Nazi-Jewish negotiations in Istanbul in mid-1944 Academic Article uri icon


  • This article focuses on David Ben-Gurion's reactions to Nazi suggestions in mid-1944 that the lives of Hungarian Jews might be spared if the West supplied certain goods to Germany. The most famous offer, brought via Budapest to Istanbul by Hungarian Jewish activist Joel Brand, was allegedly one million Jewish lives for ten thousand trucks. The leadership of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, headed by Ben-Gurion, however, sought to induce Britain and the United States to avoid open rejection of this unrealistic Nazi proposal and subsequent feelers, and Jewish officials simultaneously and secretly prepared to engage Nazi officials in independent negotiations based on payment of money, not goods. Although intensive Jewish efforts led to very limited results, the episodes and maneuvers in and around Istanbul during the summer of 1944 demonstrate Ben-Gurion's interest in grasping any possibility …

publication date

  • January 1, 1999