THE BUCHAREST KRISTALLNACHT ATTROCITIES
21-23 JANUARY, 1941
In memory of beloved Malca z’l
“The persecution and the fascist terror directed against the Jewish population within the borders of Romania were just as violent and destructive as those in other countries under Nazi domination or influence.… Romanian fascism has its own original methods for the extermination of Jews.”—Victor Eskenazy, The Tragedy of Romanian Jewry (Columbia University Press, N.Y., 1994.), p. 177.
In hindsight, Bucharest’s Kristallnacht was not merely a tragic, horrific event—it was also a harbinger of the horrors to come. The ensuing violence and crimes perpetrated against the Jews remain with me to this very day.
Too often, historians ignore Romania’s involvement in the Nazi-led Holocaust—we are told that the Germans were the sole perpetrators of the Jewish genocide. This erroneous view is changing, however, as the true history of the Holocaust is increasingly exposed, and Romanians become more familiar with their active participation in it.
“The fascist terror and persecutions exerted on the Jewish people within the boundaries of Romania were as violent and destructive as they were in all other countries under Nazi domination.… In three days—January 21-23, 1941—over one hundred and thirty Jews were brutally murdered.”—Matatias Carp, The Black Book—Cartea Neagra (Biogene Publishing, 1946 [rept. 1966.]), p. 263
Dr. Emil Dorian, a witness like myself, recalls the Romanian Kristallnacht in his book, The Quality of Witness: A Romanian Diary (The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1982): “What happened in Vacaresti Dudesh (Jewish populated areas) and surrounding areas remains indescribable. Suffice is to list the destruction, the looting and the bestial crimes. But even that is impossible. The fury of the looters has not spared anybody anything. The great and beautiful Sephardic synagogue has been completely destroyed. The list of beaten and tortured people is endless.” (pp. 138-139.)
In his book, The Holocaust in Romania: The Destruction of Jews and Gypsies Under Antonescu’s Regime, 1940-1944 (Chicago, Loan R. Dee and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2000), Radu Ioanid writes: “Most of the murders during the three days took place in Jilava forest, the rest at the slaughter house at the intersection of the roads of Fendari and Pantelimon, in Bucharesti Noui, and streets and houses of various residential districts. They drove the Jews in the basements up to the attic under a rain of blows with truncheons and iron bars.” (pp. 57-58.)
“Other [Iron Guard] legionaries trucked the second group of more than 90 Jews via Giurgiu Road to Jilava forest [where, on January 25, 1941, I went to search for my missing father—he was not there! Helped by a righteous gentile, he only came out of hiding two days later.—Baruch Cohen]. At Jilava, the Jews were most of them shot, generally one to three times, mainly in the head. After which, the murderers stole gold, teeth, clothes and shoes from the sixty-six corpses that they left under the trees.” (Radu Ioanid)
The Chief Rabbi of Romania at the time, Dr. Alexander Safran, recalled in his memoirs: “During these days, the Iron Guard also occupied the beautiful Malbim synagogue and tortured and killed.”
I was 21 years old. I was there. I will never forget those days and nights! I was there!
In hindsight, Bucharest’s Kristallnacht was not merely a tragic, horrific event—it was a prelude of horrors to come. The horrors are with me to this very day! Zahor! Yes, I remember Jewish corpses simply dumped in the street. Corpses were hung in the Bucharest abattoir from meat-hooks.
Today’s anti-Semitism—hatred against the Jewish people and the Jewish state of Israel—requires all Jews to form a unified front to ensure that Never Again will there be a “Night of Broken Glass.” The murder of Jews must never, ever occur again!
Am Yisrael Chai! The Jewish People Lives!
(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.)
PLANNING GENOCIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT
NY Post, January 20, 2012
When a group of high-ranking Nazi bureaucrats sat down 70 years ago (Jan. 20, 1942), they didn’t plot the death of 6 million Jews; they aimed at 11 million.
Dubbed the Wannsee Conference, after its location, it was chaired by SS Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich, who brought together some of the most efficient managers of mass murder history has ever seen. The 90-minute agenda was direct, having been transmitted by Hitler to his deputy, Reich Marshal Herman Goering, and then on to Heydrich: “Make all necessary preparations” for a “total solution of the Jewish question” in all territories under German influence, coordinate the role of all government organizations in accomplishing that goal—and then submit a “comprehensive draft” for the “final solution of the Jewish question.”
In other words, for the first time, the administrative, industrial and transportation resources of an entire nation would be deployed for the purpose of genocide.
While history records that a staggering 6 million Jews would ultimately be destroyed as a result, one of the more chilling documents retrieved from the massive archives of the Nazi regime is a simple list of all European nations with Jewish populations as small as 200. Prepared for the Wannsee meeting by Heydrich’s notorious SS assistant, Adolf Eichmann, it assumed that at some point soon the Nazis would control countries from Ireland to Turkey.
The genocidal census was designed to anticipate the organizational structure required to retrieve and ship those 11 million Jews to the Nazi murder factories, regardless of how distant they were from Auschwitz or Treblinka. The Wannsee conferees met to ensure that all participants would meet their quotas (under Heydrich’s centralized authority) to complete “the final solution.”
It would take untold blood, treasure and sacrifice from the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union to bring the Third Reich to an end. Seventy years later, the ruthless, brutal and unrelenting struggle against one of the darkest regimes ever to plague mankind serves as an eternal reminder that there remain forces that would destroy humanity.
Much the way the Nazis assigned their strategic national assets to the destruction of a people, the rulers of Iran are focusing their considerable national resources on creating and fielding nuclear weapons. They do so while publicly embracing time and again a foreign policy that calls for literally wiping Israel off the map.…
On this grim 70th anniversary of Wannsee, let us contemplate how a disbelieving world can stand idly by as evil regimes coolly harness their bureaucracies to methodically achieve horrendous goals. Whatever the double speak (as the Wannsee crowd used the phrase “final solution” to mask its program of mass extermination), the outcome is clear to all who wish to see it. Had they been invited, the Iranian regime…would have been [an] enthusiastic participant in the Wannsee Conference.…
History consistently reminds us that indifference in the face of an implacable enemy invariably leads to disaster. Further, more often than not, our enemies tell us exactly what they mean to do before they do it. Acting on their warning requires our collective insight, personal courage and national will.
THE MORTAL THREAT FROM IRAN
Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2012
To assume that Iran will not close the Strait of Hormuz is to assume that primitive religious fanatics will perform cost-benefit analyses the way they are done at Wharton. They won’t, especially if the oil that is their life’s blood is threatened. If Iran does close the strait, we will fight an air and naval war derivative of and yet peripheral to the Iranian nuclear program, a mortal threat the president of the United States has inadequately addressed. A mortal threat when Iran is not yet in possession of a nuclear arsenal? Yes, because immediately upon possession all remedies are severely restricted.…
In the absence of measures beyond pinpoint sanctions and unenforceable resolutions, Iran will get nuclear weapons, which in its eyes are an existential necessity. We have long known and done nothing about this, preferring to dance with the absurd Iranian claim that it is seeking electricity. With rampant inflation and unemployment, a housing crisis, and gasoline rationing, why spend $1,000-$2,000 per kilowatt to build nuclear plants instead of $400-$800 for gas, when you possess the second largest gas reserves in the world? In 2005, Iran consumed 3.6 trillion cubic feet of its 974 trillion cubic feet of proven reserves, which are enough to last 270 years.…
Accommodationists argue that a rational Iran can be contained. Not the Iran with a revered tradition of deception; that during its war with Iraq pushed 100,000 young children to their deaths clearing minefields; that counts 15% of its population as “Volunteer Martyrs”; that chants “Death to America” at each session of parliament; and whose president states that no art “is more beautiful…than the art of the martyr’s death.” Not the Iran in thrall to medieval norms and suffering continual tension and crises.…
Inexpert experts will state that Iran cannot strike with nuclear weapons. But let us count the ways. It has the aerial tankerage to sustain one or two planes that might slip past air defenses between it and Israel, Europe, or the U.S., combining radar signatures with those of cleared commercial flights. As Iran increases its ballistic missile ranges and we strangle our missile defenses, America will face a potential launch from Iranian territory. Iran can [also] sea-launch from off our coasts.… And if in 2007, for example, 1,100 metric tons of cocaine were smuggled from South America without interdiction, we cannot dismiss the possibility of Iranian nuclear charges of 500 pounds or less ending up in Manhattan or on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The probabilities of the above are subject to the grave multiplication of nuclear weapons.… Cost drastically changes the nature of risk, although we persist in ignoring this. Assuming that we are a people worthy of defending ourselves, what can be done? Much easier before Iran recently began to burrow into bedrock, it is still possible for the U.S., and even Israel at greater peril, to halt the Iranian nuclear program for years to come. Massive ordnance penetrators; lesser but precision-guided penetrators “drilling” one after another; fuel-air detonations with almost the force of nuclear weapons; high-power microwave attack; the destruction of laboratories, unhardened targets, and the Iranian electrical grid; and other means, can be combined to great effect.
Unlike North Korea, Iran does not yet possess nuclear weapons, does not have the potential of overwhelming an American ally, and is not of sufficient concern to Russia and China, its lukewarm patrons, for them to war on its behalf.…
It is true that Iranian proxies would attempt to exact a price in terror world-wide, but this is not new, we would brace for the reprisals, and although they would peak, they would then subside. The cost would be far less than that of permitting the power of nuclear destruction to a vengeful, martyrdom-obsessed state in the midst of a never-subsiding fury against the West.
