Tag Archives: Holocaust

Never Again? Well, That Didn’t Take Long.

Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on January 27th, according to the U(seless)N, Germany and many parts of the world. It’s observed on 27th of Nisan which is usually in April or May in Israel. I went to a Holocaust Remembrance service at Ben Gurion University a couple years ago. Phrases you hear often are “Never Again”. The date was chosen because it was the day that the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau occurred. January 27, 1945.

For Germany, “Never Again” didn’t take long. The Munich massacre was September 1972. I can still remember waking up that morning and hearing the news on the radio. I didn’t understand why someone didn’t shoot the terrorists. Young and naive wasn’t I? It just made no sense! The Israelis had a shooting team and a coach. So it was a span of about 27 years before Jews were bound and herded helplessly into the cattle cars of the helicopters.

There are many kinds of hot mess around this additional shameful saga of Germany’s history. Israeli delegation head Shmuel Lalkin had warning bells going off like crazy when he saw the accommodations for the Israeli athletes. Ground floor, no armed guards, anyone could access the hallway, it led to a garage. He howled to the West Germans and the Israelis about it. He begged to be allowed to carry his sidearm, he was recently out of the IDF as a Major. Denied. The West Germans didn’t have any armed guards anywhere in the olympic village. It might make people “feel bad”. They wanted everything to “feel friendly”. So, no armed guards, no moving the Israelis to a higher floor. Nothing that he wanted that would have been sensible preventative safety precautions was done. It might “look bad”. In addition to all this, Der Speigel ran a article in 2012 that said the German authorities had been tipped off something was going to happen.

After the Israelis were taken hostage the “negotiations” such as they were, began to take place. Finally the Germans assembled their crack hostage rescue team. They didn’t have one actually, so candidates were selected by asking them “have you ever fired a gun before?” Not have you ever fired THIS type of gun before, but just sort of asked the willing police officers, “have you ever fired a gun before”. This was after they turned down Golda Meir’s request/beg to be allowed to send an actual Israeli hostage rescue team that did know very well what the heck they were about and what to do. So these Germans are crawling around on the top of the building trying to figure out how to break in and listening for the code word which never came. Probably a good thing. The terrorists peaceful Palestinians who just wanted to liberate their friends and relatives unfairly imprisoned for killing people and blowing up things watched the whole thing on TV, live. TV cameras were set up across from the building and broadcast everything.

Eventually the hostages were bound, herded onto a bus and taken to Fürstenfeldbruck air force base. Where the German rescue attempt continued to exhibit the same finely tuned precision as at the Olympic Village. The police had miscounted the terrorists, they had no night vision equipment, or training and had never worked together before. One terrorist mowed the hostages in his helicopter down with his gun as they sat helpless tied together. The other terrorist threw a grenade into his.

The German government then proceeded to lie and cover up information for many many years. The only reason much of it came to light was Ankie Spitzer who had been married to Israeli fencing coach Andre about a year and a half is a bulldog. The woman never stopped. She kept pressing and going at them and finally an anonymous source called her lawyer and the delivery of information began to flow in. Ankie is amazing. Andre married well.

In the documentary One Day In September, Jamal Al-Jishey, the only surviving terrorist of the attack gave an interview. He was proud of the work he did, the peaceful palestinians did a great thing.

Now we have the shocking news coming from Angela Merkel’s government that Antisemitism is on the rise.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday admitted that anti-Semitism is “more widespread” in Germany than some believe.Speaking in her weekly podcast and quoted by Haaretz, Merkel called for action to “deal with [anti-Semitism] – especially among young people… from countries where hatred of Israel and the hatred of Jews is widespread.”Anti-Semitism, she stressed, is more “widespread than we imagine, and that’s why we have to make intensive efforts against it.” The Chancellor noted the negative effects of anti-Semitic propaganda online and attempts to combat it.

Shocker that. Who could have possibly foreseen that bringing in millions upon millions of people that hate Jews would result in a rise in Antisemitism in a country that has a long proud history of it’s tolerance towards Jews. So ALL possible efforts to combat Antisemitism will be used. Well, except of course re-examining that open door “refugee” policy thingy.

In Israel the stabbing attacks are indiscriminate. Against men women and children. Out in public and in front of their homes, where they die fighting like a tigress to stop the terrorist from going after her children. If you don’t know the name Dafna Meir H”YD, she deserves 2 minutes of your time. Amazing woman.

This has nothing to do with frustration, repression or any other garbage. This is how the peaceful palestinians are brought up. The father of the murderer of Dafna said he is proud of his 15 year old son who stabbed the mother of 6 to death.

Jews in France aren’t especially safe, or Sweden (or Swedish women either for that matter) but at least in America it’s different.  Abe Foxman of the ADL will be quick enough to tear you a new one for something said, but be prepared to defend yourself or family against a life threatening attack? With a GUN??? Perish the thought! Same for the congressional professional victim creation class.

Still, it’s different in America.

Well, except in Michigan. Where former state department employee Lina Allan defended the stabbing of Jews as killing animals and was miffed at muslim who aren’t doing so. She’s talking about killing Jews, Israel didn’t really come into it.

According to MEMRI, Allan claims to have represented the State Department’s U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in the Jameed Festival in Jordan. 

Considering Abu Mazen head of the Palestinian Authority financed a chunk of the Munich Massacre, you would think we would examine links a bit more closely, but apparently, no.

At least in America our own government will never attack unarmed defenseless citizens. Countries that have embarrassing records when it comes to protecting a certain ethnic group charged with spreading Torah will certainly learn from their mistakes and correct lapses in the future exercising all vigilance.

And now I’m going to go pet my unicorn and go to sleep!

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Never Forget

I don’t normally blog on Jewish history. I leave it to others, who are much better versed than I. However, when a friend posted this on Facebook, I simply couldn’t resist sharing.

jews

It’s a reminder. Never forget that once you cede that your rights are merely privileges granted at the whim of a government, they can be taken away at that same whim.

Carry on.

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And Then…

I recently attended a lecture on the fate of the Sephardic Jews during WWII. Most people are familiar with what happened with the Ashkenazi Jews, as it was mainly the European Jews caught up in the brunt of hitler’s maniacal extermination plan. But the Sephardic Jews certainly shared their fate, but their stories are less well known.

Much of this came to light when US military forces invaded Iraq. On 6th May 2003 when US forces entered the military intelligence HQ of Saddam Hussein (as opposed to barak hussein). They found papers, prayer books, documents, office correspondence, and Hebrew calendars in about 4 feet of water. Astonishing! For more than one reason. It survived and is being preserved and restored and two, it shows the presence of a thriving Jewish community that existed in Iraq. Apparently the late Hussein, well, and the still living barak hussein wished to destroy any evidence of Jewish existence. I know, big yawn, what’s new. But some of the info the lecturer covered was very interesting. So, I’ll just give you a short report.

I suppose you could call the holocaust hitler’s muslim outreach pogrom, er, program. The Mufti of Jerusalem and hitler were buddies and allies in their desire to exterminate all Jewish life from planet earth. In 1941 Iraq had their pogrom. And while Achmadinajakerchooo denies the holocaust, he apparently doesn’t know his countries history. No, I mean he doesn’t know Iranian history. During the holocaust he denies, Iran was a safe way station for Jews going to the future Israel. He doesn’t know of the decency of “The Children of Tehran”. Apparently while Achmadinajakerchoo is brainless enough denying the holocaust, he is equally adept at exposing his ignorance of his own country. He thinks it has 57 stat…oops sorry, wrong dude.

The Island of Corfu. There Jews were craftsman and there was a small Jewish community. The mayor was a vicious anti-Semite and all but about 200 of the Jews were rounded up and shipped to Auschwitz. To get there, they had to go through 9 different countries, with 9 different currencies, and yet they were shipped. The 200 that did escape were sheltered by the local population of Corfu. The Greek Jews did not fare well at all in the concentration camps. They didn’t speak Yiddish, or German, Polish or any other language except Ladino. Therefore, where the other Jews in the camp could pass on life saving tips and tricks the Greek Jews were unable to understand the others, or to communicate with them.

