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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust Remembrance Day’

Jewish Ukrainian Mayor Shot, Worry Rises as Separatists Seize More Towns

Monday, April 28th, 2014

The Jewish mayor of the eastern Ukrainian town of Kharkov was shot in the back by unidentified masked gunmen on Monday and is now fighting for his life, even as Israel’s president warned Jews around the world on Holocaust Remembrance Day to watch for signs of rising anti-Semitism.

Pro-Russian separatists captured Kharkov, eastern Ukraine’s second-largest town, on Monday, according to a report by RIA Novosti. The news outlet quoted a friend of Mayor Gennady Kernes who said, “They shot him in the back from the forest…  His lung is pierced and his liver pierced all the way through.”

Aides said the mayor had recently received numerous threats,  RT News reported. The attack, which came less than 24 hours after a clash between anti-government protesters and nationalists in the city left 14 people injured, left Kernes critically wounded.

Speaking at the opening ceremonies Monday for Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Peres spoke of the death of his family in the little town of Vishnyeva, in Poland. Two thousand Jews all died there after being locked into the wooden synagogue building by the Nazis, and then burned alive.

“Half of the Jews of Vishnyeva made aliyah to Israel, the other half, which did not, were burned alive,” the president said. “Our body was slashed in two – but our spirit remains undivided, pulsating here in Israel as a locked memory, an independent Jewish renaissance never again to be destroyed.”

The clear warning issued by the president is one the Jews in Ukraine now must heed – if they even had a chance to hear it as the rising war begins to rage around them.

So far the Jews of Kharkov seem to be safe – but the city has a bloody past in terms of protecting its Jews. More than 15,000 Jewish residents of Kharkov were murdered between December 1941 and January 1942, herded by Germans into a ghetto area set up for them about five miles from the city and periodically hauled out and shot to death. Some were just buried alive. A mass grave was discovered not far from the site, in the Drobitzki Valley.

Many of the supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are also anti-Semitic, sources told the Arutz Sheva website in an interview in February. As a result, some of the community is considering aliyah.

In the eastern Ukraine on Monday, armed gunmen also seized town of Kostyantynivka, entering the administration building and the police headquarters. International media reported that masked gunmen were wearing camouflage outfits and were armed with assault weapons.

Both towns are located in the Donetsk region, along with Sloviansk, a third city which also has now been declared an independent entity by pro-Russian secessionists.

Protesters seized a local state TV station in the city of Donetsk. The protesters demanded the launch of a ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ TV channel, and that Russian TV channels be broadcast. The Ukrainian flag was lowered from the building and the flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic was raised in its place – but later, that too was removed. Nevertheless, a source told Interfax-Ukraine that secessionist security personnel remained at the TV station to enforce the demands.

Netanyahu Connects Hitler with Nuclear Iran

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

World leaders do not understand the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran just as they misjudged or did not even want to understand “the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday night, the beginning of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.

Speaking at Yad VaShem in Jerusalem, the Prime Minister asked rhetorically, “Why, in the years preceding the Holocaust, did the overwhelming majority of world leaders and Jewish leaders fail to detect the danger in time? In retrospect, all the warning signs were there: the strengthening of the Nazi regime year after year; the horrific anti-Semitic propaganda which grew stronger with each passing month; and the murderous attacks on Jews which began as a trickle and transformed into a huge wave….

“Very few world leaders understood the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism….. The bitter and tragic truth is this: it is not that they did not see it. They did not want to see it. And why did they choose not to see the truth? Because they did not want to face the consequences of that truth.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu explained that world leaders in the 1930s adopted of a policy that was based on “one axiom – avoid another confrontation at any cost.”

He quoted the Biblical phrase from the Book of Psalms, “They have eyes, but cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear.”

Netanyahu then turned his attention to Iran, which has called for destroying Israel and is recognized by the virtually the entire western world as retrying to develop a nuclear weapon.

“Today, just like then, there are those who dismiss Iran’s extreme rhetoric as one that serves domestic purposes,” he said. “Today, just like then, there are those who view Iran’s nuclear ambitions as the result of the natural will of a proud nation – a will that should be accepted.

“And just like then, those who make such claims are deluding themselves. They are making an historic mistake.”

Netanyahu quoted the Bible throughout his speech and concluded a train of thought that implied that the Jews in Israel, unlike those in without a Jewish state under the Nazi regime, will not let themselves be destroyed.

