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Encyclopaedia Judaica

The Haavara agreement from August 1933 - emigration of German Jews

Money and good transfer from the Third Reich to Palestine for about 60,000 emigrating Jews 1933-1939

presentation by Michael Palomino (2007)


-- Haavara; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 7
-- Israel, State of; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 9

The Haavara agreement

(from: Haavara; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 7)

<HAAVARA, a company for the transfer of Jewish property from Nazi Germany to Palestine. The Trust and Transfer Office Haavara Ltd., was established in Tel Aviv, following an agreement with the German government in August 1933, to facilitate the emigration of Jews to Palestine by allowing the transfer of their capital in the form of German export goods.

The amounts to be transferred were paid by prospective emigrants into the account of a Jewish trust company (PALTREU - Palestina Treuhandstelle zur Beratung deutscher Juden [Palestine trust office for consulting of German Jews]) in Germany  and used for the purchase of goods which the Haavara then sold in Palestine.

The proceeds, in Palestine currency, were paid to the emigrants living in Palestine. The rate of exchange was adjusted from time to time by the Haavara according to the disagio, necessitated by the subsidy which the Haavara granted the Palestinian importers, to make up for the steadily deteriorating value of the Reich mark, so the German goods could compete with other imports.

The ensuing disagio, borne by the emigrants, accordingly increased from 6% in 1934 to 50% in 1938. The major part of the transfer proceeds provided the 1,000 Palestine Pounds (then $ 4,990) necessary for a "capitalist" immigration certificate of the Mandatory administration, but also for other categories of immigration, such as youth aliyah, students, and artisans as well as for the transfer of public funds.

The transfer, which weakened the boycott of German goods declared by many Jewish organizations around the world, met with considerable opposition. The controversy was settled at the Zionist (col. 1012)

Congress in Lucerne (1935) which decided by a vast majority in favor of the transfer and placed the Haavara under the supervision of the *Jewish Agency. The Haavara continued to function until World War II, in spite of vigorous attempts by the Nazi Party to stop or curtail its activities.

The total transfer amounted to LP 8,100,000 (Palestine Pounds; then $ 40,419,000) including LP 2,600,000 (then $ 13,774,000) provided by the German Reichsbank in coordination with Haavara. The Haavara transfer was a major factor in making possible the immigration of approximately 60,000 German Jews to Palestine in the years 1933-1939, and together with the money invested by the immigrants themselves, in providing an incentive for the expansion of agricultural settlement and for general economic development.> (col. 1013)

In £:
<Through the *Ha'avarah, the transfer of Jewish assets to Palestine, some £6,000,000 were saved and infused into the economy of Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] to its great benefit.>
(from: Zionism; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 16

[[But Hitler projected to occupy the whole Middle East with Palestine and then the Jews would have been under NS rule again and would have been foreseen for other deportation and eventually annihilation by work. Hitler would have had taken over the infrastructure which had been installed by the Jews...]]



-- E. Marcus, in: Yad Vashem Studies, 2 (1959), 179-204
-- S. Esh, in: Am Yisrael Be-Dorenu (1964), 330-43
-- L. Pinner, in: In zwei Welten (1962), 133-66



Details of the Haavara agreement

(from: Israel, State of; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 9)

<Almost a quarter of this sum [[of the immigrants to Palestine]] came through a special arrangement between the Jewish Agency and the German authorities for the transfer (*Haavara) of German-Jewish capital. Under this agreement, emigrants from Germany obtained their first £1,000 in cash so that they could get their immigration certificates and deposited the rest of their assets with a clearinghouse in Berlin; the sterling equivalent was recovered after arrival from a second clearinghouse in Palestine, to which Jewish merchants made their payments for goods imported from Germany, while the German exporters were paid in Berlin. Moneys collected for the Jewish national funds and various other remittances to Palestine were also transferred through Haavara.

The arrangement was fiercely criticized as a breach of the worldwide Jewish boycott of German goods, but it was strongly defended on the ground that it was the only way to salvage the property of German Jews. The 19th Zionist Congress, which met at Lucerne in 1935 and which paid special attention to the plight of German Jewry, approved the agreement but ruled that it be placed under the control of the Executive.> (col. 531)

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