Vignettes

As the Rabbi spoke, the door of the Yeshiva was opened and someone yelled, “The Germans are coming!”… His last words to his students were these, “And do as our holy sages had done – pour forth your words and cast them into letters. This will be the greatest retribution that you can wreak upon these wicked ones. Despite the raging wrath of our foes, the holy souls of your brothers and sisters will remain alive. These evil ones schemed to blot out their names from the face of the earth, but a man cannot destroy letters. For words have wings; they mount up to the heavenly heights and they endure for eternity.” — THE BLEEDING SKY by Louis Bransdorfer.

 

And it shall come to pass that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third part shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. I will say it is my people and they shall say, the Lord is my God. — Zachariah 13: 8-9         

 

Churchill cast about for whatever means were possible to impede or halt the German atrocities…Churchill drafted a declaration that he then sent to Roosevelt and Stalin…All those responsible for, or having taken consenting part “in atrocities, massacres and executions” were to be sent back to the countries “in which their abominable deeds were done in order that they may be judged and punished according to the laws of those liberated countries.”

Churchill’s draft declaration continued: “Let those who have hitherto not imbued their hands with innocent blood beware lest they join the ranks of the guilty, for most assuredly the three allied powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth, and will deliver them to their accusers in order that justice may be done.” Such a declaration, Churchill believed, would make at least “some of these villains shy of being mixed up in butcheries now that they know they are going to be beat.” — CHURCHILL AND THE JEWS by Martin Gilbert

 

“I believe we should put an end right now to all this sniffing out Nazis. Count on it; once we start, who knows where it will all end.” — West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, 1952

 

“If the Holocaust never happened, then where is my family?” — Leon Reich, survivor

 

​“Our prayer today is for the commemoration of the rising which broke out in the Warsaw ghetto on 19 April 1943. It was directed against the Nazis who entered the ghetto to round up the small remnant of its original 400,000 inhabitants in order to deport them to the gas chambers of Treblinka. Mordechaj Anielewicz took command of some 800 men equipped with home-made guns and explosives smuggled in by the Polish Underground. They continued fighting the Germans equipped with artillery, tanks and aircraft until the last days of May. On 19 April the Jewish Organizacja Bojowa, the Fighting Organization, issued the following declaration:

‘Jews! The hour of deed and revenge against the occupant has struck. All those capable of carrying arms must join us. Old people and women must help. To arms!’

“That day, the Germans, on entering the ghetto were greeted with grenades and handgun fire and had to withdraw after a few hours. They soon responded by blowing up and burning all the buildings, streets and whole districts one after the other. On 23 April the fighters issued another proclamation, which read:

‘Amongst the fires, the smoke and the blood of the murdered in the ghetto we send our last address to the world outside: we may all perish but we shall not surrender. We fight for our freedom and yours.’

“They fought in the name of human dignity. In the Ghetto Rising 7,000 Jews were killed, 5,000 burnt to death, 15,000 sent to perish in the gas chambers. They gained no military successes and did not live to enjoy the final victory of good over evil – but this first mass act of open resistance against the German occupants and its moral significance are written into Europe’s history.” — SAVED BY MY FACE by Jerzy Lando

 

“When people speak about the Holocaust these days, they often say ‘Never forget.’ I certainly agree with them, but before you can pledge to remember something, you have to know it to begin with.” — Michael Gruenbaum

 

The historian Simon Dubnow, who lay ill, had been overlooked during the first massacre. The second time he was caught in the dragnet. The sick and feeble ghetto inhabitants were brought to the execution area in buses; as Dubnow could not board the bus fast enough, one of the Latvian guards shot him in the back of the head. The next day, he was buried in a mass grave in the ghetto. According to rumor, on his way to the bus, Dubnow repeated: “People, do not forget; speak of this, people; record it all.”  — NAZI GERMANY AND THE JEWS 1933-1945 by Saul Friedlander

 

This mind-staggering network of camps – housing, handling, immiserating, exploiting, and killing millions of innocent, martially and physically unthreatening people – was the largest institutional creation of Germany during its Nazi period. It was the largest not just because of the enormous number of installations, not just because of the millions of people who suffered within its confines, not just because of the vast number of Germans and German minions who worked in and for these camps, but also because it constituted an entirely new sub-system of society.  — HITLER’S WILLING EXECUTIONERS by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

 

Hitler, concludes the Führer’s biographer Ian Kershaw, was the supreme spokesman for an ideological imperative to which his followers gave enthusiastic consent. “Without Hitler’s fanatical will to destroy Jewry, which crystallized only by 1941 into a realizable aim to exterminate physically the Jews of Europe, the Holocaust would almost certainly not have come about.” The final solution represented Hitler’s will. Hitler was the supreme architect of the Jewish catastrophe. — PERPETRATORS by Guenter Lewy

 

Before the Nazis came to power, Edgar [Mowrer, Chicago Daily News] made a habit of going into such [Brownshirts] hangouts to buy the brawlers beers and try to learn more about their views. As Lilian [his wife] described it, these young toughs rallied to slogans like “We spit on freedom” and “Beat the Red Front to pulp.” Their favorite toast: “Germany awake, perish the Jew!” “But just where did you learn all this interesting stuff about the Jew?” Edgar asked on one occasion. “Aber Herr, everybody in Germany knows that the Jews are our misfortune,” one of the Nazis replied. “But just how? Why?” Edgar persisted. “There are too many of them. And then, Jews are not people like the rest of us.” “But in my country the proportion of Jews is much higher than in Germany. But we lost no war, have not starved, not been betrayed to foreigners; in short, have suffered none of the evils you attribute to the presence of Jews in Germany. How do you account for this?” “We don’t account for it. We simply know it is true,” the Nazi replied, complaining that the Jews were getting the best jobs for themselves by “stealth and fraud.” Germans were waking up to that, he added, “and no matter how hard the Jew works, he won’t be on top long.” “Then you admit the Jew works harder?” Edgar asked. “Of course.” “But doesn’t the hardest worker deserve the best jobs?” His interlocutor suddenly sounded uncertain. “Yes – that is, no; not if he is a Jew.” “Is that logical, is that clear thinking?” “Ach, thinking!” The exasperated Nazi replied. “We are sick of thinking. Thinking gets you nowhere. The Führer himself says true Nazis think with their blood.” And this kind of lack of thinking was everywhere. — HITLERLAND by Andrew Nagorski

 

I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.  I remember he asked his father, “Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?”  And now the boy is turning to me. “Tell me,” he asks, “what have you done with my future, what have you done with your life?” and I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices. — NIGHT by Elie Wiesel

 

Helene [the American wife of Hitler’s pal and Harvard graduate, Putzi Hansfstaengl in the 1920’s] was fascinated by Hitler’s inclination “to talk and talk and talk,” as she put it. “Nobody else had the chance to say anything. I remember, too, that he couldn’t stand anyone who wanted to talk. He was the one who talked; the others listened. That was why he couldn’t stand some people: because he talked too much.” — HITLERLAND by Andrew Nagorski

 

[Franklin] Roosevelt signaled his intent to pursue a global disarmament agenda. On May 16, 1933, he appealed to world leaders to begin scrapping all offensive weapons and to pledge not to engage in acts of aggression. The next day, Hitler appeared at the Reichstag to deliver his own “Peace Speech.” Calling the American president’s proposal “A ray of comfort for all who wish to cooperate in the maintenance of peace,” Hitler professed his country’s willingness to renounce all offensive weapons and “to disband her entire military establishment” if her neighbors would do the same thing. War was “unlimited madness,” he added, calling for an end to old enmities and insisting that Germany was ready to live in peace with everyone. [Total killed in WWII – 60 million.] —HITLERLAND by Andrew Nagorski

 

God, I hate the Germans. — General Dwight D. Eisenhower in a letter to his wife Mamie, September 1944

 

During a speech on German radio on January 29, 1939, to mark the Day of the German Police, Heinrich Himmler made a rare public reference to the SS concentration camps. After reassuring his listeners about the decent conditions in the “strict but fair” KL [KL is a German abbreviation for concentration camp], Himmler turned to their function: “The slogan that stands above these camps is: There is a path to freedom. Its milestones are: obedience, diligence, honesty, orderliness, cleanliness, sobriety, truthfulness, readiness to make sacrifices, and love of the fatherland.” The SS was so taken with Himmler’s motto that it was soon displayed in several KL – on signs, roofs, and walls – for all inmates to see… During the war, guards in Sachsenhausen would direct new inmates to the solemn slogan from Himmler’s 1939 speech, painted in huge letters on the barracks around the roll call square, and then point to the nearby crematorium: “There is a path to freedom, but only through this chimney!” — KL – A HISTORY OF THE NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS, By Nicolaus Wachsmann

 

The numbers of medals and citations earned by Jewish soldiers in the various Allied armies reflected the soldiers’ motivation in participating in the huge struggle. Some 160,772 Jewish solders received decorations in the Soviet Army, 36,352 in the American Army and many thousands more in other Allied forces. — HITLER’S SHADOW WAR, By Donald M. McKale

 

The SS could be trusted by Hitler to place all allegiances to him ahead of morality. That old-fashioned tribal blood brotherhood was like a magical ritual. Neither morality nor ethics existed any longer wherever the SS ruled. — THE PHONY WAR, By John Harte

 

Churchill was a fervent Zionist, writing in a 1920 article that “they [the Jews] are beyond question the most formidable race which has ever appeared in the world. — THE PHONY WAR, By John Harte

 

“For Jews, I only sign death certificates.” —Sachsenhausen SS camp doctor

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