Three stories today are inexorably linked together.
- Today is the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. By the way for you history buffs the war started on June 5th 1967 and the truce was signed on June 11th 1967 meaning the Six Day War was seven days.
- The diary of a 14-year-old Jewish girl, dubbed the “Polish Anne Frank,” was unveiled Monday by Israel’s Holocaust museum more than 60 years after the teenager vividly described the world crumbling around her as she came of age in a Jewish ghetto.
“The rope around us is getting tighter and tighter,” Rutka Laskier wrote in 1943, shortly before she was deported to Auschwitz. “I’m turning into an animal waiting to die.””I simply can’t believe that one day I will be allowed to leave this house without the yellow star. Or even that this war will end one day. If this happens I will probably lose my mind from joy,” she wrote on Feb. 5, 1943. “The little faith I used to have has been completely shattered. If God existed, He would have certainly not permitted that human beings be thrown alive into furnaces, and the heads of little toddlers be smashed with gun butts or shoved into sacks and gassed to death.””I have a feeling that I am writing for the last time,” Rutka wrote on Feb. 20, 1943, as Nazi soldiers began gathering Jews outside her home for deportation. “I wish it would end already! This torment; this is hell. I try to escape from these thoughts of the next day, but they keep haunting me like nagging flies. If only I could say, it’s over, you only die once … but I can’t, because despite all these atrocities, I want to live, and wait for the following day.” However, Rutka would write again. Her last entry was dated April 24, 1943, and her last written words were: “I’m very bored. The entire day I’m walking around the room. I have nothing to do.” Within a few months Rutka was dead and, it seemed, her diary lost. But last year, a Polish friend who had saved the notebook finally came forth, exposing a riveting historical document.
- A mass grave holding the remains of thousands of Jews killed by the Nazis has been found in southern Ukraine near the site of what was once a concentration camp, a Jewish community representative said Tuesday. The grave was found by chance last month when workers were laying gas pipelines in the village of Gvozdavka-1, near Odessa, said Roman Shvartsman, a spokesman for the regional Jewish community. He said that Nazis established a concentration camp near the village in November 1941 killed about 5,000 Jews at or near the site. “Several thousand Jews executed by the Nazis lie there,” Shvartsman told The Associated Press. Ukraine’s Jewish population was devastated during the Holocaust. Babi Yar, a ravine outside the capital Kiev where the Nazis slaughtered some 34,000 Jews over two days in September 1941, is a powerful symbol of the tragedy.
How are the three items linked? During the Shoah there was no Israel. When Jews tried to escape the Nazi horrors nations around the world including the United States,refused to take them in. For example the St. Louis-Voyage of the Dammed:
The St. Louis sailed out of Hamburg into the Atlantic Ocean in May 1939 carrying 963 Jewish refugees seeking asylum from Nazi persecution just before World War II. The ship arrived in Cuba seeking asylum. The boat was kept waiting offshore while the Cuban government disagreed on how much they could charge the passengers to come ashore. A small boat armada formed to keep people from jumping off and swimming ashore, and searchlights guarded it at night. The ship was then refused asylum, prompting a near mutiny. Two people attempted suicide and dozens more threatened to do the same.
On 4 June 1939, the St. Louis was also refused permission to unload on orders of President Roosevelt as the ship waited in the Caribbean Sea between Florida and Cuba. Initially, Roosevelt showed limited willingness to take in some of those on board, but vehement opposition came from Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, and from Southern Democrats — some of whom went so far as to threaten to withhold their support of Roosevelt in the 1940 Presidential election if this occurred. The St. Louis then tried to enter Canada but was denied as well.
The ship eventually sailed back to Hamburg, Germany, whereupon various European nations each agreed to admit a small number of its passengers. The majority of these travelers perished in the Holocaust as most of the host countries eventually fell to Nazi occupation during the war, which started only a few weeks after the ship’s return.
There were many other St. Louis’. As long as there is a strong Israel there will be a place of refuge for the Jewish People. Today’s Islamic Terrorists are not just calling for the destruction of Israel but for the destruction of all Jews everywhere. When push came to shove 60 years ago no one helped the Jews, if the Islamic terrorists gain additional power, Israel may be the only country that we can count on.
Another parallel that binds these stories together is that abandonment of the Jews during the Shoah. No nation spoke out while Six Million Died. In 1967 with Israel’s very existence on the line no one stepped up to help Israel. Right before the war, President Johnson warned: “Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone.” Then, when the war began, the State Department announced: “Our position is neutral in thought, word and deed.” Johnson imposed an arms embargo on the region (France, Israel’s other main arms supplier, also embargoed arms to Israel). By contrast, the Soviets were supplying massive amounts of arms to the Arabs. Simultaneously, the armies of Kuwait, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq were contributing troops and arms to the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian fronts.
Israel had to go out alone in 1967, and the more I read about “Baker Reports” or Europe and the US Funding terrorist organizations like Fatah and Hamas. the more I realize that when push comes to shove, Israel will only have herself and Jews in the galut to rely on.
Some more great reading on the Six (Really Seven) Day War Can be found at:
A war that never ends– From Wake Up America
How TIME Reported the Six Day War in 1967- Little Green Footballs
How could so many forget so much?--Boker Tov Boulder