Where does chocolate come from? Of course, we know that it came from Mexico and was carried by the Spanish conquerors back to Europe. But who then cultivated, processed and distributed chocolate around the world? Almost all of the people involved were Jewish! And many modern brands were founded by Jews fleeing the Nazi’s rise to power, including Elite Chocolates (founded by Eliahu Promchenko who moved his successful chocolate company from Latvia to Israel in 1933) and Barton’s (chocolatier Stephen Klein’s business that he brought to New York from Vienna in 1938)
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Two days ago the tall building of the Israeli Television First Channel was torn down, amid a big party, music and speeches. Back in 1968 I was elected to be on the founding team of the 1st TV station of Israel. I worked both in the Hebrew and the Arabic departments filming news documentaries.
Doubt proved to be the toxin that led to the sinful action of eating the forbidden fruit.
The Nazis used both eugenics and euthanasia to create the Volksgemeinschaft. Where Burleigh differed was the emphasis on the economic aspects and need for more doctors and bed space. Because the euthanasia program did not start until the outbreak of the war, Burleigh inferred that a major factor was the need for more doctors and bed space.
An elderly man who served as a guard in the Stutthof concentration camp during the final two years of World War II was convicted on July 23, 2020, for his crimes. As he was only seventeen when the offenses were committed, a juvenile court served as the venue for his trial this past week. Specifically, he was accused and convicted as an accessory to the murder of over five thousand people. When his involvement initially was questioned, the defendant had freely admitted to having served as an SS guard at this camp near his hometown. In testimony, he claimed that he had been compelled to these heinous actions and had had no other recourse.
A dear friend who survived the Holocaust as a child, including the murder of both his parents, and labored diligently to build a new life outside his homeland is currently experiencing health challenges. Ironically, as he has grown weaker, the power of his work ethic, love of life, and determination to carve out a fresh legacy have risen to the surface. In remembering the Holocaust, we often associate the term hero with rescuers and liberators who defied all odds to assist those who were persecuted and tortured by the Nazis. Those individuals were certainly heroic, as it took obedience (in some cases to military commands) and tremendous personal courage to undertake the right course of action in defiance of the Nazi regime.
In other camps, inmates took wood and aluminum foil, and using grease and cotton wicks, created their own candles and menorahs. Their bodies may have been held captive, but their spirits were not in chains.
I was impressed when my granddaughter expressed her desire to learn more about her Jewish identity after reading The Diary of Anne Frank in middle school. I had also read it in school, and we all wondered, “What if it had been me?” I hadn’t given the subject much more thought until I began working with Rozalie Jerome, daughter of Holocaust survivors.
Tisha B’Av is Hebrew for the Ninth of Av, meaning the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av. Tisha B’Av is mentioned as “the fast of the fifth month” in Zechariah 7:3,5 and 8:19. Today, Tisha B’Av is a day of fasting and mourning for Jewish people throughout the world.