web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Truth About Franco And The Jews


Recently, I was handed a flyer advertising an event billed as “A Day of Remembrance: Recognizing and Honoring Countries and Diplomats for Their Heroism During the Holocaust.The event took place at a prominent Brooklyn synagogue under the auspices of several respected Jewish organizations. The guest speaker was Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.

The flyer went on to say that among the countries and diplomats to be honored were Spain and its consul general.

This raises an interesting question. Spain during the Holocaust was ruled by the fascist dictatorship of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, supposedly an ally of Hitler. So why would an event under Jewish auspices pay tribute to, among others, the regime of Franco as well as his consuls general throughout Nazi-occupied Europe?

Actually, paying tribute to Franco makes a lot of sense to those who know their history.

I am anything but a fascist, but the record must be set straight regarding both Franco’s record vis-a-vis the Jews and the Jewish volunteers who descended on Spain from various other countries to fight against Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

Communist tyranny is infinitely worse than fascist dictatorship. Fascism and Nazism are two entirely different things. Mussolini took power in Italy in 1922, long before Hitler did in Germany, and there were quite a number of Italian Jews active in the Fascist Party – as well as Jewish generals in the Italian Army who helped bring about Mussolini’s victory.

Anti-Semitism was not part of Mussolini’s agenda. In the early years of his rule he was sympathetic to the Zionist movement and even hosted a cordial meeting with Chaim Weizmann.

In fact, in the years leading up to Word War II it was not at all clear until months before the first shots were fired whether Italy would fight with Hitler or the Allies, since Italy had longstanding territorial and sphere-of-influence disputes with Germany.

Further, despite their many contrived photo-ops, there was no love lost between Mussolini and Hitler. Having read Mein Kampf, Mussolini knew Hitler despised Italians along with other non-Germanic races. Only in 1938 did Mussolini, under intense pressure from Hitler, enact relatively minor discriminatory anti-Jewish laws, and even those went largely unenforced.

Only very late in the war, after the Nazis had invaded northern and central Italy and reduced Mussolini to a puppet, did deportations of Jews begin, and at that time the Italian Army had already honorably capitulated to the Allies and was fighting on their side. (For a comprehensive treatment of Italian Jewry during the war years see The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, and Survival by Susan Zuccotti.)

Now let’s turn to Spain. A great American illusion is that Jeffersonian democracy is the best form of government to bring stability and prosperity to all nations. That, of course, is simply not true. The Weimar Republic was a democracy but it produced Hitler. The present-day democracy-on-paper in Iraq is generating nothing but sectarian violence and civil war.

Similarly, Spain in the 1930’s, while a democratic republic on paper, was in fact a country engulfed in chaos, civil unrest and competing militias. It was in significant danger of becoming the first communist state outside the Soviet Union (located in Western Europe, no less). And that is precisely what would have happened had Franco not seized power.

Franco felt no personal affinity for either Hitler or Mussolini. Franco was a devout Catholic. Hitler despised Christianity and was in thrall to pagan Teutonic religions, while Mussolini was an atheist. Franco accepted their aid only because no one else would help him – much the way Israel accepted arms from the Soviet bloc during its War of Independence because the United States and the Western European democracies had imposed a strict arms embargo.

During World War II, Franco maintained strict neutrality, denying Hitler military access to the Straits of Gibraltar and thereby severely hampering German naval operations in the Mediterranean. Franco not only stood up to Hitler and adamantly refused to hand over the approximately 40,000 European Jews who had sought refuge in Spain, he also provided protection for Jews in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe with Spanish passports.

The Jewish Press recently featured an article that portrayed the Jewish volunteers who went to Spain to fight Franco in a relatively positive light. (“The Jews Who Fired the First Shot Against Fascist Tyranny,” op-ed, May 16). Frankly, I believe President Lincoln would turn over in his grave at the mere thought of his name being associated with the Stalinist Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Truth About Franco And The Jews”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Prosecutor in Ferguson Case: ‘Witnesses Lied Under Oath’
Latest Indepth Stories
The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Greiff-112814-Men

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

More Articles from Aharon Lapid

Recently, I was handed a flyer advertising an event billed as “A Day of Remembrance: Recognizing and Honoring Countries and Diplomats for Their Heroism During the Holocaust.” The event took place at a prominent Brooklyn synagogue under the auspices of several respected Jewish organizations. The guest speaker was Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-truth-about-franco-and-the-jews/2008/06/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: