401: Birthdate of Theodosius II. As Emperor he adopted many of the anti-Semitic views of his sister which led to the destruction of innumerable synagogues and the murder of the Nasi, Gamliel IV who had authorized the building of new synagogues. Theodosius abolished of the position of Nasi in 425. The term Nasi means Prince and starting with the last decade of the second century was the title given to the head of the Sanhedrin. The Romans had recognized the importance of the position and Jews were allowed to pay a tax for the upkeep of the Nasi. When Theodosius killed Gamliel and abolished the position Nasi, he did not end the tax. He diverted the money to the Roman government.
847: Papacy of Leo IV begins.
879: Louis III becomes King of the Western Franks (also known as France). Louis was part of the Carolingian Dynasty which was comparatively sympathetic and supportive of the Jews living in the realm as can be seen by the decrees of some of Louis III’s predecessors including Charlemagne and Louis the Pious.
1096: During the Crusades Bishop Egelbert offered to save all the Jews of Trier, Germany who are willing to be baptized. The Jews were seeking refuge from a mob that was threatening them with death. Most of the Jews chose to drown themselves rather than accept Christianity.
1191: In the enfolding saga of King Richard’s crusade to the Holy Land that was so costly to the Jews from the time of his departure until the payment of his ransom, the English monarch set sail from Sicily for Palestine.
1201: King John of England confirms Charter of the Jews. King John charged the Jews four thousand marks to re-confirm the rights that had first been guaranteed by his great grandfather, King Henry
1439(25th of Nisan): Poet and kabbalist Avigdor ben Isaac Kara of Prague passed away today.
1516: The first ghetto was established in Venice. There are various explanations of the origin of the term ghetto. "The mostly likely explanation for the word ghetto, as applied to a special place assigned to the Jews is that one such district, set up in the city of Venice, was located near an iron-foundry which was called ‘get’ in the dialect of Venice." While Jews had often sought to live in their own communities, the ghetto was different because it was compulsory. Under the ghetto system, Jews were restricted by law as to where they could live while Christians were free to live everywhere.
1560(14th of Nisan): The Pentateuch with a Yiddish translation was published in Cremona, Italy
1570: The Chumash with Yiddish translation was published in Cremona, Italy. There were less than a thousand Jews living in Cremona at this time. In 1559, under pressure from the Dominicans, copies of the Talmud and other Jewish books had been publicly burned in Cremona. A quarter of a century after the printing of the above mentioned Chumash, the Jews were expelled from Cremona.
1637: Venetian Rabbi, Judah di Modena “received word that his Italian manuscript entitled ‘History of Hebrew’ customs had been published in Paris.” A gentile Parisian publisher thought that “a book extolling Judaism, written by a Jew in Italian” would be of interest to Christian readers which was the authors “target audience.” (As reported by Abraham Bloch)
1625(3rd of Nisan, 5385): Joshua Cohen Peixotto passed away.
1699: Rabbi Samuel Orgels, a friend of Baer Cohen for whom he had arranged both of his marriages, passed away. According to the diary of Glückel of Hameln he “fell into a faint and died on the spot” on a Friday evening while in the Synagogue.
1719: Fire destroyed the Ghetto of Nikolsburg, Moravia
1728(1st of Iyar, 5488): Rosh Chodesh
1728(1st of Iyar, 5488): Solomon Ayllon, the “Hacham” of Sephardic congregations in London and Amsterdam and who was alleged to a supporter of Sabbatai Zevi, passed away today.
1738: John Da Costa swears in writing that he has translated the will of Abraham Mendes Seixas, also known as Migule Pnacheo Da Silva from Portugese into English to the best of his ability.
1772: Empress Maria Theresa issued an order allowing Jews to “sell new garments they had made themselves" despite protests from the local tailor’s guild.
1794: Birthdate of Edward Robinson an American biblical scholar, known as the “Father of Biblical Geography.” Robinson led a mission of exploration to Palestine in 1838. Among his many finds was “the tunnel dug by Hezekiah shortly before the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem in 701/02 BCE.” He is the Robinson of “Robinson’s Arch,” a structure found on the south-western side of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
1800(15th of Nisan, 5560): First Pesach of the 19th Century
1816(12th of Nisan, 5576): M.H. Bock, the native of Magedburg founded a well-regarded private school “in 1807 at Berlin, and to which Christian as well as Jewish pupils were admitted” passed away today.
1825(22nd of Nisan, 5585): 8th day of Pesach
1828: Birthdate of Isaac Honig, brother of Henry Honig, the native of Mayence who came to the United States in 1850 where his mercantile prospered to the extent that he could retire in 1865.
1835: Birthdate of Johann Schnitzler “a Hungarian-Austrian Jewish laryngologist.”
1847: Birthdate of Joseph Pulitzer. Born in Hungary, Pulitzer came to the United States during the Civil War where he served in the Union Army. After the war he learned English, became rich as publisher of the St Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World. He died in 1911. The Pulitzer Prizes were created by his will and were first awarded in 1917. Pulitzer's father was Jewish, but his mother was a Roman Catholic. Although he was not Jewish, Pulitzer's enemies attacked him as one even condemning him for hiding the "fact" that he was one.
1849(17th of Nisan, 5609): Third day of Pesach
1849(17th of Nisan, 5609): In Amsterdam, David Proops, the last member of a family of printers that date back to the 18th century passed away today.
1858: Jewish veterans of the Russian Army were given permission to settle in Finland which was a province in the Russian Empire. The Jewish soldiers would have had to complete 25 years of service to gain this right
1861(30th of Nisan, 5621): As Confederate forces prepare to begin for the attack on Fort Sumter, the Jews of Charleston joined their co-religionist throughout the world in observing the first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyyar.
1863: Jacob C. Cohen of the 27th Ohio Infantry writes from Corinth, Mississippi about life in the Union Army which is resting in preparation for what will be the climatic campaign to take Vicksburg, the “Confederate Gibraltar” on the Mississippi River.
1863: Today Ferdinand Leopold Samer was the first rabbi to be commissioned as a chaplain in the Union Army. Born in Germany, Samar was elected by the 54th New York Volunteer Regiment made up of mostly German speaking soldiers. Samer was the first Jewish chaplain to be wounded in combat during the Civil War.
1866(25th of Nisan, 5626): Fifty-nine year old Adolph Meyer, the scion of multi-generational Hanover, Germany, banking family who with his wife Fanny had eight children, passed away today.
1871: Anti-Semitic riots break out in Odessa Russia
1873: In “Passover: The Jewish Festival and Feast of the Year,” published today The New York Times reports that “to-morrow evening, the 11th of April the Jewish part of the inhabitants of this City will begin the celebration of the Feast of the Passover, an ancient Hebrew festival which Moses instituted to commemorate perpetually the passing over the houses of the Israelites, and the slaying of the first-born of the Egyptians, just previous to the exodus of the children of Israel.” The article is remarkable for its detailed description of the holiday including the insightful statement that “Passover is one of the three important of the festival calendar and although observed by the Jews everywhere yet the laws laid down in relation to its celebration are not followed by all classes of Jews with equal strictness”
1876(16th of Nisan, 5636): Second day of Pesach; 1st day of the Omer.
1876: In New York City, Bertha and Levi Spiegelberg gave birth to Eugene E. Spiegelberg
1879(16th of Nisan, 5639): Second day of Pesach
1879(16th of Nisan, 5639):
1882: A pogrom in Podalia, Russia left 40 dead, 170 wounded and 1,250 dwellings destroyed. Fifteen thousand Jews were reduced to total poverty. It was events like these that spurred the First Aliyah in the Zionist movement.
1884(15th of Nisan, 5644): 1st day of Pesach
1887: Pope Leo XIII authorizes the establishment of The Catholic University of America. Among its most distinguished alums is David R. Levin a graduate of university’s Columbus College of Law.
1890: Sixty-one year old Hungarian born Austrian poet Karl Isidor Beck who edited the Lloyd, passed away today in Vienna.
1890: The late Louis Lippman has left a bequest of $500 to each of the following: Mount Sinai Hospital, the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum, the Montefiore Home for Chronic Invalids and the Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews.
1892: In an article entitled “One of the Important Hebrew Festivals Begins To-Morrow Night,” the New York Times reports that “at sunset to-morrow evening, which corresponds with the evening of the fourteenth day of the month of Nissan in the Hebraic calendar the Jewish community through the world will commence the celebration of the feast of Pesach or Passover.”1895: In Albany, NY, the State Board of Charities approved the certificate of incorporation of the Hebrew Infant Asylum of the City of New York.
1896: A Jew named Benjamin Dreyer who had been masquerading as Turk named Ben Ouni was arraigned in Brooklyn on charges of having stolen a tray of rings.
1896: “David Finkelstein of Bridgeport, CT, got a writ of habeas corpus” today “in Special Term, Part II of the Supreme Court commanding Pesach Isenbroch…to bring into court the court, the realtor’s wife, Ida Finkelstein” whom he alleges he married under false pretenses.
1896: The Young Folks’ League of the Hebrew Infant Asylum performed a two act play at the Lexington Opera house as a fundraiser.
1897: “Books and Periodicals” published today described plans to simultaneously release Ancient Hebrew Tradition by Dr. Firtz Hommel in May. In this work, the noted Semitic language expert “controverts the method employed by the higher critics of the Old Testament and attacks the Graf Wellhausen hypothesis, also known as the documentary hypothesis.
1898: In Los Angeles, Mamie and Henry Klein gave birth to their only son, Arthur Louis Klein who earned a Ph.D. in physics at Cal Tech where he eventually became a full Professor of Aeronautical Engineering – a position he held when in 1946 he went to Bikini to help evaluate the effect of the atomic tests.
1900: Herzl meets Arminius Vámbéry in Budapest in attempts to enlist Turkish support for the creation of the Jewish homeland in Palestine.
1903: In Vienna, Max Graf, “a member of Sigmund Freud’s circle of friends” and his wife gave birth to opera producer Herbert Graf, who was also “the Little Hans discussed in Freud's 1909 study ‘Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy.’”
1905: In Charleston, SC, Rabbi Simenhoff officiated at the wedding of Jacob Lichmon and Rosa Dautschman.
1906: Birthdate of Wilhelm Kauders who gained fame as Czech electrical engineer Vilém Klíma who survived Terezin and the death march to Auschwitz.
1910: Rabbi Avraham Elyashiv (Erener) of Gomel, Belarus, and Chaya Musha, daughter of the kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo Elyashiv gave birth to Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv
1910: More than seven hundred members of the Hebrew Retail Kosher Butchers' Protective Association met today at 763 First Avenue and resolved not to buy a pound of meat for twenty-four hours.
1910: Birthdate of New York businessman Samuel “Sam” Schulman who was best known as the owner of the NBA SuperSonics and a minority owner of NFL San Diego Chargers.
1910: “Oppressed Jews in Morocco Seek From Powers” published today described the desperate condition of these North African Jews and their attempts to get the Alliance Israelite of Paris and the Anglo-Jewish Association in London to enlist the aid of their respective governments ‘in forcing the Sultan to keep the promise of his grandfather, made to Sir Moses Montefiore in 1864, that his Jewish subjects should be dealt with justly, not cruelly”
1911: Today, The Edward Rosenstein Association distributed free matzoth to needy Jews living on the Lower East Side
1912: Sixty-eight year old French historian Gabriel Monod who “became convinced” that Dreyfus did not write the infamous “bordereau”, testified on his behalf at the Court of Cessation in 1899 and after his pardon assured Dreyfus “that come what may, he would always…defend him.”
1912: Archibald Grace IV, the man who would provide the account of Isidor Strauss’s last moments boarded the Titanic at Southampton today.
1912: Mr. Abraham Joseph Hyman who was born in the Russian Empire in 1878 and the husband of Manchester naïve Esther Levy boarded the Titanic today at Southampton as a third class passenger (ticket number 3470 which cost £7, 17s, 9d) which was the first step on journey to visit his brother Harry in Springfield, MA.
1912: Tonight marks the start of the Young Women's Hebrew Association’s campaign to raise $250,000 for a new building. Abram I. Elkus, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the campaign; Supreme Court Justice Samuel Greenbaum, Rabbi Schulman, and other speakers will address the workers at the kick-off function.
1913(3rd of Nisan, 5673): Fifty-five year old Isaac “Ike” Tuck the “publisher of the Produce Bulletin and one of the best known men in fruit trade circles all over the United States” passed away this evening at his home in Brooklyn
1913: Birthdate of Hellmuth Flieg, a German - Jewish writer, known by his pseudonym Stefan Heym. He lived in the United States (or served in its army abroad) between 1935 and 1952, before moving back to the part of his now-partitioned native Germany which was the German Democratic Republic (GDR, "East Germany"). He published works in English and German at home and abroad, and despite longstanding criticism of the GDR remained a committed socialist.
1914: Birthdate of Raphael Silverman, the native of Ithaca, NY who gained fame as “Raphael Hillyer, the founding violist of the Juilliard String Quartet and a soloist and teacher known for the warmth and expressivity of his tone.”
1914(14th of Nisan, 5674): Four hundred and fifty Jewish servicemen including sailors from the battleships Texas, North Dakota, Washington, Ohio, Wyoming and Louisiana are scheduled to take part in a seder tonight specifically for military personnel at Tuxedo Hall in Manhattan.
1914(14th of Nisan, 5674): In a pre-Passover tragedy, George Rothstein discovered the bodies of his sister Bessie Diamond and three of her young children who were victims of an apparent murder-suicide. According to Mrs. Diamond’s husband, Mrs. Diamond had been suffering from severe depression for which her doctor had recommended she be sent to a sanitarium.
1915: As of today at Temple Emanu-El the sisterhood which was founded in 1889 and the brotherhood which was founded in 1900 are active in providing social service and settlement work on the Lower East Side.
1916: Birthdate of Abraham Basalinsky, the native of Bethnal Green, London who gained fame as actor Alfie Bass.
1916: In Berlin at a meeting of the Relief Committee for Indigent Jews, “the President that 700,000 Jews in the occupied districts of Poland required assistance.
1916: Chairman Nathan of the Hebrew Benevolent Association today “paid a tribute to the work of American Jews in supporting the sufferers in Poland.
1916: The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) is created in New York City. In 1942, Herman “Barron became the first Jewish golfer to win an official PGA Tour event by winning the Western Open by two strokes over Henry Picard at Phoenix Golf Club in Phoenix, Arizona.”
1917: “Henry Morgenthau, Chairman of the campaign to raise $10,000,000 for the immediate aid of the Jewish sufferers in the eastern war zone said” today “that Governor Simon Bamberger of Utah had pledged to give one-tenth of the total amount that his state might raise for the fund.” (Editor’s note – Simon Bamberger was the first non-Mormon and the first Jew to serve as governor of Utah.)
1917: In New York, “the Provisional Executive Committee for general Zionist affairs announced” tonight that it had received a cablegram from Moscow saying that today, “the first Zionist convention ever held in Russia has just closed its sessions which were marked with tremendous enthusiasm, due to the fact that this is the first time they have been able to assemble from all part of the country and to publicly discuss questions of interest to the Jewish people without fear or arrest.”
1918: Birthdate of Alfred P. Slaner, the developer of Supp-Hose hosiery who also made Nixon’s Enemies’ List.
1918: “Zionist Unit Prepares” published today described the upcoming departure for Palestine of “the American Zionist Medical Unit with forty members” that “will co-operate with the Jewish Administrative Commission which is laying the foundation for the future Jewish State.”
1918: Birthdate of Cornell Capa, a globe-trotting photojournalist who founded the International Center of Photography in New York and dedicated himself to preserving the legacy of his older brother, war photographer Robert Capa. He died on May 23, 2008 at the age of 90 of Parkinson’s disease.
1920(22nd of Nisan, 5680): Moritz Benedikt Cantor, a German historian of mathematics, passed away.
1920(22nd of Nisan, 5680): 8TH Day of Pesach
1920: Birthdate of Alexander Livshiz, the son of Russian born parents living in Yokohama who gained fame as Dr. Alexander Leaf.
1923: In the Netherlands, Sophie Josephine Frank, the daughter of Louis and Emma Sachs and Siegfried Frank gave birth to Julius Frank.
1923: Premiere performance of Kurt Weil’s “Divertimento for Orchestra” by the Berlin Philharmonic.
1924: Today, Michael “Balcon married Aileen Freda Leatherman, the daughter of Max Jacobs and Beatrice Leatherman, with whom he had two children Jonathan and Jill who married Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis whose children were Tamasin Day-Lewis and Oscar winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
1925: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is first published in New York City, by Charles Scribner's Sons. Among the characters who populate this classic study of life in the Roaring Twenties is Meyer Wolfsheim a gambler with underworld connections who claims to have fixed the 1919 World Series. The character is a thinly veiled fictional version of the Jewish gambler Arnold Rothstein, whom according to some, fixed the 1919 World Series. Rothstein has been portrayed as the evil Jew who corrupts America’s pristine pastime and its innocent Christian athletes. Is Fitzgerald trying to imply that whatever shady deals Gatsby may have engaged in are the product of the corrupting influence of this Jewish gambler?
1926: In Nuremberg, Germany, “Juda and Fanny Metzger immigrants from Poland” gave birth to “artist and political activist” Gustav Metzger who came to Great Britain from Germany as part of the Kindertransport and created the concept of Auto-Destructive Art while being an active member of the anti-nuclear peace movement.
1926: “Chairman David A. Brown of the United Jewish Campaign which is seeking to raise $15,000,000 for relief and reconstruction work among the Jews of Eastern Europe” reported today “to the 1,200 members of the national committee” that original goal would be surpassed and the contributions would actually come close to $25,000,000.
1927: Birthdate of Marshall Warren Nirenberg “an American biochemist and geneticist who shared a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968.”
1927: “Anti-Semitism in Russia” published today provides the views of Alexander Kerensky, who led the Russian government after the fall of the Czars and before the takeover by Lenin, “that hatred toward Jews is intense at present in his country” and that “only the advent of a politically free and economically sound system of government in Russia will put an end to anti-Semitism there.”
1928(19th of Nisan, 5688): Fifth day of Pesach
1928: In Mount Vernon, NY “Chauncey Freedman and the former Dorothea Kornblum” gave birth to “Monroe H. Freedman, a dominant figure in legal ethics whose work helped chart the course of lawyers’ behavior in the late 20th century.” (As reported by Margalit Fox)
1928(19th of Nisan, 5688): Seventy-one year old Amalia “Molly” Finkelstein Mogulesko who performed in Goldfaden's "Grandmother with Grandson" and was the widow of Yiddish actor Sigmund Mogulesko passed away today.
1928: Birthdate of Claude Newman Rosenberg, the Jewish philanthropist who authored, “Wealthy and Wise: How You and America Can Get the Most Out of Your Giving”
1931: “My Cousin from Warsaw” produced by Arnold Pressburger was released today in Germany and France.
1932: Birthdate of actor Omar Sharif. The Egyptian born Sharif, who starred in such films as “Dr. Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia,” found his films banned in the Arab world because he played opposite Jewish singing star Barbra Streisand.
