Ambulance loaded onto plane bound for Ukraine
Ambulance loaded onto plane bound for UkraineMDA Spokesperson

"Jewish leaders abroad won't be interested. As eleven in the morning you will begin telling them about the anguish of the Jews in Poland, but at one o'clock they will ask you to halt the narrative so they can have lunch. This is a difference which cannot be bridged. They will go on lunching at the regular hour at their favorite restaurant, so they cannot understand what is happening in Poland." ['The Deafening Silence' by Rafael Medoff ].

From Norman Lebrecht's 'Genius and Anxiety - How Jews Changed the World 1847-1947' we read from pages 342 and 343 the wisdom of famed Elie Wiesel, how faith, miraculously survives, as he recalled his youth as a teenager in Auschwitz, where he confronts G-d with his actions.

"In the concentration camp I had cried out in sorrow and anger against God and also against man , who seemed to have inherited only the cruelty of his creator." At the crematorium, "for the first time I felt revolt rise up in me . Why should I bless his name? The Eternal Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent. What had I to thank him for?" Wiesel, like many others, wrestles with this dilemma for the rest of his life.

There is a story about three rabbis in Auschwitz who are forced, by fellow Jews, to put G-d on trial for murder. They convene a court, hear evidence, and take notes. After much deliberation, they return a verdict. God, they declare, is 'Chayav'.Guilty. Silence grips the barracks. Then one of the rabbis announces: '--and now it's time for the evening prayer'. The story is thought to be a myth until, in 2008, Elie Wiesel affirms that he was present at such a trial. The Jews, in Auschwitz, do not let G-d off the hook. The obvious question arises, how did they judge fellow man?

A study of the period 1941-1945 suggests that little has been learned as it relates to today's conflict primarily between Russia and Ukraine. The struggle between the naysayers and the activists once more loom large.

The Preface to David S. Wyman's "Abandonment of the Jews" serves well as an introductory commencement summary. He informs us of the difficulty posed in research and consequent writing. This is simply because one does not wish to believe the facts revealed by the documents on which it is based. America, the land of refuge, offered little succor. "American Christians forgot about the Good Samaritan. Even American Jews lacked the unquenchable sense of urgency the crisis demanded. The Nazis were the murderers, but we were the all too passive accomplices."

In the summation of Haskel Lookstein's book, "Were We Our Brothers' Keepers ?", we read the words of Judah Piltch, "And what will happen, when my son asks me tomorrow: 'What did you do while your brothers were being exterminated and tortured by the Nazi murderers?' What will I say and what will I be able to tell him? Shall I tell him that I lived in a generation of weaklings and cowards who were neither moved nor shocked when they heard of hundreds and thousands of their brothers being led to the slaughter house by hour, day by day, year by year? -----Apparently our hearts are like stone. We do not tremble at the reports of the European Holocaust.---as if nothing has happened in our world."

In Rafael Medoff's "The Deafening Silence - American Jewish Leaders and the Holocaust", we find in its conclusion, words from Ben Halpern in reference to the peak of slaughter in 1943, 'Shame and contrition, because we have not done enough, weigh even more heavily upon the Jews of the free countries. Not only do we have the greater responsibility of kinsmen, but our own weakness may be one of the causes why so little has been done. The history of our times will one day make bitter reading when it records that some Jews were so morally uncertain that they denied they were obligated to risk their own safety in order to save other Jews who were being done to death abroad."

On the positive side, thank G-d for Israel. Luckily, there were a few who comparatively did not conform to the majority. The Haaretz Magazine dated February,24, 2012 suggests itself as a valid starting item as it features a front page with a photograph of Menachem Begin, entitled "The Man Who Transformed Israel." That it appeared in an acknowledged Leftist news magazine speaks volumes. In reality, prior to transforming Israel, he is recognized for driving out the British from Palestine, thus making it possible for the modern state of Israel to arise.

[In the same magazine, journalist Yaacov Ahimeir states in bold, "More than anything else, Menachem Begin was a moral figure." and one who followed his conscience. In all the years he served in the Knesset in the opposition, he suffered Prime Minister Ben Gurion's contemptuous reference, "the man who sits next to MK Bader" refusing even to utter the name "Menachem Begin".]

Yitzhak Ben-Ami's "Years of Wrath Days of Glory" provides an insightful depiction of the world's callousness and indifference to the destruction of European Jewry; and the story of the Hebrew Revolution that routed the British out of the Holy Land. It is a learned account of the gallant struggle of the 30s and 40s to save a people and found the State of Israel.

The author may not be as well known as the key individuals in the subject drama, but did in fact play a major role in this history. He was the 1st baby born in Tel Aviv, British Palestine, to a family who had returned to the country over a 100 years ago. His book has been described as one of the key books of the century. Using personal perspectives of growing up in pre-state Israel and his involvement in labor Zionism, the author describes his joining the Jabotinsky movement, and his initial meeting with Vladimir Jabotinsky, in addition to joining Betar and his recruitment into the Irgun.

Ben-Ami, Peter Bergson, and a few others traveled to America seeking support for a Jewish Army, an independent Hebrew Republic and efforts to save European Jews. After meeting Ben Hecht, their chances to be heard increased "ten fold." A mass movement was born overnight. Max Lerner, who did not agree politically with Ben-Ami's and Peter Bergson's revisionist Zionism, joined because he thought "1st things 1st, and that was to " arouse the US into action in order to save the Jews of Europe. Interesting and important documents are featured in the Appendix, including their 1st newspaper headlined "Jews Fight for the Right to Fight." The Bergson Group's activities resulted in the creation of the War Refuge Board, created by President Roosevelt on January 22, 1944.

A few notable extracts from Ben-Ami's rendition of history:

Page 249: Our greatest recruiting achievement was winning back assimilated Jews like the writer Ben Hecht to the fold. We had 1st approached Hecht after reading his column in PM [an afternoon liberal paper published in NY]. In 1941, he said:

"I write of Jews today, I who never knew himself as one before, because that part of me which is Jewish is under violent and ape-like attack. My way of defending myself is to answer as a Jew."

Page 292: 1943 was one of the most difficult years of my life ; every day thousands of our people were being killed, and yet many people still saw the war and the extermination as two separate events. Ben Hecht's "We will never die" was playing.

Page 302: Most of us who were veterans of the Jabotinsky movement knew and respected Begin. A fiery orator with a sense for political foresight, it was he who at the world Betar conference in the fall of 1938, called for the evolution of political activism into :Military Zionism."Many of us who were veterans of the Jabotinsky movement knew and respected Begin. A fiery orator with a sense for political foresight, it was he who at the world Betar conference in the fall of 1938, called for the evolution of political activism into "Military Zionism."

Page 303: Begin's discharge [after German invasion of Poland, left Warsaw, detention in Russian labor camps in Siberia, reaching Palestine as a soldier in 1942] was a decisive step in our preparation for the expulsion of the British.[

Page 448: On May 15, 1948, Begin, "The Hebrew Revolt of these last 4 years has been blessed with success - 1st Hebrew revolt since the Hasmonean insurrection that ended in victory."

As a special feature in the Institute for Holocaust Studies, Rafael Medoff writes on Ben Hecht's, "A Flag is Born: A Play that Changed History." In the body of this outstanding an lengthy discourse, we read:

"Into this volatile mix leaped the irrepressible Ben Hecht with his unique blend of drama and politics. By presenting the Palestine conflict in simple, dramatic images that ordinary Americans could easily understand and remember, "A Flag is Born" deepened American public antagonism toward England and sympathy for the Jewish revolt. Hecht was aiming for England's Achilles heel."

David S. Wyman"s Abandonment of the Jews" Chapter 6 is entitled "Responsibility" and its opening is worded " America's response to the Holocaust was the result of action and inaction on the part of many people."

Today, in Russia's attack on Ukraine, it is principally one of leadership weakness and indifference as we view the extreme cruelty inflicted on civilians, primarily children and women.