“The Hostile Alliance”
Cochavi follows the history of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (Reich Association of Jews in Germany) from its establishment in 1939 until 1943. The organization came into existence due to the initiatives of both the Nazi authorities (first and foremost, the SS and SD) and the Jewish leadership in Germany, because both sides felt the necessity for such a body, each for its own purposes. In the early stages, the RV dealt with emigration and relief work. In 1941, its tasks shifted; it became involved in the deportation of the Jews from Germany. At this stage the RV played a controversial role. On the one hand, it tried to alleviate the plight of the deportees (and even purchased lodgings in Theresienstadt); on the other hand, in the deportation from Berlin on February15, 1943, it recruited Jewish men to assist the SS in their Aktion, some of whom even resorted to violence while carrying out their task. The RV did help the deportees, and in some cases even warned them beforehand. Yet, the Nazis did not object to its existence, because it smoothed the process of deportation.