Israel versus Judaism
Holocaust Victims Accuse
Published in 1977 by
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Amongst the many encouraging words, written and oral, which demand the continuation of the series of articles from “Min HaMaitzar,” (“From the Depths”), and drawing the subject to its final conclusions, a lone voice was heard to recommend the cessation of revealing that which has already been forgotten, explaining that it is advisable to roll a tombstone over a chapter of history which happened so many years ago. Since this honored individual did not give halachic, but national, reasons for his position, for his benefit we can mention that the Agudas Yisroel Party voted this week in the Knesset for one of the few laws which perhaps does not oppose halacha. — — that is, the nullification of the old statute of limitations law regarding the crimes of the Nazis and their accomplices. That is to say, time, in human law, cannot forgive, erase or forget the atrocities executed the Nazis and their Jewish accomplices. It is true that the intention of the lawmakers was not directed toward the highly-titled Jewish criminals, the honored national leaders, to whose abomination this series of articles is dedicated. But the fact that the great and saintly Ray Michael Ber Weissmandel, until the moment he lay on his deathbed, united all his physical and spiritual strength to instilling in the younger generation the consciousness of the crimes of the secular leaders, puts upon all of us the obligation to fulfill the last testament of this great man who has passed away —— to roll up the curtain without fear.
In his book, ’HaSatan V’Hanefesh” (“Satan and the Soul”), Joel Brand publicizes excerpts of the letter that he sent to Moshe Sharett:
“My heart beats with a sense of solidarity toward the party to which I dedicated the best years of my life, but this cannot and need not prevent me from determining the historical truth — — without taking into consideration whether some of our friends in the ruling elite will be hurt by this or not. I am convinced that in the years 1942-45, there was fateful negligence on the part of the authorized institutions. For decades our people strove toward one end — — the Zionist goal, which was again and again aspired to — — the gathering of all the Jews in a Jewish state. In the days of Hitler, another goal should have taken precedence — — to save the lives of our people. However, our friends continued to go in the way dictated by the old goal, without discerning that the nation it self was dying in the interim. When three quarters of the Jews of central Europe had already died in the gas chambers, ihe Jewish populace of Hungary was still untouched and there was a chance to save an 0 majority of at least this part of our nation from annihilation. However, this historical chance was missed because all the Jewish institutions —— the Joint, the Jewish Agency the Zionist administration and the Jewish parties in the democratic lands — — did not recognize that the rescuing of Jewish lives was the central goal and that all other goals were to be subservient to it. You, comrade Sharett, and all the agencies, did not do a single thing — — to alarm, without delay, the whole world, or to alert all the newspapers in the free world as much as possible. It is impossible to say that you did not receive information about what was occurring. Hungary was the last link in the chain. First Warsaw went. We, from Budapest, in the last years related to you all the details in general and personal reports about the earth shaking fate of the Jews in the areas conquered by the Nazis. We also sent witnesses to you. That was the time you should have taken critical measures. Included in your guilt is the fact that the world was silent, because if the world had been alarmed, the KIug (Klausenberg) Jews would also have known that they had to flee.
In all parts of the world, millions of dollars were gathered for us, by the Joint and other Jewish agencies. But when it was time to use the money to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews, they started to act stingily...”
Here a renowned party member of Mapai corroborates three basic points in his accusation against the Zionist elite: 1) the crime of hiding facts; 2) the refusal to allocate monies that were given for the purpose of saving Jewish lives; 3) the reason for this criminal behavior was due to the fact that the State is the ultimate goal and saving the Jewish nation is secondary to it. In the Times of London of June 6, 1961, Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schonfeld, who served in the period of the Holocaust as the chairman of the rescue committee founded by the chief rabbi of Britain,, publicized a letter to the editor which set off a storm amongst British Zionists: Your recent reports of the Eichmann trial include considerable evidence tending to show that H. M. Government was largely indifferent to and unwilling to take action in defense of the European Jews who were l massacred daily by the Nazis; and that this was so in spite of efforts by Zionist leaders to persuade the British Foreign Office to rouse itself into action on behalf of the victims. In your leader (June 1) you express concern lest it be held that our wartime Government was guilty of negligence in the face of the holocaust. Your correspondent succinctly suggests that the attention now being given to this side of the picture is connected with some current criticism of Zionist inactivity during the war.
