How the Jews Defeated Hitler: Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism by Benjamin Ginsberg

reader review:
Format: Hardcover

Benjamin Ginsberg informs us in his introduction to How The Jews Defeated Hitler: Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism that what motivated him to write his book was a discussion he had with one of his students concerning Nazism. Apparently, the student could not understand why the Jews facing annihilation did not resist the efforts of the Germans.

This is a question that has often been raised and Ginsberg’s response, which he backs up in this excellent book was: “the Jews not only resisted but actually played a major role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. The question, I said, was not whether the Jews fought but where and by what means.” He goes on to support his reply by bringing up two very important elements to his argument:

Jewish resistance to the Nazis has to be characterized as a form of cumulative rather than collective action as it basically consisted of a host of disparate groups, individuals, and organizations spread over several continents reacting and expressing themselves in a variety of responses ranging from partisan warfare through nuclear research. These uncoordinated efforts were channeled by a common threat and assembled into what was a potent, although at times futile response to the Nazis.

Secondly we have to define what we mean by “resistance.” Very often Jewish resistance is narrowly defined and restricted to activities of the Jews in the occupied lands of Europe. “Jewish resistance and opposition to the Nazis manifested itself in a number of settings both inside and outside German-occupied territory. To ignore this point is to risk distorting the historical record.”

There has always existed a narrow perspective concerning the non-resistance to the Nazis by the Jews as it gets caught up in focusing only on the villages, ghettos and concentration camps and other locations where whenever resistance did arise it was feeble and often futile. However, as pointed out we forget to focus on the broader picture where Jews played an important role in the Soviet Union as not only in the military but also in their war machine production contributing immensely to the building and designing of tanks, aircraft, and artillery, which ultimately led to the defeat of Germany.

 [see The Jew Who Defeated Hitler:  Henry Morgenthau, Jr. …”:  Morgenthau and Harry Dexter White ensured that US Treasury funneled funds and weapons to Stalin’s Russia.  White was a spy for USSR even as he negotiated at Bretton Wood and established the US dollar as the world’s currency. -ed. ]
As Ginsberg notes, during the latter part of the war the USSR outproduced the Germans in the building of these war materials ensuring that Soviet battlefield losses of equipment could be replaced while the German losses could not.

Jewish contributions also existed in the United States as well as Britain in such areas as the

financing the military effort,
wartime propaganda,
signals intelligence,
human intelligence, and a plethora of other areas.

In addition, Jews played active roles in various Partisan movements in Greece, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, Poland, France, Czechoslovakia and various other southern and eastern European countries. Although it may be true that Partisan warfare did not defeat the Germans, it did hasten their defeat.

One extremely important area where Jews played a pivotal role was that of intelligence against Nazi Germany and its Axis partners particularly in the realms of American cryptanalysis and Soviet espionage. America’s Secret Intelligence Services (SIS ) came to rely heavily on the Jewish talents as they developed code-breaking techniques as well as a code machine, SIGABA that was an invaluable tool to breaking Axis cryptology. In the Soviet intelligence and counterintelligence, Jews learned a great deal of many of the German secrets while preventing them from learning about Soviet capabilities and intentions.

That the Jews played an important role in defeating the Nazis is beyond doubt. Could the Germans have been defeated without the aid of the Jews is another question and one that is very difficult to answer. And going back to the original question that Ginsberg was asked as to why the Jews did not react, the reply is that they did react if you look at the broader picture where in many instances their motivations and actions were greatly strengthened by the atrocities that were being committed by the Nazis.  

Editorial Review:  Offers a provocative new answer to an old question. In seeking to explain why the Jews failed to resist the Nazis during World War II, he declares that they not only resisted, but also helped bring about the Nazis’ defeat. . . . Readers will be especially impressed to learn about little-known Jewish contributions to the Soviet cause, including their role in inventing the T-34 tank, the La-5 aircraft, and the Katyusha rocket. . . . [R]eaders. . . are sure to be stimulated by his engaging and provocative book. (Forward)

Political science professor Ginsberg (Downsizing Democracy) takes a broad look at Jews who countered Nazism through

military force and
scientific and engineering discoveries,
intelligence work, and
political organizing.
He devotes almost as much attention to little-known figures like Mikhail Gourevich, designer of the MiG fighter, as he does to the Warsaw Ghetto revolt. Ginsberg’s most interesting chapter, reveals how Jewish financiers and other leaders, such as James Warburg, joined forced with WASP leaders like Dean Acheson who favored America declaring war against Nazi Germany. (Publishers Weekly)

[T]hrough the lens of Benjamin Ginsberg, a second generation survivor and political science professor, the truth (which is more about brains and gumption than brawn and gore) is better than the fiction. In How the Jews Defeated Hitler: Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism, Ginsberg gives an unexpected and thrilling history of key, Jewish contributions to the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany. (St. Louis Jewish Light)

The apparent lack of Jewish resistance to the Holocaust has long been troubling. Johns Hopkins political science professor Benjamin Ginsberg proposes a new way of understanding what actually happened: Jews did resist, not so much in the impossible environs of Nazi-occupied Europe but from elsewhere.

