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Holocaust Remembrance Day | The Statesman Examiner

This Friday, Jan. 27, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The United Nations declared it a day for observance in 2005, to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazis Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Prior to WWII there were 18 million Jews, with an estimated six million killed due to Adolph Hitlers extermination plan, The Final Solution.

Soviet troops liberated the few inmates they found at Auschwitz; before their arrival, the Nazis sent the other inmates on a death march, trying to avoid discovery of what was happening at the facility. At Auschwitz, 1.1 million people were gassed with the cyanide-based insecticide Zyklon B. Ninety percent of Auschwitz victims were Jews.

Germany itself saw the death of 4.3 million Nazi soldiers and the loss of up to a half million civilians. Of U.S. soldiers who fought in WWII, 291,557 died in combat. All told, a desire for inordinate control led to the deaths of 60 million people worldwide.

Beyond six million Jews perishing, there were another 11 million Holocaust victims: people who were deaf, mentally or physically disabled, drug and alcohol addicted, Freemasons (regarded then as part of a Jewish conspiracy), Jehovahs Witnesses, LGBT, Roman Catholics, Romany gypsies, Slavs, Soviet POWs, prostitutes, Spanish Republicans, people of color (especially African-Germans), vagrants, anarchists, communists, dissidents, leftists, socialists, trade unionists, common criminals (often recruited to become guards) or, people otherwise considered non-Aryan, or not useful to the Aryan concept of a Master Race.

The rise of Hitler

When Soviet civilian deaths are added, which included many Jews, the number of holocaust victims is 17 million.

Hitler came to power in 1933, having learned to tone down his frowned-upon anti-Semitism, and to focus on jobs, and making Germany great again. But his true sentiments quickly showed when, in spring of 1933, he instituted boycotts of Jewish businesses, barred Jews from the national health plan, and then restricted Jews from going to school. (The thinking class at first ignored boycott orders, until Hitler called for death or imprisonment for failure to obey.)

In 1941, Hitler decided to proceed with extermination of the Jews. The massacres began in June, with transport from ghettos to concentration-death camps: Aushwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Maly Tostenets, Sobibor, Treblinka and others. Priests who spoke out about Nazi actions 1,700 of them — were sent to the first established camp, Dachau.

Those with a moral calling to hide Jews faced the death penalty.

The Nazis Solution was intentionally secretive. In the beginning, many Jews had no idea what awaited them after their transport. Husbands would be sent away, then wives and children were told they could join them on the next transport. Often they were told they were going East, to be resettled; some were forced to write home and tell how wonderful their new lives were.

Those not sent to the gas chambers were starved, worked to death or died from disease. The first report about the Jews treatment was in 1942 in The New York Times; they had a front-page story about the unconfirmed fate of the people sent to the camps. Slaughter was speculated. But camp escapees had such horrific stories–they were hard to believe.

Read the full story in the Jan. 25 edition of the Statesman-Examiner. An e-edition will be available Jan. 25 at http://www.statesmanexaminer.com/e-edition.

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Holocaust survivors share Stories of Strength at remembrance forum – The Island Now

Memories of the Holocaust are as fresh as they were decades ago for the women who were forced into World War II concentration camps as children and miraculously lived to tell the tale as adults.

When you look at these survivors, know youre looking at miracles, Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Senior Director of Education Beth Lilach said. For any child to have survived the Holocaust is nothing less than a miracle because it was a very intentional plan by the Nazis to destroy every single Jewish child, so these people represent the tiny percent of Jewish children that survived.

Parker Jewish Institute hosted Stories of Strength: a Holocaust Remembrance Thursday afternoon to document the stories of three survivors.

Chana Pfeifen, Alice Tenenbaum and Mia Feuer, wife of survivor Samuel Feuer, shared memories with a heartbroken audience as they recounted tales of gas chambers, death marches and the traumatic loss of their parents at the hands of the guards and doctors who imprisoned them.

Lilach opened the forum with a presentation focused around what can be learned from the Holocaust and how many times history could have gone differently with earlier help from countries around the world.

By looking at the evolution of Nazism, you see so many red flags when the Holocaust could have been stopped, Lilach said. We need to look to see if our country is experiencing any of these red flags, and we need to act on it. We cant be silent that was an incredibly destructive force during the Holocaust, and we need to speak up.

Tenenbaum was a young teenager when she was forced into a ghetto before being taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where an estimated 1.1 million people were killed before the Soviet Union liberated the prisoners in January 1945.

Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the Angel of Death for his role in sending prisoners to gas chambers and performing inhumane experiments on people, frequented the camp and tried his hardest to execute 14-year-old Tenenbaum, but an unlikely savior appeared.

Irma Grese, this horrible creature they called the beautiful beast, she somehow to this day, I dont know why she saved me 16 times when Dr. (Josef) Mangele sent me to the gas chamber. She would come and take me out (of the chamber), Tenenbaum said. People I spoke to who knew her said she had a sister around my age and I looked a little bit like her. The reason she saved me so many times was because I looked like her sister. Thats how I survived Auschwitz.

Grese was among the 45 people accused of war crimes at the Bergen Trial in 1945 and was executed for her actions later that year.

Without access to a clock, prisoners never knew what time it was or what day it was after a few weeks in the 1,000-man barracks. Tenenbaum said the daily routine revolved around a strict schedule, including the repetitive counting of prisoners for hours in the morning before the once-daily bathroom break given in a large room filled with holes in the ground.

They told us when we arrived if we took our clothes and hung them on a hook, remember the number of the hook because well come back to it, she said. Of course, you never saw your clothes again. My parents shoved all kinds of gems and jewelry into the shoulder pads, they hidAmerican currency in the belt.

I had the same dress for one solid year. I never changed and I never washed it. Every so often, they took the dress, sprayed it with DDT and gave it back. For one year, I that one dress, no underwear, winter and summer.

As soldiers began to fear the camps would be invaded nearing the end of the war, prisoners were moved from camp to camp. Tenenbaum, her mother and her sisters were sent on a 40,000-man death march to Berlin that only approximately 6,000 people survived due to harsh conditions on the prisoners already deteriorating bodies.

After the march, she was moved to the Bergen-Belsen camp. Tenenbaum said this alone felt like a brief spell of liberation because she no longer had to fear the looming gas chambers of Auschwitz.

When the British troops liberated the camp in April 1945, Tenenbaum took refuge in Sweden, where she was very well taken care of and sent to a private school. Not long before her 18th birthday, she met her future husband at a college dance and managed a normal life after a tragic childhood.

Pfeifenwas 8 years old when her parents and 4-year-oldsister were taken from their home without warning.

We were sitting at the Shabbat table, eating, and all of a sudden people marched in and said Leave everything behind, youre going with us, Pfeifen said. We had no idea where they were taking us.

Her family and hundreds more were marched through the Ukranian streets and separated from their loved ones. The men were stripped, tortured and killed almost immediately, Pfeifer said, and their bodies thrown into a mass grave.

They told us some of the men were still alive, she said.

Pfeiferand her family took another death march to the Dniester River before being imprisoned in Transnistria, a horrific ghetto-camp hybrid, by the Romanians. They were given no clothes, shoes, or food and have to scavenge for whatever scraps they could find. Pfeifer recalled a story when her mother brought her a frozen potato.

It had a worm. I said, Mom, Im not going to eat that. She said, Eat it before it eats you,’ she said. Thats how angry she was. She wanted us to stay alive, and she would do everything she could for us.

After her liberation, she attempted to sneak into Palestine but was caught by the British soldiers and sent to an internment camp in Cyprus for Jews trying to illegally cross the border.

When she was finally freed from Cyprus, she returned to Palestine and joined the army to fight in the war for independence.

Pfeifer told her two sons about her experiences once they were old enough, and she believes the story alone impacted her boys as well as a generation of Jews.

Yes, it had an affect on my sons. It had an impact, she said. They felt guilty, especially my oldest son. It did have an impact on the second generation. I dont think its going to have an impact on the third generation, but on the second it did.

Miaspoke on behalf of her husband, recounting the stories of his experiences during the war hes told over their many years of marriage.

