Archive | Historical Perspective by Jerry Kasten

1920s-1940s were Jewish gangsters’ heyday

Posted on 16 January 2019 by admin

As a young “boychik” growing up in the Bronx in the ’40s, one of my fondest memories was attending the movies, especially enjoying western and gangster movies, followed by war movies during World War II.
Little did I realize at that time that many of the real gangsters, especially those in the New York City area, were Jewish like myself, my friends and my neighbors.
It seems that thievery and corruption knew no bounds. Each immigrant group — Irish, Italian, Chinese, Jewish and others — had their “no-goodnicks” and thieves.
Formed into organized gangs, they often found themselves competing and fighting for control of ever-expanding territory of all sorts of illegal activities within their own ethnic group and sometimes across ethnic neighborhoods.
There have been primarily four or five phases of Jewish organized crime in the United States.
With the large influx of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, there also arrived mobsters who formed gangs in New York’s Lower East Side. Organized crime activity included “protection,” prostitution, tax evasion and gambling.
During the period known as prohibition (1920-1933), when alcoholic beverages were illegal to produce, bottle, transport and sell, Jewish gangsters such as Arnold Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Abe Bernstein, Dutch Schultz, Moe Dalitz, Kid Cann, Charles “King” Solomon and Abner “Longy” Zwillman all became wealthy.
An unusual “twist” in the traditional relationship between the “feds” and the mobs occurred after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Fear of possible infiltration through American ports by German and Italian agents led U.S. Naval Intelligence to gather information from the many Italian-American dockworkers and fishermen in the New York-New Jersey area.
Little success resulted from Naval Intelligence’s efforts, because the dockworkers were reluctant to work with government agents. The agents became more successful by switching tactics.
Enlisting the aid of Lansky, a known Jewish mobster who hated the Nazis, Naval Intelligence was able to negotiate with the top mobster of organized crime at the time, Salvatore “Lucky” Luciano.
Luciano, who was serving 30-50 years in prison, was open to an arrangement that might prevent him from spending the remainder of his life behind bars.
Lucky’s deal with Naval Intelligence resulted in full cooperation by the dockworkers and fishermen, but more significant was the gathering of intelligence concerning the Sicilian coastline in preparation for the Allied 1943 invasion known as “Operation Husky.”
In Israel’s 1948 War for Independence, Lansky and other Jewish gangsters took an active role in the collection and shipping of weapons during the arms embargo in which shipment of arms to either side was prohibited.
Other than Italian-American criminal elements, Irish-Americans and Jewish- Americans in organized crime have somewhat faded into obscurity.
Since the decline of the former Soviet Union, Mafia types have emigrated to Israel, some posing as Jews seeking asylum. Various Russian and Israeli Mafia groups include the Mogilevich, Fainberg and Abergil crime families.
In more recent years, beginning in the 1970s, Jewish-American organized crime has formed primarily in the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn, where many former Soviet immigrants have settled, including criminal elements.
Hopefully, the New York City Police Department and the FBI, with their long history of having to deal with organized crime, will continue to be up to the challenge that these groups present.
While gangster movies might make for good entertainment, in real life, too many good people are hurt by organized crime and Jewish organized crime is a shameful situation.

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The perfect Aryan was really Jewish

Posted on 02 January 2019 by admin

Here is a perfect follow-up to my Dec. 20 column on the significant role of Jews in the story of photography.
The following story unfolded in 2014 during a presentation of a gift from Hessy Levinson Taft, now 80, to the Yad Vashem archives.
A newly married Latvian Jewish couple came to Berlin in 1928 with hopes of finding success as opera singers. Once the husband’s stage name of Lenssen was revealed as the Jewish name of Levinson, his contract was canceled and he had to find work out of his field.
Bad timing, as his wife soon gave birth to Hessy Levinson, a beautiful baby girl. At the urging of her mother, she took her child at 6 months to a professional photographer, Hans Ballin, who produced what they considered a beautiful photograph of a beautiful baby.
Once they placed the framed photo on their piano, proudly satisfied, they thought no further of it until a visitor recalled having recently seen it on the cover of a Nazi endorsed publication.
Once the parents confirmed that the photo on the magazine cover was that of their daughter, they sought out the photographer for an explanation.
They were terrified, since this was a Nazi-endorsed publication. They couldn’t understand why their (Jewish) baby would be displayed.
Their photographer explained. The Nazis approached him and nine of the other top photographers to each submit their 10 best photos. The best one of the Aryan race was to be chosen by Joseph Goebbels.
The photographer laughed, but the Levinsons were terrified that they would be found out and be punished severely, if not executed.
Their photographer thought that the business about the superiority of the Aryan race was stupid and that this contest result proved it.
The Levinsons made a series of moves to avoid being swept up in the Holocaust, making it to Cuba and eventually settling in the United States.
The Nazis never realized that their beautiful Aryan baby contest only proved one thing, that they were fools.
Hessy, “the perfect baby,” eventually grew up to raise her own family, becoming a chemistry professor in New York state.

