We Jews are fortunate to be able to usher in a new year twice a year and still call it a New Year. But, what does it really mean?
We hope that it does NOT mean just flipping a page on the calendar and pouf, there is a brand new year. In our opinion, a new year deserves the name only if it is accompanied by a new commitment to compassionate behavior toward others and a promise to do better.
Within the ranks of our organization there are many opportunities to fulfill one’s aspirations through dedication to the principles on which we have built this great Society. One must be ready to heed the call of our leaders, be it by participating in our functions, attending meetings or responding generously to a request for a contribution to a cause that we deem worthwhile. From time to time our members are called upon to participate in a drive, raising funds for a certain cause and in the past they have performed admirably. This was evidenced by our latest effort to raise funds for Beit Halochem, initiated by Victor Lewis, a member of the Board of FIDV. The results of the Emergency Relief Drive” are a tribute to the generosity of our members.
There will soon be another opportunity to show your largesse when you are requested to participate in a drive to raise funds for an ambulance for the Magen David Adom in Israel. The preparations are still in progress, but in view of the worsening situation in Israel where suicide bombings are a daily occurrence, the need for life saving ambulances are a priority. More details about this undertaking will be forthcoming and we are confident about your generosity.
We Celebrate the Success of Our 2002 Israel Bonds Campaign
This year’s effort on behalf of Israel Bonds was crowned with great success due to a number of circumstances.
To being with we had fantastic guests of honor as personified by Henry and Frieda Wilner. They worked tirelessly to bring in their families and friends who are all dedicated to the welfare of the State of Israel.
But success is not a product of just one couple. It take a considerable amount of preparation and above all, the dedication of our own members to the survival of the State of Israel. We are fortunate to have in our midst members with big bank accounts with even bigger hearts. To their generosity we owe this great success reaped on Sunday, November 10, 2002. Credit must also be given to a large number of smaller investors whose generosity we also cherish.
The success or failure of any undertaking rests in the hands of the organizing committee: the two chairpersons, Bernice Slutzman and Simone Scheumann. They both have proven worthy of the trust they have been enjoying for the third year in a row. The campaign ran smoothly through the afternoon and they deserve our applause.
The final success, however, is measured by the final results and they were spectacular indeed. When the figures were tabulated, we learned that within a short time the impressive amount of $1,092,000 in Israel Bonds was purchased.
AND THIS IS HOW IT ALL BEGAN…
After a larger than average attendance, which included many personal friends and family of the Wilners, was treated to a sumptuous collation [beautifully prepared by Helen Finder and Mary Mindel], Simone Scheumann, co-chair of the Israel Bond Committee began her welcoming remarks by saying “Today we stand strong as Jews,” setting an optimistic tone that prevailed through the afternoon.
Bernice Slutzman, the other co-chair, led the assembled in the National Anthems that seemed to reverberate so much stronger this year.
The first speaker, Dr. Philip Wilner, the first-born son of the honorees, was then introduced and delivered a scholarly dissertation full of accolades for his parents. (His remarks appear inside this issue.)
At this point, it was time for the guest speaker to appear as he was introduced by Bernice as Mr. Steve Malzberg, talk show host on WABC Radio.
Mr. Malzberg began by saying that although he was a veteran speaker for Israel Bonds, he never had the privilege to speak to a group of Holocaust survivors.
He began to say that being a media man, he was very familiar with attitudes of policy makers, as well as the media in general toward Israel’s predicament in facing constant threats from suicide bombers. This however began to change slightly however, after 9/11 when we began to feel threatened here at home.
Dwelling on the influence of the media, Mr. Malzberg said that there is hardly a network that would be unbiased in regard to Israel. He mentioned names such as Phil Donohue, Pat Buchanan, Chris Mathews and Ashley Banfield who kept reporting from outside Arafat’s Ramalla headquarters every single night, talking about the “poor” Palestinians. In fact, if one looks for pro-Israeli reporting, one cannot find more than about 20 reporters in all of the United States.
The speaker then turned to the United Nations. They have been making a living from passing resolutions against Israel, he said, but despite all of that, Israel flourishes as a democratic country and serves as a shining example for other nations.
In general, the speaker did not reveal anything that we did not know, but he had a pleasant demeanor and spoke without notes. As speakers go, he was somewhere in the middle.
In contrast however, to Mr. Malzberg, when our own Joe Bukiet approached the podium, he was greeted with a rousing ovation. Joe did not speak for a long time, but what he said was very revealing about his character.
For the first time we heard Joe speak in public about his own health problems when he said, “I don’t know how many of you know that I am on dialysis.” It takes a man of great courage to speak about his problem in public and Joe is that man.
Upon concluding his remarks, Joe announced the he and his brother Al were buying a $25,000 bond for each of their grandchildren. They also many, many more for their spouses and for themselves. No wonder that when all the numbers were counted, we broke one million dollars in bonds purchased. Jose Bukiet and Victor Lewis read the names of all who made purchases of Israel Bonds.
To conclude the program, Bernice Slutzman invited President Roman Weingarten to make the presentation of the Heritage Award to the guests of honor.
Chanukah, A Tale of Heroism, Miracles, Faith and Victory
Year after ear with the approach of the Chanukah season, we have been trying to elaborate on the meaning of Chanukah and the effect of this Festival of Lights has had on the long term survival of the Jewish nation.
Not unlike the Maccabees of old who were facing the numerically superior forces of Antiochus Epiphanes, our heroes of 1948 led a fight of the few against the many and they prevailed, thus securing the Jewish State for the next century.
Chanukah, therefore, is a time of rejoicing because it embodies the spirit of modern Israel nestled in the courage of the Maccabees. In that spirit, members of our eminent organization will meet on December 1st, the second day of Chanukah to celebrate this festival at Temple Torah of Little Neck with a dinner-dance and a candle lighting ceremony.
The General Membership Meeting that Was!
The General Membership Meeting held on November 17, 2002 was dominated by pre-election procedures. First there were certain recommendations presented by the Bylaws Committee to remove the term limits for the office of the president to enable a sitting president to serve in that position for more than just two terms. There were some other minor amendments recommended by the committee. All passed without objection.
The agenda also called for the selection of a Nominating Committee empowered to present a slate of candidates to the membership for election at the meeting scheduled for April 20,2003.
The make-up of the Nominating Committee and their responsibilities maybe found elsewhere in this issue.
Before the conclusion of the meeting, President Roman Weingarten announced that Helen and Alex Finder will be the recipients of a tribute when they are honored at our Miami Winter Celebration on February 26, 2003.
On the occasion of the joyous Festival of Lights, we wish to extend our best wishes to all members and their families for a Chag Chanukah Sameach and a Happy New Year 2003.
It seems that our Calendar of Events for the new season exploded during the last three months of the year 2002.
The season began with a solemn Yizkor service at the cemetery Erev Yom Kippur. Visiting the cemetery is always an emotional event but it is even more so when it takes place on Erev Yom Kippur. At this time, the power of our emotions carries our thoughts back to the time of our youth when we were in the presence of our loved ones. Today, they are no longer here and it is as if they disappeared into the abyss of the Holocaust without a trace. However, we have adjusted and to our credit we have created new families with a vibrant zest for life.
This is where our society plays an important role. It is always here for those who want to avail themselves of its services. A case in point: our General Membership Meeting in October was well attended, in spite of the inclement weather, by people longing to renew contacts and start anew after a long summer recess. However, something new occurred at that meeting; something that may give us new hope for continuity.
On the initiative of Marian Keren, a gentleman who recently joined our organization, a sizable number of middle aged couples, belonging to a group who survived the Holocaust in hiding as children, attended. They are all from Cracow and its vicinity and are loosely organized as the Kids. They have all expressed an interest in joining our society and I hope that they will soon enrich our ranks as full-fledged members.
Part of the rich agenda and prolific activities for this fall season was a very successful Israel Bond Testimonial Reception in honor of Henry and Frieda Wilner. I am grateful to all who were part of that event, especially to the guests of honor who helped generate substantial funds investing in Israel Bonds. (A detailed report on the reception appears elsewhere in this issue.)
Following on the heels of the Bond Drive, another successful General Membership Meeting took place at which formal preparations for the forthcoming elections of 2003 were made. A decision by the Board of Directors to use substantial society funds, coupled with a fund raising campaign for the purchase of a fully equipped ambulance for the Red Magen David of Israel, was announced. The purchase will be made as soon as feasible. (A full report on these events can be found inside these pages.)
This is just the beginning. In the spirit of reviving the Chanukah tradition that began some years ago, this year will see a Chanukah celebration that will remind us of the good old times. On Sunday, December 1, 2002, the first day of Chanukah, members of our society and their friends will come together to celebrate this glorious Festival of Lights at Temple Torah of Little Neck, as we have done do many times before with great success.
There are of course, many more activities planned for members of our society here and in Miami for the remainder of this calendar season.
February 26, 2003 will set the stage for paying tribute to Helen and Alex Finder at our Miami Winter Celebration of 2003, with a gala dinner-dance at the elegant ballroom of the Aventura Jewish Center.
Our annual Commemoration for the Liquidation of the Cracow Ghetto will find expression in two observances (as we did last year). The first will be in Miami on the very anniversary date, march 13, 2003. This was initiated to accommodate our members with permanent residency in that area. The second observance is to be held on April 6, 2003 at our traditional home of the Lake Success Jewish Center.
The Miami Commemoration will take place under the able leadership and guidance of Norbert Friedman, the recently appointed Executive Director of the Florida Branch of the New Cracow Friendship Society. Soon afterward the snowbirds will migrate north again and the society will be ready to accept them with a General Membership Meeting on April 20, 2003 at which time we will hold elections and greet our newly elected officials with a vote of confidence and a promise of support and commitment. As sure as day follows night, a Yom Haatzmaut dinner-dance, celebrating the independence of a PEACEFUL Israel will follow on May 4, 2003 and give us the opportunity to properly install the newly elected officials of the New Cracow Friendship Society.
Looking back at this rich menu crammed into a period of only 7 months, I dare anyone to challenge the viability of our eminent organization.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS 2002/2003
Chanukah Celebration December 1
Winter Celebration in Miami February 26, 2003
Commemoration in Miami March 13
Commemoration in New York April 6
General Membership Meeting April 20
Yom Haatzmaut & Installation May 4
Late lunch will be served at all Membership Meetings.
I am terribly saddened by the death of our good friend Irving Badner who served us as a previous member of the Board of Directors. With his passing we lost a great friend. Our condolences go to his wife Sylvia, daughter Helen and her family, son Victor and his family. He will be missed by all of us. The funeral was held on Monday, November 18, 2002.
One of my duties as the chairman of the Membership Committee is to remind our members to pay the dues on time. I do this at every General Membership Meeting and in every issue of our Newsletter. However, it doesn’t seem to help us, for as of today, we have 323 members and there are still 23 unpaid members for this calendar year of 2002 who have not responded to our reminders.
By the end of the year, you will receive a notice from our Comptroller, Eric Schneider, to pay the dues for the year 2003. Please send the dues as soon as possible to my address in the enclosed envelope.
PLEASE NOTIFY ME IF YOU HAVE CHANGED YOUR MAILING ADDRESS.
As a Board member of Beit Halochem, I would like to inform you that over $50,000 was mailed to the Beit Halochem Emergency Relief Drive. We thank you all for it.
To those members who are not well, I wish you all a very speedy recovery.
To the families of our members who recently departed from us, I express our deep sympathy.
To those members who are leaving for winter vacation, I wish you a happy and healthy winter.
LISTING OF COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSONS
Cemetery Roman Weingarten
Commemoration Bernice Slutzman
Israel Bonds Simone Scheumann
Israeli Committee Henry Tenenbaum
Ladies Auxiliary Helen Finder
Membership Victor Lewis
Social Committee Eric Schneider
Sunshine Helen Finder
Welfare Arthur Spielman
Young Adults Simone Hilfstein Scheumann
WELFARE COMMITTEE REPORT
I was both pleased and honored to be asked to take over the job as Welfare Chairman, a position that Norbert Friedman so brilliantly performed. It gives me an opportunity to participate in the functions of our society as well as the personal satisfaction of helping people less fortunate than us during these troubled times.
I thank you for your confidence in me to take over this position. Norbert’s professionalism will be a very hard act to follow. But I promise to do my best.
I recently returned from a trip to Israel, where I visited my son and his family. I was able to see up close and personal, the hardships that have befallen our country after two years of war that have shattered the economy, sent tens of thousands of people into the unemployment lines and have undermined the personal security of all Israelis. I am proud that the Israeli people persevere; they are strong and will come through this. But we need help to do our part.
That help can be demonstrated in many ways, ranging from financial support, to political support in terms of demonstrating and urging our political leadership here to adopt certain policies. The Welfare Committee Appeal also provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate our support.
To all those who have responded to the Welfare Appeal, I want to deeply thank you. To date, I have received 118 checks totaling approximately $5,000. Given the current situation in Israel, we need to do better than this, at least double this figure. To those of you who have not yet responded to the appeal, I request that you kindly send in your contributions as soon as possible.
I want to thank you again for you support and I look forward to successfully living up to the honor you have bestowed upon me in this position.
Arthur Spielman, Chairman
CEMETERY COMMITTEE REPORT
The topic of the cemetery is not my favorite subject even though as Cemetery Chairman I have to deal with it on an almost daily basis. Let me get directly to the point.
We have 16 plots remaining at the newly acquired grounds at Beth Moses. If we do not hear from you within a short time (approximately three months) we will dispose of the unsold plots to people outside our membership.
On the same subject, we wish to make you aware of the fact that out organization is working very closely with Yablokoff Kingsway Memorial Chapel. They extend cordial and preferential treatment to members of our organization in the case of death in the family. Yablokoff has recently signed a special agreement with the New Cracow Friendship Society whereby they will grant our members substantial discounts on pre-need agreements [pre-paid funerals]. Such an agreement would not only save the bereaved family a substantial amount of money, but would also spare them the usual hassle that is associated with a death in the family. The number to call: Yablokoff, 1 800 626-9801 or 718 645-9800
Roman Weingarten, Chairman
DVAR TORAH AT THE YIZKOR SERVICE SEPTEMBER 15, 2002, EREV YOM KIPPUR AS DELIVERED BY ROMAN WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT
Ever Yom Kippur, a day ingrained in our memory as the beginning of Judgment Day, a day full of emotional stress and anticipation. In the country of our origin, in the city of Cracow, the day would usually begin with kepure shlugen. The male members of the family would use a rooster and the females, a chicken, for the symbolic ritual of transferring all our sins to the bird and making it the scapegoat for our shortcomings. For most of us this ritual is now a distant and perhaps even a forgotten past, though it is still practices in orthodox circles.
There are a number of customs and traditions that we as progressive Conservative Jews do not follow, but there are others that we faithfully observe and are trying to transmit to our children to emulate. One of these traditions is kever avot, visiting the graves of those who have departed and that is why we are here today.
Sadly, as I look around, I notice that while the number of monuments in the field are steadily growing, the number of participants keep diminishing. Some of it is due to that natural order of creation; Dor holeich v’dor bo, One generation departs to be replaced by another.
Standing in this hallowed place that is the final destination of life’s journey, one cannot help but feel insignificant and vulnerable. To underline this close proximity between life and death, I want to call your attention to the Torah readings on the two days of Rosh Hashanah. It is no coincidence that our sages chose the reading for the first day from Parhsat Vayeira, 21:1 that begins, _________________.
_______________________!? And Hashem had remembered Sarah as He had said; and Hashem did for Sarah as He had spoken. Sarah who was barren until the age of 90 conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age and they called him Isaac. To Abraham, Isaac was the fulfillment of his dreams and the Torah relates that when the lad grew and was weaned, Abraham made a great feast to celebrate the occasion, thus emphasizing the importance of Isaac.
However on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the reading continues with the famous event of the Akeida, the binding and near sacrifice of Isaac. The two distinguished events, the miraculous birth of Isaac, and his near death at the hands of his own father, were brought together to be read on the two days of Rosh Hashanah to underline the fragility of men and the uncertainty of life. The lesson to be learned is that every day of our lives is precious and should be used for the purpose of being a comfort and inspiration to our fellow men and only that way can we find fulfillment and justification for our being.
Another beautiful tradition associated with this solemn period is that we use the occasion to beg forgiveness from one another for any transgressions, real or imaginary, intentional or unintentional, that we may have committed against each other. So, in that spirit, I ask your forgiveness and I in turn unconditionally forgive you for any offenses or transgressions you may have committed against me so that we may live together in friendship and in harmony.
This memorial service would not be complete if we did not take this opportunity to include in our prayers all victims of terror in Israel in the last year as well as the victims of 9/11 who this nation was mourning only a few days ago on the first anniversary of that great tragedy. Today we remember them with reverence and in prayer. And now in the spirit of the occasion, Cantor Rosner will recited a Capitel Tehilim.
This portion of the service is dedicated to honoring those members of our society who passed on during this last year. As I recite their names, let us bow our heads in reflection and reverence.
RICHARD ABRAHAMER, a founder and past president
IDEK ROSENBLUM, member of the Board of Directors
DR. ALBERT (BOLEK) TILLES
The Cantor will recite the El Mole Rachamim.
As we conclude the memorial service, I wish to take this opportunity to extend to you and your families, my warmest wishes for a new year of good health, happiness and the fulfillment of all your desires and expectations. May we all be inscribed in the Book of Like.
A Gemar Chatima Tova.
WORDS SPOKEN BY ROMAN WEINGARTEN AT THE UNVEILING OF THE MONUMENT OF DR. TILLES
The first reference to a matzevah being erected at a grave site can be found in Parshat Vayishlach in Bereshit. There it is related that Jacob buried his wife Rachel on the way to Efrot and, before continuing on his journey, erected a matzevah on Rachel’s grave.
This was the beginning of a tradition that is continued to this very day. One should not assume however, that Rachel’s matzevah in anyway resembled this magnificent monument of my dear friend, Bolek Tilles. The monument Jacob built for Rachel was a heap of gravel and stones topped with a marker bearing her name. Since it was solid in nature, there was the danger that it would disintegrate under the influence of the elements and the passage of time. To save the monument form disappearing, passersby would stop and add a stone to two on top of it. From this we have the custom of putting stones on top of a matzevah when visiting a grave site.
This monument, in very few words, says a great deal of the man who is buried here. It was taken from Mishli- Proverbs. It says, Kavod hachamim yinchali. The wise shall inherit glory, and at the bottom it says “Healer of body and soul.” One could expand on the meaning of these words ad infinitum, but I will say it plainly and simply; Here is buried a Holocaust survivor who knew adversity and suffering. A man of great compassion who dedicated his life to healing other humans and in the process he became a true friend of his patients; a noble man who is no more. His death robbed us all of the chance to grow old together.
For the surviving family, death is a strange and threatening phenomenon. It conjures up thoughts of their own mortality. To them we can only offer a prayer, Hamakom yenachem etchem betoch shaar aveili tzion be-yerushalyim. May God comfort you among other mourners in Jerusalem.
But in death, as in life, there is a role for my friend Bolek to play and there is no better time than erev Yom Kippur.
At this time we can use a Meletz Yosher, a good attorney to plead our case before the heavenly courts and to interceded on our behalf. On behalf of this assembly, I implore you, Avraham Ben Shlomo HaCohen, to be our Meletz Yosher, and may your soul be bound up in the bond of life. Amen.
NOMINATING COMMITTEE IN SESSION
As provided by our Bylaws, a Nominating Committee whose charge it is to prepare a slate of candidates for election in 2003 has been selected. It consists of the following members of the society.
Manek Werdiger will serve as an alternate.
BEN GEIZHALS REMEMBERED
Esther Geizhals and family remembered their husband, father and grandfather, Ben Geizhals, with reverence, love and affection on his 4th Jahrzeit on December 18, 2002. In keeping with the customs of Jewish tradition, they have made a generous contribution to our Welfare Fund in his memory.
EULOGY FOR IGO BADNER AS DELIVERED AT THE CHAPEL BY ROMAN WEINGARTEN
Death is never something that we as mortal humans can easily reconcile ourselves, or even comprehend. However, under certain circumstances, death can be a salvation regardless of how cruel that may sound. This last year was a virtual nightmare for our dear friend Igo Badner, as he was subjected to inhuman suffering, humiliation and deprivation of dignity.
In our memory, Igo will always remain the vigorous and active member of our organization, the New Cracow Friendship Society where he served on the Board of Directors for one term in 1977 and then ten years later again served with great distinction for a period of ten years from 1989 to 1999. Igo reached the pinnacle of his achievements in 1997 when he and his dear wife Sylvia, were the recipients of a tribute as they were honored at a testimonial reception for Israel Bonds for their dedication to Jewish life in general and for their unflinching support for the State of Israel in particular.
They have both raised a family that is tradition-oriented and deeply dedicated to Jewish values, synagogue and charity.
As a Holocaust survivor, his friends were his extended family with whom he maintained strong and lasting bonds. As we always stress on such occasions, the loss of a member of our organization is felt as a loss of our own family. In a way we are ONE family.
To Sylvia and family I can only offer a prayer: Hamakom menachem ethchem m’toch shaarei availi Zion b’Yerushalayim. May his soul be bound up on the Bond of Eternal Life and may it be for a blessing.
AN AMBULANCE FOR THE AMERICAN RED MAGEN DAVID FOR ISRAEL: OUR NEXT PROJECT
At its last meeting, the Board of Directors of the New Cracow Friendship Society decided to send a fully equipped ambulance to Israel through the American Red Magen David for Israel.
Soon you will receive a letter requesting your contributions toward the purchase of the most modern ARMDI Bloodmobile, equipped with refrigeration compartment and transportation capability for 15 persons. It is suited to deal with emergencies in case of a suicide attack.
After long deliberations, the Board of Directors concluded that sending an ambulance to Israel at this time should be a priority for our organization. This will not be the first time that our society sends a life saving vehicle to Israel. The first ambulance was sent to Israel soon after the Six Day War in 1967. Since then, the society has sent several ambulances to Israel on difference occasion.
We feel very strongly that the time is now ripe to revive the old spirit and continue our life support for the State of Israel.
Please be generous when you receive our appeal. We count on you. Israel counts on you. Roman Weingarten, President
A DOCUMENTARY TO MEMORIALIZE THE HEROIC LIFE OF DR. HENRYK SLAWIK: THE POLISH RAOUL WALLENBERG, IN THE MAKING
The contemplated documentary about the life of Dr. Slawik is based on the book I Have Survived, I Remember, I Bear Witness, by our dear friend, Dr. Zvi Zimmerman, a past member of the Knesset and former Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand.
Dr. Zimmerman first met Dr. Slawik in Budapest in 1943 where the latter was in charge of the Polish Civic Committee for the Relief of Refugees. Dr. Zimmerman alerted the Polish Government in Exile which operated from London, of the fate of Hungarian Jews who were being deported by the ostensibly neutral Hungarian government to Slovakia. There they were the victims of mass execution. Dr. Zimmerman then contacted Dr. Slawik who was already under orders from London to act on behalf of all Polish citizens, regardless of their extraction.
Many Polish Jews were saved as a result of the Zimmerman-Slavik efforts which were manifested in many ways. They undertook a mass production of forged passports which supplied Jews with Aryan identities. They were instrumental in founding an asylum near Budapest where about 100 Jewish children found refuge. After the occupation of Hungary, the children were smuggled out to safety.
So many other heroic deed by Dr. Slavik are described in Dr. Zimmerman’s book which make hi8ma towering figure of courage and heroism. Dr. Slavik was captured and murdered by the Germans in 1944.
His heroism is multiplied by the fact that even under brutal torture, he did not divulge the names or his accomplices. Years after the war, Dr. Slavik was awarded the Medal of the Righteous by Yad Vashem
Ed. Note: We are in possession of a copy of a letter by Israel’s Ambassador to Poland, Prof. Shewach Weiss to the Polish government expressing the Israeli government’s strong support for the creation of this documentary.
A report by Norbert Friedman.
My Dear Friends
I have just returned to Florida from an event-packed two weeks in New York. The highlight of those two weeks was my attending and participating in a Symposium entitled, Faith and Holocaust, sponsored by the: Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
The active participants included luminaries of Jewish religious community as well as theologians of other faiths. Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg, delivered a most thought provoking keynote address: The Broken Faith and Covenant after the Holocaust. The talk reviewed the most fruitful and influential responses-those that acknowledge or build on the broken-ness of faith. Rabbi Greenberg claimed that "No faith/covenant paradigm can sustain the impact of the Holocaust without being broken."
He also spoke, so very eloquently and scholarly on the theory that faith might not be one continuos experience, instead he introduced the concept of "Moments of Faith," saying that we sometimes experience the sense of faith and belief, while sometimes we do not. Neither, "The Broken-ness of Faith" or "Moments of Faith" preclude the absence of it, he seemed to have said.
I will try to get the transcript of his presentation and offer a digest of it to our readers. I consider it, one the most profound scholarly paper on faith during and after the Shoa. Next Rabbi Greenberg moderated a panel, of yours truly, Rabbi Helga Newmark and Yvonne Campbell, entitled How do survivors grapple with issues of faith.
Rabbi Newmark spoke of her odyssey to become a rabbi and read some of her writings dealing with her relationship with G'd. I spoke briefly of some of my own experiences. Yvonne Campbell's was one of the most moving presentations. As a child during the war, she was hidden and brought up in a Catholic convent. She became devout and dreamt about becoming a nun. Not till she became a gallery educator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 1996, and went through a period of training and education, did she feel Jewish, despite the fact that she is married to a Jewish man and sent her children to Jewish schools.
The next panel was moderated by Dr. Michael Berenbaum, a professor of theology, from 1988-1993 Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. overseeing its creation, and of many other
distinctions. The theme of that panel was: What are the religious and ethical implications of the Holocaust?
The panelists were Dr. Mary Boys, Dr. Franklin H. Little and Dr. John Pawlikowski. Dr. Mary Boys is on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary as well as on the faculty of Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City and of Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Franklin H. Littell is Distinguished Professor of Holocaust and Genocide
Studies at the Richard Stockton College in New Jersey. For twenty-five years he was Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is a founding member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Committee and holder of other distinctions.
Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, O.S.M., Ph.D. amongst many other titles and positions is Director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program in Catholic Theological Union, served since 1980 on the United States Holocaust Memorial
Council and was a member of the delegation at the 50th Anniversary International Commemoration at the Babi Yar Massacre site, Kiev, Ukraine, October 1991.
The panel discussed Christian culpability for the events of the thirties and forties, Christian responses and their responsibility to build bridges between Jews and Christians, and now even with Muslims. Dinner with music and singing by Cantor Isaac Goodfriend as well as Cantor Goodfriend's discussion of his recently published book, By Fate or By Faith. Cantor Goodfriend has been a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and sang the National Anthem in Washington D.C. at President Carter’s inauguration.
The last panel was moderated by Rabbi Neil Gillman. The panelist were Dr. Ilana Harlow and Rabbi Avi Weiss. The subject was creating Holocaust-specific rituals.
Rabbi Neil Gillman is Professor of Jewish Philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He is a renowned author and speaker on the subject of Jewish philosophy and theology; he is the recipient of the 1991 National Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought.
Dr. Ilana Harlow has a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University. Rabbi Avi Weiss, is the senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and a founder and dean of the newly established Yeshiva Choverei Torah, he is the national president of the coalition for Jewish Concerns-Amcha, and no stranger to any survivor.
The panel's concern was the creation of a uniform service for the Yom Hashoa. One that would be acceptable to all denominations, one that in the words of Rabbi Gillman, "would bring shivers to one's spine", one that would be lasting and honoring the memories of the Kedoshim.
Rabbi Weiss brought with him for distribution to the audience, the Hagadahs of the Shoa, which he designed and is presently using. Dr. Harlow spoke of how other cultures memorialize and observe their people's tragedies.
The symposium lasted from 3-8 PM. Present were many other personalities from the religious and secular scholarly sector. In reporting this event I have purposely emphasized the credentials of the participants to underscore the significance of that symposium and its implication for the future considerations and remembrance of the Holocaust. It is both, reassuring and encouraging to know that institutions such as the Museum of Jewish Heritage, are truly A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
NORBERT FRIEDMAN HONORED BY THE MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE
The Gallery Educators of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City paid tribute to Norbert Friedman at a Volunteer Recognition Event that took place October 30, 2002. He was recognized for his leadership as an Educator and his enormous contributions to the museum in general.
We wish to congratulate Norbert on his achievement.
THE BOOK, MORDECHAI GEBIRTIG, HIS POETIC AND MUSICAL LEGACY
NOW AVAILABLE AT A REDUCED PRICE
Recently we made substantial efforts to distribute the Gebirtig book to libraries and book stores with some success. However, there is still a substantial number of books available. We have decided to sell them at the reduced price of $25, including postage. To order, please call Roman Weingarten at 516 481-7988.
Some of our members bought the books for the purpose of giving them away as presents. Among them is Stefan Weinberg who purchased several books which he distributed among the rabbis in his community.
Here is a quote from Rabbi Melvin N. Sirner of Beth El Synagogue of New Rochelle. He writes, “Please know that I sincerely appreciate your providing me with this book of important treasures form that painful and difficult time.”
We would like to hear from you.
TORAH FROM PRE-WAR POLAND DONATED
BY CECILE AND EDWARD MOSBERG
On October 6, 2002, Regina and I were invited to a special Torah dedication at the Adath Shalom Synagogue in Parsippany, New Jersey. The Torah originated in Poland and was brought to the United States by our member, Ed Mosberg to be delivered to the synagogue.
As we entered the beautiful synagogue, Eddie showed us the way to our seats. The synagogue was filled with people. At least two rows were occupied by Holocaust survivor friends.
Sarabeth Margolis Wizen welcomed all of the guests. Then, Ed and Cecile Mosberg’s grandchildren led a Torah procession and Ed Mosberg presented the Torah to the temple. The D’var Torah was delivered by Rabbi Rozenwasser, and we then listened to interesting presentations by the Mayor of Parsippany, a New Jersey State Assemblyman, and a United States Congressman.
Ed Mosberg then delivered a moving speech. He talked about life in the Cracow Ghetto and the transports to Plasz\w, Auschwitz/Birkenau, Be»ze?, Mauthausen, Ebensee, and Linz. In a touching moment, he mentioned the transports of his wife Cecile’s family and his own family.
I was deeply touched when Eddie mentioned my name and my brother’s [Leszek] regarding our escape from the cattle train headed to the extermination camp at Be»ze?. He mentioned that more than 50 years after the Cracow liquidation, when a Dr. Allerhand, in Israel, who I did not know, read my story in the book Schindler’s Legacy, decided to track me down in New York to tell me that he was the third survivor to jump out of the moving train that day. He thanked me for saving his life. Our families have been in touch with each other ever since.
To Eddie and Cecile, this Torah Dedication was very professionally done. Regina and I thank you for inviting us to this Mitzvah. Victor Lewis
Today we are quite a distance away from the first anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. However, it is never too late to think about an event which shook the whole nation, indeed, the whole world at its foundation.
Congregations all over the country observed this Jahrzeit with commemorations. In my congregation, the Jewish Community Center of West Hempstead, my rabbi, Howard Stecker, who many of my fellows members have gotten to know and respect, put it so meaningfully: “From a Jewish perspective, there is something familiar about the way in which we refer to this event. We do not call it “the attack.” We refer to the event solely by the date on which it occurred. This should be familiar to us Jews. After all, for centuries we have referred to the Jewish day of mourning which commemorates events of destruction and displacement or our people, by using a date, Tisha b’Av, the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av. This date is seared into the collective Jewish memory. Today, we join with others of this great country, men and women of all religions and ethnicity as September 11 is seared into the collective American memory.” What a brilliant perception to capture an event of such magnitude.
There are other aspects to the first anniversary of September 11; one of them is the fact that it was a son of a Holocaust survivor, a structural engineer by the name of Allyn Kilsheimer, who was instrumental in rebuilding the Pentagon which was substantially damaged on that day.
It seems that Washington could not find an engineer they would entrust with the task of rebuilding the Pentagon in time for completion on the first anniversary of 9/11 other than Mr. Kilsheimer. And he delivered. The Pentagon was completely restored in half the time and half the budget that other engineers were ready to commit to.
At the inaugural ceremony opening the new Pentagon on September 11, 2002, Mr. Kilsheimer, the son of German Jews who survived the Holocaust with the help of the American Army said: “I feel that I repaid a debt to a nation that saved my family from destruction decades ago.” The Editor
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Things would be different if Abraham, our first patriarch, weren’t so obedient and if Goliath had Samson’s hair. Or, let’s go back a little further. What if Eve had said “NO”, to the snake? One sure thing would be the outcome: the snake would run around on tiny feet instead of crawling and eating dust. The entire human race would run around in the Garden of Eden side by side, Jews and Palestinians alike. Perhaps the Palestinians would lay claim to the Tree of Knowledge, because they were there first.
The bottom line is that had Eve not eaten from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, all humanity would remain ignorant but would be allowed to remain in Paradise and we would all be dumb gardeners. Clothing would not be needed, hence no garment center. Prayer would not be necessary, so where would we go on Saturday mornings?
Let us jump ahead. The flood did not just happen. Noah first had to pray for rain, geshem. Methuselah, the longest living human, who “tragically” died at the age of 969, could live to a 1000, had he not been a heavy smoker.
Now, if God had not made us His Chosen People, nobody would hate us and what kind of a world would that be?
When Sarah told Abraham to get rid of Ishmael and he obliged, that started the Intifada. Now, if Goliath had Samson’s hair, the King David Hotel would be called something else. But most of all, if Joshua hadn’t toppled the Walls of Jericho, Israel wouldn’t have to build one today.
The Bible gives us so many ideas on how to deal with our enemies, the waters of the sea split and then engulfed the enemy or the sun stood still upon request, all this applied today would make an army obsolete.
Just a little humor excerpted from the Jerusalem Post.
A SHIDDUCH MADE IN HEAVEN
We are familiar with the saying “A shidduch made in Heaven” which is usually attributed to a happy marriage. But what is the connection between heaven and marriage?
Well, it all goes back to Adam and Eve. God Himself performed this original marriage ceremony and thereby set the pattern for all human personal life. Marriage is not only about reproduction and physical fulfillment, but is also about companionship. Marriage is also seen as a holy institution and while divorce is permissible in Judaism when there are irreconcilable differences, the institution of marriage is seen as a holy institution requiring constant effort and adaptability.
The method one uses to find a mate, however, varies within the Jewish population. Of course, the more progressives in the Jewish population to which most of our members belong, and especially our sons, daughters and grandchildren, have never heard of a shidduch and to them, this article is directed.
The colorful custom of shidduch, arranged marriage, is still very popular in many sections of the observant Jewish population, particularly with the Chasidim. However, even with them, there are various levels of arranged marriages. There is one that is “fully arranged.” The parents present their children with a fait accompli, take it or leave it. But this system is almost completely extinct. The most common form of shidduch is through a Shadchen, a matchmaker, and in that case, the young couple has a chance to meet to “check each other out” and the decision is up to them. In either case, the final decision is up to them. There is no justification in Judaism for forced or coerced marriages. Even in fully arranged matches, the consent of the couple involved is mandatory. This is quite unlike some other religions where coerced marriages are still practices.
Regardless how our children meet their mates, we pray that the Shidduch should be sanctioned in heaven. The Editor
A NEW BOOK BY ANNETTE INSDORF DUE BY 2003 PUBLISHED
BY CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS.
The following is an excerpt from the introduction to the third edition of her landmark study Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust.
When I began exploring how films have grappled with the Holocaust, there were merely a few dozen titles to warrant attention in 1979. As the daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, I wanted to bring relatively unknown foreign films to attention, and to assess how American movies had dealt with the legacy of World War II. The word Holocaust was just coming into common usage, thanks to the NBC mini-series of 1978. It never occurred to me that by the year 2001, films about the Nazi era and its Jewish victims would be so numerous as to constitute a veritable genre—including consistent Oscar winners—nor did I foresee how this genre would be part of a wider cultural embracing of the Shoah.
But twenty-two years later, the number of cinematic reconstructions—fiction as well as documentary—is staggering. They both reflect and contribute to the fact that awareness has replaced silence about the Shoah. Immediately following the war, and for decades afterwards, survivors rarely spoke about their experiences, partly because they knew the world was not prepared to listen. Now, however, the Shoah Foundation’s completed videotaping of more than 51,000 survivors in 57 countries corresponds to two phenomena: younger generations-—especially in Germany—want to know more about the Holocaust, and the aging survivors feel the urgency to speak before it’s too late.
A brief chronological overview of events might be useful in suggesting how the Shoah has entered mainstream culture, starting with the broadcast of NBC’s Holocaust in 1978. Survivors began recording testimony at Yale University (an effort spearheaded by a group including Laurel Vlock, Dori Laub and Geoffrey Hartman), and President Carter appointed the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Indelible Shadows was first published a few months before the U.S. Holocaust Museum opened in Washington in April, 1983. Jewish film festivals sprouted in major cities, and the National Center for Jewish Film was created at Brandeis University. As the Cold War ended, archives were opened in former Communist countries, making new materials available for study as well as imaginative treatment.
Schindler’s List (1993) was seen by 25 million people in U.S. theaters alone—despite the non-commercial length and use of black-and-white film—while its TV presentation in February of 1997 on NBC earned as estimated 30 million viewers. It led directly to Steven Spielberg’s establishment of the Shoah Foundation in 1994, designed to videotape Holocaust survivors around the world. Life Is Beautiful a few years later followed in the footsteps of Schindler’s List, not only with Academy Awards but international popularity. These were merely the most famous of Holocaust-related movies, as documentaries swept the Oscars too. Beginning with Genocide, produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (another significant institution, and locus of the Museum of Tolerance in California) in 1981. Academy Awards were won by the feature-length Anne Frank Remembered (1995), The Long Way Home (1997), The Last Days (1998), and Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000), as well as the sorts, One Survivor Remembers (1995) and Visas and Virtue (1997).
These suggest that Jewish identity in the U.S. is secure. The Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture organized a conference in New York entitled “The Jewish People in the 20th Century: Looking Backward and Facing the Future” in January of 2001; as one scholar there perceived, the twentieth century saw a change from a Judaism of fate (connected to the Holocaust) to a Judaism of choice. Another described the change as a movement from the emphasis on “descent” to “ascent,” while a third found that Jews in the U.S. (as well as Israel) were increasingly living neither in “exile” nor “redemption,” simply perceiving their countries as their homes. We can conclude that unlike the Jewish studio executives in the 1930s and 1940s who—given rampant anti-Semitism—cautiously shied away from portraying Jewish life on screen, contemporary film-makers no longer see Judaism as commercially taboo.
Other factors nurtured low-budget documentaries: in addition to cheaper editing equipment and digital cameras, film-makers benefited from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture’s Documentary Fund: supported in part by Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation, the NFJC has awarded completion funds to ten films related to the Holocaust, including Fighter, since 1996. With forty Jewish film festivals in the United States alone (and over eighty internationally), an audience clearly exists for all kinds of motion pictures dealing with the Holocaust. From the first major festivals in San Francisco and Philadelphia to fledgling ones like Las Vegas, American film-goers have been able to see the best of new documentaries as well as fiction, foreign as well as American. Moreover, the programming of films about the Shoah has swelled in new institutions like the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan. Another important outlet is provided by cable television; for example, HBO has presented numerous films, from the Academy Award-winning short, One Survivor Remembers to Conspiracy (2001), a dramatization of the Wannsee Conference, while Showtime aired Rescuers in 1999.
Given the approximately 170 Holocaust-related films I’ve seen since last updating Indelible Shadows in 1989 (not to mention a few that have not yet crossed my path), I could have devoted a whole new book to the recent titles. But this update is intended as a modest supplement to my original work, comprehensive but not exhaustive.
EXEMPLARY DEDICATION TO JEWISH TRADITION BY SECOND GENERATION
Peter Berkowsky, a Second Generation member of our organization has been in the forefront of promoting Jewish tradition for more than 20 years engaging as coordinator in a unique program “The International Minyan for New York City Marathoners.”
This year, as for the past 20, he has organized a morning minyan for the convenience of many Jewish runners who competed in the 33rd Marathon on November 3rd. The minyan has been held with the permission of the New York Road Runners Club.
This year, more than 70 Jewish runners from around the world participated in the Shacharit Minyan before the start of the competition. At that time they deposited $120 into the tzedakah box, as is the custom whenever Jews get together for prayer. Peter has decided to donate this year’s collection to Beit Halochem and forwarded the money tie Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans in New York with a cover letter on the stationery of Judge Wallach of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
It is not so much the amount of meny collected, as the thought that counts. Peter, you have our admiration. The Editor
THE SEPHARDIM, WHO ARE THEY?
By Kurt Rosendahl
There is a good reason to believe that there were Jews on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) around the year 1200, before the Common Era (BCE). When Phoenician and Greek tradesmen sailed the Mediterranean, Jews traded with them and settled on the Spanish coast. Spain in Hebrew is called Sephard. The people living there care called Sephardim.
Long before the Common Era, Romans expanded their empire throughout the Mediterranean Basin into the Iberian Peninsula, where they found staunch resistance from the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. When Rome crushed a Jewish rebellion in the Roam colony of Palestine and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 of the Common Era (CE), they took with them large numbers of enslaved Jews to work in their tin and copper mines in Spain. Among those who escaped slavery many found refuge and scattered throughout the Mediterranean Basin, particularly in North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. Beginning about 400 CE, savage Christian vandals and Visigoths from the north invaded the peninsula across the Pyrenees in repeated waves. Ion the year 711 CE they were confronted in battle by Arabic-speaking Muslim Berbers who came from North Africa across the Straits of Gibraltar. With flashing swords they conquered not only the peninsula but lands across the Pyrenees. The newly acquired lands were called Al Andalus (today named Andalucia) and covered the entire area of southern Spain. The Islamic conquerors at first, accepted Christians and Jews as “protected peoples.” For this “protection” they were assessed a tax. Mainly among the Jews, the Arab conquerors found highly literate physicians, traders, craftsmen and businessmen as well as administrators for the new colonies. They granted the Jews a degree of tolerance previously unknown anywhere outside their own land.
A period of almost eight centuries produced a “Golden Age” for the Jews where they were to live in relative peace and harmony among Christians and Muslims. It was a time for prosperity, flowering Jewish culture, scientific literary, religious and economic productivity. Despite this, all was not “Milk and Honey.” Muslims and Christians were in constant, often violent conflict. Gain or loss of power changed their position but also did not bypass the Jewish subjects who were caught in the middle. Slowly, but with growing momentum, Christian held provinces in the north began to engulf their Muslim counterparts, moving southward., Finally, in January of 1492 at Granada, the last Muslim stronghold fell to the forces of the “Catholic Monarchs,” Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon.
