Sixty five years later the images of the faces smile innocently out at us, telling us a story that reminds us of our own treasured and yellowed family photos. In some of the photos, friends pose arm and arm with friends, in others, children pose with their pets.
The photos celebrate life in all of its kicking up the heels moments.
These photos were in a picture album, hidden from all sight for sixty five years, undiscovered within the walls of a house, in the town of Chelm, in Poland. They were found recently by a history teacher when her house was being demolished for renovations. She presented the photos to Zvi Lander in a ceremony.
The pictures show a large Jewish family, along with many friends.
After months of searching for clues as to the identity of the family, someone noticed, in one of the photographs, a sign above a laundromat bearing the name Boden.
Using the lists of testimonies archived at Yad Vashem, the album was delivered to Pini Beeri and Riki Ariel, the sons of Pearale Boden Berezowsky, who was one of two siblings to survive the Holocaust. The men delivered the book to their mother, six hours before her death.
From the photographs, remaining sister Marisha Weikselfish identified her brother, parents, and other relatives – all of whom perished.
Family members said that the brother, Shlomo Boden, had informed the family about hiding the album in the wall, along with silverware and silver dishware. However, the survivors did not return to the house to retrieve the photographs after the war and the photographs remained hidden for 65 years.
Many of the pictures depict classmates of the photographer, who were unrecognized by the surviving family members.
Hat tip: Instapundit
So why were the photos lost in the first place? Why were they hidden? Why the Holocaust?
In 1977, when my husband and I first landed in Augsburg, Germany for his three year Army tour I didn’t know much about the history of World War ll. I knew about the Holocaust but I didn’t understand why it had happened. Thus, I was nervous about living in the land where it had occurred just thirty some years before. (at the time)
We were assigned on-post housing in an apartment which was next to an old Jewish cemetery. I walked over to see it one day and found it in a terrible condition. Among the first German words I learned were judenschweinen, ausrotten and jüdische Ratten; for these were written on the stones and walls in the cemetery. It was a chilling experience. The ghost of Himmler seemed to hover about the place.
The following beyond chilling, words were uttered by Himmler in 1943.
At a speech in Poznan on October 4, 1943, Himmler uttered the words that Joachim Fest has described as “one of the most horrifying testaments in the German language”: 1
I am talking about the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish people. It is one of those things that is easily said. “The Jewish people is being exterminated,” every Party member will tell you, “perfectly clear, it’s part of our plans, we’re eliminating the Jews, exterminating them, a small matter.”
So how was it that few men in the government of Great Britain were prepared for the onslaught of the likes of Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels and Goering?
The times were similar to that of the present day. The Brits, excepting the great Churchill and a small minority, were living in a time of wholly irrational pacifist sentiment; the M.P.s spending most of their time in parliament, debating disarmament of Great Britain as well as all the countries of Europe except Germany.
The politicians who met in Germany with Hitler came away from the meetings with words of praise for the Third Reich.
After his first visit to Nazi Germany Lord Halifax, who had been appointed foreign secretary after Anthony Eden had quit Chamberlain’s government, told his friend, Henry (Chips) Channon: “He (Halifax) told me he liked all the Nazi leaders, even Goebbels, and he was much impressed, interested and amused by the visit. He thinks the regime absolutely fantastic.”
Neville Chamberlain believed that Germany had genuine reasons for grievances after the First World War and enacted a policy of appeasement, wanting to avoid war at all costs. If anyone in the government criticized Hitler it was considered an afront to Chamberlain as Herbert Morrison wrote in his 1960 autobiography…
I believe that in 1938 and 1939 he genuinely felt that God had sent him into this world to obtain peace. That he failed may or may not be due to the inevitable ambition of Hitler to dominate the world, but there can be little doubt that in his mental attitude Chamberlain went the wrong way about it. He decided in the early stages of his discussions to treat Hitler as a normal human being and an important human being at that. At the time of the Munich crisis I said extremely critical things in public speeches about the German Chancellor with the result that I was approached by one of Chamberlain’s more important ministers who asked whether I would be good enough to desist, as the prime minister had been informed that Hitler resented it.
That Hitler was a mad man, bent on world domination, was ignored by many in the west even though the writing was on the wall years before when Jewish citizens lost all rights under the Third Reich.
Answer: The first measures against the Jews included:
April 1, 1933: A boycott of Jewish shops and businesses by the Nazis.
April 7, 1933: The law for the Re-establishment of the Civil Service expelled all non-Aryans (defined on April 11, 1933 as anyone with a Jewish parent or grandparent) from the civil service. Initially, exceptions were made for those working since August 1914; German veterans of World War I; and, those who had lost a father or son fighting for Germany or her allies in World War I.
April 7, 1933: The law regarding admission to the legal profession prohibited the admission of lawyers of non-Aryan descent to the Bar. It also denied non-Aryan members of the Bar the right to practice law. (Exceptions were made in the cases noted above in the law regarding the civil service.) Similar laws were passed regarding Jewish law assessors, jurors, and commercial judges.
