Remembering each and every person who was lost, may their memory be a blessing.
Dedicated by Mina and Suzanne Goodman

Day 50

From East to West – The New Immigrants

Dedicated in memory of my grandparents Chaim & Beila Hershkowitz who were murdered in the Holocaust – date unknown.

The odds are that if you asked around for the most significant dates in the last 2,000 years of Jewish history, the list would include: 358, 638, 1096, 1492, 1516, 1939, and 1948. 1881 is an unlikely contender. Yet it was the year that not only radically changed the course of Jewish history in general, but the personal history of most of the readers of this article. By 1795, two million Jews had been swallowed up into the Russian Empire, although the government was committed to keeping them away from society, to prevent ‘holy Mother Russia’ from becoming contaminated. Alexander I confined them therefore, to a large-scale ghetto – an area comprising less than five percent of the Empire – known as the Pale of Settlement. It was to remain in place for over 100 years. Added to this political restriction, were severe economic regulations, which produced endemic and inescapable poverty. Even with everyone in the family working, often all they could manage was bread and potatoes, and it was not unusual for families to occasionally be without any food. Yet, as difficult as it was, things were destined to become far worse.


Rabbi Aubrey Hersh

Rabbi Aubrey Hersh is the editor of the 70 Days for 70 years book
and an international lecturer, based at the J L E in London, where he
has taught since 1996. He also runs educational and history tours
to most European cities.

Fact of the Day

It is estimated that the Germans established 15,000 camps and subcamps in the occupied countries, mostly in Eastern Europe. New camps were founded in areas with large Jewish, Polish intelligentsia, communist, or Roma and Sinti populations, including inside Germany. The transportation of prisoners was often carried out under horrifying conditions using rail freight cars, in which many died before reaching their destination.

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Today's Video

This is some home-movie footage taken of Jewish life in Poland in the summer of 1939 before the invasion by the Nazis. Smiling faces, people enjoying life before mal’ach hamavet arrived..

70 Days for 70 Years is a project of The United Synagogue