07/5/14

Important Czernowitz Dates

From Gaby Rinzler — regarding the list discussion about ‘important Czernowitz dates':

In an attempt to leave my children and grand children information about my past I made a Geopolitical introduction. It may be pertinent to the present discussion re: what 1848, 28 of March 1914 and 1944, etc. meant to our group.

[Note* See List Archives on the website 2014 Archives II, starting June 27th 2014 for the discussion -- Subject: 28 June 1940.]
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07/3/14

Transnistria, Then and Now

The territory of Romanian-ruled Transnistria (1941-44, 42,000 km2 / 16,216 sq mi) is incongruent with and included present-day Transnistria (4,163 km2 / 1,607 sq mi). Learn more on that subject from the disambiguation effected by Daniel Katz by clicking here for a PDF download of Daniel’s presentation, including detailed maps and additional links.

Please remember, Fabius Ornstein’s testimony “The Suffering of the Deportees in Transnistria” is still available at our Blog! On Fabius Ornstein’s life-saving activity in Transnistria we learn from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency report dated July 26, 1943 as follows:

Thousands of Jews in Transnistria Have Not Seen Bread for Months, Hundreds Starving
Thousands of Jewish deportees confined in the various ghettos which the Rumanian occupation authorities have established in Transnistria, the Rumanian-administered section of the Russian Ukraine, have not seen any bread for months and the vast majority of them are threatened with starvation unless some assistance is forthcoming soon, according to private advices received here today. In the township of Copaigorod about 2,220 Jews are confined at present, the report discloses. Under the leadership of one of the deportees, Fabius Ornstein, the Jewish community has organized a free kitchen which has so far managed to distribute about 500 meals twice daily. These ‘meals,’ however, almost always consist of potatoes and nothing else. [...]

Maps of 2 territories named TransnistriaMaps of 2 territories named Transnistria1

05/22/14

Rohatyn and Bukovina Memorials at the Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv

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Marla Raucher Osborn at the Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv, with Rohatyners standing before the Rohatyn Memorial to the victims of the Shoah

Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio broadcast on “Ukrainian Jewish Heritage – Rohatyn”

 

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Bukovina Holocaust Memorial at the Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv

JEWISH GALICIA & BUKOVINA: Galicia and Bukovina were major Jewish centers as far back as the 13th Century and were home to over one million Jews, with unique cultural characteristics and a vibrant intellectual and spiritual life. These regions produced prominent Jewish thinkers, rabbis and Hassidic courts, who created influential texts and institutions that have had a long-lasting impact on the Jewish world. The Torah scholars and Jewish intellectuals of Galicia and Bukovina were known for their tolerance and openness towards modernity, while being firmly rooted in Jewish tradition and learning. This thriving Jewish world was wiped out in the Holocaust.

03/23/14

Irena Sendler, Social Worker, Humanitarian, Legend

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Guest post by Laurie Rappeport, Safed/Israel: One of the biggest challenges that present-day Holocaust researchers face is the dwindling number of survivors who are still alive to bear testimony to their lives under Nazi rule. Many Holocaust memorials and museums, among them Yad Vashem, are working against the clock to collect testimonies and conduct research that can only be accomplished as long as first-person witnesses are accessible.

In addition to memorializing the victims these investigations are also frequently used to honor Righteous Gentiles — people who risked their lives to save Jews during WWII. Numerous archivists and researchers at Yad Vashem are trying to ascertain the needed information in order to acknowledge these individuals.

Sometimes, information about an episode or activity comes to light unexpectedly. Such was the case of Irena Sendler, a Polish woman who was honored by Yad Vashem in 1963 for her role in saving over 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto. Sendler received one of Yad Vashem’s first Righteous Among the Nations honorariums but after she returned to Poland her story was forgotten. In 1999 however, a group of non-Jewish schoolgirls from  Kansas, involved in a social studies assignment, heard a rumor about Sendler and decided to pursue the story. Thanks to these girls the incredible story of Irena Sendler’s wartime activities was publicized worldwide at the Milken Center .

Irena Sendler was an employee of the Warsaw Department of Welfare when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939. She became an active member of the Zagota underground — a resistance group which specialized in assisting Jews who were trying to escape from German persecution. In conjunction with Zagota Sendler helped Jews find hiding places and obtain false papers to enable them to hide. By 1940 Sendler was Zagota’s head of children’s services and she began to look for ways to help Jewish children escape from the Germans.

In 1940 the Germans built the Warsaw ghetto and imprisioned almost half a million Jews behind the ghetto walls without adequate food, shelter or medical care. Irena Sendler was able to obtain a pass that identified her as a nurse. She had free passage into and out of the ghetto and, at first, she used her pass to try and smuggle food and medicines into the ghetto. Sendler quickly saw that such efforts were like a drop in a bucket and she decided that, in order to help the largest number of people, she would have to find another course of action.

Sendler and the Zagota organization devised a plan which would allow her to smuggle children out of the ghetto. She began to pick children off the street — children whose parents had been murdered or simply disappeared. She sedated the children and smuggled them out of the ghetto by hiding them in toolboxes, luggage and in wagons under barking dogs and garbage. She found tunnels and sewers under the ground and, using those tunnels, was able to lead the older children to the “free” side of Warsaw.

Sendler’s next course of action involved speaking to parents and asking them to allow her to take their children out of the ghetto. In an interview that Sendler conducted in 2004 she described those experiences.”I talked the mothers out of their children. Those scenes over whether to give a child away were heart-rending. Sometimes, they wouldn’t give me the child. Their first question was, ‘What guarantee is there that the child will live?’ I said, ‘None. I don’t even know if I will get out of the ghetto alive today.” Many parents refused to allow Sendler to take their children. They held out hope that, by staying with their families, the children had the best chance of survival. Other parents were concerned that the children would not be able to survive among anti-Semetic Polish gentiles. Over the course of two years however, Sendler was able to smuggle over 2500 children out of the ghetto. She recorded their names and their hiding places on pieces of tissue paper and hid them in glass jars which she buried in her yard. Zagota found hiding places for the children in convents, orphanages and with sympathetic Polish families.  Sendler was arrested after the fall of the Warsaw ghetto and sentenced her to be shot but Zagota was able to rescue her and she lived out the rest of the war in hiding. When the Kansas students began to research Sendler’s actions during the war, there was little information available, but Sendler herself was still alive. The girls obtained funding that allowed them to travel to Poland and interview Sendler. They then created a massive project, Life in a Jar, to honor Irena Sendler’s heroism and bravery.

Laurie Rappeport lives in Safed, Israel. She teaches Judaism and Israel-related subject via elearning to American day school and Hebrew school students.

03/5/14

Hitler’s Forgotten Ally – Ion Antonescu and His Regime, Romania 1940-1944

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http://us.macmillan.com/hitlersforgottenally/DennisDeletant

http://www.humanitas.ro/humanitas/aliatul-uitat-al-lui-hitler-ion-antonescu-si-regimul-sau-1940-1944

European History Quarterly 01/2009 (Lucian N. Leustean): “The prime merit of the book lies in its systematic investigation into the tumultuous evolution of the Antonescu regime and into his personal life. In addition, the combination of historical details with societal factors brings new facets to this analysis. Thus, examination of the Iron Guard leadership and of religious confessions in Romania helps to decipher the atmosphere of those times. In addition, Deletant’s writing style makes the book a gripping read, revealing the intimate connections between the personal life of the dictator and the political evolution of his regime. These points, coupled with the fact that most probably Antonescu remained the only leader who could publicly contradict the Führer, offer an incisive image of ‘Hitler’s Forgotten Ally’.”