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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘survivors’

A Survivor’s Thanksgiving

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Sammy had a past, as they said in his new country. His past was the slaughterhouse of Europe. But that was behind him – in a time, in a place, banned to even his imagination.

And here in America the dead were where they belonged – in graveyards or neat cemeteries. Not in the streets like in the Lodz ghetto or piled up beside the barracks in the camp.

Here there were no executioners, only the predators of disease and old age.

Neither threatened Sammy Green (so much more of an American name than Shmuel Gruzenkywitz). He was well and he had a job that provided all the food he could eat and an apartment with three rooms in a large red brick building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

The newcomer was surrounded by non-Jewish neighbors. So unlike the ghetto in Lodz. But they were friendly folk who after a few weeks of cautious inspection of their new neighbor and his alien appearance warmed to his loneliness.

It was mid-November and they talked of the great American holiday, Thanksgiving.

“We give thanks,” said Chuck Heffernan from next door. “Thanksgiving – you know, giving thanks.”

“Yes, but for what?” asked Sammy.

“For life, I guess. The Pilgrims, you know, started it. They were celebrating their harvest and the fact that most of them were still alive. They ate turkey and maybe they said prayers. You can find out all about it over at the branch library on State Street. Look it up in the encyclopedia.”

They stood in the hall and talked. Chuck’s wife, Jean, joined them and proudly described her traditional holiday menu for the newcomer. Turkey and trimmings.

Thanksgiving. Thanks Giving. Sammy knew about that. As an observant Jew, did he not give thanks before and after every meal? And did he not declare his thanks every morning and night for the divinely engineered body that was the temporary receptacle of his immortal soul?

Sammy, the Jew from Lodz, knew how to give thanks. It was his ethnic specialty, you might say.

He would conduct a Thanksgiving ceremony with tallis and kippah, in his apartment like his American neighbors. That’s the way they did it in America. He would recite the Kaddish for the infinite emptiness of the chair that faced him at the other end of the table. And he, like those survivors of the New England winter of 1690, would celebrate life.

Life is for the living. The dead have no need of shoes, they said in the camp. And the living no need for tears, thought Sammy.

So, Erev Thanksgiving Sammy walked to the kosher butcher and came home with a ten-pound turkey and two sacks of trimmings. His neighbors greeted him in the hall. Chuck, next door, invited him in for a beer. One beer turned into two and then three. Sammy, uncontrollably, talked about that which he had never talked about before.

The pivotal holiday. The need to grasp his new world by letting loose of the old with a proper farewell – as quarreling lovers say goodbye – that’s what loosened his tongue. There in the kitchen, the survivor from Hell here on earth gave his neighbors a lesson in European history and current events that newsreels, magazines, and newspapers only pictured in grainy, blurred print.

Sitting around the table, they listened on the night before Thanksgiving. Life and death, two wrestlers, flickered in the shadows of the Heffernans’ kitchen.

Sammy told of his rescue by Patton’s 2nd Division, then took a deep breath as though to cleanse himself. “Now you know,” he said with a wan smile, “why I’m going to have the best Thanksgiving in the building.”

Sammy’s story traveled through the 106-unit apartment building with the speed of a lottery win. The survivor was not alone in experiencing his first Thanksgiving. Now that they knew about Sammy, a hundred American families in Philadelphia had their first real Thanksgiving.

Ted Roberts

Palestinians Mull Plans For When No Holocaust Survivors Left To Stab

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

(Originally posted to the humor website, PreOccupied Territory}

Jerusalem, May 30 – Two teenage suspects in the stabbing attack on several Holocaust survivors two weeks ago were arrested today, reigniting the question in Palestinian society as to what offensive strategy to adopt once the survivors die out of old age and there are none left to stab.

The suspects allegedly attacked a group of elderly women at a promenade overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, injuring two. Whether or not the suspects in question are indicted or brought to trial, the prospect of having no more Holocaust survivors to stab or otherwise attack has Palestinian strategists and thinkers debating what approach to take once the last survivor perishes. Bir Zeit University in Ramallah is scheduled to hold a conference next week on the subject.

In a rare show of unity, the conference is expected to bring together representatives of various Palestinian factions bitterly, often violently, opposed to each other, such as Hamas and Fatah. However, the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors to stab has prompted even those quarreling groups to set aside their differences, however temporarily, to address the developing crisis.

“We can expand our resistance operations beyond the region, targeting the enemy in other places, but that will prove a short-lived solution, so to speak,” explained Aiwil Killajous, who will represent Hamas at the conference. “Violent power struggles are one thing, and a natural part of Palestinian politics, but some things are more important. We really must develop a coherent approach to this problem, because it’s not going to go away. I mean, it will, and that’s the problem, but – you know what I mean.”

The conference will also devote some attention to deeper ideological and philosophical issues, said University spokesman Haj Husseini. “It is difficult to address this complex issue without also devoting time to the philosophical implications of Hitler not finishing the job and what that means for us,” he explained. “If Hitler had finished the job, there would be no Jews left for us to kill, and that would deprive our people of one of, if not the, defining characteristics of its ethos. At the same time we ceaselessly wish that the Final Solution had succeeded. That paradox deserves discussion in this forum, as well.”

Killajous conceded that the future of Holocaust-survivor-stabbing is bleak, and that replacements for it will not carry the same power. “We can kill Jewish babies, but that has a different impact,” he lamented. “I just wish more if us had a chance to kill some Holocaust survivors while their population was greater.”

PreOccupied Territory

2nd Generation Holocaust Survivors Fear Nuclear Iran

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

A Bar-Ilan University study reveals that the adult children of Holocaust survivors are more preoccupied with the threat of a nuclear Iran than their peers whose parents are not Holocaust survivors.

The university reported the study as Israel prepares to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day Wednesday night and Thursday.

The study, entitled “Transmitting the Sum of All Fears: Iranian Nuclear Threat Salience Among Offspring of Holocaust Survivors,” was published in a recent issue of Psychological Trauma, an American Psychological Association journal dedicated to the study of trauma and its aftermath.

Dr. Amit Shrira, of the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences, set out to test the hostile-world scenario among second generation Holocaust survivors. Hostile-world scenario is a term coined by Israeli researcher Prof. Dov Shmotkin to describe one’s image of actual or potential threats to one’s life, or more broadly, to one’s physical and mental integrity.

Shrira first studied a total of 106 people. Sixty three of the participants were born after World War II ended in 1945 and whose parents lived under a Nazi or pro-Nazi regime. Participants in the comparison group of 43 were also born after 1945, but their parents, of European origin, either immigrated to Israel before the war or fled to countries which were not under Nazi occupation.

Three main findings resulted from the study:

Second generation Holocaust survivors exhibit greater preoccupation with the Iranian nuclear threat than the comparison group.

Second generation Holocaust survivors are more sensitive to nuclear threat, and the more they are interested in the subject, the more general anxiety they report.

Second generation Holocaust survivors show not only more preoccupation and sensitivity to the Iranian threat, but also a more ominous outlook on the world in general – a world of threat and significant danger that can fall upon them, providing  proof of hostile-world scenario in this group.

To ensure that the results were accurate, Shrira performed a replication, an identical study on a second sample of 450 (comprised of 300 second generation Holocaust survivors and 150 comparison participants).  The same results were found, giving additional validity to the findings.

“In second generation survivors we most often see that they are a group with resilience and mental resources, and they generally exhibit good functioning on a daily basis. But they do have vulnerabilities which can be manifested during times of stress,” says Dr. Shrira.

Jewish Press Staff

Number of Holocaust Survivors Declines to 189,000

Monday, April 13th, 2015

There are 189,000 survivors of the Holocaust still living, but an average of 40 die every day, the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel reported Monday in its annual report.

Holocaust Remembrance Day will be observed on Wednesday night and Thursday.

The Foundation also said that 45,000 survivors live in poverty, as defined by the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi).

One-third of the survivors live alone, and two-thirds of them are women. The average age of survivors now is 83.3.

Jewish Press News Briefs

California School District Cancels Lesson on Holocaust Denial

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Students at a school in California who were given an assignment to compare propaganda with actual evidence on the Holocaust have instead been told to abandon the project.

