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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘the Holocaust’

Only Jewish Day School in New Zealand Capital Closes

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The only Jewish day school in New Zealand’s capital city closed after 25 years.

The Moriah School in Wellington, which held a highly publicized project in 2008 to remember children murdered in the Holocaust, cited a lack of resources for shutting down. The school held its last graduation on Friday.

In August, the board said it had “no option” but to close the school, which had fewer than 20 pupils aged 5 to 13. A Hebrew school will still operate, as will the kindergarten, the board said.

Moriah was founded in 1985 and at its peak had nearly 60 students.

Its 2008 project amassed 1.5 million buttons — each one representing a child murdered during the Holocaust — and took more than two years to complete. It attracted the attention of Prime Minister John Key, the son of a Jewish refugee who escaped Austria on the eve of the Holocaust. The collection has been given to the Wellington Holocaust Research and Education Center.

Wellington is the second largest Jewish community after Auckland, which is home to the majority of the country’s estimated 7,000 Jews as well as its last Jewish school, Kadimah College.

A Turkish-Muslim Perspective on Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

When people of reason and conscience look back on the subject of Shoah (otherwise known as the Holocaust) today, it is common to hear questions like: “How could a nation of philosophers, composers of classical music, technology, poets, in this seat of the Enlightenment itself, suddenly give place to savagery not seen since the Dark Ages? How could such dreadful, inhumane impulses seize every apparatus of a nation and cause it to commit such atrocities?”

In looking at the subject of the Holocaust violence, we can see the obvious influence of pseudo-scientific thought as well as a reversion to a darker philosophy in human history. Arguably, the roots of anti-Semitism in Europe run quite deep, and found their most lethal expression in the Shoah itself; when some six million innocent Jewish men, women and children were done to death on the edge of mass graves in the Ukraine, Poland and Russia or had their lives systematically snuffed out at factories of mass murder such as Sobibor, Majdanek, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Chelmo and Belzec, names that shall forever be remembered as grim testaments to hatred. While it is not the intention of this article to go too in-depth on the roots of European anti-Semitism, it must be touched upon in order to illustrate how prejudice led to disdain, then to hatred, and finally to genocide.

Anti-Semitism in Europe has a long and tragic history. For many centuries, this dislike of the Jewish people of the Diaspora was confined to the religious and social sphere; indeed, it’s all too easy to recall such events as when the pogroms of the First Crusade in 1096, the expulsion from England by Royal Decree in 1290, the Spanish Inquisition, and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, the assorted pogroms in Russia and Ukraine; the list is long and horrific. This awful situation persisted as recently as 1959, when a reference to “perfidious Jews” was finally dropped from the Good Friday Liturgy of the Catholic Church (it must be said here that the Roman Catholic Church has made enormous strides in its relations with the Jewish people, most notably beginning with Vatican II and the later efforts of Pope John Paul II; and let us not forget the many Catholics – and others – who risked, and in some cases, lost their lives to save innocent Jews from Nazi terror).

Until the 19th century, European anti-Semitism was largely confined to the religious sphere (and to a lesser extent, the socio-economic sphere as well). Then, by the middle of the Nineteenth Century, it began to change in tone and style. Anti-Semitism became no longer a matter of theological difference, but rather a matter of biological differences. This was the introduction of so-called “scientific racism” through the introduction and application of Darwinian evolutionary theory, which had gained widespread acceptance by the end of the Nineteenth Century. And with this, the argument among European anti-Semites changed from, “Let us convert the Jews” to “Let us rid ourselves of this infectious and invasive species” (May God forbid). Simply put, an openly exterminationist sentiment had arisen, based on pseudo-scientific reasoning. The Jewish people had gone from being “the Other” to being “the Subhuman,” “a bacillus,” “a virus.” Surely they are beyond this defamation.

Darwinism, and its false implication that human beings are mere animals, classified as “superior,” “inferior” or “non-human” is the basis for the pseudo-science of racism. When Hitler said, “Take away the Nordic Germans and nothing remains but the dance of apes,” he was referring to the falsehood of Darwinist ideas. (Carl Cohen, Communism, Fascism and Democracy, Random House, New York, 1972, p. 408-409) While certainly, there are differences between people, to suggest that a group of people is inherently superior to another, and therefore has a right or moral imperative to subjugate the other, is a grossly mistaken idea.

As a result of such pseudo-scientific fallacies and and neo-romanticist fantasies, six million Jews, innocent men, women and children over a vast swath of the European continent were dehumanized, corralled into ghettoes and exterminated by the conquering Nazis. According to their racial delusion, in which the Nazi herrenvolk would rule over a vast empire of slaves, with the conquered peoples being the hewers of wood and drawers of water, and with the Jewish people (not to mention anyone else who failed to measure up to the Nazis exacting Darwinian standards) having been eliminated from the face of the earth itself. The Nazis’ crude interpretations of Darwinism and their outlandish views of history such as Ariosophy, are all too familiar to anyone with even a rudimentary education, and there is no need to comprehensively explain their overall ideology. There are indeed people alive inIsrael today, and many other countries, who survived this darkest period of human history, who can easily attest to the horrors they witnessed and experienced. Therefore, we must also address a point which has emerged from the shadows; the notion of denying that the Shoah took place, or as it is better known, Holocaust Denial.

Holocaust denial is a peculiar subset of pseudo-history which teaches that anyone who lays claim to the mantle of “historian” can deny, out-of-hand, that the Shoah took place. Aside from the reams of documentary evidence, or the photographs taken by members of the Nazi extermination squads as they wrought their vile handiwork, we have the words of the perpetrators themselves, including the testimony on the stand, under oath, of no one less than Rudolf Höss, the Commandant of Auschwitz, not to mention the testimony of Adolf Eichmann, the pencil-pushing architect of the Final Solution, as well as the infamous “Pozen Speech” (which was recorded by the way) of Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi RSHA (Reichssicherhauptamt – or Reich Central Security, the umbrella security organization of the SS, SD and the Gestapo) and directly responsible for the Shoah itself. That any sane individual, not to mention a historian, can dismiss this overwhelming verifiable evidence which clearly testifies as to what transpired, often in the most blood-chilling and sickening detail, beggars belief. To maintain that the Shoah is either a wholly fictive event, or that it was “grossly exaggerated” is the pinnacle of intellectual dishonesty, and indeed we as Muslims must roundly condemn such foolishness with any other reasonable mind.

As Muslims, we bear a special obligation to confront the anti-Semitism that has infected the Muslim world. We must not traffic in discredited ideas and unbecoming stereotypes or proclaim, as truth, notorious forgeries such as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” (it has been well known for almost a century now that this tract was a forgery by the Czarist Secret Police in order to justify pogroms in Russia). We must not subscribe to pseudo-scientific notions such as racism, nor allow ourselves to succumb to pseudo-historic nonsense such as Holocaust Denial. When it comes to anti-Semitism, we must confront it. We must educate against it. And most of all, we must repudiate it utterly.

Racist ideology is completely contradictory to Islam and according to Islam, human superiority has nothing to do with race or any criteria that human beings are judged by in this world. God reveals this truth in the Qur’an:

Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in God’s sight is that one of you who best performs his duty. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Qur’an, 49:13)

With this in mind, we can also look to the recent past and remember how Turkish diplomats worked to save Jews from persecution and extermination during the Second World War. Although it is neither as emphasized or as well-known as the stories of Oskar Schindler or Raoul Wallenberg, it is a fact that Turkish diplomats provided official documents such as citizenship cards and passports to thousands of Jews. Just to give one example, the Turkish ambassador Behiç Erkin -in order to save the Jews- gave the Nazis documents certifying that their property, houses and businesses, belonged to Turks. In this way, many lives were saved. Yet another example is that of the Turks who organized boats to carry Jews to safety inTurkey. My intention in mentioning this is that Muslim Turks’ attitude for centuries has demonstrated that Turks and Jews have continued to help each other in times of great crises and God willing, it will continue to be this way, no matter what happens.

For hundreds of years, Jews have known suffering, pain, and have never been at ease. Since the Diaspora, they have been expelled from most every place they ever went for centuries. And now there are some who say they want the Jews to leave Israelalso. The question arises, “Where are they supposed to go?” The Jews, the people of Israel, have the right to live in the Holy Land, in peace and security; indeed, it is so commanded by God Himself in the Qur’an: “And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land.’” (Surah Al-Isra, 104) Therefore, no one who professes submission to God and heeds the Word of God can oppose their existence in theHoly Land. And as Turks, as Muslims as much as we want the welfare of humanity, we want Jews to live in peace as well. We will always make our best efforts to ensure this goal.

Montreal Radio Host Suspended for Caller’s Anti-Semitic Rant

Monday, November 26th, 2012

A Montreal radio host was suspended for indulging a caller who made anti-Semitic statements on the air.

Jacques Fabi on his show last week on CHMP 98.5 FM did not criticize the woman during her four-minute call for comparing Israelis to dogs and saying that the Holocaust was “the most beautiful thing that happened in history,” the QMI news agency reported.

After the caller made the Holocaust comment, Fabi replied, “I wouldn’t dare say something like that.” Later he said, “You know that in this democratic country, you can’t ever say anything offensive toward Israelis because it could cost you dearly. You can’t ever have negative views of any nature toward the Jewish people, or there will be serious consequences. That’s how it is.”

A few minutes later, Fabi said that one must “wear white gloves when talking about this nice Jewish population of Montreal.” According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., he also said, “If you asked me if the Jewish population can sometimes be annoying, I would say yes.”

At no point did Fabi reproach the caller for making the anti-Semitic remarks or denounce the remarks themselves.

David Cote, a CHMP spokesman, told the QMI news agency that Fabi’s comments were “unacceptable” and that the station has issued “sanctions” against him.

QMI reported that Fabi has been suspended, but it was unclear for how long.

B’nai Brith Canada is demanding an apology from the station and has sent letters of complaint to broadcast regulators.

The Doll’s Tale

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Dear Readers:

The following short story is fictitious, but the situation of Jewish children during the Holocaust being raised by gentile families or in Catholic convents and orphanages is not. While some were re-united with family members who survived the death camps – many were not, and remain lost both physically and religiously. This story is in memory of all the lost children. May they be reunited with their families with the coming of Moshiach.

The Doll’s Tale

Nine-year-old Ruchi was not at all upset when her brother and cousins nicknamed her “Ricki.” She liked the sound of it and it certainly suited her – had it been up to her, she would have been a boy. Boys had more fun and never had to wear dresses and other girly clothes. Her brother Dovi got to wear pants, giving him the freedom to hang upside down on the monkey bars in the park, and to turn cartwheels – while she was prohibited from doing such fun things – because hanging upside down while wearing a skirt was not tznuisdik. After all, she wasn’t three anymore!

And then there was the matter of the ridiculous gifts she got on her birthday or from out of town guests. Dovi would always get a fun toy like a truck, while she, without fail, would be given a useless doll with a smile plastered on its plastic face. Ruchi’s only consolation was that forthwith, the dolls would become perfect targets for Dovi’s water guns or darts. Often they would play “barber” delighting at the pale, pink head that would surface, the outcome of the doll’s “haircut.”

Yet Ruchi was to gain a deeper appreciation for these plastic entities than she would ever had imagined.

The 180-degree change in her attitude took place when she and her family traveled to Israel for the bar mitzvah of the grandson of Bubbi’s older half-sister, Malka. Malka was a rare entity, a child survivor of the Holocaust. She had been born in Poland – unlike Bubbi, who had been born in Israel several years after the war had ended.

Sadly, Malka had passed away three years earlier, at the young age of 65, just months after her and Bubbi’s father. Malka had had a massive stroke, brought on, it was said, by her extreme distress upon losing her father.

Erev Shabbos, Ruchi watched in wide-eyed astonishment as the bar mitzvah boy’s mother lit the candles, hugging a very ragged, ripped up cloth doll. After her tefillah, she kissed it, as did her children.

“What was that all about,” she asked her 11-year-old cousin, Chana, as they lay in their beds that evening. “Why did your mom do that – is that a family minhag? It’s weird!”

It was then Chana told her the story that would forever change Ruchi’s view on dolls.

It was 1942, in Nazi-occupied Poland, and their great-grandfather, Shimon, was beside himself. It was only a matter of days before he, his wife and daughter would be taken out of the c transported to the camps. A former employee of Shimon’s dry-goods store, a Polish girl who appreciated her kind and generous boss, had sent word that her aunt, a highly-placed nun at the convent on the outskirts of town, would hide his child.

Shimon was torn between his desperate desire to save his child’s life, and the horrible thought of placing her in this completely foreign environment.

Two days before a mass deportation, Shimon surrendered his three year old, blond haired daughter, Malka, into the waiting arms of a nun. He and his wife had left her crying inconsolably, fiercely clutching a Raggedy Ann doll – a gift from a relative in America and her constant companion.

Three years later, a gaunt and battered Shimon returned to his town, alone; his beloved wife Zisel had starved to death. While he was incarcerated in Auschwitz, thoughts of finding his little Malka were what kept him alive.

Shimon had been hearing horror stories of Polish families that had been entrusted with Jewish children deliberately disappearing with them. Sometimes, even if the child was found, he, or she, refused to leave the only home he knew, denying any connection with the walking scarecrows who showed up claiming to be kin. The child would make the sign of the cross to protect himself from the sickly looking vagabonds who belonged to the people who had killed the beloved savior.

Nazi Leader’s Sister Hid Jews Near Brussels

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

The sister of a Belgian Nazi leader hid three Jews in her home near Brussels during the Holocaust, according to one of the survivors.

Hanna Nadel, now 86, said she, her mother and her niece were rescued by M. Cornet, the sister of Leon Degrelle, who, as leader of the Belgian Nazi Rexen movement, was responsible for deporting Jews to their deaths during the German occupation of Belgium.

Nadel’s account, related to historian Jan Maes, appeared earlier this week in the Belgian-Jewish monthly Joods Actueel,

The three, having escaped deportation orders, wandered  with their suitcases around the town of Sint-Genesius Rode, where they happened upon a help-wanted sign on Cornet’s door.

The mother rang the doorbell and Cornet, without asking many questions, hired the mother as cook and Nadel and her niece to work as chambermaids.

Cornet knew the three women were Jewish and promised them they would survive. Visitors associated with the Flemish Nazi movement would routinely dine at the house , while the three Jewish women hid in the basement.

Nadel’s mother would sometimes cook gefiltefish, which the lady of the house advertised to her guests as “oriental fish”, Nadel recalled.

Nadel immigrated to Israel after the war. Leon Degrelle left for Spain, where he died of old age in 1994, escaping the death sentences that his Nazi associates received back home.

Italian PM: Israel’s Security is Europe’s Security”

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti stood behind Europe’s imposition of sanctions against Iran, saying they are “inflicting pain” against the country which has chosen to continue with its nuclear program rather than put an end to international critique and ostracism.

Speaking during a visit to Jerusalem alongside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Monti said “Israel’s security is Europe’s security,” adding that  “threatening Israel is unacceptable, nor is the denial of the Holocaust.”

Last week the EU ramped up its sanctions against Iran in financel, trade, transport and energy.

Calendar Of Events

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

WHAT: PJ Library Miami, along with Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and the Galbut Family Miami Beach JCC will host a special morning with Ronni Litz Julien. Julien is a nutritionist and author who will present “Think Outside the Lunchbox,” new ideas for feeding healthy food to your kids. A light kosher breakfast will be served.

WHERE: Galbut Family Miami Beach JCC, 4221 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach

WHEN: Tuesday, October 30 at 9:30 a.m.

CONTACT: For more information or to RSVP e-mail: pjlibrary@jewishmiami.org

* * * * *

WHAT: Author, Doreen Rappaport presents her latest book, Beyond Courage, the untold story of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. This is the tale of the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews across 11 Nazi-occupied countries during World War II. The presentation is open to the community

WHERE: Dave and Mary Alper JCC, 11155 SW 112 Avenue

WHEN: Friday, October 26, 1:15 p.m.-3 p.m.

COST: No Charge

CONTACT: Marcy Levitt, e-mail mleavitt@alperjcc.org or call 305-9000 ext 268

* * * * *

WHAT: Kesher’s Annual Holiday Shopping Boutique – amazing merchandise all under one roof

WHERE: MAR JCC Gymnasium, 18900 NE 25th Ave., North Miami Beach

WHEN: Thursday, November 1, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

CONTACT: Ilene Weinkle (e-mail IWeinkle@Kesherld.com or call 305-792-7060)

* * * * *

WHAT: The Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the New World Symphony will Present “Inside the Music: Songs of the Holocaust,” a musical celebration of the incredible spirit that kept many alive during the time of the Shoah and a tribute to those who perished.

WHERE: The New World Center, 500 17th Street, Miami

WHEN: Tuesday, November 13 at 7 p.m.

CONTACT & COST: Tickets are free of charge and must be reserved in advance. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-673-3331

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/calendar-of-events-13/2012/10/24/

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