In Salonika (Thessaloniki) the Jews were rounded up to be sent to Auschwitz. The community paid 2 billion drachmas for their freedom. And yet 50,000 were sent to Auschwitz, their Synagogues destroyed and cemeteries desecrated. Only 1,950 of them survived. Many of the Jews from Salonika were forced into being Sonderkommandos. I didn’t learn this in the lecture, but found it interesting. On 7 October 1944, the Sonderkommandos from Salonika joined with other Greek Jews in an uprising. They stormed the crematoria, killed 20 guards, fire-bombed the building and destroyed it before they were massacred by the Germans. Before they met their end they sang a song of the Greek Partisans and the Greek National anthem.

The Greek Jews that could escape being rounded up often joined up with the Greek Resistance and fought back.

I didn’t learn this in the lecture either, but I like it. When Mayor Carrer of Zakynthos was told by the Germans to give over the names of the 275 Jewish inhabitants of Zakynthos, the Metropolitan Bishop of Zakynthos turned over to the Germans a list of names. Two names. His and the Mayors. The island of Zakynthos then hid every single member of the Island’s Jewish population.

It was in Yugoslavia that the Germans developed their mobile execution chambers. They used moving trucks into which special flooring was put in. They then had the exhaust hoses fed to the inside of the truck. The special flooring was to deal with the body’s actions at time of death. It made it easier for the nazis to hose the trucks out.

Bulgaria. Bulgaria is interesting. Now while old Abe Foxman of the ADL is happy to laud Bulgaria for their courageous saving of the Bulgarian Jews, this article goes into even more detail than our lecture did about what a truly mixed bag the “saving” was. No, Bulgaria didn’t want to deport their Jews. Yes, there was a massive eruption from the writers, lawyers and other professionals when the nazis wanted to begin deportation of Bulgaria’s Jews. But this was after they had plenty of blood on their hands. They were fine with containing them in ghettos and seizing their property, making them wear a star and mark their homes with a star making them easy targets for thugs. In addition to which 20,000 were deported. Not to a concentration camp of course, you understand and all. They were transported to about 3 different cities, for 3 weeks. THEN they were deported to Treblinka. In the end, Archbishop Roncalli wrote to King Boris and told him if he did this his place in heaven would be denied. He wasn’t going, no way, no how. That apparently did it. Afterwards Archbishop Roncalli wrote King Boris III and told him his place in heaven was assured.

North Africa, the King of Monaco flat refused to deport the Jews of Monaco. In fact the Jews were better off living in Monaco than they were Vichy France. In case you don’t know how “helpful” Vichy France was to the Jews.

Tunisia had local concentration camps, but they were not death camps.

In Algeria the Jews led a unsuccessful resistance to the Germans, but luckily, the Americans were in the neighborhood for Operation Torch.

The Italians were fine with persecuting the Jews, but in GENERAL, it didn’t want to kill them.

In certain countries, the price paid was the entire country, the impact of WWII on Sephardic culture was severe.

These were people that were just going along, having a nice life. Living with their families, loving, raising children, going to Synagogues, doing their jobs, practicing their professions. Their communities had been there often for hundreds of years living with their neighbors. And everything was fine.

Everything was fine, until one day. And then it wasn’t.

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My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

I’m of the generation that grew up watching John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and greatly admired both men. After I read a few of the books written by Dale Evans Rogers, Roy’s wife, I admired him even more. They were straight shooting, honest men. Hard working, with guts and integrity. And that was just in their private lives, let alone their persona in the movies. As you can tell, I’m from a time gone by.

I guess what got me to thinking about heroes was a facebook meme I saw a couple days ago. It had a picture of Batman and said “My boss told me to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Now I’m sitting in Human Resources at a disciplinary meeting dressed as Batman.” I was telling a girlfriend about it and said I wanted to find one that said I’m sitting in a disciplinary meeting dressed as Judah Maccabee. She seemed a little astonished. She said Judah’s battles were in many arenas. Spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological. She felt that was quite a chunk to chew. I agree.

The night before I had watched a 1982 movie called “The Wall” about the Warsaw ghetto, and how the resistance came to be. Well, at least Hollywood style. One of the leaders of the resistance turned out to be (in the movie anyway) a woman named Rachel. She was one of the first to insist to the resistance the cattle cars weren’t going to the Ukraine. She was the first to insist they were going to have to be responsible for defending themselves. She was the one that was teaching them how to shoot a pistol. Sadly there is not enough back-story in the movie to know how she acquired such knowledge, but her directions were pretty good. But as best as I can tell, she was just a nice woman who was enjoying a nice Jewish life with her family when the world went crazy.

Judah was the same, he and his family were having a nice Jewish life in Modin. Well, as nice as you can have when Antiochus has decided your religion will not be allowed to exist and you must abandon it and now accept HIS religion. Oh, and if you follow yours, you will die.

My girlfriend pointed out some of my thought processes are a tad bit different than a lot of peoples. Ok, maybe so. So I asked her who HER heroes are? She is quite a bit younger than I am.

Her choices were Corrie Ten Boom, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nathan Hale, Patrick Henry and all the founding fathers. For quite similar reasons. Corrie? A nice old lady building and fixing watches, well, until the world went cray-cray. Laura? She and her family were some of the early pioneers. Their lives were not easy and they went through many difficult and trying times. But they stuck it out to help settle their land and have nice lives. The founding fathers? Well, they were farmers and simple men. Men with families just going about their daily lives. Yet, when the need for them to rise to the challenge in the case of freedom and liberty, they did. She summed it up with ordinary, everyday people doing extraordinary things. People with regular lives becoming amazing heroes. Ordinary people overcoming extraordinary odds.

I asked a relative of mine who her heroes were. She is five years younger than I am. Hers? Winston Churchill, “Iron” Margaret Thatcher, and sigh, Colin Powell. All for the same reason, they were people who took unpopular stances when it was necessary to do the right thing, because it was the right thing.

A friend of mine a couple years older? Leonard Bernstein. Because he stepped in and did such a marvelous job when the chips were down. I kind of caught her off guard with the question as our whole conversation up to that point had been a completely different topic.

My point is this, all of the people I surveyed are within about 15 years of each other. We have similar reasons for picking our heroes.

What are children taught today are heroes in the public schools? There are pages on Michael Jordan, paragraph on George Washington? Really. The media tells us it is a football player who is “courageous” enough to tell the world he is “gay”. Ok, takes courage, but is the result the same as Nathan Hale? A man has a sex change operation? Courage? Um, well, ok. But actually I think his/her saying on public television that he/she is a Republican took more. It reminds me of collage in the 60s. All these kids dressed alike, bathing as often, chanting the same slogans and protesting for the same causes claiming they are “bucking the system” and never seeing the irony.

Today we have celebrate “diversity”, as long as you go along with what the liberal political correctness tells you IS diversity. If not? You will be attacked in the media as a hater, your bank account subject to IRS seizure and the tolerant left will try to shut your business down. We must be diverse, as long as we are diverse the way it’s “allowed”. Ahh, what was it Hitler said about giving him a generation? I’m sure professor Bill Ayers said similar though. Just a guess.

So now I will sound like the old person I am. I will bemoan that today the main topic is who will win American Idol, what are the Kardashians wearing and where is Paris Hilton, while they may not know there is a Paris, France.

Perhaps it is just me, perhaps it is the rainy day, but I can not help but wonder, for how little can the title “Hero” be purchased today? Will people be the same today as they were in the meeting in the film clip from “The Wall”, they delayed fighting evil, because they did not recognize evil for what it was, and if they began to they were unable to admit to it. Almost every hero listed above, no matter who selected them, recognized a threat to their area and addressed it.

