A rare BBC recording from 1945: Survivors in Belsen sing Hatikvah (& “No Place on Earth”)

April 07, 2013

Warsaw ghetto, 1941. Homeless children

 

An Auschwitz survivor in Israel holds the hand of her newborn granddaughter

 

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

[Note by Tom Gross]

Holocaust Remembrance Day (“Yom HaShoah”) begins at 8 pm this evening in Israel. All restaurants and cafes and places of entertainment in Israel will be closed for the next 24 hours, and all broadcasts on TV and radio limited to Holocaust-related programming. Holocaust memorial services will be held throughout Israel for survivors, their families, friends and the general public. At 10 am tomorrow, a memorial siren will sound, and the country will stop for two minutes of complete silence and reflection.

To understand Israel and the Middle East, one has to also understand the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. This morning the Associated Press and Washington Post reported that there was a 30 percent rise in anti-Semitic attacks and abuse throughout the world in 2012, with France, Hungary, Ukraine and Greece showing particularly high levels of anti-Semitism – as well as much of the Arab world and Iran and Turkey.

 

BBC JOURNALIST: “THIS DAY WHEN WE REACHED BELSEN WAS THE MOST HORRIBLE DAY OF MY LIFE”

In this BBC recording, from April 20, 1945, Jewish survivors of the Bergen-Belsen death camp sing Hatikvah, only five days after their liberation by the British 11th Armoured Division. Hatikvah, “the hope,” was written in 1897 by Naftali Herz Imber as an anthem for the future state of Israel.



 

LOCAL GERMANS ARE TAKEN TO LOOK AT BUCHENWALD

* Here is rare color footage from the liberation of Buchenwald.

Local Germans are forced by allied soldiers to look at the survivors and the murdered. (Viewer discretion is advised.)



 

THE COLOR OF DARKNESS

* Article: The color of darkness: Never before seen color photographs show the liberation of Dachau, the first of the Nazis' concentration camps.

(Dachau was liberated by the United States army on April 29, 1945. It was the oldest of the camps having been established in March 1933, just two months after Hitler took power.)


 

SURVIVING TWIN A7733


* Article: Auschwitz Laboratory survivor 'A7733' launches Facebook hunt to find long-lost twin brother


A 73-year-old man appeals for information on Facebook to find the brother he has not seen in 68 years. Menchem, or Elias Gottesmann as he was known as a four year-old in 1945, was one of the few “twin children” to survive Josef Mengele’s appalling Auschwitz Laboratory, which conducted so-called scientific experiments on Jews.


 

NO PLACE ON EARTH

Last year I recommended the Polish film “In Darkness” based on Robert Marshall’s book “In the sewers of Lvov,” a true-life account of the only group of Jews to stay alive for any length of time in the sewers of Nazi-occupied Europe.

After the war, the Ukrainians annexed Lvov (Lwow) (which had the third highest Jewish population in Poland) from Poland. Lvov (now called Lviv) remains the only city in Europe where the authorities until last year were still using Jewish gravestones to pave the town’s roads and central fruit and vegetable market.

This week another film has been released about another remarkable story in the same region of Ukraine.

“No Place on Earth,” which opened on Friday in New York, shows how 30 Jewish relatives went to extraordinary lengths, and depths, to survive the Holocaust.

This group of Jews survived hiding in Ukrainian caves for over 17 months – said to be the longest stretch of time for humans to live in caves since they first left them.

Here is a list of dates on which it will be shown in the U.S. and Canada.

(I would also still recommend seeing “In Darkness” on DVD for those who have not seen it.)

-- Tom Gross

 

* There is a further dispatch with items relating to Holocaust Memorial Day here.

* Thanks to former Pentagon official Michael Rubin at Commentary and all those others who linked to this dispatch.

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All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.