Many right wing and haredi Jews (including a few who comment here) like to say that Hungarian Jews did not know about Auschwitz. If they had only known, if the left wing Zionists the "controlled" Jewish communal affairs had only told them, deportations could have been stopped and hundreds of thousands of lives saved.
This is false for many reasons, not the least of which is that tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews did know, had heard the rumors and had even met Slovakian and Polish Jewish refugees. Most Hungarian Jews chose to believe that what happened to Polish Jewry would not happen to Hungary's Jews.
But fact has never stopped haredim before, and it is unlikely to stop them now – even when the fact is a clear indictment of one of their revered leaders…
…Joel Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe.
Anna Porter, on page 140 (see footnote 11 on page 390) of her new book, Kasztner's Train, has this to say about the "Grand" rabbi of Satmar:
- A Zionist activist went to the Satmar Rebbe to warn him and his followers that the Nazi deportation trains would be taking them to their death, not to a 'relocation site.'
- The Satmar Rebbe threatened this man with with excommunication and ordered him to be silent. He did not want his followers "panicked."
The Satmar Rebbe never told the Jews of Satmar where those trains were headed. The Jews of Satmar went like sheep to slaughter. The Satmar Rebbe, on the other hand, went into hiding and was later among those saved by Rudolph Kasztner.
The Satmar Rebbe – a leading and viscous anti-Zionist before the war (along with the 5th and 6th Lubavitcher Rebbes, and the Munkatcher Rebbe) – went on be the leading anti-Zionist of the post-war era.
The vast majority of his followers and the rest of the Jews of Satmar went on to become smoke.
Related Post: The Belzer Rebbe and the Holocaust.