The Forgotten Refugees

Today is the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet – a minor fast day in the Jewish calendar. It is also called the Yom HaKadish HaKlali in Israel. This means that today is the official day of mourning for Jews who do not know the exact date of their relative’s deaths, and they say Kaddish for them today. Most of the people who fit this unfortunate category are Holocaust survivors, and the day is sometimes used to educate the younger generation in Israel about Holocaust history (usually in the Orthodox community, since it coincides with a fast.)

Today, in contrast to past years,  I would like to share a interesting video about the survivors of anti-Semitism and persecution from another part of the world – specifically from the Arab countries. They call themselves the “forgotten refugees” – since there is very little written about the million Jews expelled from the Arab countries around the time of Israel’s independence in 1948. Very little is written also about the riots and massacres carried out before the expulsions.

Germany – Then, And Now?

Thanks to someone on our yishuv, who published this link on our email list, I was able to access very old video clips. One of the clips is of Germany in the 1930’s. The audio goes in and out, but the important thing, I think, is to look at the faces in the crowds. They look pretty happy with Hitler, if you ask me.

This reminded me of an article I read a few weeks ago, about other crowds in Germany – in 2008. This crowd, in contrast, was patiently waiting, for hours in some cases, to see an exhibit about the Holocaust victims, which toured Germany by train.

It is hard to get a handle on the level of anti-Semitism in various places. We like to make sweeping generalizations (the Holocaust could NEVER happen in America, for example), but we really don’t know what is going on under the surface. Jewish children who go to public school are not afraid to get beaten up by non-Jews, as they were in places in Europe – but at the same time the anti-Semitism (in the guise of anti-Zionism) on campuses in America is very worrying.

In any case, I am very happy that I live in a country where the guys who are armed and wearing uniforms – are ours.