Jews took leading roles in Britain’s codebreaking program and
America’s nuclear project,
eagerly served in the U.S. and Soviet military and designed some of Russia’s best weapons, including the T-34 tank.
Ginsberg leaps to some invalid assumptions—the atom bomb almost certainly would not have been dropped on Germany had the Nazis held out a few months longer—but his thesis brings fresh eyes to an old subject. (Express Milwaukee)

[Benjamin Ginsberg] makes a compelling case for Jewish resistance and gives the lie to those who question otherwise. (Hadassah Magazine)

It is a common belief that the Jews of Germany and Europe went passively to their deaths in the concentration camps and surely millions were duped by the Nazis that they were merely being ‘relocated.’ Information about the camps was kept secret from Jew and non-Jew, and often not believed when it leaked out. How the Jews Defeated Hitler by Benjamin Ginsberg reveals that it was not whether Jews fought, though poorly armed, outnumbered, and without resources, but the means they used as participants in the anti-Nazi resistance units. . . Ginsberg concludes with a look at the way old enemies of the Jews have mutated into new ones, the most obvious being Muslims worldwide, but also those on the Left seeking an alliance with them. This is a fascinating story that has not been told in its full context until now. (Alan Caruba, Editor, BookViews)

Benjamin Ginsberg’s pathbreaking study demolishes the widely held view that Jews failed to resist during the Holocaust. He conclusively demonstrates the immense Jewish contribution, on many fronts, to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Ginsberg uncovers many forms of Jewish anti-Nazi resistance largely overlooked by other scholars. His book analyzes and details European and American Jews’ prominent role in conventional and partisan military efforts, in scientific and engineering breakthroughs critical to the Allied war effort, in undermining Nazi propaganda, and in counteracting isolationism in the West. This work will transform how scholars and the public view Jews and the Holocaust.(Stephen H. Norwood, University of Oklahoma; author of The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower and Antisemitism and the American Far Left)

An exceptionally well-written and cogently argued study showing how Jews resisted Nazism vigorously and effectively. Ginsberg has done a prodigious amount of work in military, political, economic, scientific, intelligence, and cultural sources. The result is a synthesis that makes for fascinating reading, showing how and why Jewish resistance and opposition to the Nazis manifested itself in a number of settings both inside and outside German-occupied territory. A beautifully researched and written analysis of, and an original contribution to, an important subject.(Donald M. McKale, Clemson University; author of Hitler’s Shadow War and Nazis after Hitler)

About the Author

Benjamin Ginsberg is David Bernstein Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies at Johns Hopkins University. His many books include The Fall of the Faculty, Presidential Power: Unchecked and Unbalanced, and Downsizing Democracy: How America Sidelined Its Citizens and Privatized Its Public.

The Great Game in Afghanistan (Twenty-First-Century Update)


Afghanistan and its neighbors
“In the new foreign policy that Ghani recently outlined, the United States finds itself consigned to the third of the five circles of importance. The first circle contains neighboring countries, including China with its common border with Afghanistan, and the second is restricted to the countries of the Islamic world.

In the new politics of Afghanistan under Ghani, as the chances for peace talks between his government and the unbeaten Taliban brighten, the Obama administration finds itself gradually but unmistakably being reduced to the status of bystander. Meanwhile, credit for those potential peace talks goes to the Chinese leadership, which has received a Taliban delegation in Beijing twice in recent months, and to Ghani, who has dulled the hostility of the rabidly anti-Indian Taliban by reversing the pro-India, anti-Pakistan policies of his predecessor, Hamid Karzai.

How to Influence Afghans

Within a month of taking office in late September, Ghani flew not to Washington — he made his obligatory trip there only last week — but to Beijing. There he declared China “a strategic partner in the short term, medium term, long term, and very long term.” In response, Chinese President Xi Jinping called his Afghan counterpart “an old friend of the Chinese people,” whom he hailed for being prepared to work toward “a new era of cooperation” and for planning to take economic development “to a new depth.”

