This Day in Jewish History Nazis Order Establishment of Jewish Councils

As the Nazis advanced their campaign against the Jews, ghettos were established across Europe and with them, as of this day in 1939, Jewish Councils to both represent the community and do the Germans' dirty work.

On November 18, 1939, the German governor-general of newly conquered Poland, Hans Frank, ordered all Jewish communities under occupation to organize Judenraete (“Jewish councils”) to act as middlemen between themselves and the occupying forces. The idea of Jewish self-rule, and of mediators representing individual communities vis-à-vis the local nobility or central government, goes back to Medieval...