Category Archive: RESCUE

‘Britain’s Schindler’ to Receive Czech Honor

Sir Nicholas Winton saved more than 650 Jewish children from the Nazis


Between March and September 1939, British stockbroker Nicholas Winton saved more than 650 children, most of them Jewish, by arranging kindertransports from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovkia to the United Kingdom. Winton, the London-born son of German Jews, was moved to action after visiting Prague in December 1938 and seeing firsthand the worsening conditions for the country’s Jews. The undertaking often required falsifying documents or bribing officials, but Winton managed to orchestrate eight transports of children to the U.K. by the time World War II broke out in September 1939.

The children spared the fates that befell their families and friends during the Holocaust didn’t know who their benefactor was, as Winton never publicized his actions. It wasn’t until a BBC television special in 1989 invited an unsuspecting Winton to the studio that the now-grown children saved on Winton’s transports were able to thank him in person. (A documentary about Winton, Nicky’s Family, was released in 2011.)

Now the 105-year-old, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, is being properly thanked by the Czech Republic. He will receive the Order of the White Lion, the country’s highest honor, at a ceremony in October, the Daily Mail reports.

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Rabbi Herschel Schacter, former Presidents Conference chair, dies at 95

Rabbi Herschel Schacter, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has died.

Schacter, the first U.S. Army chaplain to enter and participate in the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp, died Thursday. He was 95.
Along with serving as chairman of the Presidents Conference from 1967 to 1969, he was president of the Mizrachi-Hapoel Hamizrachi, founding chairman of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry and chairman of the Chaplaincy Commission of the Jewish Welfare Board. He also was director of rabbinic services at Yeshiva University.
Schacter, a student of the esteemed Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, served as rabbi of the Mosholu Jewish Center in the Bronx, N.Y., for more than 50 years.
“Rabbi Schacter was an exemplary leader who often spoke of his deep commitment to Jewish inclusiveness and unity,” Presidents Conference leaders Richard Stone and Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement Thursday.
Schacter led a Kindertransport from Buchenwald to Switzerland after World War II. In 1956, he was a member of the first rabbinic delegation to the USSR and escorted a transport of Hungarian refugees from Austria to the United States.

Max Liebmann interviewed on WPIX-TV, New York

Max Liebmann, Senior Vice President of The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their descendants, Interviewed on WPIX-TV New York

Ohio rabbi’s books tied to Holocaust survivors

COLUMBUS, Ohio—As Holocaust survivors languished in displacement camps around Europe at the close of World War II, the U.S. Army gave them some of their first tangible connections to their faith since before the war: passages from the Talmud. Now two pieces of that limited printing have ended up in the hands of an Ohio rabbi, who will be using one in a pre-Passover service on Friday even as historians ponder their rarity and debate their impact on history.

How President Eisenhower should be remembered

By Menachem Z. Rosensaft, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.

In a genuine spirit of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats should all be able to agree that General Dwight David Eisenhower was one of the great military leaders of the 20th Century.

In 1952, Eisenhower was elected President of the United States on the Republican ticket, but he had become an international hero more than seven years earlier, before he declared his political affiliation, when he led the multi-national Allied forces to victory over Nazi Germany.
Eisenhower, who died in 1969, remains so widely respected and popular that 30 years after his death, the U.S. Congress decided to have an official memorial in his honor built in Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has approved a design by architect Frank Ghery that would highlight Eisenhower’s youth in Kansas far more than his military or political achievements.

Members of the Eisenhower family, in particular his granddaughters Susan and Anne, are asking the National Capital Planning Commission to halt the process and direct the Eisenhower Memorial Commission to come up with a different concept. They are right.
“I just don’t think Dwight Eisenhower is remembered because he was a barefoot boy from Kansas,” Susan Eisenhower told the Washington Post last December. “When I look at this memorial, I don’t see any bit of him in it.”

Eisenhower entered history not as a youngster in Kansas or as a graduate of West Point, or, even, as President of the United States. His unique contribution to our country’s and the world’s history was as Supreme Allied Commander for the European Theater during World War II and then, following Germany’s surrender, as Military Governor of the U.S occupation zone of Germany.

