Tagged Holocaust

When El Al flew to Tehran — and 9 other things you may not know about Israel’s past

Golda Meir, shown in January 1964, was not the world's first female prime minister. (Wikimedia Commons)

(JTA) — Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, falls on April 23. In honor of the Jewish state’s 67th birthday, we present, in no particular order, 10 little-known aspects of its history. El Al used to fly to Tehran. Iran and Israel enjoyed mostly good relations up until the Islamic revolution… Read more »

Op-Ed: What’s wrong with March of the Living

NEW YORK (JTA) — The evening before we visited Auschwitz, over pizza with a group of young people in Oswiecim, the town on whose outskirts lies that infamous symbol, one of my students approached me with tears in her eyes. Tears are hardly uncommon to visitors of sites of… Read more »

UA Hillel will sponsor annual Holocaust vigil

The University of Arizona Hillel Foundation will hold its 24th Annual Holocaust Vigil March 25-26. During this student-led event, thousands of names of people murdered in the Holocaust will be read aloud. This 24-hour reading will take place from noon on Wednesday, March 25 through noon on Thursday, March… Read more »

Oscar nominee ‘Ida’ traces void left by Poland’s murdered Jews

Agata Kulesza, left, and Agata Trzebuchowska co-star in the Polish film "Ida," an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film about an aunt and niece looking for family lost in the Holocaust. (Opus Film)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — For the past few decades, Holocaust films have been common — and often victorious — fare at the Academy Awards. But this year, the Polish nominee in the Foreign Language Film category ventures into the less frequently explored territory of the Holocaust’s aftermath. “Ida,” writer-director… Read more »

In Japan, the Holocaust provides a lesson in dangers of nationalism

The entrance to the core display of the museum of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, with its replica of the infamous Auschwitz gate, Dec. 27, 2014. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

FUKUYAMA, Japan (JTA) — In the auditorium of this country’s main Holocaust education center, a teenage actor explains the dilemma that faced a Japanese diplomat during World War II. “My conscience tells me I must act a certain way, but doing so means defying my commanders,” says the actor… Read more »

When the office is a death camp

The conservation laboratory at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which was established two years after the German army's retreat in 1945. (Katarzyna Markusz)

OSWIECIM, Poland (JTA) — Seventy years ago this month, Germany evacuated 58,000 prisoners from the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau, burning documents and blowing up gas chambers and crematoria. On Jan. 27 — the day now celebrated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day — the Soviet Red Army arrived,… Read more »

Mayim Bialik’s reflections on the Paris attacks

Actress Mayim bialik reflects on what it means to be Jewish today and is grateful for the existence of Israel. (Shutterstock)

(KVELLER/JTA) — I grew up in a public school that had enough Jewish kids that I felt represented. I went to Hebrew school twice a week and had a chavurah, or fellowship, through my Reform synagogue with kids my age. A portion of my family was Orthodox. I was… Read more »

Budapest Jews split on whistleblowing leader with colorful past

BUDAPEST (JTA) — An anti-corruption whistleblower elected to head the Budapest Jewish community has sparked a crisis among the highest officials of Hungarian Jewry at a time of heightened tensions with the government. The conflict, one of the fractious community’s most vociferous and colorful fights in years, erupted shortly… Read more »

Op-Ed: Kristallnacht’s lessons for today

NEW YORK (JTA) — Each year on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, we recall the opening salvo of the violent assault on Jews that foreshadowed the Holocaust and ask ourselves what should have been done at that moment. In thinking about Kristallnacht, we should also consider the outpouring of violence… Read more »

Amid growing European anti-Semitism, new Jewish museum in Poland ‘reveals hope’

A view of the reconstructed painted ceiling of the wooden synagogue of Gwozdiec, a key installation in the core exhibit of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Oct. 28, 2014.

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — In a Europe wracked by fears of rising anti-Semitism, and in a country whose Jews were all but annihilated in the Holocaust, a dazzling new “museum of life” celebrates the Jewish past and looks forward to a vital future. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Israeli… Read more »

At Canada’s new human rights museum, should the Holocaust get special treatment?

Exterior shot of the $351 million Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg. (Flickr)

TORONTO (JTA) — On the fourth floor of the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights, visitors will find a gallery called “Examining the Holocaust,” which is devoted entirely to the story and lessons of the Shoah. On the same floor, in a smaller, adjacent space, a gallery called “Breaking… Read more »

Amid neo-Nazi surge, Jewish groups applaud Greece’s Holocaust denial ban

Anti-fascist protesters holding a banner in front of the Athens municipal ampitheater during a swearing-in ceremony for Golden Dawn party member Ilias Kasidiaris, Aug. 29, 2014. (Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — Jewish groups say the passage of a bill banning Holocaust denial and imposing harsher penalties for hate speech is an important milestone in the fight against Greece’s rising neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party. “This comes very late, but not too late,” World Jewish Congress CEO Robert… Read more »

In Muslim Kosovo, Jewish remnant stakes claim to nation’s past and future

The Kosovo Jewish community's president, Votim Demiri with his daughter Ines, a foreign ministry official, in Prizren. (Ron Kampeas/JTA)

PRISTINA, Kosovo (JTA) – Boxing Club Prishtina is a squat building on a narrow street around the corner from the parliament in the heart of Kosovo’s capital city. Around the corner, a popular Italian restaurant draws the young Western Europeans and Americans in button-down shirts and open-toed heels who… Read more »

Fifty years after Freedom Summer, civil rights volunteers reflect on activist lives

Heather Booth protesting for voter rights in Mississippi during the 1964 Freedom Summer. (Wallace Roberts)

(JTA) — At the Freedom Summer anniversary conference in Jackson, Miss., the activists who registered black voters and taught in Freedom Schools under the threat of violence 50 years ago stood up to introduce themselves. It took three hours to hear what they did in the Magnolia State back… Read more »

At Crimean Holocaust event, a chance to burnish Russia’s image as defender of minorities

Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar putting teffilin on 102-year old David Barulya, a World War II veteran and Crimean Holocaust survivor, at a Holocaust commemoration ceremony in Sevastopol, July 10, 2014. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (JTA) — Until recently, Holocaust commemorations in this port city were generally low-key gatherings of a few dozen people reciting the Kaddish prayer for victims of the near-annihilation of Crimean Jewry in 1942. But on July 10, a memorial service at the Sevastopol Holocaust monument attracted hundreds of visitors, including a delegation of… Read more »

For Moldova’s impoverished Jews, Limmud conference is big deal

Misha Gurbachov, deputy director of the Jewish Community of Chisinau, and Limmud Maldova co-organizer Julia Seinman in Chisinau, May 23, 2014. (George Omen/Limmud FSU(

CHISINAU, Moldova (JTA) — Standing opposite the house at Romana Street 13 in the Moldovan capital, a group of tourists is struggling to hear Irina Shihova’s account of the horrors that transpired here more than a century ago, but her voice is drowned out by a pop song playing… Read more »

Belgian Jews gather to mourn after museum attack

Adults and children participating in a silent vigil outside the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels for the four victims of a shooting there by an unidentified gunman, May 25, 2014. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

BRUSSELS (JTA) — Hunched over a small island of memorial candles for the victims of the attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium, Paul Ambach is lost in thought. “Once again, Jewish blood in Belgium, which is no longer Belgium,” said Ambach, a well-known Jewish musician from Antwerp, as… Read more »

ADL survey: More than a quarter of the world hates Jews

Palestinian children play in a damaged building with a swastika and the Star of David pained on it in a Gaza refugeee camp in 2005. The ADL's survey found that 93 percent of respondents in the West Bank and Gaza have anti-Semitic views. (Abid Katib/Getty Images(

NEW YORK (JTA) – A lot of people around the world hate the Jews. That’s the main finding of the Anti-Defamation League’s largest-ever worldwide survey of anti-Semitic attitudes. The survey, released Tuesday, found that 26 percent of those polled — representing approximately 1.1 billion adults worldwide — harbor deeply… Read more »