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Anita Silverman Hirsch Z"l

My Thoughts Regarding Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel

Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel - Yom Hashoah - is a special day coming between the celebration of Passover, which in Israel is both a national and a religious holiday and Yom Hatzmaut Israel Independence Day, which also is a National Israeli Holiday that also has religious support and backing, i.e. the support of the religious establishment. PS the Day before Israel Independence Day is the Day of Remembrance for the Soldiers who have given their lives in defence of Israel.
Both times there is a national moment of silence at 11 am when everone in the country responds to a call to stop in their tracks and remember in silence.

CIJR (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research) published a slew of articles On this year's Yom Hashoah, May 2, 2011.

I found them particularly relevant.

For me three themes emerged:

The first:
To never forget the personal stories of those who survived those terrible times.
I am in Hungary today and yesterday I was at Sip U. 12, the headquarters of the Jewish community in Budapest meeting with two holocaust survivors, Erno Lazarovitch and .
I was there with my Mother, Edith Zoldan Hirsch, 93 years old, who also lived through that terrible time and also shared her story.

The day before I was at Maynoki U. 6b. the former home of Gozon baci and Gozon neni, an amazing non-Jewish couple who actively resisted Nazi Jew-hunting in Budapest by silently protecting and
doing what they could to help. (I know because they assisted my two uncles by allowing them to live openly with them, for a time, saying "these are our cousins from the country", while the Germans were in Budapest and finding work for my aunt as a maid with a Christian family who never know she was Jewish.

By a miracle I met three people who still live in this house on Maynoki and had  known them personally since they were the caretakers of the building. The Gozons are no longer alive but their memory must live on. (Fortunately I had my video camera functioning on :
both occasions)

The second theme
is that, sadly, these personal stories and even the Jewish nature of the persecution is being whitewashed
 a. by ideas of universalism in Europe and America and
 b. by "anti-zionism", in the Middle East. Europe and elsewhere.

 The Arab street  is not above borrowing the  Nazi idealogy of Jew hatred, claiming that The Palestinians are being persecuted as the Jews were. This is the current "big lie" which Hitler himself understood so well.
In the meantime the Arab nations, themselves have rejected the plight of the Palestinians choosing to blame Israel and Jews rather than address the Palestinian refugee issues over the last 63 years.

 Although 600,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands have been absorbed by Israel and no longer bear the title of "refugee", none of the Arab countries have stepped up to the plate to absorb the Arab refugees of the former Palestine, who are now called Palestinians, and have been living in the areas currently called  Gaza and the West Bank and some in Lebanon and Jordan for the past 63 years. The Palestinian refugees for 63 years have been singled out and rejected by their own Arab brothers  and used as a club against Israel. In this way they share the plight of the Jews of Europe during the Nazi period
who were singled out and rejected by almost all the nations of the world.

In addition, Anti-zionism is  used by many Arab governments  to focus on an outside enemy rather that focus on human rights abuses of their own.

Just sharing some thoughts after reading these articles recently posted in Newspapers around the world.


I have copied here the full articles posted by CIJR.

Monday, May 2, 2011
Volume X, No. 2,570


Baruch Cohen
Many ask, “Why did the Jews go like sheep to the slaughter?” This superficial question, in and of itself, is evidence that people, including many Jews, have confused Jewish powerlessness during the Holocaust with passivity.
People conclude wrongly that because Jews were not able to mount significant, sustained and effective strong opposition to Nazi barbaric persecution, they did not resist at all. The truth is that Jews tried to maintain their dignity, to spread word of their fate in order to ensure that the situation would be known and hence, and to save as many fellow Jews as possible. It is a myth that all Jews went passively to their deaths.
The following are a few examples of moral resistance, of personal symbolic responses to impossible situations, as cited in Daring to Resist: Jewish Defiance in the Holocaust, edited by Yitzchak Mais, published by the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2007.
Friedl Dicks Brandeis and Adela Bay were involved in symbolic resistance on a community level, using their skills to instil a sense of dignity, humanity and even joy in others. Brandeis, a renowned artist from Vienna, reached out to children in the Terezin ghetto, teaching them to express themselves artistically, thereby releasing their imaginations from the cage imprisoning their bodies. Bay, another artist in the ghetto and slave labor camps, used her talent to sustain hope and meaning. Defying hunger, misery and forced labor, Bay and others used their inner resources to maintain their humanity and identity. Under conditions of unimaginable hardship, they wrote poetry and created musical performances.
In the desperate conditions of the Warsaw ghetto, Rabbi Yitzchak Nissenbaum is said to have declared: This is time for Kiddush HaHaim, not Kiddush Hashem--Sanctification of Life, not Martyrdom through Death.
Dr. Janusz Korczak, director of the orphanage of the Warsaw Ghetto, became an island of peace, morality and serenity in a chaotic and very dangerous environment. Two hundred children learned, played, and performed in the protected world that Dr. Korczak and his dedicated, devoted assistants created for them.
Herman Kruk, an historian who lived in the Vilna Ghetto, documented the life of the people until his deportation and death in Estonia in 1944. He wrote that “the Vilna Jewish community was for years known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania,” so the Vilna Ghetto, in respect to its cultural life, was during those terrible years called Jerusalem of the Ghetto, because it was a symbol of Jewish spiritual resistance under the criminal Nazi regime.
The Jews responded to the horrors of the Holocaust in many courageous ways, defying German restrictions and establishing clandestine means of communication. They sent out couriers where possible who travelled illegally from one community to another, carrying news, medicine, and at times arms.
Finally, there are many examples of Jews chanting prayers or singing national anthems and Zionist songs, as they were led to the gas chambers. These heroic last acts were a clear defiance of the Nazi murderers’ attempts to dehumanize Jews.
The cited heroic examples of moral resistance and symbolic acts confirm the fact that many of our sisters and brothers endeavoured to leave--for future generations--the highest example of Jewish dignity and strong love for life, despite indescribable conditions!
Never Forget! Am Yisrael Chai!
(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research. He a Holocaust survivor.)
Liat Collins
Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2011
Three statements come to mind whenever I write about the Holocaust. The first I can attribute to Elie Wiesel: “The Shoah wasn’t a crime against humanity, but a crime against the Jews.” The second was told to me by writer Haim Guri: “Israel was created not because of the Shoah but in spite of it.” I don’t remember who told me the third, but it is no less valuable: Had there been a Jewish state in the 1930s, the Holocaust might not have happened at all, or would have been on a much-reduced scale.…
The world marks [Holocaust Remembrance Day] on January 27, the day Auschwitz was liberated. For the past few years it has become a set feature on the United Nations calendar. Unfortunately, for the rest of the year the world body raises motion after motion turning Israel into the source of all evil. Its protection of global peace and wellbeing is so advanced that having finally suspended Libya from the UN’s Human Rights Council, it seems set to replace it with Bashar Assad’s Syria.
Israel commemorates…Yom Hashoah as we call it--in the spring, fittingly between Passover and Independence Day. This year it commences on May 1.
Here it is marked with an eerie two-minute siren for which the traffic draws to a halt and people stand frozen. Fewer and fewer have their own dreadful memories, but this is not about the survivors. They don’t need a special day to remember how they’ve been through hell. This is about the people who didn’t survive but nonetheless live on in every generation.
Children in Israel learn about the Holocaust from an early age. Even toddlers in day-care centers are taught to stand for the siren, and schoolchildren hold ceremonies. But it’s hard to explain the horror or take in the meaning of the number of those killed. That’s why it’s so important to learn the personal stories.…
Future generations will find it ever harder to relate to the Holocaust, not just because the firsthand witnesses are dying out, but because they are being brought up in a different world.
It is an ever-changing world dominated by the “now” and the “me.”
When President Barack Obama hosted a Seder at the White House earlier this month he coolly compared the uprising in the Arab world to the story of the Exodus from Egypt. It’s a perfect message for the Twitter generation. With the perspective of barely three months--during which he changed his mind more than once--Obama takes the most epic event in more than four millennia of Jewish history and reduces it to its lowest possible common denominator, and then distorts it some more. I can’t wait to hear his insights on the Holocaust.
The world is marking 50 years since the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a trial which gave us terms like “the banality of evil.” Have we learned its lessons? It doesn’t seem so when, under the same principle of universal justice, Israeli leaders cannot travel to places like Britain for fear of being arrested for “war crimes.…”
The Shoah was not about the Palestinians, but you wouldn’t know it from the imagery that floats around on “human rights flotillas” and among their land-based supporters. As the Palestinians draw closer to the likely unilateral declaration of independence, they seem to grow further from acknowledging Israel’s right to exist.…
Recently, the topic of teaching the Holocaust in Arab schools has been the focus of heated debates. According to Palestinian Media Watch, this week the union of UNRWA workers in Palestinian schools said, “We emphasize our adamant opposition to confusing the thinking of our students by means of Holocaust studies in the human rights study curriculum, and emphasize study of the history of Palestine and the acts of massacre which have been carried out against Palestinians, the most recent of which was the war against Gaza.”
Confusing indeed.
By the “war against Gaza” I assume they mean Operation Cast Lead, a war against Hamas missile attacks from Gaza on Israel. Missile attacks that are still taking place, for that matter. The Palestinians are not the new Jews, and Gaza is not a ghetto. If their version of human rights permits targeting an Israeli school bus and indiscriminately launching rockets on any civilian population within reach, then you can understand their reluctance to add the Shoah to study programs.
Several people have e-mailed me recently telling me they feel like this is a repeat of the 1930s. Those who live abroad cite attacks on Jews, but above all a pervasive feeling that permits and even fosters such incidents.
The tiny Jewish community of Corfu might have been surprised by the burning of Torah scrolls in the local synagogue this month, but Jews elsewhere in Greece are no strangers to anti-Semitic sentiment. Ditto the Jews of Spain, France, Denmark and Holland. A Canadian student told me she no longer wears a Star of David on campus, and some British Jews have removed the mezuzot from outside their doors, placing them inside where they cannot be seen.
My answer is that this is different from those terrible years partly because there is an Israel, albeit threatened by Iran with nuclear genocide and constantly assaulted by terror attacks and missiles, but a success story nonetheless. Indeed, a Gallup poll released last week declared Israel to be the world’s seventh most “thriving” country.
There can be no better way to avenge the Shoah.
Joshua Hamerman
Jerusalem Post, April 28, 2011
The front pages of 15 American newspapers printed between 1933 and 1946 have been packaged into an educational resource about the Holocaust.… Upstart Ideas, an educational-resource and consulting company specializing in hasbara (public diplomacy) and the Shoah, [has] created The Holocaust: A Remembrance with assistance from RetroGraphics Publishing, an American company that reproduces archived newspapers and other memorabilia.
The newspaper pages included in the Holocaust Remembrance Day resource encompass events from the Nazis’ ascension to power in January 1933 to the Nuremberg trial verdicts in October 1946. They scream headlines such as “Nazis To Grab Jews’ Riches” (San Francisco Chronicle, April 28, 1938), “Hysterical Nazis Wreck Thousands of Jewish Shops, Burn Synagogues in Wild Orgy of Looting and Terror” (The Dallas Morning News, November 11, 1938), “Nazis Prevent Jewish Exodus” (Daily Record, November 18, 1938) and “Nazi Germany Threatens To Exterminate Jews” (The Houston Post, November 23, 1938).
The December 11, 1942, edition of The Jewish News of Detroit reported “Ghetto Jews Killed In Battle With Nazis” and “Two-Thirds of Jews in Poland Slain Since Nazi Occupation.…”
“A resource like this serves as a tool to educate and also to refute some of the misconceptions, lies and distortions about the Holocaust, mainly that no one knew what was happening,” says Michael Eglash, president and founding partner of Upstart Ideas. “There are so many revisionists out there, as well as people who just don’t know the details of the Holocaust. These newspapers chronicle not only the dark days of the slaughter, but also what led up to, and the atmosphere that helped create, Auschwitz, Treblinka and Dachau.…”
To see American newspapers from every region report on the Nazis’ war against the Jews as early as 1933 is disturbing but essential reading for those who ignore, explain away or facilitate anti-Semitism today.…
(Copies of The Holocaust: A Remembrance can be ordered at
Sarah Honig
Jerusalem Post, April 29, 2011
If a netherworld truly exists, then its most infamous denizen, one Adolf Hitler, must be rubbing his hands in glee. During his lifetime, when he preoccupied the entire world with his war, he never ceased to proclaim hysterically that his paramount aim was annihilating all Jews. Obsessively he reiterated his resolve to cause all nations to unite in recognition of inborn Jewish villainy.
To some extent he already succeeded among his contemporaries. The Allies never sincerely cared about Jews and never fought for them. They protected their own skins. Europe’s Jews were eventually liberated via the much-belated byproduct of Germany’s defeat. The enormity of the Holocaust could have been lessened, but it was nobody’s priority.
The Allies’ indifference derived from their own Judeophobia, albeit of lower grade than the Nazi variety. Mere months before World War II’s outbreak, when the Holocaust was about to be kick-started, Britain published its notorious White Paper ruling out this country as a viable asylum for refugees from Hitler’s hell. Germany’s Jews were already shorn of citizenship and fleeing, stateless, in all directions. Hitler’s threats were well recorded, shouted in the world’s face and hardly kept secret.…
Yet the fault wasn’t Britain’s alone. Hitler tauntingly invited all democracies to take his Jews, if they were so fretful about them. He knew that for all their self-righteous rhetoric, these states wouldn’t accept his provocative challenge. After 1938’s Anschluss, their representatives met in Evian-les-Bains, on Lake Geneva’s French shore, to decide what to do with Nazism’s desperate victims, pounding on their gates in search of sanctuary. They never even called them Jews, lest they incur the fuehrer’s wrath.
It turned into a great Jew-rejection fest. Britain bristled at any hint of allowing refugees into Eretz Yisrael, mandated to it to administer as the Jewish National Home. Progenitors of today’s Palestinian terrorists made sure endangered Jews wouldn’t be sheltered, and His Majesty’s government appeasingly assented. The vast empty spaces of Canada, Australia and New Zealand were likewise off-limits. The American humanitarianism of Franklin Roosevelt, who unreservedly shared the predispositions of his European counterparts, consisted of tossing the undesirable hot potato into the international arena, because Jews weren’t wanted in the Land of the Free, either.
Indeed FDR toyed with the notion of shipping German Jews to Ethiopia or Central Africa. The UK favored the jungles of Venezuela or Central America. Mussolini changed direction northward. Instead of exposing Berlin’s urbane Jews to the rigors of the tropics, he opined that the Siberian arctic might be a preferable hardship. The competition was on: who’d suggest a more remote and less hospitable exile in which to dump those whom the British Foreign Office shamelessly labeled “unwanted Jews.…”
These were the seeds. Once war erupted, all attempts to rescue Jews were rejected. The Allies couldn’t even be bothered to bomb the railways into Auschwitz or the crematoria therein, though they did drop leaflets at a POW camp nearby.
Maddeningly, if he could peek into our reality today, a gloating Hitler would discern a world which had turned against the Jewish state in almost knee-jerk unison. The sovereign Jewish aggregate is treated like a despised pariah among the nations.
Pro forma none of this bears Third Reich hallmarks. The cynical pretense is that of enlightenment and benevolent antagonism to Nazism. The sappy “universalist” lesson learned from the Holocaust suggests that history’s greatest premeditated crime wasn’t particularized but had something nebulous to do with human nature and hate for nameless “others.”
The identity of both victims and perpetrators has conveniently been scrapped from history--the Jewishness of the six million and the Germanic faces of their murderers. A convenient mythology of German victimhood and lack of culpability is now the prevalent liberal theme.… Holocaust atrocities were committed by indeterminate Martians called Nazis. Something bad happened about which nobody knew and for which nobody is blameworthy.…
Gone from public discourse is the fiendish underside of German Jew-revulsion (the very term anti-Semitism was minted in 19th-century Germany). The Judensau (Jew-sow) was, for example, a shocking popular cultural mainstay of German religious and institutional artwork from medieval days and beyond.… Most notable is the bas relief on the Wittenberg Stadtkirche, where Martin Luther preached. Luther himself commented: “Here on our church in Wittenberg a sow is sculpted in stone. Piglets and Jews lie suckling under her.…
The roots of the Holocaust are embedded deep in Germany’s psyche and cannot be explained away as mere aversion to foreigners. Analogies to Islamophobia are spurious. Jews resided in Germany from the dawn of its history and were more Germanized than Germans. They were hardly outsiders and certainly not Germany’s enemies.
And yet the past is conveniently shunted aside. At the very most, Jews and Germans are viewed as players inadvertently cast in given roles as the genocide drama unfolded. These roles, we’re told, are eminently interchangeable.
By universalism’s distorted yardstick, bloodstained Germany can under fortuitous circumstances transform into spotless, progressive New Germany, while Jews (whose life-affirming, justice-affirming and peace-affirming ethos is the antithesis of what Germany generated) can become the New Nazis.
This has seeped into Israel’s discourse, too. Political-correctness purveyors make sure we don’t dwell on our fears of falling victim to a new genocide but that we admonish ourselves for being potential New Nazis--vis-à-vis genocidal Arabs, illegal infiltrators and even elderly Holocaust survivors.
Instead of teaching our young not to count on the conscience of other nations, we inculcate in them sensitivity to the demoralizing narratives of those who slander the Jewish collective. Self-flagellating demagoguery reigns supreme among us, painting ourselves blacker than black, while absolving our enemies of any sin (foremost the inimical descendants of Nazism’s avid Arab collaborators).
If Holocaust Remembrance Day obliges us to anything, it is to see the Holocaust again through Jewish eyes and resist universalism’s toxic saccharine. Otherwise, Hitler will have won. Syrupy sanctimony demonizes our national revival and simultaneously dulls our vigilance in the face of threats from Hitler’s Islamic torchbearers.
David Horovitz
Jerusalem Post, May 2, 2011
Since Fatah and Hamas announced their “reconciliation” accord last Wednesday, I have waited for the chorus of international outrage.
I waited for the global condemnation of the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, for choosing to tie their fate to an organization ideologically bent on wiping out the Jewish state. Sixty-four years after the family of nations--six million times too late--had finally internalized the imperative to revive the Jews’ sovereignty in their historic land, I waited for those nations to rise up in concerted fury at this overt new legitimization of an armed movement seeking again to dispossess us.
I waited to hear ridicule heaped upon Abbas’s farcical defense of the new arrangement. The idea that he would continue to negotiate with Israel for shared control of this disputed territory while Hamas would sit silently by--Hamas, whose entire raison d’etre is to eliminate Israel--was self-evidently preposterous.
And then Hamas rendered it still more so, by making explicit that it has no intention of sitting silently by, but is, rather, openly demanding that Abbas withdraw the PLO’s recognition of Israel, whose very presence, in the words of Hamas’s Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, “is illegitimate.”
I waited for at least the responsible member-states of the UN to tear apart the risible assertion that, after bonding with the thugs who seized control of Gaza four years ago by killing hundreds of their own people, the Palestinians now have a unified leadership capable of governing a new Palestine in accordance with sovereign norms. A unified leadership seeking statehood it may claim to be, but it incorporates one element whose stated goal is the replacement of the sovereign state next door.
But I waited in vain.
Dumb, delusional or just plain old anti- Semitic, much of the international community is ignoring the Hamas charter’s guiding instruction to “kill the Jews.” In professing that Hamas can somehow metamorphose into an Israel-tolerating entity, it is discounting Hamas leaders’ own relentless insistence that their own sense of religious imperative means they can never, and will never, recognize Israel. It is, in part at least, blaming the Israeli government of the past two years for ostensibly leaving Abbas no choice but to bring in Hamas, as though the failure to reach viable peace terms, whoever is to blame, legitimizes his resort to an alliance with the Islamist killers. And it is insistently brushing aside Hamas’s bloodily proven record of abusing every constructive opportunity in defiant pursuit of its inhumane agenda--first exploiting Israeli withdrawals from West Bank cities to build an army of suicide bombers and then seizing control of Jew-free Gaza to fashion a terror base from which to attack Israel.
Hamas, the White House Chief of Staff William Daley noted on Thursday, “is a terrorist organization which targets civilians.” Indeed it is. And therefore a moral international community would seek to deprive it of any legitimacy, to do everything possible to prevent it growing stronger, and to make plain that it has no place in international dealings. Instead, Daley, in those same remarks, declared that “the United States supports Palestinian reconciliation provided it is on the terms that advance the cause of the peace.”
What kind of doublespeak is that, and from the ostensible moral leader of the free world? How can Fatah-Hamas reconciliation possibly “advance the cause of peace” when one of its components makes plain at every opportunity that it pursues the very opposite goal?
The consequences of past misjudgments, delusions, willful blindnesses, appeasements and lapsed morality are being highlighted this very week, as we remember the Holocaust victims who went to their deaths because the international community failed to act with sufficient alacrity to protect them. Hamas in 2011 cannot yet muster the weaponry to achieve its murderous goal for the Jewish state. But it is funded, trained and armed by a country, Iran, that is developing the means to try to wipe us out. And its partnership with the purportedly moderate face of the Palestinian leadership constitutes an earthshaking potential step forward for its ambitions.
Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed into his internationally lauded leadership an organization for which there should be no international tolerance. If it is formalized, all components of this framework for Palestinian governance--this alliance that encompasses what Abbas himself, after the Gaza coup, called “the forces of darkness”--should be placed outside the framework of the family of nations.
Israel seeks viable terms for separation from the Palestinians, terms under which the Palestinians can achieve their independence without threatening ours. Abbas is about to turn his back on this avenue. And the international community, rather than indulging him, should be insisting that he think again.
Key global players have chosen disingenuousness in the face of Abbas’s capitulative embrace of the Islamic extremists. What is required is moral denunciation and the unmistakable message that this coalition will not be tolerated.…
The man whom Binyamin Netanyahu, just eight months ago, called his “partner in peace” is supposed to formally sign on to this grotesque amalgamation on Wednesday. I [am] wait[ing] for the global condemnation.…
“It seems the world finds it easier to talk of lessons of the past rather than project them on the present day and future. But we, members of the Jewish people, must not ignore the lessons of the Holocaust on days such as these.

“New enemies continue to emerge…Iran and its cohorts Hezbollah and Hamas openly call for the destruction of the Jewish state. All those who say they have learned the lessons of the Holocaust, must unequivocally condemn those who call for the annihilation of the Jewish state.… The threat on our existence cannot be swept aside.…

“We must not bury our heads in the sand and dismiss the threat with words of mockery. Has the world learned this lesson? I doubt it.

“The world should know that when the people of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces say never again—we mean every word.”—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a speech at the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem to launch Holocaust Remembrance Day, declaring that the world has yet to internalize the lessons of the Holocaust, yet affirming that the Jewish people and the nation of Israel undoubtedly have. NEVER AGAIN! (Ynet News, May 1.)

On Topic
Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2011
Liat Collins
Lessons From the Shoah

FrontPage Blog, April 28, 2011
Giulio Meotti
Fighting Jewish Genocide

Jerusalem Post, April 16, 2011
Robbie Sabel
The Legacy of the Eichmann Trial

JTA, April 28, 2011
Uriel Heilman
Israel Taking Holocaust Restitution Into Its Own Hands

Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2011
Mark Ira Kaufman
Holocaust Justice: The Final Chapter

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