View Full Version : April 19 is Warsaw Day
04-20-2005, 06:58 AM
Poland Marks Ghetto Uprising Anniversary
By YURAS KARMANAU
WARSAW, Poland (AP) - A leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising warned the world Tuesday not to forget Polish Jews' historic resistance to their Nazi conquerors on the 62nd anniversary of the fight.
Jewish community leaders and state officials laid wreaths at a monument in Warsaw honoring the hundreds of young Jews who took up arms on April 19, 1943, in the first major act of civilian resistance against the Nazis.
Marek Edelman, 84, who helped lead the uprising and was one of only a dozen to survive, attended the ceremonies to pay homage to the thousands who died in the fight.
``I am here to bear witness to the tragic history of the Warsaw Ghetto so it's not just me, but all Poles and the entire world who remember,'' Edelman said after visiting the bunker where most of the uprising commanders committed suicide after being surrounded by the Germans on May 8.
Estee Yaari, spokeswoman at Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, said Edelman is likely the last surviving leader of the uprising.
Observances were also set for the Jewish Cemetery and a commemorative program was prepared by the Jewish Theater.
Former Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 83, who was a member of a Polish organization assisting the Jews during the war, said the fighters surprised the Nazis, who did not expect any resistance.
``The Jews showed the world they were able to fight for their freedom and they were admired for it,'' he said.
The insurgents opted to fight their captors in the face of Nazi plans to exterminate the tens of thousands of Jews remaining in the ghetto, where Nazis had crowded more than 400,000 people in November 1940. The residents, outnumbered and outgunned, held off German troops for three weeks with homemade explosives and a cache of smuggled weapons.
Most of fighters were killed and the Nazis burned down the Ghetto street by street.
Krystyna Budnicka, 73, was a child in the ghetto when the uprising took place. Her six brothers and one sister were among the thousands of Jews who died of starvation or disease. Many who survived were later deported to their death in Nazi concentration camps.
``I witnessed it then and I want to tell the world today again that what the Germans were doing was genocide. They were murdering Jews as though they were flies,'' Budnicka said.
Before World War II, Warsaw's Jewish community of more than 400,000 was the largest in Europe.
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04-20-2005, 07:00 AM
To: National Desk
Contact: Rafael Medoff, 215-635-5622, or Rafaelmedoff@aol.com (http://releases.usnewswire.com/redir.asp?ReleaseID=46024&Link=mailto:Rafaelmedoff@aol.com)
PHILADELPHIA, April 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- This week's History Channel documentary about President Franklin D. Roosevelt distorted FDR's response to the Holocaust, according to a leading Holocaust research institute.
The film, FDR: A Presidency Revealed, "failed to clearly explain FDR's policy of refusing to rescue Jewish refugees from Hitler," according to a critique by The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. The documentary was produced by the History Channel and aired this week, shortly after the sixtieth anniversary of Roosevelt's death.
Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff said the two-minute segment about the Holocaust that appeared in the four-hour documentary (on April 18) "confused and distorted three of the most important issues concerning America's response to the Holocaust." Specifically:
The History Channel film stated: "In the late 1930s, despite evidence of increasing Nazi antisemitism, the State Department opposed liberalizing immigration quotas for German Jews. Eleanor had fiercely objected; FDR had acquiesced."
In fact, Roosevelt did not merely "acquiesce" in the policy of keeping out Jewish refugees. The State Department's policies reflected the president's wishes. Roosevelt, too, opposed increased immigration. And it was FDR who put his old friend Breckinridge Long, an antisemite and extreme opponent of refugee immigration, in charge of immigration policy.
The History Channel film stated: "Late in the war, anecdotal reports of Nazi death camps were heard in Washington."
In fact, the reports came early in the war, they were not just "anecdotal," and they were verified by the Roosevelt administration. Less than a year after the United States entered the war, the administration confirmed that the Germans had embarked upon the systematic annihilation of Europe's Jews, and had already murdered some two million of them. In December 1942, the Allied governments released a joint statement acknowledging that the Germans were "carrying into effect Hitler's oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people of Europe."
The History Channel film also mangled the issue of the U.S. refusal to bomb Auschwitz. The film claimed that in 1944, the Roosevelt administration rejected proposals to bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz "because the targets were not considered vital to the prosecution of the war."
In fact, what "FDR: A Presidency Revealed" should have revealed is that during the course of World War II, the U.S. military did sometimes use its resources for purposes which were not vital to the war effort. These ranged from air-dropping supplies to the Polish Home Army in Warsaw even though the U.S. knew most of the supplies would end up in the hands of the Germans, to General George Patton's rescue of the famous Lipizzaner horses in Czechoslovakia.
