A German Soldier’s Collection of Looted Postcards Makes Its Way to Its Rightful Owners

Founded in 1930 in the Polish city that gave it its name, the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva was one of the first such institutions to be established outside the historic boundaries of Lithuania, and soon became the largest in the world. Shira Li Bartov tells how a non-Jewish woman came to make a pilgrimage to the site where it once stood:

When Karla McCabe was a child in East Germany in the 1970s and 80s, she knew her grandfather had been a German soldier in World War II. But exactly what he did during those years was not a topic of discussion in her family.

Nine years after his death, when McCabe was eighteen, she inherited part of his proud stamp collection. She rifled through relics of a lifelong hobby, including his first stamp album from 1926, an assortment of envelopes and, finally, 36 postcards that made her shudder. Though she could not read them, she recognized Hebrew letters and Jewish names. All the postcards were addressed to one place: the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva. . . . She soon learned that as the Jews of Lublin were murdered, her grandfather—stationed in the district until 1941—fished some of their letters from a trash bin to augment his stamp collection.

On April 11, more than 80 years later, McCabe finally returned the postcards to their home in a ceremony at the former Lublin Yeshiva. . . . Already, Jews from disparate corners of the world have identified family members in the postcards.

Read more at JTA

More about: Holocaust, Polish Jewry, Yeshiva

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7