web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘uprising’

Newly Translated Book On The Warsaw Ghetto

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Many books have been written about the Warsaw Ghetto in the 66 years since its destruction. There have been reports, memoirs, studies, albums and movies of all kinds that have tried to tell the story of what happened. But to date for the English speaker the story was never complete.

 

We had bits and pieces of the story, we were able to see parts of the ghetto wall that still exist but the exact location of the complete wall always seemed a mystery. We had excerpts of the Ringelblum Archives but what life was like in the ghetto was still difficult to comprehend for the average reader who did not have a complete library at his or her disposal.

 

The Warsaw Ghetto: A Guide to the Perished City, by Barbara Engelking and Jacek Leociak, published by Yale University Press is a monumental work that brings all the material together in one volume. First published in Polish, the book is now available in English.

 

It took years of research in Poland and Israel, in the archives of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Yad Vashem and Kibbutz Lochamei HaGeta’ot in Israel to painstakingly bring together the full story of the horrific period of the Warsaw Ghetto. Other sources, such as the Polish State Archives and the Warsaw City Archives, were also invaluable in the source material.

 

The authors explore the history of the ghetto’s evolution, the actual daily experience of its thousands of inhabitants from its creation in 1940 to its liquidation following the uprising of 1943. Encyclopedic in scope, the book encompasses a range of topics from food supplies to education, religious activities to the Jundenrat’s administration. Separate chapters deal with the mass deportations to Treblinka and the famous uprising.

 

Even the technical material is brought to life with a number of rarely seen photographs and charts. A series of original maps shows the boundaries of the ghetto with streets shown as they were before the city was nearly destroyed at the end of the war. Present-day streets are superimposed onto the map, and even to one familiar with the area, I was very surprised at the changes shown on the map.

 

We learn the biographies, names of the people, who were activists, archivists, cantors, policemen, actors, musicians, teachers and politicians. These were the heroic residents of the ghetto; people who would not have been remembered in most English language books on the subject.

 

A glossary of terms and concepts is a valuable addition that helps the reader, not only of this volume, but any book on the Holocaust. Terms in Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish and German are included. From Agudah to ZZW (Zydyowski Zwiazek Wojskowy: Jewish Military Union) the words and terminology are covered with a clear explanation, many of which cannot be found in most other glossaries.

 

A bibliography of sources is also included. Some will think that this section is the most valuable of all the indexes. These 40 pages are full of sources that scholars can look for to further their research on particular interests. The index cites not just published works but records found in various archives around the world with exact referencing. The list of published works is almost a complete list of all the material ever published on the Warsaw Ghetto.


 


 


      The Warsaw Ghetto: A Guide to the Perished City, by Barbara Engelking and Jacek Leociak, is an important work that belongs in any library where there is interest in the Holocaust

The Wicked Son

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

When Dr. Israel Shahak died on July 2, 2001, the Monitor speculated that he “presumably had ample opportunity by now to compare notes with Hitler, Stalin and the other equally distinguished residents of his new, supernaturally heated neighborhood.”

In retrospect, that attempt at morbid humor at Shahak’s expense was probably out of place, because there was nothing at all funny about one of the sickest characters Jewry’s ever produced – and God knows we’ve produced more than our share of sick ones.

It’s a truism that you can tell a man by the company he keeps, and a recent Google search on Jewish anti-Semitism revealed the company that keeps Shahak. Six and a half years after his death, his legacy lives on at countless neo-Nazi and anti-Israel websites, where his writings – with titles like “The Jewish Laundry of Drug Money” and “Israel’s Discriminatory Practices Are Rooted in Jewish Law” – are lavishly praised and lovingly preserved.

To call Shahak a self-hating Jew would be too easy, too trite. Besides, as the writer Sidney Zion observed to the Monitor several years back, such Jews are rarely self-hating at all – to the contrary, they love and adore themselves. It’s other Jews with whom they have a problem.

Going by the large body of writing he left behind, one can accurately describe Shahak as not just a hater of Israel but a hater of Jews, with the exception of those who share his ultra left-wing, militantly anti-religious, passionately pro-Palestinian mindset.

Shahak was a Polish Jew whose family was herded into the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation of Poland. He was sent to Bergen-Belsen in 1943 and, upon his liberation two years later, made his way to what was then British Mandate Palestine.

He went on to become a professor of organic chemistry (he taught at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University for 25 years), but it was as a so-called human rights activist that he made a name for himself. This, however, was no garden variety bleeding-heart leftist. Shahak not only came to despise Zionism and consider the establishment of the State of Israel a criminal act; he also set out to expose what he considered the depravities and hypocrisies of rabbinic Judaism – and to do so in as public a manner as possible.

Because he downplayed Jewish suffering in favor of painting Jews and Israelis as serial oppressors, Shahak had little patience with the notion that the Holocaust had a profound impact on either the Israeli psyche or Israeli policy-making. To him, Jews were victimizers, not victims.

“These ‘Holocaust memories’ are a fake,” he wrote in one of his numerous essays popular with the shaved head and tattooed-swastika crowd. In another article, he insisted that “racism and discrimination pervade all walks of life in Israel…. We need to recognize that in Israel the real issue is discrimination not only against the Palestinians … but against all non-Jews.”

It was Shahak who helped popularize the now familiar equating of Israelis with Nazis, declaring in one article that “the Jews of Israel, along with most of the Jews of the world, are at present undergoing a process of Nazification” and in yet another that any Jew who “denies the Palestinians their humanity” is a “Jewish Nazi.”

Just how twisted was Shahak? In his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion, he portrayed the notorious Chmielnicki massacres as a righteous rebellion by the downtrodden against their Jewish oppressors, and complained that Jews choose to remember it instead as an unprovoked anti-Jewish atrocity. Here’s how he put it:

“This typical peasant uprising against extreme oppression [italics added] …. has remained emblazoned in the consciousness of east European Jews to this very day – not, however, as a peasant uprising, a revolt of the oppressed, of the real wretched of the earth, nor even as a vengeance visited upon all the servants of the Polish nobility, but as an act of gratuitous anti-Semitism directed against Jews as such.”

Shahak time and again came under fire for his habit of denigrating Judaism by citing references and quoting sources taken wholly out of context, and as far back as 1966 was exposed as an incorrigible liar by the late Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, the then-chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, in an article in the Orthodox publication Tradition.

He was a dangerous mountebank and fraud, and the Passover Haggadah’s wicked son personified.

The Times Just Doesn't Give Up

Friday, July 11th, 2003

On its front page Sunday, The New York Times carried a box headlined, “Some Expect Hamas To Resume Talking,” with the following text:

The Palestinian Authority said it believed that negotiations on a cease-fire could resume shortly with the militant Islamic group Hamas, even though Hamas declared it was breaking off the talks and would continue to make Israel a target.

The Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, [Mazen] is required to rein in militants as part of the new Middle East peace plan, and at a summit meeting on Wednesday in Jordan, he called for an end to the armed uprising.

The reader is then directed to page 8 for the full article.

On page 8, an article begins with a repetition of the above two paragraphs and goes on to quote Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rantissi as saying, “We reject any meeting with Abu Mazen,” until he retracts what he said at Aqaba.

Nabil Amr, the Palestinian information minister is then quoted: “Having Hamas in the dialogue is a vital issue that we cannot ignore, and we hope that our brothers in Hamas will change their mind.” [Our italics.]

Palestinian minister of culture, Abu Amr is quoted: “We hope in the coming days to resume the talks.” [Our italics.]

And that’s it. So when The Times trumpeted the expectation of Hamas going back to the negotiating table, it was relying on statements expressing “hope” that they would do so.

The next day, in another article on the weekend attack on an Israeli army post at Erez, beginning on the front page, The Times carried an analysis of how Abu Mazen is facing all sorts of problems on the Palestinian street over what he supposedly promised at Aqaba and
why he faces great difficulties in meeting his commitments. There is similar, but far less extensive treatment of the internal opposition Prime Minister Sharon is facing as well over his Aqaba statements.

Significantly, however, the article simply reports, without relating to difficulties for Israel’s carrying out its commitment to ease restrictions on Palestinian workers, that “the three attackers apparently concealed themselves among the 6,800 Palestinians who crossed over this morning to work in Israel.”

As we noted elsewhere on this page, Abu Mazen’s credibility is in free fall and he has friends trying to hold back the dawn of recognition that nothing has really changed in the Palestinian firmament.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-times-just-doesnt-give-up/2003/07/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: