D.C. Holocaust Museum Shooting

By now most of you have probably heard about the shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and of the heroic security guard that was murdered by the shooter.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A lone gunman killed a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday before being wounded himself by return fire from other guards, sources confirmed to CNN.

The suspect was identified as James von Brunn, an 88-year-old white supremacist from Maryland, two law enforcement officials told CNN.

The museum identified the guard as Stephen Tyrone Johns.

The gunman entered the museum at 12:50 p.m. with a rifle and immediately shot a museum security guard, said Chief Cathy Lanier of the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department. Two other security guards returned fire, wounding the gunman, she said.

Both the gunman and a security guard were taken to George Washington University Hospital, where the gunman was in “critical” condition, said D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. ”

The story about how it happened and the murderer behind it are all over the news as are numerous stories about the murderer James Von Brunn.

Read a little bit about him and there is no question that the man is an antisemitic bigot. You’ll hear stories about how he went to prison for attempting to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board and tales about his time as an artist.

Hopefully these stories won’t be filled with any sort of excuses for his actions. No apologists trying to explain that he suffered from dementia or anything like that. Because what is clear is that this man was filled with hate and anger for a long time. He knew what he was doing.

That is significant because we cannot forget that there are bad people in the world. We cannot forget that there are people who are willing to murder you because of race, color and creed. I am not advocating paranoia or saying that we should be afraid bad people will get us.

Just recommending that we be vigilant because men like Van Brunn remind us that there is still reason to be.

FDR pushed to get Jews to safety in 1930s

FDR has been viewed by some as having exerted no effort to save European Jewry from the Nazis. However it appears that this may not be the case.

A historian named Richard Breitman writes about James G. McDonald, who was chairman of Roosevelt’s advisory committee on refugees. Apparently McDonald met Hitler and became convinced that he intended to wipe the Jews out.

This USA Today article has some interesting information:

Breitman says McDonald’s papers soften that view, showing that in 1938, Roosevelt:

• Cut red tape that kept immigration quotas from being filled, allowing entry for 27,370 Germans — most of them Jews.

• Hoped to resettle millions of Jews from Central and Eastern Europe to other countries, mostly in Latin America. He called an international conference to line up money and support.

• Promised to ask Congress for $150 million to help resettle refugees if Britain allowed more Jews into Palestine and private funds could be raised.

Roosevelt’s efforts, including the conference in Évian, France, failed. Most countries refused to admit Jews amid a depression and anti-Semitism, Breitman says. Opposition also was strong at the State Department and in Congress, which voted in 1939 not to let in 20,000 German Jewish children.

Breitman says Roosevelt is unfairly criticized for not supporting the bill and refusing to admit 900 Jewish refugees on the St. Louis, which sailed from Germany 70 years ago this month. Cuba, the U.S. and Canada turned away those on the “voyage of the damned,” and the ship returned to Europe. Hundreds of passengers died in the Holocaust.

Roosevelt “made a decision to go for big results,” Breitman says, adding that the president viewed letting in small numbers of Jews as “a gesture, not a solution” to the larger refugee problem.

In 1940, after the start of World War II in Europe, Roosevelt’s priorities turned to national security, Breitman writes.

Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman Institute, which studies America’s response to the Holocaust, says the book won’t absolve Roosevelt. He says FDR failed to take “concrete steps” such as giving Jewish refugees temporary haven in U.S. territories such as the Virgin Islands.

I have to think about this one a little bit, 900 refugees is not insignificant. Still, if this is all true it is worth reconsidering our thoughts about FDR.

Yom HaShoah- Holocaust Memorial Day

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day has begun and I find myself searching for the proper way to express my thoughts about the day.

It is of critical importance, this day. It is a time to reflect upon the horrors of the past so that we do not forget that they can happen again. One of the saddest truths about humanity is that we have ample examples from past and present times of the barbarism that man can exhibit towards other men.

There are a number of issues that surround this day that concern me. As more time passes and more survivors die it becomes easier for the world to forget and for the deniers to try to make their case.

I have often wondered how the deniers can claim that six million did not die and that it was a smaller number of only a few hundred thousand. Either number is incredibly hard to digest, to fathom, to understand. Is there any less horror in saying that only 100,000 lives were intentionally snuffed out.

The answer is no. But it would be wrong to allow the horror of those days to be diminished and wrong to those who perished and those who survived. So it is critical that we confront those who make these claims and show that they are false.

While I was trying to determine what I wanted to include in this post I reviewed what I had done in the past and noticed that I had mentioned Ahmadinejad several times. I don’t mean that in the context of having mentioned him several times in a post, but that I did so in more than one year.

Ahmadinejad was/is a constant in these posts, a Holocaust denier and antisemite who has called for the destruction of Israel. History has taught us that when someone in a position of power makes these sorts of outlandish threats you need to pay attention.

You don’t make label it as being flowery political rhetoric or make any sort of excuses for it. It would be dangerous and foolhardy to ignore these remarks or take them as anything less than a declaration of his intentions.

There are too many examples of what happens when people remain silent. Africa burns and the world ignores its screams. Darfur now, Rwanda earlier.

If we are to take the lesson of never again seriously we need to apply it today and tomorrow. The world has a very short memory of just how brutal we can be to each other. Watch and be dismayed. May we never see such things again.

 

Kristallnacht

It is 70 years since the Kristallnacht Pogrom.

“The Kristallnacht Pogrom was an organized pogrom against Jews in Germany and Austria that occurred on November 9–10, 1938. Kristallnacht is also known as the November Pogrom, “Night of Broken Glass,” and “Crystal Night.” Orchestrated by the Nazis in retaliation for the assassination of a German embassy official in Paris by a seventeen-year-old Jewish youth named Herchel Grynzspan, 1,400 synagogues and 7,000 businesses were destroyed, almost 100 Jews were killed, and 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. German Jews were
subsequently held financially responsible for the destruction wrought upon their
property during this pogrom.”

Other links to posts/articles about Kristallnacht:

Rubicon 3
Crown Heights Info
Israel At Level Ground
CNN
Jewlicious
Leora

On a side note it is worth mentioning that they discovered the construction plans for Auschwitz.

She Saved 2,500 Children

Stories like this remind us that there are many, many good people in the world.

Irena Sendler, a Polish woman who saved 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation in World War II, died Monday morning in a Warsaw hospital at the age of 98, her daughter Janina Zgrzembska confirmed.

Sendler had worked with Warsaw’s poor Jewish families prior to the war. After Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939, she took grave risks to help Polish Jews trapped by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto.

At the end of 1942, Sendler joined the Zegota anti-Nazi resistance movement of Poles helping Jews. It was then that she began the extremely difficult task of smuggling Jewish infants and children out of the ghetto and escaping an almost-certain death.

Her team of some 20 people saved 2,500 children between October 1940 and April 1943, when the Nazis burned the ghetto, shooting the residents or sending them to death camps.