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Jews were leaders in photography movement

Posted on 19 December 2018 by admin

I cannot help but smile when I see people taking “selfies” with their phones.
I guess that I am somewhat old-fashioned, but I associate “photography” with cameras and not with cell phones. If you want to think of your cellphone as a camera, be my guest. Who am I to argue?
Obviously, we have come a long way in the history of photography. My belief is that most people do not know that Jews have been a significant force in the field of photography.
One of the earliest Jewish contributors was Levi ben Gershom, who, in the early 1300s, used a camera-like box to temporarily capture and observe images and eclipses of the sun. It wasn’t an actual camera, but you have to start somewhere.
Two years after the Daguerreotype was first developed in 1839, Herman Biouw, a Jewish artist, became famous for portraits of royalty as well as the earliest news photographs, of the Great Fire of Hamburg. Other of Biouw’s historic photos were the first Jewish family portrait (the Hahn family of Berlin) and the first portrait taken of a rabbi, Rabbi Samuel Hirsh of Hamburg.
Biouw’s achievement’s included making prints from copper plates, gold-toning and hand-coloring of prints. Tragically, he died as a result of inhaling the fumes of the processing chemicals.
Around the same time period in Melbourne, 1842, George Goodman pioneered photography in Australia, opening that nation’s first portrait studio.
As interest in photography grew in Australia, Jabez Small opened studios in Melbourne and Sidney and, eventually, a chain of camera shops that his son extended to every major city in the country.
In the 1840s, father and son David and Solomon Nunes Carvalho brought studio photography to Charleston, South Carolina. They eventually founded a photographic shop in Los Angeles as well as the city’s first Hebrew School.
Other Jewish photographic pioneers included Friedrich Lessman, Mendel Diness (first Jewish photographer in Jerusalem) and Michael Greim (1860).
In addition to portraiture, Jewish photographers documented life around them. They were sensitive to the issues facing other Jews like themselves. Photographers, especially Jewish ones, knew Jewish folkways, likes and dislikes.
Jewish photographers had the opportunity to capture old, traditional folkways, some of which were changing and disappearing. One cause of picture postcards becoming so popular was this very reason.
In addition to its growing commercial success, photography was also gaining acceptance and expanding as an art form. Jews and others found it easy to join with other artists and groups to learn and expand in this relatively new area of expression.
One example of how Jewish photo-artists developed and flourished is that of Andre Friedman, known to the world as Robert Capa. Born in Budapest, he left for Berlin at age 18, escaped to France as Hitler gained power and became world famous with his photo coverage of the Spanish Civil War.
Who could forget Capa’s photo of a soldier falling backward at the moment of being struck on the battlefield?
You may recognize the name of Margaret Bourke-White, in reality Margaret Bourke-Weiss, a Life magazine photographer whose grandparents were Orthodox Jews from Poland.
Alfred Stieglitz left his family’s printing business, becoming one of the first great art photographers of street scenes, portraits and nature.
The most famous images of World War II were captured by Jewish photographers such as Capa, Walter Rosenblum, Martin Lederhandler and Louis Weintraub.
AP photographer Joe Rosenthal captured the famous Iwo Jima flag-raising image, probably the most memorable photo of World War II.
Life magazine was considered the prime publication for creative photographers. Look magazine, another pictorial magazine, achieved success under Arthur Rothstein, its director of photography, and its creative artist, Ben Shahn.
And if you are not convinced by now that Jews played a significant role in the history of photography, I need only remind you of that famous Life magazine cover photo of the V-J Day Times Square celebration showing the sailor kissing the nurse.
The famous image was captured by Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, a German-born Jew.

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Honoring the Jews of WWII on Pearl Harbor Day

Posted on 05 December 2018 by admin

The Japanese sneak attack on America’s naval base at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, should have come as no surprise to our military and government leaders.
Less than a year earlier, the United States had begun a lend-lease program to send war materials to its ally, Great Britain, an enemy of Germany (Japan’s ally). Also, the United States was leading the effort to prevent oil from reaching the Japanese war machine. It was just a matter of time before the Japanese would strike, and we should have been ready for the attacks.
Soon came the rallying cry, “Let’s Remember Pearl Harbor,” and America’s industrial might quickly shifted into wartime mode.
While most waited to be drafted, many young men and women rushed to the enlistment centers to the defense of their country.
Although the Jewish population was only 4½ million, or 3.33 percent of the nation’s 135 million, it provided 4.23 percent of its armed forces.
Of the Jewish men and women in the U.S. military, 26,000 received 49,315 awards, including all levels of distinction and bravery. Among those were 14,550 Purple Hearts and three Congressional Medals of Honor.
Many people forget that a million Jews also fought against the Axis powers while serving in the armies of Great Britain, Poland and Russia.
Who were some of these young patriotic American Jews who stepped up in the Jewish American tradition to serve their country during World War II?
Here are just a few local examples of Jewish patriots I have known personally who served our nation well during the Second World War. There are likely numerous others. May their memory be a blessing.
Rudy Baum, left Frankfurt, Germany, 1936. Parents died in the Holocaust. Drafted and became part of military intelligence, a “Ritchie (Maryland) Boy.” Received Bronze Star, promoted to Captain.
Shirley Greenwald, Captain, U.S. Army Hospital Nurse, Germany.
Roland Greenwald, Sgt. Major, U.S. Army, served under Gen. George Patton, guard at Nuremburg Trials, Served 1944-1972. Assignments included Germany, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan. JWV Post Commander.
Hillel “Hy” Perlstein, Army 1943-46, machine-gunner. Wounded in action six months before war’s end.
Leon Rubenstein, U.S. Navy, S First Class, Pacific invasions, Okinawa, Iwo Jima Ship hit by kamikazes, but he survived. Not all were so lucky.
Stanley Shulkin, U.S. Army Air Corps, 1942-46, Link trainer instructor for P-38s, B-17s, B-24’s and B-29s. Became JWV Post Commander.
Jordan Uttal, U.S. Army Air Corps,1941-45, radar operator, OCS to Lt., Major, Control Officer, Bronze Star, Croix de Guerre. Married British lady. Established Second Division Air Force Association.
And a snappy salute of veteran’s appreciation to Dallas Rabbi Andrew Paley of Temple Shalom for his popular annual Veteran’s Shabbat Service held each November.
It should be noted that Gen. David Goldfein has become the second Jew to lead the United States Air Force.
I am sorry to say that, unlike in the past, Jews now make up just a small fraction (4,515) of today’s U.S. military.
Weak Jewish participation in America’s armed forces provides fodder for the anti-Semitic propagandists.
We must consider America’s defense of Israel as an additional obligatory reason to increase the Jewish contribution to America’s military forces.
I believe that as Jews, we have an obligation to provide at least a proportionate number of military members as reflects our population. Just as on Dec. 7, 1941, “We must always be prepared.”

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‘Thanksgiving Story’ is not all that factual

Posted on 29 November 2018 by admin

Each year, approximately 50 million elementary school students in the United States are taught the “Thanksgiving Story,” which goes something like this;

When the Pilgrims arrived in America, they were destitute and had great difficulty living off the land.

A group of Wampanoag Indians led by Massasoit befriended the pilgrims at Plymouth, showing them how to live off the land, growing corn and using fish to fertilize their fields.

In celebration of their successful harvest and improved living conditions, the Pilgrims and Indians enjoyed a three-day feast, becoming the first Thanksgiving.

It is estimated that this annual festival lasted no more than one generation. You may have been one of those children who was told the fairy-tale version of the story, which states that ever since the first Thanksgiving, it has been an annual tradition…

The reality of growing European colonialism affected the native peoples in a decimating fashion. As the number of European settlers increased, Native Indians were pushed farther into the interior, losing traditional hunting and farm land.

Any Native contact with Europeans led to widespread epidemic diseases to which most Europeans were immune.

