“Who am I to forgive?”
In this article Ben Abraham affirms it is not up to him to forgive the crimes committed during World War II, although he can recognize the German government’s efforts to educate its citizens about the atrocities carried out in Nazi Germany. He gives a list of different crimes or mistakes he could not forgive: the killing of children, elderly people and pregnant women; the omission of other countries, which did nothing to help the Jews escape extermination, closing their borders and ports to Jewish refugees; the inaction of high Eastern and Western commanders, who did nothing to help the Warsaw ghetto fight against the Nazis; the aerial forces of the allies, which photographed and observed extermination camps, without throwing one single bomb at them. He closes the article by affirming that, if he forgave all that, he would not be forgiven by those who had perished in the Holocaust.
“The Kristallnacht – 1938-1988”
The article gives a good historical account of the Kristallnacht, starting with the explanation of the expulsion of Polish Jews from Germany and the motivation for Herschel Grynszpan in his assassination attempt against the German ambassador in Paris. The response of the Reich was to forge an spontaneous character to a very well planned action: SS and SA officials started the pogroms, dressed civil clothing, as the police was ordered not to interfere. The result, according to the Gestapo: 199 synagogues were burned and 76 were demolished; 7.500 stores were looted and partially destroyed; 20 thousand Jews were arrested and hundreds of others were killed or wounded. The only Germans condemned were those guilty of rape, since according to Heydrich they had committed a “racial crime”.
The biggest irony of the Kristallnacht was, according to Ben Abraham, the fine of 1 billion marks Goering imposed on the Jews for their own destroyed property. After all, their property belonged to the Reich…
“Passport to life: Sugihara save 6 thousand Jews from death”
This article gives the account of Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara during WWII. As vice-consul in Kaunas, Lithuania, Sugihara decided to disobey the orders of Japan’s Foreign Office and granted thousands of transit visas so that Jewish refugees could travel across Japan to reach Curaçao, where no visas were required. Within approximately 1 month, Sugihara signed around 6 thousand visas.
After the war, he was arrested by the Russians and spent 21 months in a prisoners’ camp in Bucharest, from where he was repatriated to Japan. Because of his actions in Lithuania, he was expelled from the Japanese diplomatic service and endured years of poverty and humiliations. In 1968 he was reached by the Israeli embassy in Tokyo and invited to receive homage in Israel. In 1985, he was included inscribed in the Book of the Righteous and finally, in 1991, 5 years after Sugihara had passed away, the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Japan officially apologized to the family.
“The Nuremberg process 50 years later”
This brief article talks about the International Criminal Tribunal established by the four allied powers in Nuremberg, Germany, in November of 1945. The defendants were the leads of the Nazis, as well as official of the SS, the Gestapo and de SD. 50 years after the Nuremberg trials, the author says, new voices have been raised to deny the crimes committed by the Nazis, so it is important to remember what happened so that it does not happen again.
“Preservation of memory”
Ben Abraham describes those which in his view are two creative examples of memorial sites about the Holocaust: the Miami Memorial and the Washington Memorial Museum. He emphasizes that, in both places, he has seen many people, especially students, interested in learning about the Holocaust. A final comment is made about the importance of remembrance and education as a means of preventing the Holocaust from happening again.
“Our desire: Holocaust Museum in Sao Paulo”
Ben Abraham expresses his concerns about preservation of memory of the Holocaust after all survivors have one day passed away. He states he has done all he could to fight revisionism, but who knows what is going to happen after he is gone. He confesses this concern had been tormenting him in the past few years, so he was in search of organizations that could help him in the task of producing video recordings of survivors.
He mentions two important initiatives: the construction of the Sydney Jewish Museum, in 1992, and the foundation by Steven Spielberg of an organization aimed at recording Holocaust survivors’ testimonies.
“Am Israel Chai Vekaiam”
This article celebrates an organization founded by Brazilian Jewish youth, the “March of Life”, after their return from visiting former concentration and extermination camps of Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka. The author says its founders are worthy of representing those who did not survive the war, and closes by affirming was charging them with the mission of the fighters in the Warsaw ghetto and of Mordechai Anielewicz, who led the revolt.