Passover greetings to my Jewish friends and may you have a blessed Seder feast. The Jewish Passover celebrates the time God brought the Jews out of slavery in Egypt, as described in the book of Exodus in the Torah and the Christian Old Testament. The theme of release from slavery and the pursuit of freedom remains universal, poignant, and more timely than ever. Continue reading
Happy Mother’s Day to Irena Sendler, a Catholic Pole, who smuggled some 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto, from 1939-1943. She was assisted by about two dozen other members of Zegota, the Polish underground, but she alone knew the identities and locations of each child. When arrested and tortured by the Germans, she never revealed a single name. She barely escaped execution by firing squad, when members of Zegota bribed a German guard at the last minute. She passed away on May 12, 2008, at the age of 98.
Today, a growing resurgence of Jewish life in Poland shines bright against the past dark decades of a nearly vanished community. As an observer and researcher, I’m still amazed at how many times current news outlets vehemently voice blame to all of Poland for Nazi crimes, with no middle ground or recognition given for the death of three million Poles from the Nazi genocide. Clearly, strong feelings of documented historical wrongs and biases influence modern-day attitudes. But this is 2016, not 1939, and the growing and vibrant modern Jewish life in Poland is supported by facts and celebrated on many active Facebook pages and social media discussions. Hopefully, the resurgence is leading towards a renewed attitude of peaceful co-existence.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began April 19, 1943. This noble ‘last stand’ by desperate Jews against the Germans became the first urban uprising in German-occupied Europe. Symbolically it stands as the most important Jewish uprising. It lasted less than a month and nearly all who participated lost their lives, but it inspired other uprisings at Sobibor and Treblinka and changed the story of millions walking in resignation to their death without a fight.