This week marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the death camps at Bergen-Belsen (by the British army on April 15) and Buchenwald (by the U.S. army on April 11). Today Israel holds it annual Holocaust Memorial Day.
Below, a newly released photo taken by a Scottish liberator of Belsen made public this week by his great-grandson. Some members of the Iranian regime again cast doubt on the Holocaust this week, while others made fun of Holocaust survivors. (The Iranian regime should instead learn about the “Iranian Schindler”.)
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1. “Next 9/11 will be caused by hackers, not suicide bombers”
2. Alleged sexual assault on Iranian teens leads to anti-Saudi protests
3. Five “Save the Children” aid workers murdered by Islamists; 100 students hospitalized
4. ISIS starts issuing ID cards for those living under its control
5. “On the skylines of Africa, Arabia, and Asia”
6. “ISIS is losing. Watch how and why it’s happening.”
7. Many in Bosnian village pledge allegiance to the Islamic State
8. Jewish bookshop in Barcelona targeted for bombing by Islamists
9. Hundreds turn out for funeral of childless victim of Mengele’s experiments
10. “Auschwitz,” a new 15-minute documentary by Steven Spielberg
11. “Screaming Silence”
12. Russian-Jewish liberator of Auschwitz warns of another Holocaust
13. New figures show anti-Semitic attacks continuing to rise
14. Man killed, young woman seriously injured in possible terror attack
15. Roman Abramovich buys luxury Tel Aviv home
16. Something more fun: Find your Number 1
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
“NEXT 9/11 WILL BE CAUSED BY HACKERS, NOT SUICIDE BOMBERS”
An Israeli cyber expert warned yesterday that “the next 9/11 will be carried out by computer hackers infiltrating air traffic controls, rather than suicide bombers.”
“Computer hackers have begun targeting electric and nuclear power plants and other critical operations around the world in audacious efforts to take control of them,” Dr. Gabi Siboni, the director of the Cyber Security Program at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies told journalists.
Siboni warned that terror groups could disrupt and possibly infiltrate critical air control infrastructure, causing deadly accidents.
Siboni urged a strengthening in the strategic partnership between Israel, the U.S. and other countries in the field of cyber security.
ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT ON IRANIAN TEENS LEADS TO ANTI-SAUDI PROTESTS
There has been a wave of anti-Arab fury in Iran this week after it was reported that two teenage Iranian pilgrims traveling through Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah airport last month were sexual assaulted.
Although the Saudis have denied there was any assault, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered an investigation, and Iran’s foreign ministry summoned a Saudi diplomat for an explanation.
Meanwhile, thousands of Iranians have staged anti-Saudi protests across the country in the past few days. Demonstrators have called on Saudi authorities to execute those allegedly responsible and demanded Iranian authorities close the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.
Many of the protests have taken on an overtly racist tone against Arabs in general. Iranian supremacists portray Arabs as an uncivilized people who have encroached on Persian culture.
FIVE “SAVE THE CHILDREN” AID WORKERS MURDERED BY ISLAMISTS; 100 STUDENTS HOSPITALIZED
Reuters reports: “Authorities in western Afghanistan are investigating whether 100 schoolboys who were hospitalized on Saturday were poisoned, police said, a day after five aid workers kidnapped by the Taliban were found dead.
The boys, ages 10 to 14, fell sick after they ate beans from a vendor outside the school who told them the meal would help them pass their examinations in the western city of Herat, according to Abdul Jabar Rozi, Herat’s police chief.
The vendor was arrested later on Saturday and an investigation launched into whether the food was deliberately tainted, he said.
… The bodies of five Afghan aid workers working for Save the Children were found on Friday, 39 days after their abduction by the Taliban in the central province of Uruzgan.”
Tom Gross adds: There are reports in neighboring Pakistan that Islamic extremists set a Christian boy on fire last Friday. Recovering in hospital with severe burns, Nauman Masih, 14, said he was set upon by a group of Muslims about to enter a mosque for Friday prayers. They asked him why he wasn’t going to mosque, and when he said he was a Christian, they set him on alight after throwing kerosene on him.
There have been a spate of attacks on Christians in Pakistan in the past year.
ISIS STARTS ISSUING ID CARDS FOR THOSE LIVING UNDER ITS CONTROL
In a further attempt to achieve the trappings of statehood, Islamic State (IS) militants this week began issuing ID cards to people living under their rule.
The “GreatISNation pro-IS” Twitter account, which has now been suspended, tweeted a photograph of one of the cards on April 11 and said that IS intended to “start issuing identity cards to its nationals, three-dimensional electronic chip to prevent fraud.”
The cards appear to contain an RFID chip and a hologram to prevent counterfeiting.
Other western twitter users who have moved to the Islamic State, such as one with the handle Muslimah4Life, tweeted on April 10 that her brother had just been given one of the cards and it “looks amazing”.
There is speculation by anti-terror experts that the cards are part of a campaign to “reassure” militants that IS’s leadership remained strong and in control, following recent losses by IS at the hands of Iranian-backed Shia militias, and Kurdish forces.
“ON THE SKYLINES OF AFRICA, ARABIA, AND ASIA”
An article written by British hostage John Cantlie in the most recent edition of IS’s slick English-language propaganda magazine, Dabiq, also shows how eager IS is to be seen as a state.
In the article, titled “Paradigm Shift,” Cantlie explains how IS is achieving statehood, including having an “an army of soldiers tens of thousands strong,” a police force, drones, and a mint for issuing its own currency.
Cantlie writes: “[There’s] little reason why the [Islamic] State should not be considered a country... And if it’s not the Islamic State’s country, then just whose is it? … The lands controlled by IS do not belong to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or the newly instated and incompetent puppet Iraqi government, tucked away in Baghdad…”
“The black flag of the Caliphate [is] now seen on the skylines of Africa, Arabia, and Asia,” he adds.
(There is little doubt Cantlie is writing under severe duress. He was mentioned in this interview of mine with a released French hostage who had been held with him.)
The new edition of Dabiq also praises children who have carried out execution-style killings for the state, including a recent execution of a young Israeli Arab. The article cites various passages from the Koran and citations of Mohammed justifying the use of child killers against “infidels.”
The headline on the cover of the new edition reads “Sharia Alone Will Rule Africa.”
“ISIS IS LOSING. WATCH HOW AND WHY IT’S HAPPENING.”
A new video by the Vox news-site is optimistic that the push back against Isis is making good progress:
MANY IN BOSNIAN VILLAGE PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE ISLAMIC STATE
A village in Bosnia (a country which aspires to soon join the European Union), has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, according to report in La Stampa, one of Italy’s leading newspapers.
La Stampa reports :
“In The Bosnian Village Seduced By ISIS”
… Bosnia and Herzegovina is fertile ground for fundamentalism, and people say that many who go to fight in Mosul and Raqqa pass through here on their way…. That’s what brought me here to the small town of Gornja Maoca, where the ISIS flag has been raised and the people live as if they were in lands conquered by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s men. Just like in Mosul, black flags are flying – a mere hour’s plane flight from Vienna…
According to official reports, 130 Bosnians are currently fighting with ISIS, and at least 30 have already been killed. But these are just the optimistic official figures issued to avoid spreading panic…
Bairo “the Bosnian” Ikonovic is another who went over there; he’s one of the bosses in the caliphate. “Some people decide to travel in space, but here in Bosnia this is how they hold on to a glorious past. In their minds, it will bring back the golden age of Islam,” says the boy.
JEWISH BOOKSHOP IN BARCELONA TARGETED FOR BOMBING BY ISLAMISTS
Reuters reports that a Jewish bookshop, a synagogue, and government buildings in Barcelona were the targets of an Islamist cell arrested last week in Spain. 11 people were detained last Wednesday, six of them converts to Islam, including a hairdresser.
Authorities found 25 empty bags belonging to one of those arrested that contained traces of chemicals that could be used to make explosives.
More than 30 Islamist extremists have been arrested so far this year in Spain.
HUNDREDS TURN OUT FOR FUNERAL OF CHILDLESS VICTIM OF MENGELE’S EXPERIMENTS
92-year-old Chaya Gertman’s entire family was murdered at Auschwitz, and the medical experiments conducted on her by Joseph Mengele and his team of “doctors-torturers” left her unable to have children.
She died earlier this week, shortly before Israelis commemorated Yom HaShoah (Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day) today. Sarit Cohen-Toledo, her young friend in the Israeli town of Holon where she lived, sent out a message on WhatsApp and other social networks asking for people to attend her funeral to make sure there would be enough people to say Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.
Within hours, over 400 residents of Holon who had never met her, came to the cemetery to pay their final respects to Chaya Gertman.
“AUSCHWITZ,” A NEW 15-MINUTE DOCUMENTARY BY STEVEN SPIELBERG
“Auschwitz,” a new 15-minute documentary on the history of the Nazi death camp, produced by Steven Spielberg and narrated by film star Meryl Streep, is to be permanently installed for visitors at the Auschwitz Museum in Poland. The documentary premiered yesterday.
You can watch it here.
I don’t think this film is as good as it could have been. For my father’s review of Spielberg’s (in my view) better film, Schindler’s List, in the New York Review of Books, published when the film was released, please see here:
As my father wrote in 1994: “Schindler’s List can’t quite match the searing authenticity of a true documentary like Shoah or Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog, and it can’t completely win us over with its artistry, as Louis Malle does in the lower-key Au Revoir les Enfants.
“But what it can do, it does superlatively well. It offers as truthful a picture as we are ever likely to get of regions where no documentary compilation could hope to penetrate. (The footage doesn’t exist.) And it reaches out toward the mass public, the public that primarily wants to be entertained, without sacrificing its own integrity.
“Holocaust denial may or may not be a major problem in future, but Holocaust ignorance, Holocaust forgetfulness, and Holocaust indifference are bound to be, and Schindler’s List is likely to do as much as any single work can to dispel them.”
A new documentary that aired yesterday evening on Israeli Channel 1 TV for the first time, explores a topic many historians have been reluctant to broach, wanting to spare the dignity of the victims: the sexual abuse and rape of Jewish children and teenagers by Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust. In the film, “Screaming Silence,” the victims – who have for decades kept secret what they were subjected to from everyone, including their own families – speak about their torture, many for the first time.
Ronnie Sarnat said she devoted six years to making “Screaming Silence” and convincing victims to open up. Some testified that the only way they could avoid the gas chambers and crematoria was to work as sex slaves.
Pre-adolescent or young adolescent boys forced to work as prostitutes were known in the camps as “piepels”. Elie Wiesel included passages about a piepel in his Holocaust memoir “Night,” and the Israeli Holocaust survivor Yehiel Dinur wrote a novel in 1961 titled “They Called Me Piepel”. But in general not much has been written about this subject.
RUSSIAN-JEWISH LIBERATOR OF AUSCHWITZ WARNS OF ANOTHER HOLOCAUST
The Jerusalem Post reports:
Seventy years after helping to liberate Auschwitz as a captain in the Russian Army, 91-year old Moisey Malkis said on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day that, as global anti-Semitism resurfaces with uncommon force, the lessons of that time are more critical than ever…. Malkis said on Wednesday afternoon that he fears another Holocaust is possible if Jews do not protect Israel…
A celebrated dentist in his hometown of Odessa, who served with distinction in the Red Army from 1942 to 1946, Malkis moved to Israel with his wife and two children 25 years ago.
In a 1943 battle near Leningrad, he survived being shot twice in the head by Nazi fire. Malkis recovered and continued to fight for two more years. On January 27, 1945, shortly after liberating Belarus, he and his unit arrived at Auschwitz… “I will never forget [what I saw],” he said.
(Full article here.)
NEW FIGURES SHOW ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS CONTINUING TO RISE
A new report released yesterday (by the Forum to Coordinate the Fight Against Anti-Semitism) revealed there was a 400 percent increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents globally in 2014, compared with 2013.
The report also said that in 2014, the boundaries between anti-Israeli rhetoric and anti-Semitism had become increasingly blurred.
Many attacks are now so commonplace that they are barely reported outside the local press, if at all. For example, this former Canadian diplomat was knocked unconscious last week while walking his dog. See this picture in the local newspaper of the leafy Hampstead and Highgate districts of London.
And here is a short clip of the chief rabbi of Lyon explaining how he gets death threats on a regular basis.
MAN KILLED, YOUNG WOMAN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN POSSIBLE TERROR ATTACK
A 25-year-old Israeli man was killed and a 20-year-old woman was critically injured in Jerusalem last night after a Palestinian rammed his car into them as they were waiting at a bus stop. There have been a series of terror attacks by Palestinians using their cars to mow down Israeli Jews waiting at bus and light-railway stops in Jerusalem in the past year, and police are investigating whether this incident was also a terrorist attack.
Early this morning, the man was pronounced dead by doctors fighting to save his life, and doctors are still fighting to save the young woman, according to a spokesperson for Hadassah Hospital.
ROMAN ABRAMOVICH BUYS LUXURY TEL AVIV HOME
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who owns Chelsea Football Club (currently England’s leading team), among other assets, this week bought a property in Israel for $25 million.
He reportedly plans to convert the 1,500 square meter Varsanno Hotel that he bought in Tel Aviv’s trendy Neve Tzedek neighborhood into his Israeli home. His wife and children are said to like Israel very much, and he plans to spend more time there.
Abramovich has previously invested in Israeli start up companies.
Last year he booked all 111 rooms in a luxury Negev hotel to host guests at the Passover holiday.
SOMETHING MORE FUN: FIND YOUR NUMBER 1
Find the Number 1 Song on the day you were born by clicking here: