As yesterday was Yom Hashoah, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss this:

The Shoah was not just a German or Nazi enterprise.

It was only possible through collaboration from people all over Europe (France, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine etc.) and beyond.
It was also not an isolated bubble of horror disconnected from the past or even the present. It was only possible because of thousands of years of embedded and foundational Jew-hatred.

Similarly, what we experience today is only possible because of those same things.
It was also not just European. Jews in North Africa were persecuted, and Jews in Baghdad were targeted by local Muslims in the Farhud.

The world - either through active participation or as bystanders - facilitated the murder of 6 million Jewish people, & millions of others.
It's clear why Germany obsessively focuses on its own role in this monumental crime, but if we don't understand the crucial role played by collaborators / the global community or the correct historical context of the Shoah then we fail to understand it.
Failing to properly understand this historic crime is disastrous for our comprehension of the hate that targets us and as a result our experiences and identity.

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More from @BenMFreeman

7 Apr
The Holocaust - the Shoah - was not a universal tragedy. It was a Jewish tragedy, that has universal lessons.

For Jewish people, the persecution we have experienced for millennia - and in particular, the Shoah - are not things of the past.
Not only do we still face intense persecution today, but we are scarred by the events of the past.

It is not history for us. It is our families. It is the culture we grew up in. It is our nightmares.

Today - on Yom Hashoah - we remember our dead.
We remember our friends and families who were murdered.

We remember what was stolen from us. We remember the songs that will never be sung again, the names that will never be said and the recipes that will never be cooked.
Read 5 tweets
26 Jan
During my 2012 trip to Eastern Europe, I spent three weeks in Poland exploring sites connected to both Jewish life and Jewish destruction.

In Warsaw, the capital of Poland, I visited the Warsaw Jewish Cemetery. This is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe.
There are 250,000 graves as well as mass graves containing the bodies of Jewish victims of the Warsaw Ghetto. Like other Jewish cemeteries in Poland, it was used as a site for mass executions.
In an act of degradation and cruelty, the Nazis would use Jewish headstones to pave roads. This was done in various places in Poland, including in Krakow and the Plaszow labour camp (featured in Schindler’s List).
Read 11 tweets
25 Jan
This is a photo of Mr Liviu Beris.

When I met him in Bucharest, Mr Beris was the Head of the Holocaust Survivors Association of Romania.

I interviewed Mr Beris in 2012 and he told me about his and his family’s experiences during the Romanian Holocaust.
He told me, ‘my fault, my crime was that I was born to Jewish parents’ and therefore along with thousands of other Jewish Romanians, he was deported on foot to concentration camps in Transnistria, part of modern day Moldova following violent and deadly pogroms.
He recalled a story where a Romanian guard shot a Jewish man getting some water from a well. When the man’s wife asked the guard, ‘why did you do that?’, he replied, ‘I wanted to see how a Jew dies.’
Read 6 tweets
22 Jan
TW: Holocaust:

Today on Shabbat and in the run-up to Holocaust Memorial Day, we will learn about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprisers.

It’s a common misconception that during the Shoah, Jews ‘went like lambs to the slaughter’. This is erroneous and offensive.
From April 19 to May 16 1943, Jews staged an uprising.

The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all Nazi Ghettos and at its peak, it was the prison for 450,000 Jews. The conditions were unimaginable and the prisoners lived on 184 Calories a day.
In response to the mass murder, some of the survivors set up ZOB.

Another organisation, ZZW was also set up and by April 1943 there were about 750 Jews in these movements combined. The ZOB were able to obtain a small number of weapons from the Home Army.
Read 8 tweets
1 Jun 20
Today is the 79th anniversary of the Farhud, a pogrom against the Jews of Baghdad.

Please read the following quotes from Jews from Baghdad who experienced this horrific explosion of violence.
"Suddenly we heard screams, 'Allah Allah!' and shots were fired. We went out to the roof to see what's happening, we saw fires, we saw people on the roofs in the ghetto screaming, begging God to help them."

- Heskel Haddad
"Later lots of men came outside and set the house on fire. And the men were shouting like from joy, in jubilation holding up something that looked like a slab of meat in their hands.

"Then I found out, it was a woman's breast they were carrying."

- Steve Acre
Read 5 tweets
11 Feb 20
A brief (& incomplete) history of antisemitism in the US:

Ulysses S. Grant issued General Order No. 11 in 1862 which expelled Jews from areas under his control, including areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
In 1913, Leo Frank was lynched,

Leo was convicted for the rape and murder of Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old girl.

Despite Leo's conviction being commuted, he was kidnapped from prison and lynched.
In the 1920s Henry Ford published an English translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, distributing 500,000 copies across the United States.

Ford said, 'The only statement I care to make about the Protocols is that they fit in with what is going on.'
Read 8 tweets

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