Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

International Holocaust Memorial Day: Wed., Jan. 27th

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021
Below is information from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and below that is my essay. This is a solemn day, not only for Jews, but for all of us who decry antisemitism. es

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27

The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.

How to Remember

International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration

Wednesday, January 27, 1 p.m. ET

During this ceremony, leaders from the United States and Europe will join Holocaust survivors in conveying the urgent responsibility we all share to protect the lessons and legacy of Holocaust history and to defend the truth—now more than ever.

Join the Conversation. Share your reflections about International Holocaust Remembrance Day on social media using #WeRemember.


The two concentration camps liberated on January 27th, 1945



African-American & Jewish-American Citizens: Both Enslaved

by Ellen Sue Jacobson

The Jewish people were slaves in Egypt when pharoahs ruled, so we don’t have the immediacy that some African Americans have, that is, parents or grandparents who were slaves. And because Jews are not considered people of color, unless they are descended from native Africans as in Ethiopia, Jewish people can “pass” and avoid discrimination.

As for people who look Jewish, I believe that is a mistaken concept, since most of the original immigrants were probably from Eastern Europe and had the features that many consider looking Jewish (curly hair, large noses, etc.). However, because of the Diaspora, there are Jewish people who are blondes and redheads without prominent noses or curly hair, because their family migrated and intermarried in countries where their looks were not “typically” Jewish.

Also, in America, many people changed their names, such as Finklestein became Fink,  and Greenberg became Greene, and Cohen became Collins. The discrimination of Jews who came to America led to people changing their original name to one less obviously Jewish-sounding, unlike African Americans, who could not change the color of their skin.

The Holocaust in mid-20th century was probably the most horrendous event of that century, with COVID-19 being even more deadly than Pearl Harbor or 911 in the 21st century. Here’s a direct quote from the Internet:

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jewish men, women and children by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and they wanted to create a “racially pure” state. Jews, deemed “inferior,” were considered an alien threat to the so-called German racial community….. Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. Because the Nazis advocated killing children of “unwanted” groups, children—particularly Jewish and Romani children—were especially vulnerable in the era of the Holocaust. (

And this Washington Post quote tells us even higher numbers:

11 million, not 6 million, died in the Holocaust

Actually, about 6 million Jews and about 5 million non-Jews were murdered by the Nazis. The others included Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men, et al. Writing “11 million Jews and others” would more accurately describe the extent of the killing.

Whether we are talking about people of color, people with different religious beliefs, or people who have been scapegoated for whatever reason, making them slaves or putting them in crematoria, or bullying them in school are all injustices they don’t deserve. It is like eliminating people with blue eyes because someone made up a theory that blue-eyed people are weaker than brown-eyed people. To me, the differences between people are what make us all interesting. We are not carbon copies of one another.

I believe that King abhorred antisemitism or any “anti” that denigrated human beings  because of the color of their skin or their religious beliefs or cultural differences. When we celebrated Martin Luther King Day and now International Holocaust Memorial Day this month, let us look inside ourselves to see if we are biased against people who look or believe differently from us. (This does not include people who are terrorists, no matter what their skin color or religious beliefs are.) The Golden Rule still holds up: “Don’t do to others that which you would not do to yourself.”

Let’s all work for peace and cooperation among all peoples from all walks of the planet.

P.S. Here is a quote from Rabbi Michael Lerner in Tikuun Magazine

“So this is my message: if you want to honor MLK Jr. then Be MLK Jr. Embody his message and embrace his honoring of the other, nonviolent, love-oriented discourse and you will see how miracles start to happen.”




African American History Month (Part Two)

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

NOTE: This is a Part Two of the posting on African-American women in history, using cards from the Library of Congress entitles, Women Who Dare.
Click on this link for Part One:

(Direct quotes are from the cards unless otherwise noted.)

5. Rosa Parks (1913-2005): Rosa Parks is probably the best known 20th century African-American women in this list of eight. She is the woman from Montgomery, Alabama, who refused to move from the “white” section of the bus to the back of the bus. The United States Congress dubbed her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement” (from Wikipedia). Her arrest following the bus incident on Dec. 1, 1955, led to a mass boycott of the city’s buses  and brought Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement to national prominence.  “Though indeed a woman of quiet dignity, Parks was also a longtime mover in the Montgomery NAACP and a well-trained, disciplined activist, attuned in every aspect to what she was setting into motion.”


6. Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994): Despite of, or perhaps because of, her childhood polio, Wilma Rudolph moved from “barely being able to walk to become the first female triple Olympic gold medalist in track and field.” Her story of overcoming her physical disability to become an Olympic star is amazing. After a teaching career and serving in several capacities in order to promote wider opportunities for black youth, such as running and the development if female athletes, she established the Wilma Rudolph Foundation, dedicated to training young athletes.


7. Edith Spurlock Sampson (1901-1979): Hailing from Philadelphia, as a child she was determined to get an education and work to relieve in some way the plight of the urban poor around her. “Pursuing a career in law, she became the first black female judge in American. Later, she served as an alternative delegate to the United Nations. As the Library of Congress Knowledge Cards note: (She was)….” A natural in the courtroom (and claimed) “To ‘speak from the heart and let the law take care of itself.'” (Note/Discrepancies: The Internet places Pittsburgh as her home town, but the cards note Philadelphia. Also, some of these entries place her birthdate as 1891.)


I chose this is a photo of Edith because the person she is talking to looks like Eleanor Roosevelt.




8. Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) – While Rosa Parks is probably the most recognizable name of African-American women from the 20th century, I think Harriet Tubman is the best known African-American woman born in the 19th century because of her outstanding role on the Underground Railroad. (A network of abolitionists who helped Blacks escape the South to freedom in the North.) Harriet Tubman had been a fugitive slave herself, but did not stop with her own freedom. She made 19 return trips to rescue approximately 300 slaves from bondage. “During the Civil War she served as a nurse, spy, and scout for groups of readers penetrating Confederate lines.” She continued her remarkable work despite blackouts resulting from being struck on the head with a two-pound weight administered by an overseer when she was a slave. Thus, in her later years, Harriet Tubman “worked for black education and social betterment, woman suffrage, and other causes.”




My personal comments: 

I learned a great deal from my research using the Linrary of Congress cards and the Internet, and I would add the three women from the movie Hidden Figures, as well as Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote Raisin in the Sun, which I saw on Broadway with some outstanding African-American actors. This was in the 1970s,  so I don’t have their names available. But I am sure that Viola Davis and Olivia Spencer would be wonderful in a current version.

From, this quoted summary with women’s name in bold as my editing:

“Adapted from Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, the film focuses on three real-life African-American female pioneers: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who were part of NASA’s team of human “computers.” This was a group made up of mostly women who calculated by hand the complex equations that allowed space heroes like Neil Armstrong, Alan Shepard, and Glenn to travel safely to space. Through sheer tenacity, force of will, and intellect, they ensured their stamp on American history—even if their story has remained obscured from public view until now.”


Just as there is not enough “press” for women’s accomplishments in America, there is even less press about African-American women. In the list above, I really only recognized Harriet Tubman, Josephine Baker, Wilma Rudolph and Rosa Parks. Even then, I knew very little about their lives, so this was also a history lesson for me! Thus, I have chosen to make this month African-American Women’s History Month!

Also, special thanks to my classmate and friend Flora Jane for gifting the Libraryopf Congress cards to me.