Darfur & the Holocaust
to the Second World War, the area was named “The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan”
because both countries were ruled by England. After the English left in 1949,
the Sudan became a divided yet independent country. Ruled by the northern Arabs,
the southern Africans, mainly but not entirely Christians, were brutally
suppressed by the Muslim bosses from the north who had all the guns and the
powers of government. Consequently a civil war erupted in that country,
particularly because the Arabs captured Christians and sold them as slaves in
Saudi, but also because the Muslim Sharia law was enforced in the Christian
south. Sharia law leads to mutilation of the body, including female circumcision
and the amputation of limbs on conviction for several offenses.
of today, the ongoing civil war has not ended. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands
have been made homeless and more thousands have died in the conflict which is
now described, together with all other human barbarities, as a holocaust. The
Greek word HOLOCAUST means “whole fire” and was at one time used to describe
in one word the slaughter of six million European Jews by the European haters.
Today the word has lost its meaning, as even the killing and eating of animals
is called a holocaust by the animal rights organizations.
is appropriate, therefore, on this Holocaust Commemoration Day or Yom Hashoah,
to note the difference between the destruction of the European Jews and the
it is evident that despite all the inhuman barbarities existing in Africa, the
victims have friends. Jews are their friends. That is the reason why Rabbi David
Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism spoke forcefully at
a New York rally for Darfur on March 13 of this year. He has since then been
joined by 150 other rabbis. Unfortunately, no one spoke forcefully or softly for
the European Jews inside Nazi Europe seventy years ago. On the contrary. Our
great Jewish organizations rightly and justly defend the Arabs of Darfur but
somehow could not remember the Jews of Germany. Now, you say that there are
Holocaust Memorial rallies in all Jewish communities nationwide. That is true
and most commendable. The persecution of our brethren in Europe must never be
forgotten . Yet look at this difference. The Holocaust is remembered now.
Seventy years after the fact. Darfur is recognized now as it happens. The
Jews of Germany, trapped in the Nazi terror, had no friends. Not even the Jewish
community of the United States. The Darfur Arabs have many friends. Particularly
the Jewish community of the United States.
to the entry of the United States into the Second World War on December 7, 1941,
the German Jews had already lived in the Nazi terror hell for six years and
seven months, from January 30, 1933 to September 1, 1939. During all that time
the 580,000 Jews then living in Germany could easily have been rescued by the
large American Jewish community. Yet, there were no rallies. No appeals to that
great Jew hater Franklin D. Roosevelt who collected every Jewish vote for four
terms. On the contrary. While a few German Jews were indeed helped to immigrate
by relatives and a few philanthropists (Greek: philo means lover and anthropus
means man), none of the ever-collecting Jewish organizations brought the German
Jews to safety.
few German Jews who did escape to this country found that the Nazi bosses must
have been correct in their assessment of Jews. Here American Jews told the
German refugee Jews that (a) German Jews are arrogant, (b) German Jews are
unwilling to work and (c) that German Jews consider themselves better than
everyone else (these were precisely the accusations hurled at us by our Nazi
bosses) and (d) German Jews were and are responsible for the mistreatment of the
Russian Jewish immigrants of the early 20th century and therefore deserve no
1. An Austrian lawyer whose only son had been murdered by the Nazi killers
arrived in New York. Seeking work, he was employed by a Jewish fraternity at
Columbia University. He was their cook and all around “houseman”. Later a
professor here in Buffalo, he told me that the Jewish members of this fraternity
jeered at his accent, ridiculed his religious adherence, embarrassed him
incessantly and told him to “forget about it already,” meaning his horror
experiences in Austria.
2. A young Jewish girl, newly arrived from Germany, was invited by a wealthy
Jewish family to come to their house and be given some candy. She arrived and
was confronted with a stick of gum and a piece of hard tack. She was told she
could have one but not both. She did not understand English and believed she
could have both pieces and took them both. Thereupon the wealthy Jews sang in
Yiddish: “Shane is das Zigeuner lebben; ze woll’n nur nemmen un’ gonish
gebben” which means: “Beautiful is the life of the gypsies, they only want
to take but never give.” The child was wearing rags and living in a literal
“hole in the wall”.
3. A Jewish refugee from Germany asked the Rabbi at the University of
Pennsylvania Hillel Foundation for food because he had not eaten all day, was
“down and out” and in the streets and had no place to sleep. The Hillel
House had a kosher dining room where wealthy students ate. The rabbi refused and
told the “shnorrer” to get out.
4. A German Jew, newly arrived, entered an orthodox synagogue on Saturday. He
was asked to “davn” i.e. to lead the prayers. He did so according to the
German customs. He sang the German synagogue melodies, etc. Having concluded, he
was told by the largely eastern European origin congregants that he will never
be allowed to lead again as they did not want to hear his German “arrogant”
type of prayer and singing. Presumably, G’d didn’t want to hear that either.
A German immigrant attempted to enter a synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. Ignorant of
the need to buy a ticket in advance and unable to understand English, he was
ejected from the door of the synagogue as he attempted to enter. He did not
understand the reason as he could not comprehend the language, except that he
knew he was not welcome there. No money, no New Year. He spent the day on a park
and innumerable other examples could be listed here. Suffice it to say, that
unlike the people of Darfur, no rabbi spoke on behalf of German Jewish refugees.
In fact, to this day, long after the fact, some American Jews still pretend to
know that anyone who did not die in a gas oven is exaggerating the persecutions
1967, when Israel won its great victory, we began to observe Holocaust
Commemoration Day or Yom Hashoah. Now there are American Jews with doctorates in
Holocaust studies and lawyers and others who hold grand speeches on such
occasions. They cannot know anything about the Holocaust because, thank G’d,
they were not there. This is true of all historical events, as none of us were
present at the French Revolution or the Civil War. However, we could try to help
Jews now in need. We are willing to help the people of Africa. We rally for
every cause and every so-called holocaust. Yet a Jew who needed help has so far
been on his own. It is therefore good news that the Jewish Federations across
the country have now decided to help the Jewish poor. These Jewish poor are
about 5% of the 5.5 million American Jews. In New York City the Federation has
built four apartment houses for poor Jews. In Los Angeles, where Jewish poverty
is 7%, an effort to help poor Jews has been announced by Federation officials.
In California, Jewish poverty is particularly hard to bear as there are so many
extremely wealthy Jewish movie moguls tooling around in Ferraris and enjoying
are of course a good number of Jewish working poor. These are people who do not
fit into the Jewish community of doctors, lawyers and accountants, professors
and dentists, big business,"machers" and the archetype of Jewish
“leader” - the big contributor.
Jews do not participate in Jewish affairs .They do not come to synagogues or
Jewish sponsored dinners because we cannot tolerate Jewish cab drivers and
tailors. We will not let our children date such people nor accord them any
the Jewish poor, like all the poor, are invisible.
course, here and there we have Jews who support Israel and the local Jewish
community and give to the Jewish poor. These few are the light in the darkness,
the redeemers of our people. The majority of us are as blind to our needs as was
true during our darkest days. As George Santayana (1863-1952) said so wisely:
“All we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history”.