Category: Articles

Polish School Honors Jewish Girls Expelled By Nazis

A polish school in Krakow revealed a panel containing the names of 87 Jewish girls, who were expelled during the Second World War in 1939 during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

The Polish city of Krakow is part of a growing interest and willingness to commemorate the Jews, who lived there prior to the Holocaust.

The event took place at Adam Mickiewicz Junior Secondary School, and commemorated the 125th anniversary of the founding of the school. Before the Nazi occupation, the school housed many Jewish students, and was an all-girls school.

Lital Beer, director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Israel found that 87 Jewish girls were expelled. She discovered that 21 were killed in the Holocaust, 24 survived; the fate of the other 42 unknown.  The difficulty trying to trace names, was especially trying since many changed their names more than once, often to Hebrew if they settled in Israel, or changed their last names through marriage.

The research project lasted two years, and began with a request from the school’s principle, Gabriela Olszowska to locate the whereabouts and fate of the former students. Beer added that Yad Vashem gets many requests to conduct private research for individuals, but is usually unable to carry out many of them. However, special attention was given to this case.

“I was very moved by the principal’s initiative to research the [fate of the] girls and commemorate them,” Beer said. “We want to embrace those initiatives as much as we can.”

Source: Israel Hayom

Image: Ynet

by: Efrat Baron

Nazi Enclave In New York Changes Discriminatory Policies

In the 1930’s, Nazi sympathizers lived in Camp Siegfried in eastern Long Island, New York, and supported by the German American Settlement League. The narrow and private roads were named after Adolf Hitler and Third Reich figures, lawns were carefully kept and mailboxes with German surnames written on them were placed on streets.

Records show Nazi influence at the camp during the years prior to World War II. The camp was sponsored by a German American fund who promoted Hitler and was loyal to the United States. Thousands of members celebrated what was known as “German Day,” by holding a public festival. Swastikas were common, often found on residents’ homes.

The Nazi camp changed its policies after being accused of discriminating residents, who wanted to buy land in the area and faced difficulties if they didn’t have German origins.

Fred Stern, a board member of the league lived at the camp for 40 years. Stern admitted that the community was previously inundated with German ideas, however he denies the radicalism. Kaitlyn Webber, another resident said her family has always been very open, adding: “We’ve never had any issues with anyone discriminating against anyone up here.”

The league owns the camp’s land and dictated housing rules. People who wanted to sell their homes, have been prohibited from advertising to the public, and could only announce it within a private setting with a league member. Evidence shows it was extremely difficult to sell a house in the area. Stern said that real estate advertisements were by word of mouth, adding that “everybody knew when a house would become available.”

New York’s city attorney called to end the discriminatory practices, and to replace the organization’s leadership.

Source: Fox News

Image: New York City Archives via AP

By: Yael Soffer

 

Teenage Girl Brutally Attacked By Antisemitic Gang

A 16 year old girl, the was violently assaulted by a group of teenagers. Hannah was in Stoneyfields Park in Edgware, London with two friends, when she was called derogatory names and was told “Hitler should have killed all you Jews when he had the chance… you should have all been gassed.”

When she and her friends attempted to leave the area, a basketball was thrown at her, physically assaulting her. She was then kicked in the chest and punched in the face by two gang members.

Despite the authorities being called, they did not arrive at the scene until two hours after the event.

Alexander Goldberg, the former Chief Executive of the London Jewish Forum and current Jewish chaplain at the University of Surrey, and Hanna’s father expressed concern. During a speech at the JC,  he added that Hanna had recovered from the physical injuries following the attack, however the emotional scars still remain

“We’ve had to put in a local police complaint about the emergency call. They didn’t come to the incident. They claim they sent a car, and that’s now subject to investigation, but [Hanna] claims they waited for an hour to two hours. They waited a long, long time. I’m a chaplain and the Met’s standard practice, I’ve established with them, is that when there is any sort of violence of that nature, certainly male on female, there should be an eight minute response time,” Goldberg said.

“Whatever happened, something went seriously wrong, whether it was dispatching, whether it was getting someone on the scene, or whether the officer didn’t look around or had the wrong address, we don’t know. But that is now being investigated locally by the police. Sadly, the officer involved has gone on leave for a few weeks.” Police later said.

Mr. Goldberg, who has worked for the Commission on Racial Equality also spoke of his concern of racial abuse.

“You’ve got young people in their teens using the Holocaust and Holocaust imagery to abuse young Jewish girls,” he said.

“This discourse has become more acceptable within social media, within public circles, and within mainstream society and also in the political arena. I’m concerned about the fact that my daughter was attacked, I’m concerned for other people’s children, I’m also concerned about the lack of police response. I’m always willing to believe that there’s been some sort of mess up over conspiracy – something went wrong systematically, I’m not suggesting anything else. But something went wrong.”

Source: The JC

Image: The JC/Hanna Goldberg

By: Hadassah Schwarz

 

A Message from a Holocaust Survivor

Alice Lahaman and Professor Pinchas Bar-Efrat are both Netherland-born Jews. They were both teenagers during the Second World War. Today, they shared their stories with students at Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, Israel.

Alice Ferera lived in Hague in 1942. When she turned 18, she had to separate from her first love in order to find shelter from the Nazis. They promised each other to write diaries and try to pass them to each other if they were doomed to die. If they were to survive the war, they agreed to meet up in the city square where they shared their first kiss. Running from shelter to shelter amid the horrors of Auschwitz, in starvation, cold and harsh conditions, Alice continued writing a diary to her love; and so did he. A close look at both diaries showed their love standing strong, often expressing the same feelings at the same dates, sometimes escaping on the same route.

At the end of the war Alice returned to the square, where they were to meet. She waited on the bench for many days, but to no avail. She knew he wanted to immigrate with her to Israel, to get married and start a big family. She decided to take these words from him and made his dream come true. Alice found a new love in a Jewish Brigade soldier from Israel [the Jewish Brigade consisted of Israeli citizens who volunteered for the British army during the Second World War). She immigrated with him to Israel and they decided to marry.

On their wedding day, as she set her veil over her hair, a package arrived. It was addressed to her. Puzzled, she opened it thinking it might be a wedding gift from someone who couldn’t make it, but was astounded to find that it was the diary of her old love, Bernie. Going rapidly through the pages with his hand writing she became startled and suddenly felt terrible, as though she was caught cheating; but the arrival of the package meant he was not among the living.

She continued hiding the diary in her attic for over 60 years, until her husband died. Her family’s curiosity drove her to open it, read and mourn. With her daughters assistance she translated the book into Hebrew and it was published in English and Italian as well. Alice then went on a fascinating journey to the Netherlands, which was documented in a film, trying to follow Bernie’s footsteps and discover what happened to him.

Finding him would not be possible without Pinchas Bar-Efrat, whom like Alice, survived the Holocaust. Bar-Efrat researched  the relationship between the Dutch people and the Jews during the Holocaust.

After recounting their stories, showing the film to students and various sources, which included the diaries, Red Cross documents and pictures, one student asked: “After having your experience during the Holocaust and living long after, what is the message you wish to pass on to the next generations?”

Alice replied: “I can only say I learned to never give [someone a hard time] or be evil to someone, even someone I don’t like.”

Dr. Pinchas said: “Most people don’t care what’s going on in other people’s lives. For me, what we can take is to think of our surroundings, that you can help someone – poor, disabled, someone who has a particular difficulty – you can reach out and try to help. To help even in the little things; we can’t change the world – but the little we do adds up to something great.”

Alice’s daughter adds: “I couldn’t agree more,” and added that in one of the books her mother mentioned she read during the Holocaust by Rita Von Suchner [the first woman to be awarded the Nobel prize for peace]  the following: “after the verb to love, to help is the prettiest verb in the world.”

Image: Roni Zedek

By: Roni Zedek

What You Need To Know About Holocaust Denial?

Holocaust denial claims the Holocaust never happened, that it wasn’t documented, and that it was not propagated by the Nazis against the Jews.

Holocaust denial is a criminal offence that is a penalty and can end in prison time in Israel, France, Germany, Austria, Spain and Belgium. In Israel however there is a special law that prohibits the actual denial of the Holocaust.

Holocaust denial may divide into two forms: “radical Holocaust denial,” a complete nullification of the idea that the Holocaust occurred and “moderate Holocaust denial” that claims it had occurred but lessens its atrocities by claiming it isn’t a unique crime and similar to other genocides committed against ethnic groups or minorities.

Holocaust denial often develops in Neo-Nazi groups, antisemitic organizations and Islamist groups.

