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Table of Contents:
1- Heir to the Holocaust – by Toby Rogers
2- The Bush Family and the Jews – By Anne E. Kornblut
3- How the Bush Family made its fortune from the Nazis – by Robert Lederman
1- Heir to the Holocaust originally published in Clamor Magazine by Toby Rogers
While the Enron scandal currently unfolds, another Bush family business scandal lurks beneath the shadows of history that may dwarf it. On April 19, 2001, President George W. Bush spent some of Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Capital Rotunda with holocaust survivors, allied veterans, and their families. In a ceremony that included Jewish prayers and songs sung by holocaust victims in the camps, Benjamin Meed, a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, movingly described to the gathering what he experienced on April 19, 1943.
“I stood outside a Catholic church, which faced the ghetto,” Mr. Meed said, “a young Jewish boy posing as a gentile. As I watched the ghetto being bombarded by the German artillery, I could see many of the Jews of my community jumping out of windows of burning buildings. I stood long and mute.” The survivor concluded his reminiscence saying, “We tremble to think what could happen if we allow a new generation to arise ignorant of the tragedy which is still shaping the future.”
President Bush, appearing almost uncomfortable, read a statement that said that humanity was “bound by conscience to remember what happened” and that “the record has been kept and preserved.” The record, Mr. Bush stated, was that one of the worst acts of genocide in human history “came not from crude and uneducated men, but from men who regarded themselves as cultured and well schooled, modern men, forward looking. Their crime showed the world that evil can slip in and blend in amid the most civilized surroundings. In the end only conscience can stop it.”
But while President Bush publicly embraced the community of holocaust survivors in Washington last spring, he and his family have been keeping a secret from them for over 50 years about Prescott Bush, the president’s grandfather. According to classified documents from Dutch intelligence and US government archives, President George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush made considerable profits off Auschwitz slave labor. In fact, President Bush himself is an heir to these profits from the holocaust which were placed in a blind trust in 1980 by his father, former president George Herbert Walker Bush.
Throughout the Bush family’s decades of public life, the American press has gone out of its way to overlook one historical fact – that through Union Banking Corporation (UBC), Prescott Bush, and his father-in-law, George Herbert Walker, along with German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, financed Adolf Hitler before and during World War II. It was first reported in 1994 by John Loftus and Mark Aarons in The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People.
The US government had known that many American companies were aiding Hitler, like Standard Oil, General Motors and Chase Bank, all of which was sanctioned after Pearl Harbor. But as The New York Times reporter Charles Higham later discovered, and published in his 1983 groundbreaking book, Trading With The Enemy; The Nazi American Money Plot 1933-1949, “the government smothered everything during and even after the war.”
Why? According to Higham, the US government believed “a public scandal … would have drastically affected public morale, caused widespread strikes and perhaps provoked mutinies in the armed services.” Higham claims the government thought “their trial and imprisonment would have made it impossible for the corporate boards to help the American war effort.” However, Prescott Bush’s banks were not just financing Hitler as previously reported. In fact, there was a distinct business link much deeper than Mr. Higham or Mr. Loftus knew at the time their books were published. A classified Dutch intelligence file which was leaked by a courageous Dutch intelligence officer, along with newly surfaced information from U.S. government archives, “confirms absolutely,” John Loftus says, the direct links between Bush, Thyssen and genocide profits from Auschwitz.
The business connections between Prescott Bush and Fritz Thyssen were more direct than what has been previously written. This new information reveals how Prescott Bush and UBC, which he managed directly, profited from the Holocaust. A case can be made that the inheritors of the Prescott Bush estate could be sued by survivors of the Holocaust and slave labor communities. To understand the complete picture of how Prescott Bush profited from the Holocaust, it is necessary to return to the year 1916, where it all began.
Post World War I: Thyssen Empire On The Ropes
By 1916, August Thyssen could see the writing on the wall. The “Great War” was spinning out of control, grinding away at Germany’s resources and economy. The government was broke and his company, Thyssen & Co., with 50,000 German workers and annual production of 1,000,000 tons of teel and iron, was buckling under the war’s pressure. As the main supplier of the German military, August Thyssen knew Germany would be defeated once the US entered the war.
At 74, “King” August Thyssen knew he was also running out of time. His first born “prince” Friedrich (Fritz) Thyssen, had been groomed at the finest technical business schools in Europe and was destined to inherit his father’s estimated $100,000,000 fortune and an industrial empire located at Muehhlheim on the Ruhr. In addition to Fritz, plans were also made for the second son Heinrich. At the outbreak of the war, Heinrich Thyssen discreetly changed his citizenship from German to Hungarian and married the Hungarian aristocrat Baroness Margrit Bornemisza de Kaszon. Soon Heinrich Thyssen switched his name to Baron Thyssen Bornemisza de Kaszon.
Near the end of World War I, August Thyssen opened the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam. The neutral Holland was the perfect location outside of Germany to launder assets from the August Thyssen Bank in Berlin when the financial demands of the Allied forces surfaced. But the war ended much sooner than even Thyssen calculated and what developed caught the “Rockefeller of the Ruhr” off guard.
On November 10, 1918, German socialists took over Berlin. The following morning at 5 a.m., what was left of Germany surrendered to the Allies, officially ending World War I. “At the time of the Armistice and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, my Father and I were deeply saddened by the spectacle of Germany’s abject humiliation,” Thyssen recalled later in his autobiography, I Paid Hitler.
After the war, chaos descended on Germany as food ran short. Winter was looming over a starving nation when on Dec. 7, 1918, the socialist Spartacists League came knocking on the Thyssen Villa with armed militia. August and Fritz were arrested and dragged from jail to jail across Germany for four days. Along the way, they were lined up in staged executions designed to terrorize them.
It worked. When released, the two Thyssens were horrified at the new political climate in their beloved Germany. They could not accept that Germany was responsible for its own demise. All Germany’s problems, the Thyssens felt, “have almost always been due to foreigners.” It was the Jews, he and many others believed, who were secretly behind the socialist movement across the globe.
Meanwhile Fritz’s younger brother Baron Thyssen Bornemisza de Kaszon moved to Rotterdam and became the principal owner of the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart. All the Thyssens needed now was an American branch. 1920s: The Business Ties That Bind Railroad baron E.H. Harriman’s son Averell wanted nothing to do with railroads, so his father gave him an investment firm, W.A. Harriman & Company in New York City. E.H. hired the most qualified person in the country to run the operation, George Herbert Walker. Averell hired his little brother Edward Roland “Bunny” Harriman as a vice president.
By 1920, George Herbert Walker had already built a fortune in Missouri. Walker, a charismatic former heavyweight boxing champion, was a human pit bull. He lived life to the fullest, owning mansions around the east coast and one of the most extravagant apartments in Manhattan. His hobbies were golf, hunting, drinking scotch and beating his sons to a pulp. Elsie Walker, one of Walker’s grandchildren described Walker as a “tough old bastard” whose children had no love “for their father.” He was also religious bigot who hated Catholics, although his parents raised him to be one. According to other sources, he also did not like Jews.
In 1922, Averell Harriman traveled to Germany to set up a W.A. Harriman & Co. branch in Berlin. The Berlin branch was also run by Walker. While in Germany, he met with the Thyssen family for the first time. Harriman agreed to help the Thyssens with their plan for an American bank. The following year, a wounded Germany was growing sicker. The government had no solution and froze while Germany rotted from within. With widespread strikes and production at a near standstill, Fritz Thyssen later recalled, “We were at the worst time of the inflation. In Berlin the government was in distress. It was ruined financially. Authority was crumbling. In Saxony a communist government had been formed and the Red terror, organized by Max Hoelz, reigned through the countryside.
The German Reich … was now about to crumble.” In October, 1923, an emotionally desperate Fritz Thyssen went to visit one of his and Germany’s great military heroes, General Erich Ludendorff. During the 1918 socialist rule in Berlin, Ludendorff organized a military resistance against the socialists and the industrialists were in great debt to him. When Thyssen met with Ludendorff, they discussed Germany’s economic collapse. Thyssen was apocalyptic, fearing the worst was yet to come. Ludendorff disagreed. “There is bu one hope,” Ludendorff said, “Adolph Hitler and the National Socialist party.” Ludendorff respected Hitler immensely. “He is the only man who has any political sense.” Ludendorff encouraged Thyssen to join the Nazi movement. “Go listen to him one day” he said to Thyssen.
Thyssen followed General Ludendorff’s advice and went to a number of meetings to hear Hitler speak. He became mesmerized by Hitler. “I realized his orator gifts and his ability to lead the masses. What impressed me most however was the order that reigned over his meetings, the almost military discipline of his followers.” Thyssen arranged to meet privately with Hitler and Ludendorff in Munich. Hitler told Thyssen the Nazi movement was in financial trouble, it was not growing fast enough and was nationally irrelevant. Hitler needed as much money as possible to fight off the Communists/Jewish conspiracy against Europe. Hitler envisioned a fascist German monarchy with a nonunion, antilock national work force.
Thyssen was overjoyed with the Nazi platform. He gave Hitler and Ludendorff 100,000 gold marks ($25,000) for the infant Nazi party. Others in the steel and coal industries soon followed Thyssen’s lead, although none came close to matching him. Many business leaders in Germany supported Hitler’s secret union-hating agenda. However, some donated because they feared they would be left out in the cold if he actually ever seized power. Most industry leaders gave up on Hitler after his failed coup in 1923. While Hitler spent a brief time in jail, the Thyssens, through the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, opened the Union Banking Corporation in 1924.
Union Banking Corporation
Early in 1924, Hendrick J. Kouwenhoven, the managing director of Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, traveled to New York to meet with Walker and the Harriman brothers. Together, they established The Union Banking Corporation. The UBC’s headquarters was located at the same 39 Broadway address as Harriman & Co. As the German economy recovered through the mid to late ’20s, Walker and Harriman’s firm sold over $50,000,000 worth of German bonds to American investors, who profited enormously from the economic boom in Germany. In 1926, August Thyssen died at the age of 84. Fritz was now in control of one of the largest industrial families in Europe. He quickly created the United Steel Works (USW), the biggest industrial conglomerate in German history. Thyssen hired Albert Volger, one of the Ruhr’s most influential industrialdirectors, as director General of USW. Thyssen also brought Fredich Flick, another German family juggernaut, on board. Flick owned coal and steel industries throughout Germany and Poland and desperately wanted to invest into the Thyssen empire. One of the primary motivations for the Thyssen/Flick massive steel and coal merger was suppressing the new labor and socialist movements.
That year in New York, George Walker decided to give his new son in law, Prescott Bush, a big break. Walker made Bush a vice president of Harriman & Co. Prescott’s new office employed many of his classmates from his Yale class of 1917, including Roland Harriman and Knight Woolley. The three had been close friends at Yale and were all members of Skull and Bones, the mysterious on-campus secret society. Despite the upbeat fraternity atmosphere at Harriman & Co., it was also a place of hard work, and no one worked harder than Prescott Bush.
In fact, Walker hired Bush to help him supervise the new Thyssen/Flick United Steel Works. One section of the USW empire was the Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation and the Upper Silesian Coal and Steel Company located in the Silesian section of Poland. Thyssen and Flick paid Bush and Walker generously, but it was worth every dime. Their new business arrangement pleased them all financially, and the collective talents of all four men and their rapid success astonished the business world.
In the meantime Hitler and the Nazi party were broke. Since the German economic recovery, members and donations had dried up, leaving the Nazi movement withering on the vine. In 1927, Hitler was desperate for cash; his party was slipping into debt. Hitler told his private secretary Rudolf Hess to shake down wealthy coal tycoon and Nazi sympathizer Emil Kirdorf. Kirdorf paid off Hitler’s debt that year but the following year, he too had no money left to contribute.
In 1928, Hitler had his eyes on the enormous Barlow Palace located in Briennerstrasse, the most aristocratic section of Munich. Hitler wanted to convert the palace into the Nazi national headquarters and change its name to the Brown House but it was out of his price range. Hitler told Hess to contact Thyssen. After hearing the Hess appeal, Thyssen felt it was time to give Hitler a second chance. Through the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, Thyssen said he “placed Hess in possession of the required funds” to purchase and redesign the Palace. Thyssen later said the amount was about 250,000 marks but leading Nazis later claimed that just the re-molding cost over 800,000 marks (equivalent to $2 million today).
Regardless of the cost, Hitler and Thyssen became close friends after the purchase of the Brown House. At the time, neither knew how influential that house was to become the following year when, in 1929, the great depression spread around the world. With the German economic recovery up in flames, Hitler knew there was going to be a line out the door of industrialists waiting to give him cash.
1930s: Hitler Rises – Thyssen/Bush Cash In
Thyssen would later try to claim that his weekends with Hitler and Hess at his Rhineland castles were not personal but strictly business and that he did not approve of most of Hitler’s ideas, but the well-known journalist R.G Waldeck, who spent time with Thyssen at a spa in the Black Forest, remembered quite differently. Waldeck said when he and Thyssen would walk through the cool Black Forest in 1929-30, Thyssen would tell Waldeck that he believed in Hitler. He spoke of Hitler “with warmth” and said the Nazis were “new men” that would make Germany strong again. With the depression bleeding Europe, Thyssen’s financial support made Hitler’s rise to power almost inevitable.
