May 23, 2021
Jan Karski (1914 — 2000) was a Polish soldier, resistance-fighter, and diplomat during World War II. He is known for having acted as a courier in 1940–43 to the Polish Government-in-Exile and to Poland’s Western Allies about the situation in German-occupied Poland. He was reporting about the state of Poland, in which there were many competing factions in the resistance, and also about Germany’s destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and its operation of extermination camps on Polish soil that were murdering Jews, Poles, and others.
After emigration to the United States after the war, Karski completed a doctorate and taught for decades at Georgetown University in international relations and Polish history. He lived in Washington, D.C., to the end of his life. He did not speak publicly about his mission during the war until 1981, when he was invited as a speaker to a conference on the liberation of the camps.
In 1982, Karski was made an honorary citzen of the State of Israel and a tree was planted bearing his name at Yad Vashem’s Valley of the Righteous Among the Nations.
May 10, 2021
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum To Reopen May 17
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has been closed during the Covid-19 pandemic but will reopen on May 17, 2021. Free timed-entry tickets are required to enter the Museum building. More information is available here.
May 1, 2021
Switzerland’s Relationship With the Dachau Concentration Camp
Germany’s National Socialist (Nazi) government and Switzerland had substantial ties. Switzerland’s contribution to the construction of the Dachau concentration camp near Munich is not well known.
Before WWII, Extroc, SA, a Swiss state-subsidized timber company built the Dachau concentration camp, under a contract for 13 million Swiss francs. The contract was negotiated by Colonel Henri Guisan, the son of the later Swiss Commander-in-Chief Henri Guisan (1874-1960) and a Swiss national hero.
The Swiss Colonel was in turn connected to Hans Wilhelm Eggen, an SS captain who bought timber in Switzerland for the Waffen SS. This was the wood used to construct Dachau. Dachau was the first regular concentration camp established by the Nazi government.
According to a now declassified CIA report, Eggen often went to “Switzerland under cover of a delivery agent for wooden barracks.” Eggen was a friend of Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS. In Nazi Germany, the SS controlled the German police forces and the concentration camp system.
See, Roberts, Andrew, The Storm of War (p. 113). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition; Goñi, Uki, The Real Odessa: How Perón Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina (p. 170). Granta Books. Kindle Edition.
You can also download the CIA report here.
May 27, 2019
New York Times: Antisemitism on the Rise
On May 26, 2019, The New York Times Editorial Board wrote:
far-right and far-left politicians have often learned to project themselves as defenders of Jews while drawing on blatantly anti-Semitic tropes, as Mr. Orban has done in Hungary. Among the Muslims of Europe, and among some leftists, a resentment of Israel often crosses into hostility to all Jews.
Speak up, now, when you glimpse evidence of anti-Semitism, particularly within your own ranks, or risk enabling the spread of this deadly virus.
May 2, 2019
Podcast: “Fighting Antisemitism in America”
Tipping Point is a weekly podcast about Israel. Marking Holocaust Remembrance Day and following the deadly shooting at the synagogue in Poway, California, Tipping Point interviewed two Jewish journalists — Amir Tibon (Haaretz) and Ron Kampeas (JTA) to discuss antisemitism in the United States and what can be done to combat it.
May 2, 2019
Yad Vashem Statement on the Poway Synagogue Shooting
Yad Vashem Hall of Names by David Shankbone - Wikimedia Commons
Yad Vashem strongly condemned the actions of the antisemitic white supremacist at the Poway, California synagogue on April 27, 2019 and called on the world to combat hate speech by leaders and others:
We are also troubled by various forms of incitement featured in the media — print, digital and social. The world must act to combat such forms of hate speech by leaders and laypersons alike.