In our "This Week in Jewish History" newsletter, we used "Nazi Cows" in the subject line in regards to the following Jewish Daily Bulletin item from 1935:
Berlin, Dec. 3 (JTA) — A herd of forty selected cows, the property of Jews, was shipped to Palestine today. It will be followed by a second shipment of 150 cattle on December 12.
In the cows’ defense, they probably didn’t have a political affiliation, nor a strong inclination against Jews.
In fact, they were Jewish owned. [[READMORE]]
It’s likely that these cows were among the possessions shipped from the Reich to Palestine through the Haavara agreement, wherein Germany allowed Jews to take a portion of their capital out of the Reich for a fee. From 1933 until the beginning of WWII in 1939, $35 million in capital such as building materials (and apparently livestock) were transferred through this arrangement.
The initiative was spearheaded by citrus company Hanotea for business purposes and later evolved into a formal arrangement with the Haavara company. Various Jewish factions disagreed over the merits of an agreement with Germany:
Dr. [Nahum] Goldman stated that despite the fact that the Jews were now at war with Germany, it was natural to negotiate and to take out of Germany as many people and as much capital as possible. He instanced the fact that when two nations were at war, they negotiate for the exchange of prisoners, and the German Jews are prisoners who should be taken out of Germany …
Rabbi Wise condemned in the strongest terms those who would enter into deals with the Nazis for private profit and demanded that they be driven out of Palestine. He asked however that no judgment be passed against those German Jews who in their anxiety to save themselves from the Nazis were compelled to do anything possible to escape from Germany and save what posessions they could.
If you know more about the story behind this particular shipment of cows, chime in by scrolling down to the comments section below.
Alternatively, if the spirit so moves you, feel free to just write "moo;" I’ll allow it for this post only.