Let his people go: The story of Asher Zelig Goldberger aka Zdeněk Toman

Published date10 April 2021
AuthorValerie Sobel
Well...it looks as though he was! Schindler joined Nazi Germany's military intelligence service, Abwehr, in 1936. After witnessing the wide-spread horrors of Kristallnacht against the Jews, he joined Hitler's Nazi Party in 1939.

Let's set the record straight: My research shows that Schindler wasn't a Nazi sympathizer. He was a Nazi.

Furthermore. Prior to the German occupation of Czechoslovakia (Schindler's country of birth), he spied on his country by collecting information on railways and troop movements for the Nazi government. He was arrested for espionage by the Czechoslovak government but released under the terms of the Munich Agreement.

Did Schindler stop his spying activities for Hitler after the arrest? Hardly. He continued to provide information to the Nazis, spying in Poland in 1939 to aid Hitler's invasion at the start of World War II.

Yet we know Schindler as a champion of human rights, a man of courage and tenacity, a beacon of exemplary morality in time of colossal darkness. History books and Hollywood blockbusters deem him a hero for having shielded between 1000-1200 Jews from death camps in his factories as slave labour. And rightfully so. Because saving one life, never mind 1200, no matter the circumstances, agenda, character, history or ideology of the saviour ...is all that matters. He saved. While millions stood by and didn't. He's a hero. End of story.

Actually, there lived another Czech nationalist who, in the 1940s, saved as many as 300,000 Ashkenazi ews of Europe, without ever exploiting them or actively working to spy for and benefit the greatest evil on earth...and you've never even heard of him.

That no one ever heard of him is downright criminal. But this huge void of history is pinpoint strategic and quite explicable, if we take human nature into account.

Before divulging the details of one of the grandest rescue efforts on the planet, and biggest for European Holocaust Jewry, let's poke and see why museums have buried this event from our view. ("museums" are human rights organizations, social justice causes, governments and academia en masse).

Shouldn't history books, school curricula and Spielberg productions jump at the chance to expose this mammoth reclaim of human life and liberty for hundreds of thousands Hitler-terrorized souls?

The answer is simple but three-fold.

For starters, the year was 1946 with death camps liberation complete, Hitler's horrors exhumed, photographed, and documented. Six million became the number everyone in Europe understood.

With their families wiped out, their possessions, residences and assets seized by local governments and repossessed by their gentile neighbours, Holocaust Jewry's most inconvenient return was viewed as repellent and intrusive.

But a pesky problem arose when it became apparent that Adolf didn't quite manage to finish the job; hundreds of thousands miraculously survived and even dared to return to their homes and homelands. With their families wiped out, their possessions, residences and assets seized by local governments and repossessed by their gentile neighbours, Holocaust Jewry's most inconvenient return was viewed as repellent and intrusive.

Let's remember that Germans collected Jewry destined for gas chambers, allowing them to bring only the barest of necessities for the journey to hell. Everything else, all household possessions, clothes, furniture, art, jewelry, silverware, anything of value (material or otherwise) was left behind. It's no surprise, then, that collective moral fibre of enlightened Europeans was squarely focused on protecting their thievery of Jewish possessions, not compassionate welcoming of the returning sufferers whose stuff they had snatched.

Upon their return, death-defying Jewish citizens found themselves raped of all that was once theirs, no civil nor legal rights, and no ability to gain access to family valuables and keepsakes. Their bank accounts - closed or ceased.

These personae non gratae, who for years endured unspeakable evil, were outright refused an open door to where they resided prior to the genocide. They found themselves homeless, and by virtue of necessity, in a second set of camps called Displaced Persons Camps. As far as their possessions such as art, jewelry and heirloom silver menorah candlesticks - those are still tightly hidden out of view in museum basements throughout Europe, Vatican vaults and private homes and collections; subjects of restitution claims till this day. They don't even come up at auctions to avoid provenance investigations.

Thus we come to a dark and well-hidden chapter of European post-Hitler archives. Not that pre-Hitler...

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