It is estimated that eventually 90 percent of the Native American population of North America died as a result of having never been previously exposed to smallpox, measles and flu.

The original unified celebration of Thanksgiving took on a more sinister singular nature in 1637, when Massachusetts Bay Gov. John Winthrop proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving a day after the Pilgrims carried out a surprise attack on a defenseless Pequot village, resulting in the slaughter of 700 native men, women and children.

From then on, successful massacres of Indians were usually followed by a “Thanksgiving celebration” (not the type of Thanksgiving we normally think of).

In grade-school classrooms this Thanksgiving Week, students will re-enact that “first Thanksgiving.” Hopefully, their teachers have done their research, not depending on that state-adopted text book for the “facts.” Some misconceptions:

• The English settlers did not wear somber black clothing and silver-buckled shoes, as usually depicted. They didn’t even refer to themselves as “Pilgrims.”

• Nor did the native Wampanoags wear the full-feathered head dress they are usually depicted as wearing.

• Their Thanksgiving food of deer meat, corn and shellfish bear little resemblance to today’s plethora of turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries and pie.

What is more important than what they looked like and what they ate was how they interacted with each other. Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe, had earlier experiences with Europeans and knew English. After helping the settlers learn to plant corn and use fish to fertilize their fields, both sides agreed to defend each other against any attacks by other tribes.

The peaceful arrangement was short-lived, as increasing numbers of additional European colonists pressured government support for additional land expansion in the colonies. To most colonists, the Indians were “in the way.”

Teachers have an opportunity to provide a learning environment where the Indian people are not marginalized as they often are (in textbooks and instructional materials).

More Native Americans today live in urban areas (20,000 in the D-FW area) than they do on reservation land. They are not just part of our past to be considered one day each year as a “feel-good” story.

The Thanksgiving Story can be a good start to the even bigger story of how people should not treat each other.

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Jewish War Veterans honor their own at gravesites

Posted on 09 November 2018 by admin

Most TJP readers are probably used to seeing the Jewish War Veterans or members of their Ladies Auxiliary collecting donations in front of local eateries and delicatessens around Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
These funds are used to help pay for needed items at the VA Medical Center that Congress has not funded. There is another area of giving by the Jewish veterans organization which you may not be aware of: concern for deceased JWV members and their families.
A mitzvah activity by the JWV is the placement of American flags at the gravesites of its deceased members at each of Dallas’ five Jewish cemeteries, sometimes assisted by Jewish Boy Scouts.
Approximately 125 flags are placed at gravesites around Memorial Day in May and are replaced again around Veterans Day in November, totaling 250 per year.
The placement of flags is a solemn occasion culminating in a ceremony at the flagpole of the Congregation Shearith Israel Cemetery, where the Pledge of Allegiance is said and “Taps” is played by a bugler.
Deceased veterans who were JWV members are automatically entitled to have an engraved JWV flag holder buried at the gravesite, free of charge.
In addition, if the deceased veteran’s family desires and there is enough time to prepare, the JWV provides an honor guard ceremony involving the folding of the flag, the reading of the JWV tribute and the playing of “Taps,” all coordinated with the rabbi.
In cases in which the deceased was a career veteran, having served 20 or more years, they are entitled to a military honor guard from the National Cemetery, including riflemen and bugler.
At times, the JWV and the military honor guard have coordinated their efforts in a combined ceremony.
The Jewish War Veterans truly honor the military men and women of the Jewish faith who have served their nation.

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Historic sites continue legacy of Jewish pioneers

