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March 23, 1984 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-03-23

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Friday, March 23, 1984


Purely Commentary

Shocking Inhumanities in the Name of Religion
Harm Israel, World Jewry ... Echo from Germany
Emphasizing Important Duty to Always Remember

By Philip

Why Keep Harping _
on the Holocaust?

A question, rooted in a measure of bitterness, is often
posed, something to this effect: "Why keep harping on the
Holocaust, so many years having elapsed since the
tragedy?" (Even he or she who poses the question admits to
the tragedy and the horror.) Continuing: "Why not forget?"
It is to the credit of the Germans that they also re-
member and do not forget. Not all of them, but enough of
them to keep it on the record. The few who retain that
memory assist in exonerating the guilty who live up to a
legacy of terror.
In the exhibition Jews of Germany Under Prussian
Rule, which concludes its 3 1/2-week visit next week at the
Jewish Community Center, sponsored by the developing
Detroit Holocaust Memorial Center, there is evidence that
even in most difficult times there was atonement and some
compassion in Prussian ranks. This may be a continuing
The point now being raised is this one:
There are; in the Germany of today, people who are
unaware of the extent of the tragedy which stains German
history. It became necessary for officialdom to make police
cadets aware of what had actually happened, how their
compatriots murdered and tortured. A lesson had to be
learned from the mass murders at Ravensbruck and Sac-
The story is told in .a special article that appeared in
the Frankfurter Rundschau. It was written by Karl Heinz
It was reprinted in an English translation in the Ger-
man Tribune of Hamburg.
The translated text is reprinted on this page as an
addendum to these comments. Its lesson is self-spoken. The
Baum article and expose is a lesson not only for Germans
but also for all — Jews and non-Jews — who forget the
Zahor — Remember!; who question the need to remember.
The advice is:

In the Name
of Religion

When crimes are committed in the name of religion,
the sufferings that ensue demand serious human consider-
ations. In Israel, tragically, they call for political concerns.
First, in Jerusalem, where bigots have disgraced the
good name of the Jewish people by resorting to violence
against Christians and Moslems, and in Petah Tikva,
where fanaticism led to shocking demonstrations and de-
struction of property caused by Jews against Jews, the
religious issue in Israel assumes a critical situation.
It was a mere handful in Jerusalem. In Petah Tikva,
spiritual Jewish leadership has its share in what has be-
come a scandalous development.
The need to sanctify the Sabbath .is not a debatable
matter. Operation of movie houses on Sabbath Eve caused
disputes. nut there were similar conflicts when young Jews
demanded the right to play soccer on the Sabbath Day and
the then Chief Rabbi Kook resolved the issue in an agree-
ment that if admisstion tickets were to be procured in ad-
vance such sports events would become permissible be-
cause youth had no other day free for such events. There
were on occasions similar discussions for theaters to be
open, tickets to be obtained in advance of the Sabbath.
Insofar as cafes and similar places of business are con-
cerned, there has not been interference with private
enterprise, and government and municipalities had not
obtained the right to control peoples and their ways of life.
How else is a democracy to be operated? Are the ideals
of freedom to which Israel and the Jewish people are dedi-
cated to be sacrificed by threats which develop into bigotry
akin to the Middle Ages?
The question of religious freedom is not new to Israel.
The libertarian principles are enjoyed by all faiths in Is-
rael, except for restrictions imposed upon Conservative and
Reform Jews who come to Israel and who must identify
with their pursued principles without government recogni-
tion and are often subjected to discriminatory treatments.
It is because the government depends on the determin-
ing group holding the balance of power in government that
such discriminations have become permissible. There is a
developing fanaticism that assumes bigoted rights to viol-
ate human principles and to resort to violence, such as has
been in evidence in sacred areas where the demonstrators
found it permissible to throw stones on the Sabbath while
claiming sanctity for it.
If only Israel could foresee a majority government,
without control by a small and very dissident faction that
adheres to the ideal for religious freedom for all except
fellow Jews! Is this too much to hope for?

Jerusalem: Double Standard?

Secretary of State George Shultz adheres to what de-
fenders of Israel brand as a double standard in American-
Israel relations. It is evident in the Secretary's warnings
against the adoption of the proposed resolution for the

transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In their leadership in sponsoring the resolution, de-
bated by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator
Daniel Moynihan of New York and Arlen Specter of
Pennsylvania emphasize their demands for abandonment
of the inconsistencies in the adhered-to position, which also
has the endorsement of President Reagan.
The fact, given special credence by Senators Moynihan
and. Specter, with strong support from many of their col-
leagues, is that the issue affecting Israel is the only one on
the international scene of a capital selected by the nation
involved remaining unrecognized by the international
community. A nation is being hampered in its historic right
to choose its capital and to live within that dedicated le-
Senator poynihan even went so far as to declare:
I believe that the Congress has much more
authority to pass on the location of where our
embassy should be in Israel than the President
has to declare war in Vietnam or in Korea, to say
nothing of more recent military actions which are
the subject of much controversy on the constitu-
tionality of the War Powers Act.
Can it possibly come to a point of an administration in
power ignoring Congressional decisions and thereby strik-
ing at the very root of a basic issue which also has a strong
historic and moral appeal.
Apparently, in view of the continuing rejection of ap-

peals in behalf of Jerusalem's status, this is possible.
It is even doubtful whether the Jerusalem issue will
reach the floor of the Senate out of a majority demand by .
that august body. The reason is obvious. There are submis-
sions to demands from Arab sources whi c h are difficult to
overcome. Nevertheless, the basic principle remains intact,
and even if the currently pending proposals in support of
Israel's autonomous rights are concerned, the matter at
hand will remain on the agenda. The reason is obvious.
There is nothing to negate Israel's, and especially on this
question world Jewry's, determined and consistent devo-
tion to Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.
On the question of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,
there are no divisions. There is unanimity.

A Congressional Odyssey:

A tribute to a friend of Israel by Israel Ambassador
Meir Rosenne was inspired when the Israeli envoy recently
met with Congressman Hamilton Fish, Jr. Rosenne used
the occasion to write to the father of the present Con-
gressman, and to recall that in the early 1920s Hamilton
Fish, Sr. was the sponsor of the congressional resolution
lending U.S. support to the Zionist cause.
The Zionist cause had almost unanimous Christian
support at the time recalled by this message. In the House
of Representatives, Hamilton Fish was the great champion.
The pride taken in these reminiscences adds comforting
continuity to the American-Israel friendship.

German cadets shown Nazi camps

A Polish woman, Hanna Wasiczenkso-Lubicz, de-
scribes an event in her life at Ravensbruck.
"On 6 October at the morning roll call, I felt sick. I went
to the sick bay. At 2 p.m. my son was born. I was happy
despite the terrible situation.
"After three days, I was taken to another sick bay
where we (women) were kept two to a bed. Our babies,
about 50 of them, were in another room.
"During the night, they were locked in and, although
they cried, we were not able to go and see them. We knew
they were freezing. The stove was tiny and the room was
only between eight and 10 degrees (between 46 and 50
"Babies died every day. We mothers tried to calm them
as best we could, but we were all on hunger diets. A week
after the birth, I had to begin work again. My baby kept on
"I saw how an old man had grown out of that baby face.
His small body was covered in sores and after 16 days he
died from a lung infection . ."
Frau Wasiczenkso-Lubicz had been brought into the
camp two months before when she was seven months pre-
gnant. Ravensbruck was built in 1939 near the town of
Furstenberg in the Uckermark, about 50 miles north of
Berlin in what today is East Germany.
Between 1943 and 1945, 863 children were born in the
camp. All died. So did 92,000 women and children.
In Sachsenhausen, just north of Berlin, it is estimated
that more than 100,000 were shot, gassed or killed in some
other way.
Forty graduates of the police school of Radelandweg, in
Spandau, West Berlin, have visited both camps together
with the West Berlin Interior Senator, Heinrich Lummer.

Herr Lummer arranged the visit following an incident
in 1982. A young Israeli-born German training to be a
policeman was discovered to have been persecuted for two
years at the police school in Schulzendorf.
His fellow cadets had urinated in his bed, smeared his
boots, chained him up during sports classes, played Hang
de Jew, and told him that too few Jews had been gassed in
the camps.
The case came to light when an instructor saw Du
Judensau (You Jewish Pig) scrawled on the reverse side of
a blackboard.
Lummer ordered an inquiry. He said in a report that
nothing had been covered up and nothing glossed over. He
was sure it was not a case of being the tip of the iceberg.
He spoke of an unfortunate set of circumstances that
had made things worse. The 18-year-old victim had not
taken some of the persecution too seriously. But in other
cases he was intimidated by a fellow cadet. Above all, he
seemed to have been determined to see it through on his
Lummer announced that cadet training should include
visits to Nazi death camps so cadets could see for them-
selves the giant scale of the killings. The visits would be-
come obligatory.
The cadets, aged between 18 and 22, half of them
women, agreed that seeing what had taken place was a
vastly different thing from merely hearing about it.
They were subdued as they wandered through both
sites, Sachsenhausen in the morning and Ravensbruck in
afternoon. "Shocking, difficult to grasp," one tried to
At Sachsenhausen they left yellow roses at the spot
where, 39 years ago to the day, 19 policemen from Luxem-
bourg had been shot.
People from 50 nations were among the estimated
more than 100,000 shot or
gassed or disposed of in
some other way at Sac-
The cadet team were sure
that a repeat of the persecu-
tion episode would not hap-
pen at their school. A few
candidly admitted that they
had heard virtually nothing
about this piece of unholy
German history in school.
None had previously visited
a concentration camp.
But it is not only a hand-
ful of police cadets that have
learned little in the
classroom about Nazi
camps. Lummer said the
day after the trip that he
would recommend to the ci-
ty's Education Senator,
Hanna-Renate Laurien,
that children should also be
taken to the camps.
Lummer: "There are
some things that you can
Heinrich Lummer, at left, the West Berlin Interior Senator, guides police cadets
talk about only so much.
through the gates of Sachsenhausen. The lettering on the gate says "Arbeit Macht Frei,"
Then you actually have to
the Nazi slogan "Work makes free."
go and see for yourself."

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