Nikolaevka and Novaya Odessa, which lie about 60 kilometers [37 miles] north of Nikolaev on the Bug.

Rumor has it that the Romanian military guard has been removed, so the Jews are being left to their fate and are dying of starvation and cold. Typhus has spread among the Jews, who are trying in every which way to exchange articles of clothing for food. In so doing, they are also endangering the German territory, which can easily be reached by crossing the frozen Bug River.

As far as I can tell, the entire “master plan” that Antonescu and his forces had for Jews in Bessarabia was to line then up as close to the Bug River (then the border between lands controlled by Germany and the Soviet Union) and then “push the Jews across” the river. The Jews had already been robbed of anything of value, of course, but there was never a really concentrated effort to put them to work in camps (as the Germans did) or murder them en masse but simply to keep moving them along until they were someone else’s problem.

The Germans were all for the extermination of the Jews but several cities and villages near the Bug River had a native German speaking population (similar to the Transylvania Saxons in Romania, a result of centuries of Ostsiedlung) and these malnourished, infected Jewish prisoners were a threat to the local community.

The Germans were also dismayed by the chaotic way in which Romania was rounding up and deporting Jews to the border. In 1942, Adolf Eichmann wrote an internal report on the Romanian efforts. From page 66 of the 2004 Holocaust report:

Eichmann praised the Romanians’ desire to eliminate their Jews but did not welcome the Romanian operation “at present.” He agreed with the deportations “in principle” but criticized the “disorderly and indiscriminate” evacuation of thousands of Jews to the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, which threatened not only the German forces but also the local residents with epidemics, insufficient food, and other hazards.

Eichmann explained: “Among other things, these unplanned and premature evacuations of Romanian Jews to the occupied territories in the east pose a serious threat to the deportation [operation] presently being carried out among the German Jews. For these reasons, I request that the Romanian government be approached to put an immediate end to these illegal transports of Jews.”

Jeez, you know you’re doing poorly when the Nazi official in charge of exterminating Jews is criticizing you and referring to your deportations as “illegal”.

The Romanians were even throwing dead (Jewish) bodies into the Bug River (thus contaminating the drinking water of everyone in the vicinity), which forced the Germans to harshly reprimand the Romanian forces, telling them to burn the bodies instead.

Furthermore, Antonescu realized to his surprise that he couldn’t afford to deport or exterminate all the Jews in Romania because they were essential to the economy (page 13 of the 2004 Holocaust report):

In June 1942, the Chief of Staff ordered that Jewish workers who committed certain “breaches of work and discipline” (lack of diligence, failure to notify changes of address, sexual relations with ethnic Romanian women) were to be deported to Transnistria along with their families. Those Jews in labor detachments often met with severe punishment, such as whipping and clubbing.

In the end, the essence of the “revision” was that the labor camp system was considered to be damaging to the economy. So, beginning in 1942, labor detachments became the preferred system. However, this reorganization of the Jewish compulsory labor system was also an abysmal failure, even according to a report of the Chief of Staff issued in November 1943, which concluded that the Romanian economy could not do without the skills of the Jewish population.

All in all, it was a horrific period of Romanian and European history, with hundreds of thousands of Jews killed and many more injured, raped and/or robbed of all of their possessions. At the end of the war, the vast majority of the surviving Jewish population emigrated to Israel and today there are only about six or 7,000 left today in Romania, where they are a protected minority.

I’ve met a handful of (native Romanian) Jews over the years here in Romania and the good news is that they’ve told me they’ve had ordinary lives here without any real hostility or oppression. There is a beautiful historic synagogue preserved in Cluj (although it’s closed for worship due to insufficient attendees) and the respected Babes-Bolyai University here in town has a department of Jewish studies (itself also housed in an old synagogue).

Still though, it gives me shivers to know that just a few decades ago life here in this country was so different, society being so viciously and murderously intolerant of many groups, including the Gypsies (who were also targeted by Antonescu’s forces albeit to a lesser degree).

Thank goodness we all live in a much more modern and tolerant era is about the only thing I can say in conclusion.

clujsynagogue

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4 Responses »

  1. I didn’t find it boring, and did bother reading it to the end. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. Very interesting and well written. Multumesc.

  2. ˝Antonescu’s forces moved rapidly through Bucovina, Bessarabia and clear into Ukraine (including the city of Odessa), rounding up and shooting, robbing and raping Jews as they went.˝ Excuse me. Those were our grandfathers. We knew them and many of us were raised by them. If someone brings such charges against the Romanian Army (I suppose Antonescu’s forces was in fact the Romanian Army), then I demand to see proof. Specifically, I want to see what exactly was done (phrases like ˝Romanians robbed, tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of Jews˝ would NOT do, thank you very much) and who exactly did it, as legally speaking, I don’t remember to see somewhere the charge of being “guilty by association”. In other words, following this logic, if you had been a Romanian soldier fighting on the Eastern front, then you must have robbed, killed, raped, etc, etc. Jews. Heart-wrenching but I still demand to see proof. Otherwise, I have no compunction to tell those who brought this kind of accusations to go to hell. Now, I think pointless to challenge historians´ work; they do their job on their own time and money. When it comes about MY money, then I shall challenge it and this is where that famous Report enters the stage.

    How ironic…Romania was the only Soviet satellite that actively supported Israel during the Cold War at the risk of being herself severely punished by the Soviet Union, especially when the Soviets suspected Romania of selling arms to Israel, while all the others communist states sided with the Arabs, following Kremlin’s orders. My generation and that of my parents have always supported and admired the Jews’ discipline, bravery and diligence. Sadly, as far as I’m concerned, everything went sideways since I discovered and read that famous Report which you quoted so many times and took so readily as „argent comptant”. I don’t blame you, that Report was taken by many well-known historians as pillar of their case against Romania, for the simple reason that it was officialy assumed by the Romanian Presidency and Government. It’s pointless to ask why they did it; for any Romanian, the answer is obvious. From my point of view, I cannot consider it a serious historical undertaking but, to quote a contemporary Romanian historian, rather pure propaganda.

    My reasons to strongly doubt this writing’s accuracy? Let’s see. For instance, the statement “….the general rule, which was terror, forced labor, plunder, rape, deportation and murder, with the participation or at least the acquiescence of a significant proportion of the [Romanian] population.” , excerpt from the Final Report of the Elie Wiesel Commission regarding the Holocaust in Romania. With all due respect, I ask the Commission what is the meaning of the expression ˝a significant proportion of the population˝, respectively about how many Romanians made a “significant part˝ of the population, according to their expertise in this case, and which methods were employed to determine that a ˝significant˝ part of my people followed the ˝general rule˝. Also, I would like to see some proof to support this particular accusation. In the meantime, I shall keep on hold my judgment regarding this Report’s conclusions. For another instance, since the Commission “recommended” to the Government to cancel the Supreme Court’s decision to rehabilitate two people accused of war crimes, I’d like to ask it how could it be done in accordance with the democratic principles and the Constitution, especially with the principle of separation of powers? At the same time, I ask, how much is worth a Governmental acceptance of this Report when you’re forbidden to defend yourself? I suppose that no historian fancies the possibility to spend up to 5 years in prison for merely attempting to defend our nation. Until I’m offered a pertinent answer to my questions, I’m fully within my rights to reject the Report’s testimony as being legally unreliable and, subsequently, the work of those historians who took the same Report as basis for their accusations.

    I hereby challenge this Report’s most severe accusation, namely the one that incriminates an entire nation (MY nation) as being guilty of genocide. Until the Commission brings proof to support that particular allegation, the Report is worthless, from my point of view. Note that not only the Marshal Antonescu, the Romanian Government, administration or army was accused of genocide in this Report but the ENTIRE people. And the Government and Presidency have accepted it….Instead, other researchers (Jews!) came to the conclusion that, basically, the Commission counted every victim 20 times over, including those assassinated by the German military and police, as well as those killed by the Ukrainian locals. Not to mention that how it was possible to practically draft an official indictment against the Romanian people on the basis of TWO books (written by Jean Ancel and Matatias Carp) goes beyond my abilities to understand.

    In the end, since I´m asked to remember only those over 300.000 Jews killed by Marshal Antonescu, according to the Report, and ignore those over 300.000 Jews saved by the same Antonescu, who turned down both Hitler and Eichmann when he was demanded to send the Jews from the Old Kingdom to Auschwitz, according to the same Report, I suppose I should not be too surprised if anyone smiles sympathetically when it comes about people dragged away from their homes and imprisoned for the guilt of having a Japanese great-uncle (which was for all intentions and purposes exactly the same thing done by Antonescu with the Jews of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina) or about hundreds of thousands of people burned to death in Dresden, Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Less known is that some Jews have successfully plucked an eye for an eye in the freshly ˝liberated˝ countries, for instance the prison camp of Zgoda from Poland of which no one seems to know anything. What happened to the Jews was a crime. Equally criminal was what happened to the German and Japanese civilians. Marshal Antonescu paid for his crimes with his life, all the Romanian superior officers who fought on the Eastern front were shot or imprisoned for life and I don’t even want to think about the conditions of their incarceration. What happened to the PM Churchill who ordered the bombings of Dresden? Well, he was unanimously hailed as hero, awarded many times and died peacefully in his bed. Moreover, he, along with other two criminals…I mean, two distinguished and most respected gentlemen, got to barter countries like cattle: ˝that one’s for me, you can have the fools who attacked you, mate. No, not the Finns…No, no, no, NOT the Italians. Well, I wasn’t specifically thinking about the Hungarians but if you want them, do help yourself. Right, those ones. Now, since we have signed the papers, let me tell you something but sit down first: had you taken the aforementioned fools back in 1940 and cut old Alf’s oil supplies, you’d have conquered the whole Europe, not to mention the goodies held by France, Netherlands or Belgium in Africa and Asia. Now say ˝cheese˝ to the camera!˝ A bit of ˝haz de necaz˝, if it helps.