From 1st Maccabees 3:17

Now when Seron, a prince of the army of Syria, heard say that Judas had gathered unto him a multitude and company of the faithful to go out with him is to war ; he said, I will get me a name and honor in the kingdom ; for I will go fight with Judas and them that are with him, who despise the king’s commandment. So he made him ready to go up, and there went with him a mighty host of the ungodly to help him, and to be avenged of the children of Israel.

And when he came near to the going up of Beth-horon, Judas went forth to meet him with a small company: who, when they saw the host coming to meet them, said unto Judas, How shall we be able, being so few, to fight against so great a multitude and so strong, seeing we arc ready to faint with fasting all this day ? Unto whom Judas answered.

It is no hard matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few; and with the God of heaven it is all one, to deliver with a great multitude, or a small company: for the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of an host; but strength cometh from heaven. They come against us in much pride and iniquity to destroy us, and our wives and children, and to spoil us but we fight for our lives and our laws. Wherefore the Lord himself will overthrow lo them before our face and as for you, be ye not afraid of them.

Now as soon as he had left off speaking, he leapt suddenly upon them, and so Seron and his host was overthrown before him. And they pursued them from the going down of Beth-horon unto the plain, where were slain about eight hundred men of them ; and the residue fled into the land of the Philistines.

Then began the fear of Judas and his brethren, and an exceeding great dread, to fall upon the nations.

Judah Maccabee Meme
Judah Maccabee Meme

So who are YOUR heroes, and why?

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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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The Holocaust: Through Their Eyes

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”~~John Donne

I attended a showing of The Holocaust: Through their eyes at the Jewish Community Center. It is the accounts of local holocaust survivors. Not people who heard about it from their distant cousin or parents, but lived it, survived it.

According to one of the survivors, in 1930 Berlin, hitler’s SS beat  to death 8 Jews who were walking down the street. That was the start of the spiral down. The harassment of Jews in public places had already started, the anti-Jewish notices and slogans had started. But these were the first deaths. That act was the start of the holocaust, no matter what other signs there were or were not, THAT was the start, according to this survivor.

Some of the survivors seemed astonished that their non-Jewish friends began to turn against them, people they had known for years, played with, grown up with would no longer associate with them. Not only would they not associate with them, they turned on them. There was a government who’s leader had the opinion that “The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew” and a very obliging media who was willing to spread the message. I suppose it should be no big surprise that when a population constantly hears a message it eventually wears down resistance & rational thought. The persecution was embedded in laws like the Nuremberg laws, which defined who and who was not a Jew according to the Reich, and based on those definitions what people were allowed to do, and who they were allowed to marry or be with. The discrimination further curtailed privileges such as riding on a bus, going to a public park or sitting on a bench in a park. All decreed by having one Jewish Grandparent. Then it became Jews weren’t allowed to go to school and Gentiles weren’t allowed to go into Jewish homes. Then they were denied the ability to own a radio, or animals. One lady talked about how the family had a pet dog and a bird, they had to get rid of them. My heart just broke for her, you could tell, hers still hurt. With all she had endured, the loss of the pets still hurt. Then the Jews were denied service. The baker, butcher, barber refused to serve Jews. More than one of those interviewed talked about people they had known most of their lives that were turning against them. Labensraum was begun, the German policy of taking land belonging to those that the nazis considered inferior. Because in their deluded minds, taking land from the inferior people to give me superior people “living space” and room to grow food was necessary. The nazis felt this was a fair way to encourage and increase the natural vigor of the superior race.

Then hitler was elected in Austria. Anschluss, March 12, 1938, when the Austrians welcomed the Germans rolling down the streets with cheers and waves. Banners were unfurled out of windows, swastika pins appeared on lapels and in parks signs stating “No dogs and Jews” appeared. Austria was not invaded, the Austrians choose this. And again, the turning away of life long friends, their scorn and derision on open display. The painful realization those people had never been their friends. They had always hated them, it was just that now it was permissible to publicly show the hatred.

Then Kristallnacht, “Night of the broken glass” 9-10 November 1938. A series of pogroms that caused the death of between 1-2 thousand when the total includes those that died in German custody, concentration camps and suicide as a result of what they suffered are included. Over 1 thousand Synagogues were burned and Jewish owned businesses and homes were destroyed.

In September 1939 Germany and Russia invaded Poland.

Then Operation Barbaross, when Germany invaded Russia generated some horrible atrocities.

One lady talked about being a 16 year old girl the night the Germans came to their home at 0400. They told her Father to walk outside. As he was complying they shot him in front of her, six times and left him in the doorway for the family.

On December 7th, the day America’s Pearl Harbor was attacked the first of the Jews were sent to be gassed. The witnesses that spoke of this seemed saddened that so many don’t realize that was the day the gassings started. One witness talked about how the nazis would enter a town, drive the people to the town center square then take them to a building, like a brewery to sort them. Who lives, who dies? As one witness stated matter of fact, if you were old, or very young or sick, you had no chance. Up the chimney you would go, they said. If you were healthy you would be sent to a camp to work. One survivor of the Gross-Rosen camp talked about eating grass and snow to survive. Germans liked starving people to death.

Of one ghetto in a Polish town that had once held 5000 souls only 3 survived. One lady told of enduring 25 lashes for being caught with a pound of butter. Another told of seeing a baby being thrown at a truck, another recounted the brave German soldiers tearing a baby into pieces and throwing it out the window. Remember, these are not stories that were handed down by grandparents, these are the things the witnesses saw themselves.

At camp you got to keep your clothes, and there would be 150-200 people per barrack. You were given a blanket, a bowl and a cup and then maybe some food for the first time in two days. One man said they had to sing. Once a day they were given some noodle or potato soup. On those meager rations you worked from day to night. The prisoners would lay pipe, and shovel coal despite having no shoes, and that was the women. One man painted portraits of the Russian guards for food. One recounted how they became very good at realizing about a week out when someone was going to die within the week.

One addressed the question of why didn’t they fight back? More than one reason it seems. The first was possession of a weapon was a death sentence. And thanks to the German version of Universal Background Checks it was easy to know who had what where, so when Jews were forbidden to own guns it was easy to divest them of their now illegal guns. The other factor he mentioned was how weak, physically, everyone was. He said with the amount of food you got, you were lucky to survive, let alone fight or run. It sounds like it was less than a moochelle obama school lunch. He also pointed out even if you got away, you are wearing a stripped uniform, you are tattooed, gaunt and they have cut your hair into a reverse Mohawk, and go where? Although one lady did have her means of resistance. She passed on Jewish history and knowledge to the children.

In 1943 from 19 April to 16 May the Warsaw Ghetto uprising took place. It was the largest single revolt by Jews during WWII, and they held off the Germans longer than the whole country of Poland. But poorly armed with virtually non-existent re-supply they were finally overrun.

One talked about being on the cattle cars the Germans used. They said if the boxcar held 100, they would cram 150 in. The witness talked about little children and old people in those boxcars. They said there was no food or sanitation. They would drive the boxcars back and forth for 11 days. For 11 days the people in those boxcars would starve, vomit, defecate and die. Mothers would be trying, Fathers would be praying and no one was listening and 60% died.

One witness talked about getting to Auschwitz. The guards would yell “Rouse rouse” Come quick. They signaled to go left or right. If you went to the right, you went to the barracks, if you went to the left “You went to the crematory and up the chimney”. If you didn’t move fast enough they hit you, if you still didn’t move fast enough they shot you. Some saw their whole family murdered. More than one talked about the sky high fires.

In 1945 the Allies arrived and the death marches to the next camps started. They weren’t allowed to take a blanket and it was winter. Maybe 10-20 below. There was no food and anything that could be grabbed along the way was, corn, wheat, potatoes, beets anything they saw, they would grab and share with the others. Of the 55,000 that left the camp 12,000 survived to arrive at the next death camp.