“My experience in 1942-43 was wholly in favor of British readiness to help, openly, constructively and totally, and that this readiness met with opposition from Zionist leaders who insisted on rescue to Palestine as the only acceptable form of help. “In December of 1942 (long before the approaches of 1944 report ed from the Jerusalem trial), we in London formed a Council for Rescue from the Nazi Terror which, in turn, initiated a Parliamentary Rescue Committee under the chairmanship of Professor A . V. Hill, M. P., supported by leading members of both Houses. At the time I was executive director of the Chief Rabbi’s Religious Emergency Council and applied myself to this task. A motion was placed on the Order Paper in the following terms:
“That in view of the massacres and starvation of Jews and others in enemy and enemy-occupied countries, this House asks H.M. Government following the United Nations Declaration read to both Houses of Parliament on December 17, 1942, and in consultation with the Dominion Government of India, to declare its readiness to find temporary refuge in its own territories or in territories under its control for endangered persons who are able to leave those countries; to appeal to the governments of countries bordering on enemy and enemy countries to allow temporary asylum and transit facilities for such persons; to offer to those governments so far as practicable such help as may be needed to facilitate their cooperation; and to invite the other Allied governments to consider similar action.
“As a result of widespread concern and the persistency of a few, this motion achieved within two weeks a total of 277 Parliamentary signatures of all parties. This purely humanitarian proposal met with sympathy from government circles, and I should add that H.M. Government did, in fact, issue some hundreds of Mauritius and other immigration permits —— indeed, in favor of any whom we could name. Already while the p motion was gathering momentum, voices of dissent were heard from Zionist quarters: “Why not Palestine?” The obvious answers that the most urgent concern was humanitarian and not political that the Mufti-Nazi alliance ruled out Palestine for the immediate saving of lives and that Britain could not then add to her Middle East problems were of no avail.
“At the 1943, when the next steps were being energetically pursued by over 100 M.P.s and Lords, a spokesman for the Zionists announced that the Jews would oppose the motion on the grounds of its omitting to refer to Palestine. Some voices were raised in support of the Zionist view, there was considerable debate, and thereafter the motion was dead. Even the promoters exclaimed in desperation: If the Jews cannot agree among themselves, how can we help?
“It was useless to argue with a then current Zionist argument:
'Every nation has had its dead in the fight for its homeland — — the sufferers under Hitler are our dead in our fight’. But it would be unjust now to permit the miswriting of history so as to cast blame upon Britain. By all means let Eichmann be tried on his murderous merits. Let the nations who participated in the holocaust of this still Dark Age be judged alongside. Even let the opportunity be taken to point an accusing finger at the neutral bystanders, nations and individuals. But Britain was at her best.”
1-On November 1 and 3, 1940, respectively, the steamships Pacific and Milos were intercepted by the British off the Palestine coast with 1771 immigrants. On November 20, the decision to transfer them, together with others who might arrive in the future, was announced officially. Arrangements were accordingly made to transfer the Pacific and Milos passengers to Mauritius on the S.S. Patria, then in Haifa harbor. In the meantime,. a third ship, the Atlantic, was approaching Palestine with 1783 Jews. it arrived on November 24, and arrangements were made by the British for transfer to the overcrowded Patria of as many of its passengers as could be accommodated. In the morning of November 25th, with thousands of people watching its departure in Haifa, the Patria was blown up by an explosion, and she sank in a quarter of an hour. Two hundred fifty two Jewish refugees from Hitler’s burning hell lost their lives. The Zionist propaganda machine, turned on full force, declared that the sinking of the ship was a mass suicide protest against the British refusal to permit entry of the Jews. The commission of inquiry subsequently appointed, said that the damage to the Patria had been committed by the Jabotinsky-Begin gang —— the Irgun Zvei Leumi —— in close cooperation with the Haganah—Palmach gang.
It was only 10 years later that the Haganah general staff admitted, boastfully, that it ordered the ship blown up, in order to lay this charge at the door of the man datory authorities. David Flinker, writing November 27, 1950, in the New York Morning Freiheit, wrote of the Haganah order, “The English must be given to understand... The Patria must be blown up. The decision was conveyed to Haganah members on the Patria, and in the hush of night, the preparations had begun for the execution of this tragic act.”
The victims remained forgotten until the 18th anniversary of their deaths suddenly transformed them into martyrs for the cause of the Zionist State. On a ship anchored at the spot in Haifa Bay where the Patria was sunk, speeches were delivered by Shertok (Sharett) and Ben Gurion, the Zionist leaders at the time of the explosion. “It is sometimes necessary to sacrifice a few in order to save the many,” said Shertok when, to the fanfare of trumpets, the Zionist flag was hoisted on the still visible wreck. But by that time, Herzl Rosenblum’s memoirs were being published: “A session of the Small Actions Committee, of which I was a member, met in Jerusalem. At the table opposite me sat the commander of the Patria project, A. Golamb, Haganah spokesman in the Zionist shadow cabinet. When my turn came to speak, / rose and told the meeting openly everything I thought about this act; namely, that this was not a blow against England, but an irresponsible, aimless mass—murder of Jews who had been saved from the European catastrophe. I added that if any of us believed that we had to fight the British by committing hara—kiri, let him commit hara—kiri, for hara—kiri is suicide and r an act of murder. I stated plainly that this road was open to Mr. Golamb, but he could not sacrifice other Jews for his policy without first asking them, and particularly the children among them —— a crime which I openly protested. At this point, Mr. Golamb jumped up and attacked me with his fists. But the people next to him at the table held him back. I must add that Mr. Golamb’s fists, which I w never forget, did not annoy me as much as the servility of all the committee members, none of whom supported me.”
The sinking of the ship, Patria, with its passengers in the port of Haifa, which the English were about to transfer to distant places, served on a small scale as a tragic symbol of what the Zionists did to tens of thousands, in accordance with their rule that says: the merit to be saved belongs to a Jew only when in Eretz Yisroel, and if that is impossible, it is better that his death and great suffering be joined to the building of the future state.
On a Friday in July, 1944, Rabbi Weissmandel sent another letter of alarm, in which he proposed:
1) with the aid of an exact mapping of the railways, to bomb the tracks on which Hungarian Jews were being transported to the crematoria; 2) to bomb the furnaces of Auschwitz;
3) to parachute ammunition to the 80,000 prisoners of Auschwitz
4) to parachute saboteurs who would blow up all the means of an nihilation, and thus cause a break in the process of cremating 13,000 Jews every day;
5) in the event of the refusal of the Allies, to obtain airplanes and to recruit Jewish volunteers who would carry out the sabotage.
To his letter he added his heart-piercing questions:
“Why was this not done until now? Why is it not done now? Who is guilty of this frightful negligence? Are you not guilty, our Jewish brothers: you who have the greatest good fortune in the world — — liberty? Have you left all your businesses, all your lusts and pleasures every vain word,-and gone out day and night, not doing any other thing, except to prove the awesome reality of Auschwitz to those critical in influencing world opinion? Did you all unite as one person without factions and rivalries for honor, in order to influence the world to help us in this small way?
“If you did so truthfully, with self-sacrifice (by setting aside everything else), then you are not guilty. But if not, how awesome and frightening is your responsibility for the past and how great and holy is your obligation in the future!”
The voice of the “tzaddik,” who, besides his greatness in Torah and service of the Almighty, was also a serious, clear-minded person of action, remained just a voice calling out not only in the wilderness of our exile, but also in the wasteland of hearts of the influential secular Jewish elite.
On May 28, 1944, Brand arrived in Constantinople (Istanbul) and reported to the Jewish Agency Delegation the details of the annihilation and the proposal to bomb Auschwitz and the railroad tracks leading to it. During the Kastner trial, time and again the question was brought up why the leaders of the Jewish Agency did not turn with this demand to the Allies. No answer could be obtained from them. Ben Gurion and Sharett even evaded appearing before the court to explain the lack of any significant action. Only after four years, in the case against Eichmann, did the Jewish Agency, in anticipation of further embarrassing difficulties, bring documents before the court on its own initiative, testifying that pleas were brought to the British government on the subject of bombing Auschwitz. What a wonder! So many years nothing was known of these documents and suddenly they were discovered in the archives of the Jewish Agency! But now, also, Ben Gurion and Sharett refrained from giving oral explanations to the court, and the public prosecutor twisted and turned, with amazing virtuosity, so as not to need them.
Homer Bigart, special correspondent of the New York Times to the Eichmann trial, writes on June 12, 1961:
“The Israeli Jerusalem Post reported that Mr. Sharett had said that he had offered to testify on the Hungarian episode, â€˜but so far had not been called by the Prosecution’. 2
“This was the first time any newspaper here had mentioned this omission. Attorney General Gideon Hausner had called more than 100 witnesses against Eichmann, some of them fetched at great expense from the United States and Western Europe. Yet Mr. Sharett, who lived within a mile of the courtroom, has not been called.”
2-Dr. Rudolf Verba, who possessed a doctorate in science and served at the British Medical Research Council, was One of the few escapees from Auschwitz.. He had detailed knowledge about the atrocities and the activities of Eichmann. Because of the Importance of his Auschwitz statements, which indicated the exact figures on the Auschwitz victims. Judge Moshe Landau, in the Eichmann trial, asked the Attorney General why he did not call this escapee from Auschwitz as a witness. The attorney general, Mr. Gideon Hausner, answered that the government couldn’t cover the travel expenses of its witnesses.
Why didn’t the government REALLY call him? The answer might be suggested in Verba’s memoirs, published in February, 1961, in the London Daily Herald:
“I am a Jew. In spite of that —— indeed, because of that —— I accuse certain Jewish leaders of one of the most ghastly deeds of the war. “This small group of quislings knew what was happening to their brethren in Hitler’s gas chambers and bought their own lives with the price of silence. Among them was Dr. Kastner, leader of the council which spoke for al/Jews in Hungary...
“While I was prisoner number 44070 at Auschwitz — — the number is still on my arm - I compiled careful statistics of exterminations —— I took these terrible statistics with me when / escaped in 1944 and I was able to give Hungarian Zionist leaders three weeks notice that Eichmann planned to send a million of their Jews to his gas chambers... Kastner went to Eichmann and told him, “I know of your plans; spare some Jews of my choice and I shall keep quiet.’
“Eichmann not only agreed, but dressed Kastner up in an S.S. uniform and took him to Belsen to trace some of his friends. Nor did the sordid bargaining end there.
“Kastner paid Eichmann several thousand dollars. With this little fortune, Eichmann was able to buy his way to freedom when Germany collapsed, to set himself up in the Argentine...”
Rabbi Weissmandel, too, refers to the Auschwitz protocol, drafted by Verba and a colleague who also escaped from Auschwitz a few weeks before the deportations started. The warning they sent to the Jewish leaders was not published by the Jewish Agency. Moshe Krauss sent the full details of Auschwitz to the Jewish Agency representative in Geneva, Mr. Chaim Pozner, who also failed to publish it. Two Hungarian Jews, George Mantello and Joseph Mandl, managed to reveal the facts to the world in the month of July through news agencies.
But if someone in all innocence and good faith were to examine the documents that were discovered in the archives, a difficult question would still remain: Weizmann’s letter to the British government is dated July 6, which means that the letter was written 39 days after receiving the report and proposal from Brand. During these 39 days of negligence, hundreds of thousands of Jews were burned in Auschwitz —— 13,000 each day.
In an interview with the correspondent for the Israeli newspaper, “Maariv,” on June 1, 1961, Air Marshall Sir Arthur Harris, who served as the Chief Air Officer of the British Bomber Command from 1942 until 1945, stated: “I can’t recall that I ever heard of such a plea (to bomb Auschwitz).. .To the best of my recollection, I never knew of the existence of German extermination camps until we liberated Bergen Belsen (at the close of the war).” Prime Minister Winston Churchill also denied ever receiving such a request from the Jewish Agency.
The Jewish community calmly sits by — — it does not come out with demonstrations to move Heaven and earth. It does not bombard world opinion with a united demand: Destroy Auschwitz. Save those destined for annihilation. With what is the “yishuv” and its leaders busy? They are dealing with elections to the “Jewish Parliament”. Mapai, alone, has held 201 election gatherings and the time of Ben Gurion and Sharett is totally taken up with energetic participation in the elections. There were more communal elections on July 3Oth...Ben Gurion announces, “whoever does not participate in the elections is like a soldier who flees from the battlefront. All are called upon to participate in our battle.”
3-British Colonel Leonard Cheshire admitted to the Daily Telegraph on June 2, 1961, that “the bombing of Auschwitz in 1944, although difficult, was feasible. Had we known that the Jews requested to bomb the place, there would have been no difficulty at all in mobilizing an air group to carry out this task.”
4-At the time of the Kastner trial, Shmuel Tamir, representing the defendant, Maichiel Greenwald, addressed Judge Halevi as follows: “In Palestine, these facts remained almost unnewsworthy. Silence continued. Complete suppression.
“Look at the small tucked-away items (in the press) about Jewish troubles in Europe. And note how absent from the editorial pages are comments on rescue problems.
“During this time, there appears in the Jewish Agency press, long speeches by Ben Gurion and Sharett — — speeches made in Palestine and abroad. All Zionist official minutiae are reported in full, all the huffing and puffing of the His tadrut and Mapai parties are offered the public under staggering headlines. Local problems, strikes, the cost of living, political quibbling —— all receive full coverage. But of the horrors and details of the extermination of Jews, and of the rescue problems —— almost no mention.
“More than that, in Davar, official Jewish Agency paper, appears this editorial. I quote: â€˜The Nazi denial of extermination has a good foundation. Not as many were annihilated as was feared
“Let us come to the hour of the extermination of Hungarian Jewry.
“Two days after the Nazi occupation of Hungary, headlines, editorials, denunciations, fill the columns (of Davar) —— not against the terror of the Hungarian Fascists, not against this terror of Eichmann, but against the Irgun.
“In the fatal months of April, May, June of 1944, during which scores of thousands of Jews were taken to Auschwitz daily for slaughter, the suppression continues. There is a speech by Ben Gurion (carried in full by the Jewish Agency press). No mention of Hungary is in it.
“Sir — — 11 of April — — They begin the concentration of the Jews in Hungary. Ben Gurion delivers a speech. Not a single word about Hungary...
“9 of May —— The deportations to Auschwitz at the rate of 12,000 per day are about to start. The General Assembly of the Jews of Palestine assembles. Their agenda: paragraph 1 —— election of parties. The British could afford to go without elections at that decisive time, but with us the whole turmoil was around the elections. And this also is the topic of the General Assembly.
11 of May —— The last days before commencement of the deportations. Again a speech of Ben Gurion. Not a word about the Hungarian situation.
15 of May — — The full-scale deportations to Auschwitz start. Twelve thousand a day, Sir. Mr. Sharett delivers a speech. Not a single word about Hungary. Not a word about the extermination in general.
