On the evening of Dec. 2, a small group of elderly men and women, some with their children and grandchildren, will gather at a Burbank mall to mark the 75th anniversary of a heartbreaking, yet uplifting, episode of the Nazi era, known as the Kindertransport (in English, Children’s Transport).
It’s 4 a.m. at the famous Kater Holzig club and hundreds of beautiful young people are going crazy on the dance floor to the sound of heavy electronic beats.
Doli Offner (now Doli Redner) and her older sister, Lea, stood single file along with a group of young women at Auschwitz as Dr. Josef Mengele walked past, dispatching each with a flick of his thumb to one side or another. Lea was sent to the labor camp line and Doli to the gas chamber. Doli couldn’t move. She daydreamed about being reunited with her mother and let herself be pushed ahead by the other girls, who were crying and shoving as whips cracked down on them. Then, suddenly, she was pulled from her line and moved to Lea’s. Doli didn’t know who saved her life, but at that moment she thought, “If somebody did that for me, I’m not going to give up.”
We were sharing a pastrami sandwich and pickles at a Los Angeles landmark: Canter’s Deli on Fairfax. I was 24; she was nearly 50 years older, with a piercing voice as loud as her flaming red wig.
The Nazi occupation of most of Europe during World War II and the Holocaust tested the moral fiber not only of the individual citizen but also of entire nations.
Harry Corre, held as a prisoner of war during World War II by Japanese military forces in the city of Omuta, was behind a brick building when he saw a “tremendous flash.” Looking around the building, he saw an enormous cloud 30 miles across the bay, above Nagasaki, and assumed there had been an air raid in an oil tank field.
Fred Heim remembers walking on cloud nine the day he was sworn in to the United States Navy, a cold Chicago day in December 1944. “Joining the Navy was the most important thing in my life,” Heim, 86, told the Journal. “The day that I was sworn in, I will never forget it.”
Seventy-five years later, the very word Kristallnacht still casts a long shadow — on Europe and on the Jewish people. The countrywide pogrom orchestrated in 1938 by the German High Command marked the Nazi regime’s transition from the quasi-legal, anti-Jewish discrimination of the Nuremberg Laws to the coming of the Final Solution.
“You are being relocated to a labor camp,” the Hungarian gendarmes, or police, announced to the Jews of Sopron, Hungary, who had spent the previous two weeks confined to a windowless tobacco factory. Edith Jacobs (née Rosenberger), her parents, three sisters and the other Jews were marched to the train station
Everyone is familiar with Adolf Hitler and the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. Few remember that in the mid- to late-1930s the United States experienced a Nazi crusade of its own, one led by Fritz Julius Kuhn (1896-1951), a radical anti-Semite who dreamed of a fascist America led by a Nazi president. Kuhn never realized his dream, but he did develop a national Nazi movement--complete with propaganda wing, youth group, and its own version of the Schutzstaffel (SS)--that inspired a concerted effort (among politicians, law enforcement and media alike) to destroy him and his organization.
Sophie Zeidman Hamburger, 94, of Los Angeles passed away at home Oct. 10th with her family by her side. A Holocaust survivor, Sophie inspired many people with both her courage and her warmth.
“Don’t speak, don’t cry. The Germans will hear us, and they will kill us.” Four-year-old Hadasa Cytrynowicz — then Dasha Eisenberg — silently clung to her mother, wrapped in the goose down comforter they had brought with them from Konskie, Poland, to a hut near the Bug River, northeast of Warsaw. Hadasa was frightened.
“Who wants to go home?” the SS soldiers asked the 500 women who had just been delivered to Grünberg/Schlesien, a forced labor subcamp of Gross-Rosen in Lower Silesia. Adela Manheimer, née Kestenberg, an only child who, in her words, was “naïve and upset and sick for my parents,” raised her hand.
The study of history never lends itself to a single unambiguous view of the past. For history is, as the British scholar E.H. Carr observed in his famous 1961 book “What is History?” “a continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts, an unending dialogue between the past and the present.”
When Frances Browner, then 21, announced she was joining the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II, her mother and most of the rest of her family were appalled. They thought that this wasn’t something a Jewish girl should do.
Rumors circulated through Amsterdam’s Jewish community that married men were exempt from labor camp duty. Max Stodel — then known as Mozes or Mauritz — submitted the paperwork necessary to marry his fiancée, Jeannette van Praag.
Documents linked to Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist known for his efforts to save Jews from World War II concentration camps, were sold at auction for more than $122,000, a New Hampshire auction house said on Thursday.
Hungarian war criminal Laszlo Csatary has died while awaiting trial for torturing Jews and deporting thousands of them to their deaths during World War II.
Robin Solomon stood in the Ponary Forest in Lithuania, surrounded by fellow educators who wore white and sang Yiddish songs, accompanied by a violinist.
Yehuda Lev, an iconoclastic journalist and veteran of World War II and Israel’s War of Independence, who established a European underground route to smuggle Holocaust survivors to Palestine, died on Aug. 3 in Providence, R.I., after a prolonged illness. He was 86.
German industrialist Berthold Beitz, who rescued Jewish workers in occupied Poland by employing them during World War II, has died.
Jewish gravestones unearthed at a small cemetery in Vienna were hailed on Wednesday as historically important cultural treasures that could rival the famed Jewish cemetery in Prague.
