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Ben Gurion Looks Back in Talks with Moshe Pearlman;Ben Gurion Pro-Russian and Polish-Averse. Later, a British-Proposed Judeopolonia (East Prussia)

jan peczkis|Friday, April 28, 2017

There are many subjects raised in this book, and I focus on two distinctive ones. (My review is based on the original 1965 edition).

By way of introduction, David Ben Gurion (David Gruen) grew up in Plonsk, in tsarist-Russian ruled Congress Poland. Zionism, for him, was not an escape from persecution or perceived perpetual gentile unfairness to Jews: It was an affirmative end in itself. In fact, Ben Gurion indicated that he experienced no anti-Semitism. Click on [and read my detailed review] of Memoirs: David Ben-Gurion.



In common with most Jews living on foreign-ruled Polish soil, Ben Gurion’s parents gave their loyalties according to expediency. Ben Gurion recounts that, “I was born and brought up in a Zionist home and soaked up the Hebrew language and a love of Zion as an infant…I remember that as a boy I wanted nothing of Polish nationalism. I thought it irrelevant to Jewish freedom; and at elementary school in Plonsk I decided to learn Russian and not Polish. One could choose either.” (p. 19). Ironically, Ben Gurion had no problem with Russian even though tsarist Russia was REALLY “irrelevant to Jewish freedom” (to put it mildly)!

Ben Gurion’s experience reminds us that the Big-Power orientation of most Polish Jews held not only among the Litvaks further east. It also held for many Jews in “ethnographically Polish” central Poland.


Judeopolonia is no anti-Semitic Polish myth. There were various times in history when, at very least, a mini Jewish-nation could have been carved out of part of Poland, or at least on territories that would have otherwise gone to Poland.

Ben Gurion discusses one such example. Winston Churchill had appointed Lord Moyne, and Ben Gurion met with him on August 21, 1941. Here is how Lord Moyne reacted to Ben Gurion’s idea that Jews massively move to Palestine after WWII, “Moyne was not impressed and he got it into his head that the only solution would be the establishment of a Jewish State in Europe. ‘Hitler’s regime will have been smashed,’ he said, ‘and the Germans expelled from East Prussia. That’s where the Jews will be settled.’” (p. 95). Ben Gurion, in response, insisted that Jews must move to Palestine.

[In the end, the Germans were expelled, and East Prussia was split-up. The southern part (Olsztyn/Allenstein region) went to Poland, and the northern part went to the USSR.]
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