web analytics
December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Red Army’

Historical Discovery in Lithuania: Escape Tunnel Used by Jewish Prisoners to Escape from the Nazis

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The escape tunnel used by the so-called “Burning Brigade” to allude the Nazis has been pinpointed at the Ponar massacre site near Vilnius in Lithuania, using Electric Resistivity Tomography.

Some 100,00 people, of whom 70,000 were Jews originating in Vilna and the surrounding area, were massacred and thrown into pits in the Ponar forest near the Lithuanian capital during WW2. With the retreat of the German forces on the eastern front before the advancing the Red Army, a special unit was formed in 1943 with the task of covering up the tracks of the genocide. In Ponar this task was assigned to a group of 80 prisoners from the Stutthof concentration camp.

A scan of the site using Electrical Resistivity Tomography. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

A scan of the site using Electrical Resistivity Tomography. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

A scan of the site using Electrical Resistivity Tomography. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

A scan of the site using Electrical Resistivity Tomography. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

A scan of the site using Electrical Resistivity Tomography. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

A scan of the site using Electrical Resistivity Tomography. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

At night the prisoners were held in a deep pit, previously used for the execution of Vilna’s Jews, and during the day they worked to pen the mass graves, pile up the corpses on logs cut from the forest, cover them with fuel and incinerate them. All the while their legs were shackled and they were certain that, upon completing their horrendous task, they too would be murdered by their captors. Some of the workers decided to escape by digging a tunnel from the pit that was their prison. For three months they dug a tunnel some 100 ft. long, using only spoons and their bare hands.

On the night of April 15, 1944 they escaped. The prisoners cut their leg shackles with a nail file, and 40 of them crawled through the narrow tunnel. Unfortunately they were quickly discovered by the guards and many were shot. Only 15 managed to cut the camp fence and escaped into the forest. Eleven reached the partisan forces and survived the war.

Since WW2, the exact location of the tunnel has been lost, even though a number of attempts were made to find it. Now, through the cooperative work of Dr. Jon Seligman of the Israel Antiquities Authority; Prof. Richard Freund of the University of Hartford; Paul Bauman of Advisian of Calgary, Canada; and the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum, the tunnel has been rediscovered using Electrical Resistivity Tomography, from the pit used to imprison the captives, to an open space next to it.

Electrical Resistivity Tomography is a geophysical technique used in mineral and oil exploration for imaging sub-surface structures from electrical resistivity measurements made at the surface, or by electrodes in one or more boreholes.

Preparations for the ERT scan of the trench used to hold the victims before their execution. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

Preparations for the ERT scan of the trench used to hold the victims before their execution. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

Dr. Jon Seligman, of the IAA, said, “As an Israeli whose family originated in Lithuania, I was reduced to tears on the discovery of the escape tunnel at Ponar. This discovery is a heartwarming witness to the victory of hope over desperation. The exposure of the tunnel enables us to present, not only the horrors of the Holocaust, but also the yearning for life.”

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev said, “I congratulate the Israel Antiquities Authority on its participation in this international effort that turns history to reality. The exciting and important discovery of the prisoners escape tunnel at Ponar is yet more proof negating the lies of the Holocaust deniers. The success of modern technological developments, that have aided the Jewish people to reveal another heroic story the Nazis attempted to hide, profits all humanity.”

The memorial to the Holocaust at Ponar. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

The memorial to the Holocaust at Ponar. / Courtesy. Photo credit: Ezra Wolfinger, Nova

The award-winning science series NOVA, produced by WGBH for PBS, will follow this excavation and the team, capture their stories, and restore the memory of this lost world in a new film slated to premiere in the US on PBS in 2017. The documentary will tell the story of the fate of the Jews of Vilna, Lithuania, now the modern city of Vilnius, through major archeological excavations of several sites in and around the city, including the larger excavation project at The Great Synagogue of Vilna. The discovery of the evidence of an escape tunnel at the Ponar pits sheds new light on a story of life, resistance and courage.

It is the intention of the partners to return to the site in the near future to expose the tunnel for public viewing as part of the memorial for the victims of Vilna and the surrounding area.

JNi.Media

‘Russia & Israel Partners Against Holocaust Denial’

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

by Jonathan Benedek

Russia and Israel are partners in the struggle against Holocaust denial, says Valentina Matviyenko, head of the Federation Council of Russia.

