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The Haavara Agreement (Hebrew: הסכם העברה Translit.: heskem haavara Translated: "transfer agreement") was signed on 25 August 1933 after three months of talks by the Zionist Federation of Germany (die Zionistische Vereinigung für Deutschland), the Anglo-Palestine Bank (under the directive of the Jewish Agency) and the economic authorities of Nazi Germany. The agreement was designed to help facilitate the emigration of German Jews to Palestine. While it helped Jews emigrate, it forced them to give up most of their possessions to Germany before departing. Those assets could later be obtained by transferring them to Palestine as German export goods.
Hanotea (Hebrew: הנוטע), a Zionist citrus planting company, applied in May 1933 for the ability to transfer capital from Germany to Palestine. Hanotea served to assist German Jews' immigration to Palestine as part of the Zionist movement. In a deal concocted with the German government, Hanotea would take money from the prospective immigrants, and then use this money to buy German goods. These goods, along with the immigrants, would then be shipped to Palestine. In Palestine, import merchants would then buy the goods from the immigrants, liquidating their investment. This arrangement appeared to be operating successfully, and so paved the way for the later Haavara Agreement. Connected to Hanotea was a Polish Zionist Jew, Sam Cohen. He represented Zionist interests in direct negotiation with the Nazis beginning in March 1933.
The Trust and Transfer Office "Haavara" Ltd. places at the disposal of the Banks in Palestine amounts in Reichmarks which have been put at its disposal by the Jewish immigrants from Germany. The Banks avail themselves of these amounts in Reichmarks in order to make payments on behalf of Palestinian merchants for goods imported by them from Germany. The merchants pay in the value of the goods to the Banks and the "Haavara" Ltd. pays the countervalue to the Jewish immigrants from Germany. To the same extent that local merchants will make use of this arrangement, the import of German goods will serve to withdraw Jewish capital from Germany.
—Example of the certificate issued by Haavara to Jews emigrating to Palestine 
The Haavara (Transfer) Agreement was agreed to by the German government in 1933 to allow the Zionist movement, in the form of the Haavara company to transfer property from Germany to Palestine, for the sole purpose of encouraging Jewish emigration from Germany. The Haavara company operated under a similar plan as the earlier Hanotea company. The Haavara Company required immigrants to pay at least 1000 pounds sterling into the banking company. This money would then be used to buy German exports for import to Palestine.
The Haavara Agreement was thought among certain circles to be a possible way to rid the country of its supposed "Jewish problem." The head of the Middle Eastern division of the foreign ministry, Werner Otto von Hentig, supported the policy of concentrating Jews in Palestine. Von Hentig believed that if the Jewish population was concentrated in a single foreign entity, then foreign diplomatic policy and containment of the Jews would become easier. Hitler's support of the Haavara Agreement varied throughout the thirties. Initially, Hitler criticized the agreement, but shortly reversed his opinion, and continued to support it, in the face of opposition, through 1939.
After the invasion of Poland and the onset of World War II in 1939, the practical continuation of the Haavara agreement became impossible. In 1940, representatives of the underground Zionist group Lehi met with von Hentig to propose direct military cooperation with the Nazis for the continuation of the transfer of European Jews to Palestine. This proposal, however, did not produce results.
- Aliyah Bet
- Évian Conference
- Fifth Aliyah
- Lehi (group)
- Madagascar Plan
- The Transfer Agreement
References and notes
- Arab-Israeli Wars: 60 Years of Conflict, Ha Avara, ABC-CLIO, accessed May 7, 2013.
- Yf’aat Weiss, The Transfer Agreement and the Boycott Movement: A Jewish Dilemma on the Eve of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem Shoah Resource Center, accessed May 7, 2013.
- Francis R. Nicosia: The third Reich & the Palestine question, p. 39 ff.
- Heritage: Civilization and the Jews (PBS)
- Francis R. Nicosia: The third Reich & the Palestine question, pp. 132–133.
- Francis R. Nicosia: The third Reich & the Palestine question, pp. 140, 142.
- Full details depicted in Ada Amichal Yevin, In Purple, The Life of Yair - Abraham Stern, Hadar Publishing House Tel Aviv, 1986, pp. 225–230
- Avraham Barkai: German Interests in the Haavara-Transfer Agreement 1933–1939, Yearbook of the Leo Baeck Institute 35; 1990, S. 245–266
- Edwin Black: "The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine", Brookline Books, 1999.
- Werner Feilchenfeld, Dolf Michaelis, Ludwig Pinner: Haavara-Transfer nach Palästina und Einwanderung deutscher Juden 1933–1939, Tübingen, 1972
- Tom Segev: The Seventh Million: Israelis and the Holocaust (2000, ISBN 0-8050-6660-8), especially p. 31ff
- David Yisraeli: The Third Reich and the Transfer Agreement, in: Journal of Contemporary History 6 (1972), S. 129–148
- R. Melka: Nazi Germany and the Palestine Question, Middle Eastern Studies. Vol. 5 No. 3 (Oct., 1969). pp 221–233.
- Hava Eshkoli-Wagman: Yishuv Zionism: Its Attitude to Nazism and the Third Reich Reconsidered, Modern Judaism. Vol. 19 No. 1 (Feb., 1999). pp 21–40.
- Klaus Poleken: The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany 1933–1941. Journal of Palestine Studies. Vol. 5 No. 3/4 (Spring–Summer 1976). pp 54–82.
- Francis R. Nicosia: The third Reich & the Palestine question, Transaction Publishers, 2000.
- Review of Nicosia's book