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International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Friday, Jan. 27

See Tablet’s collection of writings on the subject

Chelmno

Chelmno, (Polish Chełmno, German Kulmhof) was the first camp established by the Germans in which to conduct mass executions. Situated on the Ner River in German-occupied western Poland, it reached its highest level of killing efficiency between April 1941 and December 1943. The facilities included three gas vans and two crematoria that were 32.5 feet (10 metres) wide and 16–19 feet (5–6 metres) long. Nazi records document the deaths of 180,000 people in Chelmno. After the war, Polish experts assessed the number of people who were executed, including Soviet prisoners and Roma, to be closer to 360,000. Today, Museum Kulmhof stands on the site of the death camp along with part of the “manor house” where camp prisoners were held and stripped of their valuable possessions.

YIVO

Signatures on a page from an album of signatures of 14,587 schoolchildren and 715 teachers from schools in the Łódź ghetto presented to Khayim Mordkhe Rumkowski, head of the ghetto, on Rosh Hashanah, 1941. The majority of the children who signed the album were later deported to the Chełmno death camp. (YIVO)

USHMM

A group of Jewish men awaiting death in a gas van at the Chelmno death camp

USHMM

Members of the war crimes commission examine a mobile killing van in which Jews were gassed while being transported to the crematoria at Chelmno.

USHMM

Jewish children being deported from the Łódź ghetto to the Chelmno death camp

The seminal role that Felix Frankfurter enjoys in American Jewish history is riddled with irony: he shed his yarmulke long before donning his judicial robes.

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ukrainian jewish timeline

www.UJE.org

While escaping persecution in the Byzantine Empire, Jews first settled among the Khazars on ethnic Ukrainian Lands in places like Kyiv and Chernihiv. According to the extraordinary UJE Timeline, the Jewish-Ukrainian encounter galloped onward from there, via the Rus’ Principalities, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Hapsburg Empire and Tsarist Russia.

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Those who do not remember the past are ... probably not Jewish

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JFK LIbrary

A detail of a photograph taken in the Oval Office in August 1963 captures Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, President of the American Jewish Congress, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, Reverend Eugene Carson Blake, President of the Negro American Labor Council, A. Philip Randolph and President Kennedy. Prinz emigrated to the United States from Nazi Germany in 1937 and identified with the fight of African Americans for equal rights and an end to racism. Preceding Martin Luther King Jr. and his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Prinz spoke of his own experience: “A great people, which had created a great civilization, had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality and in the face of mass murder. America must not become a nation of onlookers.”

beta jews

The first documented traces of Ethiopia’s Jewish community, the Beta Israel, date as far back as the fourteenth-century. The community consisted of farmers and artisans and a religious hierarchy including a class of ascetic high priests, or meloksewoch, and lay priests, or qesoch who operated in Ge‘ez, a Semitic tongue that became its main liturgical language. To escape war and famine more than 100,000 Ethiopian Jews fled to Israel beginning in the 1980s. Since 2018, archaeologists have been drawing on archaeology, texts, and the oral history and memories of living members “to learn more about the community’s obscure history and unique practices.”

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