In March of 1492, the year Christopher Columbus sailed for the fable “Indies,” the Monarchs decreed that all Jews must convert to Christianity. Alternatively, they had to leave the kingdom not later than July of that year. The penalty for not obeying this decree was death and confiscation of property. Many converted for lack of another choice, but others abandoned their wealth to save their lives and their faith. Of those who remained and converted, thousands practices their religion in secret as crypto-Jews, slanderously called “Marranos” (pigs). These forced converts handed down their secret religious practices in whispered prayers from generation to generation. The Spanish Inquisition pursued them, and those who were caught practicing the Jewish religion paid with their lives and their property. The ones that fled were not allowed to take with them money, jewels or precious metals. So they took what no tyrant could take away from them; their religion, their culture and their language. Most Jews spoke Hebrew, all knew Arabic and the Iberian tongue, a dialect evolved from the Latin of the Roman soldiers. This dialect is spoken even in present times and is called Judeo-Spanish or more commonly, Ladino or Judesmo. The refugees from the Inquisition dispersed all around the Mediterranean: North Africa, Sicily, Greece, Turkey and throughout the Ottoman Empire who welcomed them with open arms. Some found refuge in the Netherlands as well as the Orient and the New World. Wherever they settled, they used the culture that evolved from the “Golden Age” to work. They became prominent in medicine, trading, craftsmanship, diplomacy, international commerce.
Little recognition has been given to the enormously important role Jews of Sephardic origin played in translating many of the ancient Greek and Roman classics from Arabic into the Spanish and French vernacular and a multitude of other languages. The Sephardim of today are by no means a homogeneous group. Dispersed to the four corners of the world, they have adopted and adapted to the customs, foods, folklore, music, dance and words of those who gave them refuge. The Arab wars against Israel have caused mass migration to Israel, where you find a Sephardic melting pot with cultural interchange amongst Sephardim from different lands. It is remarkable that Spain itself has experienced a Sephardic Renaissance of sorts. Increasing interest has been dedicated to the role of the Jews of Spain. Many Spaniards are researching their Jewish roots.
On March 31, 1992, the five hundredth anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews, King Juan Carlos, Monarch of Spain, prayed in the main synagogue in Madrid, together with the then President of the State of Israel, and he declared: “Never again will hate and intolerance provoke desolation and exile.”
Kurt Rosendahl is a prominent member of the Jewish Community Center of West Hempstead and a scholar in his own right.
A FRIGHTENING ASPECT OF THE INTIFADA
The Jerusalem Post issue of September 20, 2002, an article headed Sleeping With the Enemy dealt with a new very dangerous escalation of the Intifada, an aspect not widely anticipated in Israel. The average person thinks of the Intifada in terms of suicide bombings and similar acts of terror perpetrated by the Palestinians from the West Bank who are not Israeli citizens.
The item in question deals with a new phase of terror in an attempt to poison Israelis by terrorists who are Israeli citizens, living and working side by side with Israeli Jews (hence Sleeping With the Enemy).
It seems that a plot was discovered when three Jerusalem Arabs planned to poison the patrons of the famous Café Rimon in downtown Jerusalem, one of the capital’s most popular eateries. They had been working there for years. One of them, the chef, in collaboration with two others, planned to lace food and drinks with toxic quantities of a muscle relaxant. The consumption of it would have caused certain death by cardiac arrest.
If there was any doubt for the need for separation, perhaps this incident would provide the answer.
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS OF CRACOW MEET WITH PRINCE CHARLES
During his visit to Cracow, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne of England, met with a group of Holocaust survivors at a café in Kazimierz.
They exchanged niceties while the Prince paid tribute to the courageous deeds of the Jewish underground in Cracow.
AND THE SEARCH GOES ON………Did you know these people???
Reuven Lerner, the son of the former Cylav(Ceska) Landerer from Podgorze, is searching for information about his paternal grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Ferdinand Lerner, who resided in Moravia Ostravska before the war . However, they had retained their Polish passports and apparently were repatriated back to Poland. The last letter their children received was in the winter of 1942 when they were in the Cracow Ghetto. Supposedly they were in Plaszow too. Anyone who had met them or knew anything about them is kindly asked to contact Sara Rosen, 101 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023.
Thank you and God bless you. Sara Rosen
THE FOLLOWING IS AN ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE INTERNATIONAL LAW ASSOCIATION PANEL DISCUSSION ON THE HOLOCAUST AS CATALYST FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE by Abraham Krieger
I first wish to thank Professor Nunes, Director of the Institute on the Holocaust and the Law and Moderator of this panel, for the opportunity to serve on this distinguished panel. I serve as General Counsel of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. Benjamin Meed, its Chairman, was originally to have served on this panel, but was unable to because of a conflict. I represent an extraordinary group of people — Survivors of the Holocaust. They have two imperatives, one to bear witness and the other to preserve memory.
The murder of an individual is, of course, a crime. The murder of a people under the euphemisms of “Final Solution” or “ethnic cleansing” should elicit broader accountability, prosecution and punishment. Survivors, more than others, recognize that while the murder of an individual is a crime against family and state, the murder of a people is, what we have come to refer to as, a “crime against humanity.” If the Final Solution was not sufficiently unfathomable, at the end of the war, Survivors, trying to return to their homes, continued to be killed by the thousands. The “final” solution was not quite that final, while the suffering and losses continued.
Professor Peter Longerich of the Holocaust Educational Trust in London suggests that “a dispute over the genesis of the Final Solution involves finding answers, not only to questions of when and where, but also ultimately, why?” These questions are integral to the judicial process. But they are questions that the survivors alone live with each and every day of their lives. What likewise comes to mind is Eichman’s statement, also expressed by Josef Stalin, that “the death of an individual is a tragedy — the death of a million…a statistic.” Add to that Hitler’s statement in the early 30’s that “after all, who now speaks of the Armenians?” and the Final Solution and later genocides become more foreseeable.
As lawyers, we recognize the importance of “choice of forum” decisions. Forum played a determining role in the outcome of post-World War II prosecutions, involving military tribunals, courts in East and West Germany and trials in other countries, the most important of which remains the Eichman trial addressing crimes against humanity, later serving as a model for the Rwanda trials and International Criminal Court.
The results in each forum are telling. The Nuremberg trials in particular, on which my co-panelist, Benjamin Ferenz, will speak in greater detail and with pre-eminent knowledge, were compelling and cathartic. Tragically however, there were too few convictions due to lack of prosecutors, judges, facilities and funding.
Statistics involving post-war prosecutions by East and West Germany are distressing. Fully 80% of the judges in post-war Germany were former members of the Nazi party. Their appointments originated in the late 1800’s under the authoritarian Bismark government. They retained their civil service positions through the liberal Weimar Democratic Republic and subsequent Nazi regime which benefited from a supportive judiciary already in place. This, among other reasons, contributed to the relative ease and speed with which the legal and legislative systems collapsed. Judges, lawyers and legislators, who should otherwise have served as a buffer, simply folded, permitting the Final Solution to proceed for the most part unopposed.
Between 1963 and 1967, approximately 300 war crimes cases were pending in the Berlin prosecutor’s office. Almost every one was eventually dismissed on statue of limitations defenses.
Every survivor bears witness. But bearing witness in a prosecution is different form personally remembering, which carries with it a different responsibility. How many war crime prosecutions failed to lead to convictions because the survivor/witness was simply unable to recount and relive that which remains unthinkable?
Immediately after World War II, many were arrested, fewer were prosecuted, fewer yet were found guilty and even fewer were actually punished. After punishment, more often than not, those convicted had their sentences reduced or commuted – a process, as we know, tragically continuing to this very day. How unimaginable that must be to the survivors who committed no crime and continue to suffer in part for the remainder of their lives, with no prospect of their suffering being commuted. Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League suggests that the best an international can hope for is “symbolic justice” since actual justice in the face of any genocide, is arguably unachievable. Survivors are often asked about the subject of forgiveness. Most express a much stronger preference for justice, recognizing at the same time the impossibility of it ever being fully or even substantially realized, especially at this late date.
In closing, Professor Yehuda Bauer, a renowned Israeli Holocaust scholar suggests that, in the Post-Holocaust era, three commandments should be added to the original ten: (1) Thou shalt not be a perpetrator; (2) Thou shalt not be a victim; and finally and perhaps most importantly - (3) Thou shalt not be a bystander.
Ed. Note: Mr. Abraham Krieger is the son of Nathan Krieger
WHO INVENTED THANKSGIVING?
It has been a generally accepted fact that the holiday of Thanksgiving as originated by George Washington, the first president of the republic, has been observed continually since the first holiday was proclaimed November 26, 1789. This however is folly because Thanksgiving was not observed in the United States after George Washington again until the year 1863. Abraham Lincoln reinstituted the holiday again during the Civil War and only for two years. It was not until 1941, with global war threatening, that Congress established the fourth Thursday of November as the national holiday for Thanksgiving and that is what has been observed to this day.
Unlike other non-Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving does not have any religious significance and therefore it is incumbent upon us to embrace this beautiful holiday as our own and give thanks, first to the Almighty and then to the government of these United States for the blessings of freedom that we are privileged to enjoy in this wonderful country.
We should remember that at a time when the English government played the quota game in Palestine and created detention camps in Cyprus, the United States, under the leadership of President Harry S. Truman, opened the doors to the United States for all survivors.
Today, 50 years later, we have reached the zenith in acceptance and influence to the point where we are represented in Congress far beyond what our numbers warrant and certainly are participating in the prosperity that the freedom of this beloved country has to offer.
Let us rejoice in this Thanksgiving Holiday as Americans and as Jews.
A WOMAN OF DISTINCTION
Meryl Lewis, daughter-in-law of Victor and Rega Lewis, was among the “Generations of Women: Reaching Out/Reaching Back” as they were the recipients of a tribute at the Annual Salute to Women Achievers Luncheon sponsored by the YWCA of the City of New York on November 20, 2002.
We take pride in the achievements of our families and we congratulate the Lewis family on this occasion.
Roman Weingarten, President
BLOOD LIBELS ON THE RISE AGAIN
Just when we all thought that blood libels were a matter of the past, (A blood libel is an allegation that Jews murder non-Jews in order to obtain blood for, in all absurdity, the baking of Passover matzah.), a new kind of blood libel is emerging. It is spewed by Arab propaganda suggesting that Israel had advanced knowledge of the World Trade Center attack. It is no less absurd than the “blood for matzah” libel.
There is another myth, much more subtle, but no less absurd, that Jewish lobbying forces are driving the U.S. into a war with Iraq. This began as a line of Iraqi propaganda coming here through European media and picked up by the mainstream American newspapers.
All this however, hardly seems to be an appropriate topic for our publication since it deals with timely matters that tend to be obsolete by the time you read them. Not so this time of the year, the time of Thanksgiving. Regardless of what we read and hear, we are blessed to be living in this free country.
AN OUTRAGE THAT ONE WOULD NOT EXPECT EVEN IN FRANCE
The wartime collaborator, Maurice Papon, who sent hundreds of French Jews to the German death camps during the Shoah, was released from prison having served only 3 years of a 10 year sentence, because of old age.
The Jews that Papon sent to their deaths did not have a chance to reach old age. Why the compassion for a convicted murderer? And why did the French let Papon reach old age before they meted out justice?
Can it be that Jewish life is cheap in France?
David, the son of Max Friedberg, requested that we announce that the unveiling of his father Max’s monument took place on October 27, 2002.
OPENING REMARKS AT THE ISRAEL BOND DRIVE
by Simone Hilfstein Scheumann
As a co-chair of this year’s Israeli bond Drive, and on behalf of the New Cracow Friendship Society, I would like to welcome our members with their families, friends, our guest speaker, Mr. Steve Malzberg, and of course our honorees, Frieda and Henry Wilner.
We are here for a very worthwhile endeavor. Our mission is to simply buy bonds, and in doing so support Israel in her relentless struggle to stay strong. We are truly fortunate to gather here today with honorees, the Wilners, who are long time supporters of Israel and exemplary members of our society.
Today, we stand strong as Jews and, with our friends throughout the world, must provide what is necessary to secure the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people in the Diaspora. I personally feel that supporting Israel is not only an obvious necessity, but also an obligation. Even while Israel juggles with its internal affairs, such as the restructuring of the government, our goal must, as always, be to support Israel and therefore give Israel the opportunity for self-determination.
Indeed, the Unit3ed States and the world have now begun to feel the pain of continued conflict, as our beloved Israel has endured for what many feel is forever. The tentacles of terrorism now do indeed reach everywhere. Survivors felt the sting of evil not that long ago, and through their pain, the second generation, people like myself, have learned about the world. If nothing else, recent history and current events can set the tone for our fund raising efforts today. As we know, money can’t hurt!
Today we are here purchasing Israel Bonds tomorrow, if necessary we will purchase needed medical equipment, help build a hospital or school. Next, it may be buying cookies for a Mitzvah Drive from our children or grandchildren at our local shul. Our work may never be done. Most importantly, the world must know of our relentless efforts, whether we give big or small, whether it is with money, bonds, goods, or services, we will continue.
As in prior years, we meet at this time of year, before the holiday season of Thanksgiving and Chanukah, to show our unwavering support for Israel. To show the world, our children, grandchildren, friends, and especially our enemies where our priorities lie. We are a giving people, and there is nothing more rewarding than to give tzedakah. Of course, we should be clear that buying Israel Bonds has always had a return for us. Isn’t like Israel to find the means by which to help her and the givers simultaneously!
I fell fortunate to be here today and look forward to a fine afternoon of bond buying. In conclusion, please be generous. All funds collected through the sale of State of Israel Bonds are desperately needed for supporting the infrastructure of Israel. Thank you.
ADDRESS BY DR. PHILIP WILNER AT THE ISRAEL BONDS RECEPTION
The biblical portions we have been reading for the past several weeks, and which we will continue to read through the end of Genesis, teach us the lessons of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham was promised two things by God, which became the basic elements of the covenant between God and the Jewish people. The first promise was that Jewish continuity would be eternal, that beginning with our forefathers and throughout the generations, the Jewish people would grow and be a dominant people on this earth. The second promise was that our eternal homeland would be the land of Israel.
These biblical portions demonstrate how each forefather, each in his time and his own way, implemented God’s promise. Today we celebrate my parents, two people, who in the tradition of our forefathers, have dedicated their lives to fulfilling God’s promise. Despite many difficulties and challenges in their lives, Jewish continuity was always foremost in their hearts, their minds and in their actions. They joined and regularly attended synagogues, affiliated with Jewish communal organization such as the New Cracow Friendship Society, and sent my brothers and me to Yeshiva, where we would get Jewish education in equal proportion and equal quality to our secular studies. As Abraham transmitted the covenantal promise to Isaac and Isaac to Jacob, my parents have kept this chain intact by transmitting these promises and the practices to my generation. Toward that end, I now that nothing is more meaningful to my parents than to see that their grandchildren follow in these same traditions.
God also promised Abraham and his descendants the land of Israel. Each of us in this room today is a partner in the fulfillment of that promise. For isn’t that what State of Israel Bonds is all about — taking the promise that God has given us and through our efforts making it flower, grow, and prosper? For half a century my parents have committed themselves to Israel, and through our efforts here today, each of us is doing the same.
My parents have set a wonderful example for me and for my children. Through us, their examples of communal service, particularly to Jewish continuity and to Israel, will carry into the future. I am grateful to the New Cracow Friendship Society and State of Israel Bonds for bestowing this tribute to my parents. It is wonderful for my children to have the opportunity to participate in such a magnificent day. They follow in the footsteps of great people. There is no better sign that God’s covenant with us continues, than seeing that.
INTRODUCTION OF THE GUESTS OF HONOR
by Roman Weingarten, President
Today’s reception on behalf of Israel Bonds could not have been more appropriately timed. It is a time when Israel finds itself in the middle of a struggle for her safety, indeed for her very existence
This tine country which grew out of the ashes of the holocaust does not have many friends in this world. On the contrary, most of the so-called civilized nations seem to be obsessed with the idea that were it not for Israel, everything would be fine and dandy in this world.
We, as individuals and as an organization, take great pride in the fact that our allegiance to the State of Israel has been steadfast through the years. In fact, we have not missed the opportunity, even once, since 1969 when we embarked on this program of combining a drive to sell Israel Bonds with a meaningful tribute to a colleague deserving the honor.
The cumulative total of Israel Bonds sold through our efforts reached a total of 26 million dollars as of last year. Having said that, I wish to extend my warm welcome to all of you, members, family and friends of our distinguished honorees. I also wish to welcome Rabbi Scott Hoffman and his family. Rabbi Hoffman is the spiritual leader of the Lake Success Jewish Center where we hold our annual Commemoration observance. By the presence of all of you, you have demonstrated your love and compassion for the State of Israel, as well as your affection and respect for our guests of honor.
To Bernice and Simone, by now our seasoned chairpersons, I wish to say you have conducted this affair with great efficiency and professional skill worthy of the title. Next I wish to express my thanks to Mary Mindel, Helen Finder and their helpers for the elegant and delicious collation. My thanks also go to our distinguished guest speaker, Mr. Steve Malzberg, for his eloquent presentation. Thank you, Dr. Philip Wilner. You spoke with great emotion about your parents and what you said was enlightening to a group of Holocaust survivors.
Finally, my gratitude and appreciation go to our own Joe Bukiet who never fails to inspire us. In fact, I cannot imagine a serious function without Joe having a part in it. In pleading Israel’s case, one cannot find a better advocate.
Now, before I have the pleasure of introducing to you our distinguished guests of honor, I wish to announce that the New Cracow Friendship Society has purchased Israel Bonds in the amount of $10,000 in honor of Henry and Frieda Wilner who I am delighted to introduce to you at this time.
Henry and Frieda are both Holocaust survivors but of a different breed. Henry survived the Holocaust by first escaping from a train going to Belze? and then participating in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He subsequently joined the Polish underground and having been wounded, fell into the hands of the German Army as a prisoner. He was eventually liberated by the British.
Frieda endured the Holocaust in the labor camps of Siberia. In spite of the diverse experiences during the Shoah, both went on to lead productive and community minded lives. They are true examples of the triumph of goodness over adversity.
In their association with our organization, where Henry has been serving as a member of the Board of Directors since 1999, the Wilners have earned the esteem and admiration of their peers and in honoring them, we salute two outstanding individuals whose time is now.
Henry and Frieda are blessed with three sons and five grandchildren who are the source of great joy and nachas.
ACCEPTANCE BY HENRY WILNER
Rabbi Hoffman, Mel Axelrod, President of the Lake Success Jewish Center, Officials and distinguished guests,
Frieda and I would like to express our sincere thanks to President Roman Weingarten and the Board of Directors of the New Cracow Friendship Society for bestowing this prestigious honor upon us. We are very proud to be members of the Cracow society, which has always been in the forefront in supporting the State of Israel. Support for Israel Bonds has been, and continues to e, a major effort of the membership of this organization.
Thank you for the beautiful plaque that has been presented to us today. It is an honor to receive it and we are grateful for this tribute. Frieda and I will always cherish the plaque and remember this day.
Our sincere thanks to each of you for attending today’s Bond Drive. Special thanks to my niece and nephew, Marilyn and David Faust, for their special effort to be with us today. We also want to acknowledge the presence of Sonia Greenman, representing our many friends and neighbors at North Shore Towers. Thank you for being here with us today.
May we all continue to assemble for happy occasions for many years to come.
LETTER FROM ISRAEL
At the last meeting of the Executive Committee of the Irgun Yotzey Krakow the following subjects were discussed and decided upon.
Some of you may be aware of he fact that this year we will be observing the 60th anniversary of the heroic event that became known as the Cyganerja Attack when a number of Cracow Ghetto Fighters undertook an attack on the mighty German army. Our brave fighters attacked the coffee house Cyganerja at a time of day when it was crowded with German SS officers. Our heroes were successful in killing or wounding a large number of Germans giving them a taste of the medicine that they had been dispensing to the Jews.
In order to properly celebrate this momentous event and pay tribute to our heroes, we will meet in the third day of Chanukah and try to do justice to the cause of remembrance. Dr. Moshe Bejski will open the proceedings. Three Chanukah candles will be lit by three generations of Cracow descent: David Reiser, Chairman of Irgun Yotzey Krakow, his son Dov and his grandson.
The showing of a short documentary film and a number of slides depicting Jewish life in Cracow before the war will be followed by a selection of Gebirtig songs. Yehuda Maimon (Poldek Wasserman), a member of the underground ghetto movement Hachelutz Halochem and the Director of Beit Lochamei Haghetaot will be the main speakers. A poem about the Night at Cyganerja, in Polish and in Hebrew translation will be recited by Eva Ramon. She is of the “Continuing Generation” and, last but not least, the evening will include the announcement of the planting of a grove at the Forest of the Kedoshim of Cracow in the Jerusalem Hills to take place on the 15th day of the month of Shvat. [Tu b’Shvat] In addition, we are also planning to publish a booklet glorifying the heroic deeds of the Jewish resistance in Cracow. We hope that we can count on your financial assistance for that project.
Attending our Executive meeting was Dr. Zvi Zimmerman, the head of an organization to perpetuate the memory of Dolek Liebeskind. He asked our assistance in his efforts to name a street in Jerusalem in memory of Dolek Liebeskind as well as to help to produce a film about the heroism of Dr. Henryk Slawik, the Polish Raoul Wallenberg. In all of this, your financial assistance is of great importance.
Another worthy project in the making a is being undertaken by 10 top students of the municipal High School #5. They will interview Holocaust survivors of the Irgun and will write down their memories for posterity. In the same vein of remembrance we are offering grants to students of Hebrew University in Jerusalem who will do the M.A.s on the topic of Jewish life in Cracow. Some time in the near future, we will dedicate an evening together with the Hebrew University to celebrate the historical work of Meir Balaban in the Hebrew translation. Also an evening of “Jewish Film in Poland” will take place in January 2003.
With best wishes for a joyous and peaceful Chanukah celebration, Shalom.
Ed. Note: It has come to our attention that Natan Gross’ health is failing and we wish to extend to him our best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.
SUNSHINE COMMITTEE REPORT
Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Abraham 23
Mrs. & Mrs. Robert Kreuzman 50
Mr. & Mrs. Markus Ender 53
Mr. & Mrs. Ivan Lisnitzer
Mr. & Mrs. Edmund Graf
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Moldawer
Mr. & Mrs. Leon Green 54
Mr. & Mrs. Zygmunt Morrow 15
Mr. & Mrs. Leopold Heitner 64
Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Rosen
Dr. Annette Insdorf & Mark Ethan
Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Rosen 23
Mr. & Mrs. Saul Karpik
Mr. & Mrs. Sigmunt Rottenberg 51
Mr. & Mrs. Marian Keren
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Wrobel 58
Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Chaikel 33
Mr. & Mrs. Murray Pantirer
Mr. & Mrs. Oscar Corn
Mr. & Mrs. Allan Speilman 6
Mr. & Mrs. Norbert Friedman
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Steiner 57
Mr. & Mrs. Jack Gingold 18
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Wiener 57
Danielle Bukiet, granddaughter of Al and Belle, became a Bat Mitzvah in June.
Samantha Greenberg, granddaughter of Hania Greenberg became a Bat Miztvah in August.
5762 - 2002 YIZKOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Halina & Ernest Abraham
M/ M Jacob Abt
Mark & Helena Baer
Jack & Helen Betteil
M/ M Henry Blasenstein
M/M Herman Blavat
Lotte Bloch Samuel Bodenstein
Mrs. Eugenia Boyman
M/M Al Bukiet
M/ M Joe Bukiet
Mrs.SallyDelson Mrs. Stella Deutsher
Mr. Michael Dortheimer
M/MIrvingEichner M/M Henry Erlich
M/M Isaac Fenster
D/M Roman Ferber
M/M Alex Finder
Mr. Norman Fishman
Elias & Felicia Friedman
M/M Norbert Friedman
M/M Leon Gams
Mrs. Pola Gams
Mrs. Esther Geizhals
M/M Jack Gingold
Mrs. Regina Gingold
Mrs. Mary Glucksman
M/M Arthur Gross
Mr. Alfred Grunberg
Mrs. Frederika Grunberg
Mrs. Helga Grunberg
Mrs. Josephine Grunberg
Mrs. Betty Gunz
Mrs. Bella Halpern
Mrs. Maria Helfman
Eddie & Miriam Herman
Mr. Milton Hirschfeld
Rita & MorrisHorowitz
Alex & Nettie Insdorf
Dr. Annette Insdorf
Mrs. Cecile Insdorf
Mrs. Rena Jacobson
Mrs. Cecilia Kurtz
Mrs. Eda Kaminski
M/M Saul Karpik
M/MJackKleiner M/M Abraham Kolender
Mr. Abraham Krieger
Cecile & Roman
Mrs. Lola Laks
M/M Eugene Landau
Ben & Regina Lehrer
Mrs. Regina Liebling M/M Joseph Lipshutz
M/M Ivan Lisnitzer
M/M Victor Lewis
Mrs. Mollie Mandelbaum
M/M Z. Morrow
Mrs. Felicia Nadel
Mrs. Felicia Neuwirth
Mr. Salo Nichtern
Mrs. Helena Novotny
M./M Nathan Offen
M/M Murray Pantirer
Mrs. Cornelia Peisner
Jack & Lucy Polaniecki
Dr. Halina Ragazzoni
Betty & Melvin Reich
M/M Jeno Rosenblatt
David & Sandra Rosenblum
Mrs. Marianne Rosner
M/M Sol Rosenstock
M./M Henry Rosenzweig
Mrs. Erna Rosner
M/M Julius Ross
Cantor/Mrs. Max Rubin
Mrs. Alice Salamon
Jerry & Karolina Sass
Mr. Leopold Schein
Simone & Lee Scheumann
Mrs. Ester Schneewiess
M/.M Eric Schneider
MM Henry Schnitzer
Mrs. Lola Schuss Mrs. Jean Schwarzer
Eli & Harriet Solz
Mrs. Genia Sommer
Leon & Regina Sperling
Arthur & Sydelle Spielman
Mrs. Ruth Steif
Mrs. Janet Stoeger
Jack & Sally Tellerman
Lola & Henry Tenenbaum
Mrs. Helen Tilles
Mrs. David Twersky
Mrs. Lillian Tyras
Mrs. Rachel Wald
Mrs. Sonia Wasserberger
M/M Sam Wertheim
M/M Roman Weingarten
M./M Issac Weislic
M/M Manek Werdiger
M/M Henry Weiner
Frieda & Henry Wilner
David & Helen Winchester
M/M Morris Zaidband
Larry & Andzia Zellner