In April of 1945 when the Allies found the death camps they initially had no scope of the magnitude of what they were seeing. Then they realized they prisoners were mostly civilians, so weak and with heads like skulls, words mumbled and garbled. They found bodies not fully burned and wagon loads of bodies to be burned. The soldiers were shocked. They had heard about the camps but didn’t realize what they were hearing meant in reality.

Reality? While the dead by category differs according to different researchers it’s basically around 6 million Jews, or 78% of German occupied Europe were murdered. Roma, or Gypsies 130,000 to 1,500,000 depending on which researcher. Handicapped, 200,000 to 250,000 were murdered, POWs around 3.1 million, Ethnic Poles 1.8-1.9 million. Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians lost around 13.7 million including 2 million Jews. 10,000-15,000 Homosexuals died in the concentration camps. Around 1,000-2,000 Catholic clergy, 1,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses and some Freemasons were killed in the camps. The price tag for vulnerability is very, very high.

One lady talked about what to do after liberation. Where do you go? You could stay in the camp, but no one wanted to, and most no longer had a home.

Ok, so the camps are liberated, all is well now, right? Not so much. July 4, 1946 The Kielce Pogrom took place.

The soldiers and the policemen then went into the building. Jews were told to surrender their weapons, but not all of the residents obeyed the order. The entry of the policemen and the soldiers into the Jewish house marked the beginning of the pogrom. Excerpts from testimony supplied by people who witnessed the outbreak of the pogrom describe what followed.

Ewa Szuchman, resident of the house on Planty Street, said: After the police took away the weapons, the crowd broke into the Kibutz ( on the second floor) and policemen started shooting at the Jews first. They killed one and wounded several others. Albert Grynbaum, another inhabitant of the Jewish house who was on the first floor, said: The soldiers went up to the second floor. Several minutes later two Jews came to me and told me that the soldiers were killing Jews and looting their property. It was then that I heard shots. After the shooting on the second floor, shots were heard from the street and inside the building.

Apparently by then some of the people had learned when the government starts demanding groups of people hand over their weapons bad things are about to happen. Unfortunately not enough of them were armed to stop what was coming. And this was AFTER the war had ended. One man told of his brother going in to try to get their Mother and his Girlfriend out. The man said his brother was never seen again.

One witness told of coming to America, seeing the Statue of Liberty and looking at the crowds of people waiting to greet loved ones getting off the ship, and he had no one. It’s not just that there wasn’t anyone there to greet him, it’s that he literally had NO ONE.

The witnesses had messages for us. How fragile is liberty and civilization. Life is precious and wonderful. Change the world around yourself. Not my children, not nobody’s children should have to live through what we lived through. I didn’t want to tell people because I’ve never gotten over that my family died. My Mom was 45, my sister 22 and another sister 25, a brother 10 and a little nephew 2 or 3. I tell people what happened so it won’t happen again. I saw it with my own eyes. People helped me rebuild my life. I live in a world that has changed, the holocaust can’t happen again, then I realize it IS happening again in other parts of the world. And their suffering becomes our suffering.

One witness talked about hearing of hilter and eva braun’s deaths after he was liberated from the camp. He said they are dead and we are alive. We have won. That is how I defined victory.

With all due respect, this is NOT how I define victory. I would define victory as when the nazi’s tried to enact their Nuremberg laws and used their universal background checks to begin gun confiscation people would have seen the writing on the wall and stopped it right then. Yes, I do think the Christians would have needed to stand with their Jewish neighbors and realized that the only hope any of them had was to stand together. Had it happened? Millions of people would not have died. We can not compromise to “common sense gun laws”. We can not compromise to political correctness. We can not compromise to universal background checks. We can not compromise to phony public opinion polls. We can not compromise to phony anti-gun groups funded by anti-gun millionaires with armed security guards. We can cease to support Hollywood anti-gun liberals with armed security guards. We can look critically at the choices of Second Amendment groups and pick the ones that truly fight for our rights. Now we have choices, use them wisely. Resolve to do something each day to regain our liberty. Be resolved, we are. The Zelman Partisans, no compromise, no surrender, ever.

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