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November 29, 2015 / 17 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘shoah’

‘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?

Nazi Gold Train Discovery May Bring New Claims from Holocaust Survivors

Monday, August 31st, 2015

(JNi.media) A post war legend has now become a reality. The death bed confessions of a former Nazi soldier revealed the whereabouts of the “Nazi train” which remained hidden for decades in tunnels in Poland and is thought to contain gold, art and other valuables. The former solder, who was said to have participated in burying the train 70 years ago, gave directions to finding the 100-meter, armored train near Walbrzych, close to the Wroclaw-Walbryzch line (Now part of Poland, in 1945 Walbrzych was the German city of Waldenberg). Acting on the information provided by the former soldier, a Polish and German man set out to find the train and negotiated with the Polish government for a 10% finders’ fee. Attorneys for the two men approached Polish officials, and through radar of the area, it was confirmed with 99% certainty that there was a train buried in that location.

Poland’s deputy culture minister, Piotr Zuchowsky, said at a press conference, according to the Guardian, “I am 99% sure the train exists.” The fact that the train is heavily armored indicates that it likely contains extremely valuable items, but it is believed that the train is booby trapped and may also contain hazardous methane gas from having been underground so long. The train may contain 300 tons of weapons, valuables and art. It was lost when the Germans were fleeing the advance of the Red Army. Walbryzch, in the Owl mountainous, became the site of various tunnels built by slave labor and used by the Nazis to smuggle and hide valuables. The Owl mountains became the venue for the unfinished project of transporting valuables, and the project was called “Riese,” or Giant. While it is clear that the find is most likely the missing Nazi gold train, this cannot be confirmed until the train is actually recovered from underground. There are no documents discussing the existence of the train, and its history has been transmitted mainly by word of mouth.

There have been stories about the train since the end of the Second World War, but many were assigned the status of popular legends. There were people who sought the train in vain, and many attempted but had given up on finding it. Now that it is likely the train has been located, there is concern about looters coming to grab some booty, and the Polish government has issued warnings to prospective thieves that they could encounter explosives or harmful methane fumes. For obvious reasons, Polish officials have not disclosed the exact location of the train. It is said that military officials are figuring out how to defuse the hidden explosives on board and around the train, so they can approach it safely.

Locating the fabled Nazi gold train might just be a first step to recovering other trains filled with looted gold, silver and treasures the Nazis stole from their victims. “There is a story that there were three trains which came into town and have never been found,” Magdalena Woch, Director of Culture at the Ksiaz Castle told the Telegraph. “The gold may not be on the train that has been found, but in one of the better secured military trains. It is possible there are more trains in Walbryzch. There are discrepancies between maps of the area from the 1920s and the 1940s, which suggests there are tunnels under the town which have never been found. Up to 1947, the Soviets were here, and we do not know what they found.” In 1945, the Nazis were preparing Ksiaz castle for the arrival of Hitler and were constructing a bunker complex, when the Red Army approached. Lukasz Kazek, local politician and tour guide, said the Nazis did not abandon the project, but left the trains in the tunnels because they felt they would be able to prevail against the Soviet army and return to recover the valuables.

Monaco Apologizes for Deporting Jews to the Nazis

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

(JNi.media) The ruler of the Principality of Monaco, Prince Albert II, on Thursday issued a formal apology for his country’s role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II, the World Jewish Congress reported.

“To say this today is to recognize a fact. To say it today, on this day, before you, is to ask forgiveness,” Prince Albert said in a speech that recounted how Monegasque police deported several dozen Jews, including Jews who had sought refuge there in what they expected would be a safe haven, based on the principality’s political neutrality.

With French Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld at his side, Albert unveiled a monument at the Monaco cemetery carved with the names of Monaco’s deported Jews. The date of the events, August 27, marks 73 years since Monegasque authorities cowered to pressure from Nazi-occupied France, and rounded up some 66 Jews on August 27, 1942.

“We committed the irreparable in handing over to the neighboring authorities women, men and a child who had taken refuge with us to escape the persecutions they had suffered in France,” Albert said at the unveiling ceremony. “In distress, they came specifically to take shelter with us, thinking they would find neutrality.”

EJC President Moshe Kantor hailed the apology, saying in a statement, “seventy years after the Holocaust, it remains important that in each country where the Nazis and their collaborators enabled the deportation of Jews to their deaths there should be a permanent and official memorial and ceremony … We also welcome Prince Albert’s poignant words today at the ceremony, which more than anything, encapsulated the value of this study and introspection that he has personally led in recent years.”

Red Cross Says it ‘Failed to Protect Jews’ Murdered by Nazis

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

The Red Cross failed to protest Jews murdered by the Nazis, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps in Geneva said that

Peter Maurer said in the keynote address:

The ICRC failed to protect civilians and, most notably, the Jews persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime. It failed as a humanitarian organization because it lost its moral compass….

The ICRC did not see Nazi Germany for what it was. Instead, the organization maintained the illusion that the Third Reich was a ‘regular partner’, a state that occasionally violates laws, not unlike any army during World War I, occasionally using illegal means and methods of warfare.

World Jewish Congress president Ron Lauder told the audience, “World silence and indifference to the fate of the Jewish people led to the Holocaust. The Red Cross chose silence as well.”

The Geneva-based ICRC was the principal humanitarian institution maintaining communications with both the Allied and Axis powers in World War II.

The Red Cross assisted and protected to Allied prisoners of war held by Nazi Germany but not for Jewish deportees as Berlin.

The ICRC also did not publicly denounce the deportation of Jews to concentration camps.

Maurer declared at the event, called “Remembering the Shoah: The ICRC and the International Community’s Efforts in Responding to Genocide and Protecting Civilians,” that “never again” may only be an expression because “we cannot guarantee that a humanitarian catastrophe of the extent of the Holocaust will not happen again. On the contrary, we witness a catalogue of atrocities, every day, in wars across the globe.”

Lauder noted that the ‘ICRC needs to lead in struggle between good and evil’… and has an important obligation that goes beyond relief work.

Left unsaid was that the Red Cross actually helped Nazi criminals escape Germany during the war.

Also left unsaid was the Red Cross’ paralysis during the captivity of Israel soldier Gilad Shalit after he was kidnapped by Hamas. The Red Cross failed to convince Hamas to honor the Geneva Convention and allow communication with his family but continued to make sure that Gaza Arabs could visit their terrorist relatives in Israeli prisons.

Listen To Sarah

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

First published: Jewish Business News.

I’m writing this about half an hour after having heard the news of the murder of at least four Jews who were praying in a synagogue in a Haredi neighborhood in West Jerusalem. If anyone has had any delusions about this not being a religious war, and anything but a religious war, one need only connect the images that are emerging from this morning’s massacre of four Jewish men in the middle of their morning prayer to the images of Jews massacred in Hebron, in 1929.

In both instances, and in so many others, many of them in just the past few weeks, it was always an enraged, maddened Arab attacker, having been stuffed to the gills with hate by his environment—real and virtual—who exited civilization to become the avenging angel of whatever god he imagined was blessing this horror.

Being a pragmatic person, I, like so many of you, immediately started thinking of, well, what to do next. One really has to be nearly as mad as this morning’s two grocery workers-turned murdering butchers, to suggest they went on their murder spree to advance the cause of independence for their downtrodden Palestinian brothers and sisters. Clearly, they were out to kill as many Jews as they could before some policeman managed to shoot them dead. They were driven by religious hatred, determined to strike at the conquering enemy, wherever they could find him.

They must have talked about it beforehand. Schemed just how to acquire a gun, collect and hide butcher knives, coordinate their attack so as to inflict maximum damage before the unavoidable end. They were seeking only one thing: kill as many Jews as they could, while they still could. They had no concern for their own well being or even their lives. They sought death, willingly, lovingly.

Over the past two decades, the imaginations of a billion and a half Muslims have been ignited by a call to arms the likes of which they had not experienced since the crusades. With 9/11, followed by the emergence of Muslim zeal everywhere on the planet, and recently with the undeniable rise of the new caliphate in Syria and Iraq, Muslims young and old are awash in orgiastic fantasies of the rebirth of their old glory.

This is not a conspiracy, nor is this the actual wish of most Muslims in the world, it’s a fantasy. And the longer Western countries, including Israel, continue to respond to events around us as if they were localized emergencies, to be solved, managed, contained – the fantasy will grow more powerful.

Already we hear the president of Egypt accusing the Turkish secret service of supporting Muslim terrorists. And we’ve known for years of Pakistani secret service support for the Taliban and, by extension, Al Qaeda. The secret services of Muslim countries represent the vanguards of these nations. They’re not only living the fantasy in their everyday lives, they also know how far it can be taken if only they could master whole countries and their weapons.

Left unchecked, this Muslim fantasy will only fester and grow beyond anything our leaders in the west can imagine. I suspect that every erupted murder episode like this morning’s attack on Jews in prayer represents hundreds, perhaps thousands of others, yet unquenched.

Unfortunately, the only way to end this fantasy before it becomes so big it will envelope whole countries, is to crush it.

Which brings me to our beautiful matriarch, Sarah.

Sarah saw through Ishmael, the offspring of her slave girl Hagar and her husband, Abraham. He was up to no good, either plotting to rape her son Isaac or kill him, depending on which interpreter you prefer.

At another point, an angel of God told Hagar exactly who her son, Ishmael, father of all the Arabs was: “This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” (Gen, 16:12)

Biblical prophesies can be so annoying when they come true right in front of your eyes.

Sarah was no fool. She was, actually, the greatest prophet of her time. So she ordered her husband, Abraham, to get rid of the kid and his mother. Chase them out, she told him, in no uncertain terms.

She had no delusions about Ishmael.

This was the hardest moment in Abraham’s life. He just couldn’t being himself to do something this cruel. He resisted. He wouldn’t do it.

And so, according to our biblical account, God intervened:

God told Abraham, “Do not be upset over the boy and your maid. Do whatever Sarah tells you.” (Gen. 21:12)

And so Abraham, finally, obeyed his wife. There was no discussion of rehabilitation for the boy, no talk of cultural assimilation. He had to go.

I have no idea what will happen next in our war-torn Middle East and in the rest of the world. I suspect Sarah’s command still seems too harsh to most of us, myself included. It’s one thing to chase a woman and her son out into the desert, but what do you do with millions of Muslims? How do you recover from something like that? It’s one mad fantasy touching on another, evoking a third.

But if you’d like to know what our great grandmother Sarah, if she woke up today, would have told us, I can assure you, she would have said: “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” (Ge. 12:10)

Kites for Survivors

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Members of Machnot Olim youth movement along with Holocaust survivors, flying kites for the 72 year rememberence of the execution of Yanush Korjack and his students in Treblinka at Yad Vashem on August 7, 2014. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Yad Vashem Recognizes First Peruvian Righteous Gentile

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yad Vashem recognized its first Righteous Among the Nations from Peru.

Israel’s national Holocaust memorial on Thursday posthumously honored Jose Maria Barreto, a diplomat in Switzerland who used his position to attempt to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. A ceremony for Barreto will be held at a future date, Yad Vashem said in a statement.

As the consul general of Peru in Geneva, Barreto issued 27 Peruvian passports to 58 Jews, including 14 children, even though the government of Peru by 1938 had given instructions to its consulates in Europe not to issue visas to foreign immigrants — with an emphasis on barring Jews in particular.

Barreto was acting on the request of Abraham Silberschein, the head of RELICO, a Jewish relief organization in Switzerland funded by the World Jewish Congress, to issue Peruvian passports for Jews under German occupation.

Silberschein in a letter from August 1943 said, “Mr. Barreto, deeply moved by the suffering of millions of human beings in the occupied countries, wished to participate in helping to alleviate the plight of these innocent people, and decided to agree and provide us with a certain number of passports so that we could send them to different persons in the countries under German control. Mr. Barreto was convinced that by this highly humane deed he would save a number of people.”

That year, the Peruvian foreign minister canceled the passports and ordered the closure of the Peruvian consulate in Geneva. In addition, Barreto was fired and dismissed from Peru’s Foreign Ministry.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yad-vashem-recognizes-first-peruvian-righteous-gentile/2014/06/12/

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