He cited the fourth Book of the Torah (BaMidbar, or Numbers, 23:13-26,) in which the non-Jewish told King Balak, who had paid him to curse Israel, “The people will arise like a lion cub and raise itself like a lion; it will not lie down until it consumes prey, and drinks the blood of the slain.”

Palestinian Authority Daily Claims Netanyahu Has ‘Nazi Genes’

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

The official Palestinian Authority daily last week, days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, published an op-ed demonizing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who it said has Nazi genes that he may have “acquired it genetically from the days of the Nazis and the Aryan race.”

The report, translated and published by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), claimed that the reason Netanyahu is compared to Hitler is because Netanyahu “is demanding that the Palestinians recognize the Jewishness of the State of Israel,” – a “Jewishness,” which is racist, the writer states.”

That is pretty interesting stuff for the Palestinian Authority, whose leader Mahmoud Abbas wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial. It seems that the Palestinian Authority does not deny the Holocaust when it can be used to slander Jews.

“Instead of Netanyahu disassociating himself from any act that would remind him of Hitler’s racism, he imitates it and wants to replicate it against the people of Palestine, its inhabitants and nation and even against the citizens of the State of Israel themselves,” the article declared.

Last year, after a Palestinian prisoner claimed that Israel’s treatment of prisoners “is identical to what the Nazi Germans did to the Jews during the Holocaust,” another regular columnist for the official PA daily responded with another false accusation.

“Are you not ashamed, oh tyrants, of what you talk about to this day (i.e., the Holocaust), in order to win the world’s sympathy and to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from the Germans specifically and the Europeans in general?” he wrote.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded on Tuesday to the slander, telling visiting Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvilie, “I’m concerned that in the Palestinian press we’ve had continual references to Nazi Germany, comparing Israel and Israel’s leaders to Nazis, saying that we carry Nazi genes. This is a way of poisoning the atmosphere for peace. It must stop. This whole incitement against Israel must cease if we’re to have the genuine peace that we deserve and our Palestinian neighbors deserve as well”

Mezuzah Arsonist Strikes Again, Evoking Familiar Jewish Fears

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

A day after 11 mezuzahs were found burned in the Taylor-Wythe Houses in Williamsburg, shortly after 1 PM Tuesday, another mezuzah was found burned outside an apartment at 130 Clymer St., in the same housing development.

In both incidents the vandal started on the 13th floor, but this time he fled after burning just one.

NYPD released surveillance footage of him as a person of interest was described as a male Hispanic between 20 and 25 years old, wearing a purple do-rag, and a black jacket with an “NY” symbol on the shoulder and “New York” across the chest,” and lighting a match.

Local resident David Greenblatt told NYC Channel 2 News that the surveillance images came as a relief.

“Yes it is, because it means that we’re going to pursue such crimes, and hopefully, that will deter them,” Greenblatt said. “That’s what we need.”

Resident Pessie Gelb said, “I was a little bit shocked to see what’s going on again. The next building? What is it going to happen again?”

Her neighbor Lydia Pena said, “I think it’s real horrible. You shouldn’t touch nothing that doesn’t belong to you.”

There was an even more insightful reaction, from resident Raizy Fogel, who told Channel 2: “It’s devastating, it’s very sad and such things shouldn’t happen.”

Fogel said the attack on a specifically Jewish religious item was intended to send a message on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The message, Fogel said, is “that we are unwanted here, and I don’t know why.”

Give her another minute, another hour, another day – she’ll get the message…

Brooklyn Anti-Semites Mark Holocaust Day by Burning Mezuzahs

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Anti-Semitic vandals torched more than 10 mezuzahs on the doorposts in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn apartments Monday, Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is not known if the attack was carried by an individual or a group. The attacks took place on at least 10 different floors.

New York police are considering the arson as an anti-Semitic crime although officials said they did not know if the timing of the attack was coincidental or not. There was little damage to the apartments except for the burned mezuzahs.

“This was a brazen act of religious desecration,” Councilman Stephen Levin told The New York Times. “It’s hard to explain just how deeply painful this is to the religious Jewish community. It’s a blessing on a home. It’s a profoundly hurtful thing to do.”

PA Refuses to Change ‘A Few Words’ for Kerry

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority revealed Monday that it refused to agree with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s request to change a “few words” in the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative.

The Saudi peace plan promises “normalization” of relations with Israel – without express recognition of the country – in return for Israel’s retreating back to the 1949 Temporary Armistice Lines that existed until 1967 and accepting the immigration of several million foreign Arabs.

Even the most leftist of Israelis, except for those really on the fringe of the fringe, have rejected the demand for allowing a flood of Arabs to destroy the Jewish character of the country.

But Kerry is undaunted.

In typical State Dept. tunnel thinking, he dug up the Saudi Peace Plan in an effort win the support of the Arab League and, according to senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat, asked Ramallah to make a small compromise in the wording.

“Kerry asked us to change a few words in the Arab Peace Initiative but we refused,” Erekat told the Voice of Palestine radio station Sunday, according to the Washington Post.

The Palestinian Authority really has no reason to compromise.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has carefully carried out a one-track-mind strategy for eight years, replacing Yasser Arafat’s pistol on the belt with a suit and tie and globetrotting to win international support.

While official Palestinian Authority media honor suicide bombers and without a wink show Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza maps of Palestine with borders of the Mediterranean Coast and the Jordan River, Abbas has played along with the Bush administrations without committing to anything.

Feeling full confidence that he no longer needs the United States, Abbas went to the United Nations in November and won his long-sought recognition, although only in a resolution, that recognizes all of his demands without recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

Kerry is trying to turn back the point of no return, and even after Erekat said he turned him down, the Secretary of State, was seen in Israel without blindfolders on Monday even though he said he sees “a road ahead” on the two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Kerry met President Shimon Peres on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day and participated in the national wreath-laying ceremony at Yad VaShem.

Invoking the same evangelical-like tone of President Barack Obama when he visit Israel last month, Kerry said, “You have to believe in the possibilities to be able to get there. You and I believe in them and I’m convinced there is a road ahead.”

The road ahead for Abbas is elsewhere.

While Kerry was solemnly saying that the wailing sirens of Yom HaShoah had a “profound impact” on him, Abbas, whose doctoral thesis was on Holocaust denial, was on his way to Qatar to meet with Arab League diplomats for the next step on how to negotiate without negotiating.

Third Generation Breaks the Silence of Holocaust Survivor

Monday, April 8th, 2013

In 2004, I joined the Witnesses in Uniform delegation of 180 IDF officers to Poland. We had the chance to visit some of the major sites of Holocaust memory, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. We also saw the Lodz ghetto – the place where my father was imprisoned during the war.

Every participant on the trip had to spend some time preparing beforehand. I thought that this might be an opportunity to sit down with my father and have him share his experiences with me. He had never spoken about it with me before.

I took him through the entire itinerary of our trip, and I pointed out that we would be passing through the Lodz ghetto. I hoped that he would open up and talk about it. But he didn’t say a word. My father wished me a successful journey, but nothing more than that.

When we got to Lodz, our guides took us to what remains of the ghetto. I tried to imagine my father walking down the street, but I had no information about his time there. I did, however, experience the unique feeling all IDF officers feel when they land in Poland. It’s something I simply couldn’t compare to anything else I’ve done in my life. Our presence there alone was proof that the Nazis failed in their mission to destroy the Jewish people.

The delegation was made up of all types of people – officers young and old, Jewish, Bedouin and Druze. That’s something that makes the IDF a unique military force – we invest not only in protecting the country but also in educating our officers and passing on our heritage and our values from generation to generation.

When I returned from the trip, I sat down again with my father. I showed him all of my pictures, and hoped that he would start talking, but to no avail.

I thought I’d never learn what happened to him, but this year something changed. My daughter was doing a roots project for school, and as part of the coursework she sat down with my father and asked him to tell her his story. For the first time ever, we learned that before the war, he lived in a Polish village called Stieglitz. The Nazis killed all of the Jews who lived there, but he managed to survive.

It’s not unusual for Holocaust survivors to avoid speaking about their experiences. But perhaps it was easier for him to talk to my daughter than it was for him to talk to me. He needed some kind of trigger, and grandchildren are often that trigger.

It was finally time for him to pass on his legacy to the next generation.

This article was written by Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, the head of the International Media & Communications Branch of the Israel Defense Forces Spokespersons Unit.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/third-generation-breaks-the-silence-of-holocaust-survivor/2013/04/08/

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