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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Nazis’

Peres’ Two-Month 90th Birthday Fete Starts in Native Belarus

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Celebrations for President Shimon Peres’s 90th birthday August 2 started two months early on Wednesday in his hometown of Vishneyeva, Belarus, where a plaque was revealed on the home that now sits on the lot where President Peres grew up.

The ceremonies were held in the presence of his eldest daughter Tzvia Walden, named after President Peres’ Grandfather Tzvi Meltzer, who was killed in Vishneyeva by the Nazis, and were part of the current three-day Limmud FSU Festival.

The plaque reads, “In this place, Shimon Peres, son of Yitzhak and Sarah Perski, the Nobel Laureate and 9th President of the State of Israel, was born on August 2, 1923.”

Earlier in the day, the town held an emotional memorial service near the Valley of Death monument to commemorate the 2,000 Jews of Vishneyeva who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis.

When American Ambassadors Were Still Untouchable

Friday, May 17th, 2013

I just finished one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, which tells the story of Ambassador William Dodd, President Roosevelt’s first Ambassador to Hitler. The book chronicles the slow descent of Germany into Nazi tyranny. One of the most striking features of the narrative is the fear that slowly descends on the German populace as they become terrified of ever expressing an opinion about Hitler and his police state even in the company of close family and friends.

Yet Dodd and his family were utterly immune to such fear. Though they lived in a home that was owned by a Jewish banker; though they regularly hosted journalists who wrote critically of Hitler; though they drove by the home of Franz Von Papen – the deputy Chancellor –  to show their support even after he had been placed under house arrest by Hitler for his Marburg speech of June, 1934; though Dodd openly snubbed Hitler every year by refusing to attend the Nazi Nuremberg rally where Hitler was celebrated as a god, Dodd never had anything to fear. He did not have to worry that the S.A. would ransack his Berlin home in the middle of the night. He did not have to fear that his daughter Martha, who even had an affair with Gestapo head Rudolf Diels, would be summarily shot for her increasing disillusion with Hitler’s regime. He did not have to fear that the SS would arrest him on his frequent walks through the Tiergarten for a speech he gave on that made subtle reference to Hitler’s growing assault on freedom. And he did not have fear that roaming bands of Nazi thugs would attack him for his protests to the German Foreign Minister against unprovoked attacks that threatened the lives of Americans.

And why didn’t he fear? Because even a monster as evil as Hitler, arguably the most dangerous man that ever lived, wasn’t going to mess with the American Ambassador.

In fact, one of the stories told in the book is the day that Dodd took a walk with French Ambassador André François-Poncet in the Tiergarten when the latter told him he would not be surprised if he would be shot in the street by the S.S.

Dodd was astonished. It never occurred to him to ever worry so long as he was the American Ambassador and indeed Hitler and the Nazis never harassed Western Ambassadors.

It therefore matters that just 80 years later a bunch of terrorist thugs can think they can murder an American Ambassador in full site of the world without consequence. American diplomatic staff were once the safest people in the world, representatives of a superpower who would rain hell from the skies should you touch one of their diplomatic staff. But no more.

The growing revelations from the Congressional hearings on Benghazi that the Obama State Department watered down public statements on the attack in order to cleanse them of any mention of al Qaeda and terrorism is a travesty and shows a lack of moral will to give evil its proper name. ABC News and Fox News reported this past Friday that the departments talking points were revised a full 12 times to purge them of any mention of terrorism. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland asked the CIA to remove mention of their own security warnings about Benghazi.

According to ABC News the original paragraph read,

The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.

But Nuland was concerned that the line “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?”

I have earlier written how  Ambassador Susan Rice was utterly inappropriate to be chosen as Secretary of State based on her efforts to disassociate the word genocide from the Rwandan mass slaughters of 1994 so as not to commit the Clinton Administration to intervention.

Holocaust Victims’ Violins to be Used in Monaco Concert

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

The Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte-Carlo will perform a “Violins of Hope” concert in Monaco featuring

Several violins of Jewish Holocaust victims murdered by the Nazis

The concert will be held May 5 at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum, and the stories of their owners will be told, according to a report in the Nice, France Matain daily.

The idea was initiated by Smadar Eisenberg, president of Friends of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte-Carlo association, who obtained the instruments from the atelier of Amnon Weinstein – an Israeli violin maker who for years has been collecting and restoring musical instruments belonging to Holocaust victims.

The life stories of the instruments’ owners will be told during the concert along with other biographies of musicians who lived through the Holocaust, including that of Alma Rosé, a conductor of the Auschwitz women’s orchestra and niece to the composer Gustav Mahler.

Additionally, homage will be paid at the concert to Hans Krasa and Gideon Klein – two Jewish musicians who continued to compose until their deaths in the Nazis’ gas chambers.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Hebrew University’s neurology research center.

Lumping Deir Yassin and the Holocaust Together

Monday, April 15th, 2013
Omid Safi is a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, a specialist in Islamic mysticism (Sufism), contemporary Islamic thought and medieval Islamic history. He has served on the board of the Pluralism project at Harvard University (“to engage students in studying the new religious diversity in the United States“) and is the co-chair of the steering committee for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion.An impressive academic background. A man of top-tier influence.And he writes a blog: “What Would Muhammad Do?” hosted by Religion News Service (“We strive to inform, illuminate and inspire public discourse on matters relating to belief and convictions.”)On its pages, Prof. Safi is described as follows:

Omid has been among the most frequently sought speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in The New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN and other international media. He leads an educational tour every summer to Turkey, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there.  The trip is open to everyone, from every country.

One of his most recent blog postings caught our eye (hat tip to Tundra). Uploaded on April 9, it was published right in the middle of the week that separates the day on which Israel remembers (a week ago) the tragedy of the Holocaust Memorial Day and day we recall the fallen of Israel’s defensive wars against the Arab armies and against the forces of terror (today).

It’s entitled “Israeli atrocities at Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, 65 years ago… and today“. As a polemicist for a radical Arab position, he writes there more or less what we have learned to expect from those affected by that mindset:

What is the point of calling for memory, including the memory of massacres at Deir Yassin? It is not to respond in hatred and venom, and not to respond in kind. But to make sure that for those of us who dare to speak of a just and peaceful tomorrow, to always know and remember that justice is not the same as amnesia.

Then to make absolutely sure his readers suffer from no loss of historical memory, he publishes a photograph of a Nazi concentration camp called Lager Nordhausen, part of the Buchenwald concentration camp complex. You can see it on the main Wikipedia page devoted to the Holocaust. He places it in a prominent position on his blog page, and right next to it he launches into a vitriolic tirade about how the Zionists carried out a massacre of

250 men, women, children and the elderly, and stuffed many of the bodies down wells… There were also reports of rapes and mutilations… Their tactics have not changed.

It’s clear that the photo is there to magnify the impact of his words, and to serve as a historical record of what he describes. But it’s worse because he not only transposes the imagery of the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews into his self-authored polemic about the conflict between the Arabs and Israel; he then invites his readers to understand the implications for today when he says “Their tactics have not changed.”

And whose tactics would those be? That’s easy. He asks and then answers this question:

So who was involved in this massacre? Virtually the totality of the future leadership of the Israeli state.

To be clear: our focus on the photo and the selected quotes among many other quotes does not mean we agree with any other aspect of Safi’s account of what happened at Deir Yassin. That lethal narrative, elaborated and amplified for cold-blooded purposes, been used to fuel Arab hatred of Israel for two generations; the numbers and details just keep growing and getting more elaborate with time. Without entering into the Deir Yassin debate, Wikipedia describes a much smaller death toll (for what that’s worth) and points out that the town’s dead included armed men who carried out attacks on civilian traffic traveling the nearby road to Jerusalem.

It’s also worth noting that the day-after-day massacres taking place daily in Syria (for instance) produce single-day harvests of blood that are truly sickening. For instance (one of many), the Arab-on-Arab slaughter reported just three days ago ["Between 125 and 149 believed killed in Syria on Thursday"] which resulted in carnage greatly exceeding what is claimed in rational sources to have happened in Deir Yassin.

Irena Sendler, We Honor You

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

During World War II, Irena, a Polish Christian woman, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger kids.

Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2,500 kids/infants. Read that number again – 2,500 lives…Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi’s broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out, In a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming. Today, we honor her courage, her bravery. She has been recognized as a Righteous Gentile in Yad Vashem.

May God bless her memory.Please share this to honor the sacrifice and courage of this fine human being who gave so much and saved so many.  See also www.irenasendler.org.

Top German Jewish leader blasts Gov’t’s Weak Stand on Neo-Nazis

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Germany’s top Jewish leader has slammed the government’s decision not to join efforts to ban the country’s most powerful neo-Nazi party.

“The decision of the Federal Government is disappointing and politically completely wrong,” Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement Wednesday. “They chose hesitation and procrastination over courage and determination.”

The decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government not to submit a supportive brief to the Supreme Court is seen as a setback but not a final blow to attempts to ban the National Democratic Party of Germany, or NPD. Those attempts picked up steam in December, when the Bundesrat – the legislative council representing Germany’s 16 states – voted to submit a petition to the top court.

Critics had hoped for a united front of the executive, Bundesrat and Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament. Now, legislators are scrambling to build support within the Bundestag, so that at least two of the three governmental bodies will stand firm for an investigation against the NPD.

Germany’s main neo-Nazi party, which according to the latest government figures has 5,800 members, is known for its anti-democratic, anti-foreigner and anti-Semitic stances. It blames foreigners for Germany’s problems and belittles the Holocaust, while publicly trying to avoid outright Holocaust denial, which is illegal. The party has representatives in two state legislatures, where it barely passed the 5 percent vote threshold. It thus receives federal funding – about $1.7 million in 2011, according to a report in the Bild newspaper.

German law protects even the most abhorrent of speech, as long as it is not illegal. A 2003 attempt to ban the NPD failed after the Supreme Court found that government informants may have incited the very illegal acts that were then under scrutiny. The failure was seen as a great embarrassment for the government.

In the years since, the NPD has been “spreading its Nazi poison and offering many right-wing extremist groups ideological and logistical support – with German taxpayer monies, no less,” Graumann said in his statement Wednesday.

The German Women Who Stood Up to the Nazis

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of a remarkable public protest by ordinary German women against the Nazi regime.

From February 27 to March 6, 1943, a group of unorganized German women went into the streets of downtown Berlin, within a few city blocks of the most feared centers of Nazi power, to protest for the release of their Jewish husbands, who had just been arrested by the Gestapo. Daily giving voice to their collective demand – “give us our husbands back” – first softly, then with increasing urgency, they succeeded in achieving their goal.

For these German women, the brutal Nazi state had lost all legitimacy. Like very few others, they were willing to express this publicly, on the streets, for all to see. For decades, their story was largely absent from histories of Nazi Germany. Their story challenges the comforting, generally accepted narrative that opposition was honorable but always futile. This year’s anniversary is an opportunity to focus deserved attention on these women’s brave action – and its implications for resistance more broadly.

On February 27, 1943, as part of the Nazi plan to remove the last remaining Jews from German soil, the Gestapo arrested some 2,000 Berlin Jews who had not yet been deported because they were married to non-Jews. In response, hundreds of women – wives of those arrested – pushed their way onto the street in front of Rosenstrasse 2-4, an office of the Jewish community where these arrested Jews were being held, and began to protest.

SS men as well as policemen guarded the single entrance. Over the course of the following week the Gestapo repeatedly threatened to shoot the protesters in the street, causing them to scatter briefly before resuming their collective cry of “give us our husbands back.”

Decades later, I interviewed one of these women, Elsa Holzer, who remembered arriving on the street in search of her husband. “I thought,” she said, “I would be alone there the first time I went to the Rosenstrasse…. I didn’t necessarily think it would do any good, but I had to go see what was going on…. If you had to calculate whether you would do any good by protesting, you wouldn’t have gone. But we wanted to show that we weren’t willing to let them [our husbands] go. I went to Rosenstrasse every day, before work. And there was always a flood of people there. It wasn’t organized, or instigated. Everyone was simply there. Exactly like me. That’s what is so wonderful about it.”

During the same week of this protest, some 7,000 of the last Jews in Berlin were sent to Auschwitz. On Rosenstrasse, however, the regime hesitated; almost all of those held there were released on March 6. Even intermarried Jews who had also been sent to Auschwitz and put in work camps were returned to Germany.

Surprising as it might seem, these events on closer examination fit with the treacherous strategies of the Nazi regime for domestic control. The Rosenstrasse protest occurred as many Germans were tempted to doubt Hitler’s leadership following Germany’s debacle in the Battle of Stalingrad. As he elaborated in Mein Kampf, Hitler believed that popular support comprised the primary pillar of his authority among the German “racial” people, and his dictatorship throughout strove to maintain this basis of his power. To end this protest, the regime released the intermarried Jews, furthering, for that moment, Hitler’s goal of quelling any appearance of dissention.

The murderous Nazi regime also appeased other public protests. On October 11, 1943, on Adolf Hitler Square in the city of Witten, some three hundred women protested against the official decision to withhold their food ration cards until they evacuated their homes as part of Nazi policy to protect civilians from bombing raids. The following day Germans in Lünen, Hamm and Bochum also protested on the streets for the same reason.

In response, Hitler ordered all regional authorities not to withhold ration cards as a method of forcing civilians to evacuate their homes. This was followed by further orders by Nazi officials to refrain from “coercive measures” against evacuees who had returned. In his cold calculations, Hitler chose not to draw further attention to public protest, judging it the best way to protect his authority – and the appearance, promoted by his propaganda machine, that all Germans stood united behind him.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-german-women-who-stood-up-to-the-nazis/2013/03/13/

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