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Arrows in the Dark (Volumes 1 and 2)

David Ben-Gurion, the Yishuv Leadership, and Rescue Attempts during the Holocaust

Tuvia Friling; Translated by Ora Cummings

Publication Year: 2005

Arrows in the Dark recounts and analyzes the many efforts of aid and rescue made by the Jewish community of Palestine—the Yishuv—to provide assistance to European Jews facing annihilation by the Nazis. Tuvia Friling provides a detailed account of the activities carried out at the behest of David Ben-Gurion and the Yishuv leadership, from daring attempts to extract Jews from Nazi-occupied territory, to proposals for direct negotiations with the Nazis. Through its rich array of detail and primary documentation, this book shows the wide scope and complexity of Yishuv activity at this time, refuting the idea that Ben-Gurion and the Yishuv ignored the plight of European Jews during the Holocaust.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Contents - Volume 1

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pp. ix-x

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pp. 3-12

The phrase "Arrow in the Dark" is mentioned in the report Eliezer Kaplan presented to the Jewish Agency upon his return from Turkey. Kapln, the agency's bursar and senior executive member, was sent to Turkey at the end of February 1943, three or four months after the Yishuv...

Part I. Confronting the Information

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pp. 13

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1. Phases of Acknowledging: Information, Consciousness, Mental and Emotional Processing

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pp. 15-75

In early summer 1936 Ben-Gurion flew from Rome to London. In his diary he wrote:
Of all the many flights I have made in an airplane, this was the most interesting. . . . About halfway between Rome and Milan, the ground below was covered with clouds, and it looked like...

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2. Protest: Political Tool or Substitute for Action?

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pp. 77-123

One week after the official statement on the annihilation of the Jews, the National Assembly convened an emergency session. Marking the first organized act of protest on the part of the Yishuv, it expressed the fear, anger, pain, and confusion of a leadership searching for the...

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3. Lightning Rod: Establishing the Rescue Committee

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pp. 125-135

The official announcement of the extermination taking place in Europe shook the Yishuv establishment to its foundations. The political movements, parties, and various organizations started gearing themselves up for aid and rescue. This was yet another stage in the...

Part II. Rescue Plans

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pp. 137

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General Introduction

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pp. 139-141

With the official announcement of the systematic murder of Europe's Jews, the Yishuv leadership felt duty bound to initiate rescue activity. This could have been taken for granted both from a personal and emotional point of view, since almost everyone in the Yishuv had a...

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4. "Or We Shall Have No Repentance": Plans to Rescue Children

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pp. 143-194

Preliminary discussions on rescue plans resolved not to waste time on useless acts but to concentrate on rescuing the children. There were several reasons for the Yishuv's decision to give priority to rescuing the children. The latter, most vulnerable to hunger and cold, would become...

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5. Dealing with the Devil: The 1942 and 1943 Ransom Plans

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pp. 195-238

Jewish history is strewn with rescue attempts involving the payment of ransom money. From this point of view, there was nothing new in the ransom proposals that appeared on the Yishuv's agenda during the war. At least four of them were large-scale in nature. ...

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6. Between the Hammer and the Anvil in 1944: Continuing Efforts to Rescue Children and the Struggle for Immigration to Palestine

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pp. 239-260

The end of the war appeared on the horizon throughout 1944. Several Russian victories were noted at the end of 1943. In early 1944 the USSR's Red Army had settled roughly along the Leningrad-Odessa line. By the spring the Russians also controlled the outskirts of Lvov...

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7. The Secret Partnership

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pp. 261-355

The Parachutists' Scheme, whose purpose was to aid the Jews of Europe, was another instance of the secret collaboration between the Jewish Agency and the British, Americans, and other powers in the Middle East and Europe. It began in the twenties and thirties and continued...


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pp. 357-387

Contents - Volume 2

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8. "A One-in-a-Million Chance": Attempts to Rescue Hungarian Jewry and Negotiations toward the End of the War

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pp. 3-69

On 19 May 1944 a German plane landed in Istanbul. Two men disembarked. The first was a small-time industrialist named Joel Brand, a daredevil rescue activist and member of the Aid and Rescue Committee in Budapest, founded by a group of Hungary's Jews. ...

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9. Bombing to Deter and Stultify

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pp. 71-85

Applying various forms of pressure in order to undermine confidence in the enemy's home front, shaking it's morale, destroying its economic infrastructure to punish or deter—such tactics resembled those applied during the war itself. The warring sides in the Second World War...

Part III. Financing of Rescue Attempts and Assistance

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pp. 87

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10. At the Edge of the Abyss: Financial Maneuvers by Ben-Gurion and Kaplan, 1942-1943

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pp. 89-115

Research has not yet provided a complete answer to the question of how much money was allocated by the Yishuv to the rescue of Jews during the Second World War, especially when the true significance of what was happening in Europe became common knowledge. ...

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11. Financing Aid and Rescue Activity in Liberated Europe

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pp. 117-128

By 1944 Ben-Gurion, Kaplan, Gruenbaum, and, to a lesser extent, others in the JAW were highly experienced. They had long faced an almost constant barrage of criticism over the funding of aid and rescue missions for Europe's Jews. In response to public pressure...

12. The Jewish Agency Budget and Fund-raising Appeals in Palestine

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pp. 129-149

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13. Fund-raising Campaigns Abroad

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pp. 151-171

Overseas fund-raising focused on the Unites States, Britain, and South African. The JAE also raised funds in Egypt, Australia, and Sweden.1 Ben-Gurion's parameters for fund-raising efforts were geographically widespread, with the emphasis on specific countries...

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14. Money Transfers

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pp. 173-188

Providing aid to the Jews of Europe and efforts to rescue them required complex monetary transfers. The Yishuv and the Zionist movement had to find ways to pool donated funds and transfer them into the occupied territories. Regular and uninterrupted money transfers were...

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15. Funding Aid and Rescue Operations: A Summary

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pp. 189-194

The figures presented on the JAE budget allocations for aid and rescue operations show that these constituted at least a quarter of the JAE's expenditures, representing one of four major expenditure items, the others being settlement, labor, and housing—the traditional "Zionist"...

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pp. 195-219

The Yishuv in Eretz Israel and its leadership did act in accordance with Kaplan's recommendation "to shoot an arrow in the dark," but it was very murky indeed. Despite their fierce determination, the arrows had very little effect. The failed attempts to save Europe's...


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pp. 221-240


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pp. 241-256

Names Index

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pp. 257-272

Subject Index [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 273-297

E-ISBN-13: 9780299175535
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299175504

Publication Year: 2005