There are many shocking arguments which deny the existence of the Jewish genocide during the Second World War, some of which are:

1. Some assume that the six million total of Jews that died is exaggerated.

2. Claim that the Nazis didn’t use gas chambers as mass murder weapons.

3. The movies presenting the murder and the devastation of the war were Ally propaganda.

4. Claims the evidence for the Holocaust is fake.

5. Argues that it was the Americans who commuted crimes against the Jews in order to enable the establishment of the State of Israel.

6. Argues that the Holocaust was invented by the Zionists in order to justify the establishment of the state of Israel and to dispossess the Palestinians from their rights and land.

7. Another claim was that Adolf Hitler, the Nazi party or the main leadership back then in Germany didn’t order to kill Jews or to commit crimes among them, therefore the Nazis don’t hold any responsibility for the policy towards the Jews, and that the Holocaust was a reasonable reaction for the Jewish people acts.

Although the Holocaust is an historical event that was documented and proven David Irving and the Lipstadt libel case is a known example for Holocaust denial. Lipstadt criticized Irving, a British writer and a historian, for misrepresenting evidences to justify his conclusions, therefore denying the Holocaust. Irving sued Debra Lipstadt and her publisher “Penguin Books” for their statements in Lipstadt book “Denying the Holocaust”. The court was convinced by Lipstadts’ arguments and condemned Irving. In 2006 Irving was convicted in Austria and was sentenced to 3 years in prison. In his trial Irving said he was mistaken and that he changed his opinion, he was convinced that the Nazis committed genocide against Jews. The movie “Denial” is based on Debra Lipstadts book and the trial.

Many countries conducted laws that prohibit the denial of the Holocaust, the European Union spurs more countries to conducts similar laws, The UN condemns every expression of Holocaust denial and declared the 27th January as the international Holocaust Memorial Day. The internet and easiness of publishing information had led to the growing popularity of Holocaust denial through the web. ISCA, Israeli students combating antisemitism, works daily to reduce the amount of Holocaust denial expression online.

Source: Wikipedia

Image: Kosher Delight

By: Yael Soffer

Mayim Bialik Defends Israel, Gets Hate Messages

Many Israeli and Jewish prominent figures are on the American show business scene. Few will stand up and defend Israel and their fellow Jews. Mayim Bialik is one exception to this rule. Many know her as Amy Farrah Fowler (Sheldon Cooper’s girlfriend) on “The Big Bang Theory” series, and as a teen playing the main role on the hit sitcom, “Blossom.”

Bialik grew up in a liberal Jewish home in California, and has relatives in Israel whom she visits regularly. Among them you may also find Israel’s national poet, Haim Nahman Bialik. Mayim has a PhD in Neuroscience and studied Hebrew and Jewish Studies. In her personal life she defines herself as a Modern Orthodox Jew, Zionist, a vegan and a feminist. She has two children, and recently published a book discussing her parenting method.

On her blog “Grok Nation” Bialik reacted to the Palestinian-American political activist Linda Sarsour’s articles, which stressed that feminism and Zionism are incompatible. In her column, Bialik explained the definitions of Zionism and feminism and stressed why one doesn’t contradict the other. Furthermore, she stated that bigotry exists since many parts of the world ignore human rights issues. Bialik stressed that in these countries, (a large part Islamist) women’s rights are violated daily and are the norm.

The article went viral and raised a strong reaction. In an interview to a Channel 10 News program in Israel [“Live at Night”] she spoke about the surprising antisemitic reactions she received as a result of her blog post. “Anytime I mention Israel I get threats, I get horrendous things… anytime I mention the right of Israel to exist, just the right, politics aside, it is met with what would absolutely be qualified as antisemitism. So if I say Israel deserves to exist as autonomous country with secure borders, that should not lead to ‘Hitler should have finished the job’, ‘you dirty hook-nose Jew’, ‘you run the world, you run the media’, ‘you all should have died in ovens’”. These stereotypes, Bialik adds express hatred towards Jews through known stigmas and references to the holocaust.

Bialik added that she will continue to voice her opinion and support Israel. On her many blogs on Kevller, Grok Nation, Facebook and Youtube she posts her views regarding her Jewish identity in the American society and preaches liberalism, equality and acceptance.

Source: Ha’tzinor

Image: Gettyimages

By: Roni Zedek

Passover And Christian Blood

Passover is a Jewish holiday which takes place in the spring every year. They are commanded to avoid bread and leavened foods. Instead, they eat Mazah, an unleavened bread [similiar to a hard cracker] for seven days. This custom and a special traditional ‘seder’ night feast are designed to commemorate the exodus of the Jewish nation from Egypt, dated to 1312 BC.

A blood libel (also known as blood accusation) dates back to ancient times and expresses fabrications accusing Jews of murdering Christians (mainly children) in order to use their blood for Matzah baking and other ritual purposes. This clearly ignornes the fact that “thou shalt not murder” is one of the Ten Commandments, Judaism’s main laws, and that eating blood (of any creature) is forbidden. With time, the expressions expanded to include accusations regardless of Passover or children, or as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) put it: “a false, incendiary claim against Jews.”

Blood libels are extremely ancient and referred to as “old antisemitism,” however they are common in the new era as well. Besides for projecting false claims and harming the Jewish public image; blood libels have caused tremendous pain for Jewish people throughout the history, and have justified genocides, murders and pogroms. In this article, we will review a few of the most common libels and their consequences, and see how they still hold impact today.

England to begin the slanderous phenomenon, when a child went missing in the woods in Norwich in 1144, and later found dead. His hagiographer told a story resembling what we know today as “The Protocol of the Elders of Zion.” Selected Jews gathered to decide from where will be the next victim for the annual Passover sacrifice. The story became a slanderous libel and the child, William a martyr. As the stories piled up, by 1190 over 150 Jews were attacked, and in other cases executed and expelled. The libel spread through France to the rest of Europe, and was reused time and time again. Reporting a missing child was enough to convict Jews, even without presenting a valid argument, and often made use of false witnesses.

At the Renaissance transpired blood libels became even more vicious, especially in the context of rivalry based on religious faith. The belief in supernatural powers made it easy for the common man to attribute “witch’” powers to the unfamiliar Jew.

One of the most famous tales is of Simon of Trent, Italy, 1475. A body of a two year old infant was found at the Samuel’s cellar near Passover. The authorities were called, and the entire Jewish community was arrested, and forced to confess under torture of having used the child for demonic purposes. Those who agreed to be baptized were beheaded; others sentenced to death and burnt on the stake. Overall 15 Jews were killed and the rest were expelled from Trent. The rumor of the event spread, and sparked pogroms against Jews all over Italy.

Since the establishment of the state of Israel, relations with Arab countries diminished. Mosques and state leaders made up stories of blood libels. Several of these had severe consequences for Israeli Jews, inspiring Muslim Shahids to seek revenge for the false “murder” of Palestinian and Arab children.

A Facebook post by the Palestinian activist, Bassem Tamimi used doctored photos and claimed the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) used the Palestinian population for organs. In 2016 Mahmoud Abbas, the Head of the Palestinian Authority argued to the European Union that Rabbis in Israel called to poison drinking wells in order to commit mass murder towards the Palestinians. After heavy condemnations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abbas apologized for the falsehoods.

These are just minor examples describing the use of blood libels against Jews in the Palestinian media, some of which include absurd claims that Israel spreads AIDS, drugs, diseases, commits organs theft, and killings. These lies along with dehumanization of Jews, are prevalent in the Muslim media, network and education system, harming Jews everywhere.

Source: Wikipedia, Moment, Palestinian Media Watch

Image:  Wikipedia

By Roni Zedek

Antisemitism Dating Back to Queen Esther

The holiday of Purim is a Jewish festivity and often one of the most popular Jewish holidays. Children and adults dress up in colorful costumes, exchange gift baskets, hold a traditional feast, donate money to the poor, and participate in communal readings of the Scroll of Esther, [a section of the Bible] in local synagogues.

The story dates back to the Fifth Century B.C., describing Jewish life in the capital of the Persian Empire at the time. According to Jewish tradition, the story takes place 70 years after the first Jewish exile and the destruction of the First Temple.

The scroll details an empire endowed with ethnical diversity and great fortune, and ruled by a king named Ahasuerus and his counselor Haman. After an encounter with a Jew named Mordechai, who refused to bow to Haman, Haman sent an order to exterminate all Jews in a single day.

Antisemitic beliefs against Jews are recounted in the scroll, as Haman says to Ahasuerus; “there is one nation dispersed between your countries, their rules and religion are different, and it is not worthwhile for the king to let them be [exist].” In our present time, Jews are scattered around the world in what is known in Jewish tradition as the “Diaspora,” and are still faced with hatred.

