Category Archives: Jewish history

Sins of the Stiff-Necked ~ At the foot of Sinai

When Moses led the Hebrews out of captivity in Egypt, the plan was straightforward.

First, to travel to Mt. Sinai to “serve” the G-d of their forefathers. This trip was only a few days travel.

Then, at Sinai, Moses and the Hebrews were to receive the Torah; a covenant unique to their role, and complimentary to the Noachide Covenant (after the Flood) binding on all of Mankind. This preparation would take forty days.

Thereafter, another eleven days travel would bring them to Canaan, the land promised to Abraham and his descendants, at which Moses would erect the Holy Temple to G-d.

Finally, properly refined and instructed, the Hebrews were to, by following the Torah, create a model society, teach and, by their example, guide, the World back to their Father. Thus they would be completing G-d’s creation.

But, it did not work out that way.

Despite an amazing array of miracles (the Plagues, the Parting of the Sea, the Pillars of Fire and Cloud, the Manna, etc. ) wrought by G-d on their behalf, complaints and rebellion were constantly occurring. This was especially true of the “mixed multitude” who had opportunistically accompanied the Hebrews out of Egypt.

Nonetheless, the massive group arrived at the foot of Sinai.
G-d, enveloped by a thick cloud, spoke directly to the people below, declaring the Ten Commandments, as the core of this new and special covenant.

Sinai Revelation

The interface of G-d with mere mortals was so overwhelming that their souls left their body. The Hebrews accepted the entire covenant; written, oral, and mystical, at once. Facing G-d was so intense that Moses ascended the mountain to receive further instruction on their behalf.

G-d had just spoken directly with over a million people at the same time. An event such as this had never before happened in human history, and has never happened again, since. One would think that this would have removed any doubt. Steeled the people against any challenge. Cured any shortcoming.

But, it was not to be.

Many of the multitude encamped below (There were six-hundred thousand adult Hebrew males, alone! ) soon resumed agitating to give up (again) and return to captivity. By the fortieth day, the rebellion below had reached a fever pitch. Moses brother, Aaron was the temporary leader. He and Miriam’s son Hur argued strenuously for patience, but to no avail.  Hur was killed by the mob.

Aaron; understanding that Moses would be back by morning, decided to play for time. Convinced they would refuse to part with their treasure, he told the people to collect their gold for the construction of an idol. To their eternal discredit, they readily agreed.

Stuck; Aaron built the pagan idol. Debauched rituals and sacrifices commenced, as many of the people, the “mixed multitude” and many Hebrews, as well, actually celebrated their impending return to degradation and enslavement.

G-d informed Moses that, despite all that they received, all they had witnessed, including the Torah itself, these people had turned away from Him. They had not just failed. They had rushed to refuse and abandon their destiny. Like those before the Flood, they would now be destroyed.

Distraught, Moses begged G-d to allow him to take the just-formed Tablets down the mountain. There he hoped to prevail upon the people, and thus save both them, and their holy mission, from destruction. Joshua met him as he descended.

Upon hearing, and then seeing the depraved pagan orgy of his people; the contrast with his last forty days in loving embrace and tutelage by the Creator of the Universe was too much for him. In boundless despair, Moses threw the Tablets, written by the finger of G-d, to the ground, shattering them. He could not save them.

Moses Destroys Tablets

To be continued.

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Assassinating evil

This week marks the 73rd anniversary of the death of one of the most evil men who ever lived. He was also the only high Nazi official ever assassinated.

He was Reinhard Heydrich. Hitler called him the man with the iron heart.

He had an iron fist, too. Immediately after being installed as “protector” of two eastern European regions, he ordered 400 people slaughtered just so he could enjoy some quiet space. Four hundred was nothing to him, though. “Disappearing” political opponents was one of his jobs. He was the architect of Krystallnacht and a planner of the Holocaust. He chaired the infamous Wannsee Conference.

British-trained Czech and Slovak assassins hit him on May 27, 1942. It took him eight well-deserved days of misery to die.

Of course, the Nazis retaliated. First there was Lidice. Then Operation Reinhard, the code name for the truly final part of the Final Solution. (That would have happened anyhow; but it was named in grotesque “honor” of Heydrich.)

One of the favorite libertarian mental games is “would you go back in time and assassinate Hitler if you knew it would save millions of lives and prevent a war?” Of course even if you could travel backwards, you couldn’t know what the outcome would be. With Heydrich, we do know the outcome. At least we know the outcome of assassinating him after he had grown to full monsterhood and woven himself deep within the deadly fabric of Nazi officialdom.

