holocaust survivors

What needs to happen in X-Men: Dark Phoenix

A scene that parallels the one in X3, with Charles and Erik confronting an out of control Jean Grey possessed by the Dark Phoenix. But insteading of goading her on, Erik is the one to reach Jean and bring her back…possibly with a speech about ‘Rage and Serenity’.

In honor of Yom HaShoah, I wanted to share links to the songs my synagogue performed at our memorial tonight. links are in the titles - just a warning, if you watch the videos on YouTube, some of them do contain Holocaust/Nazi imagery.

El Maleh Rachamim - a prayer traditionally sung at funerals and remembrance days for the dead. it’s a very beautiful melody.

Dos Elnte Kind (The Lonely Child) - a Yiddish song dedicated to Sarah, the daughter of Rachel Pupko-Krinski. they were separated during the war, but both survived and immigrated to America. the woman who sang this at my synagogue this evening was a close friend of Sarah’s daughter, and she was wearing a necklace left to her by Sarah.

Yisrolik - a Yiddish song about orphaned children of the Vilna ghetto

Flying - an English song by folk artist Laura Wetzler, who performed it for us tonight. she and her partner are both the daughters of Holocaust survivors, and she wrote this for her mother-in-law, a partisan whose sister Hannah (ZK”L) was murdered by the Nazis after they were discovered smuggling resistance newspapers

Minutn Fun Bitokhn (Moment of Confidence) - a Yiddish partisan song from Krakow. my favorite line, which isn’t translated exactly the same in the lyrics I found online, is “Revel, dance, you hangman! It won’t be long, I hope. Once there was a Haman–then there was a rope.”

Zog Nit Kein Mol (Never Say) - also known as Partisaner Lid, the Partisan Song, this is one of the most famous songs to come out of the war. it was written by Hirsch Glick (ZK”L) in the Vilna Ghetto after he learned of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Hatikvah (The Hope) - a Hebrew song associated with the Zionist cause, which was often sung in concentration camps after their liberation and in Displaced Person camps (if you look online you can find a recording of the inmates of Bergen-Belsen singing this song in 1945). it is now the national anthem of Israel.

Since 1953, the German government has been paying (a changing amount that currently stands on) a several million dollar settlement to Israeli holocaust survivors, through the Israeli government. Holocaust survivors suffer many physical and mental health issues, which of course only increase, as their ages average near 80 now a days. Currently, a third of Jewish holocaust survivors are living in a state of poverty.

A few years ago, a huge scandal broke out around the discovery that the Israeli government had been stealing from this settlement money for an undetermined amount of time. In the year 2007, it was estimated that a full half of the settlement money was being stolen. The German government and Israeli holocaust survivors were never properly compensated.

These people’s lives are such a tragic series of lessons on what the government’s real nature is. Let this be a lesson that you take away from this horrifying event. Please.

Holocaust survivor activates Remembrance Day siren - 24 April 2017

The country-wide Holocaust Remembrance Day siren, sounded at 10 a.m. in memory of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust was activated on Monday morning by Holocaust survivor Stephanie Fortuno.
Stephanie, 77, survived the Holocaust as a young girl in Poland.
On Monday morning Stephanie arrived at the Home Front Command’s war room, which is run by her son Yoni Fortuno, to press the button which would sound the siren all over the country.
Fortuno’s father was a factory owner, and her mother was an accountant. When the Nazis invaded Poland during World War II, she was hidden in the home of one of her father’s factory workers, until the host family could no longer hide her.
In the meantime, her father was taken to a concentration camp where he eventually met his death. Her mother was arrested by the Gestapo on her way to visit the home where Stephanie was hiding - and then disappeared, leaving young Stephanie on her own.
Stephanie’s uncle, who was a partisan, took her under his wing and found another Polish family who would hide her until the end of the war.
For three years, Stephanie hid in a closet in the family’s home, which was located just opposite the local Gestapo headquarters. Two years after the war, when Stephanie was seven years old, she was sent from Poland to England. She was adopted at age 9 by a couple who raised her until her marriage at age 21.
“I met many people who did me kindnesses,” Stephanie said. “I learned that in every situation, there is at least one good thing.”
“People endangered their lives to help me, ignoring the risks involved. I owe them my life.”
Yoni Fortuno said, “My mother’s story is a life lesson for me. The great kindness strangers showed her is something I try to incorporate into my life. Everywhere I go, I try to do something good for someone else.”
“The fact that my mother sounded the siren is a kind of closure for me. I am the commander of a unit in charge of activating sirens during air strikes, when there is a danger to Israeli civilians.
"The siren today was not a siren of war, it was a siren of unity, a siren of remembrance.”


After much nagging from his family, Shabtai Voda, a Holocaust survivor, agreed to come with his family to Poland to show them where he was born, where he grew up, and where he lost his family.

As he was touring the Auschwitz camp, he suddenly hears a group marching. “left, right, left, right”.  Turns out a group of Israeli police was visiting the camp. 

When Shabtai’s daughter ran up to them and told them her father was a Holocaust survivor, the whole group saluted him.

Shabtai says he was sure they were saluting somebody behind him. 

But the police told him: “Israel police salutes you, Sir. We wish you long life and happiness”.

Shabtai says it didn’t just make his day, it made his life.

roofbeams replied to your postwow xmen is literally in large part about a…

yeah it’s about a jewish holocaust survivor and an englishman who lived thru the blitz helping each other to heal from their trauma while also trying to be effective activists in the changing political landscape of the 1960s……………

im realizing that now. very different tone if all you remember is that romcom montage of them recruiting more children into their family.


Holocaust Survivor Testimonies: Selection in Auschwitz

Holocaust survivors Jacki Handali and Rita Weiss share their terrifying but powerful experience of arriving at Auschwitz.

Watch as they explain what it was like to go through one of these horrendous selection processes.


This Holocaust survivor has a powerful message for Sean Spicer

  • Holocaust survivor Roman Kent is speaking out after White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s now-infamous remarks on Tuesday. 
  • Spicer suggested at a press briefing that Syrian President Bashar Assad committed acts worse than Adolf Hitler because even Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons against his own people.
  • Kent, who was born in Poland in the 1920s and arrived in the United States in 1946 after spending the war in the Auschwitz, Mertzbachtal, Dornau and Flossenburg concentration camps, spoke to Mic in an exclusive interview in his office in New York City.
  • “He said, ‘Anybody can make a mistake,’” Kent said of Spicer’s apology in an emotional interview. “I agree with that. Anybody can make a mistake. But that’s not a mistake. That’s ignorance. … To have a person ignorant like this at the helm of our government — because press secretary is very important — it’s tragic.” Read more. (4/13/2017 1:00 PM)

Student nurses practicing their skills by giving each other injections, Jewish Hospital School of Nursing, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. Photograph by Roman Vishniac.

An increased demand for nurses during World War II, and the establishment of the Cadet-Nursing Corps in 1943, contributed to public recognition of nursing as a profession and an expansion of nurses’ duties. The prestigious and rigorous Jewish nursing schools photographed by Vishniac during the late 1940s and early 1950s reflect the increased responsibility accorded to the profession in the postwar period—making it an attractive profession for many female Holocaust survivors and refugees, recent immigrants working to establish new lives in New York. Vishniac documented the monumental changes to the profession at institutions like the Jewish Hospital School of Nursing in Brooklyn and Beth Israel Hospital’s Jewish nursing school in Manhattan. 

My grandmother is a Holocaust Survivor. She’s nearly 90 years old. Most recently, we went to visit her over Passover. 

Her memory isn’t very good anymore. She frequently confuses me with my father and my uncle. She has a hard time following a conversation. Most of our conversations at this point are confirming who I am and what day it is. Once she went up to my wife and said “did you know that my grandson Howard got married?” And my wife replied “yes, to me!” And my grandmother said “Oh, that’s wonderful!” and would give my wife a big kiss on the cheek. 

She knew we were visiting her for a holiday, but didn’t know which one. “Rosh Hashuna?” She asked, using the Yiddish pronunciation I grew up learning not to use in favor of the modern Hebrew I’d been taught as a kid. “Pesach” I would reply. Then a smile would creep up on her face, happy that there was something to celebrate. 

My wife made a special batch of Kosher for Passover fudge for the Seders, but we made a small special package of fudge just for her. We gave it to her. It was small, it only included four pieces, each about the size of an ice cube. She ate one and then insisted on sharing.

“They’re all for you!” I told her. “We have more for the Seder.”

A few seconds would pass. Then she would offer again. Again I insisted “we have more! They’re all for you!”

Again a few more seconds would pass. She smiled widely and offered a piece to my 7-year old niece. My niece looked up at me, knowing that she shouldn’t take it. She knew that there was a lot more fudge waiting for her later. But my grandmother held the package towards her anyway.

When she was healthier my grandmother had a habit of not accepting gifts that she didn’t like. “I don’t need that,” she’d say. She was blunt and practical. It made buying her gifts very difficult. You had to get creative. Once we bought her a nice wooden clock and she asked “where would I put this? I have a clock!” I once bought her a photo album and she happily accepted it. She didn’t like it when people made a fuss over her. Her happiest moments seemed to be when her family was together and eating. 

My grandmother held out the aluminum package with three piece of fudge left. It was around 4 pm. It was too early for the Seder. It would spoil her dinner, but we decided that my niece should accept it.

My grandmother smiled as my niece took the package. She didn’t need 4 pieces of fudge. I wasn’t sure if she knew it was her great granddaughter who she gave the package to. I know she knew it was part of her family. Again we failed to give her a gift she would keep. We hadn’t meant to do it, but we’d given her her favorite thing. She didn’t need four pieces of fudge. What good would that do her? Sharing food with her family? That’s what really mattered.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
—  from Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist