In 1978, the Jewish National Fund sent appeal letters to supporters in the U.S. and Europe, seeking funds for the planting of forests in Israel – and received a surprising response from a neo-Nazi group, which wished the JNF success in its campaign. The reason: So that there will be “more trees to hang Jews from.”
The existence of the letter was revealed this week, in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day, to be commemorated Wednesday night and Thursday. The letter was presented to the JNF by Avi Amir, the grandson of Chanoch Siegmund Tietman, who authored the letter for the planting of the forest in memory of the Jews of central Europe murdered in the Holocaust. The letter found its way into the hands of the American Nazi Party, which responded to the appeal with a letter in German.
“Jews, we have heard that you and other liars want to plant trees in the Yerushalayim forest in memory of members of your race who were supposedly killed by us,” the letter said. “We will not deal with your lies and crimes, and soon we will beat the truth out of you and members of your race still living in West Germany. We urge you to plant a large forest – because when we make order in West Germany we will come to you for a visit and hang you on those trees.”
JNF head Daniel Attar said that letter was shocking. “Unfortunately just this week we were just shown yet again that despite the fact that this letter was written many years ago, anti-Semitism is still with us and even leads to the murder of Jews. Now, and then, our response must be the continued development of the land of Israel. JNF works towards restoring the land, strengthening the state, and encouraging immigration of Jews to Israel, all necessary activities. The answer to this neo-Nazi letter is the fact that millions of Jews are living in a safe and successful state of Israel.”