Category Archive: PROFILES

Chana Mlotek Dead: Yiddish Song Expert, 91, Dies In NYC

NEW YORK — NEW YORK (AP) — Chana Mlotek (KHAH’-nuh MLAH’-tehk), a noted archivist of Yiddish folk music, has died at age 91.

11/05/13 01:21 PM ET EST	 AP

11/05/13 01:21 PM ET EST AP

Her son Zalmen says she died of cancer Monday at her Bronx home.

Mlotek was an impassioned collector of Yiddish theater songs and folk music from Europe’s historic Jewish communities.

Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis (bah-SHEHV’-ihs) Singer once called Mlotek and her husband, Joseph, “the Sherlock Holmeses of Yiddish folk songs.”

The couple wrote a newspaper column called “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry” for the Yiddish edition of The Forward for more than 43 years.

Mlotek was born Eleanor Chana Gordon in 1922 in Brooklyn.

She studied Yiddish folklore at UCLA. She worked for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for 65 years, almost to her death.
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Exhibit recalls Jewish refugees and Nazi prisoners held together in Canadian prisons

“Canada closed its doors more tightly than almost anybody else.”

VANCOUVER, Canada — When Austrian and German Jews escaped Nazism by fleeing to Britain during the 1930s, the last thing they expected was to find themselves prisoners in Canada, interred in camps with some of the same Nazis they had tried to escape back home.
But that’s what happened to some 7,000 European Jews and “Category A” prisoners — the most dangerous prisoners of war — who arrived on Canadian shores in 1940. Fearing a German invasion, Britain had asked its colonies to take some German prisoners and enemy spies. But the boats included many refugees, including religious Jews and university students.
Though Britain alerted Canada to the mistake, it would take three years for all the refugees to be freed.
“It was a period where everybody was closing their doors,” said Paula Draper, a historian who worked on an exhibit about the refugees currently on display at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. “But Canada closed its doors more tightly than almost anybody else.”

French swimmer explains Hebrew tattoo as tribute to Holocaust survivor

French Olympic swimmer Fabien Gilot said the Hebrew tattoo on his left arm is a tribute to his late grandmother’s husband, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz.  Gilot, who is not Jewish, said the tattoo is dedicated to his family and honors Max Goldschmidt, who has been a large influence in the Olympic champion’s life. The tattoo says “I’m nothing without them.”  He revealed the tattoo, which is on the inside of his left arm, after exiting the pool following his team’s gold medal-winning performance.

Arno Lustiger, historian and Holocaust survivor/lecturer, dies at 88

BERLIN — Arno Lustiger, a Holocaust survivor and historian who put a spotlight on Jewish resistance against the Nazis, has died.Lustiger died Tuesday in Frankfurt, Germany, at the age of 88.Lustiger’s “greatest contribution for all time” was in “rescuing from oblivion the story of Jewish resistance in the Shoah,” Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement Wednesday. “Not only did Arno Lustiger contribute greatly to the return of Jewish life in Frankfurt, he also made an important contribution to education and analysis about the darkest chapter of German history through his research on Jewish resistance and on non-Jewish rescuers of Jews during World War II.”Lustiger, a native of Bendzin, survived six concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Buchenwald. His father and brother were murdered.In April 1945, Lustiger escaped a death march and was rescued by U.S. soldiers. He and his mother and sisters ended up in a displaced persons camp in Frankfurt, where Lustiger became a reporter for the Yiddish newspaper.

Jan Karski to receive posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON — Jan Karski, an officer of the Polish Underground during World War II, will posthumously receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The medal is the highest civilian honor in the United States. Karski was among the first to provide eyewitness accounts of Nazi Germany’s murder of the Jews. 

NY advocate for Holocaust survivors dies at 59

NEW YORK — A longtime advocate for Holocaust survivors has died at age 59.
Elan Steinberg died Friday after a brief illness. His death was confirmed by Menachem Rosensaft, who is vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.
At the time of his death, Steinberg was a vice president for the group.
He previously served as executive director of the World Jewish Congress.
Steinberg was a leader in the campaign to obtain billions of dollars in restitution for Holocaust survivors.
Rosensaft says Steinberg fought to obtain justice from Swiss banks, European governments and others who profiteered from the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.
He said his colleague had a brilliant mind and great heart, both of which are irreplaceable.

Susan Eisenhower’s Testimony to Congress on “The Proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial”

In her testimony, Ms. Eisenhower quotes American Gathering vice president Menachem Rosensaft that “I grew up revering first General then President Eisenhower as the commander of the liberating armies that enabled my parents to live.”

by Susan Eisenhower
The following testimony was given by Susan Eisenhower before a congressional Subcommittee.

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Members:
I would like to thank you, on behalf of the Eisenhower family, for convening this hearing on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. Such hearings play a vital role in the memorialization process, and we thank you for your leadership in addressing the public interest.
Let me say that my family is most grateful to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, the General Services Administration and the National Park Service—as well as Mr. Frank Gehry, for the efforts they have made in bringing the memorial to this stage.
Mr. Chairman, on June 12, 1945, Dwight Eisenhower stood on the balcony of London’s Guildhall, where he was to receive the Freedom of the City of London. Europe lay in ruins. More than 15 million people in the Western part of continent had perished, not counting the 25 million Soviets who died on the Eastern Front. Eisenhower, who had victoriously commanded the largest military operation in the history of warfare, stood before millions of cheering Londoners. He spoke of the war and the collective effort to defeat Nazism.  Without notes, Eisenhower began his speech. “Humility,” he said, “must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.”
These simple words, crafted without the help of a speech writer, offer a guide for capturing the essence of World War II’s Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces, Europe and later our nation’s two-term president.

New Yorker who saved Jews during Holocaust dies

A woman who helped hide more than 100 Jews during the Holocaust has died at a New York retirement community.  Tina Strobos died Monday in Rye. She was 91. Strobos was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago.  The Dutch native took Jews into her Amsterdam home and then led them to other hiding places. She also doctored passports for them and stashed guns stolen from the Germans.  Not one of the Jews she helped was ever captured.