The film's brief segment about the Holocaust included a statement by historian Robert Dallek, that bombing the railroad lines to Auschwitz "would not have dealt a decisive blow to the Nazi extermination program," but at least it would have "sent a moral message." Yes, it would have sent a moral message. But it might have done more--it might also have saved lives, by interrupting and slowing down the mass-murder process. The point that the History Channel failed to explain is that the Roosevelt administration never studied whether bombing the Auschwitz railways or the gas chambers would have saved lives. The requests for bombing were automatically rejected because the fate of the Jewish refugees was a matter of very little concern to FDR.
The Holocaust section of the film ended with the narrator asserting: "FDR remained narrowly focused on one goal: complete and unconditional German surrender. Victory, he argued, would save the Jews, and every ounce of his diminishing strength would go towards that end."
The film should have explained that FDR's position --known as "rescue through victory"-- was disingenuous: there was, in fact, no contradiction between Allied victory and saving Jews. The proof is that late in the war, under strong pressure from Congress, Jewish activists, and Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr., FDR did reluctantly take one step for rescue--he established the War Refugee Board. Although it received little funding or other support from the White House, the Board played a crucial role in saving more than 200,000 refugees. Its activities did not detract from the war effort. Had the Board been established earlier, it could have saved many more lives without harming the war effort.
ABOUT THE WYMAN INSTITUTE:
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, located on the campus of Gratz College (near Philadelphia), is a research and education institute focusing on America's response to the Holocaust. It is named in honor of the eminent historian and author of the 1984 best-seller The Abandonment of the Jews, the most important and influential book concerning the U.S. response to the Nazi genocide.
The Institute's Advisory Committee includes Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, Members of Congress, and other luminaries.
The Institute's Academic Council includes more than 50 leading professors of the Holocaust, American history, and Jewish history.
The Institute's Arts & Letters Council, chaired by Cynthia Ozick, includes prominent artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers.
04-20-2005, 07:05 AM
Columbia University's Middle East Institute Sends Invitations for Event Honoring Notorious Anti-Semite Amiri Baraka
April 19, 2005
Philadelphia, April 19, 2005 - Columbia University's Middle East Institute recently sent out invitations (http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/1969) for an event honoring Amiri Baraka (http://amiribaraka.com/), Campus Watch has learned.
Sponsored by several groups (the Radius of Arab American Writers, the National Union of Writers, NY, and Alwan for the Arts), the April 14, 2005 event featured tributes to Baraka. Its proceeds will go to support a conference of Arab American writers at Hunter College.
Baraka, born LeRoi Jones, is known for his writings on jazz, but more for his Marxism and anti-Semitism. As the poet laureate of New Jersey Baraka created a firestorm with his poem "Somebody Blew Up America (http://www.amiribaraka.com/blew.html)," a diatribe accusing Israelis of having been warned of the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. When Baraka rebuffed calls for his resignation, New Jersey lawmakers responded by abolishing the position of poet laureate.
Baraka's anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism reach far back into the 1960s (http://www.adl.org/anti_semitism/baraka_words.asp), as does his violent animosity to whites, American society, and the West as a whole.
Why did the Columbia Middle East Institute lend its support to such an individual? And why did it send out the invitation (via e-mail) on the very day of the event? Coming hard on the heels of the recent controversy over harassment and intimidation of Jewish students (http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/1950), the Middle East Institute might have seen fit to consider more closely who it was promoting.
Helping honor Baraka again calls into question the judgment of Rashid Khalidi, the institute's director, who himself has a long, well-documented record of hostility toward Israel (http://www.geocities.com/martinkramerorg/2004_01_05.htm). These attitudes contributed to the recent decision by the New York City Board of Education to remove him (http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/1695) from a teacher training program.
This latest development confirms the depth of the problems in Middle East studies at Columbia University (on which see Campus Watch's extensive collection of research and news item at http://www.campus-watch.org/survey.php/id/16 (http://www.campus-watch.org/survey.php/id/16)). It also reconfirms why stakeholders in the university need carefully to scrutinize it carefully.
Campus Watch, founded in 2002 by the Middle East Forum, is designed to critique Middle East Studies at North American colleges and universities with an eye toward improving them. For more information on Campus Watch, please visit www.CampusWatch.org (http://www.campuswatch.org/).
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