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May 09, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1969-05-09

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Purely Commentary

Retaining Memory of Holocaust
How can the memory of the Holocaust be retained? What can
pedagogues do propertly to prepare curricula to teach our youth about
the horror that cost us a third of our people under Hitler?
Much has been written on the subject. There are many books and
innumerable documents, and if they will be read the period of terror
will not be forgotten.
If we ever forget, history will be mutilated and there will be an
ever-lasting threat that the terrors of the past may recur.
The great need, therefore, is to assure proper preparation and
utilization of the available data, and encouragement to those who keep
gathering facts to assure that the truth about the Nazi brutalities will
never be shelved.



In spite of the vast library on the Holocaust, there remains the
problem of how to teach about that era, what methods to use to incul-
cate in Jews and non-Jews knowledge about the occurrences that re-
sulted in the death of tens of millions of people—six million of them
Jews. Even in Israel the youth is not properly acquainted with the
methods that were used to destroy Jewish communities, to lead the
millions to their death, in the gas chambers that became the architec-
tural creation of a demonic element that knew no bounds in perpetrat-
ing atrocities.
We have many problems. A misguided youth not only is unaware
of what had happened but has become imbued with an animating
spirit towards their own kinsmen. Self-hatred has become a symptom
among an embittered element in our midst.
Can we teach them about the hurban? Will they ever learn the



It is so vital that the published works should be utilized! There is
a series of immense studies—the Jewish Publication Society's "Antho-
logy of Holocaust Literature," Dr. Albert H. Friedlander's "Out of the
Whirlwind," "The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe" published by the
American Association for Jewish Education, Isaac Kowalski's "A
Secret Press in Nazi Europe" and numerous other related works which
expose the terror and retain the facts that the newly-emerging bigots
are seeking to hide.
The reviews presented here outline a number of these works that
retain the memory of the hurban.
Dr. Abraham Katsh, president of Dropsie College, has made an
important proposal. He suggests that daily prayers should be included
in our sidurim in remembrance of the Six Million. He had this to say:
"Jews the world over observe the annual Holocaust Remem-
brance Day. But the Holocaust must be a part of our daily
awareness and that of our children who, fortunately, knew it not.
This will enable our young to identify with the martyrs who, in the
very moment of death, affirmed their belief in the eternity of the
Jewish people. It would also help prevent a recurrance of a Holo-
caust whether it be directed at the Jewish people or any other
"Just as the memory of the Exodus from Egypt is repeated
three times every day in our daily prayers, and referred to in the
Kiddush prayer sanctifying the Sabbath, as well as in numerous
other contexts, the Holocaust should also be accorded unflagging
repetition in our worship."
He also suggested that during the High Holy Days, it would be
appropriate to add to the present prayers a chapter of "Lament,-
tions," particularly Chapter No. 3; and during the - recitation of
the Yiskor memorial service further to commemorate the martyrs
of Hitler's dark blight.
At the closing prayers for theifigh Holy Days, preferably be-
fore the final blowing of the "Shofar marking the end of the Day
of Atonement, Dr. Katsh said it would be fitting and effective for
every Jewish congregation to rise and recite the memorial Kad-
dish prayer for the Six Million Jewish Martyrs.
In Yad Washem in Jerusalem, in U.S. government archiVes, in
the YIVO collections in New York, in London, there have been
accumulated the records that expose the Nazi crime and the silence
that reigned during the Hitler era. It is the utilizaion of this mate-
rial that becomes a matter of serious urgency.
We agree with the Katsh proposal that Holocaust literature should
be widely disseminated, that just as the mezuza is affixed on every
Jewish doorpost, so also should books on the Holocaust be in every
library. In the hope that these proposals shuld materialize, we present
the accompanying reviews of books on the Holocaust.



A resume of the Holocaust liter-
ature and the story relating to
forces that either resisted or failed
to resist would be incomplete with-
out reference to one of the most
sensational revelations about the
Jewish martyrs. Additional com-
ment must be made, therefore,
about a book that has already been
reviewed — "While 6 Million Died
— A Chronicle of American Apa-
thy" by Arthur D. Morse, origin-
ally published as a hard cover book
by Random House. It is now avail-
able in paperback, issued by Ace
Publishing Corp. (1120 Ave. of Am-
erocas, NY36).
There is a catch line on the
paperback: "The breathtaking
story of how America ducked
chance after chance to save the
Jews." The paperback has a photo
of President Franklin D. Roose-
velt, in a familiar pose, smoking
a cigarette inserted in a long hold-
er. This, too, is appropriate, be-
cause the book is far from compli-
mentary to FDR and his adminis-
tration. As the cover of the paper-
back indicated, the chalice to be

2 Friday, May 9, 1969

humanitarian was "ducked."
That's what the Morse book
does: it reveals the ducking, the
failure to act, the indifference, the
cold response of many State De-
partment officials who reacted in-
humanly to facts when they were
presented to them.
Morse's major achievement is to
indicate how the indifference of
that era, under FDR, brought
about suffering, added to the bur-
dens of those who sought to pro-
vide rescue, created obstacle hum-
Members of the U.S. consular
corps who interfered with efforts
to provide passports for those who
could have been saved won't like
this book. Those who are exposed
emerge in a very bad light. But
there are some who were humane,
some like Raoul Wallenberg who
rescued many Jews became
martyrs to a great cause of life
Morse's paperbacked "While 6
Million Died" remains one of the
very important books about World
War II, the Holocaust and the tra-
gedies of the Nazi era.


Holocaust Records are Indestructible . . . Nazism's
Indictment is Complete . . . How is the Evidence to
be Utilized to Retain the Memory of the Hurban?

'The. Catastrophe'

In "The Jewish Catastrophe in
Europe," published by the Ameri-
can, Association for Jewish Educa-
tion, the story of the Holocaust is
reviewed by several authorities.
Edited by Dr. Judah Pilch, this
volume presents the factual rec-
ord of happenings in the Hitler era
and also reviews the general con-
ditions in Europe between the two
world wars, in the years 1919-1939.
Additionally, Dr. Meir Ben-Hor-
in, professor of education at Drop-
sie College, has authored a supple-
mentary section on the years after
Hitlerism—dealing with the migra-
tion to Israel, Israel's rebirth and
the rescue work as well as the re-
habilitation of displaced persons.
Dr. Pilch's contribution to this
work is a concise review of the
years of the Holocaust, a pres-
entation of facts and figures
about the deportations, the en-
slavements, the destruction of
communities, the concentration
camps, Auschwitz and the pro-
gram of annihilation, concluding
with the report on the Eichmann
trial, an account of the Nurem-
berg trial of war criminals and
some data regarding the emer-
gence of a neo-Nazi movement in
the present time.
It is important to note that the
introductory review of Jewish life
before the Nazi era, written by
Dr. Alexander S. Kohanski, takes
into account the cultural and reli-
gious life of Jews in the countries
that were affected by the Nazi
scourge. This section is valuable
for an understanding of what oc-
curred later. A total knowledge of
events before, during and after
Hitlerism is vital if there is to be
total acquisition of information
about the Holocaust.
Dr. Kohanski also authored the
chapter dealing with the Third
Reich's view of the "Jewish Ques-
tion" and its manner of han-
dling it. Thus there is a direct link
between his first and follow-up
task and the pursuance of the sub-
ect in Dr. Pilch's handling of the
facts about the Holocaust creates
a unity in tackling the age of hor-
There is a continuing pragmat-
ism in treating the entire sub-
ject of the Jewish catastrophe in
the chapter following Dr. Pilch's
with Abraham H. Foxman pro-
viding data on the Resistance,
offering facts relating to actual
battles in which Jews were en-
gaged, the Warsaw Ghetto Up-
rising, Vilna Ghetto's resisting
forces which displayed unusual
heroism, the Partisan Move-
ment, Jews who refused to yield
to humiliation in the concentra-
tion camps and . offered resist.
ance, individual heroism and a
section labeled "The Righteous"
in which the author outlines the
sacrifices and the services of
saintly Christians. In this group
are included the people of Den-
mark; the Swedish martyr Raoul
Wallenberg who upon his grad-
uation from the University of
Michigan College of Architecture
went to. Hungary and saved
many. tens of thousands of Jews
from being exterminated by the
Nazis; the Netherlands business.
man John Weidner who rescued
many Jews; the rescuer Father
Benoit, the monk who saved Jews
from the Gestapo, and others.
• The latter section alone should
be sufficient to impress the youth
of all faiths into a realization of
what had occurred and to inspire
an appreciation of the saintly men
and women of many faiths and
many races who defied Nazism.
They were not many—just as those
in the Resistance were not as
many as would have been desired
—but they were on the scene to
save the good name of mankind
by leaving a record of a love for
Prof. Irving Halpern is the
author of a' chapter quoting from
the literature on the Holocaust,

