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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘World War II’

US Soldier Named ‘Righteous among the Nations’

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

A U.S. Army soldier who fought in against the Nazis is now the first American soldier to be recognized by Yad VaShem as “Righteous among the Nations” for rescuing Jewish soldiers.

Four other Americans, all of them civilians, have been recognized with the same honor.

The late Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds fought in the 422nd Infantry Regiment and was captured in the Battle of the Bulge. He was sent to the Stalag POW camp in Germany.

The Wehrmacht had an anti-Jewish policy, singling out Jewish POWs from the rest of the POW population, and many Jewish POWs were sent to extermination camps or murdered.

In January 1945, the Germans announced that all Jewish POWs in Stalag IXA were to report the following morning. Edmonds, who was the highest ranking solider in the American section of the camp ordered all his men, to fallout the following morning – Jews and non-Jews alike.

When the German camp commander, Major Siegmann, saw that all the camp’s inmates were standing in front of their barracks, he turned to Edmonds and exclaimed: “They cannot all be Jews!”

Edmonds replied, “We are all Jews.” After Siegmann took out his pistol and threatened Edmonds, the soldier declared:

According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war you will be tried for war crimes.

The Commandant turned around and left the scene.

NCO Paul Stern, who was stood near Edmonds during the exchange and who was Netanyahu of those saved by his action, recounted the story to Yad VaShem

Stern, who was taken prisoner on December 17, 1944, added, “Although seventy years have passed, I can still hear the words he said to the German Camp Commander.”

Another Jewish soldier who was witness to the incident is Lester Tanner, who had trained in Fort Jackson where Master Sergeant Edmonds was stationed.  Tanner recalled:

He did not throw his rank around. You knew he knew his stuff and he got across to you without being arrogant or inconsiderate. I admired him for his command… We were in combat on the front lines for only a short period, but it was clear that Roddie Edmonds was a man of great courage who led his men with the same capacity we had come to know him in the States

I would estimate that there were more than one thousand Americans standing in wide formation in front of the barracks with Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds standing in front with several senior non-coms beside him, of which I was one… Edmonds, at the risk of his immediate death, defied the Germans with the unexpected consequences that the Jewish prisoners were saved.

Edmonds died in 1985.

Yad VaShem chairman Avner Shalev said, “Edmonds seemed like an ordinary American soldier, but he had an extraordinary sense of responsibility and dedication to his fellow human beings….The choices and actions of Master Sergeant Edmonds set an example for his fellow American soldiers as they stood united against the barbaric evil of the Nazis.”

Edmonds’ son, Pastor Chris Edmonds, is currently in Israel participating in a seminar sponsored by the International School for Holocaust Studies for Christian leaders.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Former Auschwitz Radio Operator Charged with Accessory to Murder

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

German authorities have charged a 91-year-old woman for her role in the murder of 260,000 Jews in the Auschwitz death camp during the Holocaust.

The woman, who has not been identified, served in the Nazi SS and worked as a radio operator for the camp’s commandant in 1944. Prosecutors plan to charge her as an accessory to murder because she aided the operation of the death camp.

The woman’s trial will come on the heels of the trial of Oskar Gröning, the so-called “bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” who was sentenced to four years in prison earlier this year for serving as an SS guard at Auschwitz.

Up until 2011, German authorities only prosecuted people who served in senior Nazi positions. But that year, John Demjanjuk, who had volunteered as an SS guard, was found guilty of accessory for the murder of more than 27,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp.

Since then, German authorities have been going after other people who could be charged as accessories to Nazi crimes. But among the 6,500 former SS members who served in Auschwitz and were still living at the time of prosecution, only 50 have been convicted, according to The Telegraph.

JNS News Service

Ashes of Holocaust Victims Buried after Secretly Kept in French School

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

The atrocities of the Holocaust still are being discovered.

Rabbis in Strasbourg, France on Sunday carried a single coffin containing several Jews’ ashes and remains that were used for experiments during the Holocaust by August Hirt, a notorious Nazi anatomy researcher.

Their remains in test tubes and jars had been locked up in a French medical school until this past July, when a researcher found a letter dated 1952 and which referred to the atrocity. After the discovery of the letter, the jars and test tubes were found behind a glass cupboard in a locked room.

The only victim whose remains were identified was Menachem Taffem, a Polish Jew who was gassed to death in the Auschwitz gas chambers.

The corpses of 86 Holocaust victims were sent to the institute at the University of Strasbourg for Hirt to carry out research. Some of the remains were buried after the war, others were locked up secretly and yet others were known and kept for legal and scientific intentions.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Auschwitz Provides Tourists with Outdoor Showers to ‘Cool Down’

Monday, August 31st, 2015

How sensitive does the world have to be Jews when it comes to anything that can be associated with Holocaust?

The question has come up twice in four days, once with Hillary Clinton’s “boxcar” comment’ and now with the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp site offering tourists, including Israelis, outdoor showers to cool down from a heat wave.

Clinton’s reference to alleged Republican candidates’ promoting the idea of shipping out Mexican immigrants in “buses and boxcars” touched a raw nerve among sensitive American Jews, especially those who vote Republican.

She maintained, as reported here, that she never had the Holocaust in mind, although her defense that Jeb Bush used the term was totally out of line since he used the word to emphasize that shipping out illegal immigrants in boxcars is exactly what the United States should not do.

The showers at Auschwitz is harder to defend but illustrates the difference in mindset between the slogan among Jews “Never Forget” and the concept among others “to get over it and move on.”

It is difficult to imagine that the management at the former death camp purposely set up outdoor showers, in the midst of a heat wave, to mock Jews.

However, no one apparently realized that tourists, and not only Jews, would associate the effort to offer people a relief from the heat with the gas chambers that killed more than a million Jews, many of whom thought they were going to have their first real shower in what seemed like eternity.

On a Facebook page that posted a picture of the sprinklers, several people expressed anger while many other simply shrugged off as a “funny” coincidence.

One of the most tasteless postings was that people should “not fall for the same trick again.”

One Israel tourist told Yediot Acharonot website, “When we got off the bus I saw the sprinklers. I was in shock. I felt my stomach turn over.”

He said that when he mentioned to one of the workers at the site that the sprinkler “reminds me of the gas chambers,” she replied she was sorry.

It is not clear what she was sorry about – that the shower system was insensitive or that the tourist couldn’t get over the past.

Most estimates are that fewer than 500,000 Holocaust survivors remain alive worldwide. Their numbers are dwindling quickly, and the question of sensitivity in this age of political correctness is one that will not go away.

It all depends who is being offended. There is an egregious concern not to offend Muslim and homosexuals.

Jews are another story. And when it comes to Israel, there is not much to talk about, except, of course, for the “occupation.”

What do you think?

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’: ‘I can only ask my God for forgiveness’

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Former Nazi guard Oskar Groening, 94, asked for forgiveness on Wednesday upon testifying in his trial on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder. Groening, dubbed the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” collected and tallied money from new prisoners arriving at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

He testified:

There was self-denial in me that today I find impossible to explain. Perhaps it was also the convenience of obedience with which we were brought up, which allowed no contradiction. This indoctrinated obedience prevented registering the daily atrocities as such and rebelling against them.

I can only ask my God for forgiveness.

During the trial on Wednesday, Auschwitz survivor Irene Weiss, 84, recounted how she arrived to the death camp at age 13 and was immediately separated from most of her family. “A woman pointed to a chimney and said: ‘Do you see the smoke? There is your family,'” she said.

Weiss said she considers Groening more than just a “small cog in the machine.”

“To that 13-year-old, any person who wore that uniform in that place, represented terror and the depths to which humanity can sink, regardless of what function they performed,” she said.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

British Teens Accused of Holocaust Theft at Auschwitz

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Two British teenage boys were caught stealing precious historic artifacts at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camps, Polish police said Tuesday.

The two 17-year-olds were detained Monday by police on suspicion of stealing belongings of prisoners who were inmates of the camps during the Holocaust in World War II.

They were spotted Monday afternoon lurking near a building where German Nazi guards used to store belongings confiscated from the prisoners in the camps, said a spokespersons for the museum at the site.

Both of the boys are students at the Perse School of Cambridge, England and were participating in a school history trip at the time of the incident, according to a statement by the school.

The teens “attempted to keep some items of historical importance which they had found on the ground,” the school claimed. “We understand they have explained that they picked up the items without thinking and they have apologized unreservedly for the offense they have given, and expressed real remorse for their action,” said the Perse School spokesperson.

A body search turned up a piece of spoon, a number of buttons, two pieces of glass and a fragment of a razor, which may have been stolen from the site, police said.

Both boys were questioned through an interpreter, according to regional police. If found guilty, they could face up to 10 years in prison for the offense. The spokesperson for the Perse School said the students are cooperating “fully” with the authorities.

Apparently it is not unusual for visitors to try to steal artifacts from the death camp, as horrific as that may seem to some. According to the museum curators, a Swedish man was imprisoned in 2010 for masterminding the theft of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes Freedom) sign posted over the entry gate and which heralded the arrival of prisoners at the death camp at Auschwitz.

Hana Levi Julian

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.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/red-cross-says-it-failed-to-protect-jews-murdered-by-nazis/2015/04/29/

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