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Kurt Becher the SS officer


Heinrich Himmler's ruse to save himself
Uri Avnery Social activist
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המצב שלי היה לגמרי שונה. אני כבר ידעתי אז, באמצע שנות ה-50', שהבוס של אייכמן, הבוס-הבוס, היינריך הימלר, ראש הגסטאפו, ראש האס.אס. רצה לעשות שלום נפרד עם בעלות הברית. כלומר, ברגע האחרון לבגוד בהיטלר ולעשות שלום עם המערב. הוא לא היה גאון הדור. הוא לא הבין איך העולם מתייחס אליו: מלך מלכי התליינים בעולם. והוא חשב "אני אדם הגון", שזה אגב היה נכון. מכל הכנופיה הנאצית הזאת, הוא היה האדם היחידי שלא לקח שוחד ולא היה מושחת ובלילה ישב עם האנשים שלו ליד המדורה וניגן במנדולינה. אז הייתה לו מחשבה: 'עם היטלר אי-אפשר לעשות שלום, הם לא יסכימו, אבל אתי,'אני אדם הגון. האנגלים והאמריקאים יעשו אתי שלום, ואנחנו נמשיך במלחמה ביחד נגד הסובייטים, נגד הבולשביקים'. והוא חשב על זה ברצינות, אנחנו יודעים את זה. זה לא עניין שבספק, אנחנו יודעים את זה. הוא עשה כל מיני דברים. הוא לקח את הרוזן ברנדוט, שאחר כך גם הסתבך אתנו, אז הרוזן ברנדוט, שהוא היה דיפלומט שוודי בכיר - שוודיה הייתה ניטראלית - הוא לקח אותו והוא הוביל אותו למחנות הריכוז ושחרר אנשים כדי שהשוודים יתווכו בעניין הזה. כך שאנחנו יודעים ולא היה שום ספק שזה היה נכון. ולי היה ברור, ברגע ששמעתי את הסיפור הזה ההונגרי, היה ברור שזו אחת הדרכים של הימלר לבוא במגע עם המערב, כדי להציע את ההצעה הזאת, ואייכמן היה מכשיר קטן בשביל המטרה הזאת. הלא הנאצים האמינו באמת שהיהודים שולטים בעולם, והאנגלים והאמריקאים בסך הכל משרתים את היהודים. אז אם הוא יביא את ההצעה הזאת לציונים והציונים יבקשו מהבריטים אז שטויות. כמובן שהם לא יספקו משאיות ושטויות כאלה, אבל הם יבואו במגע עם הימלר ואז זו אחת הדרכים לבוא אל המערב ולהציע את ההצעה הגדולה הזאת. להיטלר נודע על כל הדברים האלה בימים האחרונים של המלחמה והוא דן את הימלר למוות. אבל הימלר ברח, הסגיר את עצמו לבריטים. היה לבוש כחייל פשוט, וברגע שהוא הבין שהבריטים תפסו מי הוא, הוא לקח את הרעל הזה שלכל הנאצים היה בפה כל הזמן והתאבד.‏

My situation was totally different. I already knew then, in the mid-1950s, that Eichmann's boss, the boss's boss, Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Gestapo, head of the SS, wanted to make a separate peace with the Allies. In other words, at the last moment to betray Hitler and make peace with the West. He was not the genius of his generation. He did not understand how the world regarded him as king of kings of the world's executioners. And he thought: 'I'm a decent person', which was, incidentally, correct. Out of that entire Nazi gang, he was the only person who did not take bribes and was not corrupt and at night he sat with his people around the campfire and played the mandolin. Then he had a thought, 'With Hitler it is impossible to make peace, they will not agree, but with me, I'm a decent person. The British and the Americans will make peace with me, and we will continue the war together against the Soviets, against the Bolsheviks'. He thought about it seriously, we know that. There are no reservations about that, we know that for sure. He did all sorts of things. He took Count [Folke] Bernadotte, who was a senior Swedish diplomat who later also became entangled with us – Sweden was neutral – he took him and brought him to the concentration camp, and released people so that the Swedes would mediate in this matter. We know this and there was no doubt that it was true. It was clear to me – as soon as I heard this Hungarian story – it was clear that this was one way for Himmler to come into contact with the West, in order to make this proposal, and Eichmann was a small cog in the wheel, just for this purpose. The Nazis really believed that the Jews controlled the world, and that the British and Americans were merely pandered to the Jews. So if he were to bring this proposal to the Zionists and the Zionists requested from the British... such nonsense. Of course they would not supply trucks and rubbish like that, but they would make contact with Himmler, then this would be one of the routes by which to approach the West and suggest this tremendous scheme. Hitler learned about all of these matters during the last days of the war and sentenced Himmler to death. But Himmler escaped, gave himself up to the British. He dressed as a simple soldier, but as soon as he realised that the British realised who he was, he took the poison that all Nazis kept in their mouths and committed suicide.

Uri Avnery (1923-2018) was an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, 'HaOlam HaZeh' from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery was the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler, Count Folke Bernadotte

Duration: 3 minutes, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017