200 days of dread

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The 200 days of dread (Hebrew: מאתיים ימי חרדה) [may-ah-tie-yim ye-may kha-ra-da] was a period of 200 days in the history of the Yishuv, from the spring of 1942 to November 3, 1942, when the German Afrika Korps under the command of General Erwin Rommel was heading east toward the Suez Canal and Palestine.

The question of whether the Yishuv would need to defend itself against a possible German invasion rose twice during the Second World War. The first major threat was a German invasion from the north, from the pro-Nazi Vichy regime in control of Syria and Lebanon. This danger ended after Operation Exporter, the allied invasion of these countries on June 8, 1941 and their liberation from Vichy control.

In 1942 a more serious threat emerged as the Afrika Korps, under the command of Erwin Rommel, threatened to overrun British possessions in the Middle East. The "200 days of dread" ended with the Allied victory in the Second Battle of El Alamein.

In archival research in 2006, it emerged that the SS "Einsatzgruppe Ägypten" (Einsatzgruppe Egypt) was deployed to Athens for attachment to the Afrika Korps in the expected conquest of Mandatory Palestine. According to the historians Klaus Michael Melman and Martin Cuppers, the word "Palestine" is not mentioned in the archival documents; however, the researchers state that that unit's objective was to continue in Palestine their systematic mass murder of Jews.[1][2][3][4]

The Hebrew term "200 days of dread" was coined only later by the contemporary journalist Haviv Canaan, as taken from the title of his 1974 book on this period. In 1941-42 the Haganah was preparing a last stand in the event that the British would retreat from the German army as far as Syria and Iraq. The "Plan of the North" was also called "Masada on the Carmel", and "Haifa-Masada-Musah Dag".[5] (The British plan was called Palestine Final Fortress.)

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  1. ^ Klaus-Michael Mallmann, Martin Cüppers: „Beseitigung der jüdisch-nationalen Heimstätte in Palästina.“ Das Einsatzkommando bei der Panzerarmee Afrika 1942. In: Jürgen Matthäus, Klaus-Michael Mallmann (Hrsg.): Deutsche, Juden, Völkermord. Der Holocaust als Geschichte und Gegenwart. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2006, (Veröffentlichungen der Forschungsstelle Ludwigsburg der Universität Stuttgart, Bd. 7).
  2. ^ Mallmann, Klaus-Michael; Cüppers, Martin (2007). ""Elimination of the Jewish National Home in Palestine": The Einsatzkommando of the Panzer Army Africa, 1942" (PDF). Yad Vashem Studies 35 (1): 1–31. 
  3. ^ Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, Halbmond und Hakenkreuz. Das Dritte Reich, die Araber und Palästina, Darmstadt: WGB, 2006; 287 pp (The book was translated into Danish 2008, into Polish and French 2009, English 2010).
  4. ^ Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers. Nazi Palestine. The Plans for the Extermination of the Jews in Palestine, New York: Enigma Books with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2010.
  5. ^ Nachman Ben-Yehuda. Masada Myth: Collective Memory and Mythmaking in Israel. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1995. p. 133 http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/0117.htm

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