“THOSE WHO FAIL TO LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT.”
Winston Churchill to the House of Commons, 1948
This famous quote is one to strongly consider as we think about our nation and the world today. We thought we had conquered most of the world’s diseases, then the Coronavirus moved around the world.
We thought we had crossed through the problems of discrimination after the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther, Jr…then came more deaths for many people of all colors. We are faced with problems today that could be disastrous for us all. There are those who simply want their voices heard, justice done and then there are the anarchists among us who want to destroy peace and accomplishments of many. What we thought had been attained through new laws of the land against racism and civil rights for all can be destroyed within an instance if lawlessness is allowed to continue. We ask ourselves, “What is next and what has happened to the democratic way of life? Where is law and order?”
There are forces at work to disrupt anything peaceful. Some are outsiders, who mean no good will. These forces will take advantage of every tragic event to move our civilization toward something even more tragic. What would that be is not fully known, but the loss of lawfulness, the democratic way and the sanctity of all men and women could be only a starter.
What exactly is “sanctity?” It has to do with being sacred or morally upright and correct.” Is nothing sacred anymore? Does the hard work of people building businesses, which support our communities…for all races…make it right to “smash…grab…and run”… while laughing about it?!
The values that were taught in most families…about stealing or destroying seems to mean nothing to many who have been given so much by the previous generation? There were marches in Selma; men and women of all colors who went off to war to fight for world freedom. Do they understand the sacrifices of history? If not, do we blame ourselves for not teaching it more in schools or in the home? Will these young adults who believe they are changing the world teach their own children the meaning of sacrifice and sanctity? Do they “care less” when it comes to destroying and looting?
Yes, there are voices that need to be heard, but all people, through our Constitution and laws, have been given a right to freedom of speech when voicing complaints…and should and can be heard without destroying the center of their own universe. (“…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress…”) There is no right given to plunder, steal or take the property of another.
We have also seen how situations can turn from bad to worse when people are singled out because of who they are…minorities…police…the calling of disparaging names because of one’s belief on a particular subject. The victims of violence should be able to mourn their dead. The victim’s memories should be honored, not exploited.
While government officials argue about what to do in this crisis, the “rape” of hard-working American men and women’s businesses goes on…destroying the lives of many.
Do not forget history. It teaches us everything…to do and not to do. It tells us how fragile governments can be when those who believe their ideas are the only ideas, regardless of who they hurt, begs the possibility of raising up leaders to push the world into a brink of despair and even war. We have seen it in our best teacher…HISTORY.
Let’s take a look back.
There were good people in Germany before World War II who saw that the path on which their country was heading would lead Germany and other countries into chaos. Even within the high-ranking military and Christian churches, there were dissidents who stood against Hitler. There were actually six attempts to do away with Hitler, but each failed.
1944 Plot: …”At the center of this plot was Claus von Stauffenberg, a dashing colonel who had lost an eye and one of his hands during combat in North Africa. He and his co-conspirators—who included Tresckow, Friedrich Olbricht and Ludwig Beck—planned to kill the Führer with a hidden bomb concealed in a briefcase and then use the German Reserve Army to topple the Nazi high command. If their coup was successful, the rebels would then immediately seek a negotiated peace with the Allies. ( Full story of 6 plots History.com)
When the bomb exploded, more than 20 people were injured and three officers were killed, but Hitler escaped one more time. Because of this attempt, more than 7,000 people were arrested and 4,980 people were executed by the Gestapo.” (History Collection)
Anarchy is raising an ugly head in today’s modern world. The very word, from the Latin word, anarchia, and the Greek, anarchos, has the meaning of “no rule.” (Wikipedia)
We, as a nation of people, have a choice to stand for what is right and honorable…or loss control. Don’t forget “Kristallnacht” (The Night of Broken Glass) when storefronts belonging to the Jews were shattered. Glass littered the streets and vandalism occurred. Sound familiar?
I leave you with a compelling life of a survivor of one of history’s darkest hours. At first it began slowly and then the blaming of an entire group of people began. The innocent were accused…and the rest is “history.” We pray that this part of our present day history will not be another dark hour.
- Born in 1928 in Berlin. Hannah’s father was Head of the Prussian Press Bureau and adviser to the Minister of Interior of Brandenburg, Germany. In 1933, with the rise of the Nazis to power, Hannah’s family fled to Amsterdam.
- There, at school, Hannah met Anna Frank, also a refugee from Germany.
- In October 1942, while giving birth, both the baby and Hannah’s mother died.
- On June 20, 1943, Hannah, her younger sister, Gabi, her father and grandparents were sent to the Westerbork transit camp.
- Hannah and Gabi were separated from their father and sent to the orphanage in the camp. There, she worked cleaning the toilets
- In 1944, Hannah, her father and sister were transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she had to do forced labor.
- When she was told that Anna Frank was also imprisoned there she managed to establish contact with her and even tried to give her a package of food and clothing, which someone else stole.
- Hanna’s Father and Grandparents were murdered in Bergen-Belsen.
- On April 11, 1945, the camp inmates were evacuated. Hannah had contracted typhus.
- In June, the Soviets handed Hannah and her sister to the Americans and they were returned to Amsterdam.
- Hannah went to Israel in 1947 and lived in Kfar Hasidim. She worked as a nurse in a pediatric ward at the ‘Bikkur Holim’ Hospital in Jerusalem. (from Yad Vashem)
In Hannah’s own words:
Video Turn up your sound.
The survivors of the concentration camp, Auschwitz, were liberated by the Soviet Army on January 27, 1945. What they found shocked the world and yet, even today, the Jews of the world are still being persecuted. Why? The horror of these and many other photographs only tell part of the story. Does the world want to endure such atrocities again?
A Liberator Remembers:
MOSCOW (AFP) — It was the silence, the smell of ashes and the boundless surrounding expanse that struck Soviet soldier Ivan Martynushkin when his unit arrived in January 1945 to liberate the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
As they entered the camp for the first time, the full horror of the Nazis’ crimes there were yet to emerge.
“Only the highest-ranking officers of the General Staff had perhaps heard of the camp,” recalled Martynushkin of his arrival to the site where at least 1.1 million people were killed between 1940 and 1945 — nearly 90 percent of them Jews. “We knew nothing.” But Martynushkin and his comrades soon learned.
After scouring the camp in search of a potential Nazi ambush, Martynushkin and his fellow soldiers “noticed people behind barbed wire. ‘It was hard to watch them. I remember their faces, especially their eyes which betrayed their ordeal,’ he said. The unit found roughly 7,000 prisoners left behind in Auschwitz by fleeing Nazis — those too weak or sick to walk. They also discovered about 600 corpses. Ten days earlier, the Nazis had evacuated 58,000 Auschwitz inmates in sub-zero conditions over hundreds of kilometers towards Loslau (now Wodzislaw Slaski in Poland). Survivors later remembered the “death march” as even worse than what they had endured in the camp.
Prior to that retreat, Nazi units had blown up parts of the camp, but failed to destroy evidence of their genocidal work. Among items discovered by Martynushkin and other Soviet troops were 370,000 men’s suits, 837,000 women’s garments, and 7.7 tons of human hair, according to Sybille Steinbacher, a history professor at the University of Vienna.
January 27, 1945 — now commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day — had begun as a normal day for the 21-year-old Martynushkin and his company, until the order was given to move towards the Polish town of Oswiecim, where Nazis had set up a network of concentration camps.
That led to the machine gun commander and his peers taking Auschwitz, liberating its survivors and discovering the nightmarish crimes that had been committed in the camp. (Moscow AFP)
OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — On Jan. 27, 1945, the Soviet Red Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in German-occupied Poland. The Germans had already fled westward, leaving behind the bodies of prisoners who had been shot and thousands of sick and starving survivors. The Soviet troops also found gas chambers and crematoria that the Germans had blown up before fleeing in an attempt to hide evidence of their mass killings. But the genocide was too massive to hide. Today, the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau endures as the leading symbol of the terror of the Holocaust. Its iconic status is such that every year it registers a record number of visitors — 2.3 million last year alone.
Auschwitz today is many things at once: an emblem of evil, a site of historical remembrance and a vast cemetery. It is a place where Jews make pilgrimages to pay tribute to ancestors whose ashes and bones remain part of the earth.
AP Pictures of Auschwitz 75 years later:
Has the world not learned the lessons of history? Is it repeating history by “turning it’s back” on the Jews or any other group of people enduring hate and torment?” If so, this is a warning that should not be ignored. Charges have been made that modern-day Iran is the “most anti-Semitic regime on the planet.”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Holocaust survivors and world leaders that the world turned its back on Jews during the Holocaust, teaching the Jewish people that under threat they can only rely on themselves.
Speaking at the World Holocaust Forum’s memorial to commemorate the 75th liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp at Yad Vashem, Netanyahu said the world was similarly failing to unify against Iran, which he charged was the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet.
‘Israel is eternally grateful for the sacrifice made by the Allies. Without that sacrifice, there would be no survivors today. But we also remember that some 80 years ago, when the Jewish people faced annihilation, the world turned its back on us,’ Netanyahu said.” (article by Raoul Wootliff and Toi Staff Jan.2020)
Over and over, we hear “NEVER AGAIN”…Yet in one form or another, genocide is part of many cultures and places around the world. We must not forget…and we must not turn our backs on any place where the people are helpless victims to the evils of their leaders.
“It was my privilege to take American high school students to Auschwitz and because we went to see this place of evil, their lives will never be the same…and neither is mine.” N. Boyer of Boyer Writes
VIDEO OF THE 75th YEAR SINCE LIBERATION OF AUSCHWITZ from the location at AUSCHWITZ in Poland
(This video is full length. It is worth watching even if it can only be watched in short intervals.) Turn up sound:
One of my readers sent me an email explaining how he had made a trip to Auschwitz in Poland to find the memory of a particular child who perished there. Having traveled as a teacher with American students to Auschwitz, I understood and remembered the locations where I also walked and saw the horrors of an “orchestrated nightmare” that took place in World War II.
