Apolinari Hartglass

Apolinari Hartglass, a member of the Zionist rescue committee in Palestine, wrote a memorandum in early 1943 explaining what the purpose of this rescue committee really was, "We may expect the extermination of more than 7 million Jews... It is clear to us today that we cannot dream of saving more than twelve thousand or some tens of thousands of Jews... If the efforts of the committee are likely, therefore, to lead to only the most minimal of results, we must at least achieve some political gain from them... a) if the whole world knows that the only country that wants to receive the rescued Jews is Palestine... b) if the whole world knows that the initiative to save the Jews of Europe comes from Zionist circles; c) if the Jews that are saved from extermination know during the course of the war or after its end that the Zionist movement and the yishuv tried to save them...

He continued: "Should we help everyone in need, without regard to the quality of the people? Should we not give this activity a Zionist-nation character and try foremost to save those who can be of use to the Land of Israel and to Jewry? I understand that it seems cruel to put the question in this form, but unfortunately we must state that if we are able to save only 10,000 people from among 50,000 who can contribute to building the country and to the national revival of the people, as against saving a million Jews who will be a burden, or at best an apathetic element, we must restrain ourselves and save the 10,000 that can be saved from among the 50,000 - despite the accusations and pleas of the million. I take comfort from the fact that it will be impossible to apply this harsh principle 100 percent and that the million will get something also. But let us see that it does not get too much." (The Seventh Million, pp. 99-100)

The Zionists knew, as Hartglass said, that they could reap a great propaganda benefit from the Holocaust, and this is most strikingly apparent from the fact that in September 1942, when most of the Holocaust victims were still alive and well, the Zionists were already busy planning their memorial, Yad Vashem. In that month, a former delegate to several Zionist congresses, Mordechai Shenhavi, proposed that the Jewish National Fund establish a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Shenhavi's proposal led to discussions and letters, and a committee was set up to examine them. (The Seventh Million, p. 104)