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Hitler and Stalin Sign Pact Turning the Tide of War

1914 • 100 years ago

Russia to Give New Freedoms to Jews

In relation to the current war and its need to pacify its allies, Russia is making noises about liberalizing its policies toward its Jewish citizens. According to a British journalist for the Times of London, the Russian government is preparing an official document that will provide Jews with a variety of new freedoms, although it is not currently known what they are. Britain and France, ostensibly Russia’s allies, are apparently unhappy about having to side with such a backward, despotic regime and have insisted that the country change its ways. There is a historical precedent for such changes, notably the Siege of Sevastopol, in 1854 and 1855, which was an impetus for the Russian government to free the peasants. But one must take care, as the Russians are a tricky lot with the teeth of a wolf.

1939 • 75 years ago

Stalin and Hitler Sign a Pact

Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia have shocked the world by announcing that they have entered into a “nonaggression” pact in connection to a number of other treaties signed in secret by the two former enemies. “Europe is on the verge of war,” a Forverts editorial reads. “Hitler has removed his sword from the scabbard and is pressing it to Europe’s throat. With a shaking hand, Hitler is deciding to cut, or not to cut. At exactly this moment, Stalin arrives and strengthens Hitler’s grip by signing these pacts with him.” All this has thrown American communists into a tailspin. The Daily Worker, apparently waiting for word from Moscow, wrote nothing about the story. The Yiddish communist daily Morgn Freiheit broke ranks and penned a small article noting that such a “pact” had been announced by Berlin. But the paper noted that it was waiting for the truth from its Moscow correspondent.

1964 • 50 years ago

Tragedy on Rosh Hashanah

Jewish children who were brought to the gas chambers in Auschwitz the first day of Rosh Hashanah in 1944 wrote their names on their prison walls in their own blood. This was part of the testimony given during the continuing trial of Auschwitz guards by Yosef Glick, a 66-year-old businessman from Haifa who noted that his 16-year-old nephew was one of them. Before he went, Glick said, his nephew turned to him and said: “I know I’m going to die. Tell my mother I thought of her the whole time.” The boy, Andreas Rappaport, was one of 1,200 children sent to the gas that first day of Rosh Hashanah. Glick pointed at one of the accused, Victor Capesius, and said that he and Dr. Josef Mengele were those in charge of the slaughter. Glick had arrived in Auschwitz on a transport from Hungary in 1944 of 2,800 Jews. He was the only survivor among his wife and two sons, along with a brother and his wife and their two children.

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