Mosaic has published a moving memoir, written by Czech Holocaust survivors, that's well worth reading. "As the war ends and she comes down from the mountains of Slovakia, a Jewish girl discovers that she can still be 'moved by something other than the mere struggle for existence,'" Mosaic says.
It was still winter where we were. But truly we had descended into the Promised Land—starving, gaunt, in filthy clothes, the landscape below us green like a blurry watercolor, the air soothing beneath a glassy sky.
That April, the last remnants of snow trickled down the hillsides. The smell in the air was indescribable, unique, the breath of spring awakening that so clearly sets those few days apart from the rest of the year.
Up until then we had been in the mountains. Ten disparate, estranged humans in an underground hole, animals scenting danger, bunched together in a shivering cluster. Men and women of varying temperaments, personalities, opinions—and all around us Death. I was going on seventeen (the year that old ladies most fondly remember: dance parties, the first love notes), and even if young people do endure hardship more easily, there were moments when all I’d wanted was for it to be over, I didn’t care how. I couldn’t imagine ever being able to live again. Had it ever really been possible? Or was it just a beguiling fiction?
This morning at 10:00 a.m., in Israel, all activity came to a halt as sirens sounded, and Israelis stood for two minutes with heads bowed in memory of the 6 million Jews, one third of the Jewish people, who perished in the Holocaust. Yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at Yad Vashem in recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here are excerpts from his remarks:
If you ignore the cringe-worthy opening line of this article from the Pew Research Center – the Holocaust did far worse than “decimate” Europe’s Jewish population – you will find some interesting facts. In a nutshell, Europe’s Jewish population continues to decline. There are now approximately 1.4 million Jews living in Europe, compared to 9.5 million in 1939. Only 10 percent of the world’s Jews now live in Europe, and a mere 0.2 percent of Europeans are Jewish.
At an event today at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren said it was "fair" when an activist compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to the Holocaust.
“Eva Moseley, I’m not a student, I’m not an alumnae, but was in faculty life. I was also a Holocaust refugee and I’m extremely concerned that Jews don’t do to another people what was done to them,” said the activist.
In an unaired portion of an interview with NBC correspondent Ann Curry, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani did not refute his predecessor's claim that the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany was a "myth."
"President [Mahmoud] Ahmadeinejad said that the Holocaust is a myth," said Curry, wearing a head scarf. "Do you agree?"
It now seems that one Jew is worth more than 1,000 Arabs—the rate of exchange established not by Israel, but by Hamas, and celebrated on the Arab street. The “prisoner swap” of more than a thousand Arab prisoners for the single Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, kidnapped five years ago and held in captivity for just this purpose, represents a gap between two civilizations that has been widening for over six decades with no signs of contraction in sight.
The widespread condemnation Europeans have expressed toward Israel after its commandos boarded the so-called peace flotilla on May 31 - and used force only when threatened with death - signals a desire to turn every Israeli action of self-defense into absolution for the crimes of the Holocaust.