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Becher - Mount Kisco / Weissmandel

Film | Accession Number: 1996.166 | RG Number: RG-60.5052 | Film ID: 3820, 3821, 3822

An Orthodox Jew affiliated with Weissmandel's Yeshiva in Mount Kisco in New York, Mr. Becher talks about Rabbi Weissmandel, the "Blood for Goods" and other rescue efforts, and the Orthodox prohibition on violent resistance.

FILM ID 3820 – Camera Rolls NY 82-87 -- Becher
NY 82 Mr. Becher explains that Rabbi Weissmandel was the first person to explore the idea of bribing the Nazis in order to save the Jews. Rabbi Weissmandel began rescuing Jews from Slovakia in 1942. Religious Jews were opposed to the ban on German goods initiated by Rabbi Stephen Wise in 1933. Becher says Jews were religiously opposed to displays of force against Germans and the Jews living in Germany.

10:21 NY 84,85,86 Becher claims that the boycott of Germany and Rabbi Wise's declarations of war in 1938 both contributed to the Holocaust. Zionist Jews in Palestine collaborated with the Nazis through the creation of the Haavara Agreement which permitted German Jews to immigrate to Palestine if they agreed to leave their belongings and money in Germany. Lanzmann asks Becher what he would have done, as an Orthodox Jew, if the Nazis had humiliated him the same way they did to many Orthodox Jews during the war. After Becher does not answer, Lanzmann asks if he thinks the war would have been different if Jews had weapons to resist.

21:35 NY 87,89,90 Becher discusses the differences between the holidays Chanukah and Purim. According to Becher, Jews can only fight back when their faith is in danger, and the Nuremberg laws persecuted Jews personally, rather than the religion of Judaism.

FILM ID 3821 – Camera Rolls NY 88,89,90 -- Coupes
NY 88 Must, LS Lanzmann and Becher talking in the street, CUs. Becher walking along the road.

FILM ID 3822 – Camera Rolls NY 91 -- Coupes
NY 91 Becher thinks that the Diaspora has made it impossible for Judaism to be wiped out. Weissmandel was able to negotiate for the rescue of Slovakian Jews by convincing the Nazis that if they happened to lose the war, allowing some Jews out would help their image. Nazi SS official Dieter Wisliceny agreed for the price of $50,000 USD to divert several of the transports going to Poland.

Event:  November 1978
Production:  1985
New York, NY, United States
Created by Claude Lanzmann during the filming of "Shoah," used by permission of USHMM and Yad Vashem
Record last modified: 2021-06-03 12:47:15
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