THE HUG OF DOV
On the 12th of December, in the auditorium of the Knesset building filled to the brim with family members, friends and former and present members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament paid tribute to its late speaker, Mr. Dov Shilansky.
The present speaker of the house, Mr. Reuven Rivlin, opened the event by giving an account of the contribution of the late speaker to the Zionist cause, to his activity over the years in Lithuania, in post war Germany, his arrival on the Altalena, his participation in the War of Independence and subsequent political activity. He praised his efforts on behalf of the less fortunate, his easy going manner and yet his total devotion to the cause of a strong and proud Israel.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised his activity for the benefits of Holocaust survivors, his activity at Yad Vashem, his initiation of the program called: “Every person has a name”, his unwavering belief in the teachings of Jabotinsky and Begin.
The only survivor of the original Shilansky family, Aryeh, spoke of the family of the care and devotion for each other in good times as well as in times of disaster and need.
A very well done documentary called “The hug of Dov" describing his personaL life and political activity concluded the very impressive event.
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A Task Unfinished
In a World where English has become the Esperanto of our times, nothing should be more important to us than translating documents, especially those written in the Ghettos and Nazi concentration camps into that universal language that will make it accessible to most of the Worlds reading public. It is imperative that authentic documents written in local languages should be translated into English and made accessible to scholars, the general public and especially to the young generations in the schools and universities.
Anti-Semitic propaganda, spread by Holocaust deniers, interested parties, and hate mongers have succeeded in spreading doubt as to the authenticity of the Jewish tragedy during the Holocaust.
Nothing is more effective to combat this trend than presenting authentic documents written at a time and in place where the atrocities occurred
There are two original diaries ( a day to day account of struggle for survival) written in the Shavli (Lithuania) Ghetto, one Dr. Eliezer Yerushalmi, the secretary of the Jewish Ghetto administration called ”Pinkas Shavli”. It was presented as evidence to the war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg.
The other was written by Dr. Pik, the physician of the Ghetto hospital, trying to heal under impossible conditions.
We turn to you for help in translating and bringing those two priceless documents to print.
An open Letter to Mr. Č. Iškauskas
Your article regarding people of Jewish ancestry serving in the Nazi armed forces caused me to wonder if there is not a devious objective, an attempt to marginalize the events of the Jewish Holocaust in Lithuania. You start by naming all the mass murderers of the Nazi era having traces of Jewish blood. It is a fact that some so called Jews did serve in the wehrmacht out of fear for their lives, others because they denied their Jewish ancestry.
We Jews do have many faults, the worst of them is self hatred caused by thousands of years of persecution. What was your reason for bringing it up?
If blood is the criteria by which you measure human behavior than I, a cohen (a priest) can genetically trace my ancestry to Moses and Aharon the fathers of monotheism, of the a code of decent human brhavior,of justice and fair play. Did you ever check your own ancestry? Could it be possible that you have traces of Mongol blood as a result of rape? What is this nonsence of pure or tainted blood?
You omitted the name of the gentile peace loving Jewish Rabbi spreading the word of God in whose name untold thousands of Jews were burned at the stake all over Europe. You failed to mention the inquisition and the chief inquisitioner in Spain Torquemada, a converted and self hating Jew.
You deliberately mention every blood lible against the Jews omitting the true facts . You mention The Protocols of Zion, a libelous concoction written at the request of the Russian Tzar trying to divert the blame for the disastruous situation in the country from himself. We were the perenial scapegoats for all the ills of Europe. Blood libles and false accusations have been the plague that has caused our people untold suffering over the ages.
Jews were blamed for the plague in Europe, eventually proven wrong, itwas caused by mice imported from China. Dreifuss was accused of betrayal and count Esterhaze was the culprit. Bailis was wrongfully accused in Russia of murdering a gentile child in order to use his blood for baking matzot. In spite of his proven innocence it resulted in pogroms and the murder of Jews. Xenophobic Lithuania was no different, steeped in hatred for the peaceful industrious minority, waiting for their chance to devide the spoils. It did not make any difference that Jews suffered more from the anti-Semitic Soviet occupation, that propotionally more of them were exiled to Syberia, that nationalization affected them more than others.
You forgot to mention that a great majority of your countrymen willingly collaborated with the Soviet regime and that many of the leaders of post occupation Lithuanis were high ranking officials of Soviet Lithuania, that almost none of them suffered the cosequences of their past deeds. It was no accident that the mass extermination of Jews started in Lithuania.
Lithuania was chosen by the Nazi leaders as a proving ground, a litmus test of how the local population would react to the mass murder of Jews. It proved to them that the locals were more than enthusiastic to take part in it. Lithuanian „patriots“ started the indiscriminate murder of their peaceful Jewish neighbors even before the arrival of the Nazi troops. It was not only hatred but also greed that motivated them. Those are undeniable facts regarding the Jewish tragedy in Lithuania.
I cannot immagine you walking in Vilnius, wearing Nazi symboles, and carrying the flag of evil in the anti-Semitic parades. Yours is a subtle devious attempt to minimise the guilt feelings (if you have any) regarding the murderous barbarism that your countrymen inflicted on our people.
Bankrupt Lithuania is spending millions today in an attempt to deny, to obfuscate and to minimise the true facts of the enthusiastic participation of your countrymen in the atricities of the Holocaust. Are you also collaborating with the Lithuanian propaganda organs in this endeavor? Isn‘t it time that you accept the true facts instead of searching for any available pretense to minimise the guilt of mass murder?
Why are you participating in this absurdity?
Reponse to article Jews in the Service of Hitler, by Česlovas Iškauskas, Delfi 17 July 2011.
Translation to English can be found at Defending History http://holocaustinthebaltics.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/17th-July-2011-Iskauskas-on-Jews-in-the-service-of-Hitler.pdf
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DIVISION OF SPOILS
It was not a spontaneous eruption of murderous hatred culminating in the mass murder of the local Jews by the Lithuanian masses but a systematic preplanned prearranged division of spoils followed by the elimination of the witnesses to their crimes. The leaders of this bacchanalia of murder and robbery were not the dregs of Lithuanian society but their political leaders: teachers, doctors, members of the free professions. The plans for the division of spoils were already made ahead of time, and when the Jewish family was moved to the Ghetto the new owners moved right in without having to fight off other contenders.
Doctors moved into the homes and clinics of their former Jewish colleagues. To verify those events I am presenting only one example proving that claim. In Siauliai the Lithuanian dermatologist Dr. Talat-Kelpsha moved into the home and clinic of the Jewish dermatologist Dr. Wolpert taking it for granted that it was his right. Lawyers, teachers, political leaders and people of influence accepted this as their “inheritance”. It was no accident that the best Jewish homes and apartments were immediately taken over by the leaders of the Lithuanian “uprising”. The rest of the Lithuanian population following their leaders, broke into Jewish homes grabbed whatever they wanted, and in spite of no resistance pillaged beat and often killed their terrified Jewish neighbors.
This continued until the German authorities finally stopped it by arresting some of the robbers and forcing them to return the stolen goods. (Yerushalmy, “Pinkas Shavli” p.14) German authorities demanded the return of stolen Jewish property since they considered it the property of the Third Reich but were totally unsuccessful in their attempt.
It the diary written secretly in the Ghetto of Siauliai by Dr. Yerushalmi “Pinkas Shavli” he writes of the unrelenting effort by the Lithuanian cutthroats demanding the transfer of all the Jews to Zhagare, a little town in the north of the country where most of the Jews from the surrounding area were murdered, with the intention of eliminating the last surviving Siauliai Jews, the last witnesses to their monstrous crimes.
Again and again Gewecke, the German commandant in Siauliai, writes to his superiors demanding the rejection of the Lithuanian’s demand to eliminating the Jewish presence in the city. The approximately 3500 Jews survived under impossible conditions till their evacuation to Germany in 1944 no thanks to the local Lithuanian population. Escaping the Ghetto Jews found shelter among the local population mostly during the last days of the Nazi occupation when it became clear that the Soviet forces were approaching. In spite of it the lust for Jewish blood did not diminish and some were caught and murdered.
If I am alive today it’s because the Nazi war machine was in need of material to supply their war needs!
There is no denying that there were good people among the local population. Even in Sodom God found some but the material advantages in eliminating the Jewish population, taking all they had was the main motive.
Even today the fear that the Jews will return and demand the return of their stolen community, intellectual and private property is very disturbing to the masses of Lithuanians., The comments in the Lithuanian press attest to that and no Lithuanian political leader would even dare to mention that there is justice to the Jewish claims.
Former Lithuanian president Algirdas Brazauskas dared to utter a few words of apology to the assembly of the Knesset and became persona non grata on his return home, and even the local Church after his death tried to prevent his laying in state at the cathedral in Vilnius.
This is the true Lithuania trying to lure Jewish investments and raise the local economy from the doldrums. Will history repeat itself? When material interests are paramount all forms of civilized behavior are in cold storage.
This saga of humanities worst hours was not accidental, and the 2000 year Jewish history attests to that. Time and again we were invited to come to develop the local economy and after a while robbed, expelled and murdered. Although this was the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in human history it might be not the last .A precedent is dangerous and it is much easier the second time.
The whole Western World was aware of what was happening and remained silent. It is no accident that the current champions of justice and fair play, the Swedes had no pangs of conscience in exchanging their steel and manufactured goods for the gold teeth extracted from the mouths of murdered Jews. So did neutral Switzerland, Holland, Poland, the Baltic States and others. All of Europe profited from the Jewish tragedy, and nobody was willing to do something to stop the carnage; it was profitable!
History should be a good teacher