Ha-avarah Agreement

views updated


Agreement that allowed Jews to transfer limited assets from Nazi Germany to Palestine.

In August 1933 the German Ministry of the Economy concluded the so-called Ha-avarah (transfer) Agreement with Jewish officials in Palestine and representatives of the German Zionist Federation. Violently antisemitic and eager to rid Germany of its Jews, the new government of Adolf Hitler shared with Zionists the goal of facilitating Jewish departures to Palestine. The Ha-avarah Agreement permitted Jews whose assets were held in blocked accounts in Germany to transfer part of their savings to Palestine, where the money was to be used to purchase German products. For the new Nazi government, Ha-avarah had the advantage of promoting both Jewish emigration and German exports; for beleaguered German Jews, the agreement was a way of salvaging some Jewish assets and escaping persecution. Although pleased at the way in which Ha-avarah undercut those Jews championing a boycott of Germany, Nazi policymakers also came to oppose an independent Jewish state in Palestine, believing that this would strengthen the Jews' hand against Germany internationally. Nevertheless, Hitler himself refused to reject Ha-avarah, and so his subordinates maintained the policy until shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939. In the end, about 60,000 Jews may have benefited from its provisions, and some 100 million reichsmarks were transferred from Germany to Palestine.

See also holocaust.


Nicosia, Francis. The Third Reich and the Palestine Question. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985.

michael r. marrus