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The “Haavara Agreement”

The Haavara Agreement was a pact between the Nazis and Zionists regarding Jewish emigration from Germany during the 1930's. It is the only contract between an official Third Reich authority and a Zionist organization. This agreement is considered to have benefited the interests of both parties. Haavara was intended to promote both the emigration of German Jews and the export of German products to Palestine.

As a result of the Agreement, German exports arrived in Palestine at bargain prices with the help of Jewish capital and Jewish commercial assistance. The Agreement also made it possible to settle a large number of German Jews in Palestine. Goods worth a total of 139.5 million Reichsmark were transferred by 1939. Only the outbreak of war in September 1939 ended the transfer practice.

-- R. Widmann

Circular 54/1933 of the Reich Ministry of Finance, August 28, 1933

To further the cause of Jewish emigration to Palestine through allocation of the necessary sums of money, without putting too much strain on the currency reserves of the Reich and simultaneously increasing German exports to Palestine, an agreement has been reached with the appropriate Jewish authorities. It is based on the following conditions:

Emigrants on whose behalf the Emigration Advisory Office confirms that further sums of money are necessary and adequate for the purpose of starting a new life in Palestine, and that the minimum amount of 1000 PP [Pal. Pounds] required for immigration into Palestine is insufficient, may be granted an additional sum in excess of the 15,000 RM on condition that it is paid at the Reichsbank into the Special Account I of the Bank of the Temple Corporation [German colonists bank in Palestine] and credited to a trust company in Palestine specially set up for this purpose (or to the Anglo-Palestine Bank until the Jewish trust company has been set up). A total sum of 3 million RM has been designated initially for this Special Account I and for a Special Account II mentioned below; it is to be operated by the Temple Bank as a trust account for the above mentioned Jewish Trust Company. This account is to be used to pay for German goods delivered to Palestine. Emigrants will be paid the equivalent of their deposits by the Palestine trust company according to the funds available from the sale of German goods to Palestine. This will occur in the order and proportion of the payments made into the Special Account I and paid out in Palestine Pounds. The "Palästina-Treuhandstelle zur Beratung deutscher Juden GmbH" [Paltreu, Palestine Trust Office for Advice to German Jews] has been founded in Berlin, Friedrichstraß 218, to advise German Jews in matters concerning this form of capital transfer to Palestine. I request that particular attention is to be drawn to this organization when authorization [for capital transfer to Palestine] is being granted.

Furthermore, a Special Account II has been opened at the Reichsbank on behalf of the bank of the Temple Organization. On application the exchange regulation authorities may grant permission to German Jewish nationals, who have not yet emigrated but who are already planning a new existence in Palestine, to deposit up to 50,000 RM per person into this account (and similarly credit it to a German-Jewish trust company to be founded in Palestine or to the Anglo-Palestine Bank Ltd. until this has been founded).

Source: Werner Feilchenfeld, Dolf Michaelis, Ludwig Pinner, Haavara-Transfer nach Palästina und die Einwanderung deutscher Juden 1933-1939, Tübingen 1972, p.26 f.

Herbert A. Strauss, General Editor, "Jewish Immigrants of the Nazi Period in the USA" Vol. 4 - Jewish Emigration from Germany 1933-1942: A Documentary History, K.G. Saur, New York 1992, p. 254.