By Philip


and Dr. Pilch, in another section equally distressing are the other
in the book, entitled "The World tales, the tragedies of the winters,
Knew and Was Silent," joins in the shuttling from camp to camp.
the rebuke to those who could have
The Korczak story is one of the
saved lives and didn't.
most dramatic in the entire his-
This volume from the American
tory of the Holocaust and "Iran-
Association for Jewish Education
osz Korezak'S Last Walk," about
should have a large circulation. It
the famed physician and educa-
must be enabled to serve the valu-
tor who would not abandon the
youths and went with them' to
able purpose. of teaching about the
their grave is told in the heart-
Holocaust and of keeping the
rending tale related by Hanna
world alerted about the past to be
on guard against recurring in-
Scores of such stories are told in
this tremendous work, in which the
Holocaust is depicted in all its
horrifying details, and every sec-
Major among the collected tion is preceded by a splendid in-
works on the tragedy of the 1930s troductory elaboration defining the
and 1940s is the newest work on numerous episodes. In this intro-
the subject issued by the Jewish ductory essays the editors lead the
Publication Society of America, reader to a fuller understanding of
"Anthology of holocaust Litera- the collected works and of the de-
ture," the gathering of which, into tailed accounts of the terrors under
a single volume, was the combin- the rule of the Germans.
Dr. Knox, introducing the book,
ed effort of three authorities, the
eminent poet Jacob Glatstein, the makes valuable observations, stat-
critic and author Israel Knox and ing:
"One hesitates to use the term
the late Dr. Samuel Margoshes,
anthology for this book. An an-
who was the editor of the Tog-
thology is a collection of flow-
Morning Journal. Associated with
ers, a thing of joy and beauty
them as the volume's editors were
. . . If these are flowers, then
Mordecai Bernstein and Adah B.
perhaps Baudelaire's title would
be particularly apt — flowers of
The subject matter in this 435-
evil; not as pointing to the writ-
page book is vast and the areas
ers of these pieces but as reflect-
covered include every aspect of the
the tragic content of their
periods of horror for Jews and
`tales.' Yet this would not be
non Jews.
wholly true. Evil there is here
The authors from whose works
indeed, a darkness of evil so
these contents have been compil-
dense that no light could pene-
ed represent the sufferers from
trate it; evil so abysmal and so
Nazism who had experienced the
depraved that no report and no
terror and humiliation; and the
can be commensurate
historians who had set down in-
with it. Some of this evil, or at
erasably for the generations to
of it, insofar
. come the rentird of their suffer-
as language can depict and re-
tiloklactual account of
veal it, is congealed in this an-
'RRft 1t spired during the
thology. But that Is not all: there
years of mankind's shame over
is goodness here also, nuances
and guilt in the wholesale mas-
and modulations of goodness
from the slight and barely no-
Here we read the story of the
ticeable to the heights and
Vilna Ghetto, of the Warsaw Rebel-
depths of self-sacrifice, of deve-
lion, the Anne Frank "Diary,"
tion unto death. Beyond goodness
Elie Wiesel's expose of the "Death
or perhaps as a component of it,
Train," the Polish woman Carola
there is here an epic of courage,
Sapetova's story of aid to a Jewish
a kind of courage that our civi-
family for whom she had worked.
lization is not always willing or
There is drama on every page,
able to grasp ... There are no
and while most of the facts regard-
cemeteries in Eastern Europe
ing the Holocaust are known, it is
with graves for the Six Million;
in the collected form that there
the crematoriums consumed all
emerges a totality of indictment of
remorselessly. Their books—this
the Germany whence stemmed the
anthology with selections from
horror of Hitlerism.
them—are a sort of cemetery
Evidence of the Resistance is not
too, with graves in orderly rows,
lacking here—in fact, it emerges
and, on reading it, we are recit-
powerfully. And there is the avail-
ing Kaddish for those who left
able data of non-Jewish aid to the
none to say It for them."
suffering Jews, of a sharing in
In the introduction to the section
misery as well as in the rebellion
devoted to "Children" the authors
against tyranny.
There are the partisan songs state:
"While some adults were tem-
and the tributes to the martyrs.
porarily spared by the Nazis be-
Deeply moving is the poetic trib-
of their" labor potential,
ute "To the Polish Jews" (In
children were immediately re-
Memory of Samuel Zygelbojm) by
to the gas chambers and
Wladyslaw Broniewski, translated
crematoriums. At least one and
from the Polish by Ilnoa Ralf
one half million Jewish children
Sues, which - declares:
were murdered by the Natbt dur-
"Our union was sealed at Execu-
ing the Hitler occupation. "
tion Walls;
It is in this revealing fasiiion
Our union was sealed by Oswie-
the story of the Nazi era is
cim and Dachau,
By each nameless grave, by each related in this great book."---as a
reminder of events never to be for-
prison bar.
Our common roof over war-smit- gotten, and to keep allie the
memory of the martyrs.
ten Warsaw
Will be a bright sky when Vic-
tory crowns
Few recollections of the'; horrors
The long years of bloody and
that were perpetrated by the Nazis
heartbreaking struggle;
Every man will be free and have are as deeply moving as .the story
the cruelties that were
bread and have rights,
And there will be one single trated in the French town 0 .adoUr-
sur-Glane. Few accounts o :what
race, supreme—
The race of noble human beings. had occurred indicate mo
Dealing with life in the Nazi- ly the crime. not only of the biutal-
created ghettos, delineating the ities but also of collaberation—and
concentration and death camps— also of the resistance—as that told
all portrayed by the sufferers, the by the Danish writer JoisiPouSe
men and women who were forced in his "War for an Afters,"
into the roles of actors in the su- published by Pantheon Boo
In a translation from the-
preme drama, among the most
deeply moving of the accounts of by Carl Malmberg, this heal-fiend-
the miseries of the Nazi era are ing story tells about the sufferings
the stories incorporated in the sec- of the French population in a town
tion devoted to "Children." It is that was invaded by the Nazis,
horrifying to read "Bodies of who, with the aid of young Alsa-
Children for the Animals in the tians who had just been drawn
Circus" by Regina Landau, but Cr-outheled .F.age .


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