Pakistan’s Muslim Leader Cannot Address Fellow Muslim Leaders

The leader of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan, took to the floor of the United Nations for almost an hour in September 2019. He covered four principle areas, including “Islamophobia” and the conflict in Kashmir. He shared his thoughts and observations and asked the western world and the United Nations to take particular actions; actions he did not consider for fellow Muslim leaders.

Pakistani President Imran Khan at United Nations, September 2019
(photo: AFP)
Consider his remarks about Islamophobia which he claimed came into being after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. At 23:27 of the speech he said:

In the western society, and quite rightly, the Holocaust is treated with sensitivity, because it gives the Jewish community pain. That’s all we ask. Do not use freedom of speech to cause us pain by insulting our holy prophet.”

Nazi Germany’s butchering of one-third of the world’s Jews is “rightly… treated with sensitivity” in the western world. But it is not treated with any sensitivity in the Muslim world.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been hosting Holocaust cartoon contests since 2005, shortly after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s inauguration as president. The contests have continued after he left office, including a contest in 2016 which awarded $50,000 towards the top three winners.

Palestinian Arabs elected Mahmoud Abbas to the presidency of the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Abbas wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial. For its part, Abbas’s rival political party Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization, has a charter lifted from the anti-Semitic forgery the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In Hamas’s enclave in Gaza, it refuses to allow the United Nations to teach about the Holocaust in UNRWA schools.

And while Pakistan’s leader was asking the western world to use the same care in talking about the Islamic prophet as it does in talking about the Holocaust, the Prime Minister of Malaysia was spitting Holocaust denial uptown at Columbia University.

Khan did not care about reciprocal respect, common courtesies or similar sensitivities. He knew that Muslim leaders would never insult the Islamic prophet, and narrowly addressed his remarks to the non-Muslim world, even when he fully understood that the Muslim world offered no comparable concern for Jews.

The hajj of hypocrisy at the United Nations would continue.

The main focus of Khan’s remarks were about the disputed territory of Kashmir. At 47:47 he said:

What is the world community going to do? Is it to appease the market of 1.2 billion [people in India] or is it going to stand up for justice and humanity? If this goes wrong – you hope for the best but be prepared for the worst – if a conventional war starts between the two countries, anything could happen. But supposing, a country seven times smaller than its neighbor is faced with a choice: either you surrender or you fight for your freedom until death, what would we do? I ask myself this question. And my belief is that there is no God but one. And we will fight. And when a nuclear armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders. It will have consequences for the world… This is a test for the United Nations. You are the ones who guaranteed the people of Kashmir the rights of self-determination.”

The words were unmistakable: the Pakistani leader urged the United Nations to take action to protect the people of Kashmir, or the outnumbered people of Pakistan would resort to using nuclear weapons against India, and maybe elsewhere.

But how did Pakistan and the United Nations react in early 1967, when the leaders of the Arab Muslim world threatened to wipe Israel off of the map? The population in Egypt was 32.5 million, in Syria 5.7 million, and in Jordan 1.4 million, a combined total that was 14 times the Israeli population of 2.75 million, or twice the disparity between India and Pakistan today.

During the Six Day War, Pakistan sent members of its air force to fight alongside its Muslim brothers, despite its overwhelming numerical superiority. To clear a pathway for the genocide of the Jews, the United Nations pulled its UNEF observer force from the Sinai peninsula and Gaza in May 1967 at the urging and direction of Egypt. Both the UN and Pakistan participated in the stated goal of destroying the nascent Jewish State, not two decade post the Holocaust.

The leader of Pakistan was no doubt sincere about his long-winded requests and warnings before the United Nations. His hypocrisy was equally as true.


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The Ultimate Chutzpah: A New Form of Holocaust Denial

A curious thing is unfolding in the world of intersectionality and Muslim antisemitism: the migration from the status of victims to saviors.

For the last several years Palestinians sought to gain global succor for their situation through outrageous lies. The Palestinians sought to revise ancient history with claims that Jesus was a Palestinian Arab and not a Jew, and that the Jewish Temple never stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They also claimed that Palestinians were descendants of Canaanites, all in an attempt to make their historic claims to Israel and Jerusalem as much greater than the Jews. That the Arab invasion of the Jewish holy land happened thousands of years after the Jews had been living there was viewed an inconvenience to be dismissed.

Regarding modern history, the Arabs sought to invert cause-and-effect and claim the mantle of victimhood to appeal to the alt-left contingent in the western world. Jews were labeled as colonialist invaders who ethnically cleansed the indigenous Arabs, rather than a people who returned to their homeland and uniquely sacred land. The Arabs claim ongoing apartheid-like conditions, rather than acknowledge their own overt racism in demanding a state free of Jews, even to the extent of having a law sentencing an Arab to death for selling land to a Jew.

But in May 2019, the outright lies and inversion of facts took a curious turn. Instead of only manufacturing a narrative that Palestinian Arabs are victims of Jewish aggression and racism, a new voice directed the message that Palestinians were the saviors of Jews.

U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
(photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

The new Palestinian-American Congresswomen from Michigan, Rashida Tlaib made the following public comment:

“There’s kind of a calming feeling I always tell folks when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, h⁷ave been wiped out, and some people’s passports.

“I mean, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time, and I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right, and it was forced on them. And so when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn’t we do it in a better way?”

It’s not just that she lied about the gross antisemitism that pervaded her “ancestors” who actively lobbied the British government to STOP Jews from coming to Palestine and she ignored the role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who supported the Nazis and Adolph Hitler. We get that: the Palestinians have perfected #FakeHistory like no people on the planet.

But at least people understood WHY the Palestinians lied. They wanted to look like victims to get support from the world. They sought to appear as indigenous so their claims should be validated. Complete lies, but understandable.

But Tlaib went in a new direction. She created a whole new lie for the purpose of trying to make Jews appreciate what Palestinians did for Jews! Palestinians gave up their homes, livelihood and dignity for you Jews, so be thankful! It gives Tlaib “comfort” that her ancestors “saved” Jews from the Holocaust, and you Jews should look at Palestinians as your benefactors.

Outrageous.

Let me make this clear: Tlaib, you can continue to manufacture lies to make yourself comfortable all you want. Your orientation of talking “Truth to Power” works only in Pathological Liarland. That’s your business and we all understand your sickness to make yourself feel better.

But to now go beyond inverting cause-and-effect and aggressor-and-victim, and to state that Palestinian Arabs were the saviors of European Jews is a whole new form of Holocaust denial. It is beyond chutzpah and beyond disgraceful.

It is vile and inexcusable. And to continue to stand behind such sentiments does not simply make the statement vile. It makes you evil.


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The Holocaust Will Not Be Colorized. The Holocaust Will Be Live.

The grainy black and white images of 75 years ago can trick the mind that the cruelty of mankind was from a different time.

When Holocaust educators make movies like Schindler’s List, they beautify the tragedy with haunting music and visuals.

When we light a candle in memory of one of the 6 million Jews who were slaughtered because they were Jews, our attention lasts for the length of the flame. We toss the candle into the garbage once its light has burned out.

When we enter a synagogue and look at a sculpture with the words “Yizkor,” meaning “remember” in Hebrew, we appreciate the effort to make the work of art, more than connecting to the horror.

Sculpture at the Mathausen Concentration Camp
(photo: First.One.Through)
But the Holocaust was not edited nor pretty nor momentary. It was raw and brutal. It lasted for years.

And the evil lasts still.

The hatred for Jews brews in the shouts of the alt-right, the “protests” of the alt-left and the killings by Islamic radicals.

The Jew hatred is blessed in the halls of a United Nations which cannot pause to question passing laws making it illegal for Jews to live in certain areas. No, not certain areas, illegal for them to live in their holiest city.

The Holocaust inches closer when anti-Semites are elected to governmental positions, anti-Zionists take over college campuses and murderers burst into synagogues. To silent echoes.

Rabbi axed to death in a synagogue in Jerusalem, Israel by Palestinian Arabs
The Holocaust has been remembered in that it was put in the past. The genocide of a defenseless people by their own government and fellow citizens was given a short window of time among the few who deliberately chose to remember the reality that evil left unchecked overwhelms a decent society.

The marches of the alt-right are becoming more frequent. The vitriol on college campuses is now at your child’s school. And the excuses made for murders has even penetrated the Jewish community.


Gil Scott-Heron wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” in 1970, a decade which saw the United Nations headed by Kurt Waldheim, a former Nazi. A decade in which the U.N. manufactured laws that Zionism is Racism and only Palestinian Arabs have rights to the holy land. A decade which witnessed Palestinian terrorists murder Israeli athletes and hijack planes while the word only paused for a moment.

Gil Scott-Heron knew that enormous change in the social order did not happen with people sitting in front of a television, passively taking in a snippet of news interspersed with entertainment. A revolution happens when it knocks on everyone’s door and every man, woman and child is forced to take a stand on where they are in the fight for rights.

Jews around the world are slowly and reluctantly reaching that conclusion, that a momentary glance at a Holocaust sculpture does not prepare a person for the war against Jews today. The United Kingdom’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is as much of a wake-up as the leader of Iran. The hatred is much nearer in both time and space and you have no luxury of putting it behind you.

This Holocaust Remembrance Day, don’t throw out the candle of a child murdered 75 years ago after the candle is out. Bury it in your front yard.


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How Many Polacks Does it Take to Deny the Holocaust?

A satire.

The Polish government wanted to mark the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January 2018. After all, it was in Poland that loss of Jewish life was the greatest of any country in the world. The new popular right-wing party in charge, the Poland Law and Justice Party (PiSS), decided to put forward a multi-prong approach, similar to its retreat from Germany in 1939.

PiSS established several committees, including one to address the Polish educational system, one for the press and another for tourism. PiSS tasked each group with finding a new approach to commemorate the horrors that took place in the country during World War II.

The educational team hatched a novel idea that all students should be taught that the Polish people in Word War II were the only victims of Nazi atrocities and that no Poles participated in the rounding up and killing of Jews. It advised that the term “Polish Death Camps” should become illegal, and that the country should demand that all concentration camps be solely associated with Nazi Germany.

The PiSS parliament enthusiastically passed the proposal. It made the usage of the phrase punishable by up to three years in prison. The educational team was elated and quickly went to work.

A team of 400 people went into the libraries and book stores across the country and began to scour the contents for any mention of the phrase “Polish Death Camps.” Armed with white-out and scissors, the team seized upon the work like a German Shepherd on a fraulein in heat. They shouted “Arbeit Macht Frei” as they attempted to complete the cleanse by Labor Day on May 1.

The press team waited until parliament approved the Complicity Removal Proclamation, “CRaP,” as it was known within the halls of PiSS, to announce its contribution to Holocaust Remembrance Day. In addition to promoting the efforts put in place by the educational committee, the Holocaust press team developed a mascot for the public radio and TV broadcasters that was consistent with Poland’s new clean history: a bottle of white out capped with a crown.

The crowned white out bottle will be featured on all future government propaganda. “We originally wanted something that would recall the placards at our rallies ‘For a White and European Brotherhood,‘” said Jaroslaw Rasistowski, the Minister of Loud PiSS. “But thought that it would be too aggressive now that we’re in power. So we opted for a nail polish bottle as a play on the word ‘Polish.’ However, when the CRaP passed, we decided to modify the design into a white-out bottle. It really conveys everything we’re about.

The tourism committee is still convening. The current rumored plans are for the Polish government to assume greater control of the former Nazi concentration camps and put in place a few changes to “enhance” the sites for tourists:

  • Pokemon Go will be introduced to the camps with new characters sporting Nazi swastikas
  • Virtual reality goggles will be distributed to visitors and feature virtual straight white Christians in striped pajamas walking around the camp grounds
  • A new Carmelite convent will open at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and feature free communion and lunch for all visitors

All in all, the PiSS government estimates that the new initiatives will employ a total of 3,000 Polaks, a tribute to the estimated 3 million Jewish citizens of Poland that were killed in the Holocaust.

The Polish efforts were extensive. And many countries and organizations have taken notice.

Just last night, the US Olympic Committee demanded that any story that mentions the infamous doctor Larry Nassar who abused the USA Women’s Team gymnasts for years, may no longer say that he worked for the “USA Olympic team,” as it considers that the Olympic Committee was itself a victim of the attacks too.


