The Forgotten Story of a Dutch Woman Who Saved Thousands of Jews from the Nazis

Geertruida “Truus” Wijsmuller, a Gentile born in the Netherlands, is the subject of newly released documentary that relates her efforts to rescue Jews from Europe on the eve of World War II—most importantly her role in arranging for the Kindertransport, in which a large number of Jewish children were brought from Germany and Austria to Britain. In 1938, Wijsmuller walked into the office of Adolf Eichmann, then the German official in charge of getting Jews out of Germany, and made a proposal, as Francine Wolfisz writes:

Leaning over the SS-Obersturmführer’s desk inside the Gestapo headquarters—formerly the Palais Rothschild in Vienna, [Wijsmuller] told Eichmann the British government was happy to take youngsters under the age of seventeen from Nazi countries for a temporary stay. “Let’s arrange it,” she said.

He, in turn, was astounded. “So Aryan and so insane,” he retorted. Snarling at her, Eichmann proposed an impossible task—if she could successfully take 600 children, she could have all 10,000. But it had to be done that Saturday. Logistics were one problem; convincing the most observant parents to let their children travel on the Jewish Sabbath . . . was a very different obstacle. But Wijsmuller proved Eichmann wrong and became a key part of not only the Kindertransport, but many other child refugee rescues throughout Europe during the Second World War.

While those she liaised closely with—including the late humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton—rightly received recognition for their efforts, Wijsmuller’s contribution is far from well-known, despite the fact she saved thousands of lives, often at great personal risk.

But it wasn’t just the Jewish community she helped. She saved the life of Thomas Benford, Jr, the son of a famous African American drummer in Paris, who was just days old when she took him to Amsterdam.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Holocaust, Kindertransport, Righteous Among the Nations

 

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy