A couple of days ago I posted a provocatively titled piece on The Times of Israel: I happen to trust Herr Hitler.
The post is taken from Trial and Error The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann, the leader of the Zionist movement after Herzl and Israel’s first president. It concerns the betrayal of Czechoslovakia by the west and their belief in the assurances of the peace loving Herr Hitler.
It contains this passage where Jan Masaryk quotes Neville Chamberlain just hours after he met him on the day that Hitler’s tanks rolled into Prague.
Once he had broken the silence he went on talking, and what he told us was terrible to listen to. He had had a conversation that morning with the Prime Minister, and had taxed him with the deliberate betrayal of Czechoslovakia. ‘Mr. Chamberlain sat absolutely unmoved. When I had finished he said: “Mr. Masaryk, you happen to believe in Dr. Benes, I happen to trust Herr Hitler.”’ There was nothing left for Masaryk but to get up and leave the room.
The following comment was left by reader Charles on my post at The Times of Israel and deserves to be shared here:
My whole existence – son of a Czech Jew who came to Britain to fight Hitler, and a Czech non-Jew who lost Jewish and non-Jewish relatives, was barred from university, interrogated by the Gestapo and whose fiancé was beaten to death by the SS on the last day of WW2 – is a product of this betrayal. It is very emotive to me. Both Masaryks were great men, and friends of the Jews; they left a Czech national heritage that is probably the least antisemitic in Europe. I’ve never been to Israel, but talking to Israelis leaves me with a sense that the country is in some subtle, cultural ways the illegitimate child of the Czechoslovak First Republic. Stand by Israel, now. Don’t let the betrayal of Munich be repeated, anywhere and in any shape, particularly not on the Jewish state.
Thank you Charles, comments like that make blogging worthwhile.
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