1933: German Vice-Chancellor Frtiz von Papen met with Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII and presented Hitler’s offer for a Concordant between the new Nazi government and the Vatican.
1934: In Englewood, NJ. Jacob and Florence Landau gave birth Jacob Charles “Jack” Landau the attorney who served as one of the founders of the Reported Committee for Freedom of the Press.
1934: U.S. premiere of “Viva Villa!” produced by David O. Selznick with a script by Ben Hecht and featuring Joseph Schildkraut as “Gen. Pascal.”
1934: Birthdate of David Halbestram one of the many Jewish journalists that have dominated the American literary scene. Halbestram won a Pulitzer in 1964 for his coverage in the New York Times of the Viet Nam War. He gained further fame as the author of the best-selling Best and the Brightest. He has been a prolific author on a variety of topics. Ironically, he never wrote a book on a “Jewish” topic.
1935 At Temple Emanu-El, Mrs. Israel Goldstein presided over a conference of the “leaders of Jewish women’s organizations with a combined membership of several hundred thousand” where the attendees “pledged cooperation with the Jewish National Fund” in the work of redeeming the land of Palestine.
1936: It was announced today that “Dr. Stephen S. Wise, national chairman of the $3,500,000 campaign of the United Palestine Appeal for the settlement in Palestine of a maximum number of the Jews of Germany, Poland and other lands has received messages endorsing the drive from Governor Paul V. McNutt of Indiana, Representative Schuyler Merritt of Connecticut, Governor Tom Berry of South Dakota and Governor Harold Hoffman of New Jersey.”
1936: Tonight in a broadcast over WEAF in New York, banker and philanthropist Felix M. Warburg described “the rehabilitation work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in fifty countries during the last twenty-two years including the current training programs “to train and rehabilitate for vocational work Jewish youths and adults in Germany who have been barred” by law taking part in commercial and professional activities.
1936: “Citing a clause of the Treaty of Versailles, Supreme Court Justice Philip J. McCook refused to recognize the ‘sovereign immunity’ claim in the courts by the German State Railroads which was the basis for its defense brought by Marcel M. Holzer, a former employee who claimed he had been discharged as a ‘non-Aryan’ and his internment in a German concentration camp.
1936: The mandatory government “prohibition on the use of the term ‘Eretz Israel’ (Land of Israel) over the radio became a national issue today when a suit was filed” in Jerusalem” to force lifting the ban.”
1937: In a pre-birthday interview given today, Dr. Pereira-Mendes, the rabbi emeritus of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue said that any celebration of his upcoming 85th birthday would be a “surprise” to him.
1938: The Palestine Post reported that Itzhak Petrenko, 32, had been shot and killed and that two Arab terrorists were killed in their attack on the Nesher quarry, near Haifa. Two other Arab terrorists were killed after they attempted to attack a convoy escorting the mayor of Nablus, Suleiman Bey Toukan, on his official duties. A number of unexploded bombs were found in Jerusalem's Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall.
1938: The Palestine Post reported that Maestro Toscanini, who had turned down an offer to participate in the Salzburg Festival, arrived in Haifa for a series of concerts.
1938: The Palestine Post reported that The Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulcher was closed to the public due to urgent repairs and restorations.
1938: Birthdate of Denny Zeitlin the son of Highland Park, Il physician who gained fame as a jazz pianist and composer.
1938: In Tel Aviv, Arturo Toscanini directed his first rehearsal with the Palestine Orchestra.
1938: In the revolving door of French politics during the Third Republic, the government led by Premiere Leon Blum fell and meaning the first Jewish Premier of France, who had been physically attacked by anti-Semites lost his position for the second and final time.
1939: Laurence Steinhardt completed his service as U.S. Ambassador to Peru.
1939: Birthdate of Alan Rothenberg, President of the U.S. Soccer Association.
1939: The Dutch government opened camp Westerbork for German Jews. The impulse to start the construction of the camp came from the Dutch authorities themselves, who in the years preceding the Second World War, sought to provide housing and shelter for Jewish refugees fleeing the horrors of Nazi-Germany. A camp was necessary because the authorities wanted to keep these refugees out of the cities, towns and villages. When the Nazi-armies invaded The Netherlands during the month of May 1940 the camp-infrastructure including inhabitants was an easy prey.”
1940: Justice Felix Frankfurter and two others met with President Roosevelt today at the White House at 4:30 and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. and two others met with him at 5:30 pm.
1941: Rav Aaron Kotler who had been rescued by the Vaad Hatzalah arrived in San Francisco and two years later “in 1943 fond Beth Medrash Vovoha in Lakewood, NJ.
1943: Twelve Jewish patients of Herren Loo-Lozenoord, a facility for the mentally disabled escaped from the Nazi's.
1944: “Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escape from Auschwitz and carry detailed information about the death camp to outside world.” (Virtual Jewish Library
1944: In Tel Aviv, the deputy superintendent of police “beat death” by surviving the attack of an unknown gunman who fired three shots at him in front of the police headquarters in the central part of the city.
1944: “Tampico” starring Edward G. Robinson, with music by David Raksin was released in the United States today
1945: U.S. Armed forces liberated the prison camp at Buchenwald, Germany. It was estimated that nearly 57,000 prisoners (mostly Jews) perished in the gas chambers of Buchenwald during its eight-year existence as a Nazi concentration camp.
1946: In Cleveland, Ohio, the Men’s Club of the Euclid Avenue Temple hosted Variety Nite, an evening of entertainment “for men’s club members and their ladies.”
1946: U.S. premiere of “Dragonwyck,” directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz who also wrote the script, co-produced by Ernst Lubitsch with music by Alfred Newman.
1946: At its annual spring luncheon at the Hotel Astor, the Women’s League for Palestine launched a building drive designed to raise $150,000 to upgrade the league’s Home for Immigrant Girls in Tel Aviv. According to Mrs. David Isaacs, the League’s vice president, “Palestine will soon have an influx of thousands of young women from displaced camps abroad seeking shelter and rehabilitation.” The luncheon was attended by 1,340 supporters.
1947: Birthdate of New York native David Abraham Adler the author “of nearly 200 books for children and young adults” including “several acclaimed works about the Holocaust for young readers.”
1947: The Hapoel soccer team is scheduled to arrive in New York today, on the first stop on its good will tour of the United States. The team is scheduled to play all-star teams in several cities including Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis, Chicago Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
1948: “A group of Jewish immigrants from Egypt set up a camp in an area near Sderot which would be the future location of Bror Hayil.
