[Freemanlist2] Steven Plaut - Shoah Remembrance Day Message

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Shoah Remembrance Day Message
by Steven Plaut
 
  
I do not recall if I mentioned it in a posting.  My paternal grandparents were murdered by the Nazis.  My grandfather was murdered in Auschwitz and my grandmother died from a heart attack when he was arrested.  My father got out in one of the last ships leaving Germany.  I was born well after that, and never met my grandparents, although I am named after my grandfather (Siegmund, Americanized to Steve).  
  
A few years back I posted an item just before Purim about the possibility of good emerging from pure evil.  I concede it was not my usual take-no-prisoners cynical style of writing.  
 
I thought the time was appropriate to re-post it because of this related news item in this week’s media:
  
News story about the brother of Goering saving Jews:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/136933
Children of Light and Darkness: Goering’s Brother Saved Jews
'While Nazi mastermind Hermann Goering was planning the deaths of millions of Jews, his brother Albert used his family name to save Jews from the evil regime, a new book called ”Thirty-Four” reveals.


The story of Albert Goering was little known until the appearance of the book by William Hastings Burke, who relates several details of Albert’s heroic deeds for the first time. His story had been shoved into obscurity, despite documents in British archives.'
 
 Here is the earlier item I had posted. related to this: 
  
Spring, 2006: 

   With Purim nearly here, I thought it worth mentioning an important strand in Jewish thought.  It is that one can never know to what one thing leads, nor how things will turn out.  Good things can lead to horror and horrible things can lead to good.  In particular this is evident in the often absence of connection between what one person does and his descendents.

   Jewish tradition emphasizes the absence of connection between the behavior of descendents and predecessors.  It goes back to the Bible.  Children are not punished for the sins of parents, and vice versa, says the Torah.  
  
     The descendents of the evil Korach from the Book of Numbers go on to sing in the Levite choirs of the Temple.  Haman is thought to descend directly from Agog the evil King of the Amalekites.  Yet the Talmud also tells us that Haman's own descendents converted to Judaism and studied Judaism in Bnai Barak  (Gittin 57b).   One tradition holds that Rabbi Akiba, one of the greatest Torah sages of all time, was himself a descendent of Haman (http://www.ateret.org.il/new/library.php?id=309 ).  The grandson of Lev Trotsky is today a militant "settler" in Kiryat Arba outside Hebron.

    Things do not always work out for the best.   The son of the valiant Moshe Arens is one of the worst bashers of Israel in America today.   Noam Chomsky's father taught Hebrew and Judaism at Gratz College in Philadelphia, where I was a student, but look at what he sired.  The children and grandchildren of some of the greatest heroes of Israel's early wars are today marching with the "Post-Zionist" anti-Semites or lobbying for Israeli capitulation to the savages.  The worst anti-Semites on earth have often been born Jews, and today people like Neo-Nazi Norman Finkelstein and some of the tenured traitors in Israel continue this tradition.

    But if history teaches us anything, it is that we cannot foresee the future.  Good can come from evil, and vice versa.   Shulamit Aloni's grandchildren may become Orthodox settlers in the Judean hills.   Yossi Beilin's may enlist in the army units that beat up the International Solidarity Movement “protesters.”   Perhaps Israel's self-abasement and defeatism will trigger a militant awakening and ideological rebirth.  Who knows?
I was driven to pontificate on these matters because of the following story, which I reprint here in full, from the British Independent.   .  

