April 11, 2010, - 3:31 pm


By Debbie Schlussel

Today is “Yom HaShoah,” Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Remember the Six Million Jews who were rounded up, tortured, and murdered by the Nazis.  But if you cannot also remember the millions of live Jews today in Israel under attack from the New Nazis–Muslims, then your “remembrance” of those who became ashes, lampshades, and other versions of dead, is a waste and of no use.

My maternal grandparents, Isaac and Adele, survived, but both of their families were wiped out, as were most of my fathers parents’ families.  Isaac and Adele, both now gone, met at Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, where they were emaciated inmates. It is the camp where Anne Frank and her sister were sent and murdered by the Nazis. After they were liberated, it became a displaced persons camp, and my grandparents married and lived there. My mother was born there.  Below is a photo of my grandmother and her fellow seamstresses prior to being sent to the camps.  Some of them were murdered by the Nazis.  Others ultimately worked in a camp where they were lucky to be spared because of their sewing skills.  They were forced to repair Nazi uniforms.

Please also watch this sad footage taken upon the liberation of Bergen-Belsen by British troops. Compare how fat the disgusting female German Nazi SS guards at the camp are with the skin and bones dead Jews they throw into a pit.



My Grandmother (2nd Row, 3rd From Left)

& Her Fellow Yellow Star Wearing Seamstresses

My grandfather used to tell the stories–the amazing stories–of how he cheated death, time after time, in those years, after his entire family was murdered by the Nazis.  He was in and out of labor camps, death camps, and he was lucky to survive.  One night he hid in a neighbor’s hayloft and, at night, snuck to the neighbor’s house to ask for water.  He heard the neighbor telling friends he was going to turn my grandfather in for a bottle of whisky.  Both of my grandparents lost all of their teeth and wore an entire set of dentures the entire time I knew them.  But that wasn’t the half of it.  They suffered tremendously and saw much death and destruction.  Friends, family, everyone and everything they once knew destroyed .  .  . all because they were Jews.

Above is touching and important audio (with important accompanying video), which I’ve posted before–an NPR story featuring a BBC report from Bergen-Belsen upon its liberation, with the weak, surviving, freed Jewish inmates singing HaTikvah, “The Hope.”  It is the Hebrew anthem of the Jewish people, which became the national anthem of a newly established country, just a few years later–Israel.

As I noted when I previously posted this audio:

The song was written in 1886 by Naphtali Herz Imber, from Galicia–an area of Poland, from which my family emanated. It is especially touching to hear these Holocaust survivors sing the song, when many were close to death and had already seen their entire families murdered by the Nazis. In English, here are the lyrics:

As long as within our hearts, the Jewish soul sings;
As long as forward to the East, To Zion, looks the eye;
Our hope is not yet lost.
It is two thousand years old; To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Clearly these Holocaust survivors, barely alive, got it. If you remember the Holocaust, but don’t see the same impending dangers to the Jewish people in Israel, the land of Zion and Jerusalem, from Islam’s Nazis, then you really don’t remember at all. You’ve forgotten.

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42 Responses

that face tells a story

Noah David Simon on April 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm

G-d bless you and your family, Debbie. I will never forget the old or the “new” Nazis.

DS_ROCKS! on April 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Oh, Debbie, my heart bleeds for your dear family. Your grandparents’ story of survival uplifts me, though. I truly wish there were more people like them now. I wish I was more like them. Bless you, dear.

Dale on April 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Condolences on your losses. You are right; comments about the Holocaust are not helpful without paying attention to what is going on today.

Little Al on April 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Unfortunately, a lot of the people who haven’t learned from history are Jewish. At least the ones who support Obama, as he does his best to toss Israel to the wolves.

Tempus_Fugit on April 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Yom HaShoah in truth doesn’t mean very much. Let’s keep in mind the Jewish people have gone from having endured one threat of mass murder to facing another one in our lifetime.

How we ultimately deal with Iran will tell us whether the Jewish people have been truly faithful to the oath “never again” that Yom HaShoah represents. May all of us be worthy of the memory of all those who lived and died to sanctify G-d’s Name in the world. Let that be kept for the sake of our children and their children’s children, for all the generations to come.

NormanF on April 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I meant to say that live Jews are threatened with mass murder in own our day.

Yom HaShoah can only be important to the extent the world is willing to act to prevent it. So far the signs are not good… and sanctions on Iran are somewhere over the distant horizon. That is the point to my statement today in truth is meaningless of all that is done is to shed crocodile tears over dead Jews. That’s easy enough to do. Fighting the greater danger of modern day evil and plans for another genocide upon the Jewish people, that’s a lot harder to do.