The great depression also rocked Harriman & Co. The following year, Harriman & Co. merged with the London firm Brown/Shipley. Brown/Shipley kept its name, but Harriman & Co. changed its name to Brown Brother Harriman. The new firm moved to 59 Wall St. while UBC stayed at 39 Broadway. Averell Harriman and Prescott Bush reestablished a holding company called The Harriman 15 Corporation. One of the companies Harriman had held stock in was the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company. Two thirds of the company was owned by Friedrich Flick. The rest was owned by Harriman.
In December 1931, Fritz Thyssen officially joined the Nazi party. When Thyssen joined the movement, the Nazi party was gaining critical mass around Germany. The charismatic speeches and persona of Hitler, the depression and the Thyssen’s Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart all contributed to Hitler’s sudden rise in popularity with the German people. In September 1932, Thyssen invited a group of elite German industrial tycoons to his castle to meet with Hitler. They spent hours questioning Hitler, who answered all their questions with the ‘”utmost satisfaction,” Thyssen remembered. The money poured in from the industrial circles mostly due to Hitler’s “monarchistic attitude” towards labor and issues of class.
But by November, German voters grew weary of Hitler’s antidemocratic tendencies and turned to the Communist party, which gained the most seats in the fall election. The Nazis lost a sweeping 35 seats in the Reichstag, but since the Nazis were already secretly negotiating a power sharing alliance with Hindenberg that would ultimately lead to Hitler declaring himself dictator, the outcry of German voters was politically insignificant.
By 1934, Hindenberg was dead and Hitler completely controlled Germany. In March, Hitler announced his plans for a vast new highway system. He wanted to connect the entire Reich with an unprecedented wide road design, especially around major ports. Hitler wanted to bring down unemployment but, more importantly, needed the new roads for speedy military maneuvers. Hitler also wanted to seriously upgrade Germany’s military machine. Hitler ordered a'”rebirth of the German army” and contracted Thyssen and United Steel Works for the overhaul. Thyssen’s steel empire was the cold steel heart of the new Nazi war machine that led the way to World War II, killing millions across Europe.
Thyssen’s and Flick’s profits soared into the hundreds of millions in 1934 and the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart and UBC in New York were overflowing with money. Prescott Bush became managing director of UBC and handled the day-to-day operations of the new German economic plan. Bush’s shares in UBC peaked with Hitler’s new German order. But while production rose, cronyism did as well.
On March 19, 1934, Prescott Bush handed Averell Harriman a copy of that day’s New York Times. The Polish government was applying to take over Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation and Upper Silesian Coal and Steel Company from ‘”German and American interests” because of rampant “mismanagement, excessive borrowing, fictitious bookkeeping and gambling in securities.” The Polish government required the owners of the company, which accounted for over 45% of Poland’s steel production, to pay at least its full share of back taxes. Bush and Harriman would eventually hire attorney John Foster Dulles to help cover up any improprieties that might arise under investigative scrutiny.
Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939 ended the debate about Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation and Upper Silesian Coal and Steel Company. The Nazis knocked the Polish Government off Thyssen, Flick and Harriman’s steel company and were planning to replace the paid workers. Originally Hitler promised Stalin they would share Poland and use Soviet prisoners as slaves in Polish factories. Hitler’s promise never actually materialized and he eventually invaded Russia.
1940s: Business As Usual
Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation was located near the Polish town of Oswiecim, one of Poland’s richest mineral regions. That was where Hitler set up the Auschwitz concentration camp. When the plan to work Soviet prisoners fell through, the Nazis transferred Jews, communists, gypsies and other minority populations to the camp. The prisoners of Auschwitz who were able to work were shipped to 30 different companies. One of the companies was the vast Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation. “Nobody’s made the connection before between Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation, Auschwitz and Prescott Bush,” John Loftus told Clamor. “That was the reason why Auschwitz was built there. The coal deposits could be processed into either coal or additives for aviation gasoline.”
Even though Thyssen and Flick’s Consolidated Steel was in their possession, Hitler’s invasions across Europe spooked them, bringing back memories of World War I. Thyssen and Flick sold Consolidated Steel to UBC. Under the complete control of Harriman and management of Bush, the company became Silesian American Corporation which became part of UBC and Harriman’s portfolio of 15 corporations. Thyssen quickly moved to Switzerland and later France to hide from the terror about to be unleashed by the Nazi war machine he had helped build.
A portion of the slave labor force in Poland was “managed by Prescott Bush,” according to a Dutch intelligence agent. In 1941, slave labor had become the lifeblood of the Nazi war machine. The resources of Poland’s rich steel and coal field played an essential part in Hitler’s invasion of Europe. According to Higham, Hitler and the Fraternity of American businessmen “not only sought a continuing alliance of interests for the duration of World War II, but supported the idea of a negotiated peace with Germany that would bar any reorganization of Europe along liberal lines. It would leave as its residue a police state that would place the Fraternity in postwar possession of financial, industrial, and political autonomy.”
Six days after Pearl Harbor and the US declaration of war at the end of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau and US Attorney General Francis Biddle signed the Trading With the Enemy Act, which banned any business interests with US enemies of war. Prescott Bush continued with business as usual, aiding the Nazi invasion of Europe and supplying resources for weaponry that would eventually be turned on American solders in combat against Germany.
On October 20, 1942, the U.S. government had had enough of Prescott Bush and his Nazi business arrangements with Thyssen. Over the summer, The New York Tribune had exposed Bush and Thyssen, whom the Tribune dubbed “Hitler’s Angel.” When the US government saw UBC’s books, they found out that Bush’s bank and its shareholders “are held for the benefit of … members of the Thyssen family, [and] is property of nationals … of a designated enemy country.” The list of seven UBC share holders was:E. Roland Harriman – 3991 shares Cornelis Lievense – 4 shares Harold D.Pennington – 1 share Ray Morris– 1 share Prescott S. Bush – 1 share H.J. Kouwenhoven – 1 share Johann G. Groeninger – 1 share.
The UBC books also revealed the myriad of money and holding companies funneled from the Thyssens and the government realized UBC was just the tip of the iceberg. On November 17, 1942, The US government also took over the Silesian American Corporation, but did not prosecute Bush for the reasons Higham noted earlier. The companies were allowed to operate within the Government Alien Property custodian office with a catch – no aiding the Nazis. In 1943, while still owning his stock, Prescott Bush resigned from UBC and even helped raise money for dozens of war-related causes as chairman of the National War Fund.
After the war, the Dutch government began investigating the whereabouts of some jewelry of the Dutch royal family that was stolen by the Nazis. They started looking into books of the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart. When they discovered the transaction papers of the Silesian American Corporation, they began asking the bank manager H.J. Kounhoven a lot of questions. Kouwenhoven was shocked at the discovery and soon traveled to New York to inform Prescott Bush. According to Dutch intelligence, Kouwenhoven met with Prescott soon after Christmas, 1947. Two weeks later, Kouwenhoven apparently died of a heart attack.
1950s: Bush Sells UBC Stock
By 1948, Fritz Thyssen’s life was in ruins. After being jailed by the Nazis, he was jailed by the Allies and interrogated extensively, but not completely, by US investigators. Thyssen and Flick were ordered to pay reparations and served time in prison for their atrocious crimes against humanity.
On February 8, 1951, Fritz Thyssen died bitterly in Argentina at the age of 78. Thyssen was angry at the way he was treated by Europe after the war and how history would remember him as Hitler’s most important and prominent financier. When Thyssen died, the Alien Property Custodian released the assets of the Union Banking Corporation to Brown Brothers Harriman. The remaining stockholders cashed in their stocks and quietly liquidated the rest of UBC’s blood money.
Prescott Bush received $1.5 million for his share in UBC. That money enabled Bush to help his son, George Herbert Walker Bush, to set up his first royalty firm, Overby Development Company, that same year. It was also helpful when Prescott Bush left the business world to enter the public arena in 1952 with a successful senatorial campaign in Connecticut. On October 8th, 1972, Prescott Bush died of cancer and his will was enacted soon after. In 1980, when George H.W. Bush was elected vice president, he placed his father’s family inherence in a blind trust. The trust was managed by his old friend and quail hunting partner, William “Stamps” Farish III. Bush’s choice of Farish to manage the family wealth is quite revealing in that it demonstrates that the former president might know exactly where some of his inheritance originated. Farish’s grandfather, William Farish Jr., on March 25th, 1942, pleaded “no contest” to conspiring with Nazi Germany while president of Standard Oil in New Jersey. He was described by Senator Harry Truman in public of approaching “treason” for profiting off the Nazi war machine. Standard Oil, invested millions in IG Farben, who opened a gasoline factory within Auschwitz in 1940. The billions “Stamps” inherited had more blood on it then Bush, so the paper trail of UBC stock would be safe during his 12 years in presidential politics. It has been 60 years since one of the great money laundering scandals of the 20th century ended and only now are we beginning to see the true historical aspects of this important period of world history, a history that the remaining Holocaust survivors beg humanity to “never forget.”
Loftus believes history will view Prescott Bush as harshly as Thyssen. “It is bad enough that the Bush family helped raise the money for Thyssen to give Hitler his start in the 1920s, but giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war is treason. The Bush bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that killed Allied solders. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse. Thyssen’s coal mines used Jewish slaves as if they were disposable chemicals. There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet, and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered about the Bush family’s complicity.”
There is no question that the Bush family needs to donate at least $1.5 million to the proper holocaust reparation fund. Since Prescott Bush is dead, the only way to compensate is for the main inheritors of his estate to make amends with surviving slaves and the families of slaves who died in Bush and Thyssen’s coal mines. If the Bush family refuses to contribute the money to compensate for Prescott Bush’s involvement in the Holocaust, it is like denying the Holocaust itself and their role in one of the darkest moments in world history.
Special thanks to John Loftus, Emmy winning journalist, author and current president of the Florida Holocaust Museum.
The Bush family and the Jews By Anne E. Kornblut
Unlike his father and grandfather, George W. has crafted a pro-Jewish image. Flanked by Jewish leaders, President George W. Bush signed a proclamation March 25 recognizing the commitment to education demonstrated by the late leader of the Jewish Lubavitcher movement, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
In 1998, George W. Bush took his first and only trip to the Holy Land. During a helicopter tour, guided by none other than Ariel Sharon, Bush was astonished to discover how tiny Israel is compared to its Arab neighbors. He later described the visit as one of the most meaningful experiences of his life. A photographer captured a striking image of Bush, in a yarmulke, standing reverently at the Wailing Wall. The picture may be a symbol of Bush foreign policy these days, but it speaks to an even more startling truth: Bush is the first in his family of politicians to craft a pro-Jewish image.
Starting with accusations that Prescott Bush was a Nazi collaborator before Pearl Harbor, the Bush dynasty has generally been viewed with suspicion and at times outright hostility by Jewish Americans. The elder President Bush outraged the Jewish community with a series of perceived insults. Before he became president, the younger Bush, who once expressed doubt about whether non-Christians could get into heaven, seemed likely to follow in the family tradition.
THE FAMILY TREE
The charges against Sen. Prescott Bush, the grandfather of the current president, went beyond the disdain for Jews and discriminatory practices that were characteristic of New England WASP culture in his day. Prescott Bush was a director of a New York bank where rich Germans who supported the Nazis stashed millions in personal wealth. He was still a director at the bank, Union Banking Corp., when its assets were frozen under the Trading With the Enemy Act in 1941 – a fact that has provided endless fodder for leftists and conspiracy theorists since it came to light in the 1990s.
George Herbert Walker Bush shared the same exclusionary pedigree as his father, starting with Yale and the secret society Skull & Bones, and had extensive ties to Arabs though the oil industry as well. But most Jews did not consider him unfriendly to their interests so long as he served under Ronald Reagan. Reagan was the first Republican in 80 years to win a sizable share of the Jewish vote. There were a variety of reasons for this, but the key issue was Reagan’s hard line on the defense of Israel, which he considered a crucial democratic outpost in the fight against Soviet communism. In the 1980 election, Jimmy Carter won 45 percent of the Jewish vote. Reagan won 39 percent.
HARD LINE ON ISRAEL
That remarkable shift, however, began to be undone almost as soon as George H.W. Bush took over in 1989. Bush was a self-described pragmatist in international affairs, and in the giddy early days after the end of the Cold War, it was no longer fashionable to view the world in binary terms. As a result, many conservative ideological causes, among them Israel, no longer found a champion in the White House. The point was made most clearly when Bush demanded, in 1991, that the Israelis stop building new settlements in Palestinian-controlled territories. Unlike previous presidents, Bush sounded serious, threatening to block millions in loan guarantees if Israel disobeyed. Later, when his re-election was in doubt in 1992, Bush promised to press Congress for the loan guarantees unconditionally.
Just as damaging was the elder Bush’s knack for seeming as out of touch with Jewish voters as he did with everyone else. Once, during a 1991 White House press conference, Bush Sr. complained about the strength of the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill, the implication being that “Jews work insidiously behind the scenes,” as David J. Forman wrote in the Jerusalem Post. On another occasion, Bush reminded his critics that the United States gives “Israel the equivalent of $1,000 for every Israeli citizen,” a remark that detractors took as an allusion to the stereotype of Jews as money-obsessed and greedy.
And then there was Secretary of State James Baker’s infamous “f– the Jews” remark. In a private conversation with a colleague about Israel, Baker reportedly uttered the vulgarity, noting that Jews “didn’t vote for us anyway.” This was more or less true – Bush got 27 percent of the Jewish vote, compared with 73 percent for Dukakis, in 1988. And thanks in part to Baker, it was even truer in 1992, when Bill Clinton got 78 percent of the Jewish vote and Bush got only 15 percent – the poorest showing by a Republican candidate since Barry Goldwater in 1964.
COURTING THE JEWISH VOTE
In 2000, as Al Gore hit the campaign trail with the first Jewish vice presidential running mate in U.S. history on his ticket, George W. Bush seemed to make only a half-hearted attempt to compete for Jewish votes. He paid the obligatory dues, speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and visiting the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles (where, after touring the sobering Holocaust exhibit, he incongruously signed the guest book, “God bless this world!”). But Bush reserved his real pitch for Arab-Americans, whom his strategists viewed as an increasingly powerful voting bloc. Repeated trips to Michigan, a swing state, gave Bush ample opportunity to meet with Arab-American leaders, heavily concentrated around Detroit. Ironically, he made a campaign pledge to examine “secret evidence” cases against foreign suspects, a matter of great concern among Arab-Americans (and one that fell by the wayside after Sept. 11). Like his father, Bush failed during the campaign to win over neoconservative Jewish intellectuals – most notably William Kristol, who openly backed John McCain. The problem wasn’t just the assumption that he shared his father’s coolness toward Israel. It was also his perceived insensitivity toward Jews, as characterized by the only-Christians-in-heaven remark. Bush later joked about the uproar caused by the exchange. Asked by a reporter what he planned to tell the Israelis as he prepared to embark on his 1998 trip to the Middle East, Bush replied, obviously in jest, “Go to hell.” Gore got 79 percent of the Jewish vote. Bush got only 19 percent.
BREAK FROM PAST
Unlike his father, George W. Bush has risen in the esteem of many prominent Jews since taking office. But unlike his father, who never managed to repair his relationship with the Jewish community despite several attempts, Bush has only risen in the esteem of many prominent Jews since taking office. The biggest factor is probably the Sept. 11 attacks. After a brief flurry of activity to win Arab support for the war on Afghanistan, Bush began to connect America’s struggle against terrorism with Israel’s fight against Palestinian suicide bombers. Though he was criticized for sitting on the sidelines as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict worsened, Bush arguably took sides by dropping the standard call for the Israelis to “show restraint.” After briefly responding to international pressure to demand an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, Bush quickly backed off.
Another factor is shrewd political judgment. At pains to avoid repeating political mistakes his father made, Bush has actively courted conservatives within the Republican coalition. That includes Jewish neoconservatives such as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who hopes to encourage Bush to avoid another mistake of his father’s – failing to topple Saddam Hussein. It was Wolfowitz who Bush sent to address the big pro-Israel rally that took place at the Capitol on April 15.
But the biggest reason Bush has been able to win over Jews may be personal. Despite his own Skull & Bones pedigree, the president is far less WASP-ish in his tastes and manner than past generations of Bushes, making him less suspect in the eyes of some Jewish Americans. Moreover, he is openly religious in a way that conveys deep respect for religious believers of all kinds. He may even be influenced by the view of Gary Bauer and other fundamentalist Christians who believe that the Jews are biblically ordained to live in the Holy Land. And unlike his father’s administration, George W. Bush’s is prominently filled with members of the tribe. Most notably, the public face of the White House, spokesman Ari Fleischer, is a practicing Jew. But whatever the impetus, Bush appears to be entirely sincere in his warmth toward the Jewish people. Since Sept. 11, he has resisted condemning his old tour guide, Ariel Sharon, as harshly as his father condemned former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. He has also applied the “Bush Doctrine” to Israel, saying in his April 4 Rose Garden address: “Terror must be stopped. No nation can negotiate with terrorists. For there is no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death.” It’s hard to imagine any Bush from a previous generation taking the side of the Jews so unequivocally.
Anne E. Kornblut is White House correspondent for the Boston Globe.
How the Bush Family Made Its Fortune From the Nazis by Robert Lederman
Note: This article’s author, John Loftus, is a former U.S.Department of Justice Nazi War Crimes prosecutor, the President of the Florida Holocaust Museum and the highly respected author of numerous books on the CIA-Nazi connection including The Belarus Secret and The Secret War Against the Jews, both of which have extensive material on the Bush-Rockefeller-Nazi connection.
by Attorney John Loftus
The Dutch Connection
How a famous American family made its fortune from the Nazis For the Bush family, it is a lingering nightmare. For their Nazi clients, the Dutch connection was the mother of all money laundering schemes. From 1945 until 1949, one of the lengthiest and, it now appears, most futile interrogations of a Nazi war crimes suspect began in the American Zone of Occupied Germany. Multibillionaire steel magnate Fritz Thyssen-the man whose steel combine was the cold heart of the Nazi war machine-talked and talked and talked to a joint US-UK interrogation team. For four long years, successive teams of inquisitors tried to break Thyssen’s simple claim to possess neither foreign bank accounts nor interests in foreign corporations,no assets that might lead to the missing billions in assets of the Third Reich. The inquisitors failed utterly. Why? Because what the wily Thyssen deposed was, in a sense, true. What the Allied investigators never understood was that they were not asking Thyssen the right question. Thyssen did not need any foreign bank accounts because his family secretly owned an entire chain of banks. He did not have to transfer his Nazi assets at the end of World War II, all he had to do was transfer the ownership documents – stocks, bonds, deeds and trusts–from his bank in Berlin through his bank in Holland to his American friends in New York City: Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker. Thyssen’s partners in crime were the father and father-in-law of a future President of the United States.
The allied investigators underestimated Thyssen’s reach, his connections, his motives, and his means. The web of financial entities Thyssen helped create in the 1920’s remained a mystery for the rest of the twentieth century, an almost perfectly hidden underground sewer pipeline for moving dirty money, money that bankrolled the post-war fortunes not only of the Thyssen industrial empire…but the Bush family as well. It was a secret Fritz Thyssen would take to his grave.
It was a secret that would lead former US intelligence agent William Gowen, now pushing 80, to the very doorstep of the Dutch royal family. The Gowens are no strangers to controversy or nobility. His father was one of President Roosevelt’s diplomatic emissaries to Pope Pius XII, leading a futile attempt to persuade the Vatican to denounce Hitler’s treatment of Jews. It was his son, William Gowen, who served in Rome after World War II as a Nazi hunter and investigator with the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps. It was Agent Gowen who first discovered the secret Vatican Ratline for smuggling Nazis in 1949. It was also the same William Gowen who began to uncover the secret Dutch pipeline for smuggling Nazi money in 1999. A half-century earlier, Fritz Thyssen was telling the allied investigators that he had no interest in foreign companies, that Hitler had turned on him and seized most of his property. His remaining assets were mostly in the Russian Occupied Zone of Germany (which he knew were a write-off anyway).
