League of East European States

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The League of East European States or Federation of East European States (German: osteuropäischer Staatenbund) was a 1914 proposal by the German Committee for Freeing of Russian Jews for a German-dominated consociational buffer state to be established in the Russian Partition of the multi-ethnic territory of the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Bodenheimer plan[edit]

The idea was conceived by prominent Zionist Max Bodenheimer, in the context of World War I and longstanding German Mitteleuropa ambitions, utilizing the concept of national personal autonomy or national curiae, which would allow Jewish representation in the government alongside other groups despite their Pale of Settlement dispersion.[1][2][3] Bodenheimer was a founder of the German Committee for Freeing of Russian Jews.[4] The Committee drew up a plan to establish a buffer state between Germany and Russia, created from territory to be taken from Imperial Russia.[5] The biography by his daughter describes a divide and rule strategy to the benefit of Germany: "In this Federation Ukrainians, White Russians, Lithuanians, Esthonians and Latvians would together serve as a counterbalance to the Poles, and the Germans, and Jews would hold the balance of power between the two groupings."[1] According to this plan, the new state should be a monarchy ruled by the Hohenzollern dynasty[citation needed].

German reaction[edit]

Bodenheimer submitted a Memorandum with the proposal to the German Foreign Office in 1914, where it and the Committee received the support of Erich Ludendorff and then Paul von Hindenburg,[6] as he made the case to them that eastern Jews could be Germanised.[7]

The plan soon proved unpopular with other German officials and Bodenheimer's Zionist colleagues, and was dead by the following year.[8][9][10] The only tangible result was an August 1914 military propaganda leaflet targeting the Jews of Poland, the final text of which greatly disappointed Bodenheimer.[11][12] The Poles were not very keen on the plan either.[13]

The idea was criticized by various Zionist leaders as impractical and dangerous, and eventually was given up after Wilhelm II of Germany and Franz Joseph of Austria issued the Act of November 5th 1916 in which they proclaimed the creation of the Kingdom of Poland.

Conspiracy theory[edit]

The Bodenheimer plan was cited by the author Andrzej Leszek Szcześniak as an example of "Judeopolonia" in his 2001 book of the same name, echoing the anti-semitic conspiracy theory positing a future Jewish domination of Poland that arose in the late nineteenth century.[14][15]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bodenheimer, Henriette Hannah Max Bodenheimer 1865-1940 : political genius for Zionism Pentland Press, (1990) p73
  2. ^ Sirutavičius, Vladas; Staliūnas, Darius (2011-01-01). A Pragmatic Alliance: Jewish-Lithuanian Political Cooperation at the Beginning of the 20th Century. Central European University Press. p. 125. ISBN 9786155053177. 
  3. ^ Szajkowski, Zosa (1966-01-01). "The German Ordinance of November 1916 on the Organization of Jewish Communities in Poland". Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research. 34: 111–139. doi:10.2307/3622392. 
  4. ^ Budnitskii, Oleg Russian Jews Between the Reds and the Whites, 1917-1920 University of Pennsylvania Press (2012) p228
  5. ^ Sirutavičius, Vladas and Staliūnas, Darius (editors) A Pragmatic Alliance: Jewish-Lithuanian Political Cooperation at the Beginning of the 20th Century Central European University Press (2011) p124-5
  6. ^ Bodenheimer, Henriette Hannah Max Bodenheimer 1865-1940 : political genius for Zionism Pentland Press, (1990) p75
  7. ^ Elon, Amos (2003-12-01). The Pity of It All: A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933. Macmillan. p. 312. ISBN 9780312422813. 
  8. ^ Walter Laqueur. A History of Zionism. Tauris Parke, 2003 Pages 173-4.
  9. ^ Isaiah Friedman. Germany, Turkey, Zionism, 1897-1918. Transaction Publishers, 1997, p2312ff
  10. ^ Kauffman, Jesse (2015-08-05). Elusive Alliance: The German Occupation of Poland in World War I. Harvard University Press. p. 122. ISBN 9780674915220. 
  11. ^ Szajkowski, Zosa (1969-01-01). "The German Appeal to the Jews of Poland, August 1914". The Jewish Quarterly Review. 59 (4): 311–320. doi:10.2307/1453469. 
  12. ^ McMeekin, Sean (2012-05-07). The Berlin-Baghdad Express. Harvard University Press. p. 345. ISBN 9780674058538. 
  13. ^ Bodenheimer, Henriette Hannah Max Bodenheimer 1865-1940 : political genius for Zionism Pentland Press, (1990) p77
  14. ^ Michlic, Joanna Beata (2006). Poland's Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present, pp. 48, 55-56. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-3240-3.
  15. ^ Blobaum, Robert (2005). Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland, p. 61. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-4347-4.

References[edit]

  • Zosa Szajkowski Demands for Complete Emancipation of German Jewry during World War I, in: The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Ser., Vol. 55, No. 4 (Apr., 1965), pp 350–363.
  • Zosa Szajkowski The German Appeal to the Jews of Poland, August 1914, in: The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Ser., Vol. 59, No. 4 (Apr., 1969), pp 311–320.
  • Andrzej Leszek Szcześniak Judeopolonia - żydowskie państwo w państwie polskim 2004 ISBN 83-88822-92-6