Samuel was also 14 when his parents and two sisters were taken to Auschwitz in late May of 1944. The soldiers separated the family immediately after arrival and saidthey would meet again and shouldnt worry. A few days later, Samuel learned his parents had been burned to death and was told to remember the smoke from the chimney on June 2 as part of their final moments.

Despite all of the horrific things Samuel saw and experienced in the most infamousconcentration camp of World War II, Mia said he didnt let the past affect his future.

It was very hard, but he became the nicest person on Earth when he came home, she said emotionally. We managed to have a beautiful family, and he was the happiest man when our son was born. Our life was the most beautiful life. The only thing that bothers me is right now, he cannot remember.

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Trump calls Romanian Holocaust remembrance a ‘vital cause’ – The Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump saluted the Holocaust remembrance efforts in Romania as a vital cause.

Trump made the remarks during a joint news conference Friday in Washington, DC, with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

Romanians have made many contributions to the United States, and to the world, Trump said. Very notable among them was Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who was born in Romania and, sadly, passed away almost one year ago. And I understand that earlier this week, the American Jewish Committee presented President Iohannis with its very prestigious Light Unto the Nations Award for his work to further Holocaust remembrance and education in Romania. I join the AJC in saluting your leadership in that vital cause.

In January, Trump drew sharp criticism from an array of Jewish organizations after neglecting to mention Jews in his International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement. He has since more robustly embraced the Jewish meaning of the Holocaust, particularly in a speech in the Capitol in April at the US Holocaust Memorial Museums Days of Remembrance commemoration.

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With Trump in the White House, Deborah Lipstadt stands up for facts – The Times of Israel

History professor Deborah Lipstadt was relatively well known before being portrayed by superstar actor Rachel Weisz in last years Hollywood feature film Denial. The movie was based on Lipstadts experiences in a landmark British legal case in which she fought a libel suit brought by Holocaust denier David Irving.

The film has kicked her notoriety up a notch, leading to more opportunities to publicly speak her mind and she has plenty to say about a perceived assault on facts and truth in the United States under the Trump Administration.

One such opportunity was a TED Talk titled, Behind the Lies of Holocaust Denial, that Lipstadt gave in the UK earlier this spring. In the 15-minute clip posted last month, she warned about those who dress lies up as opinions to encroach on facts. Lipstadt spoke mainly of Holocaust deniers, but she left no doubt she was also talking about contemporary Twitter-friendly political leaders playing fast and loose with the truth.

Today, as we well know, truth and facts are under assault. Social media, for all the gifts it has given us, has also allowed the difference between facts established facts and lies to be flattened, she said in the TED Talk.

We live in an age where truth is on the defensive

We live in an age where truth is on the defensive Truth is not relative. Many of us have grown up in the world of the academy and enlightened liberal thought, where were taught everything is open to debate. But thats not the case. There are certain things that are true. There are indisputable facts objective truths The Earth is not flat. The climate is changing. Elvis is not alive, she said.

The viral reach of the TED Talk was on Lipstadts mind when she sat down for an interview with The Times of Israel this week in Jerusalem, where she had come to participate in an author event at the Jerusalem International Book Fair. The Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Lipstadt was also in Israel to receive an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Haifa on June 6.

Its up to more than 540,000 views. I checked right before meeting with you, since I thought you might ask about it, Lipstadt, 70, said about the TED Talk video.

In a broad-ranging interview, the popular professor spoke on a variety of topics, including what she said was the White Houses flirtation with softcore Holocaust denial, free speech on college campuses, and the pitfalls of making analogies between the Holocaust and current atrocities like the war in Syria.

What has it been like for you since Denial was made and released?

Its been an out-of-body experience. I look at the film and I see my story, but its not like Im walking around thinking I was depicted on the screen. Its been very weird and a lot of fun, but the hoopla ends very quickly. Whats more important are the increased opportunities I have had to speak and write. It happened as a result of the trial, but even more so as a result of the movie.

We all want to be heard beyond the echo chamber

Im getting invitations to write, to speak, to participate in things that are not Jewish. Im saying the same thing. My views havent changed, but my megaphone is a bit larger. For instance, I was at West Point right after Pesach [Passover] to talk to the cadet corps not just an event in the Jewish chapel.

When Sean Spicer made that statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day [that omitted mention of Jews and anti-Semitism], I got a call within 15 minutes of it happening from The New York Times for comment, and then from the Atlantic to write about it. Its happening now on a really regular basis. Im very gratified by this because we all want to be heard beyond the echo chamber. Its not that I didnt have that access before, but that access has expanded.

US President Donald Trump (C-R) and First Lady Melania Trump (C-L) lay a wreath during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum on May 23, 2017, in Jerusalem. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

In that Atlantic piece published January 30, you accused the Trump Administration of softcore Holocaust denial.

I still stand by that. Im standing by the statement that the way that the administration handled that January 27 statement was an example of softcore Holocaust denial. Im not saying that Donald Trump is a softcore Holocaust denier, but that was an example of softcore denial. And as I said in the article, I was [initially] sure it was a mistake. But the way they doubled and tripled and down on it I wrote the article before [National Security Advisor Sebastian] Gorka made his statement. He made it worse.

There has never been any explanation or apology. And you couple that with the presidents reluctance through much of the beginning of his administration to condemn anti-Semitism. It was a disturbing trend. Eventually, in his State of the Union [address] he condemned the anti-Semitism, and then he condemned it in a speech at the Museum of African History.

But when you put it together with Bannons record on alt-right and Gorka and some of the others Again I am not saying they are anti-Semites. I have no proof of that. But for that incident it was disturbing and I stand by it.

As a historian, do you think it is helpful to draw analogies between todays Syrian refugee crisis and the Holocaust, as many in the Jewish community are doing?

Assad is a horrible man who gasses his own people, but what hes doing is not considered by scholars of genocide to be genocide

At the beginning of the Trump Administration, you were hearing, Its fascism! Its just like Hitler! Or you heard it on the right about the left. The analogies were all over the place. I hate those analogies. That doesnt mean that thoughtful comparisons are not in place. What I hate are the glib comparisons, so I am very careful with analogies, because I think too often they are used glibly and in utilitarian fashion.

Assad is a horrible man who gasses his own people, but what hes doing is not considered by scholars of genocide to be genocide. Genocide is a unique crime. Im calling for careful differentiation.

An unconscious Syrian child receives treatment at a hospital in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, following a suspected toxic gas attack on April 4, 2017. (AFP/Omar Haj Kadour)

So what should be the response to Assad?

We condemn. I dont know what to do. The guy is horrible. Given my druthers I would have liked to have seen him overthrown four years ago. I have nothing good at all to say about Assad, but what he is doing is not a Holocaust.

Im not engaging in comparative pain

Why I feel so passionately about these comparisons is that I am not saying that its okay or that its not as bad. Im not engaging in comparative pain. I hate comparative pain. I think its useless. It doesnt take us anywhere.

There is room for analogies, but I hate the glib, easy comparisons. They start with Israel and the Nazi-like tactics of the IDF. You can be against the IDFs policies, you can be against Israels policies vis vis the Palestinians, you can think they are wrong or immoral, but its not a genocide but thats whats been used.

Can any comparison be made between the Jews who fled Nazi persecution and faced American anti-immigration policies and the Syrian refugees facing Trumps attempted Muslim ban?

[The analogy] works to a certain extent, because they didnt want Jews there. But the people being banned [today] are not facing genocide. They are living in terrible situations, but I still think it is different when the country from which you are coming from is out to destroy you.

Anybody who ignores the fact that ISIS et al will use this refugee situation to try to get people in is problematic

I think the US should let in more refugees. The country has greatly benefited from refugees. Anybody who ignores the fact that opposition to refugees coming to this country has possibly until the last 15 years included inherent anti-Semitism is blind. I also know that anybody who ignores the fact that ISIS et al will use this refugee situation to try to get people in is also problematic.

I think [German Chancellor] Merkel made a big mistake when she said two years ago, We can let a million people in. They just walked in. It was crazy.

Demonstrators at OHare Airport, Chicago, protest President Donald Trumps executive order which imposes a freeze on admitting refugees into the United States and a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, January 29, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

What is your take on free speech issues on American college campuses these days? Students are demanding safe spaces, conservatives claim they are being discriminated against, and invitations to speakers are being rescinded due to pressure and security concerns.

Im very disturbed from all perspectives. I think this idea that we cant have voices to campus with which we disagree because campus has to be a safe space is antithetical to what the campus is all about. The campus should be a place where you encounter all sorts of ideas. Does that mean that someone who preaches racism, anti-Semitism, or bigotry should be invited? No, of course not.

So where do you draw the line?

Where do you draw the line? Wherever you draw the line its not for an official body to say, He comes and she doesnt, or she comes and he doesnt. First of all, I would expect the students would have sechel (common sense) as to who was invited. If it was someone who has a track record of every place they go violence follows, then think twice about inviting them.

Prof. Deborah Lipstadt receives honorary doctor of philosophy degree from University of Haifa, June 6, 2017. Left to right: Prof. Ron Robin, President of the University of Haifa; Prof. Deborah E. Lipstadt; Prof. Gustavo Mesch, Rector of the University of Haifa; Ilana Livnat. (University of Haifa)

Do you find that people are reluctant these days to speak out against anti-Semitism within their own political camps?

Progressive Jews feel they are being forced to make a choice

When Trump came into office, especially in the first few couple of months with the [Holocaust Remembrance Day] statement and his refusing to condemn anti-Semtism, the left was having a heyday. And I said to a lot of my friends on the left, Excuse me, where were you when the left was engaging in anti-Semitism? And the right defend Breitbart and attack the left, but dont criticize the right. If youre going to criticize Trump, Bannon and others for the anti-Semitism and you havet spoken out on Corbyn or Ken Livingstone or BDS or Linda Sarsour, you have no credibility in my eyes. Weve got to criticize those whose outlooks we generally share.

Students in progressive groups, like at Oberlin or the No Red Tape group at Columbia are chanting Free Palestine at protests. Progressive Jews feel they are being forced to make a choice.

Its the intersectionality issue.

Intersectionality started out as a good thing. African American women auto workers brought a law suit claiming they were discriminated against as women on the assembly line and as blacks regarding front office jobs. It started out as a very legitimate thing as a way of staying that sometimes people straddle more than one pigeon hole, but now its used to bring together a geo-political fight with a racial fight.

Moreover, the way its being used, it degrades the African American experience, because African Americans who have been stopped by police officers who engaged in racist behavior and shot them, were shot for being black. Here [in Israel and the Palestinian Territories], maybe you shouldnt be shot for throwing a stone, but youve done something, youve thrown a stone, youve pulled a knife. It degrades the experience of the discrimination directed against African Americans.

A woman holds a banner during a protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in New York on July 09, 2016. (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur)

At the end of your TED Talk you urge people to go on the offensive and to act now, because truth and facts are under assault. How do you suggest this be done?

Cry out, but responsibly, not emotionally

Little things. You see something on Facebook and it agrees with you; Trump did this awful thing. Before you repost it, check if its true. Check your sources. The internet is a great gift, but youve got to use it wisely. Investigate and ask questions. Ask: Is this possible? We have to be much more careful in things we repeat. Weve got to educate ourselves on the facts. We cant be beguiled by appearances. Somebody looks very good, sounds very good and sounds rational, but think about what theyre saying. It calls for setting up more barriers. Show me the evidence, who says it? Where did you get that information? I dont know what else we can do. Those of us who have media access have to be part of it. Cry out, but responsibly, not emotionally.

Do you recommend engaging an anti-Semite or Holocaust denier directly?

I dont engage them because at the heart they are anti-Semites, but I engage what they say because I have to disprove it to others who might be influenced by it. Thats why I dont debate David Irving. Its a waste of time, but in my trial we proved that what he said was a load of falsehoods and lies. Thats a different kind of thing.

Holocaust denial, and by extension anti-Semitism, is not a cognitive error. Its not like they miss one fact. Its that theyre looking at the world through the prism of an anti-Semite. Theyre conspiracy theorists.

Deborah Lipstadt at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem, June 11, 2017. (Renee Ghert-Zand/TOI)

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Testimony of the survivors – Jewish Chronicle


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Testimony of the survivors
Jewish Chronicle
While the UN designated January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, not a day passes when Mosberg doesn't remember. On his bedroom wall, photographs of his slaughtered relatives hang like religious icons. When I get up in the morning, …

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Basic Human Decency Shouldn’t Be Political, But It Is – The Federalist

After a two-year investigation, the Department of Justice recently announced charges against 15 people who trafficked in eagle body parts.

U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler described one operation as basically a chop-shop for eagles in which eagle feathers were stuffed into garbage bags. He said it was clear that it was a moneymaking operation and that the feathers and eagle parts such as talons and beaks were treated as merchandise. There was no cultural sensitivity. There was no spirituality, Seiler said. There was no tradition in the manner in which these defendants handled these birds.

As yet, none of these charges allege the actual killing of an eagle. They are purely centered on merchandizing carcasses already dead. As I was told after an unfortunate encounter on the highway, even if an eagle-killing is purely accidental, it would be a federal offense to leave the scene with even a single eagle feather on ones person or in ones vehicle.

The Bald Eagle Protection Act was originally passed in 1940. In 1962 it was amended to include golden eagles. This law prescribes criminal penalties for anyone to take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof.

Notice the thoroughly religious tone of Seilers remarks at the press conference. The U.S. attorney, rather than presenting these crimes in the terms of the law, such as sell, purchase, barter, instead said, There was no cultural sensitivity. There was no spirituality. There was no tradition in the manner in which these defendants handled these birds.

All of this starkly contrasts another headline two days later. Lamborghini Mary Gatter was back in the news. She was the medical director of Planned Parenthood in Pasadena, California who was caught on tape last year joking about her desire for a Lamborghini while haggling over the prices she charges for various baby parts from aborted human remains.

The video, released from the Center for Medical Progress, again features her working to increase the asking price from $50 to $75 per specimen. She first says she will not offer any baby parts past the 16th week of gestation, then quickly changes her mind when the potential customer wants older babies. Whether or not she violated any statutory language from the state of California, I am interested in something else. As an observer of culture, my interest lies in the way these two events were covered.

For starters, the Associated Press attended the news conference about eagle body parts, and published a national story about it. But they have yet to publish one word about the investigation into people body parts. Nor has any other major media outlet even mentioned the latest video showing Planned Parenthood employees haggling over baby parts.

Honestly, this does not surprise me. For the better part of two years we have seen an orchestrated news blackout on the work of the Center for Medical Progress. Clearly Planned Parenthood has a good deal of clout in Americas newsrooms. Abortion has become so politicized that many ordinary, decent people are culturally conditioned to ignore anything and everything that might call its ethics into question. Simple questions that are treated as no-brainers when applied to eagles must not even be raised if it could touch on abortion in any way.

Is it culturally, spiritually, or traditionally insensitive to treat eagle parts as merchandise? The U.S. attorney from South Dakota is so certain of it that he said so in a press conference without anyone questioning him. Is it culturally, spiritually, or traditionally insensitive to treat human parts as merchandise? Any sane person or society would instinctively say: Of course! Whatever is true of an animal is infinitely more true of a human being. But we have come to a place and time where this question is unasked, and unaskable.

Its time for us all to step back from the political fray and seriously ask: what has happened to us? This is an especially poignant question since the eagle feather press conference happened on the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 24. These occasions offer a substantial time to set down our frantic activities and think more deeply than shallow condemnations of Adolph Hitler or the Ottoman Empire.

Yes, Hitler did murder 11 or 12 million Jews, Russians, Poles, and undesirables. The Ottoman Empire was merciless in slaughtering 1.5 million Armenian Christians. But have you ever wondered what happened to the millions of ordinary Germans and ordinary Turks? How did they ever become people who would quietly turn a blind eye to such evil?

If you had been living in those days, would you have spoken out at the risk of your livelihood and life? Would you have boldly called out the evil? Of course, we all would like to think of ourselves doing just that. But now ask yourself seriously if there are any things that you consider evil that you dont publicly condemn, or dont really want to know about, for fear that it might undermine your public standing, job prospects, or political partys strength.

More to the point, many of us are sick and tired of politics. We would like to find a place that is purely non-political. We want to be left alone to live our lives without being drawn into every Internet screaming match and conspiratorial conversation. But you must recognize that this, too, can become the very mechanism which stifles your opposition to evil. If my highest goal becomes to avoid politics, all thats needed to silence me is for someone to say, Thats political. As a pastor of an historically non-political church body, I have seen this work on me.

At some point, even well-meaning non-political people need to question the label. When, exactly, did it become political to say that marriage is between a man and a woman? Even two decades ago, this was so ordinary that it was hardly worth saying. When, exactly, did it become political to say that babies shouldnt be killed? Would even one person have thought so even 50 years ago?

Back to question of eagle feathers and people parts. When did the decent treatment of a dead human being become political? I am not the first to ask this question. In pre-Christian Greece (441BC), Sophocles wrote the play Antigone, which explores this very question. At the beginning of the play, two of Antigones brothers died fighting on opposite sides of a civil war. King Creon, of the victorious side, decided he would honor the one who died fighting for his cause, while publicly shaming the brother who fought against him.

He ordered that Polyneices body should remain unburied on the battlefield to be eaten by eagles and dogs. By this decree, he made the proper burial of Polyneices body a capital offense. Anybody caught burying it or treating it with reverence would be sentenced to death.

Antigone is the leading character in the play who recognizes that such a decree, even if backed by the highest political order in the land, is simply wrong. It is against all culture, spirituality, and tradition. In several brilliant dialogues, Sophocles explores why she was willing to give her own life and speak out for decency that politics should never touch. Its time for everyone to step back from partisan politics and be Antigone.

Jonathan G. Lange is a pastor of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He has raised his family in Wyoming for two decades, serving parishes in Evanston and Kemmerer. He is a leader of the Wyoming Pastors Network.

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Trump rejects request to increase Holocaust museum funding – Connecticut Jewish Ledger

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(JTA) Members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) criticized President Donald Trumps budget proposal that denied a funding increase request by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A bipartisan group of 64 lawmakers signed a letter asking Trump not to reject the $3 million funding increase request, The Hill reported. In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of antisemitic attacks around the world rises, read the letter, which was spearheaded by Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Carlos Curbelo R-Fla., John Katko, R-N.Y. and Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz. Now is not the time to cut funding for this national treasure, continued the letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

The ADL also denounced the proposed budget. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is the most important American institution preserving the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and educating future generations about the importance of combating hate and bigotry, the groups national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a June 9 statement. In these divided times, with increasing numbers of hate crimes against Jews and other religious minorities, this museums mission is as critical as ever. We call on Congress to fully fund the Holocaust Museum.

In January, the president came under fire for issuing a statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews. In April, however, he pledged to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denials in a speech praised by Jewish groups.

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Trump rejects request to increase Holocaust museum funding – Connecticut Jewish Ledger

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June 14, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Netanyahu flies to Thessaloniki for trilateral summit with Greece, Cyprus – The Jerusalem Post


The Jerusalem Post
Netanyahu flies to Thessaloniki for trilateral summit with Greece, Cyprus
The Jerusalem Post
Salonika-born Moshe Ha-Elion, who lit a torch at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Remembrance Day two months ago, was originally scheduled to join Netanyahu, but had to cancel because of health issues. Instead, his daughter and son joined the delegation.

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Netanyahu flies to Thessaloniki for trilateral summit with Greece, Cyprus – The Jerusalem Post

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Jewish teens take life-changing journey to Poland, Israel – Wicked Local Randolph

By Stanley Hurwitz

As my grandmother is a survivor of the Holocaust from Greece, and with Polish descent on my mothers side, this trip had tremendous meaning to me, said 17 year-old Chelsea Haime of Sharonafter participating in the 2017 March of the Living (MOTL) to Poland and Israel. It was an experience that I will hold with me for the rest of my life.

Haime, a recent Sharon High graduate, was one of three Jewish Massachusetts teens who joined with 8,000 peers from around the world for the annual heritage trip that transported them from the somber ashes of the Holocaust to the miracle of modern Israel. An important component of MOTL is the opportunity to study the history of the Holocaust and examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hate. The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all Holocaust victims. The 2018 MOTL is scheduled for April 8-22. Registration has begun.

Haime’s parents, Alison and Bob wrote, Thank you for Chelseas March of the Living experience. She loved it and really connected with the experience. Her grandmother is a survivor so this trip had personal meaning to her. She will remember this her entire life. Thank you for everything.

Aaron L. Kischel, an award-winning community leader who has devoted his life to Jewish education and youth activities and a veteran of many such pilgrimages, served as a group leader for the Massachusetts/New York/New Jersey contingent. Trips are led by rabbis, historians, and teachers and joined by Holocaust survivors who provide first-hand accounts.

“In my five decades in Jewish education, I have not seen a program better designed to solidify teen attachment to their history and heritage,” he said. “Through MOTL, teens gain a deeper understanding of the need to ensure a strong Israel, to see what the young State of Israel has created from the desert. With so much misinformation and anti-Israel propaganda on college campuses today, this firsthand experience has an emotional effect that lasts a lifetime and builds leaders for the next generation.

The annual spring trip begins after Passover and is timed to coincide with three modern Jewish holidays.

Imagine marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in Poland where the Nazis murdered so many,” Kischel said. “Then imagine Israels Memorial Day when the entire nation stops at the sound of a siren for two minutes of silence. Our group visited the Calibri regional school outside Haifa which lost over 30 young people in war over the years. And imagine celebrating Israel Independence Day, first at the Western Wall, then with a party and sound/ light show with thousands of teens at the Latrun IDF tank museum. And imagine visiting ancient Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, and an evening on Ben Yehudah Street, Tel Avivs version of Fifth Avenue. While in Israel, there was time for teens to connect with Israeli relatives or friends.

Participant Micha Salzberg, a graduating senior from Gann Academy, said, Nothing could have prepared for what it would feel like to stand in the cattle cars, walk through the gas chambers, and march with thousands of other teens in the place where so much of my family was murdered. Marching through the Arbeit Macht Frei gate that my grandfather walked through as he was enduring the worst of mans evil will stay with me forever. That moment, surrounded by countless Jews of my age, is a testament to the failure of the final solution. And I am beyond proud to have been a part of that. Michas dad, Stu, remotely led a memorial service via Skype.

Beatrice Fellman, also a graduating senior from Gann Academy, reflected, To see where my great-grandfather was murdered and to immerse myself further into the history of the atrocity that my grandmother survived was an experience I will take with me forever. To actually see in person Auschwitz-Birkenau, the sites of mass graves and memorials was completely surrealand now I have a deeper understanding of the effect Israel has on many people who live in fear that we could one day be targeted again. I have such a huge appreciation for the knowledge that I gained on this trip.

New England MOTL Chair Irv Kempner, son of Holocaust survivors and a retired business executive, is spearheading scholarship fundraising and teen recruitment for 2018. He said, Surveys show that high school seniors who take part in MOTL become more engaged young men and women who know their history and the importance of the modern State of Israel. Its developing a new generation to learn the meaning of Never again. Lessons learned stay with them for their entire lives, and they are well prepared to lead the Jewish people into the future. Even if youve been to Israel before, this is a whole different adventure.

Since 1988, MOTL has brought some 250,000 teens to Eastern Europe and Israel, teaching lessons of the Holocaust and inspiring them to lead the Jewish People into the future.

The New England Chapter of MOTL has a newly redesigned website (https://motlnewengland.org/) where this years marchers posted real-time photos to allow friends, families and others to participate virtually. Donations of $1,000 for MOTL 2018 will be matched dollar for dollar by the Kempner Foundation. Tax-deductible donations may be made online: https://motlnewengland.org/. To donate to the Friends of the MOTL Endowment Fund for Mass. teens, tax-deductible donations may be sent to: CJP Kempner Family Foundation, c/o Combined Jewish Philanthropies, 126 High Street, Boston, Mass. 02110. To ensure proper credit, on the memo line write March of the Living.

For more information about donations and/or participation in Friends of MOTL and teen MOTL trips, contact IrvKempner@gmail.com, 617-285-8620, or visit https://motlnewengland.org.

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Jewish teens take life-changing journey to Poland, Israel – Wicked Local Randolph

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Holocaust Remembrance Day | The Statesman Examiner

This Friday, Jan. 27, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The United Nations declared it a day for observance in 2005, to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazis Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Prior to WWII there were 18 million Jews, with an estimated six million killed due to Adolph Hitlers extermination plan, The Final Solution. Soviet troops liberated the few inmates they found at Auschwitz; before their arrival, the Nazis sent the other inmates on a death march, trying to avoid discovery of what was happening at the facility. At Auschwitz, 1.1 million people were gassed with the cyanide-based insecticide Zyklon B. Ninety percent of Auschwitz victims were Jews. Germany itself saw the death of 4.3 million Nazi soldiers and the loss of up to a half million civilians. Of U.S. soldiers who fought in WWII, 291,557 died in combat. All told, a desire for inordinate control led to the deaths of 60 million people worldwide. Beyond six million Jews perishing, there were another 11 million Holocaust victims: people who were deaf, mentally or physically disabled, drug and alcohol addicted, Freemasons (regarded then as part of a Jewish conspiracy), Jehovahs Witnesses, LGBT, Roman Catholics, Romany gypsies, Slavs, Soviet POWs, prostitutes, Spanish Republicans, people of color (especially African-Germans), vagrants, anarchists, communists, dissidents, leftists, socialists, trade unionists, common criminals (often recruited to become guards) or, people otherwise considered non-Aryan, or not useful to the Aryan concept of a Master Race. The rise of Hitler When Soviet civilian deaths are added, which included many Jews, the number of holocaust victims is 17 million. Hitler came to power in 1933, having learned to tone down his frowned-upon anti-Semitism, and to focus on jobs, and making Germany great again. But his true sentiments quickly showed when, in spring of 1933, he instituted boycotts of Jewish businesses, barred Jews from the national health plan, and then restricted Jews from going to school. (The thinking class at first ignored boycott orders, until Hitler called for death or imprisonment for failure to obey.) In 1941, Hitler decided to proceed with extermination of the Jews. The massacres began in June, with transport from ghettos to concentration-death camps: Aushwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Maly Tostenets, Sobibor, Treblinka and others. Priests who spoke out about Nazi actions 1,700 of them — were sent to the first established camp, Dachau. Those with a moral calling to hide Jews faced the death penalty. The Nazis Solution was intentionally secretive. In the beginning, many Jews had no idea what awaited them after their transport. Husbands would be sent away, then wives and children were told they could join them on the next transport. Often they were told they were going East, to be resettled; some were forced to write home and tell how wonderful their new lives were. Those not sent to the gas chambers were starved, worked to death or died from disease. The first report about the Jews treatment was in 1942 in The New York Times; they had a front-page story about the unconfirmed fate of the people sent to the camps. Slaughter was speculated. But camp escapees had such horrific stories–they were hard to believe. Read the full story in the Jan. 25 edition of the Statesman-Examiner. An e-edition will be available Jan. 25 at http://www.statesmanexaminer.com/e-edition.

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Holocaust survivors share Stories of Strength at remembrance forum – The Island Now

Memories of the Holocaust are as fresh as they were decades ago for the women who were forced into World War II concentration camps as children and miraculously lived to tell the tale as adults. When you look at these survivors, know youre looking at miracles, Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Senior Director of Education Beth Lilach said. For any child to have survived the Holocaust is nothing less than a miracle because it was a very intentional plan by the Nazis to destroy every single Jewish child, so these people represent the tiny percent of Jewish children that survived. Parker Jewish Institute hosted Stories of Strength: a Holocaust Remembrance Thursday afternoon to document the stories of three survivors. Chana Pfeifen, Alice Tenenbaum and Mia Feuer, wife of survivor Samuel Feuer, shared memories with a heartbroken audience as they recounted tales of gas chambers, death marches and the traumatic loss of their parents at the hands of the guards and doctors who imprisoned them. Lilach opened the forum with a presentation focused around what can be learned from the Holocaust and how many times history could have gone differently with earlier help from countries around the world. By looking at the evolution of Nazism, you see so many red flags when the Holocaust could have been stopped, Lilach said. We need to look to see if our country is experiencing any of these red flags, and we need to act on it. We cant be silent that was an incredibly destructive force during the Holocaust, and we need to speak up. Tenenbaum was a young teenager when she was forced into a ghetto before being taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where an estimated 1.1 million people were killed before the Soviet Union liberated the prisoners in January 1945. Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the Angel of Death for his role in sending prisoners to gas chambers and performing inhumane experiments on people, frequented the camp and tried his hardest to execute 14-year-old Tenenbaum, but an unlikely savior appeared. Irma Grese, this horrible creature they called the beautiful beast, she somehow to this day, I dont know why she saved me 16 times when Dr. (Josef) Mangele sent me to the gas chamber. She would come and take me out (of the chamber), Tenenbaum said. People I spoke to who knew her said she had a sister around my age and I looked a little bit like her. The reason she saved me so many times was because I looked like her sister. Thats how I survived Auschwitz. Grese was among the 45 people accused of war crimes at the Bergen Trial in 1945 and was executed for her actions later that year. Without access to a clock, prisoners never knew what time it was or what day it was after a few weeks in the 1,000-man barracks. Tenenbaum said the daily routine revolved around a strict schedule, including the repetitive counting of prisoners for hours in the morning before the once-daily bathroom break given in a large room filled with holes in the ground. They told us when we arrived if we took our clothes and hung them on a hook, remember the number of the hook because well come back to it, she said. Of course, you never saw your clothes again. My parents shoved all kinds of gems and jewelry into the shoulder pads, they hidAmerican currency in the belt. I had the same dress for one solid year. I never changed and I never washed it. Every so often, they took the dress, sprayed it with DDT and gave it back. For one year, I that one dress, no underwear, winter and summer. As soldiers began to fear the camps would be invaded nearing the end of the war, prisoners were moved from camp to camp. Tenenbaum, her mother and her sisters were sent on a 40,000-man death march to Berlin that only approximately 6,000 people survived due to harsh conditions on the prisoners already deteriorating bodies. After the march, she was moved to the Bergen-Belsen camp. Tenenbaum said this alone felt like a brief spell of liberation because she no longer had to fear the looming gas chambers of Auschwitz. When the British troops liberated the camp in April 1945, Tenenbaum took refuge in Sweden, where she was very well taken care of and sent to a private school. Not long before her 18th birthday, she met her future husband at a college dance and managed a normal life after a tragic childhood. Pfeifenwas 8 years old when her parents and 4-year-oldsister were taken from their home without warning. We were sitting at the Shabbat table, eating, and all of a sudden people marched in and said Leave everything behind, youre going with us, Pfeifen said. We had no idea where they were taking us. Her family and hundreds more were marched through the Ukranian streets and separated from their loved ones. The men were stripped, tortured and killed almost immediately, Pfeifer said, and their bodies thrown into a mass grave. They told us some of the men were still alive, she said. Pfeiferand her family took another death march to the Dniester River before being imprisoned in Transnistria, a horrific ghetto-camp hybrid, by the Romanians. They were given no clothes, shoes, or food and have to scavenge for whatever scraps they could find. Pfeifer recalled a story when her mother brought her a frozen potato. It had a worm. I said, Mom, Im not going to eat that. She said, Eat it before it eats you,’ she said. Thats how angry she was. She wanted us to stay alive, and she would do everything she could for us. After her liberation, she attempted to sneak into Palestine but was caught by the British soldiers and sent to an internment camp in Cyprus for Jews trying to illegally cross the border. When she was finally freed from Cyprus, she returned to Palestine and joined the army to fight in the war for independence. Pfeifer told her two sons about her experiences once they were old enough, and she believes the story alone impacted her boys as well as a generation of Jews. Yes, it had an affect on my sons. It had an impact, she said. They felt guilty, especially my oldest son. It did have an impact on the second generation. I dont think its going to have an impact on the third generation, but on the second it did. Miaspoke on behalf of her husband, recounting the stories of his experiences during the war hes told over their many years of marriage. Samuel was also 14 when his parents and two sisters were taken to Auschwitz in late May of 1944. The soldiers separated the family immediately after arrival and saidthey would meet again and shouldnt worry. A few days later, Samuel learned his parents had been burned to death and was told to remember the smoke from the chimney on June 2 as part of their final moments. Despite all of the horrific things Samuel saw and experienced in the most infamousconcentration camp of World War II, Mia said he didnt let the past affect his future. It was very hard, but he became the nicest person on Earth when he came home, she said emotionally. We managed to have a beautiful family, and he was the happiest man when our son was born. Our life was the most beautiful life. The only thing that bothers me is right now, he cannot remember.

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Trump calls Romanian Holocaust remembrance a ‘vital cause’ – The Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump saluted the Holocaust remembrance efforts in Romania as a vital cause. Trump made the remarks during a joint news conference Friday in Washington, DC, with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Romanians have made many contributions to the United States, and to the world, Trump said. Very notable among them was Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who was born in Romania and, sadly, passed away almost one year ago. And I understand that earlier this week, the American Jewish Committee presented President Iohannis with its very prestigious Light Unto the Nations Award for his work to further Holocaust remembrance and education in Romania. I join the AJC in saluting your leadership in that vital cause. In January, Trump drew sharp criticism from an array of Jewish organizations after neglecting to mention Jews in his International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement. He has since more robustly embraced the Jewish meaning of the Holocaust, particularly in a speech in the Capitol in April at the US Holocaust Memorial Museums Days of Remembrance commemoration.

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With Trump in the White House, Deborah Lipstadt stands up for facts – The Times of Israel

History professor Deborah Lipstadt was relatively well known before being portrayed by superstar actor Rachel Weisz in last years Hollywood feature film Denial. The movie was based on Lipstadts experiences in a landmark British legal case in which she fought a libel suit brought by Holocaust denier David Irving. The film has kicked her notoriety up a notch, leading to more opportunities to publicly speak her mind and she has plenty to say about a perceived assault on facts and truth in the United States under the Trump Administration. One such opportunity was a TED Talk titled, Behind the Lies of Holocaust Denial, that Lipstadt gave in the UK earlier this spring. In the 15-minute clip posted last month, she warned about those who dress lies up as opinions to encroach on facts. Lipstadt spoke mainly of Holocaust deniers, but she left no doubt she was also talking about contemporary Twitter-friendly political leaders playing fast and loose with the truth. Today, as we well know, truth and facts are under assault. Social media, for all the gifts it has given us, has also allowed the difference between facts established facts and lies to be flattened, she said in the TED Talk. We live in an age where truth is on the defensive We live in an age where truth is on the defensive Truth is not relative. Many of us have grown up in the world of the academy and enlightened liberal thought, where were taught everything is open to debate. But thats not the case. There are certain things that are true. There are indisputable facts objective truths The Earth is not flat. The climate is changing. Elvis is not alive, she said. The viral reach of the TED Talk was on Lipstadts mind when she sat down for an interview with The Times of Israel this week in Jerusalem, where she had come to participate in an author event at the Jerusalem International Book Fair. The Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Lipstadt was also in Israel to receive an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Haifa on June 6. Its up to more than 540,000 views. I checked right before meeting with you, since I thought you might ask about it, Lipstadt, 70, said about the TED Talk video. In a broad-ranging interview, the popular professor spoke on a variety of topics, including what she said was the White Houses flirtation with softcore Holocaust denial, free speech on college campuses, and the pitfalls of making analogies between the Holocaust and current atrocities like the war in Syria. What has it been like for you since Denial was made and released? Its been an out-of-body experience. I look at the film and I see my story, but its not like Im walking around thinking I was depicted on the screen. Its been very weird and a lot of fun, but the hoopla ends very quickly. Whats more important are the increased opportunities I have had to speak and write. It happened as a result of the trial, but even more so as a result of the movie. We all want to be heard beyond the echo chamber Im getting invitations to write, to speak, to participate in things that are not Jewish. Im saying the same thing. My views havent changed, but my megaphone is a bit larger. For instance, I was at West Point right after Pesach [Passover] to talk to the cadet corps not just an event in the Jewish chapel. When Sean Spicer made that statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day [that omitted mention of Jews and anti-Semitism], I got a call within 15 minutes of it happening from The New York Times for comment, and then from the Atlantic to write about it. Its happening now on a really regular basis. Im very gratified by this because we all want to be heard beyond the echo chamber. Its not that I didnt have that access before, but that access has expanded. US President Donald Trump (C-R) and First Lady Melania Trump (C-L) lay a wreath during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum on May 23, 2017, in Jerusalem. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP) In that Atlantic piece published January 30, you accused the Trump Administration of softcore Holocaust denial. I still stand by that. Im standing by the statement that the way that the administration handled that January 27 statement was an example of softcore Holocaust denial. Im not saying that Donald Trump is a softcore Holocaust denier, but that was an example of softcore denial. And as I said in the article, I was [initially] sure it was a mistake. But the way they doubled and tripled and down on it I wrote the article before [National Security Advisor Sebastian] Gorka made his statement. He made it worse. There has never been any explanation or apology. And you couple that with the presidents reluctance through much of the beginning of his administration to condemn anti-Semitism. It was a disturbing trend. Eventually, in his State of the Union [address] he condemned the anti-Semitism, and then he condemned it in a speech at the Museum of African History. But when you put it together with Bannons record on alt-right and Gorka and some of the others Again I am not saying they are anti-Semites. I have no proof of that. But for that incident it was disturbing and I stand by it. As a historian, do you think it is helpful to draw analogies between todays Syrian refugee crisis and the Holocaust, as many in the Jewish community are doing? Assad is a horrible man who gasses his own people, but what hes doing is not considered by scholars of genocide to be genocide At the beginning of the Trump Administration, you were hearing, Its fascism! Its just like Hitler! Or you heard it on the right about the left. The analogies were all over the place. I hate those analogies. That doesnt mean that thoughtful comparisons are not in place. What I hate are the glib comparisons, so I am very careful with analogies, because I think too often they are used glibly and in utilitarian fashion. Assad is a horrible man who gasses his own people, but what hes doing is not considered by scholars of genocide to be genocide. Genocide is a unique crime. Im calling for careful differentiation. An unconscious Syrian child receives treatment at a hospital in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, following a suspected toxic gas attack on April 4, 2017. (AFP/Omar Haj Kadour) So what should be the response to Assad? We condemn. I dont know what to do. The guy is horrible. Given my druthers I would have liked to have seen him overthrown four years ago. I have nothing good at all to say about Assad, but what he is doing is not a Holocaust. Im not engaging in comparative pain Why I feel so passionately about these comparisons is that I am not saying that its okay or that its not as bad. Im not engaging in comparative pain. I hate comparative pain. I think its useless. It doesnt take us anywhere. There is room for analogies, but I hate the glib, easy comparisons. They start with Israel and the Nazi-like tactics of the IDF. You can be against the IDFs policies, you can be against Israels policies vis vis the Palestinians, you can think they are wrong or immoral, but its not a genocide but thats whats been used. Can any comparison be made between the Jews who fled Nazi persecution and faced American anti-immigration policies and the Syrian refugees facing Trumps attempted Muslim ban? [The analogy] works to a certain extent, because they didnt want Jews there. But the people being banned [today] are not facing genocide. They are living in terrible situations, but I still think it is different when the country from which you are coming from is out to destroy you. Anybody who ignores the fact that ISIS et al will use this refugee situation to try to get people in is problematic I think the US should let in more refugees. The country has greatly benefited from refugees. Anybody who ignores the fact that opposition to refugees coming to this country has possibly until the last 15 years included inherent anti-Semitism is blind. I also know that anybody who ignores the fact that ISIS et al will use this refugee situation to try to get people in is also problematic. I think [German Chancellor] Merkel made a big mistake when she said two years ago, We can let a million people in. They just walked in. It was crazy. Demonstrators at OHare Airport, Chicago, protest President Donald Trumps executive order which imposes a freeze on admitting refugees into the United States and a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, January 29, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) What is your take on free speech issues on American college campuses these days? Students are demanding safe spaces, conservatives claim they are being discriminated against, and invitations to speakers are being rescinded due to pressure and security concerns. Im very disturbed from all perspectives. I think this idea that we cant have voices to campus with which we disagree because campus has to be a safe space is antithetical to what the campus is all about. The campus should be a place where you encounter all sorts of ideas. Does that mean that someone who preaches racism, anti-Semitism, or bigotry should be invited? No, of course not. So where do you draw the line? Where do you draw the line? Wherever you draw the line its not for an official body to say, He comes and she doesnt, or she comes and he doesnt. First of all, I would expect the students would have sechel (common sense) as to who was invited. If it was someone who has a track record of every place they go violence follows, then think twice about inviting them. Prof. Deborah Lipstadt receives honorary doctor of philosophy degree from University of Haifa, June 6, 2017. Left to right: Prof. Ron Robin, President of the University of Haifa; Prof. Deborah E. Lipstadt; Prof. Gustavo Mesch, Rector of the University of Haifa; Ilana Livnat. (University of Haifa) Do you find that people are reluctant these days to speak out against anti-Semitism within their own political camps? Progressive Jews feel they are being forced to make a choice When Trump came into office, especially in the first few couple of months with the [Holocaust Remembrance Day] statement and his refusing to condemn anti-Semtism, the left was having a heyday. And I said to a lot of my friends on the left, Excuse me, where were you when the left was engaging in anti-Semitism? And the right defend Breitbart and attack the left, but dont criticize the right. If youre going to criticize Trump, Bannon and others for the anti-Semitism and you havet spoken out on Corbyn or Ken Livingstone or BDS or Linda Sarsour, you have no credibility in my eyes. Weve got to criticize those whose outlooks we generally share. Students in progressive groups, like at Oberlin or the No Red Tape group at Columbia are chanting Free Palestine at protests. Progressive Jews feel they are being forced to make a choice. Its the intersectionality issue. Intersectionality started out as a good thing. African American women auto workers brought a law suit claiming they were discriminated against as women on the assembly line and as blacks regarding front office jobs. It started out as a very legitimate thing as a way of staying that sometimes people straddle more than one pigeon hole, but now its used to bring together a geo-political fight with a racial fight. Moreover, the way its being used, it degrades the African American experience, because African Americans who have been stopped by police officers who engaged in racist behavior and shot them, were shot for being black. Here [in Israel and the Palestinian Territories], maybe you shouldnt be shot for throwing a stone, but youve done something, youve thrown a stone, youve pulled a knife. It degrades the experience of the discrimination directed against African Americans. A woman holds a banner during a protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in New York on July 09, 2016. (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur) At the end of your TED Talk you urge people to go on the offensive and to act now, because truth and facts are under assault. How do you suggest this be done? Cry out, but responsibly, not emotionally Little things. You see something on Facebook and it agrees with you; Trump did this awful thing. Before you repost it, check if its true. Check your sources. The internet is a great gift, but youve got to use it wisely. Investigate and ask questions. Ask: Is this possible? We have to be much more careful in things we repeat. Weve got to educate ourselves on the facts. We cant be beguiled by appearances. Somebody looks very good, sounds very good and sounds rational, but think about what theyre saying. It calls for setting up more barriers. Show me the evidence, who says it? Where did you get that information? I dont know what else we can do. Those of us who have media access have to be part of it. Cry out, but responsibly, not emotionally. Do you recommend engaging an anti-Semite or Holocaust denier directly? I dont engage them because at the heart they are anti-Semites, but I engage what they say because I have to disprove it to others who might be influenced by it. Thats why I dont debate David Irving. Its a waste of time, but in my trial we proved that what he said was a load of falsehoods and lies. Thats a different kind of thing. Holocaust denial, and by extension anti-Semitism, is not a cognitive error. Its not like they miss one fact. Its that theyre looking at the world through the prism of an anti-Semite. Theyre conspiracy theorists. Deborah Lipstadt at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem, June 11, 2017. (Renee Ghert-Zand/TOI)

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Testimony of the survivors – Jewish Chronicle

Jewish Chronicle Testimony of the survivors Jewish Chronicle While the UN designated January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day , not a day passes when Mosberg doesn't remember. On his bedroom wall, photographs of his slaughtered relatives hang like religious icons. When I get up in the morning, … and more »

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Basic Human Decency Shouldn’t Be Political, But It Is – The Federalist

After a two-year investigation, the Department of Justice recently announced charges against 15 people who trafficked in eagle body parts. U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler described one operation as basically a chop-shop for eagles in which eagle feathers were stuffed into garbage bags. He said it was clear that it was a moneymaking operation and that the feathers and eagle parts such as talons and beaks were treated as merchandise. There was no cultural sensitivity. There was no spirituality, Seiler said. There was no tradition in the manner in which these defendants handled these birds. As yet, none of these charges allege the actual killing of an eagle. They are purely centered on merchandizing carcasses already dead. As I was told after an unfortunate encounter on the highway, even if an eagle-killing is purely accidental, it would be a federal offense to leave the scene with even a single eagle feather on ones person or in ones vehicle. The Bald Eagle Protection Act was originally passed in 1940. In 1962 it was amended to include golden eagles. This law prescribes criminal penalties for anyone to take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof. Notice the thoroughly religious tone of Seilers remarks at the press conference. The U.S. attorney, rather than presenting these crimes in the terms of the law, such as sell, purchase, barter, instead said, There was no cultural sensitivity. There was no spirituality. There was no tradition in the manner in which these defendants handled these birds. All of this starkly contrasts another headline two days later. Lamborghini Mary Gatter was back in the news. She was the medical director of Planned Parenthood in Pasadena, California who was caught on tape last year joking about her desire for a Lamborghini while haggling over the prices she charges for various baby parts from aborted human remains. The video, released from the Center for Medical Progress, again features her working to increase the asking price from $50 to $75 per specimen. She first says she will not offer any baby parts past the 16th week of gestation, then quickly changes her mind when the potential customer wants older babies. Whether or not she violated any statutory language from the state of California, I am interested in something else. As an observer of culture, my interest lies in the way these two events were covered. For starters, the Associated Press attended the news conference about eagle body parts, and published a national story about it. But they have yet to publish one word about the investigation into people body parts. Nor has any other major media outlet even mentioned the latest video showing Planned Parenthood employees haggling over baby parts. Honestly, this does not surprise me. For the better part of two years we have seen an orchestrated news blackout on the work of the Center for Medical Progress. Clearly Planned Parenthood has a good deal of clout in Americas newsrooms. Abortion has become so politicized that many ordinary, decent people are culturally conditioned to ignore anything and everything that might call its ethics into question. Simple questions that are treated as no-brainers when applied to eagles must not even be raised if it could touch on abortion in any way. Is it culturally, spiritually, or traditionally insensitive to treat eagle parts as merchandise? The U.S. attorney from South Dakota is so certain of it that he said so in a press conference without anyone questioning him. Is it culturally, spiritually, or traditionally insensitive to treat human parts as merchandise? Any sane person or society would instinctively say: Of course! Whatever is true of an animal is infinitely more true of a human being. But we have come to a place and time where this question is unasked, and unaskable. Its time for us all to step back from the political fray and seriously ask: what has happened to us? This is an especially poignant question since the eagle feather press conference happened on the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 24. These occasions offer a substantial time to set down our frantic activities and think more deeply than shallow condemnations of Adolph Hitler or the Ottoman Empire. Yes, Hitler did murder 11 or 12 million Jews, Russians, Poles, and undesirables. The Ottoman Empire was merciless in slaughtering 1.5 million Armenian Christians. But have you ever wondered what happened to the millions of ordinary Germans and ordinary Turks? How did they ever become people who would quietly turn a blind eye to such evil? If you had been living in those days, would you have spoken out at the risk of your livelihood and life? Would you have boldly called out the evil? Of course, we all would like to think of ourselves doing just that. But now ask yourself seriously if there are any things that you consider evil that you dont publicly condemn, or dont really want to know about, for fear that it might undermine your public standing, job prospects, or political partys strength. More to the point, many of us are sick and tired of politics. We would like to find a place that is purely non-political. We want to be left alone to live our lives without being drawn into every Internet screaming match and conspiratorial conversation. But you must recognize that this, too, can become the very mechanism which stifles your opposition to evil. If my highest goal becomes to avoid politics, all thats needed to silence me is for someone to say, Thats political. As a pastor of an historically non-political church body, I have seen this work on me. At some point, even well-meaning non-political people need to question the label. When, exactly, did it become political to say that marriage is between a man and a woman? Even two decades ago, this was so ordinary that it was hardly worth saying. When, exactly, did it become political to say that babies shouldnt be killed? Would even one person have thought so even 50 years ago? Back to question of eagle feathers and people parts. When did the decent treatment of a dead human being become political? I am not the first to ask this question. In pre-Christian Greece (441BC), Sophocles wrote the play Antigone, which explores this very question. At the beginning of the play, two of Antigones brothers died fighting on opposite sides of a civil war. King Creon, of the victorious side, decided he would honor the one who died fighting for his cause, while publicly shaming the brother who fought against him. He ordered that Polyneices body should remain unburied on the battlefield to be eaten by eagles and dogs. By this decree, he made the proper burial of Polyneices body a capital offense. Anybody caught burying it or treating it with reverence would be sentenced to death. Antigone is the leading character in the play who recognizes that such a decree, even if backed by the highest political order in the land, is simply wrong. It is against all culture, spirituality, and tradition. In several brilliant dialogues, Sophocles explores why she was willing to give her own life and speak out for decency that politics should never touch. Its time for everyone to step back from partisan politics and be Antigone. Jonathan G. Lange is a pastor of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He has raised his family in Wyoming for two decades, serving parishes in Evanston and Kemmerer. He is a leader of the Wyoming Pastors Network.

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June 15, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Trump rejects request to increase Holocaust museum funding – Connecticut Jewish Ledger

Navigation Home About Editorial Board News CT News National/World Around Connecticut Jewish Life Torah Portion Jewish Holidays Arts & Entertainment Jewish Food Kolot Milestones Submit Milestone Calendar Community Calendar Jewish Holidays Opinion Editorial Op-Ed Columns Letters to the Ledger Obituaries JL Blog (JTA) Members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) criticized President Donald Trumps budget proposal that denied a funding increase request by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A bipartisan group of 64 lawmakers signed a letter asking Trump not to reject the $3 million funding increase request, The Hill reported. In our view, the mission of the museum has never been more important, particularly as the number of antisemitic attacks around the world rises, read the letter, which was spearheaded by Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Carlos Curbelo R-Fla., John Katko, R-N.Y. and Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz. Now is not the time to cut funding for this national treasure, continued the letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. The ADL also denounced the proposed budget. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is the most important American institution preserving the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and educating future generations about the importance of combating hate and bigotry, the groups national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a June 9 statement. In these divided times, with increasing numbers of hate crimes against Jews and other religious minorities, this museums mission is as critical as ever. We call on Congress to fully fund the Holocaust Museum. In January, the president came under fire for issuing a statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews. In April, however, he pledged to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denials in a speech praised by Jewish groups.

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June 14, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Netanyahu flies to Thessaloniki for trilateral summit with Greece, Cyprus – The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post Netanyahu flies to Thessaloniki for trilateral summit with Greece, Cyprus The Jerusalem Post Salonika-born Moshe Ha-Elion, who lit a torch at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Remembrance Day two months ago, was originally scheduled to join Netanyahu, but had to cancel because of health issues. Instead, his daughter and son joined the delegation. and more »

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June 14, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed

Jewish teens take life-changing journey to Poland, Israel – Wicked Local Randolph

By Stanley Hurwitz As my grandmother is a survivor of the Holocaust from Greece, and with Polish descent on my mothers side, this trip had tremendous meaning to me, said 17 year-old Chelsea Haime of Sharonafter participating in the 2017 March of the Living (MOTL) to Poland and Israel. It was an experience that I will hold with me for the rest of my life. Haime, a recent Sharon High graduate, was one of three Jewish Massachusetts teens who joined with 8,000 peers from around the world for the annual heritage trip that transported them from the somber ashes of the Holocaust to the miracle of modern Israel. An important component of MOTL is the opportunity to study the history of the Holocaust and examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hate. The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all Holocaust victims. The 2018 MOTL is scheduled for April 8-22. Registration has begun. Haime’s parents, Alison and Bob wrote, Thank you for Chelseas March of the Living experience. She loved it and really connected with the experience. Her grandmother is a survivor so this trip had personal meaning to her. She will remember this her entire life. Thank you for everything. Aaron L. Kischel, an award-winning community leader who has devoted his life to Jewish education and youth activities and a veteran of many such pilgrimages, served as a group leader for the Massachusetts/New York/New Jersey contingent. Trips are led by rabbis, historians, and teachers and joined by Holocaust survivors who provide first-hand accounts. “In my five decades in Jewish education, I have not seen a program better designed to solidify teen attachment to their history and heritage,” he said. “Through MOTL, teens gain a deeper understanding of the need to ensure a strong Israel, to see what the young State of Israel has created from the desert. With so much misinformation and anti-Israel propaganda on college campuses today, this firsthand experience has an emotional effect that lasts a lifetime and builds leaders for the next generation. The annual spring trip begins after Passover and is timed to coincide with three modern Jewish holidays. Imagine marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in Poland where the Nazis murdered so many,” Kischel said. “Then imagine Israels Memorial Day when the entire nation stops at the sound of a siren for two minutes of silence. Our group visited the Calibri regional school outside Haifa which lost over 30 young people in war over the years. And imagine celebrating Israel Independence Day, first at the Western Wall, then with a party and sound/ light show with thousands of teens at the Latrun IDF tank museum. And imagine visiting ancient Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, and an evening on Ben Yehudah Street, Tel Avivs version of Fifth Avenue. While in Israel, there was time for teens to connect with Israeli relatives or friends. Participant Micha Salzberg, a graduating senior from Gann Academy, said, Nothing could have prepared for what it would feel like to stand in the cattle cars, walk through the gas chambers, and march with thousands of other teens in the place where so much of my family was murdered. Marching through the Arbeit Macht Frei gate that my grandfather walked through as he was enduring the worst of mans evil will stay with me forever. That moment, surrounded by countless Jews of my age, is a testament to the failure of the final solution. And I am beyond proud to have been a part of that. Michas dad, Stu, remotely led a memorial service via Skype. Beatrice Fellman, also a graduating senior from Gann Academy, reflected, To see where my great-grandfather was murdered and to immerse myself further into the history of the atrocity that my grandmother survived was an experience I will take with me forever. To actually see in person Auschwitz-Birkenau, the sites of mass graves and memorials was completely surrealand now I have a deeper understanding of the effect Israel has on many people who live in fear that we could one day be targeted again. I have such a huge appreciation for the knowledge that I gained on this trip. New England MOTL Chair Irv Kempner, son of Holocaust survivors and a retired business executive, is spearheading scholarship fundraising and teen recruitment for 2018. He said, Surveys show that high school seniors who take part in MOTL become more engaged young men and women who know their history and the importance of the modern State of Israel. Its developing a new generation to learn the meaning of Never again. Lessons learned stay with them for their entire lives, and they are well prepared to lead the Jewish people into the future. Even if youve been to Israel before, this is a whole different adventure. Since 1988, MOTL has brought some 250,000 teens to Eastern Europe and Israel, teaching lessons of the Holocaust and inspiring them to lead the Jewish People into the future. The New England Chapter of MOTL has a newly redesigned website (https://motlnewengland.org/) where this years marchers posted real-time photos to allow friends, families and others to participate virtually. Donations of $1,000 for MOTL 2018 will be matched dollar for dollar by the Kempner Foundation. Tax-deductible donations may be made online: https://motlnewengland.org/. To donate to the Friends of the MOTL Endowment Fund for Mass. teens, tax-deductible donations may be sent to: CJP Kempner Family Foundation, c/o Combined Jewish Philanthropies, 126 High Street, Boston, Mass. 02110. To ensure proper credit, on the memo line write March of the Living. For more information about donations and/or participation in Friends of MOTL and teen MOTL trips, contact IrvKempner@gmail.com, 617-285-8620, or visit https://motlnewengland.org.

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June 13, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Remembrance Day  Comments Closed


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