75 Years Since Kristallnacht

In the ancient Jewish text called Ethics Of The Fathers, the sage Hillel said: “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.” In the 1940’s, even as the unimaginable horror of the Holocaust was revealing itself to the world, there was a tragic lack of men willing to take a principled stand.

This month marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht – the foreshadowing “Night of Broken Glass” – in which 91 Jews were killed, 30,000 incarcerated, 1,000 synagogues burned, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.

In commemorating this tragic event, the Shapell Manuscript Foundation has published an article detailing the efforts of one man to stand firm against evil. In October 1943, Oscar Chapman – Assistant Secretary of the Interior – wrote to Congressman Will Rogers about the plight of the Jews. In his words, “I am sure you agree that this is not just a problem for Jewish people to work out alone, but one of urgent concern for America and all the United Nations.”

The article discusses how the U.S. State Department obstructed and blocked the flow of information about the Holocaust to the United States; humanitarians of all stripes will no doubt find this article of interest.

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New Book On 19th-Century Jerusalem – “Tourists, Travellers and Hotels in 19th-Century Jerusalem”

A new book called “Tourists, Travellers and Hotels in 19th-Century Jerusalem,” provides a comprehensive study of the trends and developments of that period. Throughout the 19th century, numerous travelers made their trip to Jerusalem, including writers Herman Melville, Mark Twain, General Ulysses S. Grant, and the explorer Charles Warren.

Among other topics, the book describes the rise of commercial hotels in Jerusalem, modes of travel, early guidebooks, the rise of travel bureaus such as the Thomas Cook & Son Company, and the role of Freemasonry among tourism vendors.

Based on travel books and memoirs, drawing on unpublished photographs (there are over 300 detailed images in the book), letters, and drafted manuscripts, this study will be of interest to scholar and layperson alike.