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Failing to Mention the British White Paper of 1939 when Discussing Refugees

In article after article and Op-Ed after Op-Ed, writers have expressed their dismay about the United States ban on refugees fleeing from Muslim countries. Many of those articles described the US turning away the S.S. St. Louis, a boat full of Jews from Europe during World War II, sending the ship back to Europe where the Jews would be killed in the Holocaust, arguing that America closing its borders today would have similar ramifications for Muslim refugees.  Some journalists went so far to claim that Anne Frank is a Syrian girl today.

Many people called such comparisons outlandish, and a minimization of the atrocity and uniqueness of the Holocaust. They would point out that there are over 100 times more Muslims than Jews, and 50 Muslim-majority countries today while there were zero Jewish countries in World War II, so the Muslim refugees’ options for sanctuary countries today are not remotely comparable to the plight of Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.

Curiously, while journalists attempted to connect the Holocaust of the Jews in Europe to the plight of Muslim refugees from the Middle East today by referencing the S.S. St. Louis or Anne Frank, they declined to ever mention the British White Paper of 1939 when discussing the “Muslim ban.” The pundits wouldn’t even discuss the White Paper when reviewing the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

On November 9, 1938, as Kristallnacht was shattering the lives of Jews in Europe, the British would call upon the leaders of the Arabs in Palestine to assess how to quell the riots they had been waging against the Jews for the prior two years. The result of the multi-week consultations was the British White Paper of 1939.

As the flames of the Holocaust began to incinerate the Jews of Europe, the British White Paper undermined the basic principle laid out in international law to facilitate the immigration of Jews to Palestine. The document set a five-year cap of only 75,000 Jews to be admitted to Palestine, at a time when the Jews of Europe were desperately fleeing the Nazi regime. The British-Arab edict likely contributed to over 100,000 Jews perishing in the Holocaust.

Not just a single Jewish girl like Anne Frank.

Not the nearly 1,000 Jews who were returned on a ship to Nazi Europe to perish in concentration camps.

Over 100,000 Jews, who died because of the British White Paper of 1939.


Arab riots of 1936 fighting Jewish immigration

(source: American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise)

Yet the discussions about refugees fleeing for their lives from the carnage in the Middle East today never mention the cap on admitting Jewish refugees into Palestine during the Holocaust. Why?

Could it be because of the lectures from progressive professors and politicians that the narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is “Arab land” and “Palestinian land,” so the Jews don’t really belong there at all? Has the Palestinian propaganda machine so cloaked itself in the the mantle of victimhood, that people cannot fathom the reality that the Palestinian Arabs were complicit in turning away desperate Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust?

November 9 has long been remembered as a Day of Infamy, when the slaughter of Jews began in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. It is time to also mark it as the day that the British and Palestinian Arabs helped seal the fate of thousands of those innocent Jews.


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Ban Ki Moon Defecates on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

One of the basic laws established on December 10, 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the ability to change one’s religion. Yet apostasy – converting from Islam – remains a capital offense in various countries including: Afghanistan; Brunei; Mauritania; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Sudan; United Arab Emirates; and Yemen.

So how did the outgoing Secretary General of the United Nations choose to recognize the basic rights of people? He rewarded one of those countries with a “humanitarian” post.

On December 8, 2016 – two days before the anniversary of the UDHR – Ban Ki Moon announced that Ahmed Al Meraikhi of Qatar would be his Humanitarian Envoy.  The press release included the role of that position:

“The Humanitarian Envoy will ensure stronger linkages between the United Nations and decision makers in Qatar and the broader region.  His overall objective will focus on supporting multilateral humanitarian response efforts by raising the profile of humanitarian crises with Governments and non-governmental organizations and increasing their engagement with the international humanitarian community.”

Imagine that a country that flagrantly defies the basic premise of human rights is awarded with a position by the same United Nations.

It underscores the current farce of the United Nations and its embarrassment to humanity.

ban-ki-moon-9-16
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon


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Elie Wiesel on Words

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Elie Wiesel on Words

Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories.”

Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)

Elie Wiesel
Author and Nobel Prize Winner, Elie Wiesel

The Holocaust of the Jews in Europe was one of the most brutal acts of inhumanity in the history of the world. Not only did an elected government murder its own defenseless citizens, it tortured them and enlisted other citizens to eradicate and humiliate the Jews.

The destructive actions of Nazi Germany led the United Nations to create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10, 1948. It was designed to protect the basic human rights of all people, not just an elected majority. The opening article declares: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” and goes on to enumerate various human rights. Article 7 builds on that theme:

“All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”

Decades later, the United Nations looked for ways to combat the emergence of global terrorism, and on September 8, 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Similar to the UDHR, it recognized the threat of incitement:

work to adopt such measures as may be necessary and appropriate and in accordance with our obligations under international law to prohibit by law incitement to commit a terrorist act or acts and prevent such conduct.”

The United Nations advanced the position that actions do not live in a tight bubble. Words lead to actions, whether discrimination, terrorism, or even the Holocaust.

Elie Wiesel on Words

There have been many people who worked to place a spotlight in the shadow of the Holocaust, such as Simon Weisenthal (1908-2005), who fought to bring Nazis to justice. Elie Wiesel, who passed away yesterday, had a different path for combatting the horrors of the Holocaust. He wrote about it.

Over the course of dozens of books, Wiesel wrote about his personal experiences surviving concentration camps, as well as faith, God and humanity. He understood the power of his words to help create a better world, just as he understood and experienced how words can create a vicious, violent reality.

Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds.”

I’m a teacher and a writer; my life is words. When I see the denigration of language,
it hurts me, and it’s easy to denigrate a word by trivializing it.”

Elie Wiesel

Wiesel often spoke at conferences about his experiences, and sought to educate people about words, thoughts and ideas.  He believed that words could be creative agents for the speaker, as well as for those who heard the message.

In 1999, Wiesel recalled how American soldiers liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in April 1945, including himself as a young man. For that action, and years living in the United States, he would be forever grateful.  For him, the act of being grateful was not simply a byproduct of another’s action: it was an action in itself, and speaking about gratitude, was an important message:

“Gratitude is a word that I cherish.
Gratitude is what defines the humanity of the human being.”

Wiesel believed in the power of words to heal, but he also understood its destructive powers.  He felt that too often mankind hid from its responsibilities.

Human beings should be held accountable.
Leave God alone. He has enough problems.”

One of the greatest threats to humanity, according to Wiesel, was not just the negative incitement to violence that the United Nations addressed in 1948 and 2006, but the threat of the vast masses who say nothing; who are indifferent to the words and terrible actions of evil doers.

“The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference.”

“Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. And, therefore,
indifference is always the friend of the enemy…
Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.
And this is one of the most important lessons of this outgoing century’s
wide-ranging experiments in good and evil.”

The world appreciated the efforts of Wiesel, and awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for “his message …of peace, atonement and human dignity.”


The First.One.Through blog and channel are about Judaism, Israel and the United States of America.  The messages it conveys are that words matter: not just blatant incitement to violence, but even subtle forms of discrimination, as well as positive, constructive words.  The words and videos are not made so that the producer has a voice, but for those that read and watch the material, to be positive catalysts by forwarding the anonymous pieces on to others.

We mourn the loss of Elie Wiesel, an advocate who advanced the cause that words matter, whether negative, positive, or the bitter lack thereof.


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The Last Sounds of “Son of Saul”

The Holocaust movie “Son of Saul” is unlike every other movie ever made in the genre. While much has and will be written about the narrow focus on the principal actor’s face throughout the movie, words cannot properly convey the impact of the sounds infused in each scene.

Sounds of a Concentration Camp

The movie opens with the camera focused on a faraway subject, completely out-of-focus. The viewer struggles to make out the distant activity, and in a short time realizes that this is intentional, when the main protagonist of the film, Saul Ausländer, slowly walks into the middle of the image in sharp focus. He remains centered there for the remainder of the movie.

The close-up of Saul leaves the movie viewer with a sliver of background imagery. The war is mostly inferred by the rapidly passing images on the screen’s edges. The viewer’s mind is left to expand upon the brutality of the concentration camp where Saul works processing the dead for the Nazis.

