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February 13, 2016 / 4 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust’

Polish Army Securing Nazi Gold Train Area

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

(JNi.media) Polish Soldiers and explosives experts on Monday launched a six-day operation to secure the area where authorities suspect a Nazi-era train loaded with looted gold is buried, news agencies are reporting. The soldiers are searching some three feet below the surface, checking for mines or any other dangerous objects, before municipal workers begin excavations come Oct. 3.

A press officer for the local government confirmed in August that a military train had been discovered in Walbrzych, near Poland’s border with the Czech Republic.

Local lore describes a train loaded with valuables that was stored in a tunnel by the retreating Nazis in 1945. In August, the town’s deputy mayor Zygmunt Nowaczyk told reporters: “The city [of Walbrzych] is full of mysterious stories because of its history. [But] now it is formal information — [we] have found something.”

“Our goal is to check whether there’s any hazardous material at the site,” Colonel Artur Talik, who is leading the search for explosives, told RT.

The discovery was made by two amateurs, one Polish, one German, who informed authorities through their attorney that they plan to reveal the location of the train if they were guaranteed a finders’ fee of 10 percent of its value. Marika Tokarska, a Walbrzych city council official, said: “In the documents they sent us, they inform us that they have found a military train from the second World War and that outside the train some guns and weapons can be seen. They also said there could be gold and some other precious things inside.”

The news site wiadomosciwalbrzyskie.pl said the train may contain as much as 300 tons of gold on board.

‘Names, Not Numbers’ Holocaust Survivors’ Interviews Enters 11th Year at YUHSB

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

(JNi.media) Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB) at 2540 Amsterdam Avenue in Washington Heights, Manhattan, is now offering the course “Names, Not Numbers” as a 12th grade elective, Ari Hagler reported for MTA News. Participants will interview Holocaust survivors and later compile their stories into a documentary film. The program had its first meeting a week ago Thursday, with documentary filmmaker Michael Puro.

Puro, whose filmography consists mainly of editing work on a variety of documentary films, both short and full length, is the director of the 2010 film “Names, Not Numbers,” which featured 23 students from three Jewish day schools who came together to record oral histories of Holocaust Survivors.

Tova Fish-Rosenberg created the program back in 2004, transforming traditional history lessons into a lively, interactive, nontraditional experience that involves individuals who have actually lived through the history being taught. Other Jewish schools that have incorporated the program include Yeshiva University High School for Girls, ESW in Houston, Jewish Day School of the Leigh Valley in Allentown, Pa, and the Rambam yeshiva in Baltimore.

“After the training and research, the students gain first hand knowledge through being paired with and given the opportunity to interview and videotape Holocaust survivors, World War II veterans who liberated camps, survivors who later immigrated to pre-1948 Israel, and second generation, who are now living in the same communities as the students,” states the website. “Oral histories of this era depict either survivors or veterans. The students are preserving on videotape and DVD, a small segment of the history of World War II and its aftermath with the connections to Israel. At the same time the participants form intergenerational friendships with their interview subjects.”

Sample interview questions include (although the website cautions that not all of these will be appropriate for everyone):

Describe what your life was like growing up before the war.

Can you tell us what the Jewish community was like?

Did you play a sport?

What did you do for fun with your friends?

How old were you when you first heard the name Hitler?

How did things change when the Germans invaded?

What was it like when Hitler came to power?

Did you have non – Jewish friends before the Holocaust and how did they react to the changes?

Describe what it was like to leave your home with almost no possessions.

What was it like to be in hiding?

What was daily life like in the ghetto /concentration camp?

Do you have a tattooed number? How did you feel when you lost your identity and became a number?

What kind of activities did you do there?

What interesting /moving story would you like to share with us?

How / why did you join the resistance / partisans?

Can you describe liberation day?

What happened to you after you were liberated?

Did other members of your family survive?

How did you come to Israel or America?

Do you have any mementos/ pictures of your family to show us?

Did the Holocaust affect your belief in Hashem?

Finally, the last two questions for the survivors and liberators are important to ask, according to the website:

In what ways does the Holocaust affect your life today?

What kind of message would you like to pass on to young people and to future generations?

Former Auschwitz Radio Operator Charged with Accessory to Murder

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

German authorities have charged a 91-year-old woman for her role in the murder of 260,000 Jews in the Auschwitz death camp during the Holocaust.

The woman, who has not been identified, served in the Nazi SS and worked as a radio operator for the camp’s commandant in 1944. Prosecutors plan to charge her as an accessory to murder because she aided the operation of the death camp.

The woman’s trial will come on the heels of the trial of Oskar Gröning, the so-called “bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” who was sentenced to four years in prison earlier this year for serving as an SS guard at Auschwitz.

Up until 2011, German authorities only prosecuted people who served in senior Nazi positions. But that year, John Demjanjuk, who had volunteered as an SS guard, was found guilty of accessory for the murder of more than 27,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp.

Since then, German authorities have been going after other people who could be charged as accessories to Nazi crimes. But among the 6,500 former SS members who served in Auschwitz and were still living at the time of prosecution, only 50 have been convicted, according to The Telegraph.

New Shanghai Park Commemorates WW2 Jewish Refugee Community

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

(JNi.media) A Jewish Memorial Park was inaugurated last week in the Fushouyuan cemetery at Shanghai’s Qingpu District, to mark the 70th anniversary of the War and the survival of the Jewish Refugees who fled to China from Eastern Europe. According to Shanghai Daily.

A memorial stone was unveiled in the park, inscribed with the name of Ho Fengshan, a Chinese diplomat in Vienna who risked his life to issue visas to more than 3,000 Jews. The stone is also inscribed with the names of 24 famous Jews “who had contributed to the development of Shanghai.”

Israeli Consul-General Arnon Perlman called for preserving the memories of Shanghai’s Jews for the benefit of future Chinese generations. “This is something that is very, very important to remember for all of us — whether it’s Jews, Israeli or Chinese — to remember the friendship between China and Israel and between Shanghai and Israel,” Perlman said, according to shanghaiist.com.

The park authorities have began an outreach effort to Jewish communities worldwide, to locate tombstones of other Jews who may be buried in Shanghai, as part of a plan to place all the local Jewish graves in the same park, “as an important memorial venue for both offspring of the deceased and the public to remember the history and the friendship between Chinese and Jewish people,” Shanghai Daily reported.

A Shanghai Jewish Memorial Cultural Fund is being planned to support infrastructure development, maintenance and expansion of the memorial park, as well as to launch non-governmental studies “to preserve historical memories shared by Chinese and Jewish people.”

Ashes of Holocaust Victims Buried after Secretly Kept in French School

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

The atrocities of the Holocaust still are being discovered.

Rabbis in Strasbourg, France on Sunday carried a single coffin containing several Jews’ ashes and remains that were used for experiments during the Holocaust by August Hirt, a notorious Nazi anatomy researcher.

Their remains in test tubes and jars had been locked up in a French medical school until this past July, when a researcher found a letter dated 1952 and which referred to the atrocity. After the discovery of the letter, the jars and test tubes were found behind a glass cupboard in a locked room.

The only victim whose remains were identified was Menachem Taffem, a Polish Jew who was gassed to death in the Auschwitz gas chambers.

The corpses of 86 Holocaust victims were sent to the institute at the University of Strasbourg for Hirt to carry out research. Some of the remains were buried after the war, others were locked up secretly and yet others were known and kept for legal and scientific intentions.

Australian PM in Trouble for Saying ISIS Evil Worse Than Nazi Evil

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

(JNi.media) Is there such a thing of letting an unfortunate Holocaust comment go without raising a public outrage? Probably not, judging by the hot water in which Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott — by far the most pro-Israeli Aussie PM ever — has found himself on Thursday for saying the Islamic State soldiers are worse than Nazis, because they “boast about their evil,” Firstpost.com reported from Sydney.

“I mean, the Nazis did terrible evil but they had sufficient sense of shame to try to hide it. These people boast about their evil,” Abbott told a Sydney radio station. “This is the extraordinary thing — they (ISIS) act in the way that medieval barbarians acted — only they broadcast it to the world with an effrontery which is hard to credit and it just adds a further dimension to this evil.”

The irate reactions did not tarry: Robert Goot, head of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, labeled the PM’s comments “injudicious and unfortunate.” “Injudicious,” which means “indiscreet, unwise,” is used by Webster’s in the sample sentence: “He made several injudicious comments to the press.”

Goot said in a statement that ISIS’s crimes are, indeed, horrific, but, still, they “cannot be compared to the systematic roundup of millions of people and their dispatch to purposely built death camps for mass murder.”

It could be argued that the systematic Nazi atrocities only began with the application of the decisions of the January 20, 1942 Wannsee Conference, so that, until then, it would be hard to tell ISIS apart from the Nazis.

As to ISIS being unashamed while the Nazis at least tried to hide their genocide, Goot insisted: “Acts of terrorism are necessarily done in the full glare of publicity for their propaganda effect.”

Goot also said, according to Firstpost.com: “In contrast, those responsible for ordering and implementing systematic state-sponsored genocide are high government officials who often operate in secret not out of any sense of shame, but to avoid being held criminally responsible for their actions.”

However, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, the self-appointed head of ISIS, may qualify as a high government official.

Australia joined the US-led campaign against ISIS in Iraq in 2014, contributing military jets and special forces troops. PM Abbott, who was attempting to boost public support for his country’s involvement in the war, found himself having to defend his remarks at a Melbourne press conference later on Thursday, saying he’s “not in the business of trying to rank evil.”

Then he made, once more, the point about the Nazis at least being shy about their mass murder. So far there hasn’t been a counter-response from Robert Goot.

For the record, a year ago, on August 10, while Israel was fast running out of friends and supporters in the world for its Gaza operation, when it attempted to stop, once and for all, the Hamas government’s relentless shooting of rockets into Israeli civilian centers, PM Abbott sent Australian education minister Christopher Pyne on a state visit, and, upon arrival in the Jewish State, Pyne said: “Israel is the beacon of freedom and liberty in the Middle East.”

Pyne said Australia and Israel were “two sister nations believing in the same thing … we regard Israel and Australia as sister countries with the same value systems and we want to show our support for that system here in the Middle East.”

Pyne stressed that Australia was “good friends” with Israel and “good friends visit their friends in tough times.” It could be argued that friends also forgive the occasional unfortunate statement and just let it go.

Auschwitz Showers Only A ‘Public Safety Measure,’ Says Museum

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Social media is still all a-Twitter with comments about the latest attempt by the Auschwitz Holocaust memorial museum to cool off visitors to its site. The museum, which issued a statement explaining its position, appears to be digging itself further into an already difficult situation.

In an attempt to reduce the risk to tourists from one of the worst heat waves ever to hit Poland, the site installed a long length of misting shower heads right in front of the death camp.

It is the first sight to greet visitors to Auschwitz, and has shocked many to their very core.

But the Auschwitz Holocaust memorial museum explained in a statement this week that the showers were simply a “public safety measure.”

“We must do everything possible to minimize the risks connected with the heat and high temperatures and take care of the safety of health of our visitors,” museum officials said in a statement posted to Facebook. “The health of visitors is for us the priority during the time of these extreme heats and the sprinklers have been really helpful. The sprinklers are installed on the days of highest temperatures and removed with the temperature drops.”

 

Tourists making a pilgrimage to the Auschwitz death camp found the reasoning to be bizarre.

One visitor told the Hebrew-language Ynet news site, “It was a punch to the gut.”

More than a million Jews were exterminated at the site by the Nazi regime during World War II, the vast majority murdered in facilities where they were told they were entering ‘shower rooms.’ The “showers” were lethal gas chambers from which the bodies of Jews were then dragged to crematoria for efficient disposal.

Countless visitors come to the camp, among them many Israelis and other Jews, including those who lost relatives in the Holocaust.

Israeli high schools have adopted the custom of bringing eleventh grade students to the Nazi death camps on a special field trip each year called “March of the Living,” to teach them about this part of their history. Special preparations for the trip begin months before the students’ flight to Poland.

Numerous visitors who have been to the site have also posted about the experience on the Google-plus social networking site as well.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/auschwitz-showers-only-a-public-safety-measure-says-museum/2015/09/01/

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