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November 26, 2015 / 14 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘the Holocaust’

Ben Carson’s Defenders Say Comment on Holocaust and Jewish Guns Has Merit

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

(JNi.media) American psychiatrist, author and television personality Keith Ablow, who is also a contributor on psychiatry for Fox News Channel, has weighed in on the Ben Carson controversy regarding the hypothetical question of whether or not Jews would have fared better had they owned guns during the Holocaust.

In his new book “A Perfect Union,” Carson wrote that “through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance.”

What Carson’s comment revealed was not so much his knowledge of the Nazi state’s effort to dehumanize, disenfranchise, relocate and execute millions of Jews, through a policy of terror, starvation and brutality, but perhaps the fact that he did not know enough not to step on the third rail of American national politics — Jewish sensibilities about the Holocaust. His comment about “little resistance” sounded too close to the notion of “sheep to slaughter” Jews have tired of hearing.

ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt tried to put it charitably when he noted: “Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler’s gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate. The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”

But Keith Ablow stood up for Carson, stating simply: “Ben Carson is right, and Jonathan Greenblatt is wrong.” And he explained: “What Greenblatt fails to account for is that the surrendering of firearms by Jews when required to by Nazi authorities was not merely the surrender of guns and ammunition. Those material items would not have been sufficient to defend against the Third Reich’s military.”

As is often the case, context is crucial in understanding these seemingly conflicting views. According to Stephen P. Halbrook, author of “Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and ‘Enemies of the State,’” There were an estimated 20,000 German Jews who owned guns, either for hunting, or souvenirs taken home after their service in WW1. As soon as Adolf Hitler became Germany’s Chancellor, in 1933, the Nazi government used official records to disarm potential opponents—communists, socialists and Jews. They conducted mass searches and seizures of guns, and Police revoked gun licenses of Social Democrats and others who were not “politically reliable.”

In 1938, Halbrook reports, Hitler signed a new Gun Control Act, prohibiting Jews from working in the firearms industry, and also banning .22 caliber hollow-point ammunition. Then, following the shooting of a German diplomat in Paris by a teenage Polish Jew, the Nazis engaged in Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, which was, in fact, presented as a massive operation in search of Jewish owned weapons. The Nazis also ransacked Jewish homes and businesses and set fire to synagogues, but the excuse for all of the above was the notion that the dangerous Jews were harboring illegal weapons.

It is always a tricky business to judge the behavior of people in the past using the mindset of the present. But while Ben Carson misunderstand the sense of helplessness German and later Polish Jews felt, deserted as they were by practically the entire gentile world in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the point he makes is still valid. Gun ownership is an effective bulwark against a tyrannical regime, and the proof is that the first thing such a regime would go after are individually owned guns.

And, possibly, to take Carson’s notion another step, even in the most decrepit conditions, in a starved and diseased Warsaw Ghetto, a small band of Jews, scantily armed, managed to hold the Nazi army at bay for nearly a month, from April 19 to May 16, 1943. So Jews have shown that finally possessing guns made a big difference, contributing to the most heroic chapter in our own history.

Timely: New Book Explores How 100,000 Jewish Refugees Were Saved by US

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

(JNi.media) As Syrian refugees risk their lives to immigrate to other countries, many are reminded of the attempts of Jews to escape Nazi persecution in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1944, the US government created the War Refugee Board, in an effort to save Jews from the raging European Holocaust. Heather Voight’s new book, “Passionate Crusaders: How Members of the US War Refugee Board Saved Jews and Altered American Foreign Policy during World War II,” her debut work, is the first book ever to focus exclusively on the War Refugee Board and its accomplishments. A well-researched work, it will be of interest to anyone interested in immigration issues in America, today and yesterday.

By January 1944, Treasury Department officials Henry Morgenthau, John Pehle, and Josiah DuBois had already convinced President Franklin Roosevelt to create the War Refugee Board, an agency with the authority to provide rescue and relief for Jews and other groups persecuted by the Nazis. Scholars have criticized the Board for its inability to save more Jews, insisting the agency should have been created sooner. Heather Voight’s research shows that despite its shortcomings, the War Refugee Board changed history and forever altered American foreign policy. Its creation ended the cycle of indifference that the government and the American public had shown to victims of the Holocaust. In the words of Henry Morgenthau, from 1944-1945 “crusaders, passionately persuaded of the need for speed and action” risked their reputations and sometimes their lives to save Jews.

Voight’s book doesn’t merely tell readers the War Refugee Board was important—it shows how it was created, the actions it took to save lives, and the determination of its members to combat anti-Semitic and anti-immigration attitudes. “Passionate Crusaders” shines a light on the agency that President Franklin Roosevelt created in the midst of a State Department scandal, was staffed by mostly non-Jews who risked their reputations and sometimes their lives working for the Board, saved more than 100,000 Jews using a combination of diplomatic and clandestine methods, and pressured the War Crimes Commission to change its definition of war crimes–the same definition used today.

“I first read about the War Refugee Board while working on my college thesis,” Voight told an interviewer. “When I started to talk about the Board to other people, I got a lot of blank stares. Despite the number of people aided by the War Refugee Board and its lasting impact on American foreign policy, few Americans have ever heard of it. I wrote this book to tell the story of the Board’s members who tried to do so much in so little time.”

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.

New Jerusalem Street Honors Savior of 40,000 Jews During Holocaust

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Mayor Nir Barkat inaugurated a new street in Jerusalem in an official ceremony this week to honor Moshe (Miklós) Krausz, a little-known Hungarian Jew who saved about 40,000 Jews during the Holocaust

The street-naming publicly recognizes and honors Krausz’s work in a rare instance of recognition.

“This commemoration only begins to correct a historic injustice,” said Nachi Eyal, CEO of The Legal Forum for Israel and one of the people behind this initiative.

Eyal told Tazpit:

Krausz was a man of the World Zionist movement and the Mizrachi movement who saved tens of thousands of Jews and yet his name has been left out of the public knowledge. Krausz died alone and almost forgotten in Jerusalem after having immigrated here with the end of World War II.

Krausz served as the director of the Palestine Office for the World Zionist Movement in Budapest and was responsible for obtaining emigration permits for Jews to the British Mandate of Palestine.

Following the Nazi invasion of Hungary in 1944, Krausz, aided by his connections with Swiss Vice-Consul Carl Lutz, began producing diplomatic patronage certificates to thousands of Hungarian Jews and their entire families, effectively granting them diplomatic immunity from the Nazis.

Through his Swiss connection, Krausz also obtained extraterritorial status under the auspices of the Swiss government to many private buildings where Jews would hide from Nazi extermination.

Most prominent among these “safe houses” was a disused glass factory in Budapest. Dubbed “The Glass House” by survivors, over 3,000 Jews used the building as a hiding place and survived the Holocaust.

“Jews from all walks of life and different backgrounds huddled together in the crowded cellars,” Mordechai Newmann, a Glass House survivor who attended the ceremony told TPS. “Orthodox rabbis, socialist youth activists, Zionist Organization workers, and their families all had their place in the Glass House.”

“At night, members of Zionist Youth organizations would dress up in Nazi uniform and sneak out of the cellars to find more Jews and smuggle them into the glass house,” recounts Newmann, who was 14 at the time.

This elaborate scheme that saved such a staggering number of lives from the Nazi extermination machine went unnoticed and did not receive much public attention in Israel until now.

According to Dr. Ayala Nadivi, a historian of Hungarian Jewry, the reasons for Krausz’s hitherto anonymity might have been political. She told Tazpit:

There was quite a lot of infighting and political ego struggles between the various Jewish and Zionist bodies of the time. Krausz was a member of the Mizrachi movement, while the Jewish leadership in British Mandate Palestine was predominantly of the Mapai movement (Worker’s Party of The Land of Israel). Independently of Krausz and Lutz’s rescue efforts, Mapai established the Budapest Rescue Committee and appointed Israel Kasztner to head it.

Later, with the end of the British Mandate and the founding of the State of Israel, the same Mapai became the governing party in Israel. When Kasztner was accused of collaboration with the Nazis during his rescue activities, Krausz gave unfavorable testimony against him on trial. From that point on and despite the evident existence of records of Krausz’s rescue efforts, not a single national organization or newspaper acknowledges him.

According Eyal, it was Dr. Nadivi’s book “Between Krausz and Kasztner: The Battle to Save Hungarian Jewry” published in 2014, that was the catalyst to the reemergence of Krausz’ name on public record.

“After being told about the book by my assistant and reading it, I felt compelled to petition Mayor Barkat,” Eyal told Tazpit. “After filing a request and all the necessary paperwork, including the historic records assembled by Dr. Nedivi, the Mayor acquiesced and named a Jerusalem street after this man who saved more Jews than Schindler and Kasztner combined and was a Jew himself.”

Is Natalie Portman Right and Jews Need to Chillax about the Holocaust?

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

(JNi.media) Israeli born actress Natalie Portman, whose great grandparents were murdered in Auschwitz, told the Independent that she believes Jewish education puts too much emphasis on the Holocaust. “I think a really big question the Jewish community needs to ask itself is how much at the forefront we put Jewish education, which is, of course, an important question to remember and to respect, but not over other things. We need to be reminded that hatred exists at all times and be reminded to be empathetic to other people who have experienced hatred also. Not used in a paranoid way of thinking that we are victims.”

Portman, 34, who starred in all three Star War’s prequels (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith), also portrayed Anne Frank in a 1997 Broadway revival. She recently made her directing debut with an adaption of Israeli novelist Amos Oz’s “Tale of Love and Darkness,” a story based on the life of his parents at the dawn of the Israeli state after the nightmare of the Holocaust. The actress returned to Jerusalem to shoot some scenes of the film. She was born in Jerusalem, but her family left for America when she was three years old.

“Sometimes the Holocaust can be subverted to fear mongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen.’ We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, anti-Semitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I don’t need to make false equivalencies. We need it to serve as something that makes us empathetic to people rather than paranoid.”

Natalie Portman is a Harvard graduate, and, while enrolled at the University, responded to a an essay in the Harvard Crimson critical of Israeli actions against Palestinians. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and worked as a research assistant for Alan Dershowitz, author of “The Case for Israel,” “The Vanishing American Jew,” and “Chutzpah.” Portman also took graduate courses at Hebrew University.

Portman said she started forming these attitudes about Holocaust education when she realized that, when she was attending college, the Rawandan genocide was going on, and not nearly enough was being done about it. In 2007, she traveled to Rwanda to learn more about the genocide there. “I was shocked that the [genocide] was going on while I was in school. We were only learning about the Holocaust, and it was never mentioned what was happening while I was at school. That is exactly the kind of problem with the way it is taught. I think it needs to be taught, and I can’t speak for everyone, because this was my personal education.”

Not surprisingly, Natalie Portman’s remarks drew criticism. Colette Avital, former Labor MK and Chair of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust survivors in Israel, said, “While I agree with Natalie Portman that hatred exists in every part of the world, our area included, her understanding of the Holocaust seems limited. Natalie should understand that the Holocaust that befell us cannot be compared to other tragedies–our empathy notwithstanding. It was not merely hatred, it was a policy whose aim was to systematically wipe out a whole people from the face of the world.”

Aaron Goldstein of “The American Spectator” says the reason Portman’s comments about the Holocaust are so disturbing is not that she is just another pretty actress with an opinion, not that she, as stated by Colette Avital, has “limited” understanding of the Holocaust. But because her great grandparents died in Auschwitz, because she was born in Israel, and if “the Allies had been unable to liberate the concentration camps 70 years ago, and had Hitler and the Nazis triumphed, there would be no Natalie Portman, no Israel and no Jews. If an Israeli-born Jew whose ancestors were killed in Auschwitz doesn’t understand what separates the Holocaust from all other acts of genocide, then we have a big problem,” Goldstein writes. He thinks Portman’s views may be an indication of the feelings of other Israeli-born young Jews who are descended from Holocaust survivors. In addition, she is a public figure with a fan base, and is likely to influence others. Her statements arrive at a time when fewer and fewer people are still alive who witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust, and at this particular time, she questions the role of the Holocaust in Jewish education. Goldstein points out that Portman’s support for President Obama and her criticisms of Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu over remarks he made on the eve of his re-election–which were offensive to Arabs–means that she might have been using her allegation to suggest that the Holocaust is used to promote “fear mongering” and “paranoid thinking” by those who oppose Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. “If she thinks Iran isn’t serious about wiping Israel off the map,” Goldstein writes, then it simply supports the idea that she doesn’t get what separates the Holocaust from all other acts of evil. That is why her comments are so deeply disturbing.”

Research: Holocaust Trauma is Genetically Transmitted

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

A new medical study has just proved the trauma of the Holocaust is transmitted genetically through the generations.

This is a known fact to mental health experts and anyone else who works in the field. It is an unstated reality to anyone who is a descendant of a Holocaust survivor. In fact, anyone who has been touched in any way by the trauma of the Holocaust is forever traumatized by that nightmare in a real, visceral manner. Ask them. Or just look at their eyes.

But now medical research has caught up with this reality. Scientists at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center have tracked down the genetic changes in which the trauma is forever inscribed.

The findings will have deep implications for the Jewish world which cannot be addressed in this article.

The study examined “epigenetic inheritance” – the theory that says environmental influences such as smoking, stress and weight loss can create genetic changes in one’s children and grandchildren.

The Mount Sinai study focused on a gene associated with the regulation of stress hormones which is known to be affected by trauma.

The study, which included 32 test subjects and 22 of their adult offspring, focused on Jewish men and women who survived the Nazi concentration camps, witnessed or experienced tortured, or were forced to hide from the Nazis during World War II. The control subjects were Jewish families who did not live in Europe during the rule of the Nazis.

Scientists found epigenetic markers on the same part of the gene in both the survivors and their children. That correlation was not found among Jewish families who did not live in Europe during World War II.

The researchers also found that children of Holocaust survivors were three times more likely to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if they were exposed to a traumatic event, than demographically similar Jews whose parents did not experience the Holocaust.

The findings were published in the most recent edition of the journal Biological Psychiatry. Dr. Rachel Yehuda, who led the study, said, “The gene changes in the children could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents.”

Children of Holocaust survivors were found to have the same neuroendocrine and hormonal abnormalities as Holocaust survivors and other people suffering from PTSD. The researchers thus concluded that the risk for conditions such as PTSD was associated with having a parent who had PTSD.

The transmission of trauma from one generation to the next is a known phenomenon to social workers and other therapists in the field of psychotherapy. Dr. Yehuda, however, was able to quantify it in physical, neurochemical terms.

What sparked the research, however, was the desire to document that which she and others were seeing over and over at a clinic for survivors at Mount Sinai.

“Offspring were reporting that they had been affected by the Holocaust in many different kinds of ways, but in a very coherent and cohesive pattern,” she said.

“They talked about feeling traumatized by witnessing the symptoms of their parents. And they talked about being traumatized by some of the expectations that the Holocaust had placed on them, such as that they are the reason their parents survived and therefore there was a whole set of things that they would now have to accomplish so that all the people that died… they could give their lives meaning.”

Increased Security for US Ambassador to Israel after Death Threats

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro is currently under increased security protection at his home and at the U.S. Embassy which is located in Tel Aviv. The security has been increased because Shapiro apparently received death threats related to the Nuclear Iran deal.

Several threatening letters arrived at the Embassy over the past week, numerous Israeli media outlets reported. In addition, someone posted on the Ambassador’s Facebook page that he is a “kapo.” That term was used to refer to Jews who did the work of the Nazis during the Holocaust. The anonymous Facebook post also claimed the Ambassador had “abandoned Israel.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a press release in response to the incident, in which the Center’s leadership denounced the threats.

“Words have consequences and we denounce death threats made against a great American and a proud and knowledgable Jew,” said rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean of the leading Jewish Human Rights organization.

“The Wiesenthal Center is opposed to the controversial Iran Nuclear deal and hope that the US Congress will reject it.

“We are also deeply troubled by the the campaigns that have labeled opponents in the United States Congress, ‘warmongers’ akin to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and who put Israel’s concerns before those of America.

“We have urged our political leaders to denounce such language. We also denounce those who would vilify and question the motives of those who back the deal,” they added. “Death threats and demonizing the ambassador of Israel’s closest ally is an outrage that must not go unchallenged,” Hier and Cooper concluded.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/increased-security-for-us-ambassador-to-israel-after-death-threats/2015/08/15/

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