NormanF on April 11, 2010 at 5:39 pm

The world may have forgotten but I will remember and so will the Prime Minister and the people of Israel who now have to face it all alone but they are no longer helpless. This represents the other side of Yom HaShoah: today the Jewish people can defend themselves in the face of the greatest threat they have ever known. And they will keep that oath with the past and with every Jew who is yet to be born. In the face of the world’s hostility, hatred, contempt and outright indifference to the fate of the people of Israel, they can and will change the ending that has been decreed for them. There is no alternative.

May Yom HaShoah always be a lesson and never a portent.

NormanF on April 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Thanks for sharing this Debbie. My fathers side was in the holocaust and my Grandparents survived. My mothers side was in the United States.

On my mothers side some relatives are composing a family tree and both my Maternal Grandparents came from large families. My Grandmother a family of 7 and my grandfather from a family of 9. My parernal Grandmother also came from a large family.

In my mothers side of the family (my fathers side as well) though what is killing us is not any external enemies but feminism and woman spending their child bearing years in every other pursuit rather then have a family. Me and my sister are unmarried and my Uncle no one has more then 3 kids. You mix that in with some zero’s and it isn’t a good situation.

I know the Orthodox pretend they have high birth rates but many leave and you have mostly middle upper class minimum who can afford to live near a shul and this skews the numbers which the highest percent of Jews are those unaffiliated Many are fed up with the corruption so even though they believe in G-d and the torah they stay away from synogagues for the most part. I know I was never queried about how many children I have. I was never called for these studies. I don’t go to shul very often even though I keep the torah to the best of my ability in ALL area’s.

adam on April 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Kol ‘od baleivav penimah
Nefesh yehudi homiyah,
Ul(e)fa’atei mizrach kadimah,
‘Ayin letziyon tzofiyah;

‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu,
Hatikvah hannoshanah,
Lashuv le’eretz avoteinu,
La‘ir bah david k’hanah.

There is within the heart
A Jewish spirit that is led
With the sight outwards to
seek the east, the Land Of Zion.

The hope is not yet lost
The ancient hope of long ago
To return to the Land Of Patriarchs
The royal city where David ruled.

This was the original lyrics of Imber and like in the prayers, Jerusalem represents the fulfillment of the Jewish aspiration. The original anthem was sung by the survivors of Belsen Bergen. May there be many more years to sing “Hatikvah” as it is heard in Israel!

NormanF on April 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm

It’s interesting hearing the British newscaster as we look at how Jews in Britain are being treated today, and how Israel has become a convenient scapegoat in today’s British press as they champion the “noble savage” Palestinians while the Islamo-Nazis in their midst are comfortably cared for by the British welfare state. As for NPR, it’s been a while since I’ve listened as they seem, as the British press does, to prefer mourning over dead Jews than being fair to the living Jewish state. I believe it was David Mamet who referred to them as National Palestinian Radio.

H: I’ve been calling NPR, “National Palestinian Radio” for as long as I can remember (including on this site). And so did my dad. Mamet wasn’t the first one. That’s for sure. DS

Harry on April 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

thank you for sharing this debbie though i am still nauseated by the horrific sights ive just seen in that video – and yes we are still dealing with the nazis – this time they are called muslims – God bless you and yours!

BIG IRISH on April 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Please don’t forget the 5 million other people who were killed in this monstrosity. Gypsies and gays being the two biggest groups.
Pete Bone

Pete Bone on April 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm

How tragic and moving. I found myself wishing the Tommies would shoot the fat Nazi b*tches and dump them in the mass grave. Lucky for them the Brits were more civilized than Nazis.

irishguy on April 11, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Every Jew alive today is a miracle.

The important work you do here is a blessing.

David on April 11, 2010 at 8:28 pm

You are a miracle. My daughter is named after the HaTikvah.

JOY on April 11, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Then there was the Rawandan Genocide where the Hutus hacked to death the Tutsis with machetes just over a decade ago. Shall we forget that and also forget that the world ignored it at the time? Or those not yet born in this country.

I do not think you can succeed in getting people to care about YOUR holocaust and genocide. Mine happened to be committed by our ally, Stalin a bit east and was only 7.5 million Ukranians, but those were the eggs needed to be broken for the omelet. Forgotten.

And the words of Hitler, “Who remembers the slaughter of the Armenians”.