The picture is further clouded by Saul. His face, which fills 70% of the frame, is expressionless. He is a walking dead, somewhere between the prisoners that arrive by train at the camp, and those “pieces” that he carts to the crematoria for burning. Saul shares no emotion and offers little in the way of dialogue with the other Sonderkommandos, those Jews tasked with helping the Nazis annihilate the Jews of Europe. The little dialogue that occurs, is choppy as the Sonerkommandos come from a variety of countries – Hungary, Poland, Germany, Ukraine – and do not speak the same language.

Devoid of strong visuals and dialogue, the movie provides rich sounds. There is no background music to direct our emotions.  The sounds are of the camp itself that fill the viewers’ ears. Sounds of babies crying. Mother’s screaming. Gun shots. Metal doors crashing closed. Rocks crunching under the feet of the Sonderkommandos. Papers scraping the floor, gathered for burning.

This is the dialogue of “Son of Saul.” These sounds transport the viewer from a modern movie theater to 1944 Nazi Europe. It is not surround sound; it is transportive sound.

The Last Sounds

Saul’s journey to an awakening begins when he sees a boy survive the gas chambers. While terminal, the child won a minor victory over the Nazis’ efficient killing machine. He beat the system.

This boy gives Saul some depth of vision. He gives Saul hope – not of his own survival – but that the humanity of the natural world can break through into the unnatural brutality where he exists. Saul’s mission is set, that with the help of a rabbi, the boy will not be incinerated like everyone else in the Nazi’s ovens, but will have a proper Jewish burial.

Saul risks his own life and those around him to fulfill this mission. He understands that he and the other Sonderkommandos are the unnatural walking dead who will soon die and be incinerated. However, the boy is nature’s dead, who must have a natural burial.

As Saul manages to get the boy, his “son”, out of the concentration camp ground, he loses the body in a river. The body is taken by nature and cleansed in water. Then, without the boy’s body, Saul’s mission and hope disappear and he almost drowns before being saved by another prisoner.

Saul sits with fellow Sonderkommando in a broken shed, all catching their breaths. The dialogue between them remains almost non-existent. As they sit, a new sound slowly is introduced that seems out of place.  The noise grows louder, but unclear. The viewer considers whether this is rain falling on the leaves of the trees in the forest. But the picture tells us that it is not raining. We see the men are damp, but it is from the swim across the river, not from raindrops.

Slowly the viewer becomes aware that the sound is not raindrops, but the crackle of the fire from the crematoria ovens.

The movie viewers witness Saul showing some expression at last, as the movie’s hero understands both his completed mission and fate: he helped his son escape to nature; his fate will be to burn with the other Sonderkommandos in the Nazi’s fire.

In the unnatural world where he exists, fire extinguishes water.  However, he achieved a moment of humanity, where the water was able to extinguish the Nazi fire.

Son of Saul
Géza Röhrig who played Saul Ausländer, talking to the audience at
screening of “Son of Saul” sponsored by the Claims Conference, December 2015
(photo: First.One.Through)

In December 2015, the Claims Conference put on a special showing of “Son of Saul” in New York City. The Claims Conference obtains money from Germany and other countries that participated in the slaughter of Jews during the Holocaust, and distributes that money to the Holocaust Survivors as well as educational projects like this movie.

The Executive Chairman of the Claims Conference, Greg Schneider, interviewed the film’s star Géza Röhrig who played Saul Ausländer at the end of the screening. Via Skype, Géza relayed that the sound editing of the movie took over five months, involving hundreds of man-hours to create the environment the writers and directors sought to convey.

It was a remarkable effort that helped create one of the great movies of our time.


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Wearing Our Beliefs

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Wearing Our Beliefs

There are a number of English expressions in which people describe their inner feelings by describing their external appearances.

For example, “Being comfortable in one’s skin” means exuding confidence and being content with one’s appearance.  The expression “wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve” dates back hundreds of years. It is meant to convey the openness of one’s emotions for the world to see. The inner feelings are plain and visible for review, scrutiny, appreciation and/ or scorn.

What an individual decides to show to the outside world oftentimes says a lot about their personal beliefs and emotions.

The way a society dresses people, also says much about such society’s beliefs.