The email that I received from Ralph Davis is in part the following:
Many scholars of the Holocaust have come to believe that when a Holocaust survivor tells a story that sounds too incredible to be true, it may be just that: the truth. Such is the story of Lili Zelmanovic (Lili Jacob Meier) and her photo album.
18-year-old Lili Jacob was deported with her family, and most of the Jews of Hungary, in the spring of 1944. On the ramp at Auschwitz, she was brutally separated from her parents and younger brothers. She never saw any of them again. She was lucky and survived; yet, she was not always convinced of the blessing of having survived totally alone, bereft of family, friends and her world.
Unlike all of the other survivors, she was granted a small miracle. On the day of her liberation, in the Dora concentration camp hundreds of miles from Auschwitz, she found in the deserted SS barracks a photo album. It contained, among others, pictures of her family and friends as they arrived on the ramp and unknowingly awaited their death. It was a unique tie to what once had been, could never return, and could never be rebuilt.
It was also, as we now know, the only photographic evidence of Jews arriving in Auschwitz or any other death camp. After the war, Lili found and married Max Zelmanovic, a prewar acquaintance. Selling glass-plate prints of the album to the Jewish Museum in Prague enabled the couple and their first-born daughter, Esther, to immigrate to the United States. They settled in Miami and raised a family, yet the album continued to be central to their lives.
Survivors spread the word of a unique album in the possession of a waitress in Miami, and they made their way across the country to seek her out, and to hope against hope that their lost family, like hers, might be engraved on its prints. Not a week would go by but Lili would bring home strangers who were not strangers, and they would pour over the pictures and weep. Rarely, someone would identify a family member, and Lili would give them the snapshot. Since most of the Jews had been murdered, leaving no living trace, most of the photos remained unclaimed.
In 1980 Serge Klarsfeld convinced Lilly (pictured below) that the album should be safeguarded at Yad Vashem. She came to Jerusalem, showed it to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and donated it to Yad Vashem, where it resides to this day and is treasured for the future.
On December 17, 1999, Lilly Zelmanovic passed away. (from Yad Vashem)
I too, like Dave, believe that it is imperative that we continue to share the story of those who died in the concentration camps because at some point there will not be any living survivors to tell their stories. If we do not teach our future generations the truth, it could easily happen again. Thank you, Dave.
The video shared below is long, but worth the watch. Take your time and listen and view parts at a time if it is more convenient. It speaks for itself and it is my prayer that many around the world will make the effort to listen to it….and never forget!
If the video should ask for a password, type DaveDavis
Someone died this week, August 10, 2013, who should have died much sooner. Laszlo Csatary was 98 when he passed away in Poland, waiting for a trial that never came.
Csatary had lived in the West since WWII…even ran an art gallery in Canada, where he had become a citizen until Canada got wind of his connections to the Holocaust. Interesting that he fled back to Poland where his war crimes had been committed. Later he was arrested in Hungary. There were many ghosts to meet him there…some still living after torturous conditions in the camps.
According to an AP writing,Holocaust survivor Edita Salamonova, whose family was killed in the Auschwitz death camp after their deportation from Kosice, said she remembered Csatary well. “I can see him in front of me,” Salamonova said. “A tall, handsome man but with a heart of stone.”Salamonova remembered Csatary’s presence at the brick factory… and would make sure to keep out of his sight when he was around.”
“Hungarian authorities said Csatary was the chief of an internment camp set up in a brick factory for around 12,000 Jews in Kosice — a Slovak city then part of Hungary — in 1944, beating them with his bare hands and a dog whip regularly and without reason. He had also been charged with “actively participating” in the deportation of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps….On June 2, 1944, Csatary rejected a request by one of the deportees to allow a ventilation hole to be cut into the wall of a railroad car on its way to a death camp and crammed with around 80 people.”
We would like to know that all war criminals had their lives cut short by a swift justice that was handed down to them by high courts. That is, unfortunately, not the case. We are told by Efraim Zuroff, one of the last Nazi hunters and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem Office, that they were “deeply disappointed” in Csatary’s death ahead of his possible trial in Hungary…“It is a shame that Csatary, a convicted … and totally unrepentant Holocaust perpetrator who was finally indicted in his homeland for his crimes, ultimately eluded justice and punishment at the very last-minute,” Zuroff said in a statement.
We would question whether Csatary truly eluded justice and punishment …..for his day is coming. No earthly court sentenced him to a shorter life when it should have, but his secret hours and sleep may have been one of nightmares and torment…for the “wicked have no rest”. The Great Court and Judgment Day is Coming from which he and no other person will escape. Many people do not want to consider this part of the Word of God because it is not comfortable to consider. Nevertheless, if we are to believe even one word of the the Scriptures as truth, we cannot dismiss this part. The other side of the grave will have much more than we can imagine.
The New and Old Testament Holy Scriptures tell us the following…let those who have ears to hear…hear….
Revelation 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Ezekiel38:17-23 “Thus says the Lord God: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? But on that day, the day that Gog (may refer to most of the middle eastern countries surrounding Israel) shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many people who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
We serve a just God…a merciful God to those who repent….a kind and generous God…whose patience will not endure forever.