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July 07, 1989 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-07-07

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

The Rivers Of Babylon Psalmist's Emphasis

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

H

istoriography rises to a high
level of commendable research
in "Building Babylon Anew," a
remarkable two-page article in the
travel section of the June 25 issue of the
New York Times by Paul Lewis, chief of
the Times' United Nations Bureau. It
is headed "Iraq's attention has turned
from war to reconstruction — of ancient
sites and a tourist industry." It is ex-
cellent reporting. It brings Iraqi
tourism up to date.
This immense study of the past,
equated to the present attraction to the
area for visitors, is a combination of
history, sociology, archeology, and an of
of temptation to the reader and
possible tourist.
Indeed, the Paul Lewis essay is
remarkable research and notable repor-
ting, about Babylon of the past that is
Iraq of the present.
Nevertheless, it is not the complete-
ly desirable history. For that purpose
the author needed the Jewish
background and especially the Psalms.
To give emphasis to such claims, let
us resort to the Psalms. There is a con-
stancy of resort to one such excerpt, to
Psalm 137, which is the continuous
Jewish reminder of exile and commit-
ment to Jerusalem.
It is valuable to note that an emi-
nent poet and artist included a Yiddish
translation of Psalm 137 in one of his
popular works. Tehillirn — the Psalms

by Saul Raskin is translated by Israel
Levin.
It is also worth indicating that the
Bible was translated into Yiddish by
the famous poet Yehoash (Solomon
Bloomgarden).
The Paul Lewis travelogue doesn't
indicate it, but the Babylon story is
perpetuated by the glory accorded it in
Scriptures. It acquires historic
significance by the inerasable place ac-
corded it in the Psalms.
Therefore it can not possibly have
the fullest evaluation without the
Jewish aspects.
It is indeed rooted in Jewish folklore
that has gained it historic importance.
In his Jewish Concepts Rabbi Philip
Birnbaum provides the definition need-
ed to give completeness to the Times ar-
ticle. This is the Birnbaum evaluation:

Babylonia

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Babylonia, now Iraq, in-
fluenced Jewish life and culture
more than any other country ex-
cept Eretz Yisrael. The ancient
city of Babylon and the land of
Babylon are mentioned in the
Bible more than two hundred
times. Abraham began his
journey to Canaan from the now
excavated Sumerian city Ur in
southern Babylonia, where "art
treasures of unbelievable beau-
ty and expert craftsmanship
were found in the royal
cemetery," dating from 2900 to
2500 before the common era. It
may have been settled some four

By the rivers of Babylon,
137 There
we sat down, yea,

'4? ,itt.
Iny Any :nv-r*;:i
!riritOri T7;; -n

t?InA- r1

,Vrt



we
wept,
When we remembered Zion.
'Upon the willows in the midst
thereof
We hanged up our harps.
'For there they that led us captive
asked of us words of song,
And our tormentors asked of us
mirth:
'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'

'How shall we sing the Loan's song
In a foreign land?
'If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her
cunning.
'Let my tongue cleave to the roof
of my mouth,
If I remember thee not;
If I set not Jerusalem
Above my chiefest joy.

'Remember, 0 Loan, against the
children of Edom
The day of Jerusalem;
Who said: 'Rase it, rase it,
t Even to the foundation thereof.'
"0 daughter of Babylon, that art to
be destroyed;
Happy shall he be, that repayeth
thee
n As thou hast serred us.
'Happy shall he be, that taketh and
dasheth thy little ones
Against the rock.

yp.r

thousand years before the com-
mon era. Its inhabitants wor-
shipped the moon-god.
Following the destruction of
the Judean Commonwealth in
586 before the common era, the
so-called seventy-year exile
began as the Babylonian Cap-
tivity. When Cyrus, king of Per-
sia, permitted the Judeans fifty
years afterwards to return to

their homeland, the large ma-
jority remained in Babylonia,
their adopted country. Under
the Persian flag, the Jews of
Judea and the Jews of
Babylonia were politically
united. They continued to live
under one flag when the Persian
empire was taken over by Alex-
ander the Great. After Alex-

