Letters to the editor: October 16


Passing down Holocaust history

As a second-generation Holocaust survivor, I am deeply concerned about the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust held by today’s millennials and others. It is shocking and beyond upsetting to think that more than 10% of those aged 18-39 believe Jews caused the Holocaust. Not only are the statistics in the two articles published in the Sept. 25 issue disgusting (“Survey reveals gaps in Holocaust knowledge” and “Holocaust history”), it reflects a sad truth that our educators are failing our children. This is both sad and frightening.

My parents, who came to the United States in 1939 and met in 1953, were both born in Germany. My father was born in Frankfort in 1925, and my mother was born in Hanover in 1930. My father was 14 when he fled to the U.S. He and his older brother were accompanied by their mother, a widow. My grandfather died before the war. Some of my fathers’ relatives died in Auschwitz.

I have correspondence written by my grandmother to the U.S. post-war authorities stating how the Germans made it impossible for her to fairly sell her business. My father’s family settled in New York City for the first year and then the three of them settled in Washington, D.C. My uncle became a well-known psychologist, my father became a distinguished attorney and served in the U.S. Airforce JAG.

On my mother’s side, my mother, her sister and their parents came to Philadelphia in 1939. My mother’s maternal grandmother died in 1945, the day after liberation from Theresienstadt.

I know these things because my parents and grandparents shared this with me.

Fortunately, I also have some of their German possessions. The fact that they shared this with me allows for the essential and proud task of passing of this knowledge from my grandparents and parents, who actually lived it, to me, and from me to my children and following generations.

~ Robert J. Strupp, Pikesville

A fitting tribute to the justice

Thank you, JT, for your cover of RBG, and part of her history described in these pages (“May her memory be a blessing,” Sept. 25). A remarkable woman she was. A fighter to the end. Although I am sad, as are so many others in this country, I am grateful to know she is now with her beloved Marty. May she rest in peace.

~ Lana Fink, Reisterstown

Next, an end to the conflict

Unfortunately, Palestinian leaders have shown no desire to achieve a “sustainable and secure peace” (“Next, the Palestinians,” Sept. 25). The leaders’ insistence that Israel absorb millions of people who claim descent from Arabs who fled Palestine decades ago clearly indicates that, no matter what they say in the Western press, Palestinian leaders do not “recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

Let us hope that Israel’s new allies, needing Israel’s help in facing Iran’s hegemonic threat and in building their economies, will pressure Palestinian leaders to negotiate with Israel, realizing that Palestinians (and not only Israel) will need to make concessions. At the same time, Arab nations will have to inform the Palestine refugees that they will not be getting the homes they claim their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents lost in what became the modern State of Israel. Arab nations should repeal their laws barring Palestine refugees from citizenship and also help Palestinian leaders build the infrastructure that will be needed by the state.

There will be caveats. Donated money will be monitored to ensure it doesn’t go into the bank accounts of corrupt leaders or toward continued efforts to destroy or deligitimize Israel. Palestine refugees who don’t want to take citizenship in an Arab country will be offered citizenship in the first-ever-to-exist Arab State of Palestine. The Arab State of Palestine will co-exist, peacefully, with the nation-state of the Jews.

~ Toby Block, Atlanta

Is this our atonement?

According to Chabad Rabbi Velvel Belinsky (“Rabbis share thoughts to guide Yom Kippur introspection, Sept. 25), “In Jewish tradition, in Jewish folklore, whenever negative things happen to us? We say, in Hebrew, that this negative thing should be an atonement for whatever I did wrong.”

In a nutshell, does that explain the Electoral College elevation of Donald J. Trump to the presidency of the United States?

In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln described the Civil War as God’s punishment for slavery.

Perhaps Mr. Trump’s current stint in office now serves a similar purpose.

The Trump administration has opalesced: 200,000 COVID-19 deaths with accompanying economic devastation; apocalyptic wildfires; urban unrest; kids in cages; “stand back and stand by” vigilante violence; worldwide decline in American prestige and global leadership, including the alienation of traditional allies and fond embrace of dictators; and a foreign disinformation campaign wrecking havoc in undermining democracy and even the electoral process; i.e., a whole lot of negative things.

Might these horrors be recompense and condign punishment, atonement, for decades of Jim Crow and systemic racism, the subjugation of Native Americans, anti-Semitism and other discrimination against minorities including the internment of Japanese during WWII and 21st-century military adventurism in the Middle East?

~ Barry Hashem, Stevenson

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