The order came following a firestorm of criticism and at least one death threat aimed at Southern California’s Rialto Unified School District, which assigned the homework.

According to a report published in The Daily Bulletin newspaper, the project was assigned in April to 2,000 13-and-14 year old eighth grade students, as follows:

Shen tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence. For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.  Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”

It had first been reviewed by a committee of eighth grade teachers, and sent to middle school sites in February for comment prior to distribution to the students. No objections were raised at the time, according to the spokesperson.

But the district found itself under siege on Monday, with the switchboard lines ringing off the hook.

At least one person called police repeatedly threatening death to a district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri and the interim school superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam. The incident is under investigation.

But also among the critics was Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, who slammed the assignment as inappropriate.

Rabbi Cooper told FoxNews.com on Monday, “Whatever the motivation, it ends up elevating hate and history to the same level… We should train our kids to have critical thinking, but the problem here is the teacher confused teaching critical thinking with common sense, because common sense dictates you don’t comingle propaganda with common truth.”

The rabbi advised the district to instead assign students to research the issue of Holocaust denial and meet with local survivors of the Nazis.

The school district responded in a statement saying the interim superintendent will speak with its educational services department to “assure that any reference to the Holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken from any current or future argumentative research assignments. The Holocaust is and should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed,” the statement continues. “We believe in the words of George Santayana, ‘Those who cannot learn from history are bound to repeat it.”

The Los Angeles office of the Anti-Defamation League said it was satisfied with the district’s actions by Monday. “It is ADL’s general position that an exercise asking students to question whether the Holocaust happened has no academic value; it only gives legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust denial,” Associate Regional Director Matthew Friedman was quoted as saying, after having spoken with the interim superintendent on Friday.

“ADL does not have any evidence that the assignment was given as part of a larger, insidious, agenda,” a blog post quoting Friedman continues. “Rather, the district seems to have given the assignment with an intent, although misguided, to meet Common Core standards relating to critical learning skills.”

In a number of European countries today — including Germany — Holocaust denial is a criminal offense for which one can be sentenced to prison. The Nazis exterminated six million Jews out of a total of some 11 million victims murdered between 1933 and 1945, in the Holocaust that took place prior to and during World War II. Some two-thirds of European Jewry was wiped out in the slaughter, which ended with the defeat of Nazi Germany by the U.S., UK and their Allies.

Hana Levi Julian

Standing to Respect Victims of the Nazi Murderers

Monday, April 28th, 2014

A siren will sound at 10 am throughout the State of Israel to bring citizens to their feet across the country as a measure of respect for those who fell as victims of the Holocaust.

The two-minute siren is an annual tradition in Israel and is known not to be an air raid siren.

If by some chance there is a rocket attack at that time, the nature of the siren will change, and will rise and fall a number of times instead.

Hana Levi Julian

Yesh Atid, Revise Your Platform

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

In a recent account of his first Knesset term, Dov Lipman writes that “Yesh Atid Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron is hard at work making major changes to improve the education system.” I wonder what values he brings to that project since Piron and other Yesh Atid cabinet members gave key votes to free 104 terrorists .

Looking at Yesh Atid’s statement of beliefs , one finds several sections that need to be revised and clarified given its role as a liberator of murderous Jew haters. Below are some examples with proposed revisions in italics:

“We believe that every person in Israel must have their fundamental rights met…”

Not applicable to terror victims and their families’ fundamental right to justice.

“We believe it is the duty of the state to care for the health of its citizens.”

Not applicable to health damage inflicted upon bereaved families by freeing their relatives’ murderers—depression, loss of sleep , etc.

“We believe in a unified society and the principle which says ‘all Jews are responsible for one another.’ ”

Not applicable to terror victims and their families.

“We believe that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure the safety of its citizens.”

Not applicable to incentivizing terrorism by freeing murderers.

“We believe that it is the duty of the state to care for all its seniors to enable them to live with dignity and enjoy their retirement years without worry or distress. These words are particularly focused on Holocaust survivors who live among us.”

Not applicable to the dignity of murdered Holocaust survivors and their families.

 

Menachem Ben-Mordechai

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-banner-raised-high/yesh-atid-revise-your-platform/2013/08/13/

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