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Learning from History

Friday, 27 April, 2012 - 10:28 am

chain connection illus.JPGSo I get this e-mail the other day asking me why we are doing a lecture, now, on Hunting Eichmann. Old story, he says. Past tense.

Get with the program, in other words.   

This May marks 50 years since the end of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the man dubbed “the architect of the Holocaust”.  Eichmann was responsible for the infrastructure of the Final Solution of the murder of 6 million Jewish men, women and children.  Even after the ‘Final Solution’ was disbanded by Himmler, Eichmann carried on, so intent was he in executing the vicious plan of making the world Judenrein.

50 years is a milestone, an important marker in the Jewish tradition. As the well-worn, yet little heeded, adage goes:  Those who do not learn from history… 

Yet, we are impatient with history, even as the group of those who survived the greatest unspeakable horror of all time becomes thinner and thinner. We can’t turn the clock back, we say. We have new Hitlers, new and ominous threats to our survival, as a people and as a society.

We do.

But we will deal better with those threats if we learn from our history. In this case, the history of the capture of Eichmann.

Here was a group of Jews, devastated by a collective tragedy and destroyed by personal loss. Helpless in the face of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, they prevailed and brought a measure of justice, of correction, to a world gone mad.

We often forget that the Torah mandates us to fix that which is broken, to take initiative when we see a wrong being committed and overlooked.  As our sages remind us, Hatorah Lo Bashamayim Hi,  the Torah is not in the Heavens; her mandate is right here on earth. 

So while we ask, where is G-d, we should be asking, where is man. Where are we? Where am I ? What am I doing to right the wrong?

And if we say, can it really be done, this riveting story tells us that not only can it be done, it must be done.  

So, join me, on May 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm, as   NY Times best-selling author Neil Bascomb tells the incredible story of how a rag-tag band of Holocaust  survivors and a young spy agency captured the world’s most notorious Nazi. 

We could all use the inspiration.

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