A 17th-Century Mikveh Is Discovered Near Auschwitz

Last month, a construction project in the southern Polish town of Oświęcim—whose German name, Auschwitz, was given to the nearby death camp—uncovered a four-century-old wooden mikveh, or Jewish ritual bath. Shiryn Ghermezian reports:

“As far as we know, this is the only mikveh of its kind in Europe, in the world most likely,” Tomek Kuncewicz, director of the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation’s Jewish Museum in Oświęcim, told the Algemeiner. . . . “The experts we talked to from Poland [and] from other places said they have never heard of such a discovery, ever. So it definitely seems that it’s one-of-a-kind.”

He added that the mikveh, made of oak, is roughly 400 years old and is the “oldest piece of evidence” of a once-thriving Jewish community in Oświęcim.

The mikveh was found a month after another Jewish ritual bath—made of concrete and tile and probably from the 19th century—was discovered in January above the wooden mikveh. Both were . . . found near the Great Synagogue Memorial Park, which is located on the site where the town’s main synagogue once stood before it was destroyed during World War II.

Before World War II, there were about 8,000 Jewish residents in Oświęcim—roughly 50 to 60 percent of the town’s total population—but most of them were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp, and after the war only about 200 Jews returned to the town, Kuncewicz said. He added that in subsequent years there was an effort to revive the Jewish community in Oświęcim but gradually most Jewish residents left, mainly for Israel. The last Jewish resident of Oświęcim, the Holocaust survivor Szymon Kluger, died in 2000.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Archaeology, Auschwitz, Mikveh, Polish Jewry


Using the Power of the Law to Fight Anti-Semitism

Examining carefully the problem of anti-Semitism, and sympathy with jihadists, at American universities, Danielle Pletka addresses the very difficult problem of what can be done about it. Pletka avoids such simplistic answers as calling for more education and turns instead to a more promising tool: law. The complex networks of organizations funding and helping to organize campus protests are often connected to malicious states like Qatar, and to U.S.-designated terrorist groups. Thus, without broaching complex questions of freedom of speech, state and federal governments already have ample justifications to crack down. Pletka also suggests various ways existing legal frameworks can be strengthened.

And that’s not all:

What is Congress’s ultimate leverage? Federal funding. Institutions of higher education in the United States will receive north of $200 billion from the federal government in 2024.

[In addition], it is critical to understand that foreign funders have been allowed, more or less, to turn U.S. institutions of higher education into political fiefdoms, with their leaders and faculty serving as spokesmen for foreign interests. Under U.S. law currently, those who enter into contracts or receive funding to advocate for the interest of a foreign government are required to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement is embedded in a criminal statute, and a violation risks jail time. There is no reason compliance by American educational institutions with disclosure laws should not be subject to similar criminal penalties.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American law, Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus