By Tuvia Friling
Eliezer Gruenbaum (1908–1948) was once a Polish Jew denounced for serving as a Kapo whereas interned at Auschwitz. He was once the communist son of Itzhak Gruenbaum, the main admired secular chief of interwar Polish Jewry who later turned the chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Rescue Committee in the course of the Holocaust and Israel’s first minister of the inner. In gentle of the father’s excessive placement in either Polish and Israeli politics, the denunciation of the more youthful Gruenbaum and his suspicious loss of life in the course of the 1948 Arab-Israeli struggle upload intrigue to an argument that actually facilities at the query of what constitutes—and how can we evaluate—moral habit in Auschwitz.
Gruenbaum—a Jewish Kapo, a communist, an anti-Zionist, a secularist, and the son of a polarizing Zionist leader—became a logo exploited via rivals of the routine to which he used to be associated. Sorting via this Rashomon-like tale in the cultural and political contexts within which Gruenbaum operated, Friling illuminates key debates that lease the Jewish neighborhood in Europe and Israel from the Thirties to the Nineteen Sixties.
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Extra info for A Jewish Kapo in Auschwitz: History, Memory, and the Politics of Survival
The 150,000 Jews in France who were foreign nationals were prey to the Nazis’ talons. The French regime arrested and interred them, and then handed them over to the Germans. When roundups commenced in Paris, people could easily deny that Jews were being arrested simply because they were Jews. For example, British subjects, including Jews from the Yishuv, were arrested and interred in the Romainville fort just outside Paris. Several dozen Zionist activists were imprisoned at Les Tourelles. Communists were also rounded up on charges of illegal political activity.
Stalin gave his consent, perhaps mostly as a way of getting foreign Communists in the ussr off his back. indb 16 4/11/2014 2:48:56 PM days after fighting broke out. Several hundred non-Spanish leftists offered their help to the elected government. 10 According to the experts, some thirty-five to forty thousand volunteers from as many as fifty-five different countries fought in the war. But volunteers came and went, and many died, so at any given moment no more than half that number were actually serving in the ranks, and many fewer toward the end of the war.
The Naftali Botwin Company has been added to our glorious family of fighters against fascism. Ever since we first trod on Spanish soil, we have done what all [the International Brigades] have done, first as a company, then as a battalion, and now as a brigade—Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Jews, Hungarians, Spanish, and others—in brotherhood. . Among all the volunteers, especially in the Dombrowski Brigade, the Jewish volunteers have stood out with their heroism, fighting spirit, and devotion to the struggle against fascism.
A Jewish Kapo in Auschwitz: History, Memory, and the Politics of Survival by Tuvia Friling