“Give me your children”

It was on this date in 1942 that one of the most harrowing events of the Shoah occurred.

It was a speech delivered to the Jews of the Lodz Ghetto in Poland by Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, whom the Nazis had appointed as the ghetto’s Judenrat chairman. Rumkowski had been ordered by the Germans to select 20,000 Jews for deportation and, of course, death. Otherwise, he was told, the Germans would do it themselves. Rumkowski tried to convince parents to give up their children under the age of 10, but he was met with shouts of “We will not let the children go alone! We will all go!”

Seventy-two years later, reading the speech leaves me emotionally shattered. I can’t begin to grasp how it affected those who actually heard it.

This account describes the speech as “compassionate.” Despite Rumkowski’s anguish, I don’t see how it can be described as anything but awful.

And yet there are those who blithely compare the Israelis to the Nazis and seek to deny the Jews the security of a state where they can live freely and defend themselves.

(Via the excellent Twitter account WW2 Tweets from 1942.)