As an official of the World Bank for 11 years, Ghani had dealt with the Chinese government frequently. This time, he left Beijing with a pledge of 2 billion yuan ($327 million) in economic aid for Afghanistan through 2017.

The upbeat statements of the two presidents need to be seen against the backdrop of the twenty-first-century Great Game in the region in which, after 13 years of American war, Chinese corporations are the ones setting records in signing up large investment deals. In 2007, the Metallurgical Corporation of China and Jiangxi Copper Corporation, a consortium, won a $4.4 billion contract to mine copper at Aynak, 24 miles southeast of Kabul. Four years later, China National Petroleum Corporation in a joint venture with a local company, Watan Oil & Gas, secured the right to develop three oil blocks in northwestern Afghanistan with a plan to invest $400 million.

In stark contrast, 70 U.S. companies had invested a mere $75 million by 2012, according to the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency. What Washington policymakers find galling is that China has not contributed a single yuan to pacify insurgency-ridden Afghanistan or participated in the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force in that country, and yet its corporations continue to benefit from the security provided by the presence of American soldiers.

In the other equally important realm of soft power, when it came to gaining popularity among Afghans through economic aid, New Delhi outperformed Washington in every way. Though at $2 billion, its assistance to Kabul was a fraction of what Washington poured into building the country’s infrastructure of roads, schools, and health clinics, the impact of India’s assistance was much greater. This was so partly because it involved little waste and corruption.

Continuing the practice dating back to the pre-Taliban era, the Indian government channeled its development aid for the building of wells, schools, and health clinics directly into the Afghan government’s budget. This procedure was dramatically different from the one followed by the U.S. and its allies. They funneled their aid money directly to civilian contractors or to approved local and foreign nongovernmental organizations with little or no oversight. The result was massive fraud and corruption.

By funding the building of a new parliamentary complex on the outskirts of Kabul, the Afghan capital, at the cost of $140 million, India provided a highly visible example of its generosity. This gesture also served to set it off publicly from its regional rival, Pakistan. It has, after all, been a functioning multiparty democracy since independence (except for a 19-month hiatus under emergency rule in 1975-76). In contrast, the military in Pakistan has overthrown its civilian government three times, administering the country for 31 years since its founding in August 1947 following the partition of British India.”


The USA has been functioning on the Wilson-FDR model which is based on Hebrew mythology.  That mythology is one of mass killing, destruction, theft and general mayhem.

Wilson was seduced — or blackmailed — by Jewish leaders to go to war in 1917.


FDR was taken to the mountaintop by Felix Frankfurter.  FDR took up Frankfurter’s proposal and used it to his own agenda — moral:  if you’re immoral enough to make a pact with the devil don’t expect that you are dealing with angels.

But Nixon to China was a completely different model.  No violence.  The Munich Pact but without the devil’s interference

Then G H W Bush revived the FDR – Churchill model

Why did obama so readily adopt the neocon/kagan ideology?


Meanwhile, China, benefiting from the Nixon-China model, is benefiting in South Asia.

Five Myths That Keep America in the Middle East – Andrew J. Bacevich Nov 2014

 Don’t buy Beltway orthodoxy about vital U.S. interests in the region—we have none.


“Iraq no longer exists.” My young friend M, sipping a cappuccino, is deadly serious. We are sitting in a scruffy restaurant across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It’s been years since we’ve last seen each another. It may be years before our paths cross again. As if to drive his point home, M repeats himself: “Iraq just doesn’t exist.”

His is an opinion grounded in experience. As an enlisted soldier, he completed two Iraq tours, serving as a member of a rifle company, before and during the famous Petraeus “surge.” After separating from the Army, he went on to graduate school where he is now writing a dissertation on insurgencies. Choosing the American war in Iraq as one of his cases, M has returned there to continue his research. Indeed, he was heading back again that very evening. As a researcher, his perch provides him with an excellent vantage point for taking stock of the ongoing crisis, now that the Islamic State, or IS, has made it impossible for Americans to sustain the pretense that the Iraq War ever ended.

Few in Washington would endorse M’s assertion, of course. Inside the Beltway, policymakers, politicians, and pundits take Iraq’s existence for granted. Many can even locate it on a map. They also take for granted the proposition that it is incumbent upon the United States to preserve that existence.  To paraphrase Chris Hedges, for a certain group of Americans, Iraq is the cause that gives life meaning. For the military-industrial complex, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Considered from this perspective, the “Iraqi government” actually governs, the “Iraqi army” is a nationally representative fighting force, and the “Iraqi people” genuinely see themselves as constituting a community with a shared past and an imaginable future.

Arguably, each of these propositions once contained a modicum of truth. But when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and, as then-Secretary of State Colin Powell predicted, broke the place, any merit they previously possessed quickly dissipated. Years of effort by American occupiers intent on creating a new Iraq out of the ruins of the old produced little of value and next to nothing that has lasted. Yet even today, in Washington the conviction persists that trying harder might somehow turn things around. Certainly, that conviction informs the renewed U.S. military intervention prompted by the rise of IS.

So when David Ignatius, a well-informed and normally sober columnist for the Washington Post, reflects on what the United States must do to get Iraq War 3.0 right, he offers this “mental checklist”: in Baghdad, the U.S. should foster a “cleaner, less sectarian government”; to ensure security, we will have to “rebuild the military”; and to end internal factionalism, we’re going to have to find ways to “win Kurdish support” and “rebuild trust with Sunnis.” Ignatius does not pretend that any of this will be easy. He merely argues that it must be—and by implication can be—done. Unlike my friend M, Ignatius clings to the fantasy that “Iraq” is or ought to be politically viable, militarily capable, and socially cohesive. But surely this qualifies as wishful thinking.

The value of M’s insight—of, that is, otherwise intelligent people purporting to believe in things that don’t exist—can be applied well beyond American assumptions about Iraq. A similar inclination to fanaticize permeates, and thereby warps, U.S. policies throughout much of the Greater Middle East. Consider the following claims, each of which in Washington circles has attained quasi-canonical status.

* The presence of U.S. forces in the Islamic world contributes to regional stability and enhances American influence.

* The Persian Gulf constitutes a vital U.S. national security interest.

* Egypt and Saudi Arabia are valued and valuable American allies.

* The interests of the United States and Israel align.

* Terrorism poses an existential threat that the United States must defeat.

For decades now, the first four of these assertions have formed the foundation of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The events of 9/11 added the fifth, without in any way prompting a reconsideration of the first four. On each of these matters, no senior U.S. official (or anyone aspiring to a position of influence) will dare say otherwise, at least not on the record.

Yet subjected to even casual scrutiny, none of the five will stand up. To take them at face value is the equivalent of believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy—or that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell really, really hope that the Obama administration and the upcoming Republican-controlled Congress can find grounds to cooperate.

Let’s examine all five, one at a time.

The Presence of U.S. Forces: Ever since the U.S. intervention in Lebanon that culminated in the Beirut bombing of October 1983, introducing American troops into predominantly Muslim countries has seldom contributed to stability. On more than a few occasions, doing so has produced just the opposite effect.

Iraq and Afghanistan provide mournful examples. The new book “Why We Lost” by retired Lieutenant General Daniel Bolger finally makes it permissible in official circles to declare those wars the failures that they have been. Even granting, for the sake of argument, that U.S. nation-building efforts were as pure and honorable as successive presidents portrayed them, the results have been more corrosive than constructive. The IS militants plaguing Iraq find their counterpart in the soaring production of opium that plagues Afghanistan. This qualifies as stability?

And these are hardly the only examples. Stationing U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia after Operation Desert Storm was supposed to have a reassuring effect. Instead, it produced the debacle of the devastating Khobar Towers bombing. Sending G.I.’s into Somalia back in 1992 was supposed to demonstrate American humanitarian concern for poor, starving Muslims. Instead, it culminated in the embarrassing Mogadishu firefight, which gained the sobriquet Black Hawk Down, and doomed that mission.

Even so, the pretense that positioning American soldiers in some Middle East hotspot will bring calm to troubled waters survives. It’s far more accurate to say that doing so provides our adversaries with what soldiers call a target-rich environment—with Americans as the targets.

The Importance of the Persian Gulf: Although U.S. interests in the Gulf may once have qualified as vital, the changing global energy picture has rendered that view obsolete. What’s probably bad news for the environment is good news in terms of creating strategic options for the United States.  New technologies have once again made the United States the world’s largest producer of oil. The U.S. is also the world’s largest producer of natural gas. It turns out that the lunatics chanting “drill, baby, drill” were right after all. Or perhaps it’s “frack, baby, frack.” Regardless, the assumed energy dependence and “vital interests” that inspired Jimmy Carter to declare back in 1980 that the Gulf is worth fighting for no longer pertain.

Access to Gulf oil remains critically important to some countries, but surely not to the United States.  When it comes to propping up the wasteful and profligate American way of life, Texas and North Dakota outrank Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in terms of importance. Rather than worrying about Iraqi oil production, Washington would be better served ensuring the safety and well-being of Canada, with its bountiful supplies of shale oil. And if militarists ever find the itch to increase U.S. oil reserves becoming irresistible, they would be better advised to invade Venezuela than to pick a fight with Iran.