There’s a man who should have been strangled in his cradle. Or if not that, been given the death penalty by his first intended victim.

——————————————————————————

ETA: Be sure to watch the video Y.B. posted below! It brings the brave story of the resisters to life.

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Liberation rage

Last month was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau. I’ve been saving that link, planning to write something about the Allied troops who had no idea of the horrors they were about to stumble into.

Allied commanders knew about the camps. But for whatever reason they didn’t tell the men who actually walked in and encountered the Holocaust unprepared.

For the last two weeks I’ve been trying to frame what I wanted to say about those soldiers and why they were left so unready to witness what no one should ever have to see, let alone endure.

Before I could finish my thoughts, something new came to light: letters from an Army doctor to his wife about how some of the weary, shocked, horrified, outraged — and ultimately vengeful — allied troops reacted. (Warning: graphic images.)

They turned on the SS guards and gave them a small taste of what the SS had given its victims.

Historians knew about this and have called the troops’ revenge shameful. But was it? Was it right? Wrong? Legal? Illegal? Sadistic? Or simple justice? Those questions didn’t matter. Would the exhausted troops have behaved differently had they been warned what to expect? Had their commanders taken better charge? Who can know?

For good or ill, history (even the history of the noble act of liberation) is so much more complex than we were taught in school.

—–

Be sure to read the full account of Dr. Wilsey’s letters and experiences in the New Republic.

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Capturing Eichmann

This week is the 55th anniversary of the capture of Adolf Eichmann. It’s a story worthy of a Hollywood thriller.

Many people know its outlines. But did you know that after the war but before the Mossad decided to capture Eichmann alive and put him up for trial, there was an armed Jewish group called The Avengers that handled Nazis more directily?

At first they handed over the SS men to the Allied authorities, but many of the SS men “escaped in the chaos that followed the war or were released.” At one point the Russians released two Nazi Germans who had been turned over to them by the Jews. The Germans walked out into the street, laughing at their release. But not for long. The Avengers “cut the men down with a burst of sub-machine gunfire.”

From then on the Avengers simply tracked down and killed former Nazis. Perhaps 1000 Nazis were tracked down in this way after the war.

It seems that, following the war, allies had a habit of letting Nazis escape — not surprising when you consider how much some high-ups among the allies despised Jews.

It was also revealed a few years back that the West German government knew where Eichmann was hiding nearly a decade before the Israelis dragged him from Argentina.

Did the Israelis violate international law in conducting their unauthorized arrest of Eichmann? No doubt they violated many laws. But the keepers of the laws were busy either protecting or ignoring Eichmann — who (after the Nuremburg trials) was the only still-living senior official responsible for the Holocaust.

Eichmann was hardly the bland, colorless bureaucrat some have portrayed him as being. He was the chief administrator of genocide and a dedicated Nazi who continued to dream of setting up a new Third Reich in South America. His bureaucratic apparatus made mass murder possible. His lies persuaded hopeful Jews to believe they were merely being “relocated to the east” instead of being relocated to misery and death. His methods made mass murder go smoothly, with least resistance from the victims.

Before his trial, a lot of politicians and thinkers believed the best course was just to forget the Holocaust. Stop talking about it. Let it fade into history as quickly as possible. The trial of Adolf Eichmann ended all that and started an examination of the process of state-perpetrated evil that continues to this day — more than half a century after his capture.

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A Letter to an Uncaring World

Szmul M. Zygielbojm

Seventy-two years years ago today, exhausted and dispirited, long-time labor leader and member of the Polish Government in Exile; Szmul Mordekhai Zygielbojm, wrote a letter, and then tragically took his own life.  Here is his letter:

May 11, 1943

To His Excellency

The President of the Republic of Poland

Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz

Prime Minister

General Wladyslaw Sikorski

Mr. President,

Mr. Prime Minister,

I am taking the liberty of addressing to you, Sirs, these my last words, and through you to the Polish Government and the people of Poland, and to the governments and people of the Allies, and to the conscience of the whole world:

The latest news that has reached us from Poland makes it clear beyond any doubt that the Germans are now murdering the last remnants of the Jews in Poland with unbridled cruelty. Behind the walls of the ghetto the last act of this tragedy is now being played out.

The responsibility for the crime of the murder of the whole Jewish nationality in Poland rests first of all on those who are carrying it out, but indirectly it falls also upon the whole of humanity, on the peoples of the Allied nations and on their governments, who up to this day have not taken any real steps to halt this crime. by looking on passively upon this murder of defenseless millions tortured children, women and men they have become partners to the responsibility.

I am obliged to state that although the Polish Government contributed largely to the arousing of public opinion in the world, it still did not do enough. It did not do anything that was not routine, that might have been appropriate to the dimensions of the tragedy taking place in Poland.

Of close to 3.5 million Polish Jews and about 700,000 Jews who have been deported to Poland from other countries, there were, according to the official figures of the Bund transmitted by the Representative of the Government,** only 300,000 still alive in April of this year. And the murder continues without end.

I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of Polish Jewry, whose representative I am, are being murdered. My comrades in the Warsaw ghetto fell with arms in their hands in the last heroic battle. I was not permitted to fall like them, together with them, but I belong with them, to their mass grave.

By my death, I wish to give expression to my most profound protest against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the destruction of the Jewish people.

I know that there is no great value to the life of a man, especially today. But since I did not succeed in achieving it in my lifetime, perhaps I shall be able by my death to contribute to the arousing from lethargy of those who could and must act in order that even now, perhaps at the last moment, the handful of Polish Jews who are still alive can be saved from certain destruction.

My life belongs to the Jewish people of Poland, and therefore I hand it over to them now. I yearn that the remnant that has remained of the millions of Polish Jews may live to see liberation together with the Polish masses, and that it shall be permitted to breathe freely in Poland and in a world of freedom and socialistic justice, in compensation for the inhuman suffering and torture inflicted on them. And I believe that such a Poland will arise and such a world will come about. I am certain that the President and the Prime Minister will send out these words of mine to all those to whom they are addressed, and that the Polish Government will embark immediately on diplomatic action and explanation of the situation, in order to save the living remnant of the Polish Jews from destruction.

I take leave of you with greetings, from everybody, and from everything that was dear to me and that I loved.

S. Zygielbojm

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Give the Jew a coin and maybe he’ll just go away.

I see where the European Jewish Congress just gave a $100K grant to the Ukrainian Jewish community for their “communal security”.  That’s nice.  Given that there are one-hundred-thousand Jews living there, maybe they each can buy three or four bullets for their all but hypothetical handguns?

Not likely, given that the government has commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Nazi Holocaust in a very special way.  Oh, I know, I know.  Free speech, and all that, but meet me down at the ravine, and let’s talk political theory and “physical culture”, ok?

Meanwhile, EJC… Thanks for nothing.

Oh, and in case someone thinks that I am too harsh and “biting the hand…” perhaps this will refresh your memory about the world view of the moral paragons at the European Jewish Congress.

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A politician speaks a (partial) truth

Remarkable thing. A politician speaks the truth. Not an American pol, unfortunately. This one’s from Poland. And the media reporting the story call him both a “gun lobbyist” (i.e. eeeeeevil villain) and “far-right” (journalist’s code word for “not to be taken seriously”).

In Europe, far-right is usually also a code word for xenophobic and probably Jew-hating. But that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

Janusz Korwin-Mikke, who is running for president of Poland but from a tiny minority party, told a TV interviewer that if every Jew had had a gun before World War II the Holocaust would never have happened. (H/T CB for the heads-up)

Well, we know that already, don’t we? But it’s apparently so startling to the Times of Israel that they have to go out of their way to try to prejudice readers against him and his positions twice in one tiny article.

Korwin-Mikke, despite his minority political status, is a fascinating and influential man. And not “far-right” in any sense. He came from the liberationist underground left, worked with Lech Wałęsa and his famous Solidarność movent (which helped bring down communism), and published translations of the work of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayak.

He courts controversy, uses blunt, colorful language, sometimes says the most un-PC things, and at one time wrote the most popular blog in Poland.

The poor, confused Wikipedia article linked above calls him both a “conservative liberal” and a “libertarian conservative.” He has also been accused of being both an anti-Semite and a “hidden Jew” and a Zionist. (I don’t know his religious history, but he was born in Nazi-occupied Warsaw and his mother died in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.)

An intriguing man, definitely.

He spoke those words, “If every Jew had a gun before the war, there would be no Holocaust,” on the eve of Yom HaShoah, the annual commemoration of Hitler’s genocide. He added that “every young guy has to have a gun.”

And that’s where my headline statement comes in. That’s only a partial truth there, Janusz. Sure every young guy — who has enough responsibility and integrity to use one well — should own a gun and be prepared to use it at need. So should every older, wiser, guy. But don’t forget that when it comes to self-defense and defense of family, home, community, and faith, some of the most determined fighters are most definitely non-guys.

Of the 30,000 Jews who escaped the ghettos and camps and joined the guerrilla battle against the Nazis, a good share were women. And though many cooked, tended wounds, and acted as couriers and spies (something that took great courage), quite a few took up arms. One was even the commander of the partisan group in the woods outside Luckow, Poland.

In modern-day America, it’s wonderful to see that both young guys and young women are increasingly interested in firearms and learning to use them. Many of these young people are (so far) only into the sporting aspects of guns — target shooting, competition, and hunting. But should the day ever come for armed defense against enemies of freedom, foreign or domestic, that’ll be millions more who know what to do and have the tools to do it.

So celebrate the brave men who’ve been freedom’s staunchest defenders over the years, but cheers to the women who’ve joined them — and who will join them in times of future need.

—–

If you want to know more:

Jewish Women in the Partisans

Women in the Italian Resistance

What Can We Learn from Women Partisans? (Click on the links to individual stories.)

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The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising-April 19th

April 19th is the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

For those that do not understand what Yom HaShoah and the Warsaw Ghetto uprising has to do with guns, look at all the hands in the photos. When there are hands in the air reaching skyward, you will see guns in the hands of those surrounding them.  Guns are the defense against tyranny.  For “Never Again” to be more than a slogan you need to be able to ensure that it isn’t by having the means to stop the attack.

At the memorial service I attended today the final speaker talked about something a holocaust survivor had implored him to do. To act, to scream, to talk to people, but no matter what, not to do nothing. To do nothing, to be frozen in inaction was to allow them (nazis) to succeed.

The Warsaw Ghetto Memorial at the JCC.
The Warsaw Ghetto Memorial at the JCC.

For the flame of liberty to continue to burn, there must be those willing to speak out against evil. There must be those willing to give their time, talent and treasure and pledge their sacred honor. Yes, that phrase comes from the American Revolution. The Battle at Lexington and Concord also occurred on April 19th. But if we do not show up and suit up in the battle for freedom, the flame of liberty becomes the Shoah, the holocaust, as well as the flames that devoured the Warsaw Ghetto, the other Ghettos throughout Europe and the death camps.

What do Yom HaShoah and the Warsaw Ghetto have to do with guns. Everything! The fearful cost of a disarmed people.

What happened exceeded our boldest dreams. The Germans fled twice from the ghetto. One of our companies held its position for forty minutes, while the other one lasted – upwards of six hours… I cannot describe to you the conditions in which the Jews are living. Only a handful will survive. All the rest will succumb, sooner or later. Their fate has been sealed. In almost all of the bunkers in which our friends are hiding one cannot even light a candle at night, for lack of air. Goodbye my friend. Perhaps we will see each other again. The main thing is this: My life’s dream has become a reality. I have seen the Jewish defense of the ghetto in all its strength and glory.
23 [21] April 1943 Mordechai Anielewicz

There is no need to ask “Why does this happen”. Nor is there a need to ask “How can something like this happen.” It’s a pattern, we know how.

One of our readers gave a link to a documentary, it is excellent and this is the longer version of it.

From Yad Vashem’s website, interviews with Fighters who survived the Warsaw Ghetto. What is the end result of Universal Background Checks and other “common sense” gun control? Listen, the survivors will tell you.

But I will leave you with triumph.

Zog nit kein mol- Jewish partisan song

Zog Nit Kein Mol in Hebrew

 

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Yom HaShoah or יום השואה

Tomorrow is Yom HaShoah. It is the Holocaust Remembrance day. In my area the memorial service will be Sunday. I intend to go. I can do nothing but go. It is my personal feeling, just mine, this is only my opinion, that for me to forget what happened, to allow the memory to become comfortably cushioned in the soft cotton of foggy faded distant memory is folly and disrespectful.

 

Folly because those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. I’ve learned some pretty painful long term physical lessons working with my horses. Weather changes bring about certain reminders, very clearly. Care to place a wager on me forgetting how I got them and what needs to be done to prevent a repeat performance? I don’t forget.

 

Disrespectful because the nazis* goal was to erase Judaism from the earth, to blot out all the names of the victims, to resign them to the faded pages of distant memory. As long as I have breath and am able, I will not be part of that. I will be there, I will pay my respects and I will try to keep their memory and their fate plain. The horrible cost of trusting and disarmed people.

 

No, I do not mean all of them, but too many. hitler* was elected after all. Not all those that died were Jews either. Estimates are six million Jews died, and five million others made up of groups of gypsies, Poles, Political dissenters, mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals and communists. I’m guessing some of those that died and their family members voted for hitler. Someone pointed out to me last year basically, the Holocaust wiped out the population of Israel. Israel’s Jewish population in 2014 was 6,218,000. The total population was 8,296,000.

 

Last year I was in Israel during Yom HaShoah. I went with my girlfriend that I stayed with to Ben Gurion University for the memorial service. Since she worked at BGU (אבג) getting in was not a problem. The courtyard where the ceremony was held was packed and people were standing in the windows of surrounding buildings to see the ceremony. We got there early and so sat in the chairs in the courtyard. One thing we noticed, of all the Arab and muslim students that attend there, none that we could see attended the services. It was a profoundly moving services. I didn’t understand a lot of it, it was all in Hebrew of course, and I would only catch words from time to time. But somethings go beyond words. They are universal. One was a dance that was performed.

 

The dancers were dressed in either white or black, and it was very very clear what the dance was about as the dancers dressed in black appeared to flog, beat and kill the dancers dressed in white. At one point during the dance one of the dancers dressed in white quietly slipped off the stage and disappeared behind a column. When she came back out in a bit it appeared she was being comforted by a staff member. She was unable to finish the dance. The dance finished with the dancers gathered around a pile of their shoes they had all taken off and placed in a corner as they came onto the elevated dance stage. Yeah, like that.

 

Shoes
Shoes

 

It was very emotional. I can speculate on what those around me felt. I know what I felt, and I suspect it might be different than the majority of those around me.

 

Following that was the portion where Holocaust survivors or family members came up and read something. I apologize, but my Hebrew just wasn’t/isn’t good enough to recount the stories. But at the end each of the six people went over and lit a candle. Each candle represented a million people. As they read their speeches you could hear something in the background. At first I thought it was suppose to be the sound of muted rifle fire. But then with each person it seemed to be a bit louder and more clear. Not rifle fire. Trains. The sound of trains on the tracks. Damn.

 

The Train
The Train, display at Yad Vashem

 

I was already angry from my visit to Yad Vashem just a few days before when I had been livid about the miniscule display of “Resistance during the Holocaust”. It was a miniscule display for more than one reason, but what was going through my mind was that the elected nazi government used all branches of government to target a group of people. And then they used already on the books common sense gun laws like universal background checks to more easily eliminate them.

 

Flame at Ben Gurion University
Flame at Ben Gurion University

 

An article recently appeared that brought to light that among those who tried to help rescue the Jews, were other Jews. They feel that the concept of Jews saving themselves has been muted or lost. The article stated

 

Part of the mission of the Jewish Rescuers Citation is to re-instill the idea that Jews are not only capable, but prone to be hardened heroes.

The article raises some very interesting ideas. Even if you don’t read the linked article, you might want to check Yad Vashem for a short list and photos of nine people who served in the Resistance, many of them at the greatest cost to save lives. Their names and their lives deserve to be remembered. Their price was large, perhaps you can spare a couple minutes to meet them?

 

For people to live in freedom, freedom from slavery, from poverty, from annihilation, the first thing we need to do is to quit committing suicide.

 

By that I mean there is ONE JEWISH state, in all of the world, there is ONE. Look at your elected officials attitudes towards that one state and you will have an idea of their attitudes towards your group.

 

Look at remarks made towards your group, are they accurate and fair? I’m thinking of the last two years worth of comments at the annual prayer breakfast here.

 

Are branches of the government targeting certain groups of political dissenters?

 

Do you put money into the pockets of people that urge you to become disarmed and vulnerable to any of the above? Harry Weinstein, Babs Streisand, Tim McGraw or any of the many other anti-gun entertainers that will then use their bully pulpit to disarm you?

 

Saddle pads and skirts folks. Check your patterns

 

There is a stone in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, it is to ALL, not Jewish, or non-Jewish, but ALL.

 

To Those
To Those, located in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem

 

Please G-d, may we need no more of them. The cost is far too dear.

 

 

 

* Some things and some people do not deserve capital letters. Not a typo.

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