15 posts categorized "Holocaust"

"Little Babi Yar" - the Mass Graves of Yanov, Ukraine

Rav Lazer Brody just came back from the Ukraine today, on Holocaust Day, where he visited the mass graves of the Jews of Yanov in the Ukraine, where his father's family comes from. In the following clip, taken yesterday afternoon, he tearfully tells how the Nazis pulled Jews off the train in Yanov, made them dig their own graves, then shot them. Then then forced the local Jews to bury them, then dig another pit, and shot them too. We cannot forget and we'll never forget:

Shema Yisrael: Yaacov Shwekey

Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman (1886-1969), The Ponovicher Rov of blessed memory, saved orphaned Jewish children from Catholic orphanages after the close of World War II. Although the priests and nuns denied that there were any Jewish children there, The Rov - accompanied by American officers - visited the orphanages at bedtime. He would call out "Shema Yisroel" and instinctly children raised their hands to cover their eyes, while crying in Yiddish, "Mama! Mama!" The holy Skolener Rebbe of blessed memory saved children in like fashion.

My dear and esteemed friend Yaacov Shwekey sings a moving rendition of the above story in "Shema Yisroel". Enjoy it and have a lovely Shabbat!

Tyranny Can't Be Appeased

Chamberlain and Hiler
Above image, Munich, 1938 - Chamberlain and Hitler

Before you start dancing in the streets about the nuclear agreement with Iran, think about this:

Why does history repeat itself? People never learn...

Hedonist societies especially never learn. They try to appease tyrannical (Tehrannical) regimes and therefore gain a few more years of peace and quiet on the golf course. Alas, Hashem doesn't let it happen that way.

Appeasement only fuels the appetite of tyranny. Do you remember the Munich Agreement of 1938? Led by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, a name whom history has made synonymous to appeasement, The UK, France and Italy agreed to allow Hitler to annex Czechoslovakia in return for "peace". Hitler signed the peace agreement, and everyone was all smiles. 

Chamberlain came back to the UK from Berlin as a hero, to the welcome of the fish-chips-and beer-drinking masses who were jubilant that the threat of war had passed. Chamberlain told the British public that he had achieved “peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.”

Chamberlain's folly was immediately challenged by his greatest critic, Winston Churchill, who declared, “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.” Indeed, Chamberlain’s policies were discredited the following year, when Hitler annexed the remainder of Czechoslovakia in March of 1939 and then precipitated World War II by invading Poland in September, 1939, which triggered World War II. 

Now, 77 years later, during the notorious "Three Weeks" between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B'Av, the USA has reaffirmed its commitment to hedonism by appeasing Iran and signing a nuclear agreement that is not worth the skin of a garlic clove. Kerry and Obama are walking in Chamberlain's exact footsteps while Iran sees itself as the 21st Century Aryans, continuing in Hitler's path, constantly threatening to destroy Israel. The Iranians mean what they say. As was in Berlin, 1938, the peace won't last for more than a year; indeed, much less.

Why is Hashem doing all of this? He is showing us that we can trust no one but Him. If Bibi is afraid to ruffle Obama's feathers and build new apartments in Judea and Samaria, don't think that he'll have the nerve to go it alone militarily against Iran.

Teshuva and emuna are the only way to secure our future. Hashem's wake-up calls are getting louder all the time; let's put an end to our spiritual slumber.

The Mass Graves of Yanov, Ukraine

Today is Holocaust Rememberance Day

My father's family comes from the town of Yanov, which is half way between Breslev and Berditchev in the central Ukraine.

There are two mass graves in Yanov. The first, pictured directly below, is where 2500 Jews from the Carpathian area were loaded on cattle cars and shipped north. The Nazis decided to spare the fuel that the continued journey to the concentration camps would require, and pulled the Jews off the train at this crossroads, made them dig a tremendous pit where the memorial is behind the white wall in the background, and machine gunned them.

Mass Grave #1 - Yanov junction, 2500 JewsYanov_mass_grave_2

The second mass grave (photo below), in Yanov township amidst the old Jewish cemetary, holds the 1000 Jews of Yanov that were killed in a house-to-house extermination by SS stormtroops. They were then thrown in a mass pit. Among these Jews are my father's aunts, uncles, and cousins. Today, I'm involved in caring for this site. If I don't, then the Ukranians will turn it into a potato field.


We'll never forget. Ever.

A Nazi by Any Other Name...

Dachau Cremation Ovens
Above image, cremation ovens in Dachau Concentration Camp, near Munich in southern Germany - Image courtesy SFC/ Shutterstock.com

In "Romeo and Juliet" by Shakespeare, Juliet says: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Tonight and tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day. If it were up to me, I'd remove the "remembrance" part and simply call it "Holocaust Day". Why? The Holocaust still lurks all around the world. It's ugly and deadly seeds are germinating and sprouting in the fertile growth medium of growing antisemitism.

To paraphrase Juliet, "What's in a name? that which we call a Nazi by any other name would smell as foul."

Here's what I mean:

Today's USA: The Ku Klux Klan, Skinheads and Neo Nazis

Today's Ukraine: Svoboda

Today's Italy: Casa Pound

Today's France: Front Nationale

Today's Greece: Golden Dawn

Today's Hungary: Jobbik Party

Every other country in Europe has growist Fascist and neo-Nazi movement, some already violent, like the one in Poland.

Now, let's add the growing global Jihadi groups, many hiding behind the back of so-called "moderate Islam", in Scandinavia, the UK, Germany, France and the USA.

How many times have the Iranians, Hizbulla, Hamaz and Islamic Jihad declared their intent to destroy Israel? Don't be foolish enough to think that they're only talking about Zionists; that's merely a polite term for Jew. An Al-Qaida bomb in New York City or a Hizbulla booby trap in Buenos Aires is not intended for Zionists - the target is Jews.

There's a concept in the Jewish Laws of Purity: Immersion in the mikva doesn't help someone who is holding a dead mouse in his or her hand.

Why cry about Holocaust Day while perpetuating the Diaspora and being the victim of another potential Holocaust? Why aren't people readingthe global anti-Semitic writing on the wall? Can't they realize that Hashem is telling everyone that it's time to come home?

Do you really want to do something about the Holocaust? Do you really want to prevent another Holocaust, G-d forbid?  Rabbi Yehoshua Fass of Nefesh B'Nefesh is a dear friend of mine. Write him an email right now (tell him that Lazer sent you) and tell him that you're interested in getting the ball of your aliya rolling. He'll tell you what to do. 

The greatest memorial for the 6,000,000 Jews who died in the Holocaust is a strong, truly Jewish homeland. Cherished brothers and sisters, help us build it. Come home now; we're waiting for you with open arms.

Revival and Survival

Survival is when something already existing continues to exist. Revival is when something about to be destroyed renews itself. The annals of the Jewish People since the Holocaust is a story both of survival and revival. Hashem showed me something out in the field that tells the entire story in one picture. Here it is: