Tzemach Yehudah Richter
Tzemach Yehudah Richter

October 6, 1943 – History Repeats Itself

בסייד

Two events took place on October 6, 1943, that were both focused on European Jewry and the Holocaust. Readers are most likely aware of the first event.  The second event had far more serious implications, but I never recall it being mentioned until I did further research.

Event One – More Than 400 Rabbis March On Washington DC.

Abraham Y. Heschel wrote an OP-ED Opinion in Hamodia on Sept. 12, 2018, titled “Lessons From The Rabbi’s March”.

His grandfather, the Kopyczynitzer Rebbe, Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, attended the march. A list of those who had confirmed plans to attend also included his father, Harav Moshe Mordechai Heschel, who would later become Rebbe, but was still a teenager at that time, as well as his uncle, Rabbi Zalman Gurary, z”l. Another young participant was his wife’s grandfather, Harav Chaim Twersky, zt”l, who would later be known as the Chernobler Rav, zt”l.

He noted that “The secular Jewish leadership tried their hardest to convince the Rabbanim not to come, with even local Jewish congressmen joining the efforts to dissuade them. Within the Orthodox Jewish community as well there was open skepticism about the idea”.

“Many of the participants were bitterly disappointed by the fact that not only did President Roosevelt refuse to meet with them, but even Vice President Wallace, who spoke with them on the steps of the Senate building, did not invite them in, giving instead only a vague statement expressing “grief” at the plight of the Jews, and making no mention of rescuing any of them”.

Heschel Said The March Played A Key Role In Saving Many Jews

Media coverage of the march, expressed outrage over the way the esteemed Rabbanim were treated. In January 1944, the War Refugee Board (WRB), an official U.S. government agency was created, to rescue refugees from Hitler’s Europe.

Six months later, Iver Olson, the WRB’s newly appointed representative in Sweden, met Kalman Lauer, the owner of an import-export firm. He told Lauer that the WRB was anxious to send someone to Budapest to save the remaining Jews of Hungary. The Nazis would never let in an American, so he was looking for someone from a neutral country like Sweden who would agree to undertake a very dangerous mission.

Lauer told Olson about one of his employees, 31-year-old Raoul Wallenberg, a member of the wealthiest family in Sweden. Wallenberg, perhaps the greatest of the chassidei umos ha’olam in recent history, at great personal peril and with unparalleled heroism, saved the lives of up to 100,000 Hungarian Jews.

Heschel often wondered about the lessons that we can learn from this seminal event. In many ways, the Rabbis’ March was one of the most “politically-incorrect” things to do, and indeed, the Jewish politicians of the era were vehemently opposed to it. Yet the leading Rebbes and Rabbanim in America at the time felt otherwise, and it was they who made the decision to march.

His concluding sentence says – “We must of course undertake the requisite hishtadlus, but we must also always remember never to rely on mortal connections or political alliances, but only on the mercy of the Ribbono shel Olam.”

 Event Two – Posen Speech Two – October 6, 1943

The Posen speeches of October 1943 are two of 132 speeches obtained in various forms which the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, conducted before officials of the Nazi party. Himmler dispensed with the usual euphemisms[4] and spoke explicitly of the extermination of the Jews via mass murder, which he depicted as a historical mission of the Nazis. The speech was seized in its entirety by U.S. authorities in 1945.

At the end of September 1943, the party chancellery invited all Reichsleiters and Gauleiters, the head of the Hitler Youth, Artur Axmann and Reich ministers Albert Speer and Alfred Rosenberg to a conference. The second speech contains an explicit passage regarding the genocide of the Jews.[19]

The “Jewish Question”

Himmler reveals to “this most secret circle” his thoughts on the Jewish question, which he describes as “the most difficult decision of my life”.[20]

“I ask of you that that which I say to you in this circle be really only heard and not ever discussed. We were faced with the question: what about the women and children? – I decided to find a clear solution to this problem too. I did not consider myself justified to exterminate the men – in other words, to kill them or have them killed and allow the avengers of our sons and grandsons in the form of their children to grow up. The difficult decision had to be made to have this people disappear from the earth. For the organization which had to execute this task, it was the most difficult which we had ever had. […] I felt obliged to you, as the most superior dignitary, as the most superior dignitary of the party, this political order, this political instrument of the Führer, to also speak about this question quite openly and to say how it has been. The Jewish question in the countries that we occupy will be solved by the end of this year. Only remainders of odd Jews that managed to find hiding places will be left over.”

History Repeats Itself – Biden And Harris Refuse To Address Americans Stranded In Kabul

President Roosevelt and VP Wallace refused to meet with the participants of the Rabbi’s March. And given the fact the Nazis were intent on killing all Jews “to have this people disappear from the earth” as was clearly stated in the speech above”, the Americans stranded in Kabul are destined to suffer the same fate unless a viable solution can be found for their rescue.

This is a problem created by the Biden Administration which is responsible to provide answers to the American people to solve this problem. Instead of speaking directly to the American people, Biden and Harris have refused to do so. Just like President Roosevelt and VP Wallace did when the Rabbis came to meet with them.

As a veteran who served in the US Army Reserve, I feel for all Americans currently unable to leave Kabul. Military strategy would require that before the US Military pulled out, the evacuation of all Americans and those who helped America during this 20-year war would be completed. In addition, all American military and other equipment, vehicles, etc. be evacuated. Before the military pulled out, smoke was seen rising from the US Embassy due to the burning of intelligence documents. But not evacuating and leaving behind the sophisticated equipment for the Taliban was a far greater mistake.

It could therefore be said that during the 1943 Rabbis March, the President and VP abandoned the Jews.

Today, with those still stuck and having no clear path to escape Kabul, Biden and Harris have abandoned not only those Americans, but all Americans who grew up with a sense of pride in being American.

 

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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