Skip to comments.Rabbi Aviner: Visiting Nazi death camps forbidden
Posted on 02/25/2009 9:59:46 AM PST by Grzegorz 246
Rabbi Aviner: Visiting Nazi death camps forbidden
Prominent Zionist rabbi says leaving Land of Israel not for sake of mitzvah banned, as is helping Poles who collaborated with Nazis make living out of death camps
Educational school trips to the Nazi death camps in Poland have become common among most Jewish sectors in Israel, but prominent Zionist Rabbi Shlomo Aviner recently claimed that they are in fact forbidden for halachic reasons, and urged schools to cancel them.
Answering a reader's question on the subject in the religious "Ma'ayaney Hayeshua" journal, Aviner stated that trips to Poland were "not good" due to the halachic ban on leaving Eretz Israel, and because they "provide livelihood to murderers."
In a conversation with Ynet, Aviner explained: "As is well known, leaving Israel is permitted only for the sake of mitzvah, while visiting the death camps is not defined as a mitzvah by the Halacha. There are important figures and great rabbis who have not visited there.
"Clearly what happened in the Holocaust must be remembered, but this can be done using films, books, the Yad Vashem museum and there are even the testimonies of survivors who are still alive," he stated.
And what about the emotional experience?
"I once told educators that in any case the impression vanishes after six months, like any other emotional experience with a short shelf life. They smiled and said that it actually fades away after three weeks."
Aviner also said that the trips have not been proven to have an "educational value." "For some this experience is very difficult and they come back utterly distraught," he added.
'Why should Nazi collaborators benefit?'
Another argument against visiting the camps, according to the rabbi, was the fact that the Polish people "collaborated with the Nazis" and were now making a living off of these visits. "I'm not busy holding a grudge against the Poles, but we shouldn't provide livelihood to people who allowed death camps to be built on their land and who are now making a profit out of it.
"They are not my friends and I don't want to support them."
According to Aviner, it was not accidental that the Nazis chose to erect the extermination camps in Poland. "They knew that the people would do nothing. One person was enough to blow up the railroad tracks. Why wasn't this done? Because they all said, 'good,' smiled and waited for what needed to be done to be done by the Nazis.
"Many Jews who escaped from the camps were later murdered outside by the Polish resistance. When the Jews came back to the city their housees were inhabited and they faced a pogrom. To this day trials are being held against Poles who stole houses," he concluded.
I don’t understand. It sounds like there is never a reason to leave the country of Israel to visit such places?
God Bless Poland and God Bless Israel.
No. It was because Poland was the only occupied country where aiding a Jew in any way or form was an automatic death sentence for the person, along with their entire family.
The camps were built in Poland because Poland had the largest concentration of Jewish inhabitants.
The danger, Rabbi, is that by not letting the young see that the death camps existed, that this is where so many of their ancestors, aunts, uncles, cousins perished, and that this is why so many of their grandparents cannot talk of a childhood, that eventually even in Israel itself, you will begin to get Holocaust deniers. It sounds outlandish, but look around you, at your young... they get their entertainment from xbox and video games and cartoons and movies... they learn from these things to doubt their elders.
That, Rabbi, is why you should rethink your position.
He shouldn't be doing that, either.
There is a scene from the movie Schindler’s List which shows the Jews of Cracow being driven out of their homes and herded into the ghetto. Polish citizens were throwing mud at the Jews as they were being deported and this little Polish girl was screaming “good by Jews!”. Then, later in the film, as train filled with Jews is headed for Auschwitz, a Polish boy smiles as he draws his finger across his neck taunting the Jews in the freight cars. I found much of this hard to believe as the Nazis treated the Poles as brutally as they treated Jews. And Poland had one of the most active resistance movements in all of Nazi occupied Europe. Recently I learned on the Military Channel that they almost succeeded in assassinating Hitler.
I think the Rabbi is off his meds.
I have seen the walls of a cathedral bell-tower in Poland covered with memorial plaques where almost half of them had the phrase, "deported to Auschwitz" as the last line. It was not hard to see one with a man's name, a woman's name and below them one or more smaller names, because the whole family was deported.
I'm not equating the two, but to charge the Poles as a whole with collaboration (unlike the French) is a monstrous slander. I've read war crimes depositions where the Germans complained that the Polish police disappeared on days when the Germans liquidated ghettos, because the would not willingly participate in what they knew would be a mass slaughter of innocent people. Would that the German Army had found a tenth as much moral backbone.
Plenty of Poles were anti-semitic. At the same time, there were tens of thousands of Poles who risked (and in many cases lost) their lives trying to hide, feed, and liberate Jews.
A small number of Jews alive today have come to believe that no one helped their ancestors, or they didn’t help enough. That’s a shame, because it minimizes the brave sacrifices of people who died to help Jews.
"Allowed"? I don't think the Poles had much of a choice. As it was, a huge number of Poles were killed resisting the Nazis, Warsaw razed to the ground. Normally I don't pretend to know more about Judaism than a rabbi, but this one is talking out of his rear as far as the Poles are concerned.
That there were many Polish individuals who took advantage of the situation to loot Jewish property? Sure. But ask yourself how many Americans would do the same thing, and how many would help Jews knowing such help carried an automatic death penalty?
What a bigot. My wife had two teenage great uncles shot by the Nazis for helping hide Jews. Should we blame the Jews for their deaths? This guy just proves that every community on this planet has racist buffoons.
Some of the anti-semitism could be attributed to the Nazis and Soviets using their propaganda to pit one against the other.
There was a great movie made about 15 years ago called “Europa, Europa.” In one of the opening scenes both Gentile and Jewish Poles are trying to flee the Nazis by crossing a river, in the middle of crossing, they find out that the Soviets have invaded Poland from the East. The Poles jump out of the boats and head back West towards the Nazis, while the Jews continue eastward.
Many Poles felt that the Jews collaborated with the Soviets against the Poles, fairly or unfairly that was the perception. And the Nazis did their part to convince Poles of that too. Likewise the Soviets encouraged those under their jurisdiction to oppress Poles.
As with any European country during that time, there was anti-semitism in Poland, but it wasn’t out of line with anti-semitism that existed in say, Britain or France. The terrible state Poland found herself in 1939, just made those things even worse.
Well, speaking for myself only, I have many friends (including a close friend who served as my best man at my wedding)who are Jewish. Of course I would help them.
Before the Civil War, my ancestors in Ohio were abolitionists who harbored escaping slaves in their home who were making their way to Canada. Even though slavery was illegal in Ohio, it was still illegal to harbor escaping slaves.
I would like to think that I, too, would rise to the occaision under such circumstances.
Not to mention the Nazis practiced “collective punishment” which meant if they caught someone engaging in resistance, they would kill many innocent men, women and children as retribution for the deed.
For instance, when Czech resistance killed Heydrich, they destoyed an entire village and murdered almost every citizen in it for punishment.
The Nazis were evil incarnate. No wonder George Soros eagerly helped them.
For example, the Germans 'ghettoized' the Jewish population '39-'40.
But the 'dry run' for the liquidation of the ghettos was the deportation of 250,000 Poles from areas annexed by the Reich in the dead of winter '40-'41. Those too old or too sick to move were shot, and the rest shipped in cattle cars to railheads in the forest of southeastern Poland with no food, water or shelter.
The Germans turned the whole country into a human slaughterhouse.
I really can't imagine that's true. Jewish Israeli visitors to Polish concentration camps lose the emotional impact after 3 weeks? Come on.
Eight years after 9/11 I still easily feel all those emotions, and a visit to Ground Zero in 2003 only amplified them, because we lived in NJ, my husband used to take the NJ Path train into the WTC station every morning, my dad stayed there on business with the USDA, my grandpa worked in the Pentagon for 10 years.
Needless to say as a result the emotional ties to 9/11 are pretty strong for me, and I didn't even lose any of those I mentioned. How much more so are they for Jewish immigrants who survived the camps or lost family members to them?
Because simply as someone with Russian and German Jewish ancestry and a strong interest in WW2 history, I am positive that a trip to any concentration camp would be bone-jarring in its intensity and impossible to forget, and again, I didn't even lose anyone there.
I can’t remember which Holocaust museum does this, but I found it very effective.
At the beginning of the tour you are handed a picture, with a biography of a family that went through the holocaust, that detailed their lives before the war. As the tour goes on, more about their lives are revealed, and in the end, you learn their ultimate fate. In some cases, where they survived and are still living, you might even get the opportunity to meet them right there in person after the tour. Of course in most cases, the fate didn’t turn out so well.
Now to me that’s a very powerful way of conveying what happened. These weren’t just the sad people we’ve all seen in the videos marching onto cattle cars, these were ordinary folks just like us. This explains why the story of Anne Frank is so moving to us, we feel like this knew this person.
As has been said, “The death of one is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.”
I would think that Jews would be at least as angry with his active betrayal of his brothers as they are with descendants of long dead,possibly innocent gentiles,from whom they continue to seek monetary compensations.
I was watching a WWI show on either the Military or History channel recently. The Germans had to live off the land that they took during WWI. In so doing, they felt they had a right to everything—not just food. They even took the bed an old invalid lady stayed in most of the time. After the war, several people in Belgium wrote articles in newspapers about how bad the Germans were when their town was overtaken. When WWII started and the Germans “conquered” Belgium again, they rounded up the people who wrote articles after WWI and murdered them.
The good Rabbi is in desperate need of a trip so he can learn some history.
Soros should never be treated like a Jew. The Arrow Cross member was declared a Magyar, and let him be an embarrassment to Hungarians and not to the Jew he continues to persecute.
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