Yom HaShoah

יום הזכרון לשואה ולגבורה תשע”ט

Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2019

In Libya:

“In 1942 the Italians, who had already determined to adopt a more radical policy against the Jews, used the Jewish community’s enthusiastic welcome of the Allied soldiers as a pretext to punish the Jews of Libya for their betrayal. Mussolini determined to disperse or remove the Libyan Jews; this campaign was called “sfollamento”. The sfollamento of the Libyan Jews was different depending on the area in which they lived. In the Cyrenaica area, the Jews were divided into three groups according to their citizenship:

  • Jews with French citizenship or under Tunisian protection were to be sent to concentration camps in Algeria and Tunisia;
  • Jews with British citizenship were to be sent to camps in Europe. Though initially they were thrown into detention camps in Italy, once the Germans occupied Italy in 1943 they were taken to Bergen Belsen, in Germany, and Innsbruck-Reichenau, an affiliate of Dachau, in Austria;
  • Jews holding Libyan citizenship, especially those from the Cyrenaica region, were to be deported to concentration camps in Tripolitania, the most infamous of which was Giado (Jado). […]

Giado (or Jado), on the border of the desert, 235 kilometers south of Tripoli, was the most brutal of the camps in Libya. Jado was a former army camp, surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. Its commandants were Italian, and the guards were Italian and Arab policemen. By June, 1942, the Italians had deported, in stages, a total of 2,584 Jews to Jado; all but 47 of them were Libyan Jews. Living conditions in the camp were miserable. The camp was overcrowded – tens of families slept in a space of four meters and separated only by bedding and blankets. Daily food rations consisted of a few grams of rice, oil, sugar and coffee substitute. Men over the age of 18 were sent out everyday to forced labor. Water shortages, malnutrition, overcrowding, and filth intensified the spread of contagious diseases. Inmates buried the dead in a cemetery on a hill outside the camp which had been an ancient Jewish cemetery. On top of this wretched existence, the Italian guards of the camp enjoyed humiliating the Jews. Out of the almost 2,600 Jews sent to Jado, 562 Jews died of weakness and hunger, and especially from typhoid fever and typhus. This was the highest number of Jewish victims in Islamic countries during World War II.”


Yom HaShoah

יום הזכרון לשואה ולגבורה תשע”ו

“Even after they grow old in years and age…still they’ll be called the Tehran Children” – Natan Alterman.  

Like many Israeli children preparing for their Bar Mitzva, ours too researched family history for their ‘Roots’ project. Our eldest son’s project included childhood memories recounted by his grandmother’s elder brother Moshe.

Atlit camp

Atlit camp

“We were born in the town of Govorovo in Poland. When the Nazis invaded Poland, we ran away to stay with relatives who lived on the border with Russia. The Germans gave an order allowing passage of the border into Russia. Immediately they changed their minds and did not let us cross into Russia. As we were passing the Germans expelled us to the Russian side. We progressed to central Russia. My mother Bella was advised not to go deep into Russia because she wouldn’t be able to get out. We went down to White Russia. The Russians began rounding up people who did not have Russian ID and sent them to Siberia and Ural – us among them. At the same time the German attack on Russia began. After half a year in the Ural Mountains we were released and we travelled by train to Tashkent. In Samarkand we were gathered into groups. By way of Baku we travelled to Tehran for half a year. In Tehran a lot of the children died of typhoid and from lack of food. My sister Rachel was sick with typhoid in Tehran. From there we went out in a convoy with the British army and we arrived in Karachi and Bombay in India. We were given food there. From there we travelled to Alexandria and continued on a train via Gaza (where we scrambled for oranges) to Atlit. There was a reception there with chocolate and sweets. My sister and I were sent to a sanatorium in Haifa and later the children were sent to Kibbutzim and Moshavim. We arrived in Moshav Kfar Yehoshua. We were each taken in by a different family and we lived there for seven years until our parents came to fetch us…”

Moshe and Rachel – who was four years old when their long journey began in 1939 – are two of the 870 ‘Tehran Children’ who found refuge in Israel in 1943. Over two decades on since that ‘Roots’ project was completed, Savta Rachel now has two great-grandsons – and counting.  


Yom HaShoah

יום הזכרון לשואה ולגבורה תשע”ה

In Tunisia:

“…almost 5,000 Jews, most of them from Tunis and from certain northern communities, were taken captive and incarcerated in 32 labor camps scattered throughout Tunisia. The biggest and most lethal of these were the camps in Bizerte and Mateur, where tens of Jewish prisoners died from disease, labor, punishment by the German guards and Allied bombings.”


BBC ignores missile fire from Gaza Strip

On the evening of Sunday April 7th, just minutes after commemorations of the Holocaust began all over Israel, a number of missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian communities. One of those missiles hit Sha’ar HaNegev regional council, abruptly halting a Holocaust commemoration ceremony taking place at the time in one of the communities.

There has been no mention whatsoever by the BBC of this latest bout of missile fire.