His distant (and disliked) relatives in neutral nations like Holland were the actual owners of a substantial percentage of the remaining German industrial base. As innocent victims of the Third Reich, they were lobbying the allied occupation governments in Germany, demanding restitution of the property that had been seized from them by the Nazis. Under the rules of the Allied occupation of Germany, all property owned by citizens of a neutral nation which had been seized by the Nazis had to be returned to the neutral citizens upon proper presentation of documents showing proof of ownership. Suddenly, all sorts of neutral parties, particularly in Holland, were claiming ownership of various pieces of the Thyssen empire. In his cell, Fritz Thyssen just smiled and waited to be released from prison while members of the Dutch royal family and the Dutch intelligence service reassembled his pre-war holdings for him.
The British and American interrogators may have gravely underestimated Thyssen but they nonetheless knew they were being lied to. Their suspicions focused on one Dutch Bank in particular, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, in Rotterdam. This bank did a lot of business with the Thyssens over the years. In 1923, as a favor to him, the Rotterdam bank loaned the money to build the very first Nazi party headquarters in Munich. But somehow the allied investigations kept going nowhere, the intelligence leads all seemed to dry up.
If the investigators realized that the US intelligence chief in postwar Germany, Allen Dulles, was also the Rotterdam bank’s lawyer, they might have asked some very interesting questions. They did not know that Thyssen was Dulles’ client as well. Nor did they ever realize that it was Allen Dulles’s other client, Baron Kurt Von Schroeder who was the Nazi trustee for the Thyssen companies which now claimed to be owned by the Dutch. The Rotterdam Bank was at the heart of Dulles’ cloaking scheme, and he guarded its secrets jealously.
Several decades after the war, investigative reporter Paul Manning, Edward R. Murrow’s colleague, stumbled across the Thyssen interrogations in the US National Archives. Manning intended to write a book about Nazi money laundering. Manning’s manuscript was a dagger at Allen Dulles’ throat: his book specifically mentioned the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart by name, albeit in passing. Dulles volunteered to help the unsuspecting Manning with his manuscript, and sent him on a wild goose chase, searching for Martin Bormann in South America. Without knowing that he had been deliberately sidetracked, Manning wrote a forward to his book personally thanking Allen Dulles for his “assurance that I was “on the right track, and should keep going.'” Dulles sent Manning and his manuscript off into the swamps of obscurity. The same “search for Martin Bormann” scam was also used to successfully discredit Ladislas Farago, another American journalist probing too far into the laundering of Nazi money. American investigators had to be sent anywhere but Holland. And so the Dutch connection remained unexplored until 1994 when I published the book “The Secret War Against the Jews.” As a matter of historical curiosity, I mentioned that Fritz Thyssen (and indirectly, the Nazi Party) had obtained their early financing from Brown Brothers Harriman, and its affiliate, the Union Banking Corporation. Union Bank, in turn, was the Bush family’s holding company for a number of other entities, including the “Holland American Trading Company.”
It was a matter of public record that the Bush holdings were seized by the US government after the Nazis overran Holland. In 1951, the Bush’s reclaimed Union Bank from the US Alien Property Custodian, along with their “neutral” Dutch assets. I did not realize it, but I had stumbled across a very large piece of the missing Dutch connection. Bush’s ownership of the Holland-American investment company was the missing link to Manning’s earlier research in the Thyssen investigative files. In 1981, Manning had written: “Thyssen’s first step in a long dance of tax and currency frauds began [in the late 1930’s] when he disposed of his shares in the Dutch Hollandische-Amerikanische Investment Corporation to be credited to the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, N.V., Rotterdam, the bank founded in 1916 by August Thyssen Senior.”
In this one obscure paragraph, in a little known book, Manning had unwittingly documented two intriguing points: 1) The Bush’s Union Bank had apparently bought the same corporate stock that the Thyssens were selling as part of their Nazi money laundering, and 2) the Rotterdam Bank, far from hindsight, Manning and I had uncovered different ends of the Dutch connection. After reading the excerpt in my book about the Bush’s ownership of the Holland-American Trading Company, retired US intelligence agent William Gowen began to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Mr. Gowen knew every corner of Europe from his days as a diplomat’s son, an American intelligence agent, and a newspaperman. William Gowen deserves sole credit for uncovering the mystery of how the Nazi industrialists hid their money from the Allies at the end of World War II.
In 1999, Mr. Gowen traveled to Europe, at his own expense, to meet a former member of Dutch intelligence who had detailed inside information about the Rotterdam bank. The scrupulous Gowen took a written statement and then had his source read and correct it for error. Here, in summary form, is how the Nazis hid their money in America. After World War I, August Thyssen had been badly burned by the loss of assets under the harsh terms of the Versailles treaty. He was determined that it would never happen again. One of his sons would join the Nazis; the other would be neutral. No matter who won the next war, the Thyssen family would survive with their industrial empire intact. Fritz Thyssen joined the Nazis in 1923; his younger brother married into Hungarian nobility and changed his name to Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza. The Baron later claimed Hungarian as well as Dutch citizenship. In public, he pretended to detest his Nazi brother, but in private they met at secret board meetings in Germany to coordinate their operations. If one brother were threatened with loss of property, he would transfer his holdings to the other.
To aid his sons in their shell game, August Thyssen had established three different banks during the 1920’s — The August Thyssen Bank in Berlin, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam, and the Union Banking Corporation in New York City. To protect their corporate holdings, all the brothers had to do was move the corporate paperwork from one bank to the other. This they did with some regularity. When Fritz Thyssen “sold” the Holland-American Trading Company for a tax loss, the Union Banking Corporation in New York bought the stock. Similarly, the Bush family invested the disguised Nazi profits in American steel and manufacturing corporations that became part of the secret Thyssen empire. When the Nazis invaded Holland in May 1940, they investigated the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam. Fritz Thyssen was suspected by Hitler’s auditors of being a tax fraud and of illegally transferring his wealth outside the Third Reich. The Nazi auditors were right: Thyssen felt that Hitler’s economic policies would dilute his wealth through ruinous war inflation. He had been smuggling his war profits out through Holland. But the Rotterdam vaults were empty of clues to where the money had gone. The Nazis did not know that all of the documents evidencing secret Thyssen ownership had been quietly shipped back to the August Thyssen Bank in Berlin, under the friendly supervision of Baron Kurt Von Schroeder. Thyssen spent the rest of the war under VIP house arrest. He had fooled Hitler, hidden his immense profits, and now it was time to fool the Americans with same shell game.
