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On the Tracks Behind the Church


“IN AT LEAST one German town the railroad tracks ran behind the church. An eyewitness stated:

 We heard stories of what was happening to the Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it, because we felt, what could anyone do to stop it?

 Each Sunday morning, we would hear the train whistle blowing in the distance, then the wheels coming over the tracks. We became disturbed when we heard cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized that it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars!

Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sounds of those wheels because we knew that we would hear the cries of the Jews en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us.

 We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more.

Years have passed and no one talks about it now, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep”

Excerpt From: Andrews, Andy. “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?.” Thomas Nelson, 2011-10-15. iBooks.

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Pray if you must,  but  it is no substitute for action.  Faith is a false comfort in the face of intolerable cruelty.

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Post Holocaust Anti-Semitism


Jeff Jacoby writes in the Boston Globe, Amid Holocaust remembrance, antisemitism adapts and thrives.


Where anti-Semitism is gaining market share today is not among those who yell “Heil Hitler” or demonize Jews as Christ-killers. The oldest and most protean of hatreds has assumed a new form for a new age: hostility to Zionism and Israel. The classic anti-Semitic motifs — Jews are aliens, Jews are murderous, Jews are rapacious, Jews are disloyal, Jews manipulate governments — have been repurposed for a post-Holocaust generation that speaks with a post-Holocaust vocabulary.

Sophisticated and educated Westerners today know better than to blame “the Jews” for society’s ills, or to suggest that the best solution to the “Jewish Problem” is for Jews to disappear. But it is widely acceptable in many circles to debate whether the world’s only Jewish state has a right to exist. Or to insist that much of the Middle East’s turmoil would be resolved if only that Jewish state would make peace with its enemies by conceding to their demands. Or to claim with a straight face, when Israel defends itself against Arab and Islamist violence, that it is behaving as the Nazis did.

This helps explain why anti-Semitism soared in recent years even as Palestinian terrorism against Israel soared. For if Zionists are tantamount to Nazis — if the Jewish state is the equivalent of Hitler’s Germany — then decent people everywhere must oppose it. Through endless repetition of the most odious “Israelis = Nazis” canards, the memory of the most lethal horror ever inflicted on the Jewish people has been transmuted into a new bludgeon with which to batter them. Meanwhile, waves of incitement build against the largest Jewish community on the planet, whipped up by enemies who make no secret of their ultimate goal: to annihilate it.

Thus does the old plague bacillus of anti-Semitism mutate and flourish once again, in the very shadow of the Holocaust memorials put up as a warning of what unchecked Jew-hatred can lead to. Truly, it is diabolical.

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Why Is This Hatred Different from All Other Hatreds?

by Henry Oliner

The commemoration of the holocaust during Yom Hashoah tries to understand a tragedy that defies human comprehension.

Some organizations proposing to fight anti-Semitism tend to descend into the mission creep of fighting hatred in general. It is easy but intellectually lazy to group racism, homophobia, and anti-immigration rhetoric into the same category of hatred as anti-Semitism.  While any effort to combat hatred in all its forms is admirable, it doesn’t serve to understand the unique nature of anti-Semitism.

Not to marginalize the tragedies of so many other large scale violent human tragedies, we should use Yom Hashoah to understand why the Shoah was different.

This was a unique event of biblical proportions. This is an event that is on the scale of the exodus from Egypt or the crucifixion of Jesus. It is epic in its nature and will be remembered for millennia.

This was not just a case of a one group of people murdering another or a tragic example of the casualties of war. This was a deliberate and meticulously organized campaign from an otherwise civilized people to deny a very specific group of people living in many countries the very right to exist anywhere. They were not destroyed to take their wealth though many took advantage of their misery. They were not destroyed to take their territory, and they were not destroyed for political differences. The Nazis and their many “willing accomplices” wanted them wiped off the face of the earth. Of the six million Jews killed, only about 500,000 were killed in Germany. This was a pure hatred deeper and wider than any we have ever seen.

This is distinctly different from the persecution of the American Indians, who were attacked and marginalized to take their land. It was different from the treatment of African slaves; we did not kidnap slaves from Africa to kill them but to use their labor like that of a common farm animal. Both policies were stains on our history and often brutal and inexcusably inhuman; but distinctly different. Millions of Cambodians were murdered by Pol Pot for political reasons, as were millions of victims of Stalin in Russia and Mao Tse Tong in China. The twentieth century saw a sickeningly high number of genocides, but the hatred behind the holocaust is unique.

The scale of this genocide was also unprecedented. One third of the entire population of the world’s Jews was destroyed. Nearly ten percent of Poland’s population, 5,000 villages ceased to exist. Of the six million slaughtered one and a half million were children.