Matviyenko attended a memorial ceremony in Netanya on Wednesday together with a number of regional council members and members of Knesset at the National Monument Commemorating the Victory of the Red Army Over Nazi Germany.

“The Netanya monument is a symbol of a shared memory and symbolizes the brotherhood of nations,” Matviyenko said, referring to Russian-Israeli partnership and friendship.

She also mentioned the current challenge faced by both Israel and Russia in fighting against false narratives of World War II and the Holocaust.

“Russia and Israel are partners in the struggle against the falsification and revision of the history of World War II. Together, we are partners in the struggle against Holocaust denial because any attempt to deny the Holocaust is a crime.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also spoke at the ceremony and expressed his gratitude on behalf of Israel for the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

“This is an expression of our profound gratitude to the Red Army,” said Edelstein. “This impressive monument has also been central in allowing us to salute and remember the past. It has allowed us to build the present and the future here in Israel.”

Edelstein expressed his desire for the Russian-Israeli relationship to continue advancing and growing. “I hope that we succeed in tightening the cooperation between Israel and Russia, and the Chairman of the Federation’s visit expresses this important task,” added Edelstein.

The National Monument Commemorating the Victory of the Red Army Over Nazi Germany was inaugurated in June, 2012 at a ceremony attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Jewish Red Army Veterans Mark V-E Day on Hebrew Date in Times Sq

Friday, May 15th, 2015

More than 50 New York Jewish war veterans who fought with the Red Army during World War II gathered to mark Hebrew date of the 70th anniversary of V-E day – the European victory over the Nazis.

The veterans, who wore their Soviet uniforms and military medals from WWII, were joined by local rabbis and NY Jewish community leaders.

The celebration was organized by the American Forum of Russian Speaking Jewry (AFRJ) and the World Zionist Organization (WZO) with the support of Russian-Jewish leader German Zakharyaev, president of the Stmegi Foundation.

“As Jews we are proud to gather for this historic celebration honoring a great victory over evil,” said Brooklyn resident Boris Feldman, age 94. Feldman fought with the Red Army for two years after he was released from a Ukrainian ghetto.

“While it’s important to remember the end of the Holocaust, we must remain vigilant even today. Jewish communities throughout the world feel increasingly threatened due to the rise of anti-Semitism.”

Victory Day is celebrated on May 9 in Russia as well as elsewhere around the world in countries with major Russian immigrant populations, including Israel.

Israel officially recognized the holiday in 2000.

To mark the liberation of European Jewry from the Nazis, supporters of the holiday chose the Hebrew date of 26 Iyar – to commemorate May 9, 1945 – and call it “European Jewry Rescue Day.” This year, the holiday fell on the evening of May 14.

Photo: Shahar Azran – Jewish WWII veteran Boris Feldman, 94, with other Jewish WWII veterans of the Soviet Red Army celebrating Victory Day in New York’s Times Square.

Hana Levi Julian

Hungarian Jews to Russia: Give Us Back Our Looted Torahs

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Hungarian Jewry is asking the government of Russia to release between 300 and 400 Torah scrolls, covers, crowns, pointers, and other objects seized by the Nazis during World War II and then appropriated by the Red Army.

Many of the items were taken from the Hungarian National Bank, where they were being safe kept as their owners were being murdered in concentration camps and ghettos across Europe.

Some 600,000 Hungarian Jews –one out of every ten of Hitler’s Jewish victims – were murdered by the Nazis during the war.  Approximately 100,000 Jews live in the country today, including 8,000 Holocaust survivors.

The religious artifacts are just some of the items Russia is being asked to restore to its rightful owners, including art and other valuables.

Some holy scrolls have already been released to Hungary’s State Historical Museum.  A catalog of items compiled by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany lists 344 scrolls which have been returned by Russia’s Special Archive.

Malkah Fleisher

Putin Vows: Holocaust Will Not Be Repeated

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Two years ago, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a visit to Moscow, proposed the idea of a monument in Israel commemorating the sacrifices of the Red Army on behalf of Jews, President Putin promised to come to Israel for the inauguration ceremony.

On Monday, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Jewish leaders from around the world unveiled the brand-new Victory Monument in Netanya, Israel.

“I am very excited to be here today,” said President Putin. “We live in a fragile world and we are obligated to make sure that this dark and tragic time in history does not repeat itself. The Jewish Holocaust was the most shameful and dark event in human history, and the Soviet Army was the one who crushed the head of the Nazi monster.”

