Tony Greenstein | 13 July 2021 | Post Views:

This is how they Rewrite History – the Daily Mail Excised from the Life of Auschwitz Survivor Esther Béjarano her Support for the Palestinians

 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas paid tribute to Esther Béjarano’s Fight Against Anti-Semitism – Whilst voting to describe BDS, which she also supported, as anti-Semitic

Esther Bejarano as a teenager

If you want to learn about the life of Esther Béjarano then there’s no point in turning to Wikipedia, The Times of Israel or German news outlet  still less the Daily Mail. Although it has to be said that they are all an improvement on the Guardian which doesn’t seem to have realised that Esther died early Saturday morning.

The Independent is typical of the coverage of Esther’s life. It reported that ‘Bejarano emigrated to Israel after World War II but returned to Germany with her husband in 1960.’ Presumably it didn’t occur to ask why Esther should return to the country which nearly murdered her. Perhaps she fancied a change of scenery?

For an understanding of Esther Béjarano’s life after 1945 we have to turn to an interview over two years ago in the Palestinian Electronic Intifada. All the obituaries focus on the fact that Esther survived Auschwitz by playing in the orchestra which all those going to the gas chambers heard as they arrived in Auschwitz.

Of course what the Mail didn’t say was that Esther Bejarano emigrated from Israel because she couldn’t stand its racism.

Auschwitz however was not the totality of Esther’s life. To deliberately excise a part of someone’s life because it doesn’t fit with an establishment narrative about ‘anti-Semitism’ demonstrates why the mainstream media is institutionally dishonest.

Esther described in Adri Nieuwh’s interview Why Auschwitz survivor Esther Bejarano supports BDS how, despite being a holocaust survivor, she has been called an anti-Semite for supporting the Palestinians.

It should make even the stupidest Zionist sit up and ask how it is that the false ‘anti-Semitism’ narrative ends up calling holocaust survivors who universalise the lessons of the holocaust, ‘anti-Semitic’.

Birkenau, where the gas chambers were situated and Esther played the accordion

Esther also called Israel’s government ‘fascist’. In her interview we learn that because she was classified as a mischlinge ‘mixed race’ (she had a Christian grandfather) she was transferred to the women’ concentration camps of Ravensbruck and thus survived.

Esther spent 15 years in Israel, marrying Nissim Bejarano, a truck driver. She tells how “My husband and I could not stand Israeli politics. It was a catastrophe. Life was difficult because we did not agree with the terrible things that were done to the Palestinians.”

Israel “fought against them, threw the Palestinians out. They didn’t leave on their own, they were forced to leave. We just could not stand that.” Esther fought in Israel’s War of Independence so this is not speculation.

In 1960 she and her husband left Israel for Germany. “It was very difficult because it was the country of the perpetrators.” What is surprising is that none of this appears in our prostitute press, which falsified the news to fit its political agenda. Esther described how in Germany

They also have called me an anti-Semite. I always say I am against the inhuman policies towards the Palestinians, and against war. With war you cannot achieve peace. Then they frame me as an anti-Semite.”

“It is a scandal because the terrible policies of Israel need to be clarified,”.

Referring to Israel’s former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the current Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Bejarano says,

They are fascists. It is a fascist government. I have no other name for it.”

The space to debate BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – activism is very limited in Germany.

“Whether it [BDS] helps, that’s another issue. For many people here it is out of the question,”

 “But I say, if it helps to put anything in the way of the terrible [Israeli] policies, then I am for it. Because I have experienced what fascism is.”

 “In Germany, and many other countries, one does not distinguish between Judaism and Zionism. They think Israel, Zionism and Judaism are all the same.”

“It’s all lumped together and that’s where anti-Semitism comes from,”

“And the harshest thing is that the Germans now, to cleanse themselves so to speak, say the new anti-Semitism comes from the Muslims.”

Esther puts her finger on why the German capitalist class and its politicians are so eager to label opponents of Israel and Zionism as anti-Semitic. Given the record of complicity in the holocaust and the Nazi dictatorship by Germany industry – Siemens, Krupps, Bosch, IG Farben – the German Establishment is only too happy to use support for Israel to expiate its guilt whilst pointing the fingers at the victims of Israeli aggression.

