Chabad Wants Honor for High-Level Nazi
Intelligence chief saved the rebbe
We’re not sure how we missed this headline in the Jerusalem Post last week, because it’s really an excellent one: “Chabad: Make Nazi Commander a ‘Righteous Gentile.’” Yep, it appears that the Nazis’ intelligence chief—Admiral Wilhelm Canaris—was instrumental in helping Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef Schneerson, the sixth Lubavitcher rebbe, escape from the Warsaw Ghetto along with his family and retinue. For this, the Chabadniks have petitioned Yad Vashem, to have him declared an official Righteous Gentile. The director of the Simon Weisenthal Center in Israel is against the move—“it smacks of a certain particularism,” he told the Post—and Yad Vashem has previously turned down a different request for Canaris’s righteousification, because he did not directly risk his life to save Jews, instead merely used his bureaucratic authority as a commander, and because he abetted the Nazi war effort, rather than opposed it. (That he was hanged by SS officers on April 9, 1945, for attempting to assassinate Hitler would seem to undermine both those arguments, but what do we know?) The Yad Vashem people told the Post they haven’t yet received this new request and so couldn’t comment on it.