1948(1st of Nisan, 5708): Rosh Chodesh Nisan
1948: The Haganah repelled an Arab attack on Mishmar HaEmek. Kibbutz Mishmar Ha-Emek (Guard of the Valley) was located on the western rim of the Jezreel Valley and had been founded by Polish chalutzim in 1926. The fight for this strategic point lasted for eight days during which the Arab Liberation Army had the military advantage thanks to having the use of field artillery supplied by the Syrian Army. Please note that this fight took place before the creation of the state of Israel in May, 1948. It came during the unsuccessful attempt by the Arabs to cutoff Jerusalem from the rest of the Yishuv.
1949: What Makes Sammy Run?, Budd Schulberg’s novel based on his father B.P. Schulberg that gave the world “Sammy Glick” was dramatized for the first time on Philco Television Playhouse.
1950: Birthdate of Haim Ramon, a native of Jaffa who served in the IAF before pursuing a political career.
1952(15th of Nisan, 5712): 1st day of Pesach
1953: Ernest Gruening completed his term as 7th Territorial Governor of Alaska.
1953: Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, better known as movie star Hedy Lamar, became a citizen of the United States.
1953: “Small Town Girl” a musical produced by Joe Pasternak, with a score by Nicholas Brodszky and André Previn and filmed by cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg was released today in the United States.
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the foreign minister, Moshe Sharett, had held "a brief interview" at the White House, with US president, Dwight Eisenhower.
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel received as a gift, or purchased at lowered prices, America's food surplus: wheat, beans, potatoes, cheese, powdered milk, dried eggs and butter. Another important purchase was 100,000 tons of the strictly rationed American steel for local pipe factories.
1955: Dr Jonas Salk successfully tested his Polio vaccine.
1958: Birthdate of Yefim "Fima" Naumovich Bronfman a Russian born Israeli pianist.
1962(9th of Nisan, 5722): Seventy five year old Michael Curitz passed away. Born Manó Kertész Kaminer on Christmas Eve in 1886, to a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary (then Austria-Hungary), he ran away from home at age 17 to join a circus, then trained for an acting career at the Royal Academy for Theater and Art. His best known films include, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Casablanca and White Christmas.
1963(16th of Nisan, 5723): Second Day of Pesach; 1st day of the Omer.
1966(20th of Nisan, 5726): Sixth day of Pesach
1966(20th of Nisan, 5726): Eighty-six year old Joseph Newman, the husband of Tilly Cohen, of blessed memory and the father of Captain Isidore Newman who had served as “Beadle and Collector” for Hull Central Synagogue passed away today.
1968: “Belle de Jour” a French film “based on the 1928 novel Belle de jour by Joseph Kessel was released in the United States today.
1971(15th of Nisan, 5731): Pesach
1968: “George M!” a musical with a book by Michael Stewart and Francine Pascal, produced by Emanuel Azenberg and starring Joel Grey opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre.
1970: During the War of Attrition, “two 201 Squadron Phantoms attacked a radar facility at Wadi Zur.”
1973: Operation Spring of Youth came to an end. This was an amphibious assault by the IDF on Beirut and Sidon aimed at those who had massacred Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
1974: Yitzhak Rabin replaced Golda Meir as Prime Minister. Mrs. Meir had resigned, a casualty of the Yom Kippur War.
1974: “Our Time” a coming of age film directed and written by Peter Hyams was released in the United States today.
1974: In St. Louis, MO, Becky and Robert Greitens gave birth to Eric Greitens the decorated war hero and Rhodes Scholar whose accomplishments are so varied that he can truly be called “Renaissance Man.”
1975: The government of Israel recognized Falashas as Jews under the law.
1978(3rd of Nisan, 5738): Ninety-one year old Irma Levy Lindheim, the second president of Hadassah passed away today.
1978: Harold H. Saunders who played a key role in the creation of the Camp David Accords, completed his service as the 6th Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research.
1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that the UNIFIL's acute lag in recruiting to beef up the projected 4,000-man force had decreased the prospects of an early, complete Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon.
1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that top US officials were reported to have been studying the possibility of an American treaty guarantee for a Middle Eastern settlement, "backed by a US air base in the Sinai and a naval base at Jaffa." The use of glass bottles was prohibited on Israeli beaches.
1979(13th of Nisan, 5739): One person was killed and 36 were injured when a terrorist bomb went off in a market at Tel Aviv.
1980: Birthdate of Israeli tennis player, Andy Ram
1983: Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Abrams of Roslyn, L.I., have announced the engagement of their daughter, Lori Sue Abrams, to Alan Barry Greenfield, son of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Greenfield, also of Roslyn. The groom is attending the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel
1984(8th of Nisan, 5744): Eighty-seven American movie producer and director Jack White, born Jacob Weiss in Budapest, who used “the pseudonym ‘Preston Black’” after his divorce passed away today.
1987(11th of Nisan, 5747): Two Israeli soldiers were killed and two wounded in southern Lebanon, The attack occurred near Qantara, inside the ''security zone.'' Military sources said the attackers were Shiite Moslem guerrillas from the Party of God and Amal movements.
1989: Rite Aid, the drug store chain founded by Scranton businessman Alex Grass, acquired Peoples Drug’s 114 unit Lane Drug of Ohio.
1990(15th of Nisan, 5750): Pesach
1990: NBC broadcast the first episode of the sitcom “Wings” co-starring Rebecca Schull.
1990: Following his major league debut yesterday, White Sox pitcher Scott Radinsky “picked up his first major league win with one and a third innings” of relief pitching today.
1990; Ninety year old actress Natalie Schafer whose career which began in the 1920’s is remembered primarily for her role on the sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” passed away today.
1992: In the UK, Malcolm Rifkind completed his service as Secretary of State for Transport and began serving as Secretary of State for Defense.
1992: After premiering in Cleveland, Ohio, “The Player” a satirical film featuring appearances by Sydney Pollack, Peter Falk, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Gershon was released today in the rest of the United States.
1992: U.S. premiere of “Newsies” with music by Alan Menken, filmed by cinematographer Andrew Laszlo.
1993(19th of Nisan, 5753): Fifth Day of Pesach; Shabbat Shel Pesach
1993(19th of Nisan, 5753): Ninety-five year old Maxim Lieber, the son of Adolph and Natalie Leiberman and the husband of Minna E. Lieber, the literary agent and alleged Communist spy passed away today.
1998(14th of Nisan, 5758): In the evening, First Seder.
1998: “My Giant” a comedy starring Billy Crystal who also produced and wrote script for the film was released in the United States today.
1998 “The Odd Couple II” written and produced by Neil Simon, directed by Howard Deutch and co-starring Walter Matthau in his second to last film was released in the United States today.
1999(24th of Nisan, 5759): Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat passed away. Born in Germany in 1910, he fled Nazi Germany ultimately settling in the United States where he served on the faculty of the University of California for over 40 years. He was a noted biochemist famous for his viral research.
2002(28th of Nisan, 5762): Ninety-two year old Israel political leader and jurist Haim Cohen passed away. The native of Lubeck is also the author of The Trial and Death of Jesus “in which he argued that it was the Romans, not the Sanhedrin, who tried and executed Jesus.
2002(28th of Nisan, 5762): “Eight were killed and 22 injured in a suicide bombing on Egged bus #960, en route from Haifa to Jerusalem, which exploded near Kibbutz Yagur, east of Haifa. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. The victims: Avinoam Alfia, 26, of Kiryat Ata; Sgt.-Maj.(res.) Shlomi Ben Haim, 27, of Kiryat Yam; Sgt.-Maj.(res.) Nir Danieli, 24, of Kiryat Ata; Border Police Lance Cpl. Keren Franco, 18, of Kiryat Yam; Sgt.-Maj.(res.) Ze’ev Hanik, 24, of Karmiel; Border Police Lance Cpl. Noa Shlomo, 18, of Nahariya; Prison Warrant Officer Shimshon Stelkol, 33, of Kiryat Yam; and Sgt. Michael Weissman, 21, of Kiryat Yam.”
2003(8th of Nisan, 5763): St.-Sgt. Yigal Lifshitz, 20, of Rishon Lezion, and St.-Sgt. Ofer Sharabi, 21, of Givat Shmuel were killed and nine others wounded when Palestinian terrorists opened fire before dawn on their base near Bekaot in the northern Jordan Valley. (As reported by Jewish Virtual Library.
2005: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio by Jeffrey Kluger, Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky and the recently released paperback edition of Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner by Simon Sebag Montefiore
2005: In Stockholm, The Zionist Federation of Sweden presents "Herzl: Up Close and Personal," the traveling exhibit which was produced by the Department for Zionist Activities, World Zionist Organization, to celebrate the visionary of the Jewish state on the 100th anniversary of his passing.
2006: The Cedar Rapids Gazette featured a photo display entitled “preparing a Jewish Tradition,” featuring pictures of bakers at the Shmurah Matzoh Bakery in Brooklyn preparing “the unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews at Passover.”
2007(22nd of Nisan, 5767): Eighth Day of Pesach; Yizkor, for Orthodox and Conservative Jews
2007: Moshiach's Seudah marks the end of Pesach
2007: At the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, the “Fourth Annual Stanley F. Chyet Literary Event” features Etgar Keret. “Israel's popular young writer Etgar Keret is at once court jester, literary crown prince, and national conscience. His painfully funny and honest books, including “The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God” and “Jetlag,” have earned him international recognition. Also a respected filmmaker, Keret took home the Israeli Film Academy Award for Best Picture for his film Skin Deep.”
2008: In Washington, D.C., Madeleine M. Kunin, the former governor of Vermont, the first Jewish woman governor and an ambassador under the Clinton administration, discusses and signs her new book, “Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead.”
2008(16th of Nisan, 5769): Barry H. Gottehrer, a journalist whose award-winning newspaper series “City in Crisis” helped elect John V. Lindsay mayor of New York in 1965 and who then joined the administration to help defuse the subsequent crises the city faced, died tonight near his home in Wilmington, N.C. at the age of 73.
2008: “Fram” featuring Clare Lawrence Moody in the role of “Ruth Fry” premiered in London today.
2008: In New York, at the Jewish Museum presents a lecture “When Great Art Meets Great Evil” during which chief New York Times music critic James Oestreich speaks with authors Henry Grinberg and Eugene Drucker about their respective novels “Variations on the Beast” and “The Savior.” Both books deal with the contradictions between the greatness of German musical cultureand the depths of depravity to which Germany sank while the Nazis were in power.
2008: The Jerusalem Post reported that while Jewish parents are well-known for wanting their children to work in certain professions with law and medicine have usually topping the list, a new challenger is climbing the ranks - hi-tech. The old standbys are still strong but hi-tech has edged out law for second place. In a survey released this week by the Mutagim Center for the BizPortal Web site and conducted among 500 Israeli Jews, medicine came in first at 22 percent, hi-tech was second with 16% and the law was third at 10%. Engineering came in fourth and teaching fifth. Politics or modeling was no one's idea of a good profession, with only 1% wishing them on their children. In a gender reversal, more parents were interested in their daughters becoming doctors (14.7%) than their sons (11.5%). Perhaps the old saw about one's daughter marrying a good Jewish doctor has turned into one's daughter becoming a good Jewish doctor. Older parents were much more interested in their children becoming doctors than younger moms and dads. Younger parents were more interested in their children becoming lawyers. Parents aged 18-24 preferred the law nearly three times as often as their compatriots aged 45-54. Overall, the law was considered a more appropriate profession for boys than for girls (6.5% to 5.8%). Are younger parents perhaps a touch more naïve than their more experienced counterparts? Two percent expressed an interest in having a politician in the family, while older parents wanted to keep politicians in the Knesset and not at the dinner table. Haredim were 15 times more likely to want their offspring to be teachers than secular parents (21% to 1.4%). Some younger parents wouldn't object to seeing their child as a model posing on giant billboards (4%), but 0% of older parents want that. The older your parents are, the more they have ideas about what you should be, the survey found. Almost a third (31.3%) of those aged 18-24 said they would let their children choose their own professions without expressing a preference. However, only 14.6% of parents above 55 were willing to do the same. There were also differences between Jerusalem residents and northern Sharon ones. More Sharon area residents wanted a doctor or model (26% and 3.8%, respectively) than their Jerusalem counterparts (18.6% and 0%). There was no margin of error given for the survey.
2009(16 Nisan 5769): Second Day of Pesach; first day of the Omer
2009: The French government appointed Rabbi Gilles Uriel Bernheim Knight [Chevalier] in the Légion d'honneur
2009: In Artwork from Hearst Castle returned to heirs of Jewish couple,” published today Michael Rothfeld describes how the grandchildren of a two German Jews who perished in the Holocaust received some their artistic legacy.
