Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Belsen after Belsen

Knowledge of the conditions for Jews in Europe immediately after WWII seems confined to obscure branches of academia. So people often naively (and sometimes maliciously) ask why Jews left Europe for Palestine. In fact, for five years after the war, people stayed confined at Bergen-Belsen. They didn't have homes to go back to. Many people, even many I imagine weren't so antisemitic before the war, perversely blamed Jews for the war. So, even if the "displaced persons" had homes, they couldn't go back. A half hour radio show, well worth listening to a few times.
"We have no desire to go back to Poland because we knew what happened. My husband's sister was saved by Poles. And, war finished, she came back to the town where they lived, and Poles killed her."
"There was no place for them. They could not go home. The doors of the USA and England were not going to open very widely. They had no future. Their only future was to go to Palestine and so the fervor to go grew. The passion to have a home, to feel safe, to feel it was theirs, to feel no longer that they were not wanted."
"They got some material; they made a Magen David; and they gave me the honor of unfurling it. That was great, but the British forced me to take it down the next day cuz Bevin said they all have got to go back to their countries of origin. And they didn't want to - We're not going back to cemeteries."
Via Engage, which took a title from that last quote.

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