Zion Island 22.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.   Sipo-SD IV-B-4.


Partial transcript of a recorded conversation, Theresienstadt, Madagascar, 2 February 1947.


MA[1]: Why there?  Why change the plan?


MB[2]: Because they’ll all be there!  All of them!  Everyone who ever harmed us.  We don’t have to make one dramatic gesture and claim that one is enough.  We don’t have to go hunting year after year.  And we don’t have to worry about what that bastard[3] will decide to do to us in the meantime.  When will we ever have a chance like this again?  That’s why.


MA: But your way can’t be clean!  Not there.  Not that way.  It isn’t just them.  It’s all the others.


MB: Clean!  The others!  Are you out of your fucking mind?  It’s a war.  The world may be at peace, but we’re in a war and you know it as well as I do.  Nothing is clean about war.  And we’re at war.  As for the others, how do you think these shits got into power?  How do you think that they could do what they have done to us and to others?  They could do it because lots of ordinary men helped and because millions of people stood around with their hands in their pockets.  They wanted to not know.  They didn’t mind picking up whatever came loose, so long as they could claim they didn’t know how it came loose.  Alright, now they’re going to know.


MA: We’re going—our people are going—to have to live in the world after we do this!  However bad things seem now, doing what you want to do will make the situation incalculably worse.  We’ll prove the lies were true: that we’re everyone’s enemy.  We’ll turn every hand against us.  And just for vengeance!


MB: It’s not just for vengeance.  It’s a lesson.  They have to learn, the world has to learn, that thing have changed.  No more silent endurance.  Of suffering.  Of persecution.  Of murder and rape and robbery.  No more trying to be too useful to lose.  No more waiting for reasonable men to get fed up with the louts, pull the reins in.  No more trying to fit in.  Centuries of that is what got us here.  Here, in this stinking shit-hole!  Now they’ve got to learn that when somebody starts talking about getting rid of us, we take them seriously.  When the mobs start forming, we don’t scuttle back into the wood-work.  No more cringing.  Now we fight.


MA: But we are in this stinking shit-hole.  Almost all of us are.  Think!  We wanted a country of our own.  Maybe they’re right.  This could be that country.  But to turn it from a prison into a real country, we’re going to need friends in other countries.  We’re going to need help.  We’re going to need time.  If we do what you want, we’ll never have either.  And it isn’t just you and I and the others who will pay.  It’s all of us.


MB: You’re a fool.

[1] Mordechai Anielewicz: b. 1919, Warsaw, Russian Empire.

[2] Menachem Begin: b. 1913, Brest-Litovsk, Russian Empire.

[3] Reference unclear.

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