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April 03, 1981 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-04-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday, April 3, 1981

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Envoy Tells of Wallenberg Effort

(Continued from Page 80)
posed to have died. This
information led to a new
representation to the
Soviet government in
January 1979.
"The Soviets, in their re-
ply, maintained that the
new information did not
alter their earlier answer
that Wallenberg died in
1947. In a press bulletin
from the Foreign Office
after that reply, it was said
that the Swedish govern-

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ment does not regard Raoul
Wallenberg's case as closed
by this Soviet answer but
plans to continue its effort
to clear up what his fate has
been.
"In contrast to the earlier
situation, especially in the
years right after the war, a
trusting cooperation now
takes place between the
government and the Wal-
lenberg committee, which
consists of Wallenberg's
closest relatives and a
number of others who,
wherever they may be, have
worked through the years
for Wallenberg's cause.
Nina Lagergren and Guy
von Dardel have been tire-
less in this work and de-
serve all possible support."
Many were helpful, some
obstructed. The Vatican of
that era failed to provide the
help that was so urgently
needed. Relating the help
that was given Wallenberg
and the Swedish legation
when they established
means of saving the targets
of anti-Semitism, the Arrow
Cross and the Nazis, Pope
Pius XII, who has often been
accused of failure to help re-
scue efforts, is accused also
by Anger. He states:
"The number of protec-
tive passports approved
by the Hungarian
authorities rose to 5,000.
Later on, more and more
Jews were spirited into
these buildings in sec-
recy, 'without the
authorities' permission.
Soon the total number of
Jews under Swedish pro-
tection rose to more than
twice the number
authorized, or from 15 to
20,000. Add to this the
great throng of Jews,
both adults and children,
who were hidden or

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helped
otherwise
through the efforts of
Langlet and Asta Nilsson.

"Other foreign legations,
too, the Swiss, Spanish, Por-
tuguese, and the Papal
Nuncio, got to work issuing
identification papers of a
similar sort. Ever since the
German occupation began,
the nuncio, Angelo Rotta,
had been making energetic
representations to the Hun-
garian goverment to help
the Jews.
"Rotta's actions were in
stark contrast to the
passivity shown by his
chief, Pope Pius XII. Dur-
ing the persecution of the
Jews in Italy, his silence
was notable. As regards
Hungary, Rotta had to work
alone, without any particu-
lar support from the Vati-
can."
The great drama entitled
"Raoul Wallenberg" has
reached a new stage. There
is action and it is hoped, now
that legislation in his behalf
is proposed in the U.S. Con-
gress, that a great hero in-
nocently held in a Soviet
prison will be released.
The resolution introduced
in the U.S. House of Repre-
sentatives by Congressman
Tom Lantos to make the
Swedish war hero an honor.
ary U.S. citizen is an impor-
tant development. This,
Rep. Lantos states, would
make it possible for the U.S.
to become legally interested
in the case and to add to the
demands for Wallenberg's
release from Russia. Rep.
Lantos and his wife Annette
were among the Hunga-
rians rescued from the Nazi
death camps in the process
of Wallenberg's issuing
Swedish passports to the
victims of Hitlerism who
were to be sent to death
camps.
The story written by Per
Anger serves to add to the
movements in civilized and
human spheres both to end
a tragedy_ and to give full
credit for heroism and cour-
age to a great Christian
humanitarian who _labored
and risked his life to rescue
tens of thousands of Jews.
—P.S.

* * *

Reagan Supports
Wallenberg Bill

WASHINGTON (JTA) —
President Reagan has
endorsed a resolution in the
House of Representatives to
bestow honorary American
citizenship on Swedish dip-
lomat Raoul Wallenberg.
Secretary of State Ale-
xander Haig approached
Lantos (D-Calif.), sponsor of
the bill, and said, "I've got
good news for you. The
President watched (CBS-
TV) '60 Minutes' and said,
`This is a very important
matter and I want to back it
all the way.' "
Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-
R.I.) introduced a compan-
ion measure in the Senate
this week. Rep. Peter
Rodino (D-N.J.), chairman
of the House Judiciary
Committee, has promised
early hearings on the Lan-
tos resolution.

5

Masada Suicide Fabricated?

(Continued from Page 1)
attack in force.
Anticipating this at-
tack on the morrow of the
breaching and destruc-
tion of part of the 'wall,
guerrilla commander
Eleazar ben-Yair, ac-
cording to Josephus,
convinced his fighters
that committing suicide,
after slaying their wives
and children, was the
only honorable way.
Josephus records the two
lengthy speeches of
Eleazar , which, as
Josephus wrote, led to
the mass suicide of the
960 who had made their
last stand on Masada.
But did Eleazar really de-
liver these speeches? He did
not, as all Josephus scholars
know. To insert invented
speeches into their histori-
cal writings was an ac-
cepted literary device of the
Greek and Roman histo-
rians. According to H. St.
John Thackeray, Josephus
wrote the two Eleazar
speeches in Rome. As these
speeches were not given by
Eleazar, obviously they
could not have swayed his
fellow-fighters to die in a
mass suicide pact.
There was no reason why
the Masada fighters should
have committed suicide.
Yes, the wall of Masada had
been breached and after this
calamity they were faced
with a Roman attack on
their own grounds. But the
Wall was breached in one
place only and this breach
could have been defended
for a long time by the seyr

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eral hundred guerilla fight-
ers.
They were highly moti-
vated, they were well
equipped with arms and
situated in a -position of
strategic superiority, on top
of Masada, from where they
could bombard the ap-
proaching Romans with
their- artillery (heavy
stones, fire, seething oil).
The Roman assault ramp
did not reach up to the wall
of Masada, ending about 20
yards below. Getting to the
breach of the Masada wall
and penetrating it would
have exacted very heavy
losses.
Besides the strategic
advantage of being ele-
vated some 20 yards
above the Romans' as-
sault ramp, the Masada
fighters were in com-
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breached sections of the
wall and the inner fortifi-
cations of Masada. They
could have held the Ro-
mans at bay for weeks,
and perhaps months,
barricading themselves
in small groups in the
various buildings of the
mountain fortress.
Guerilla fighters of the
valor and determination of
the Masada defenders will
not commit suicide when
they have the opportunity of
inflicting heavy losses upon
the enemy and making
their victory very costly.
But what about the
women and children? Ac-
cording to Josephus, every
(Continued on Page 6)

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