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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
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How Not to Remember the Holocaust

The Jewish lesson of the Holocaust is this: Jew hatred is real, it is dangerous and it is not possible for Jews to depend on others to protect them.
AJ21D2 Goldfish swimming in bowl. Image shot 2004. Exact date unknown.

The Jewish lesson of the Holocaust is this: Jew hatred is real, it is dangerous, and it is not possible for Jews to depend on others, no matter how well-intentioned they may seem, to protect them. For almost two thousand years, the Jewish people depended on others, and the result was periods of tolerance interspersed with persecutions, expulsions and murder.

Generations of Jews have learned this lesson from events: Herzl learned it from the Dreyfus case, and Jabotinsky from the Kishniev pogrom of 1903. Unfortunately, the history of modern Israel is also filled with such “teaching moments.”

There is a solution to the problem. It doesn’t end Jew-hatred and it doesn’t absolutely guarantee Jewish survival. But it is the best chance for the latter, in both the physical and cultural senses. It is, of course, Jewish independence — that is, Zionism.

So here is my idea for an appropriate Holocaust remembrance event: a teach-in on the subject of Jewish history, in which people would learn not only what Hitler did, but why, and how this was part of a long tradition of evil.

And it wouldn’t hurt to add a discussion of the history of Zionism and the state of Israel, to counteract the poisonous Arab narrative. Because acting justly in the present requires correctly remembering the past.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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One Response to “How Not to Remember the Holocaust”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The recurring questions which haunts survivors and their children echo through the halls of time. “Why didn’t they fight back? Why did they enter the chambers of death like sheep to the slaughter?” By our standards, such actions as placidly lining up against a wall to be shot or walking silently into the gas chambers or standing nude and obedient at the edge of a ravine filled with blood-covered bodies awaiting one’s own turn to die, defy all understanding. Indeed, anti-Semites would suggest that Jews were different, somehow not quite as brave, not quite as courageous as the average person. Our enemies will even conclude that the Jews were guilty of the crimes they were accused of, and hence with heavy conscience and accepting the punishment for their “crimes,” the Jews quietly submitted to their deserved punishment.

    Nothing could be a greater falsification of the truth. The hopelessness seen in their faces was not a reflection of guilt; rather it was a realization that they had been completely deserted and betrayed by humanity. The light of morality, conscience and brotherhood had been completely extinguished and for them life became a terror-filled abyss. Responsibility for their death clearly lies with the Nazis and their collaborators.

    Warsaw Ghetto uprising lasted as long as France’s resistance against Germany…Until a Jew is convinced that he or she is going to die anyway, armed resistance is suicide and suicide is not a goal. That applies to all Jews, regardless of religious leanings…dying with a weapon in your hand had meaning…The overwhelming majority of the resisting Jews were not trained soldiers, with almost no weapons and very little information, and had no idea what they were doing, yet, what they accomplished is incredible, if you think of the sabotage they carried out and other things, in all respects, not just in military terms.


    Not all Jews went "as sheep to slaughter," as they engaged in uprisings and breakouts at camps, death pits and mass murder sites, as well as attacks on the German military. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

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