Does the Persian Gulf require policing from the outside? Maybe. But if so, let’s volunteer China for the job. It will keep them out of mischief.

Arab Allies: It’s time to reclassify the U.S. relationship with both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Categorizing these two important Arab states as “allies” is surely misleading. Neither one shares the values to which Washington professes to attach such great importance.

For decades, Saudi Arabia, Planet Earth’s closest equivalent to an absolute monarchy, has promoted anti-Western radical jihadism—and not without effect. The relevant numbers here are two that most New Yorkers will remember: 15 out of 19. If a conspiracy consisting almost entirely of Russians had succeeded in killing several thousand Americans, would U.S. authorities give the Kremlin a pass? Would U.S.-Russian relations remain unaffected? The questions answer themselves.

Meanwhile, after a brief dalliance with democracy, Egypt has once again become what it was before: a corrupt, oppressive military dictatorship unworthy of the billions of dollars of military assistance that Washingtonprovides from one year to the next.

Israel: The United States and Israel share more than a few interests in common.  A commitment to a “two-state solution” to the Palestinian problem does not number among them. On that issue, Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s purposes diverge widely. In all likelihood, they are irreconcilable.

For the government of Israel, viewing security concerns as paramount, an acceptable Palestinian state will be the equivalent of an Arab Bantustan, basically defenseless, enjoying limited sovereignty, and possessing limited minimum economical potential. Continuing Israeli encroachments on the occupied territories, undertaken in the teeth of American objections, make this self-evident.

It is, of course, entirely the prerogative—and indeed the obligation—of the Israeli government to advance the well being of its citizens. U.S. officials have a similar obligation: they are called upon to act on behalf of Americans. And that means refusing to serve as Israel’s enablers when that country takes actions that are contrary to U.S. interests.

The “peace process” is a fiction. Why should the United States persist in pretending otherwise? It’s demeaning.

Terrorism: Like crime and communicable diseases, terrorism will always be with us. In the face of an outbreak of it, prompt, effective action to reduce the danger permits normal life to continue. Wisdom lies in striking a balance between the actually existing threat and exertions undertaken to deal with that threat. Grown-ups understand this. They don’t expect a crime rate of zero in American cities. They don’t expect all people to enjoy perfect health all of the time. The standard they seek is “tolerable.”

That terrorism threatens Americans is no doubt the case, especially when they venture into the Greater Middle East. But aspirations to eliminate terrorism belong in the same category as campaigns to end illiteracy or homelessness: it’s okay to aim high, but don’t be surprised when the results achieved fall short.

Eliminating terrorism is a chimera. It’s not going to happen. U.S. civilian and military leaders should summon the honesty to acknowledge this.

My friend M has put his finger on a problem that is much larger than he grasps. Here’s hoping that when he gets his degree he lands an academic job. It’s certain he’ll never find employment in our nation’s capital. As a soldier-turned-scholar, M inhabits what one of George W. Bush’s closest associates (believed to be Karl Rove) once derisively referred to as the “reality-based community.” People in Washington don’t have time for reality. They’re lost in a world of their own.

Andrew J. Bacevich, currently Columbia University’s George McGovern Fellow, is writing a military history of America’s war for the Greater Middle East. His most recent book is Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country. Copyright 2014 Andrew Bacevich.


The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has thus emerged as a new component of the Chinese security calculus. Beijing is worried that the rise and spread of Sunni militant Islam so close to its borders, including neighboring former Soviet “Stan” countries of Central Asia, will kindle radical elements in Xinjiang. Sunni militant Islam also threatens to become a strategic and an ideological nightmare for China’s massive and unprecedented multi-billion dollar investments from Xinjiang westward across Central Asia, the linchpin of Beijing’s future vision of energy security and economic development. Sunni radicalism could hinder, if not derail, the realization of Beijing’s Silk Road Belt initiative, presenting a major obstacle to building out a vast overland transcontinental transportation and energy infrastructure.

And so China gravitates increasingly towards Iran, which it believes can act as a buffer zone against the eastward advance of Sunni radical Islam. In November Meng Jianzhu, who heads domestic law enforcement in China, paid a visit to Tehran, where he struck deals to expand cooperation in the fight again terrorism.

“China and Iran have broad common interests in fighting terrorism,” Meng said, “and China is willing to further step up cooperation with Iran and play a proactive role in maintaining both countries’ security interests and promoting regional peace and stability.”