Nazi Germany Enforced Dress Code

During the Holocaust, the Germans made certain undesirable people wear badges on their outer-garments so the people could be easily identified. Jews were forced to wear yellow stars. Gays wore pink triangles. Jehovah’s Witnesses had purple ones. These symbols were not chosen by the individual as an outward expression of their faith, but by an evil society that chose to mark people for abuse, imprisonment, torture and death.

In the Auschwitz concentration camp complex, prisoners were tattooed by the Nazis beginning in autumn 1941. The numbering system etched into the arms of men, women and children, was used almost exclusively on Jews. The system allowed the Nazis to track and process hundreds of thousands of people who were not killed immediately. The ink relayed the cold reality that these prisoners were not in charge of their bodies anymore. Society no longer recognized their names nor humanity.

The evil of Nazi Germany was not simply that they viewed the “Aryan race” as superior – they viewed others as less than human.  The Nazis marked the clothing and bodies of those Untermensch to relay the Aryan perception of these sub-humans.

auschwitz tattoo

Jews Wearing Tefillin

Jewish tradition is an important component of the Jewish religion. While there are specific laws in Judaism, such as wearing phylacteries/ tefillin, the manner in which some Judaic laws are carried out changes according to custom.  Some people wrap the tefillin around the arm in an outward motion, while others wrap them going towards the body.  Some traditions have the entire name of God appearing on the hand while others only write a portion of the three letter name of God.

When a person wraps the tefillin straps around the fingers, he recites a quote from Hosea 2:19-20: “V’erastich li l’olam; v’erastich li b’tzedek u-v’mishpat u-v’chesed u-v’rachamim; v’erastich li b’emunah; v’yadat et adonai.
And I will betroth you to myself forever; and I will betroth you to myself in righteousness and in justice, in kindness and in mercy; and I will betroth you to myself in faithfulness, and you will know God.”

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Grandfather, father and two sons wearing tefillin
(photo: First.One.Through)

Just one generation ago, the dominant force in Europe labeled Jews and stole their humanity.  Today, when Jews put on tefillin, they assert themselves and declare their connection to both God and family tradition.


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Palestinians of Today and the Holocaust

The New York Times berated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for tying Palestinians to the Holocaust in its editorial pages on October 23, 2015 “Mr. Netanyahu’s Holocaust Blunder.”  It is interesting for the Times to be so angry about this remark while failing to note certain current truths about the Palestinians and the Holocaust:

  • Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas wrote his doctoral paper on Holocaust denial
  • Abbas’s April 2014 disturbing comments trivializing the Holocaust when he said that Palestinians understand genocide because they suffer “ethnic discrimination and racism” from Israelis was celebrated by the NY Times
  • Regular NY Times contributor Roger Cohen suggested a pathway to peace between Israelis and Palestinians was that “Jews should study the Nakba. Arabs should study the Holocaust” trivializing the torture and killing of millions of innocent people with a conflict about land.
  • Abbas repeatedly said that Israel is engaged in “a war of genocide” against Palestinians, in a deeply insulting distortion of both the conflict and the Holocaust.
  • Palestinian leaders forbid Holocaust education in UNRWA schools in Gaza, counter to the United Nations wishes and curricula.
  • The list goes on

The Palestinians are the most anti-Semitic people in the world, with almost every person (93%) holding negative feelings about Jews according to a May 2014 poll.  By almost every measure, the Palestinians today are more extreme than Germans were in 1933, whether in passing laws that forbid Jews entry onto Palestinian college campuses; laws that prevent land sales to Jews; or the stated desire to have a country free of any Jews.  Shouldn’t that be the main focus of the Times?  Why does it perpetually give a pass to the vile anti-Semitism and trivialization of the Holocaust by the Palestinians, but immediately attack of Netanyahu?

The Times stated that Netanyahu attempted “to distort history in order to draw a straight line between Mr. Husseini’s Nazi views and the current Palestinian leadership.”  Netanyahu didn’t need to do that. Palestinians do that themselves.

Pal nazi2Pal naziFatah nazimufi Jlem Nazi
Palestinians with Nazis yesterday. Palestinians acting like Nazis today.


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Abbas Knows Racism

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Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

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