Posted on 26 September 2018 by admin

Coming off the wonderful new comfortable seats in Temple Shalom’s main sanctuary after a day of Yom Kippur worship service with two great rabbis, cantor and choir, I thought of just how blessed we Dallas Jews are in so many ways.
And not just at Shalom, but the other welcoming synagogues we have available to us in the Dallas area.
But it wasn’t always this way. Let’s not forget those Jews who first came west, the true pioneers. They are part of our heritage.
Two events, one in Eastern Europe, pogroms and persecution, where Jews worked the land that they could never own, and the second, beginning in 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law, promising free land to those willing to work for it.
Thousands of Eastern European Jews joined America’s westward movement, especially after the Civil War had ended.
Under the Homestead Act, they had five years to clear and cultivate 160 acres to establish a homestead, earning it free and clear.
The Native Americans who had originally been given these lands by treaty were never consulted.
While the original structures built by these Jewish pioneers on the prairie have long disappeared, there are some historic sites worth a Jewish heritage visit.
Here are just a few.
In Boise, Idaho, stands the oldest shul west of the Mississippi that is still in use. Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, a Reform synagogue that started with 25 families in 1896, now has 200 members in the state’s largest city.
A Jewish cemetery near Ashley, North Dakota, is the final resting place for Russian and Romanian Jews who struggled on their farms, yearning to own their land.
The Ashley Cemetery, created in 1913, is the only evidence of what was once the largest settlement of Jewish farmers in Montana, North Dakota or South Dakota.
The cemetery is perpetually cared for by both descendants of those buried and citizens of nearby Ashley hired to help maintain the burial grounds.
Finally, I recommend you visit The Sons of Jacob Cemetery first established in 1883 by the Garske Colony in North Dakota.
You can easily “visit” by computer by Googling Sons of Jacob Cemetery near Devils Lake, North Dakota.
This website is full of interesting stories recalled by descendants.
In all the stories told, reflecting the experiences of those Jewish pioneers, what comes through more than anything else is that despite all the hardships and disappointments these Jewish pioneers on the prairie experienced, their steadfast belief in their Jewish faith gave them the confidence they needed to persevere.
We should never forget those who came before us.

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Historical Markers Help Us Remember Jewish History

Posted on 13 September 2018 by admin

If my mail is any indication, there are a lot of Jewish organizations, all worthy of our support. But there is one which does not send out mailers and also deserves our support.
The Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation (JASHP) came to my attention recently, when I read that it assisted in the rededication of the Leo Frank Memorial in Marietta, Georgia. The marker had been removed because of road reconstruction.
Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager, was found guilty in the 1913 killing of Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old employee.
Emotions ran high among the local citizens. Although evidence indicated that the custodian was the more likely killer, Frank’s religion and position probably worked against him.
The judge, feeling pressured, found Frank guilty, but gave him a life sentence instead of the death penalty.
The townsfolk had other ideas. Frank was forced out of prison and was hung to death close to where the memorial is now located.
Leo Frank’s innocence is still being sought. He received a full pardon as a result of an unfair trial, but he was never fully exonerated for the crime with which he had been charged.
Seventy years after Frank was murdered, a witness admitted that he had seen the custodian, Jim Conley, carrying the victim’s body the day she died.
He had kept silent for fear of he would be killed if he had spoken up. Conley had been the main witness for the prosecution.
Hopefully, this recent rededication and the efforts of the JASHP and the local Jewish community and friends will eventually result in Frank’s full legal exoneration.
As the rededication ceremony began, word arrived that in a few months, a 30-inch black granite marker would soon be installed next to the Leo Frank Marker, recognizing every person lynched in the United States.
This national anti-lynching memorial honoring over 4,000 victims will have the following inscription, “In respectful memory of the thousands across America, denied justice by lynching, victims of hatred, prejudice and ignorance.”
Markers such as these help us to remember our past so that important people, places and events will not be forgotten.
Admittedly, not every historical marker reflects an important person, place or event.
Texas, with its 16,000 thousand markers, has its share of seemingly insignificant inscriptions, such as “Former site of Bob’s Barber Shop.” But then again, if Bob’s Barber Shop was the only one in town, those folks probably did think it was pretty important.
Historic markers help us to learn and remember our history. Texas and American History textbooks fail to mention the 4,743 lynchings that occurred in the United States from 1882-1968.
More markers cannot erase the evil which occurred, but they can help us to be less ignorant of the truth.

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LBJ had to hide his efforts to save refugee Jews