This hatred spanned beyond mere nations and leaders.  It did not start with Hitler and it did not end with his defeat and death. For two thousand years the Catholic and Christian churches of Europe demonized, marginalized, and ostracized the Jews. In churches followers were taught to believe the most evil lies conceivable about the Jews; that they drank the blood of Christian children as a part of Jewish rituals, that they ate excrement from animals, and that they were sexual deviants, emissaries of the devil. They were pictured with horns and hideously ugly and sinister in the common works of art.

Politically the  Jews were both needed and despised.  The Jews benefited from the rise of capitalism because Christians were banned from lending money at interest. The politically powerful needed the capital they provided to finance their wars and enterprises, but they were hated as part of the social order that destroyed the landed aristocracy of Europe. While the Jews were hated for their role in the rise of capitalism they were also blamed for the rise of communism. This was a statistical fallacy: while a very small per cent of Jews were communists, a much larger percent of communists were Jews.  Yet only the Jews could be blamed for both an evil and its opposite.

Jews were murdered by the Crusaders on the way to free the Holy Land, they were expelled from Spain in 1492, they were kept in ghettos by the Pope, and they were forced to convert or die during the Spanish Inquisition. In its early history when the Passion Play was performed it incited Christians to burn Jewish villages and murder Jews in their path.

The holocaust was not a unique invention of Hitler; this killing field had been nurtured and fertilized by the churches in Europe for two thousand years. Nor was this killing limited to Germany. In fact some of the most brutal and massive killings took place in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, as well as Italy and France. Ordinary citizens in occupied territories took delight in killing their Jewish neighbors: men, women, children, the elderly,  and infants. The Nazi soldiers supervising theses public atrocities were often amazed at the brutality of the locals.

Even immediately after World War Two, the few survivors of the death camps were often murdered by the remaining inhabitants when they tried to return to their homes. Sadly, the anti Semitism taught to the youth in many of the Muslim nations of the Middle East today is even more violent and hate filled than that experienced before the Holocaust. Today’s anti Semitism in the Middle East would have made the Hitler youth blush.

Perhaps the  most important point is that it started with words. Ideas have consequences and when repeated enough by people with enough charisma, authority or power the results can be devastating. Whether the words come from published authors, political figures, journalists, intellectuals in our public institutions, or priests from our pulpits, words and ideas can instigate actions that cannot be controlled.

Hitler and Henry Ford both believed  the publication, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” This proven forgery claims to have been based on secret Jewish plans to control the media, the universities, the banks, and their plan to enslave the world for their own selfish power. It is hard for us to comprehend how anyone can believe such ignorance, but hatred does not need a reason; it only needs an excuse. The Protocols became the basis for the anti-Semitic ravings in Mein Kampf and Henry Ford’s  ”The International Jew”. And today it is widely distributed and believed in almost every Muslim Country in the Middle East.

This is why the words of Iranian President Ahmadinejad and so many others, whether on the campuses of our universities, or on the floor of the United Nations, or from school yard bullies cannot be ignored. Our memory is still fresh with the consequences of hateful words and ideas allowed to grow unchallenged.

As the survivors and witnesses of the holocaust pass on it is critical that this event be remembered. This is why the numerous Holocaust memorials are critical and remembrances such as Yom Hashoah are necessary. In Israel, during the commemoration, they actually read out the name of every holocaust victim publicly out loud: ALL SIX MILLION NAMES.

Antisemitism is a virus that mutates to defy every remedy.  Otherwise intelligent people rationalize it in many ways.  Today many try to veil their anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, but as Martin Luther King noted there is no difference.  When Israel is demonized and ostracized as no other nation for reasons no one else is held accountable for the oldest hatred survives.  Sadly this hatred has infected our most respected institutions of higher education.

Any success in defeating this hatred requires understanding its differences.  But that success may be a key to understanding and defeating the other hatreds and prejudices that plague us.

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Protecting The Promised Land

The Making of a Libertarian, Contrarian, Nonobservant, but Self-Identified Jew by Randy Barnett

Barnett’s father, a strongly identified Jewish atheist, took the lesson of the Holocaust to be that individual rights needed to be protected against the tyranny of the majority, which could easily turn against despised groups like the Jews. For him and his son, the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution made the United States a “promised land” for Jews, who were protected by its curtailment of state power. And as one of four Jews in his high school—“where anti-Semitism was common and not all that well concealed,” he said—Barnett learned early to distrust the wisdom of the crowd. (At the time, he was even “highly skeptical” of Zionism, popular among his Jewish peers, which he thought was “a really bad idea to get all the Jews in one place where they could be more easily exterminated.”)

Today, Barnett sees his libertarian advocacy—with its emphasis on “locking in” constitutional rights—as an effort to “preserve the form of government that made the U.S. a haven for me and for my family,” especially “as the world is now shrinking for Jews” with the rise of global anti-Semitism. What we have in America, he cautioned the conference attendees, “is not to be taken for granted.”


I would say that fairly sums up my view as well.

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I am Yankel Rosenbaum


Yankel Rosenbaum
Yankel Rosenbaum

Al Sharpton’s cries for racial justice in the aftermath of the Treyvon Martin/ George Zimmerman case were distinctly missing in 1993 as he stirred up the Crown Heights riots that ended in the death of Yankel Rosenbaum.

from Wikipedia

The Crown Heights Riot was a three-day riot that occurred from August 19 to August 21, 1991 in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. At the time of the riot, Crown Heights was and remains predominantly an African-American and Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. It is the home of the Lubavitch sect of Orthodox Jewish Hasidim. The riots began on August 19, 1991, after a child of Guyanese immigrants was accidentally struck and killed by an automobile in the motorcade of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the sect’s leader.

The riot unleashed simmering tensions of the Crown Heights’ black community against the Orthodox Jewish community. In its wake, several Jews were seriously injured; one Orthodox Jewish man, Yankel Rosenbaum, was killed; and a non-Jewish man, allegedly mistaken by rioters for a Jew, was killed by a group of African-American men. Lemrick Nelson was ultimately convicted in federal court for civil rights violations related to Rosenbaum’s death and sentenced to 19 years in prison. A second defendant, Charles Price, was also charged with conspiring to violate Rosenbaum’s civil rights and received 21 years in prison. Nelson and Price were the only two Crown Heights rioters tried for their actions.[1]

About three hours after the riots began, early on the morning of August 20, a group of approximately 20 young black men surrounded 29-year-old Australian Jew, Yankel Rosenbaum, a University of Melbourne student in the United States conducting research for his doctorate. They stabbed him several times in the back and beat him severely, fracturing his skull. Before being taken to the hospital, Rosenbaum was able to identify 16-year-old Lemrick Nelson, Jr. as his assailant in a line-up shown to him by the police.[4] Rosenbaum died later that night. Nelson was charged as an adult[18] with murder and acquitted, but later convicted of violating Rosenbaum’s civil rights in federal court; Nelson eventually admitted that he had indeed stabbed Rosenbaum.

from the  Daily News, Al Sharpton’s true role in Crown Heights: Yankel Rosenbaum’s brother speaks out:

And Sharpton claims his remarks at Gavin Cato’s funeral were misinterpreted. Here is what he said, according to a 1993 report in the Jewish Forward by legendary reporter Philip Gourevitch: “Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights. The issue is not anti-Semitism; the issue is apartheid. . . . All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise, no meetings, no coffee klatsch, no skinnin’ and grinnin’.”

Based on everything we have seen and read, Sharpton never called upon the rioters to stop their anti-Semitism-inspired violence. He never called on the rioters to go home. To the contrary, he stirred them up. And three days of anti-Semitic violence became the Crown Heights riots.

Sharpton’s revisionism only serves to perpetuate the fallacy that the riots erupted organically from some underlying ongoing issues between the African-American and Jewish communities of Crown Heights. In other words, that profound tensions were boiling just beneath the surface and were suddenly unleashed by the tragic death of Gavin Cato.

That is simply untrue. The riots were the product of anti-Semites taking advantage of the tragic death of a child to justify inflicting their violence on innocent people – the Jewish community of Crown Heights – and murdering Yankel Rosenbaum, a Jew from Australia, amid the cries of “Kill the Jew!”

It was a mob of about 30 who attacked and murdered Yankel, of which 28 have never been brought to justice. For 20 years, these people have lived free, and continue to do so, among the African-American community.

Read more:


Like the false cry of rape creates suspicion on legitimate rape charges, so does the use of this Martin/ Zimmerman case as racially motivated create a suspicion on cases where there really is a racially motivated crime.  The case is a tragedy.  But it came to trial and the verdict should be respected, especially in light of the prosecution’s effort to politicize as it did.  As tragic as this case was (I carefully use the word case, not crime) it is a poor example of  a race problem.  And having Al Sharpton arise as the leader of this case is enormously hypocritical and offensive.  Remember Tawana Brawley?

I remain opposed to the filing of civil rights and civil charges against a defendant who is acquitted of the underlying criminal charges, even if it involves OJ Simpson and the murderer of Yankel Rosenbaum.  It is double jeopardy and should be abolished.