As soon as Berlin fell to the allies, it was time to ship the documents back to Rotterdam so that the “neutral” bank could claim ownership under the friendly supervision of Allen Dulles, who, as the OSS intelligence chief in 1945 Berlin, was well placed to handle any troublesome investigations. Unfortunately, the August Thyssen Bank had been bombed during the war, and the documents were buried in the underground vaults beneath the rubble. Worse, the vaults lay in the Soviet Zone of Berlin.
According to Gowen’s source, Prince Bernhard commanded a unit of Dutch intelligence, which dug up the incriminating corporate papers in 1945 and brought them back to the “neutral”bank in Rotterdam. The pretext was that the Nazis had stolen the crown jewels of his wife, Princess Juliana, and the Russians gave the Dutch permission to dig up the vault and retrieve them. Operation Juliana was a Dutch fraud on the Allies who searched high and low for the missing pieces of the Thyssen fortune.
In 1945, the former Dutch manager of the Rotterdam bank resumed control only to discover that he was sitting on a huge pile of hidden Nazi assets. In1947, the manager threatened to inform Dutch authorities, and was immediately fired by the Thyssens. The somewhat naive bank manager then fled to New York City where he intended to talk to Union Bank director Prescott Bush. As Gowen’s Dutch source recalled, the manager intended “to reveal [to Prescott Bush] the truth about Baron Heinrich and the Rotterdam Bank, [in order that] some or all of the Thyssen interests in the Thyssen Group might be seized and confiscated as German enemy property. “The manager’s body was found in New York two weeks later.
Similarly, in 1996 a Dutch journalist Eddy Roever went to London to interview the Baron, who was neighbors with Margaret Thatcher. Roever’s body was discovered two days later. Perhaps, Gowen remarked dryly, it was only a coincidence that both healthy men had died of heart attacks immediately after trying to uncover the truth about the Thyssens.
Neither Gowen nor his Dutch source knew about the corroborating evidence in the Alien Property Custodian archives or in the OMGUS archives. Together, the two separate sets of US files overlap each other and directly corroborate Gowen’s source. The first set of archives confirms absolutely that the Union Banking Corporation in New York was owned by the Rotterdam Bank. The second set (quoted by Manning) confirms that the Rotterdam Bank in turn was owned by the Thyssens.
It is not surprising that these two American agencies never shared their Thyssen files. As the noted historian Burton Hersh documented: “The Alien Property Custodian, Leo Crowley, was on the payroll of the New York J. Henry Schroeder Bank where Foster and Allen Dulles both sat as boardmembers. Foster arranged an appointment for himself as special legal counsel for the Alien Property Custodian while simultaneously representing [German] interests against the custodian.”
No wonder Allen Dulles had sent Paul Manning on a wild goose chase to South America. He was very close to uncovering the fact that the Bush’s bank in New York City was secretly owned by the Nazis, before during and after WWII. Once Thyssen ownership of the Union Banking Corporation is proven, it makes out a prima facie case of treason against the Dulles and Bush families for giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war.
The first key fact to be proven in any criminal case is that the Thyssen family secretly owned the Bush’s Bank. Apart from Gowen’s source, and the twin American files, a third set of corroboration comes from the Thyssen family themselves. In 1979, the present Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza (Fritz Thyssen’s nephew) prepared a written family history to be shared with his top management. A copy of this thirty-page tome entitled “The History of the Thyssen Family and Their Activities”was provided by Gowen’s source. It contains the following Thyssen admissions: “Thus, at the beginning of World War II the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart had become the holding of my father’s companies – a Dutch firm whose only shareholder was a Hungarian citizen. Prior to 1929, it held the shares of .the August Thyssen Bank, and also American subsidiaries and the Union Banking Corporation, New York.The shares of all the affiliates were [in 1945] with the August Thyssen Bank in the East Sector of Berlin, from where I was able to have them transferred into the West at the last moment” “After the war the Dutch government ordered an investigation into the status of the holding company and, pending the result, appointed a Dutch.former general manager of my father who turned against our family.. In that same year, 1947, I returned to Germany for the first time after the war, disguised as a Dutch driver in military uniform, to establish contact with our German directors”
“The situation of the Group gradually began to be resolved but it was not until 1955 that the German companies were freed from Allied control and subsequently disentangled. Fortunately, the companies in the group suffered little from dismantling. At last we were in a position to concentrate on purely economic problems — the reconstruction and extension of the companies and the expansion of the organization.” “The banking department of the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, which also functioned as the Group’s holding company, merged in 1970 with Nederlandse Credietbank N.V. which increased its capital. The Group received 25 percent.The Chase Manhattan Bank holds 31%. The name Thyssen-Bornemisza Group was selected for the new holding company.” Thus the twin US Archives, Gowen’s Dutch source, and the Thyssen family history all independently confirm that President Bush’s father and grandfather served on the board of a bank that was secretly owned by the leading Nazi industrialists. The Bush connection to these American institutions is a matter of public record. What no one knew, until Gowen’s brilliant research opened the door, was that the Thyssens were the secret employers of the Bush family.
But what did the Bush family know about their Nazi connection and when did they know it? As senior managers of Brown Brothers Harriman, they had to have known that their American clients, such as the Rockefellers, were investing heavily in German corporations, including Thyssen’s giant Vereinigte Stahlwerke. As noted historian Christopher Simpson repeatedly documents, it is a matter of public record that Brown Brother’s investments in Nazi Germany took place under the Bush family stewardship. When war broke out was Prescott Bush stricken with a case of Waldheimers disease, a sudden amnesia about his Nazi past? Or did he really believe that our friendly Dutch allies owned the Union Banking Corporation and its parent bank in Rotterdam? It should be recalled that in January 1937, he hired Allen Dulles to “cloak “his accounts. But cloak from whom? Did he expect that happy little Holland was going to declare war on America? The cloaking operation only makes sense in anticipation of a possible war with Nazi Germany. If Union Bank was not the conduit for laundering the Rockefeller’s Nazi investments back to America, then how could the Rockefeller-controlled Chase Manhattan Bank end up owning 31% of the Thyssen group after the war? It should be noted that the Thyssen group (TBG) is now the largest industrial conglomerate in Germany, and with a net worth of more than $50 billion dollars, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world. TBG is so rich it even bought out the Krupp family, famous arms makers for Hitler, leaving the Thyssens as the undisputed champion survivors of the Third Reich. Where did the Thyssens get the start-up money to rebuild their empire with such speed after World War II? The enormous sums of money deposited into the Union Bank prior to 1942 is the best evidence that Prescott Bush knowingly served as a money launderer for the Nazis. Remember that Union Banks’ books and accounts were frozen by the U.S. Alien Property Custodian in 1942 and not released back to the Bush family until 1951. At that time, Union Bank shares representing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of industrial stocks and bonds were unblocked for distribution. Did the Bush family really believe that such enormous sums came from Dutch enterprises? One could sell tulip bulbs and wooden shoes for centuries and not achieve those sums. A fortune this size could only have come from the Thyssen profits made from rearming the Third Reich, and then hidden, first from the Nazi tax auditors, and then from the Allies.
The Bushes knew perfectly well that Brown Brothers was the American money channel into Nazi Germany, and that Union Bank was the secret pipeline to bring the Nazi money back to America from Holland. The Bushes had to have known how the secret money circuit worked because they were on the board of directors in both directions: Brown Brothers out, Union Bank in. Moreover, the size of their compensation is commensurate with their risk as Nazi money launderers. In 1951, Prescott Bush and his father in law each received one share of Union Bank stock, worth $750,000 each. One and a half million dollars was a lot of money in 1951. But then, from the Thyssen point of view, buying the Bushes was the best bargain of the war.
The bottom line is harsh: It is bad enough that the Bush family helped raise the money for Thyssen to give Hitler his start in the 1920’s, but giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war is treason. The Bush’s bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that killed allied soldiers. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse. Thyssen’s coal mines used Jewish slaves as if they were disposable chemicals. There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet, and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered about the Bush family’s complicity.
© Copyright 2003 John Loftus. All rights reserved.
There has been a thread that I instigated (advertently? inadvertently?) on the Rainbow list. My thoughts below make it clear as to what has been said.
First of all, it might surprise you, but I hold by what you write, John. I thank you for inspiring me to think and reflect. It does a mind and soul good.
I have only a moment, so I will say this about the economic aid that Israel receives. First of all, Teal (do I know you?), Way back, about 12 years ago, Israel told America with profound gratitude, that it no longer required the economic aid and voluntarily gave it up.
Aid for defense purposes continued. However, some 80% of the aid never leaves America as the rules require Israel spend the money IN AMERCA BUYING AMERICAN ARMS AND TECHNOLOGY.
Also, American aid, both economic and defense, only began for real and in any meaningful or substantial amounts, after 1968. So, on the economic end, the assistance lasted about 26 of the 60 years Israel has existed as a sovereign nation.
Only an insignificant portion came without ‘rules of use.’ These ‘rules of use’ all had stiff requirements on how and how much, the money is used on any specific project. All these requiremetns represented the concious effort to advance American interests and influence and policy. Further, a great percentage of the aid came in the form of either loans or bonds that Israel had to and has paid back.
By the end, after you add it all up, the story is quite different than the sophistry of general, unspecific, idealogy and agenda driven statements, suggesting Israel as beggar and mooch, just raking in billions of taxpayer dollars for its own greedy purposes.
Think of it in Rainbow terms. Imagine you have focalized a kitchen for 15 years. Some new kid walks in. First Gathering and has nothing. Nothing except heart, desire to serve and give and learn and whatever strengths and talens and weaknessess and failngs he brings to it. He’s hungry, been kicked around by life, is grungy some. Yeah, the world has a hard time because he’s different in some way that’s threatening and disturbing.
But you are Rainbow and everyone is welcome and you love to give and to feed. After you’ve given him/her food, sat her/him down around a fire, listened to his story, saw the light hidden behind the grunginess, s/he asks, “How can I help?”
Years later there’s a moment when you’re sitting in the shadows, observing your Kitchen, your home as it is, reflect on its origins and journe to the now, watch this Rainbow veteran Warrior, still small and slight, still somewhat grungy, still rejected, feared and hated by much of the ignorant world and be warmed by all that s/he and only he could have contributed over the years and how despite all her/his tribulations, still here, still giving and taking less, because s/he learned the teaching and leson about love: That it is in the giving that love lives and breaths and it is in the giving of love that one receives.
Story sound familiar?
You can google from a million sources, what America and the world has received in return from Israel. Just one example. If not for Israel, no cells phones or texting or chats or much of anything that you take for granted as an American invention that you depend upon but was created and developed here in Israel, by Israelis working for AMerican companies or start-ups aquired from American companies.
In short, without Israel, we would not even be having this conversation. You are fee to asign any value to that that you wish. However, before you do, also check out the list of medical advances that emerged from Israel and the number of lives saved so far. And while you’re at it, compare the number of Israeli and American Nobel Prize winners in the last 60 years and compare the relative population numbers.
Got to run to a funeral and then a Bris: Death and life; real life and death. Real people. My tribe has been doing it for 4000 years.
Blessings for the blessings of life itself.
Peace and love, love, love
People often ask me exactly what I do. I’m writing this under some duress, so forgive if it’s not the best.
Here’s my day today: Seek financing for my upcoming 5 month journey to the States. Secure a place to live for 6 weeks in Amherst/Northampton, Mass. Decide whether to move out of my apartment FAST, decide if I have time to go my student and brother, Gershon’s engagement party tonight. Then go to a job spackling and painting the village kindergarten.
Then I am called with the tragic news that a special brother of over 20 years, suddenly took off from this world at work, leaving his wife and six kids. Then phone counseling to a brother in Boston who suddenly is being divorced from his wife, who wants sole custody of their little daughter.
Plus there is the awesome event tomorrow evening: The Bris – circumcision ceremony – of the new-born son of my teacher, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, daughter, Wednesday at 5:30pm at Reb Shlomo’s villiage. And I have to pack and move out and store my stuff at a friends and conect with my cousin who just arrived from the States. And be on a plane Tuesday morning at 5AM.
So life here in Israel, is real. Reb Shlomo says: “Every one of my sings, have at least one tear in it. Please don’t wipe it off. It’s my gift to you!”
So what do I do? I don’t have a job. I have life and I live it as Heaven sends me to live it; to be there for others in their joys and their tragedies, in their triumphs ad their failures. And to help them get through them in the besst way possible. And somehow, within all this, take care of myself also. So what do I do? I wake up each morning and ask the Master of the World, the Holy One, Blessed Be He: So, nu? What do you have for me today?
This is what I have right now.
Tomorrow will be another day. Let it be good and sweet. Let it be redemptive. Let it be filled with love and light, joy and celebration. Let it be real. Let it be.
And to quote another of my teachers, the rebbe duo Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter: “Wheel is turning…..everytime that wheel goes around, bound to cover just a little bit more ground.”
Happy birthday, Jerry. Mazal Tov, Shlomo. Mazal Tov Ari and Dari, Mazaql Tov Gershon, Baruch Dayan Emes (Blessed is the One Whose Rule and Judgments are true and in truth), Healing to the newly broken family. Please, HaShem. Give me strength, stamina, resillience, endurance, wisdom, understanding, compassion and the where-with-all to give to those You sed my way, Your Very Best.