Puttin added: “This amazing monument strengthens the respect I feel towards to the Jewish people and the State of Israel…The wings in the monument are white like the wings of the dove that symbolizes peace.”

The design of the Monument was a first-ever joint initiative of Israel and Russia, conducted by a committee of members from both countries and funded by major Jewish philanthropists led by Keren Hayesod – UIA and the World Forum of Russian Jewry.

President Putin visited Israel specifically for the inauguration ceremony.

The Monument honors the millions of Red Army soldiers who perished in the war, among them 120,000 Jews.

Alexander Levin, President of the World Forum of Russian Jewry, a persistent supporters of the monument, said, “Millions of Russian Jews around the world are united at this moment in solidarity for the brave Red Army soldiers.”

More than half a million Jewish soldiers fought with the Red Army in WWII against the Nazis.

Jewish Press Staff

Russia to Possess Historic Building in Heart of Jerusalem

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The transfer of one of Jerusalem’s most prime pieces of real estate to Russia will be finalized when the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) vacates its offices, following the completion of talks between Israel and Russia on Sunday.

In 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented the Sergei building and its 9-acre courtyard with gardens and fishponds in the Russian Compound as a gift to the Russian government.  He made the gesture during a visit to Moscow to persuade President Dimitry Medvedev not to sell arms to Syria and to back sanctions against Iran.  The decision to transfer the property was made by the prime minister, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Finance Minister Roni Bar-On and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann.

Last year, the Agriculture Ministry and the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites evacuated their offices in the compound.  SPNI issued a request to continue working in the offices, but was denied by the Russian government.

Israel gained control of approximately 90 percent of the Russian compound in 1964, paying the Russian government $3.5 million in citrus fruits for the property due to lack of hard currency – hence the dubbing of the agreement the “Orange Deal”.

The Sergei building, not included in the sale, was completed in 1890, and served as a hotel for Russian aristocrats, royalty, and dignitaries on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It was named for brother of Tzar Alexander III, Grand Duke Sergei, then President of the Imperial Russian Orthodox Palestine Society.   The property had been purchased by Tzar Alexander II in 1860 from the Ottoman Empire.

When the plan to give possession of the property to Russia was announced in 2008, opponents protested the giving over of Jerusalem heritage sites to foreign entities, and warned that Russia was not a strong enough ally to trust with the property.  Then-candidate for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also disapproved of the plan, calling it a “dangerous precedent, giving property in the heart of Jerusalem to foreign interests.”

Russia has vowed to keep the area open to the public, and says it will restore the yard and buildings for use by Russian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem today.

The SPNI announcement comes just a day before Russian Premier Vladimir Putin’s Monday arrivalin Israel on an official state visit.  The leader is expected to meet with top Israeli officials to discuss Iran’s nuclear progress.  He will also dedicate a monument in Netanya to the valor of the Red Army in World War II.  The large stone monument consisting of a pair of white wings, an unprecedented joint-state venturebetween Israel and Russia, will also honor the more than half a million Jewish Red Army soldiers who fought in the war.

Malkah Fleisher

Vladimir Putin Coming to Netanya Monday

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Jewish leaders from around the world will unveil the brand-new ‘Victory Monument’ in Netanya, Israel this Monday, June 25.

The Monument design was the first-ever joint initiative between Israel and Russia to commemorate the Red Army. The newly elected President Putin will be visiting Israel specifically for the inauguration ceremony.

The Monument was funded by major Jewish philanthropists, led by Keren Hayesod – UIA, and the World Forum of Russian Jewry.

A world-class design commemorating the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany in WWII, the Monument honors the millions of Red Army soldiers who perished in the war, among them 120,000 Jews.

Alexander Levin, President of the World Forum of Russian Jewry and an American citizen, will be representing Russian-speaking Jews from North America.

“This incredible monument symbolizes the historical and ever-important role the Red Army played during WWII and its part in defeating the Nazis and their horrors. Millions of Russian Jews around the world are united at this moment in solidarity for the brave Red Army soldiers,” said Levin.

More than half a million Jewish soldiers fought with the Red Army in WWII against the Nazis – 120,000 were killed.

About two years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed the idea of the monument to President Putin on his visit to Moscow. Putin promised to come to Israel for the inauguration ceremony.

Jacob Edelist

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/vladimir-putin-coming-to-netanya-monday/2012/06/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: