Holocaust survivors oppose Gaza war, get reaction: ‘Hitler didn’t finish the job’

This video about Hitler’s mass murder of Jews is part of Shoah – a film by Claude Lanzmann, 1985.

By Bill van Auken in the USA:

26 August 2014

In a letter published as an advertisement Saturday in the New York Times, over 350 survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and descendants of survivors issued a stinging condemnation of “the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine.” …

The correctness of this assessment found speedy confirmation in the form of Facebook postings by Israeli rightists telling those who had signed the declaration to “go back to Auschwitz” or “go die in the gas chambers,” and lamenting that “Hitler didn’t finish the job.”

These disgusting reactions to the Holocaust survivors prove that the extreme Right lunatic fringe in Israel, unfortunately, are not any better than the extreme Right lunatic fringe in some Arab countries, or among ‘white nationalist’ anti-Semites in the USA, in Europe or elsewhere.

Indefinite ceasefire commences in Gaza: here.

An Israeli reservist asks: What did I fight for in Gaza? For now, writes the soldier, the well-brought-up Zionist young people continue to show up dutifully for reserve duty. But they are also filled with despair: here.

Auschwitz nazi crimes suspect arrested in Philadelphia, USA

This video from the USA is called 89 Year Old Johann Breyer May Be Prosecuted as a Nazi War Criminal.

From the Daily Mail in Britain, 18 June 2014:

The Philadelphia Nazi: Retired toolmaker, 89, arrested for role as Auschwitz guard and helping kill 216,000 Jews

German arrest warrant unsealed today alleges that Johann ‘Hans’ Breyer aided and abetted in the deaths of the men, women and children while a guard at the Auschwitz death camp

Each of the 158 counts of complicity in the commission of murder against him represents a trainload of Nazi prisoners from Hungary, Germany and Czechoslovakia

Breyer’s attorney argued his client is too inform [sic; infirm] to be detained pending an extradition hearing

Last week I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of a North West Unison study tour, and arrangements for the commemoration event were well-advanced. A massive marquee has been erected incorporating the “death gate” at Birkenau, where world leaders will be joined by 300 Auschwitz survivors and a high level of security in place: here.

Holocaust survivors in poverty in Israel

This video is the trailer of the documentary film Shoah, about Adolf Hitler’s mass murder of Jews.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Holocaust survivors struggling to make ends meet in Israel

Ros Dayan survived horrors of Nazi persecution but now says she does not have enough money to buy food or clothes

Harriet Sherwood

Thursday 19 April 2012 07.00 BST

Despite the horrors of a childhood in the shadow of the Holocaust, Ros Dayan survived to build a life she could be proud of in the new Jewish state of Israel.

She trained as a nurse, she sang in a choir that toured the world. She learnt Hebrew, though she never lost her central European accent. She paid her taxes and eventually bought the tiny house in Jaffa that she had rented at a subsidised rate for years. She even learned to live with the pain of three broken vertebrae, the result of an assault by a Nazi soldier.

But now, in the last years of her life, Ros is ashamed. One of the 198,000 Holocaust survivors still alive in Israel, she is also one of the growing proportion who cannot make ends meet, who struggle with insufficient funds on a daily basis.

Wiping a single tear with a shaking hand, she says: “For the first time, I don’t have enough money for food or clothes. I used to have pride, now I am ashamed.”

As Israel commemorates Holocaust Day on Thursday, Ros resents those who mourn the six million Jews that died without considering the penury of some of those still living. “On Holocaust Day, they make a parade, those who do not know what a Holocaust is, what hunger is. The people who suffered in the Holocaust are left behind, hungry.”

According to studies, around a quarter of Holocaust survivors in Israel live below the poverty line, struggling to pay for food, heating, housing, medication and care.

As survivors get older – almost 90% are over 75 – their resources diminish as their needs grow. Many are widowed, and a high proportion of those receiving assistance are childless. As well as basic living needs, most face expensive bills for medication, and around 20,000 need 24-hour care.

“A lot of survivors face big medical bills, and life in Israel is very expensive generally,” says Deborah Garel of the Jaffa Institute, which distributes bi-monthly food parcels to Holocaust survivors. “Holocaust survivors going hungry in Israel? This is not right. After being hungry in the ghetto, they shouldn’t be hungry in the Jewish state.”

This week, the government announced an increase in funds for the needs of survivors from 206m shekels (£34.2m) a year to 225m. It points out that, despite the overall declining numbers of people who lived through WW2, more people are being defined as Holocaust survivors according to criteria set by the government and are therefore eligible for funding. …

After Ros and her family were driven from their comfortable middle-class home in Sofia, they spent the rest of the war in extreme fear and hunger. “I never felt like a child, I never had a childhood,” she recalls. “We lived on 300g of bread a day. Potatoes were a luxury food.”

But the family were spared the death camps, and after the war they made their way by boat to the place that would soon become Israel. They landed in Haifa with few possessions and no money or valuables.

After a rocky and lonely beginning, Ros married and built a new life. Now a childless widow, she was recently forced to hire a full-time, live-in carer – a necessary expense which she simply cannot afford. She is bitter about her circumstances.

“I love this country, but I don’t feel Jewish here. I came here to feel Jewish. Every Holocaust day I’m sad for what we lost, and I’m sad I didn’t end up in a country that loves me,” she says.

The problem of impoverished Holocaust survivors is acute but not long-term. Twelve thousand survivors in Israel died over the past year, and the current rate is one death an hour.

Study: Female Ethiopian immigrants to Israel are becoming overweight and obese: here.