Any president of the United States fit for the office should someday, soon, say to the American people that in his judgment Iran—because of its longstanding and implacable push for nuclear weapons, its express hostility to the U.S., Israel and the West, and its record of barbarity and terror—must be deprived of the capacity to wound this country and its allies such as they have never been wounded before.…
He should order the armed forces of the United States to attack and destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons complex. When they have complied, and our pilots are in the air on their way home, they will have protected our children in their beds—and our children’s children, many years from now, in theirs. May this country always have clear enough sight and strong enough will to stand for itself in the face of mortal threat, and in time.
OBAMA: IRAN HAS NUCLEAR RIGHTS;
I DID NOT WANT TO SANCTION ITS BANK
Pajamas Media, January 23, 2012
The threat by the Islamic regime in Iran to close down the Strait of Hormuz and of Revolutionary Guards Navy boats harassing U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf has caused President Obama to send secret messages to the regime stating his concerns over the closure of the strait and the possibility of an accidental war.
Since then, Iranian officials have been revealing the contents of President Obama’s letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which indicates a deep desire by the U.S. president for a dialogue with the radical leaders of Iran. However, on Saturday, Iranian officials also claimed that an oral message by Obama delivered through the Swiss ambassador in Tehran is even more revealing than the letter delivered to the Iranian supreme leader.
According to Fars News Agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Ebrahimi, the vice chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, alleged that in a meeting between Swiss Ambassador Livia Leu Agosti and Iranian Foreign Ministry officials, Agosti informed the Iranian officials that Obama recognizes Iran’s right of access to and use of nuclear technology. Ebarhimi also disclosed another important point that the Swiss diplomat delivered: Obama said that “I didn’t want to impose sanctions on your central bank, but I had no options but to approve it since a Congress majority had approved the decision.”
Last month, the Obama administration pressed key Democrats on the defense bill conference committee to get their colleagues to water down the strong sanctions language against Iran, which passed the Senate by a 100-0 vote as part of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill. The administration, threatening a veto, managed to delay the implementation of sanctions and penalties from 60 to 180 days in the final draft, also allowing the president to waive those penalties for national security reasons or if it would harm the global economy.
President Obama [nonetheless] boasted [last] Thursday that U.S.-led sanctions had reduced Iran’s economy to a “shambles,” defending his policy towards Iran following sharp Republican attacks.…
Ebrahimi for the first time [has] disclosed the contents of Obama’s letter in which the U.S. president had mentioned that cooperation and negotiation are based on the mutual interests of the two countries, and assured Iran that America will not take any action against the Islamic regime. This is not the first letter sent to the leaders of Iran by Obama, Ebrahimi said. “He has repeatedly spoken in a soft tone about the Islamic Republic of Iran.…”
(Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.)
IT’S TIME TO LIST IRAN’S
REVOLUTIONARY GUARD AS TERRORISTS
National Post, January 21, 2012
Iran’s Supreme Court has now confirmed the death sentence of Iranian-born web programmer Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian permanent resident. Malekpour was convicted of “crimes against Islam” and “spreading corruption on Earth”—which have emerged as classic trumped-up charges in the Iranian pattern of the criminalization of innocence. For supposedly creating pornography websites in Iran, Malekpour is set to receive the death penalty.
Malekpour maintains his innocence, insisting that image-uploading software he developed as a web programmer was used by an illicit site without his knowledge or consent. The international community spoke out against his death sentence when it was first handed down, and Iran moved to suspend it; however, with the escalation of rhetoric between the West and Iran —and the case disappearing from the radar screen—Malekpour [first arrested in 2008] is back on death row.…
Writing from prison, Malekpour says his initial confession to the charge had been “extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture” as well as threats.… He described his detention in similarly horrific terms: “While I remained blindfolded and handcuffed, several individuals armed with cables, batons, and their fists struck and punched me. At times, they would flog my head and neck.”
It should be known that Iran has been on an execution binge. This past December, Amnesty International reported on the escalation of Iranian executions, even by wonton Iranian standards. Six hundred people were put to death between the beginning of 2011 and November alone.…
According to Malekpour’s family, the death sentence was reinstated under pressure from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).… The IRGC plays a central role in Iran’s domestic repression, international terrorism, incitement to genocide, and nuclear proliferation.… The IRGC is responsible for the murder of political dissidents both inside and outside of Iran.
This case should serve as the wake-up call that the Canadian government needs to sanction the IRGC and list it as a terrorist entity.…
(Irwin Cotler is the Member of Parliament for Mount Royal
and the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.)