A Jewish leader expressed concern to Pope Francis on Monday over attempts to make a saint of World War Two-era Pope Pius XII, who has been accused of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust.
Last weekend, on a gorgeously sunny afternoon in a remote (and extraordinarily picturesque) village high in the mountains of central Italy, I attended a ceremony that, in signature Italian style, was operatic in its mix of hyperbole and sincere commitment.
Hungarian prosecutors on Tuesday charged a 98-year-old man who tops the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center's wanted list with war crimes, saying he had helped to deport Jews to Auschwitz in World War II.
The cattle car pulled up to the Auschwitz platform. As the doors opened, German soldiers with guns and barking dogs began pushing out the more than 100 Jews arriving from the Lodz Ghetto.
A generation comes and another goes: True enough, but not all generations are alike. Experiences shape some in ways that are unrepeatable. Gil Glazer, Jona Goldrich, Max Webb and Parviz Nazarian are part of a unique generation.
The U.S. government has recovered 400 pages from the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a confidant of Adolf Hitler who played a central role in the extermination of millions of Jews and others during World War II.
Several years ago, novelist Nancy Kricorian happened upon a 29-year-old documentary film called "Terrorists in Retirement" by French filmmaker Mosco Boucault.
Someone searching for the legacy of Frank Lautenberg, the longtime Democratic U.S. senator from New Jersey, might simply look to Baruch College in New York. Of the 1,900 Jewish students there, 60 percent are from the former Soviet Union, 15 percent are Persian and 10 percent are Syrian.
In 1982, Frank Lautenberg was running for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate spot at a time when Democrats in the state were down on their political fortunes.
What could Goebbels have done with 140 characters? The question, disturbing as it might sound, can no longer be approached only as theoretical.
A dozen Jewish organizations sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressing their concern over the rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary.
Dozens of Dutchmen preyed on Jews for cash during the Holocaust, according to a new study.
In the summer of 1993, my father and I visited the site of the extermination camp of Belzec in eastern Poland, where my grandparents were among half a million Jews murdered by the Nazis in 1942.
My daughter, Ilana, then a young college student, asked if she could go with me to the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, on April 22, 1993 (the date was tied to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising’s 50th anniversary). I said: “I will be leaving very early.” She responded: “I’ll be up.”
"Sorry, children. I’m not going to jeopardize my life for your father’s money.” The Christian forester smuggling three Jewish children across the border from Poland to Slovakia had stopped abruptly, wished them luck and told them to keep walking. But Gloria Ungar — then Gitta Nagel — gripped his arm, promising that her father would make him very rich if he continued. She, her younger brother Nathan and her cousin were wending their way through a pitch-black forest. “It was terrifying,” Gloria recalled; she knew they wouldn’t make it alone. Her cousin had broken her ankle, and Nathan was crying that he couldn’t walk anymore. Plus the Germans were scanning the forest with floodlights, siccing attack dogs and then shooting whenever they saw a shadow. The children threw themselves against trees whenever the floodlights came near.
The famed Vienna Philharmonic has acknowledged that many of its musicians were Nazi party members during Hitler's rule and that its director may have delivered a prestigious orchestra award to a Nazi war criminal two decades after the end of World War Two.
Germany's main Jewish body is calling on the German government and parliament to step in on behalf of survivors of World War II ghettoes who have not yet received a German pension for their work.
For nearly 40 years, the Purple Heart medal sat locked in a box, left behind in a West Hollywood apartment building’s laundry room.
The Jewish community of Warsaw is advancing plans to demolish one of its historic ghetto-era buildings in favor of new offices.
The names of 8,000 Italian Jewish victims of the Holocaust were read aloud on Jan. 25 as part of four area events in honor of Italy’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
For many, the everlasting power of Auschwitz is understood only by visiting the infamous death camp and walking the grounds where more than 1 million people were killed during the Holocaust.
On display in my office is a globe that captures a perilous moment in time — the world as it existed on very eve of World War II.
A top Egyptian official close to President Mohamed Morsi called the Holocaust a myth.
The Anti-Defamation League called on conservatives to keep Nazi analogies out of the gun control debate.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a Lebanese television station that the Nazis and Zionists worked in collaboration before World War II.
Police in northern Greece have recovered hundreds of headstones from Jewish graves destroyed during the Holocaust.
So, I am to write down the driest of facts, which is what my friends want me to do.
Have you heard of Witold Pilecki? A new book, “The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery” (Aquila Polonica: 2012), documents, in his own words, Pilecki’s remarkable exploits, and I can’t think of a better gift to give yourself for Chanukah.
Even though 67 years had passed since they last saw each other, Wladyslawa Dudziak and Rozia Beiman reunited as if they hadn't missed a moment.
Vladka Meed, a Jewish Resistance fighter in World War II and a founder of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, has died.
Elie Wiesel and President Obama are not writing a book together, as reported by an Israeli newspaper.
As a tail gunner stationed on bombers during World War II, Mort Schecter frequently found himself a sitting duck.
On the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938, brown-shirted storm troopers torched and looted hundreds of synagogues and destroyed 7,500 Jewish businesses throughout Germany and Austria in what is known as Kristallnacht, “the night of broken glass.”
A prosecutor by training and a historical novelist by avocation, Gregory J. Wallance has written books of historical fiction and historical nonfiction.