Israel Air Force base near Mitzpe Ramon reconstructs ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign as part of the base’s Holocaust Remembrance Day events.
Soldiers serving on an Israel Air Force base in southern Israel found an unusual and controversial way to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day last week, erecting a replica of the infamous Auschwitz “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign.
Alongside the replica, the soldiers at the IAF base near Mitzpe Ramon placed lines of barbed wire, mimicking the death camp’s fence. As part of the Holocaust Remembrance Day activities, the base was also visited by a Holocaust survivor who shared his story with the troops.
In a photo circulating among Facebook users, and which can be seen here, a soldier wearing an IAF uniform is seen standing next to the replica. Read more.
An exhibition about the covert Israeli operation to capture Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1960 keeps on revealing new secrets.
The guest book for the “Operation Finale: The Story of the Capture of Eichmann” exhibition, which opened some two months ago, filled up very quickly. So did a second, which, like the first, was placed at the exhibition entrance. Some of the hundreds of pages are full on both sides.
The exhibition’s curator is Mossad employee Avner A. One day Avner noticed a tall, elderly man with erect posture who spent a long time at the guest book. When he approached the man and asked his name, the man replied: “I am Yitzhak Elron, the Israel Defense Forces’ attache in Argentina at the time of the operation.”
Brig. Gen. (res. ) Elron, now 88, actively helped in the surveillance of Eichmann that culminated in his capture and abduction to Israel, his trial and subsequent execution. Elron told Avner how he and his wife, Sarah, kept Eichmann under surveillance before he was abducted from his home in a Buenos Aires suburb. One day, for example, they sat in a Jeep near his home and waited for him, pretending to be a couple of lovers. Elron, incidentally, never told his wife she was taking part in a secret mission.
When he tried to turn the Jeep around to drive away, the vehicle slipped and fell into a ditch. He got out, unscathed, and the couple went to call for help; when they got back to the Jeep, they found someone had stolen one of the wheels. Now this story too is making its way into the history books.
In the wake of the chance encounter between A. and Elron, the latter produced, from his private archive, rare behind-the-scenes pictures from the operation. They are published here for the first time.
A chance e-mail received decades after the war helped Judy Maltz crack a mystery that had puzzled her since childhood: Who was the boy who showed up at her grandparents’ door in Galicia in 1944, and what became of him?
In late autumn 1944, an emaciated boy dressed in rags showed up with no warning at my grandparents’ doorstep, in the small town of Sokal, in eastern Poland. They rushed to find him some clean clothes and sat him down for a warm meal.
My grandparents were naturally overjoyed to discover that this landsman, who also happened to be a distant relative, had somehow survived the Holocaust. What they couldn’t figure out, though, was why it had taken him so long to find his way back, considering that the Germans had been gone for months - the Soviets had liberated this part of Eastern Europe as early as July 1944.
So why had this boy shown up only now? For a very simple reason, as he was to explain to my grandparents over a lengthy conversation at their kitchen table: It was only now that he had learned that the war was over and that the Germans were gone.
Since he had escaped the Sokal ghetto in May 1943, just before its final liquidation, he had been hiding out in the woods nearby, moving around from bunker to bunker to keep the Germans off his trail. But with the harsh days of winter approaching, he knew he would not be able to rely on the sun much longer to heat his food or keep himself warm. And so, he had ventured out into civilization in search of matches.
In the first town beyond the forest, he located the home of a gentile woman his family had known before the war. He knocked on her door and asked if she could spare a box of matches. Her response stunned him. “What are you still doing in the woods?” she asked. “All your friends are back in Sokal. Haven’t you heard that the war is over?”
This story of the boy who hadn’t known the war was over until he went out looking for matches fascinated me since I first heard it many years ago from my grandfather. What if he had never gone out on that foray? How long would he have continued hiding from the already defeated enemy? How was it that everyone else had figured out that the war was over? And whatever became of him? Read more.
The documents are expected to help researchers measure the scope of persecution and extermination of Jews in the former Soviet Union.
More than a million new testimonial pages about Jews in the Soviet Union will be released by Yad Vashem, starting next week, in the wake of agreements with the KGB archives and the national archives of Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The documents, which include personal papers belonging to World War II survivors from these states, are expected to help researchers measure the scope of persecution and extermination of Jews in the former Soviet Union.
"There are many black holes concerning communities and individuals in Central and Eastern Europe, where the majority of Jews lived," says Dr. Haim Gertner, head of the archives division of the Yad Vashem World Center for Holocaust Research, Documentation and Education. "It has been very difficult for us to copy records from this region; it includes entire villages that were wiped out by the Nazis in one day, and nobody was left to narrate what happened." Read more.
The latest research on Arab attitudes to Nazi Germany shows that there were Arab and Muslim circles that opposed Hitler, but support for the Nazis was widespread and, over time, Arabs saw the Holocaust as a Zionist myth.
Over time, the more the Holocaust was used as a justification for the establishment of the State of Israel − the more the tendency among Arabs to view it as a Zionist myth and to deny it entirely grew. This trend reached a peak with the international conference of Holocaust deniers that was held in 2006 in Tehran. All of this worried Anne-Marie Revcolevschi of Paris: Denial of the Holocaust in general, and in the Arab and Muslim states in particular, seemed to her to be a major threat to democracy and human rights, as well as to relations between Jews and Muslims. Read more.
Focusing on the tale of Algerian-born Jewish singer Salim Halali, a new French film looks at the little-known, and hard to confirm, efforts of the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris to save Jews during World War II.
The plot of the film centers on a heroic rescue tale, the details of which have yet to be studied fully by scholars, having to do with the Great Mosque of Paris having provided sanctuary and refuge to Jews, Salim Halali among them, during the Holocaust. The film has sparked a renewed public debate over whether the honorific “Righteous Among the Nations” should be accorded to the mosque’s rector, who is depicted as one who placed Halali and other Jews under his protection.
“The film pays homage to the people of our history who have been invisible. It shows another reality, that Muslims and Jews existed in peace. We have to remember that − with pride,” the film’s director, Ismael Ferroukhi, said in an interview with the New York Times. Read more.