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article349332.ece
Descendant of Goering converts to Judaism 
By Ruth Elkins in Basle 
Published: 05 March 2006 
Matthias Goering says: "I used to feel cursed by my name. Now I feel blessed." 
The 49-year-old physiotherapist, a descendant of Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler's right-hand man, is wearing a Jewish skullcap, with a Star of David pendant round his neck. After being brought up to despise Jews, he has embraced their faith. And although he has yet to formally convert to Judaism, he keeps kosher dietary rules, celebrates shabbat and is learning Hebrew.
In a Jewish restaurant in Basle, Mr Goering enthuses about Israel. "It feels like home," he says. "The Israelis are so friendly." Even when they hear his name? "Yes, they say they're so thankful I've made contact."
With the same name as the former Luftwaffe chief, who committed suicide at Nuremberg hours before he was to be executed, Mr Goering says he did not have a happy childhood. His great-grandfather and Hermann's grandfather were brothers, and that was enough to ensure problems after the fall of the Third Reich. "My siblings and I were bullied mercilessly," Matthias says. His father, a military doctor, was a Soviet prisoner of war, but returned with his anti-Semitic views intact. When times were hard, Matthias says: "Our parents would say to us, 'You can't have that, because all our money's gone to the Jews.'"
Mr Goering left home at 18 to join the circus, but eventually settled down, trained as a physiotherapist, married and had a son. But by 2000 his Swiss physiotherapy practice was bankrupt and his wife had left, taking their son. Broke and lonely, he was close to suicide, and says he prayed for the first time in his life. The same day his prayer was answered: a physiotherapy practice near Zurich offered him a job.
Mr Goering started attending Christian churches, but two years later began his journey towards Judaism. He says God told him "to guard the gates of Jerusalem", despite his name and his family history. "I knew then," he says, "I had to go to Israel."
Other descendants of Nazis have trodden the same path. Katrin Himmler, who published a book last year about the war crimes of her great-uncle, the SS commander Heinrich Himmler, married an Israeli. "It was as if we were predestined to meet," she says.
Beate Niemann, daughter of feared SS Major Bruno Sattler, made an award-winning film, The Good Father, documenting her hopeless search for a man she could be proud of, and tried to apologise to camp survivors after discovering her father had ordered the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews.
Monika Goeth's father was Amon Goeth, the camp commandant played by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List, who shot Jewish prisoners from the balcony of his villa. She has spent years seeking rapprochement with camp survivors. "I am completely drawn to Judaism," she says. "Jews were the real heroes. I feel nothing but contempt for those who idolise the Nazis." 
Matthias Goering says: "I used to feel cursed by my name. Now I feel blessed." 
The 49-year-old physiotherapist, a descendant of Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler's right-hand man, is wearing a Jewish skullcap, with a Star of David pendant round his neck. After being brought up to despise Jews, he has embraced their faith. And although he has yet to formally convert to Judaism, he keeps kosher dietary rules, celebrates shabbat and is learning Hebrew.
In a Jewish restaurant in Basle, Mr Goering enthuses about Israel. "It feels like home," he says. "The Israelis are so friendly." Even when they hear his name? "Yes, they say they're so thankful I've made contact."
With the same name as the former Luftwaffe chief, who committed suicide at Nuremberg hours before he was to be executed, Mr Goering says he did not have a happy childhood. His great-grandfather and Hermann's grandfather were brothers, and that was enough to ensure problems after the fall of the Third Reich. "My siblings and I were bullied mercilessly," Matthias says. His father, a military doctor, was a Soviet prisoner of war, but returned with his anti-Semitic views intact. When times were hard, Matthias says: "Our parents would say to us, 'You can't have that, because all our money's gone to the Jews.'"
Mr Goering left home at 18 to join the circus, but eventually settled down, trained as a physiotherapist, married and had a son. But by 2000 his Swiss physiotherapy practice was bankrupt and his wife had left, taking their son. Broke and lonely, he was close to suicide, and says he prayed for the first time in his life. The same day his prayer was answered: a physiotherapy practice near Zurich offered him a job.
Mr Goering started attending Christian churches, but two years later began his journey towards Judaism. He says God told him "to guard the gates of Jerusalem", despite his name and his family history. "I knew then," he says, "I had to go to Israel."
Other descendants of Nazis have trodden the same path. Katrin Himmler, who published a book last year about the war crimes of her great-uncle, the SS commander Heinrich Himmler, married an Israeli. "It was as if we were predestined to meet," she says.
Beate Niemann, daughter of feared SS Major Bruno Sattler, made an award-winning film, The Good Father, documenting her hopeless search for a man she could be proud of, and tried to apologise to camp survivors after discovering her father had ordered the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews.
Monika Goeth's father was Amon Goeth, the camp commandant played by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List, who shot Jewish prisoners from the balcony of his villa. She has spent years seeking rapprochement with camp survivors. "I am completely drawn to Judaism," she says. "Jews were the real heroes. I feel nothing but contempt for those who idolise the Nazis."
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