22 April 2010

Today in Jewish History

1451: Birthdate of Isabella I of Castile, the queen who played a key role in the destruction of a seven century old civilization when she cruelly expelled the Jews from Spain

1509: Henry VIII ascended the English throne following the death of his father, Henry VII. While Jews were officially banned from living in England, evidence exists that a small congregation of Marranos had settled in London by 1540. Henry's contact with Jews and Judaism was indirect but somewhat pivotal in the! Events surrounding his various wives. Henry's older brother had married Catherine of Aragon in a state marriage designed to guarantee peaceful relations between England and Spain. When Henry's older brother died, the English sought to keep the amicable relations alive by arranging a marriage between Henry and Catherine. The English got the Pope to approve of the marriage by invoking the Biblical law concerning the Levirate Marriage. Years later, Henry sought to have the marriage annulled so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. He claimed that the marriage was a nullity because he had coveted his late brother's wife and their marriage was a product of sin. Henry sought support from those most learned in these matters, a group of Italian rabbis.

1872: Jews of Bavaria were granted equality

1896: Theodore Herzl, the father of modern Zionism began a two day journey to Karlsruhe where he was received in audience by Grossherzog (Grand Duke) Friedrich of Baden. Herzl was heartened by the meeting saying ("Jedenfalls nahm der Grossherzog meine Staatbildung von Anfang an vollkommen ernst." - "In any case, the Grand Duke took my proposed formation of a {Jewish}state quite seriously from the beginning.")

1897: In New York City, the world's largest Jewish daily newspaper, "The Forward," was first published. Abraham Cahan, 43, one of its founders, became editor of the paper in 1903, remaining until his death in 1951. The Forward began as a Yiddish paper. By the 1930's it was one of the nation's leading dailies with a readership of 275,000 supplemented by a radio audience listening to WVED. One of its most famous features was the Bintel Briefs, a Yiddish Dear Abby. The paper shifted its formant and became English weekly in the 1980's. Later it added a Russian language edition for the new wave of Jewish immigrants.

1920: During the San Remo Conference, Chaim Weizmann has a private meeting with Lloyd George and Lord Balfour during which he presses the British leaders "for a civil administration in Palestine, run by the British under a League of Nations mandate..." The San Remo Conference decided to assign the Palestine Mandate under the League of Nations to Britain. The agreed text of this Mandate was confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations in July 1922. The aim of the Mandate, as stated in its preamble and Article 2 was to prepare the area for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

1933(26th of Nisan, 5693): A Jewish merchant, Salomon Rosenstrauch was shot dead in Wiesbaden, Germany.

1940(14th of Nisan, 5700): The Sommer family sit down to their first Seder in Liechtenstiein. How this family of German Jewish refugees from Munich came to be there was chronicled by Susi Pugatsch-Sommer in an article entitled "A Pesach Miracle in Nazi Germany."

1940: SS official Odilo Globocnik announced a plan to increase the use of Jewish forced labor and to establish separate work camps for Jewish men and women.

1940: Ten members of the staff of Ben Shemen Youth village, including the director are sentenced to serve prison terms of up to seven years. The British had raided Ben Shemen in January and found weapons belonging to the the Jewish defense organization, the Haganah which later became the IDF. The prison sentences were for their role in hiding the weapons.

1943: The Nazis deported the Jews of Amersfoort, Holland.

1945: Six hundred of the remaining inmates at Jasenovac Concentration Camp rose up against their Croatian killers. The Croatians killed over five hundred of them. This camp was located in a breakaway republic from Yugoslavia called Coratia. The Croatians ran the camp for their Axis allies and were responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews.

1945: The Soviet Army liberated the Concentration Camp at Sachsenhausen in Germany. The camp was only about 35 kilometers from Berlin and was established in 1938. Approximately thirty to thirty-five thousand people including Jews perished in the camp.

1947(2nd of Iyyar, 5707): In Jerusalem's central prison, Moshe Barazani and Meir Feinstein beat the hangman when they used a grenade smuggled into death row to blow themselves up. The two had planned to detonate the device when they were on the scaffold thus taking the British appointed executioner with them. But when the Rabbi who visited them earlier in the day said he would return to be with them at the moment of execution, the two decide to act earlier so as avoid killing him.

1947: Another 769 illegal Jewish immigrants arriving on board the Galata in British controlled Palestine were trans-shipped to Cyprus. Most of the Jewish immigrants at the time were Holocaust survivors and were again interned in Camps, this time by the British.

1948: Operation Scissors was launched by the Haganah as part of the Yishuv's attempt to assume control of Haifa after British withdrawal and attacks had been made by Arab forces to control this port city. By the end of the day, Haifa was in the hand of the mainline Zionist forces. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capture_of_Haifa_in_1948

1950: Tonight, after the end of the Sabbath, Israel began the celebration of her second year of independence. In his address to the nation, President Weizmann called upon Israelis "to celebrate in joy and happiness the great salvation wrought to our people after centuries of exile and affliction." In Jerusalem, Joseph Sprinzak, Speaker of the Knesset, lit a torch on Mt. Herzl which lit from fire provided by veterans of the Masada Battalion which had defended Jerusalem from attacks by Egyptians and Arab Irregulars during the dark days of the siege of the City of David. Similar festivities took place throughout the country including open air performances, torch light parades and the sounding of sirens by ships of many nations docked in Israel's major ports.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the "past seven days was the bloodiest week along Israeli borders for a long time." Two Israelis were murdered at Mevuot Betar, the Arab marauders were active in the South, in Galilee and Jerusalem. There was a general outcry when General Bennet L. de Ridder, the U.N. Chairman of the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission refused to comply with the Israeli request to call an emergency meeting of the Commission to discuss the latest developments and, in particular, the murder of Zvi Genauer and his niece, Dvora, in Jerusalem. This incomprehensible U.N. decision was taken despite the fact that the tracks of the three marauders, responsible for this murder, were discovered by an U.N. observer and an Israeli officer who noted that they led to the Jordanian-occupied village of Beit Iksa. The General claimed that it was not the duty of his Commission to deal with incidents "of this type."

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel's three-years-long land survey, conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, was almost completed.

1979 (25th of Nisan, 5739): Arab Terrorist Shamir Kuntar was part of a cell that raided the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, fatally shooting a civilian, Danny Haran, while his daughter Einat, 4, watched, then smashing the girl's head, killing her as well. Mr. Haran's wife, Smadar, hid with their 2-year-old daughter, accidentally suffocating her in an effort to stop her from crying out.

2009: Five hundred Jews who were making their monthly visit to Joseph's Tomb in Schem arrived at the shrine this evening and found that it had been subjected to anti-Semitic vandalism including being painted with swastikas. According to the Oslo Accords, the tomb is under Israeli control, but that has been rendered as nothing more than a legal fiction since the outbreak of Arab violence in 2000.

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1 comment:

Nooyawka said...

In your entry for 1897, you refer to the radio station associated with the Daily Forward as WVED. The correct call letters were WEVD. They stood for Eugene Victor Debs, an American socialist from the American Midwest.

Since the Forward was written in Yiddish the page order was opposite the usual page order of English language publication. That was the occasion for the long-standing joke: "I read the Forward backwards."

Great blog. Keep it up.


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