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Authors: Edwin Black

The Transfer Agreement

BOOK: The Transfer Agreement
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What reviewers have said about
The Transfer Agreement

Black has authored an exhaustive, compelling, well-written and edited work. It is historical journalism at its best.

Alexander Zvielli,
Jerusalem Post

Black has meticulously documented this obscure but important slice of world history, and makes an essential contribution to an understanding of Israeli politics and the strife in the Middle East today.

Gladwyn Hill
Los Angeles Times

Black reconstructs in depressing detail the strident debates and acrimonious struggles…while pursuing the increasingly unrealistic goal of bringing the third Reich to its knees.

A.J. Sherman
The New York Times

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, newspapers from the pre-WWII era and government records.

Jan Cawley
Chicago Tribune Magazine

Edwin Black applied his established investigative journalism techniques to history. The result is an extraordinary book,
The Transfer Agreement

Bill Kurtis
, CBS Morning News

Meticulously researched…Black took five years to research and write this incredible volume…Black poses the controversial question: ‘Was it madness or was it genius?' The many fascinated readers will have to decide for themselves.


Black brings an incredible amount of material together. With uncanny skill, he keeps it all under control. Five stars.

The Cincinnati Enquirer

A passionate book… An incredible job.

Chicago Sun-Times

Outlines brilliantly the historic roots of German anti-Semitism.

The Denver Post

Five years of exhaustive research…the undertaking was immense.

Dallas Times Herald

An exhaustively documented and compelling book.

Alan Borsuk
Milwaukee Journal

A well-documented, highly charged book that is likely to stir controversy.

The Baltimore Sun


Chicago Tribune Book World

Black in
The Transfer Agreement
seriously challenged orthodox views of history. Whereas many might see the Second World War as a struggle between good and evil, a history that is completely written and understood, Black paints a very different and more nuanced picture. His works suggest that Hitler's Germany was not only appeased by the West, but benefited financially and even ideologically from the United States, Europe and, as we have seen, the Jewish community in Palestine, even as the war was being fought.

Atticus Mullikin,
European Journalism Centre Magazine

On one level, this book is an exciting spy story. On another, it is a heartbreaking account of anguished and bewildered human beings caught in a nightmare situation.

Present Tense

As a work of historical journalism, this book is exhaustive and compelling.

Ben Halpern,

Edwin Black has succeeded beyond my hopes and expectations of doing justice to the Jewish protagonists of this dreadful and depressing history. He has not shirked his painful task but accomplished it in a compelling, enlightened and sympathetic way.

Robert Wolfe,
National Archives

Truly a brilliant piece of work. It has captured the passion, ferocity, exultation and yes, naiveté of that moment in history… an artistic
tour de force

Morris Frommer, author,
The American Jewish Congress, a History

Excellent and revealing. Fills the vacuum in the history of both the German economy and of the Zionist movement. This book is informative, exciting, as well as challenging and morally disturbing.

Arthur Schweitzer, author,
Big Business and the Third Reich

It reads like a good spy book, something out of John Le Carre.

Byron Sherwin, author,
countering the Holocaust


America's Corporate Connections to Hitler's Holocaust

How to Rescue Society When the Oil Stops—or the Day Before

How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil
and Derailed the Alternatives

Inside Iraq's 7,000 Year History of War, Profit, and Conflict

Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race

The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and
America's Most Powerful Corporation

The Dramatic Story of the Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine
1984, 1999, 2001, 2009

A Novel

Copyright © 1983, 1999, 2001, 2009 by Edwin Black

All rights reserved.

First Dialog edition 2009

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data is available.


Manufactured in the United States of America

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc., 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600, or on the web at
. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to [email protected]

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

13 12 11 10 09 5 4 3 2 1

Cover designed by Tallgrass Studios

Any changes, corrections, or additions to this book can be found at

To the six million…

To my parents who survived…

To my grandparents who didn't…

To my mother who never saw this edition.

Introduction to the 2009 Edition
Confronting the Transfer Agreement

During the first months of the Hitler regime, leaders of the Zionist movement concluded a controversial pact with the Third Reich which, in its various forms, transferred some 60,000 Jews and $100 million—almost $1.7 billion in 2009 dollars—to Jewish Palestine. In return, Zionists would halt the worldwide Jewish-led anti-Nazi boycott that threatened to topple the Hitler regime in its first year. Ultimately, the Transfer Agreement saved lives, rescued assets, and seeded the infrastructure of the Jewish State to be.

Fiery debates instantly ignited throughout the pre-War Jewish world as rumors of the pact leaked out.

The acrimony was rekindled in 1984 with the original publication of
The Transfer
—and has never stopped. Why?

Understanding the painful process and the agonizing decisions taken by Jewish leadership requires a journey. This journey will not be a comfortable one for any reader. It offers few clear-cut concepts and landmarks. The facts, as they unfold, will challenge your sense of the period, break your heart, and try your ethics…just as it did for those in 1933 who struggled to identify the correct path through a Fascist minefield and away from the conflagration that awaited European Jewry.

Why? Simply put,
The Transfer Agreement
came out a decade ahead of its time. When the book first appeared, in 1984, the world was still preoccupied with the enormity of nazi genocide. The world's emphasis was on the murderous events of the war years. The Jewish community's rallying cry was “never Forget.” Organized remembrance was collectively fighting an anti-Semitic revisionist movement that was trying to deny or minimize the Holocaust with rabid pseudo-history.

For perspective, consider that the very first television attempt to treat the Holocaust was a TV series called “The Holocaust,” which aired in 1978—the same year neo-nazis marched through Skokie. That was the year, 1978, I began researching
The Transfer Agreement
. At the time, the Second Generation movement, of children of survivors, was just forming. The First World Gathering of Holocaust Survivors was only in the planning stage. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which received its charter in 1980, was several years and many controversies away from opening. Organized Holocaust education was essentially nonexistent. For society and for survivors, the dominant priority was coming to grips with the genocide.

BOOK: The Transfer Agreement
6.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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