Continued on Page 34

Violent 'Wends In Internationa I Anti-Semitism

0

utlawed by the Romanian Corn-
munist regime, condemned as
the most cruel and murderous
element in the four decades before
World War II and during the entire war
years, the Romanian Iron Guard trends
are now exposed in a continuing state
of threatening and carrying on violent
activities in this country and in
Canada.
An accumulation of evidence is in-
cluded in an expose in Justice
magazine, published by Holocaust sur-
vivors. Dennis Debbaudt conducted
research from many sources and
quarters. He covered the trial of Bishop
Valerian Trifa, who was deported to Por-
tugal in 1984 after his trial in Detroit

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
(US PS 275-520) is published every Friday
with additional supplements the fourth
week of March, the fourth week of August
and the second week of November at
20300 Civic Center Drive, Southfield,
Michigan.

Second class postage paid at Southfield,
Michigan and additional mailing offices.

Postmaster: Send changes to:
DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, 20300 Civic
Center Drive, Suite 240, Southfield,
Michigan 48076

$26 per year
$33 per year out of state
60' single copy

Vol. XCV No. 19

2

FRIDAY, JULY 7, 1989

July 7, 1989

on the charges of his guilt in the Iron
Guard mass murders of Jews and his
admitted association with the anti-
Semitic murderers.
In his article revealing the Iron
Guard atrocities and Trifa's association
with him, Debbaudt provides the
background of the Trifa story. The ap-
parent need to keep close watch
wherever the Iron Guard remnants may
be located is described in these resear-
ched details:
Romanian Iron Guard

leader Archbishop Valerian
Trifa was deported to Portugal
by the United States govern-
ment in 1984. He died there — in
exile and unrepentant — on Jan-
uary 28, 1987. Other members of
the Iron Guard still reside in the
United States and Canada.
Their status is under investiga-
tion by both governments. Trifa
has been the only member to be
charged by either government.
The Iron Guard (also known
as the Legion of the Archangel
Michael) was formed in 1927 by
Corneliu Codreanu to battle
"Communists" and rid Romania
of what it believed was its
"Jewish problem:' The rise of
the Iron Guard in Romanian
right-wing politics in the 1930s
featured youth recruitment and
extreme displays of terroristic

political and anti-Semitic
violence. To save his govern-

ment, King Carol ordered Cor-
dreanu's execution in 1938.
Under new leader Horia
Sima, the Iron Guard increased
its terrorism. On September 6,
1940, Carol abdicated the throne
to his son, Michael, then left
Romania. On September 14,
1940, King Michael declared a
"National Legionary State" with
Horia Sima sharing power with
former chief of the General Staff
of the Romanian Army, General
Ion Antonescu. Romanization
laws were passed immediately;
Jewish property was con-
fiscated by the Iron Guard.
An Iron Guard rebellion in
late January 1941 instigated a
slaughter of innocent Roma-
nians, including the Jewish
men, women and children
hideously murdered at the
Bucharest municipal meat
plant.
After several days of street
fighting, Antonescu's forces
gained control. Hitler con-
sidered the Iron Guard his
political soul mates, but
ultimately backed Antonescu
whom he correctly believed
would be better able to protect
German-Romanian oil supply

lines. Some Iron Guard
members were arrested, im-
prisoned, or sent to the Russian
front by Antonescu's regime. SS
troops stationed in Romania,
however, aided over 200
members of th Iron Guard,
mostly leaders like Sima and
Trifa, to flee Germany and
escape Romanian justice.
Hitler kept these Iron Guar-
dists as a reminder that An-
tonescu could be replaced if he
didn't follow the Nazi line.
The association of the Iron Guard
and its Michigan representative Trifa
with the Ku Klux Klan and their forth-
right anti-Semitic activities in this
country and in Canada are contained in
this portion of the Debbaudt
accusations:
Released by the Germans in
August 1944, many Iron Guar-
dists turned their eyes toward
America. From the late 1940s to
the early 1970s, over 30 members
of the Iron Guard found their
way to the United States and
Canada.
Spurred by the persistent ef-
forts of the late Dr. Charles
Kremer, the New York dentist
who for more than 30 years kept
after the U.S. government to pro-

Continued on Page 34

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