Posted on 29 August 2018 by admin

Earlier this week, Aug. 27, was the birthday of Lyndon B. Johnson, our 36th president of the United States, who served from Nov. 22, 1963, to Jan. 20, 1969.
Those TJP readers old enough to remember the events of those years probably recall LBJ taking the oath soon after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The prolonged Vietnam War and growing numbers of anti-war protestors, despite the false “success” reports being issued, always seemed to dog the president.
On the more positive side, LBJ’s “Great Society” and “War on Poverty” programs, bolstered by a strong economy, proved to be generally popular during this time of economic prosperity.
Most striking about LBJ was his markedly aggressive, often intimidating personality, especially when he was trying to persuade legislators to vote his way, whenever he favored or opposed something or someone.
What is much less known about LBJ’s past are his activities as a young Texas congressman, secretly participating in the illegal rescue of European Jews from Eastern Europe in 1938 and in 1940, before America’s entry into World War II.
LBJ’s strong Christian upbringing fostered by his family taught him to support and protect the Jews for their eventual return to the Holy Land.
Soon after taking office in 1937, he broke with his party to support a bill, which failed to pass, that would have allowed illegal aliens, mostly Lithuanian and Polish Jews, to become naturalized citizens.
In another case, LBJ was told of a young Jewish musician from Austria who was awaiting deportation to Austria during the Holocaust’s early days.
LBJ sent him to the U.S. Consulate in Havana to get a residency permit, which allowed Erich Leinsdorf to remain in the United States. He eventually become a world-class symphony conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
These actions by this junior congressman ran counter to the State Department’s restrictive immigration policies, but his efforts were not known.
By Dec. 30, 1963, however, enough time had passed and circumstances were such that it was much safer to talk about LBJ’s role in saving refugee Jews.
President Johnson was making good on a promise he had made much earlier to attend and speak to the Austin congregation of newly constructed Agudas Achim Synagogue upon its completion.
LBJ’s good friend and political ally, Jim Novy, originally was Shimeon Novodvorsky, a poor Jewish teenage refugee from Poland, who worked hard, eventually making his fortune in the scrap metal business.
Novy became a philanthropist of many Jewish causes and a strong supporter of LBJ throughout his political career.
At the opening of Agudas Achim, while Johnson sat smiling, Novy described the many ways that the president helped save Jews.
Through the use of bribes, false passports and visas from Mexico and other Latin American countries, Johnson saved hundreds of Jews, entering the United States primarily through Galveston, hiding them in the Texas National Youth Administration, a youth work training program of which LBJ was the Texas director.
According to LBJ’s wife, Lady Bird, at the end of the ceremony, among the people pushing forward to meet the president, people pulled at her sleeve to get her attention, saying that if it weren’t for her husband, they wouldn’t be there. He had saved their lives.
Happy birthday, LBJ. Thank you for the good you did.

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A trip on the Rhine hides the dark past of Germany

Posted on 16 August 2018 by admin

It was all that the travel brochure promised and more. Lounging, gazing and photo- graphing as our sleek river ship cruised past ancient castles, luxurious estates, quaint villages and lush green vineyards of Germany.

Watching the vessel maneuver through the many Rhine River lochs we traveled through was another form of entertainment for some folks. Each day, local tour guides, holding up their numbered signs, led us with our hearing aids through parts of their city, describing its ancient history, historic buildings and churches.

After a couple of days of touring, I realized that the guides rarely mentioned World War II, Hitler, their Jews or the Holocaust.

In each city we visited, the tour guide said little if anything about their Jewish population, other than the fact that most of the Jews came from the Soviet Union after its collapse.

I can understand their reluctance to discuss Hitler, the Holocaust or the war, but not mentioning it in any manner is a denial that it occurred.

The next day, we were to stop to visit Cochem and its 1,000-year-old imperial castle, 15th-century church and monastery.

I asked the guide for the location of the Jewish cemetery and was told that it was in the forest below the castle, “not well marked and difficult to find.”

He offered to show me plaques about Cochem’s Jews on a wall we would be walking by on the way back to our ship.

The plaques reveal the following: Cochem’s first Jews appeared in 1242. In 1287, 17 Jews, including 10 children, were killed in Cochem.

Additional massacres occurred in 1337 and 1349. Jews living in Cochem were expelled in 1418 and again in 1589.

Jews numbered 49 in 1834, 104 in 1894 and 49 in 1932.The synagogue, built in 1861, was destroyed by the Nazis in 1938.

The Jewish residents of Cochem murdered in the Holocaust were from the Dahl, Goetzoff, Haimann, Hein, Hirsch, Mayer and Simon families.

Given the horrible treatment of Jews throughout Cochem’s history culminating in the Holocaust, the placement of two metal plates high on a street wall, where they can hardly be noticed, fails to properly honor their memory.

Shame on the people of Cochem and other German cities failing to honor the memory of their Jewish neighbors.

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