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July 6, 2015 / 19 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘gas chambers’

‘Britain’s Schindler’ Dies at the Age of 106

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Nicholas Winton, known as “Britain’s Schindler” for his rescuing 669 Jewish children from the Holocaust, died in England on Wednesday at the age of 106.

He remained silent about his heroism in helping the children escape from Czechoslovakia until his wife found a scrapbook in the attic of their home in 1988. It included a record of names and pictures of the children whom he helped rescue and prompted an exposure of his heroism.

Winton discovered the situation of Jews in Czechoslovakia when he visited there at the behest of a friend in 1938. A stockbroker by trade, Winton bribed German officials and forged document to rescue children, despite the Gestapo’s being on his trail.

He returned to Britain a year later and continued to help rescue efforts by raising money and finding foster homes for more children whom two friends were still working to rescue from within Czechoslovakia. Queen Elizabeth granted Winton knighthood for his work.

The New York Times reported that among “Winton’s children” are film director Karel Reisz, who made “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” and “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” (1960); Lord Alfred Dubs, who became a member of Parliament; Joe Schlesinger, a Canadian broadcast correspondent; Hugo Marom, a founder of the Israeli Air Force; author Vera Gissing; and Renata Laxová, a geneticist who discovered the Neu-Laxová Syndrome, a congenital abnormality.
Winton’s wife died in 1999, and he is survived by two children and grandchildren.

Nicholas Winton was born on 19 May 1909 in Hampstead, London, a son of Barbara (née Wertheimer) and Rudolph Wertheim. His parents were German Jews who had moved to London two years earlier.The family name was Wertheim, but they changed it to Winton in an effort at integration. They also converted to Christianity, and Winton was baptized.

Survivors to Testify in Trial of ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Oskar Groening, now 91 and the former “bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” is on trial in Germany today in what may be the last judicial proceedings of Nazi criminals.

He is one of the last SS members, and may be the last, to be on trial. Most of the others have escaped justice, and the years it took before bringing Groening to the courtroom have been described by German writer Christoph Heubner as a “disaster” of justice

He faces 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as an SS guard at Auschwitz death camp, where hundreds of thousands of Jews died in the gas chambers.

He also tallied money and possession taken from victims. Prosecutors told the court, “He helped the Nazi regime benefit economically, and supported the systematic killings.”

Groening has taken the attitude of “I was only taking orders” and once started singing a song from his youth during a Der Spiegel interview:

 ‘And when Jewish blood begins to drip from our knives, things will be good again.’

Back then we didn’t even think about what we were singing.

He also described how an SS killed a baby:

I saw [a] SS soldier grab the baby by the legs… He smashed the baby’s head against the iron side of a truck until it was silent.

Groening said he was “horrified” by the scene.

It “horrified” him, but so what? He declared, “I would describe my role as a small cog in the gears. If you can describe this as guilt, then I am guilty. Legally speaking I am innocent.”

Innocent of what? Perhaps innocent of having been Hitler, or Eichmann. But is he innocent of being Oskar Groening?

Understanding that he thinks he is not guilty explains volumes about the Nazi mentality, which in the end can only be understood by anyone who is the personification of evil.

German writer Christoph Heubner told the London Telegraph, “This could be the last Nazi war crimes trial in Germany

“The legal treatment (of the Holocaust) has been an absolute disaster, a dirty stain on the name of our country. In Germany a total of 43 SS men have faced court, nine received life sentences, 25 were sent to prison, and the rest were acquitted. This is out of about 6,500 people from the SS concentration camps who were alive at the end of the war.

Seventy years after Auschwitz we still have to have trials because the German judiciary has failed miserably on the issue….

“Many survivors have talked to German youths, with political parties in Germany, in school classes. But a court is a place where justice is handed down, where human rights are defended, where eyewitness accounts gain legal weight.

“The trial is also important because it sends a signal to people who are involved in genocides today. Time may pass, but the day of judgment will come.”

Even if they say they are “innocent.”

Am I Supposed to Read that?

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

I love that most of my kids don’t actually read this blog – it gives me a freedom I wouldn’t have, if I thought they were actually listening. I have to deal with the fact that Amira does, Lauren mostly, but the boys…not at all.

I shared a post on Facebook as Aliza was sitting next to me. “Am I supposed to read that?” she asked.

No, I told her, you don’t have to. “Oh, good,” was her response.

She’s in the kitchen making herself something to eat now. She’s singing quietly to herself. There is something infinitely comforting to have your child singing that way.

I can’t make out the words – it doesn’t really matter. She’s making herself her favorite noodles – with cheese.

In the meantime, it’s a good quiet, mostly anyway. David called from Poland a few minutes ago. He’s on a bus heading towards Lodz and in a few hours, he will be going to Treblinka.

Treblinka was one of the hardest places to visit simply because almost nothing is there. It is up to you to imagine what once was. There are 17,000 stones, representing the Jewish communities of Poland before the war. Compared to Israel, Poland is huge and so to travel from place to place, geographical realities force you to make a huge circle.

You fly into and out of Warsaw – from there, you draw a circle. Some trips start from Treblinka and end with Maidanek; others, like mine and now Davidi’s, start with Maidanek and end with Treblinka. I think that is smarter. It’s all there, in Maidanek – the gas chambers, the crematoria, the ashes, the collections of possessions.

If you see Maidanek, you can imagine Treblinka. A trip to Poland forever changes you. There is nothing like the reality of being in a gas chamber…knowing you stand where thousands died. Israeli groups visit the concentration camps in large groups and carrying Israeli flags. We need to make this statement. Our people were here once; we have returned, but we come with the power and the reality that we, Israel, will never allow you, whoever you are, to do again what you once did.

And so, with our Israeli flags, dressed as we are, we are stared at in these places. More, there is a recognition among other visitors. When we entered the gas chambers, other groups quickly left. While we were inside, other groups entered and either walked quickly passed us or went back outside to wait until we were finished.

Perhaps it was wrong of us, but we didn’t wait. We went in and claimed our place – this is where OUR grandparents and great grandparents died. You come as visitors, we come as mourners. I can’t really explain it.

Davidi sounded good on the phone – he is looking forward to coming home. I will see him again in about 36 hours. They will land at the airport before dawn on Monday morning and will go straight to the Western Wall. They will come back as stronger Jews, stronger Israelis.

It is a trip that changes your life, focuses you more on why it is so very important that there be an Israel.

I asked Davidi if he was writing down what he was experiencing. He said he didn’t know how. I thought of that when Aliza asked if she was supposed to read my articles.

Part of being a parent is accepting that your way may not be theirs. So, no, she doesn’t have to read and he doesn’t have to write. It is enough that she sings in the kitchen; that he shares this experience with his friends and teachers.

NY Deliveryman Awarded $900,000 in Anti-Semitism Suit

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

A New York restaurant deliveryman was awarded $900,000 for enduring 16 years of anti-Semitic harassment by three supervisors, a U.S. District Court jury in Brooklyn decided after four hours of deliberation

Adam Wiercinski sued the Mangia 57 restaurant in Manhattan, where he stated that one manager would pass gas in front of him and then joke that it was Zyklon B, which was used in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust, The New York Post reported.

Wiercinski, whose father’s family died at the hands of the Nazis, said he had to explain what Zyklon B was to the jury because they were “very young.” “When I explain how it was used in the gas chambers, they were very serious. Everybody [in the courtroom] was silent,” he told the Post.

Supervisors also called him a “dirty Jew” and threw pennies at him while making anti-Semitic comments, and they docked his tips.

Wiercinski did not quit because he felt he was too old to get a new job.

Employees at the restaurant and caterer, which has three Manhattan locations, have denied the harassment took place, and the restaurant is expected to appeal the decision.

The point of this report is not that Wiercinski won his lawsuit.

The point is that in the United States of America, no would think that nearly seven decades after the Holocaust, someone in the capacity of a restaurant manager in the city of the Statue of Liberty, in the city attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists, would act like an ignorant Nazi guard at a death camp.

No one would think that.

Think again.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/ny-deliveryman-awarded-900000-in-anti-semitism-suit/2013/10/29/

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