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Monday, December 31, 2012

In 1941, they knew

On this day in 1941, even before the Germans had officially decided to do it, Abba Kovner warned fellow residents of the Vilna Ghetto that the Germans planned to wipe out European Jewry.
On December 31, 1941, Abba Kovner spoke before an assembly of Vilna Ghetto youth and declared his far-sighted and far from conventional conviction that the Nazis were determined “to destroy all the Jews of Europe,” and that they, the Jews of Lithuania, were to be “the first in line.”
The 23-year-old Kovner was speaking nearly a month before the convening of the Wannsee Conference, in Berlin, at which the Nazis formally and in complete secrecy adopted the “Final Solution. In his remarks, Kovner implored the group of some 150 young people, gathered in a soup kitchen at 2 Straszun Street, not to be “led like sheep to the slaughter,” because, he said, “it is better to fall as free fighters than to live by the mercy of the murderers.”
Vilna, one of Europe’s most important Jewish capitals, had been conquered by the Germans on June 24, 1941. Its 60,000 Jews were organized into a large ghetto, which was largely overseen by the head of the Jewish police, Jacob Gens. Early during the occupation Kovner, a leader in the socialist-Zionist movement Hashomer Hatzair, took up refuge in a Dominican convent outside the ghetto, but he returned when he understood that the invaders were beginning to deport and murder Jews.
Much of the killing was taking place at Ponary, a forest and recreation site a little south of Vilna, which was transformed, shortly after the occupation, into a site for mass murder. Between June 1941 and July 1944, some 75,000 people, most of them Jews, were shot to death there, their bodies quickly cremated to minimize evidence. When Kovner spoke that New Year’s Eve, he seemed determined to look a devastating truth in the eye: “None of those who were taken away from the ghetto has ever come back,” he observed. “All the roads of the Gestapo lead to Ponary. And Ponary is Death!”
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At 10:47 PM, Blogger HaDaR said...

Abba Kovner and the Partizans of Vilna were the REAL Jewish flame and since the beginning RESISTED.
Consider that the Judenrat (Jewish Council) of the Vilna Ghetto, with the complicity in crime of the local rabbis, decided to give in (MOSERIM) to the nazis the poor 19 year old Jewish Partizan Itzchaq Wittemberg, זצוק"ל, הי"ד, who was then tortured to death by the nazis. That was against PLAIN AND SIMPLE HALAKHÀ.
Another reason why I absolutely do not go for the LIE of all those alleged "tzadikim" there, who, more than saving their people, were interested in POLITICAL STATEMENTS, LYING and saying that it was forbidden to go to Erets Israel.
Reading an incredible work by the Mishne' Sachir can help good Torah people understand that, in reality, refusal of Erets Israel, of our MORASHÀ (which is NOT a yerushà, and CANNOT be refused, divided or given away! see a piece of mine from a few years back:
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/5019 ) all while remaining attached to the CHILLUL HASHEM that is living in Galut when you CAN stop that chillul Hashem, is what brought destruction upon our People. Read the incredible work, written in Budapest by Rabbi Shleomo Issaschar Teichtalזצוק"ל, הי"ד, while hiding from the nazis (English and Hebrew):
http://www.tsel.org/torah/emhabanim-eng/index.html

I would also recommend - but breathe deeply first! - reading the following that my friend Reuven posted some time back in his blog after I had sent him:
http://ruvysroost.blogspot.it/2010/06/confronting-holocaust-jewishly-by-rav.html

I know it's a lot, but it's worth the effort, even if I KNOW that this last piece is hard yet truth, written by a Talmid Chakham who got Semichàh at the Mirrer Yeshivah by Rav Kalmanovitch, zt"l, and then again in Erets Israel by Rav Mordechai Eliahu, zt"l.

 

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