Haman had a problem with one Jews, Mordechai and used this to explain hatred towards all Jews. The phenomenon isn’t rare, and is found in various persecutions and blood libels throughout history. An act or a negative behavior of one Jew serves as an excuse for total annihilation.

The two main characters, “Esther” and “Mordechai” are not traditional Jewish names, and are derived from Persian and pagan sources (the goddess Ashtoret\Estahar and the God Morduch, respectively). The second name of Esther, (also known as her Jewish name) is Hadassah. This phenomenon of local name and a Jewish name is common in the modern-day diaspora, where parents choose to give their children two names, a secular and a religious one.

Queen Esther risks her life to expose Haman’s evil plans, standing up for her people, the Jews in face of the threat. The Jews at the time united and rallied along with Esther, praying and fasting in hope of a change in the degree.

Although the story ends on a good note, as King Ahasuerus rules that Jews are allowed to protect themselves from their attackers; the story is far from optimistic. There remains an uneasy atmosphere, where persecution of Jews in foreign countries has become the norm. This pattern is found repeatedly throughout Jewish history, where Jews live in fear from the next sudden pogrom or expulsion.

The holiday of Purim was declared to commemorate the miracle, where God saved the people of Israel from extermination due to their power of unity and prayer. It reminds us the strong fight for a national identity and to persevere in the face of antisemitism.

The holiday of Purim will be celebrated this year on March 11-13, 2017 in Israel and throughout the world, reminding Jews to stand strong in the face of antisemitism.

Source: News 1, Wikipedia, Daat

Image: Wikipedia

By: Roni Zedek

Antisemitism in Canada Skyrockets

The words “Gas the Jews,” and a Nazi swastika were spray-painted on the ground in Hamilton’s Escarpment Rail Trail, in Ontario, Canada. This incident is just the latest in a string of anti-Jewish hate crimes and vandalism that has occurred in Canada in the last few years.

Jews are the most heavily targeted group in Canada, with 33% of all hate crime listed as antisemitic in 2016. In 2015, Jews reported being harassed for wearing yarmulkes in public, and had their homes vandalized with antisemitic graffiti. The risk is growing. In April 2016, several Hassidic homes were vandalized. According to a report, one was destroyed due to arson.

In Montreal, more than 300 swastikas were spray-painted on buildings and public property during the last year. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian Jews (who compromise a mere 1% of the population) were the most targeted minority group in Canada and eight times more likely to be victims of a hate crime than Canadian Muslims, who make up 3% of the total population. In 2013, Canadian Muslims were victims of 6.2 hate crime incidents per 100,000 people while Canadian Jews experienced 54.9 incidents.

The growing wave of anti-Semitism in the U.S. and Canada is stronger then ever, and the public and government officials need to prevent and report these attacks.

Source: Times of Israel; CIJNews; Freebeacon

Image: Blograth.com

By: Ohad Barazani

Nazi Rally in Taiwan

A school in Hashincu, Taiwan held a rally in which the pupils were dressed as Nazi soldiers and their teacher dressed as Hitler. The students carried the third Reich’s flags and banners during the march. The theme was chosen by the students for a winter festival theme, with school authorities cooperating. Pictures from the event quickly became viral, and made their way to the Israeli Consul in Taiwan.

The head of the Israeli Consul at Taiwan, Asher Yarden posted on the official Facebook page a severe message, which was later published by international media.

“It is deplorable and shocking that seven decades only after the world had witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust, a high school in Taiwan is supporting such an outrageous action.We strongly condemn this tasteless occurrence and call on the Taiwanese authorities, in all levels, to initiate educational programs which would introduce the meaning of the Holocaust and teach its history and universal meaning.” Yarden said.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Education reacted as well, expressing regret and willingness to change, and stated that the incident results from ignorance on the topic. The school principal resigned and apologized, accepting full responsibility.

The Israeli Consul invited the same students to an International Holocaust Memorial day event, which aimed to inform of the real meaning of the Holocaust. The event embraced important values, such as tolerance and acceptance. Yarden added that the main point of the event was Holocaust awareness and information, citing that the Taiwanese government is not antisemitic, and that the festival theme stemmed from ignorance.

The ceremony hosted 550 guests, 150 were students who participated the rally. Among the speakers were Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen among other government officials. The event was hosted at the National Library, who were presented with books on the Holocaust. The ceremony gained intense media coverage.

Source: Ynet News

Image: BBC

by: Roni Zedek