Esther Béjarano’s went on to explain why so many young Israelis leave the country.

“They [young Israelis] simply cannot live in Israel anymore. That is why so many have moved to Berlin.”

Germany’s Bundestag voted to describe BDS as ‘antisemitic’ and therefore according to them Esther was antisemitic too

The Daily Mail had an Obituary on Esther Béjarano. It told readers how ‘‘German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called Esther Bejarano ‘an important voice in the fight against racism and antisemitism’ without telling us that Herr Maas also supported the resolution of Germany’s Bundestag (parliament) which passed a motion on 17th May 2019 calling BDS ‘anti-Semitic’.

Heiko Mass, Germany’s Foreign Minister

It follows therefore that Herr Mass was calling Esther Béjarano an anti-Semite whilst at the same time saying that she was a fighter against anti-Semitism! These are the knots that the supporters of Israel and Zionism tie themselves up in when they label anti-racists, anti-fascists and anti-Zionists as anti-Semitic.

However when I first read the Daily Mail’s Obituary by Kate Dennet I was prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps Kate was simply as ignorant as the rest of the Mail’s ‘journalists’. So I made a short contribution to the Comments underneath. I wrote:

‘German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called Esther Bejarano ‘an important voice in the fight against racism and antisemitism’ but Herr Maas also called her an anti-Semite.  Maas voted for a resolution in Germany’s parliament that said that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel was anti-Semitic.

Esther was a strong supporter of the Palestinians.  She supported BDS.

Esther had been called an anti-Semite for speaking out against Israel’s inhumane treatment of Palestinians observing that ‘the Germans now, to cleanse themselves so to speak, say the new anti-Semitism comes from the Muslims.”

The real lesson of Esther’s life is that one should oppose all forms of racism, not anti-Semitism selectively.

An anti-fascist friend of mine also wrote a Comment on her. Both of our contributions were moderated out of existence. What I had written did not accord with the lies that the Mail and other papers perpetuate, viz. that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. To point out that Esther was both an opponent of fascism and anti-Semitism and Zionism was too much for the liars who run the paper that supported Hitler before the war. Although my first comment was worded diplomatically, my next comments were anything but diplomatic:

How pathetic. You have censored my comment and that of xxx. Why? Because I paid tribute to her (Esther’s) support 4 the Palestinians and xxx paid tribute to her anti-racist and anti-fascist activism.  All 3 causes the Daily Mail doesn’t approve of.  So you have deliberately omitted detail’s of Esther’s life which conflicts with the Daily Mail’s own prejudices.

I understand. After all how does a paper that had Katie Hopkins as a columnist also print an obituary of an anti-fascist and anti-Zionist who by its definition is antisemitic?  By eliminating part of her life & pretending she was really ‘like us’ rather than being someone who detested everything that the Mail stands for.

After all if Esther had tried to escape to the UK as a child the Mail would have been foaming at the mouth at the very thought given that it waged a campaign to PREVENT Jewish immigrants coming in prior to 1939. And of course we should not forget Lord Rothermere, the Mail’s Hitler owning proprietor

How the Daily Mail Supported Hitler During the 1930s

I followed up my 2 previous comments with an explanation of how, when Hitler took power in Germany, there was no more avid supporter of his than – the Daily Mail! I wrote, in a series of comments (the Mail assumes that their readers are stupid and confines them to about 200 words).

It is no wonder that comments are ‘moderated’ on the Mail. You didn’t want people to discuss Esther Bejarano’s life. You wanted people to say ‘amen’ and RIP and for the Mail to bask in the reflected glory of Esther’s life long fight against racism and anti-Semitism, even though the Mail – bigoted and racist as it is,- stands for everything she opposed.

Esther was an anti-Zionist, a communist, a fighter who drew the lesson from the Holocaust that all racism was wrong. For you Zionism, racism against the Palestinians, is the lesson you draw from the Holocaust.  In other words Hitler’s anti-Semitism justifies Israeli Apartheid and the ‘death to the Arabs’ demonstrations that successive Israeli governments have fostered. 

The Daily Mail has moved from supporting Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts and Hitler to ardent Zionism. There is of course no contradiction in this. The Nazis too supported Zionism, even though it is heretical – as Ken Livingstone found out – to mention this fact today. 

As Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazis’ main theoretician wrote in 1919:

‘Zionism must be vigorously supported in order to encourage a significant number of German Jews to leave for Palestine or other destinations.’

Alfred rosenberg

Rosenberg went on to say that the Nazis:

 ‘intended to use Zionism as a legal justification for depriving German Jews of their civil rights’ and ‘eventually the Jewish presence in Germany.

You can find both these quotes in Francis Nicosia’s The Third Reich and the Palestine Question. In May 1935 Schwarze Korps, the paper of the SS, wrote:

‘the Zionists adhere to a strict racial position and by emigrating to Palestine they are helping to build their own Jewish state…. The assimilation-minded Jews deny their race and insist on their loyalty to Germany or claim to be Christians because they have been baptised in order to subvert National Socialist principles.’

Today it is the far Right and anti-Semitic politicians from Germany’s AfD, Tommy Robinson, Trump, Bannon and Orban who combine anti-Semitism with support for Zionism.  So it is perfectly understandable that you can’t allow the facts of Esther’s political life to contradict the editorial line of the Mail. Of course your readers will be kept in ignorance basking in their own prejudices. But then that was always the secret of the Mail’s ‘journalism’.

If Esther Bejarano had tried to escape to England then she would have come face to face with articles such as the following:

“The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage:  the number of aliens entering the country through back door – a problem to which the Daily Mail has repeatedly pointed”  Daily Mail, 20 August 1938.

Or if we go back further to the beginning of the 20th century we will read that Jewish immigrants from Russia: [Daily Mail 3 February 1900]

” fought, they jostled to the foremost places at the gangways. When the Relief Committee passed by they hid their gold and fawned and whined in broken English asked for money for their train fare.” Daily Mail, 3rd February 1900.

Throughout the 1930’s the Mail and its owner Lord Rothermere supported Hitler and our home grown National Socialists. In January 1934 appeared the famous ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’ article on the Mail’s front page. 

There was no greater supporter of Hitler than the Mail’s owner, Viscount Rothermere. In an article NAZI YOUTH IN CONTROLfor the Daily News in Perth on Monday 4 September 1933 Rothermere wrote:

 ‘Of all the historic changes in our time, the transformation of Germany under Hitler has been the swiftest, most complete, and most momentous. This nation of 65 millions stands behind him united as it never was before.

… I urge all British young men and women to study closely the progress of this Nazi regime in Germany. They must not be misled by the misrepresentations of its opponents.  They have started a clamorous campaign of denunciation against what they call ‘Nazi atrocities,’ which, as anyone who visits Germany quickly discovers for himself, consists merely of a few isolated acts of violence….


‘THE German nation, moreover, was rapidly falling under the control of its alien elements. In the last days of the pre-Hitler regime there were 20 times as many Jewish Government officials in Germany as had existed before the war. Israelites of international attachments were insinuating themselves into key positions in the German administrative machine. Three German Ministries only had direct relations with the Press, but in each case the official responsible for conveying news and interpreting policy to the public was a Jew.

It is from such abuses that Hitler has freed Germany.

It would be both futile and unfair to resent this revival of German spirit. Each nation has the right to make the most of its own resources. …

The world’s greatest need today is realism. Hitler is a realist. He has saved his country from the ineffectual leadership of hesitating, half-hearted politicians.

It is no surprise that the Daily Mail feels the need to rewrite history given its own history.  When the Mail and the Tory papers, none of whom were interested in Hitler’s anti-Semitism before 1939, condemn ‘anti-Semitism’ today we should not be surprised that they have difficulty understanding the difference between anti-Semitism and opposition to racism. 

Tony Greenstein

Posted in

Tony Greenstein

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.