“21 of May — — The seventh day of the deportation, which will be finished and done with in a few days. Ben Gurion delivers a speech. Not a word about Hungary. The first in formation appears on the 23 of May. Ehud Avriel sends a cable from Turkey about the danger to one million Jews and it appears in Davar. Let’s see what follows the alarm in formation of Avriel. On 2 of June, eight days later, and by then almost one quarter of a million Hungarian Jews have been bur ned in Auschwitz, the General Council of Mapai (Ben Gurion’s party) assembles. Not a single word of reaction.
“On July 10, 1944, Davar publishes coolly and with no hint of emotion, a small item of news —— Kraus’ report from Budapest...
“This Davar chilly item is the first authoritative news that the deportations have reached so big a scale.
“And the story appears after the deportations were over, and the near million already slaughtered!
“Here’s another date. Six days after the Kraus bit of news was published, Berl Katznelson, central figure of Ben Gurion’s Mapal party, delivers a speech. He speaks not a single word on the subject (of Hungary’s massacred Jews). Not one word on the general topic of extermination. “Ben Gurion also speaks at length at the Histadrut convention that same week —— about â€˜the great tasks facing the Jewish nation’. And he says not a word about the 800,000 Jewish souls and their extermination.
“Until mid-July, six weeks after the killing of 12,000 a day had begun, still not a single authoritative word is uttered by the Jewish Agency or any Zionist officials that the deportation had started — — that already half a million were exterminated.
“The Jewish Agency had by then the best and most exact informative source on the fate of the Jews of Hungary, and on the deportation, and there was no British censorship of such items, as was proven in court. But from the end of May until the 16th of July, for a full month and a half, when 12,000 Jews are being killed a day, still not a single authoritative word is uttered by the Jewish Agency or any Zionist officials that these deportations have started and are continued; that already half a million Jews were exterminated. For a full month and a half, Mr. Sherett and the Jewish Agency are knowingly and wilfully suppressing all the news known to them.”
This was the battle of Ben Gurion at the time that the ovens were burning.
Twenty years later, Dr. Nachum Goldmann, president of several Zionist organizations, confessed at an assembly commemorating the rebellion of the ghettoes on March 4, 1962:
There is no doubt that future Jewish history will judge the generation of the Holocaust which lived in free lands as guilty. It will accuse it of failing to adequately prepare for the Nazi danger in its beginning stages, and of not daring to fight desperately the annihilation in this period. I do not know whether, in the lime of the war, the Allies could have prevented the death of millions of Jews. But there is no doubt in my heart that it was possible to save tens of thousands of Jews with active, daring measures by the democratic governments. But most of the responsibility lies upon us, due to our self-satisfaction with requests and routine demands and to the fact that groups of Jews did not have enough courage to pressure the democratic governments with dramatic means and motivate them to act drastically. I will never forget the day on which a telegram from the Warsaw ghetto was delivered to me; it was addressed to Rabbi Stephen Wise and to myself. We were asked why Jewish leaders in America do not protest day and night on the stairs of the White House until the President orders the bombing of the concentration camps and the railway tracks leading to them. We did not do so because the majority of Jewish leaders then were of the opinion that they should not interfere with the free world’s war effort against the Nazis with stormy protests. Therefore we should not transfer the guilt to those who suffered and paid with their lives. If there is a basis to the historical “I accuse’, let us have the courage now to direct it against that part of the generation which was lucky enough to be outside of the Nazi domination and did not fulfill its obligation toward the millions killed.” (5)
5-In reality; Goldmann, along with Stephen Wise (of the American Jewish Congress) and George Backer (of the American Joint Distribution Committee), received the following telegram on January 21, 1943, from the Jewish National Committee in Warsaw: “We notify you of the greatest crime of al/times, about the murder of millions of Jews in Poland. Poised at the brink of the annihilation of the still surviving Jews, we ask you: 1.) Revenge against the Germans 2.) Force the Hitlerites to halt the murders 3) Fight for our lives and our honor 4.) Contact the neutral countries 5.) Rescue 10,000 children through exchange 6.) $500,000 for purposes of aid. Brothers — — the remaining Jews in Poland live with the awareness that in the most terrible days of our history you did not come to our aid. Respond, at least in the last days of our life.” During the war, Goldmann had received so many cables from all sources — — while answering none of them — — that 20 years later he was bound to become confused. The cable quoted in the above text actually was sent by Rabbi Weissmandel.
Today all have regrets: the past Nazis, the good Germans, the merciful Catholics, the very democratic British and Americans, and even the Jewish secular leaders. However, as we said, the statute of limitations against war crimes is not to apply to the Nazis and their accomplices, whether non-Jews or Jews...
LIGHTS IN THE DARKNESS
It is necessary to meditate between chapters. Both the reader and the author need tranquilizers, to rest from the heavy burden. In the mournful darkness of “darkness prevails”, one seeks points of light. Amongst the Jews were found holy and pure souls. Who could have foreseen or imagined that, when they were faced with the ultimate test, seemingly simple Jews would reach pinnacles of light and spiritual strength? The following relates the stories of two such Jews; according to witnesses:
“On 16 Moronovska Street in Warsaw, a 'center’ was set up for refugees. Who were these refugees? They were Jews of neighboring towns who were driven out of their homes by the Germans and then thrown into the Warsaw ghetto. Whoever still had money or relatives somehow managed, but those without either came to live in the 'center’.
There, in a small cellar, 150 persons crowded themselves together, many of whom were sick and old. They were lacking any means of assistance, 1 a strange city, in a time when each person in Warsaw was burdened with his own problems unable to share others’ tragic situations.
These refugees would have perished immediately with the outbreak of the war, except for the help of a Jewish neighbor, a chassidic merchant, Baruch Varhaftig of 12 Moronovska Street. At first, he would visit the refugees and help them with whatever he could. At the end, he became almost a permanent resident in the â€˜center’. He supplied them with packages of food and coal for heating. He managed the household and fed the sick. He neglected his family and dedicated himself only to the refugees. To his wife’s complaints he answered, “the Almighty will watch you so you will not be left without a roof over your heads.”
When deportation of the Jews to concentration camps began in the month of Av (August), 1942, the centers for refugees and the poor were the first targets. Varhaftig, who was always in touch with the social aid institutions, knew very well the meaning of the deportations. He was not included in the decree at that time. But he declared that he would join in the plight of his refugees and be deported together with them. He would not abandon them in this critical moment. The cries and arguments of his family were to no avail. Together with the refugees, h marched forward to the train station, which was the departure point for those doomed to destruction.
Another glowing image: On 24 Zamenhof Street in Warsaw lived Jewish woman named Fisher. Complete quiet still reigned in her pa of town. But rumors came that in other neighborhoods Jews were being dragged out of their homes. This woman remembered that in one of the unfortunate sections lived her old uncle. She immediately ran to his house to bring him back to her home. All the warnings about the fatal danger involved in appearing on a street when seizure of Jews was occurring could not prevent her. She took packages of food and started out on a trip from which she never returned.
You might say this was a momentary instinctive reaction of an aging woman. However, that is not true in the case of Mrs. Fisher. During the whole period of her stay in the ghetto, she converted her house into an inn for the starving. Although she, herself, was not a woman of means, she gave away her last crust of bread. Many people satisfied their hunger with bread and warmed their frozen bodies with cups of warm coffee at her house. When one of her neighbors became sick with typhus and the doctors said that she could be saved only from the transfusion of blood from someone who already had had the disease, Mrs. Fisher ordered her son to give two pints of his blood, although he was just recovering and was still very weak from a very strong case of typhus. When she had the opportunity to save a life, she refused to take anything else into account.
The statute of limitations must also not be applied against such genuine heroes. The loftiness of their actions should be engraved on everyone’s hearts forever. The Jewish nation, whose “supposed shepherds” neglected them on the day of their rebuke, can draw com fort from the glorious lives of their sons and daughters, who did not have crowns of leadership, but bore the crown of a good name, set with the graceful jewels of the treasure and beauty of Israel, on their tortured heads.