2009: In a column entitled “Next Year In Jerusalem,” Cecilia Hanley, the food editor for the Cedar Rapids Gazette described attending a home Seder noting that “the food Deborah [Levin] served was so delicious, I ate way more than was comfortable.” She noted that Deb made brisket with her adaptation of the Classic Brisket Recipe from “New York Times Passover Cookbook” which Hanley shared with her readers.
2010: The Westchester Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to show “Ahead of Time,” a documentary narrated by Ruth Gerber, the Brooklyn born foreign correspondent, photojournalist, author, and humanitarian who describes her remarkable 70-year career during which she escorted Holocaust refugees to America in 1944, covered the Nuremberg trials in 1946, and documented the voyage of the ship Exodus in 1947, emerging as the eyes and conscience of the world with her lifelong devotion to assisting Jewish refugees
2010: “A Tiny Piece of Land” is scheduled to have its first performance at the Pico Playhouse in Los Angeles, CA.
2011: The American Jewish Historical Society, Centro Primo Levi, Center for Jewish History, The Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Yeshiva University Museum are scheduled to present: “Conversations on Conversion” moderated by WNYC's Brian Lehrer
2011: “Jewish veterans of the 1960s women’s liberation movement gathered at New York University for a conference on "Women's Liberation and Jewish Identity."
2011: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to sponsor “Walking Tour: Downtown Jewish Washington” including the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum and the former sites of Ohev Sholom, Adas Israel, and Washington Hebrew Congregation.
2011: Tulane Professor Brian Horowitz is scheduled to attend a seminar on Hebrew literature at the University of Florida.
2011: The Los Angeles Times published reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “Panorama,” a novel in which “Holocaust survivor H.G. Adler depicts the world of German and Austrian Jews before the Nazis came to power.”
2011: The New York Times published reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “Say Her Name” by Francisco Goldman and “The Eichmann Trial” by Deborah E. Lipstadt.
2011: Israel's government approved the famous personalities who will appear on a new series of shekel banknotes.The approval of the list today, which includes some of Israel's most beloved national poets, comes after the list was finalized last month by the Bank of Israel following more than a year of heated debate. The personalities who will grace the new notes are Rachel the Poetess on the 20 shekel note, Shaul Tchernichovsky on the 50 shekel note, Leah Goldberg on the 100 shekel note and Natan Alterman on the 200 shekel note. Rachel, who died in 1931, is a leading poet in modern Hebrew whose works have been set to music. Tchernichovsky was a two-time winner of the Bialik Prize for Literature. Goldberg, who died in 1970, was a poet, author, playwright, literary translator and researcher of Hebrew literature who translated "War and Peace" into Hebrew. Alterman, an author, playwright, poet and newspaper columnist who died in 1970, won the 1968 Israel Prize for Literature. "In order to maintain the public's trust in the State's currency, the governor decided to replace the currency series with a new series which will include some of the world's most advanced security and identification markings in a bid to make counterfeiting more difficult," the Bank of Israel said in a statement. The current faces on Israeli currency are former Prime Minister Moshe Sharett on the 20 shekel note; S.Y. Agnon on the 50 shekel note; and former presidents Yitzhak Ben- Zvi and Zalman Shazar on the 100 shekel and 200 shekel notes.
2012: Grand Central published A Natural Woman: A Memoir the autobiography of Carole King.
2012: Heather Klein is scheduled to provide a program of Yiddish Passover Songs in Palo Alto, CA.
2012: Ayn Sof Arkestra & Bigger Band are scheduled to perform at The Sixth Street Community Synagogue in New York City.
2012(18th of Nisan, 5772): Eighty five year old Zvi Dinstein, the native of Tel Aviv who served as an MK for a decade passed away today.
2012(18th of Nisan, 5772): Ninety-seven year old French Resistance leader Raymond Aurbrac, born Raymond Samuel, passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)
2013: On the secular calendar, 65th anniversary of the Haganah’s victory over the Arabs at Mishmar ha-Emek (On the Jewish calendar this event took place on the 1st of Nisan, 5708)
2013: As part its “Days of Remembrance” program, the University of Utah is scheduled to host “Holocaust Workshop” for which students can receive course credit.2013: “Aliyah” is scheduled to be shown at the Westchester Jewish Film Festival
2013: In Skokie, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, is scheduled to “a special advance screening and reception for ‘No Place On Earth.’”
2013(30th of Nisan, 5773): Rosh Chodesh Iyar
2013: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to be considering a proposal by Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky to establish an egalitarian prayer plaza along part of the Western Wall.
2014: Ed Millieband, the leader of the British Labor Party who has a good chance of becoming the next Prime Minister, is scheduled to arrive in Israel today for a three day visit that will have special meaning for this son of Jewish immigrants. (As reported by Raphael Ahren and Miriam Shaviv
2014(10th of Nisan, 5774): If the legislation is by the Knesset today, the 10th of Nisan will be the “official day of national celebration in which Jewish immigration to Israel is honored and noteworthy immigrants are recognized for their contributions to the nation. (As reported by Debra Kamin)
2014: “The Sturgeon Queens’ is scheduled to be shown at the Westchester Jewish Film Festival.
2014: “Golda’s Balcony” staring Tova Feldshuh is scheduled to be performed at DCJCC’s Theatre J.
2014: In Bethesda, MD, Congregation Beth El is scheduled to host Ambassador Gideon Meir who will speak on “International Media Coverage of Israel During Conflict.”
2014(10th of Nisan): According to the Book of Joshua today is the day “that the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land on that date, ending their 40 years of wandering in the desert.” (As reported by Debra Kamin)
2015(21st of Nisan, 5775): Seventh Day of Pesach
2015: “The Decent One,” “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Ansalem” and “Anywhere Else” are scheduled to be shown at the Westchester Jewish Film Festival.
2015: “Woman in Gold” is scheduled to premiere in the United Kingdom.
2015: “Dutch researchers said today they believe they have uncovered a new mass grave at the former Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, almost exactly 70 years after it was liberated’”
2015: Jewish graves were destroyed today when a tropical storm “devastated the Jewish cemetery of the State of Bahia” in eastern Brazil according to Luciano Fingergut, the community’s president.
2015: Temple Judah is scheduled to host another of its ever-popular “Musical Shabbats.”
2016: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers included the recently published paperback editions of When the Facts Change: Essays by Tony Judt, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson and Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble by Marilyn Johnson.
2016: “Rabin In His Own Words” is scheduled to be shown on the final day of the Hartford Jewish Film Festival today.
2016: “Karski & The Lords of Humanity” a documentary about the mission of Jan Karski, is scheduled to be shown at The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
2016: “Raise the Roof” and “Fauda, Part III” are scheduled to be shown at the Westchester Jewish Film Festival.
2017(14th of Nisan, 5777): Fast of the First Born; Erev Pesach
2017: Jews living in the lands of “the former Soviet Union” will be able to enjoy a ritually appropriate seder thanks to the efforts of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee which has provided their co-religionists “with at least ten tons of matzah.”
2017(14th of Nisan, 5777): On the Jewish calendar, anniversary of the second most important Pesach of the twentieth century. On the 14th of Nisan, 5677(April 6, 1917) the United States entered WW I on the side of the Allies. Ironically, most Jews were fixated on the recent revolution in Russia and the message of freedom that it sent to the Jews in the country and their kinsman around the world. Indeed the year 1917 which included two Russian Revolutions, the U.S. entry into the war and the Balfour Declaration could be said to be one of the seminal years in the four thousand years of Jewish history.
14th of Nisan, 5622(1862): In the evening, during the Civil War, Pesach begins with 21 Union soldiers of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Regiment celebrating with a Seder in Fayette, West Virginia.
14th of Nisan, 5660( 1900): Poor Jews living on the Lower East Side were relieved to find that free matzoth were being distributed at Charles “Silver Dollar” Smith’s “old place on Essex Street.” There was concern that the distribution would end since Smith had passed away last year. Before he had changed his name, Smith was known as variously as Charles Goldschmidt or Charles Solomon. A New York alderman who was part of the Tammany Hall machine, he was called “Silver Dollar” because of the “2,400 silver dollars used as a studded inlay in his saloon…”
14th of Nisan, 5671(1911): This evening, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association host a public Seder in New York and “special services” for the Jewish immigrants currently detained at Ellis Island.
14th of Nisan, 5631(1871): As the Jews of Newark, New Jersey, begin the celebration of Passover this evening, it is estimated that they will consume 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of matzoth during the eight days of the holiday
14th of Nisan, 5671(1911): This evening, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association host a public Seder in New York and “special services” for the Jewish immigrants currently detained at Ellis Island.
14th of Nisan, 5674(1914): Four hundred and fifty Jewish servicemen including sailors from the battleships Texas, North Dakota, Washington, Ohio, Wyoming and Louisiana are scheduled to take part in a seder specifically for military personnel at Tuxedo Hall in Manhattan.
14th of Nisan, 5700(1940): 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.”
14th of Nisan, 5703(1943): Members of Belgium Jewish underground aided by Christian railroad men derailed a train filled with Jewish deportees bound for the extermination camps. Several hundred Jews were saved.
14th of Nisan, 5703(1943): PASSOVER, WARSAW Ghetto UPRISING; The Jews were determined not to be moved without giving up a fight. 2,100 Germans, fully armed, enter the Ghetto. The Jews fighting force consisted of about 700 men and women. They were armed with 17 rifles, 50 pistols and several thousand grenades and Molotov cocktails. A small group of Jewish fighters open fire on the entering German troops. After an hour of skirmishing, the Germans retreated. The final liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto began on the Eve of Passover,
April 19, 1943.
The deportation did not come as a surprise. The Germans had amassed a military
force to carry it out, but did not expect to engage in a confrontation that
included street battles. Armed German forces ringed the ghetto at The unit that entered the
ghetto encountered armed resistance and retreated. The main ghetto, with its
population of 30,000 Jews, was deserted. The Jews could not be rounded up for
the transport; the railroad cars at the deportation point remained empty. After
Germans and rebels fought in the streets for three days, the Germans began to
torch the ghetto, street by street, building by building. The entire ghetto
became a sizzling, smoke-swathed conflagration. Most of the Jews who emerged
from their hideouts, including entire families, were murdered by the Germans on
the spot. The ghetto Jews gradually lost the strength to resist. On April 23,
Mordecai Anielewicz the ZOB commander wrote the following to Yitzhak Zuckerman,
a member of the ZOB command who was stationed on the "Aryan" side:
"I cannot describe the conditions in which the Jews are living. Only a
special few will hold out; all the others will perish sooner or later. Their
fate is sealed. None of the bunkers where our comrades are hiding has enough
air to light a candle at night.... Be well, my dear, perhaps we shall yet meet.
The dream of my life has risen to become fact. Self - defense in the ghetto
will have been a reality. I have been a witness to the magnificent, heroic
fighting of Jewish men of battle". The rebels pursued their cause, even
though they knew from the outset that they could not win. The Jewish
underground would continue to fight the Nazis until the middle of May. The
Polish underground only gave minimal help because of anti-Semitism prevalent
among many. Although the Allies will neither publicize events nor try to help,
even before the war ended, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising became a symbol of Jewish
14th of Nisan, 5708(1948): Erev Pesach the rations given out in Jerusalem for the observance of Passover included 2 lbs. of potatoes, ½ lb of fish, 4 lb. of matzo, 1 ½ oz. dried fruit, ½ lb. meat, and ½ lb. of matzo flour. As one who was there later wrote, “For the trapped citizens of
, who had become accustomed to
privation, the Passover provisions seemed like a banquet. However, for the
citizens of Jerusalem ,
it was not a particularly merry affair. On the verge of their national freedom,
the inhabitants of Jerusalem
sat somberly around their tables. This was the first time since the nightly
shellings that the city's citizens had come together in assembly in the various
homes throughout the city that had been the dream of two thousand years'
Seders. Tonight is a holiday, but tomorrow the struggle will go on. As they sat
to begin the Seder, they heard the beginning of the snipers bullets looking for
a straggler in the streets. But tonight was different. As they opened the door,
as they had done for scores of generations, to welcome in Elijah, there was no
fear. Tonight is a night of divine protection. As the Holy One protected the
Jews in Jerusalem ,
so shall he protect us here in the war torn city of Jerusalem. "Once we
were slaves, but today we are free men" recited in the Haggadah, took on
new meaning. The British are leaving, the Arabs are attacking, and we are
beginning our new national lives as free men in our own country. "Next
year in Egypt "
had a meaning that we never before understood. We meant it; we would not
relinquish our dream to return to our homeland, to the city that has been in
our hearts throughout the two thousand year exile. Now we are free men,
tomorrow we must continue the fight to remain free. Jerusalem