Sunday, September 22, 2019

An Improbable Relic of Auschwitz: a Shofar That Defied the Nazis
The daughter of a Holocaust survivor has brought forward a ram’s horn trumpet and her father’s account of the power of belief amid death.

Chaskel Tydor, a survivor of Auschwitz, described for his family how, despite the danger, this shofar, or ceremonial ram’s horn, was blown at the camp during prayers. Credit: Landon Speers for The New York Times
By Ralph Blumenthal
Published Sept. 21, 2019
Updated Sept. 22, 2019, 12:23 p.m. ET
For years there have been fragmentary reports of almost unbelievable acts of faith at the Nazi death camps during World War II: the sounding of shofars, the ram’s horn trumpets traditionally blown by Jews to welcome the High Holy Days.

These stories of the persistence of hope even in mankind’s darkest moments have been passed down despite limited evidence and eyewitness detail.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Predictable Relic of U.S. Anti-Communism: PC History
Eugen Kogon, a sociologist who survived the Nazi concentration camp system, wrote a book documenting his observations of life in that system in 1945, Der SS Staat, das System der deutschen Konzentrationlager [The SS-State, the German Concentration Camp system].

In the chapter (pp. 308 - 330) entitled,


Kogon writes:
The elastic wall that separated the SS and the inmates could only be maintained if the camp, seen from the inmates side, was rigidly organized and uniformly led. ... The German communists were the best qualified to meet these requirements. In contrast to those with a Liberal outlook, the communists were used to unconditional party discipline and were almost the only ones who understood the means and methods of the SS. In addition, they possesed the longest history of incarceration in the system.
To the concentration camp prisoners, the achievements of the communists can hardly be overestimated. In some cases the entire camp population literally owed its survival to them...
To the New York Times, the propaganda organ of a system which shares the same anti-communist DNA as its former enemy, the fiction of a "rams horn" was preferable to the reality of communist ideology as a tool for survival in a Nazi concentration camp.