April 22, 1933: The decree regarding physicians’ services with the national health plan denied reimbursement of expenses to those patients who consulted non-Aryan doctors. Jewish doctors who were war veterans or had suffered from the war were excluded.
April 25, 1933: The law against the overcrowding of German schools restricted Jewish enrollment in German high schools to 1.5% of the student body. In communities where they constituted more than 5% of the population, Jews were allowed to constitute up to 5% of the student body. Initially, exceptions were made in the case of children of Jewish war veterans, who were not considered part of the quota. In the framework of this law, a Jewish student was a child with two non-Aryan parents.
With all these warnings the world stood by, doing nothing to stop Hitler until it was too late for six million European Jews and millions of others. Appeasement was a dangerous policy which as Daniel Pipes writes, “invariably resulted in increased demands, heightened tensions, and threats of war.”
We are faced with this spirit of pacifistic appeasement today in many quarters but it’s not the making of concessions to German fascists, it’s attempts to understand the whys and wherefores of Islamic terrorism. It’s the acceptance of demands by Islamic cab drivers in Minneapolis to turn down riders who offend them. It’s publishers throughout the world refusing to publish anti-Jihadist cartoons out of fear of Muslim reaction, it’s the banning of piggy banks from government offices in Great Britain, it’s the whole world turning away from the inevitable confrontation with Islamists who want to force their will and ways on all of us.
Paul Jackson writes in The Calgary Sun,
A remarkable document came into my hands the other day from a Republican friend in Washington and it is something that should be read by all patriotic Americans and Canadians.
It should also be read by lib-lefters, appeasers, sell-out artists and cowards in all western democracies who want the U.S. and Britain to pull out of Iraq, and the U.S., Britain and Canada to pull out of Afghanistan, and the West to just give in to the demands of fanatics such as Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il.
It’s entitled Europe — Your Name is Cowardice and was written, strangely, by a German, Mathias Dapfner, CEO of the huge publishing house Axel Springer (AG) and published in Germany’s largest newspaper Die Welt.
As most know, Germany, like France, has been one of the great nations of appeasement against Islamic terrorism
But our own country, though led by a president bound and determined not to be beaten by the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, is gradually settling into a comfortable state of denial of the threats of Ahmadinejad and other terrorist organizations.
The American people were encouraged by President Bush to get back to celebrating the American way in the days after 911. We were encouraged to go about our business by working, shopping and raising our children.
The president’s first duty was to defend our national security as well as revive the economy. President Bush just couldn’t fathom the political deceit of those, who like Chamberlain, refused to accept the reality that evil still abounds in this world.
It’s much easier to ignore problems that seem not to be at ones’ door step than to have the courage to confront them before they become overwhelming. That’s human nature but history has taught us that there is a tremendous price to pay for such naive behavior. Supporting this conflict is not just supporting our troops, nor is it simply supporting the war.
It is, in reality, confronting evil. An evil whose philosophy denies freedom and often, life from those who dare to believe in a different manner. Any one who celebrates the death of one human being in the name of religion is evil.
In the United States, where we have a heritage of free religion there should be widespread condemnation of any religion or philosophy that celebrates the murder of thousands of people. Whether you call it Nazism or Islam, there is no justification for murder. However, the defense of one’s family and nation is the only reason to enter in any conflict. The American people may have forgotten this, but our ancestors never did.
Now that winning is still very much an option in Iraq many Americans are demonstrating their support for the troops in effortless, anemic ways such as putting bumper stickers on cars but support requires much more than that as Euphoric Reality writes.
Supporting the troops means living your life in a manner that is worthy of their death. It means ensuring, every minute of every day, that the words you speak, the actions you take, the beliefs you hold, are ones that honor them and honor the freedom they have provided to you. It means carrying yourself proudly, ethically, and with purpose.
It means never backing down, never giving up, never quitting. It means taking the time to make a difference in someone’s life—after all, did a soldier not make a difference in yours?
It means teaching your children that places like Normandy, Iwo Jima, and Bastogne are sacred, almost holy phrases that encompass all that we are and all that we must remain. It means getting off your chair and doing your part—whether that be reading to a double amputee fresh from the dusty hell of Iraq, packing granola bars into a box to be sent to the front, or just not ignoring those who are ignorant any longer. How many times have we all just sighed and rolled our eyes when we hear “I support the troops but not the war?”
Evil triumphs when good men do nothing…or say nothing.
Hat tip: Michelle Malkin
Supporting our troops also means standing up to the politicians who are doing everything they can to retreat in the face of Islamic aggression, appease our enemies and slow-bleed our troops.
In the nineteen forties peace in our time led to World War ll. Can the same philosophy prosper in todays environment of weapons of mass destruction? Weapons that a few individuals can use to destroy cities? Therefore, losing cannot be an option because if we don’t confront the evil at every turn, the price exacted will be tremendously more than World War ll. Giving up and handing Iraq over to Iran would be the same as giving Hitler an atomic bomb. In essence, a deliberate suicide of western civilization. The left would like us to forget this fact.
Will we one day be hiding our own photo albums inside the walls of our own homes?