For Holocaust survivors and their families in particular, General Eisenhower holds a hallowed, place in our hearts and emotions. It was under his leadership that the Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Austria were liberated in the spring of 1945, and in our minds, he, more than anyone else, became the iconic representation of all the Allied liberators.

Rabbi Judah Nadich who served as the U.S. Army’s senior Jewish chaplain in Europe and as Eisenhower’s Jewish adviser wrote that “Eisenhower’s treatment of the Jewish displaced persons . . . was marked with understanding and sympathy. His friendship for the Jews left no room for doubt.”

In September of 1945, Eisenhower joined several thousand Jewish survivors at Yom Kippur services in the Feldafing Displaced Persons Camp not far from Munich. His “sudden unannounced appearance,” recalled Rabbi Nadich, “electrified the large congregation. The men and women could not believe their eyes . . . . The stormy ovation they gave him indicated the esteem, the appreciation and the love they bore him. Their enthusiasm showed that they felt that he was not only the symbol of all of the democratic forces that had set them free, but that he personally understood their plight.”

Eisenhower was also one of the first who understood the urgent need to preserve the memory of the atrocities that had been perpetrated against European Jews and all the other victims of the Third Reich. He personally visited a concentration camp within days of its liberation in order to be able to bear personal witness, and he directed the officers under his command to do the same.

A photograph of General Eisenhower taken at Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald near the German city of Gotha, shows him surrounded by American GI’s and liberated inmates still in their concentration camp uniforms beside a gallows where prisoners had been tortured and hung with piano wire. That is the image of him that should be engraved into our national consciousness.

“The things I saw beggar description,” General Eisenhower wrote to General George C. Marshall shortly after visiting Ohrdruf. “The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. . . . I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda’.”

As the son of two survivors of both the Auschwitz death camp and the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, I agree with the Eisenhower family that the proposed design of the planned Eisenhower Memorial must be changed. Dwight D. Eisenhower should be depicted and remembered in our nation’s capital above all as the U.S. General of the Army who rescued Europe and, indeed, the world from the scourge of Nazism.

Dachau survivor and liberator meet 6 decades later

PHILADELPHIA — The way Ernie Gross and Don Greenbaum laugh and tell jokes with the ease of old friends, it’s easy to assume the dapper octogenarians have known each other forever. In reality, they only met a few months ago. Their familiarity doesn’t come from shared memories of a childhood playground or a high school dance but a far darker place: Both men spent a single day at the Dachau concentration camp on the day its 30,000 prisoners were liberated by American GIs in 1945. Greenbaum, 87, and Gross, 83, don’t think they met that day in Dachau but nevertheless share a bond. They met after Gross, who lives in Philadelphia, saw a mention in a local newspaper last November about Greenbaum, a Philadelphia native now living in suburban Bala Cynwyd. “Ernie wanted to thank me for saving his life, quote unquote, even though there were 50,000 other men there with me,” Greenbaum said. “And we had lunch together and discussed what happened 66 years ago.” Gross, then 85 pounds after nearly a year of sickness, abuse and constant hunger, had no doubt April 29, 1945, was his last day on earth. Greenbaum, a soldier with Gen. George Patton’s Third Army 283rd Field Artillery Battalion, arrived that day at Dachau expecting to seize ammunition, clothing and food that was kept for the Nazis notorious SS forces.

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.

“It gives me hope” – The remarkable story of Irena Sendler

During the Holocaust, this Catholic social worker saved 2,500 Jewish children from certain death by convincing their parents, who were trapped in the Warsaw ghetto, to let her smuggle their kids to gentile families on the outside.  CShe risked her life every day for months, sneaking the kids out of the ghetto by, for instance, hiding them in ambulances and trucks. She was finally caught and tortured by the Nazis, escaping the firing squad only because her colleagues on the outside paid an extraordinary bribe to let her flee at the last minute.  
Now, here’s the kicker:  If you’ve heard of Sendler, it’s likely because of an extraordinary high school history teacher – Norm Conard – in a small town in southeastern Kansas and three of his students who worked on a project about her for National History Day in 2000.