    My generation was born, raised and educated here. Our grandfathers fought at Odessa , Sevastopol and Stalingrad . We owe to their memory to thoroughly research the facts, before accepting as absolute truth a writing like this. And this Report’s irony is that, instead of bringing acceptance and closure to the past for both sides, as it was intended, seems to rather spark animosity, nationalism and hatred.

  3. You are right, Sitara… Anyway the truth is much more complex. While there were indeed some Jews killed in Romania (mostly by leggionaires) there were nowhere near 300,000. In fact, at the end of the war (such as it was) Romania had the largest population of Jews of all the countries which were occupied or allied with the Germans.

    As for the Jews from Ukraine and even Bessarabia the situation is also rather complex. Romanian control over some territories was rather nominal, the German troops there were not subordinated to us (as a matter of fact, SS troops and especially Einsatzgruppenn were not even subordinated to Wehrmacht) so they did whatever they wanted. Some jews were killed by the Germans, some by the Ukrainians themselves and some Jews created grups of “partisans” which were killed not because they were Jews but because they were paramilitary organisations fighting the army.
    I am not saying that there were no innocents murdered, I am only saying that the number is greatly exaggerated and it is very important who killed them and why. For instance, it may be worth knowing that during the “Iasi (or Yassy) progrom” there were German troops in town who assisted/helped the private individuals to round up and kill the Jews.

    Even Ellie Wiesel when referring to the Jews killed in Romania he includes the ones from North-West of Transylvania thus ignoring the fact that between 1940 – 1944 that area was under Hungarian control, not Romanian.

    Finally I would like to say that I am not an anti-semite by any means; in fact I admire and respect this nation. But that doesn’t mean I am willing to accept a blame for something done by someone else or greatly exaggerated accusations.

    Also there is a justice principle valid for thousands of years: Nemo esse judex in sua causa potest.

  4. The 4th Geneva Convention does not apply to Gaza or the West Bank since at the time of ratification netiehr territory was under the jurisdiction of any state at the time. I am sure you are aware that Gaza was originally under control by Egypt while the West Bank was under Jordan’s control in which both at one point were invaded and occupied by IDF since the territories were used as platforms to launch attacks against Israel by Muslim states. Israel considers itself an authority in Gaza and West Bank as which is granted to an occupying power, is allowed and specified under the 4th Geneva Convention as well.In terms of the Six Day War that was not started by Israel but started by her neighbors. Prior to the conflict Israel was victim from attacks by terrorists it was discovered were being allowed to migrate through Syria. Egypt at first sent troops to the Sinai Peninsula due to an, admittedly, flase report that Israel was going to invade Jordan. Egypt later closed the Straits of Tiran considered an international water way at the time. Egypt then joined in the engagement due to a pact the country had with Jordan and Syria in which all 3 countries had military agreements with each other. Israel did start the fighting with an airstrike but the aggressions that lead up to the war were initiated by her Muslim neighbors. The reason for a lack of self determination by Gaza and West Bank Palestinians is simple, if they stop supporting terrorists and recognize Israel’s right to exist then the violence will stop. The Muslims not only refuse to but even reject any agreement geared to bringing peace to the region.To begin with I suggest you look up a man named Muhammad Amin al-Husseini. He was Yasser Arafat’s uncle and a Muslim cleric who ended up migrating to Germany and got a personal audience with Adlof Hitler. Husseini helped Hitler implement his Final Solution as well as raise Muslim regiments for the Nazis. When Nazi Germany fell he continued his activities helping to create groups like the PLO and Young Egypt Party which was a pro-Nazi organization. Among Young Egypt’s members were future Egyptian Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat.Nazism did not die with the defeat of Hitler but migrated to the Middle East thanks to Husseini in which you see Nazi influences in groups like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood (whose founder Hasan al-Banna was a Nazi sympathizer) and Hizbullah.

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