You Will Not Buy Our Revenge With Money
Political Poster from the 1950s
This poster, published by the Herut Party, refers to the reparations agreement between the Israeli government and Germany. The poster shows an arm with tattooed numbers from a Nazi concentration camp. The poster conveys Herut’s strong objection to receiving German reparations. Herut and other groups in Israel believed that by accepting German money, they would be forgiving the terrible crimes of the Nazis and Germany. In their opinion, money could never begin to pay for the damage done to the Jewish people.
The reparations agreement between Israel and West Germany in 1953 stated that West Germany would pay for the costs of “resettling so great a number of uprooted and destitute Jewish refugees” after the war. They would also pay compensation to individuals for losses in livelihood and property.
These agreements caused fierce public debate. Some argued that contributing to the new Jewish state was the very least that Germany should do. They also believed that Israel as the Jewish state and the survivors themselves should receive compensation for the lost lives, property, and assets. Many others argued that there should be no negotiation with Germany and no reconciliation could be possible.. Protest demonstrations were held including a famous rally led by Menachem Begin who gave a passionate speech against the reparation agreement. The strong emotions regarding Israeli negotiations with Germany, less than ten years after the end of the Holocaust, caused violent protests with many arrests and injured people.
Despite the protests the agreement was signed in September 1952 and West Germany paid over three billion marks to Israel as the heir to the victims who had no families. The money was invested in developing the new State of Israel and played an important role in establishing its economy.
Reparations and the Response in Israel, The National Library of Israel
What is the message that the poster is trying to convey?
What is the significance of the photograph?
Why is the hand in a fist? What does the tattoo represent?
What were the different views regarding German reparations?
What is your personal view? Is it easier to think this more than 70 years after the Holocaust?
Hold a debate regarding the reparations agreement with the German government after World War II.
Divide the chanichim into two groups: those in favour and those against.
Each group should create posters, a leaflet, and a speech explaining their position.
Some of the debates and demonstrations about the reparations ended in violence due to the high emotions that this topic evoked.
Is there a limit to the freedom of speech? Should the police and government limit political freedom of demonstration in certain situations?
Discuss the importance of peaceful discussions about emotional topics.
You will not buy our revenge with money
Ministers of Israel!
Survivors of the Annihilation
Published by the Publicity Department of the Herut Party