Or the Ukranians. Or the Tutsis. Or the unborn. Ah yes, Turkey is probably the closest thing Israel has as an ally in the Muslim world, so we can’t bring up that genocide even if someone happens to remember it.

If it’s a genocide or a holocaust that doesn’t happen to involve anyone Jewish, forget it? Literally.

It is important not to forget the Holocaust. But it is also important not to forget that evil is evil no matter who the victim is, and as evil becomes acceptable – they gassed the handicapped and mentally ill to perfect it – even if it is “remembered”, that memory will be countered with “it is different now”.

Do not expect a country that ignores and forgets, much less indulges in every other evil, to defend the good. If it won’t profit Goldman Sachs or Lockheed, will we do it? If it comes with a cost in blood or treasure will we do it? If it causes us to put down our Wii or pause the ballgame will we do it?

And if you are completely indifferent to what happened to the grand and great-grandparents of many others in this country and the world, and don’t set it forth as a matter of good and evil instead of merely the identity of the victim, do you really expect them to be there for Israel when they can know with a greater certainty that you won’t be there or worse, may be on the other side if their cousins are the ones being slaughtered in a genocide tomorrow.

Forget good and evil, right and wrong, human life and human dignity, but do remember what the Nazis did?

Laser beams make poor flashlights.

tz on April 11, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    No decent, well-informed human being has forgotten Rwanda, the Ukrainian famine, the Armenians or the Cambodians.

    Miranda Rose Smith on April 12, 2010 at 3:27 am

A fine essay, Ms. Schlussel!

There is NO Santa Claus on April 11, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Let us remember that the ONLY Holocaust Memorial is the living breathing Jewish State of Israel. I wrote a brief essay several years ago and I think it is ever more relevant today.

I thought I’d share it with you and your readers…


Today seems like as good as any to share it.

Robert B. Arbetman on April 11, 2010 at 11:40 pm

My mom and dad are both survivors….my dad ran and hid in the woods of Lithuania as his neighbors rounded him and his family up and started shooting as they lay on the ground….he hid in the forests for 3 years….he chronicled his story in Yiddish 18 years ago…he always maintained, if Israel had existed, a great many Jews would have survived, but they had no where to go and no one to help…that’s why a strong independant and uncompromising Israel is essential…we have no choice…the world may forget, but if youre Jewish, we cannot….genocide?……Never Again…

HarvK on April 11, 2010 at 11:52 pm

May they rest in peace.
To tz, today was the day to remember the Jews. Not the day to air your grievances against them.

Joe on April 12, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Also, who forgot Rwanda? That matter was jumped on pretty quickly. As for Armenia, why not ask Islamists(Turkey) about that one?

    Debbie has recounted her personal contact(familial) with the Holocaust of Jews during the Second World War. That is the topic up for discussion, and if people do not care for it, they are more than free to go elsewhere. The significance of the Holocaust was that it was not an afterthought or an indirect policy, but a centrally planned endeavor that was carried out by a modern state. Adolf Hitler, Heinrch Himmler, and the rest did not simply intend to subdue or reduce the number of Jews through their actions, but to effectively eliminate them from Europe and elsewhere(Grand Mufti of Jerusalem). Even Stalin at his worst did not intend to completely eliminate the Ukraine during the 1930’s.

    Worry01 on April 12, 2010 at 1:12 am

Thanks Debbie for this touching and poignant tribute. It always amazes me when I hear people who deny the Holocaust…or those who minimize it. The fact that this day is about the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust in no way minimizes any of the other genocides from history. The fact also is that the Jews have faced several Holocausts throughout history–the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the one attempted by Haman, the one by Antiochus, the Romans, the Inquisition, Hitler, and the one yet to come– which prophetically speaking stands to the worst–forecasting 2/3rd’s mortality rate.

Debbie, I love you so much because of your courage and tenacity to never back down from evil. When I watched Inglorious Basterds I fancied you as the heroine who as a survivor “brought down the house.”

I also believe your grandparents survival and their conceiving your mother–and your fathers legacy make you an obvious person of destiny. May G-d bless you and all the Jewish people who live worthy of such destiny.

BB on April 12, 2010 at 12:24 am

Dear Ms. Schlussel: Wonderful post, as usual, but that syrupy music is inappropriate for documentary footage of the Holocaust.

Miranda Rose Smith on April 12, 2010 at 2:18 am

Just a side note, and only to let others know the horror of totalitarianism. My father in law was a Dutch teen of 17 when Germany invaded. He was a slave laborer for more than 3 years in a German weapons factory in Germany. Shipped by train, working in a cave. Was left to die when ‘freed’. Not a prisoner, he was sent free with no food or help, to cross many hundreds of miles to find a home where everyone was dead and gone. He became an atheist because of his experience.

pat on April 12, 2010 at 3:05 am

Here in Israel, the nationwide siren just went off.

Miranda Rose Smith on April 12, 2010 at 3:05 am

And note: I do not call them Nazis. They were Germans. If Americans had done this, does anyone think the perpetrators would be called “Democrats”? No. They were Germans who reveled in the pain of others when they thought it fun.

pat on April 12, 2010 at 3:09 am

    A lot of them were Ukrainians.

    Miranda Rose Smith on April 12, 2010 at 3:31 am

Yep. JP says sirens off in remembrance. (It occurred to me that Muslims would try something).

pat on April 12, 2010 at 3:12 am

Debbie, the fact your grandparents met in that hell on earth, lived there after the liberation, sired children, prove that the spirit of the free people of this world–whether Jews, Christians, Hindus, etc. will not be dominated nor repressed by evil. The same spirit that carried your grandparents has to be marshalled and used against today’s islam, which is more insidious and evil than anything Hitler could have come up with.

And the “shining star” [ok, bad pun but it was intended to be] of that story, we get you out of the deal to be a voice for our generation.

Sean on April 12, 2010 at 7:39 am

The most disturbing picture I’ve experienced visiting Dachau was not of the dead, but of the living.
As you walk inside, there are pictures along the corridor.

The citations for the picture below says Auschwitz-Birkenau.
I threw my books out years ago in anger and disgust, but as far as I can remember, this was the picture:


jew lover on April 12, 2010 at 8:02 am

Thank you for sharing and I pray for all those who parished as well for those familes that have been affected.
G-d bless you

ward on April 12, 2010 at 8:20 am

What of the Russian Jews and others murdered by Stalin and other Russian leaders? Cheka? Stalin is said to be responsible for deaths of 43,000,000 forved labor,gulags etc. Very little mention of this. DS I am wondering if there is rememberance of this?

mdreb on April 12, 2010 at 9:05 am

Excellent post, Debbie. My condolences for your losses. May G-d not only bless and remember the Jews murdered in the Holocuat by yesterday’s Nazis, but also bless and protect Israel and the Jewish people from today’s Nazis.

JeffE on April 12, 2010 at 9:44 am

I was raised Lutheran and was always told that Israel is our friend…the Jewish people are God’s chosen people. Our faiths have differences, but Christianity’s roots began in Judaism. Anyone who denies the Holocaust is ignorant and/or evil. I visited Dachau when I was stationed in Germany and it was a very sad and sobering day for me. Your grandparents meeting at such a horrible place…I am not a mushy person, but the story brought a few tears to my eyes. Thank God that they met and you are here today because they survived. It’s sad that this evil continues today. People need to wake up…Muslims hate Jews and Christians alike.

Angela04 on April 12, 2010 at 11:34 am

Great article, very moving. However I find it very hard to equate modern Islamic fundamentalism/extemism with the Nazi Party.

Circle on April 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I find it funny that the Germans who committed these acts would be in heaven as they are Christian and would have had their sins forgiven by Jesus as there is no sin that is not forgivable. Imagine going to heaven and finding the guy that gassed you and your family because he was a faithful Christian who had his sins forgiven.

Nak on April 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Circle – I can and will.

tanstaafl (jw) on April 12, 2010 at 2:44 pm

My Father fled from a town in Eastern Poland (today it’s in Russia) at the start of WWI. For the entire duration of the war he and his four sisters traveled around Europe, begging for food and shelter. They were forced to leave the small town they were born in because they were Jews. My Father and his sister, my Aunts, were fortunate they were able to make it to America in 1919. No one knows what happened to the rest of the family but the town they lived in was destroyed by the Germans during WWII and all the Jews there were murdered. We remember the Holocaust, eager and willing hands of so many who despised Jews and were anxious to be rid of them; in Poland, Romania, the Ukraine, Hungary, Austria and of course Germany. Today we’re on the verge of a new Holocaust, however it’s not going to turn out quite like the madman of Tehran might suppose. Obambi and his anti Semitic minions be damned.

kenny komodo on April 12, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Remember that the holocaust was committed by Christians.

Nak on April 13, 2010 at 11:33 am

Your style is so unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff from.
Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this page.

draconistech.net on February 4, 2014 at 11:16 am

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