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Remembering The Holocaust And My Great Aunt

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Remembering The Holocaust And My Great Aunt


Frida, Menashe, Raya and Yitzhak Sterenberg

Frida, Menashe, Raya and Yitzhak Sterenberg

Holocaust Remembrance Day begins at sundown on April 27th.  I traditionally have posted a blog of my recommended Holocaust films. I thought I would do something more personal this year.

About fifteen years ago, I came across some very old photos belonging to my mother. One of them was a photo of a man and women with what appeared to be their two young children. I asked my mom who they were.

“That is your grandfather’s(Fred) sister, husband and children. They were murdered in the Holocaust”

What? I did not know my grandfather had a sister let alone they were murdered. He had passed in 1983 and had been ravaged by a stroke years earlier. He never told me about any of his family in the “old country”. I knew we had some relatives in Israel on his side but I had only met one of them when I was very young.

My mom told me that Fred actually had two other brothers, Yosef who immigrated to Palestine, which would of course, would later became Israel and Louis or “Levi” who had lived in NYC. My grandfather rarely talked about it to my mom so she had very little to tell us. I had to know. Did I have an extended family that I had never met? Where they all dead? Were more of my family murdered in the Holocaust? Where the smiling couple and children in the photo even my family? Was that really my grandfather’s sister? My mom was unsure.

My grandfather Fred Feldman

My grandfather Fred Feldman

Over the years I would make some efforts to start a family tree but without no real starting point of a living person who knew more than my mom, it was difficult. My mother is an only child. Her mother had extended family but they also had little info about Fred’s pedigree. A dead end. I would never know who this mysterious couple was that may be family and among eleven million others who perished in the Holocaust, never got to fulfill their futures. Never got to see their children grow up. Leaving me only to imagine how they must have died at the hands of the Nazis in a ghetto, concentration camp or maybe shot in the back of the head and dumped into a mass grave.

Fast forward to 2012. While my efforts had hit a roadblock over the years, I had never forgotten that photo. I would often pull it out and stare, wondering what they must have been thinking in that happy time. Did they know they were doomed? What were they thinking? There was some writing in Yiddish on the back of the photo. I had it translated.”Murdered by the Nazis” not much more. Nothing to tell me who they were. I asked my mom to send me the rest of her old photos. Another photo of the couple and children. Photos of family in Israel from my grandfather’s visit in 1966 when I was only five. There had to be living relatives. How do I contact them? Some of them will still be alive because they are young in the photo. Someone there could surely tell me about the photo. Why had we not stayed in touch? I decided to simply start at the beginning. With a family tree started by my grandfather. I would use Ancestry.com.

Re-creating my family history was like putting together the pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle but not knowing what the final picture is supposed to look like when done. Early on it was very successful. I was able to get a great history on my grandfather and his brother, Louis because they emigrated to the United States. There was a bunch of records that had been digitized and available on the Ancestory site. The third brother Josef was much more difficult because he left the town they were all born in Noua Sulita, Romania, and went to Palestine. There is really no centralized database of records relating to Israel. I next utilized JewishGen.com. I also sent the information to a good friend of mine at Yad Vashem. I found more on the three brothers but nothing on this alleged sister and family. Dead End.

Fast forward to 2013. Through continuing detective work on Ancestry, I was able to track down a relative on the side of Fred’s brother Louis. What do I do now? I was so nervous! I wrote out my script.

Hi, I am Brian Cuban, My grandfather is Fred Feldman. His brother was Louis Feldman, your grandfather. We are related”

I called. As one might expect they were skeptical. Some guy calling out of the blue and claiming relation. I’d be skeptical as well. The first call was uncomfortable and I thought I had hit another dead end. I expressed my disappointment to my younger brother Jeff. He pointed out that it was probably a big shock and they needed to digest it. Relax and I would hear from them again.

Jeff was right. Fast forward two weeks. The phone rings. It’s the granddaughter! We have connected! We had a great conversation. We exchanged the photos we had. Then the big Holocaust break comes. She sends me among other photos, the exact same photo I have of the couple and their children that were supposedly murdered. There is writing on the back. I sent it to a good friend of mine from the Dallas Intown Chabad who had been helping me with the Yiddish Translation. I expected it to say the same as the other. “Murdered by the Nazis”. It didn’t. It said, “Menashe, Frida and children.” The same photo had been sent by Fred’s brother Yosef in Israel, to both Fred and Louis as a remembrance of their sister. I had done it. I had made the Holocaust connection. I had a great aunt. Her name was Frida Feldman-Sterenberg. Her husband was Dr. Menashe Sterenberg. Their children were Raya and Yitzhak.

Once I had the names, the dominoes fell. I immediately accessed the Yad Vashem Holocaust Testimony database. There were numerous Holocaust testimonies for Frida and family submitted by relatives of mine from Israel giving some of the details of their lives and ultimate death at the hands of the Romanian army who had allied with Nazi Germany and implemented their own version of the Final Solution known as pogroms. Here is what I have learned so far about their short lives.

Noua Sulita was captured by Romanian forces on July 2, 1941. On the same day, 800 Jews were murdered probably including Frida’s husband Menashe and daughter Raya. They were found shot with Menashe still holding her. The surviving Jews including my great aunt Frida and her son Yitzhak, , were rounded up and put into a factory. On July 20, 1941 all the surviving Jews from the town were deported to Transiteria. En route they were exposed to constant brutality, and the old and weak among them were put to death. This included my great aunt Frida who was shot when she fell behind on the march. Yitzhak died later from illness and starvation at a Transnitria concentration camp.

One year before they were murdered. Jews were often conscripted to sere in the Romanian army

One year before they were murdered. Jews were often conscripted to serve in the Romanian army

The soldiers who slaughtered my family and murdered the majority of Jews in Noua Sulita, may have died later in the war. They may have moved to new locations under new names. They may have gone on to live the full lives they denied my family. They may have been prosecuted as war criminals. I will never know. They will probably always been nameless, faceless, murders relegated to the images I give them and I sometimes relive the the pain and desperation Frida and family must have felt having their futures taken from them. As long as I live however, they will always live. As long as the entire Feldman family goes on in the form of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, they will always live. Family, including my long lost relatives in Israel who I have now reconnected with and will soon meet for the first time.

I will never forget my great aunt Frida Feldman-Sterenberg, Menahse Sterenberg, Yitzhak Sterenberg and Raya Sterenberg who were among the eleven million murdered in the Holocaust. .I hope you won’t either.



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Remembering The Holocaust In Film 2013

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Remembering The Holocaust In Film 2013

The United States Congress established the Days of Remembrance as our nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. This year Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 7th-8th  2013. In honor of that, here is my annual list of Holocaust films I feel are worth seeing.

The Holocaust has always been sporadic material for Hollywood. Every few years a small budget independent or documentary will show up. Mainstream Hollywood rarely invests big dollars. While many Holocaust films are done, very few are big budget. A great documentary on the subject of how Hollywood has addressed the Holocaust is Imaginary Witness:Hollywood and the Holocaust.

Here is my list of Hollywood movies and television media that I feel offer the most to the viewer in the portrayal of events and figures of the Holocaust. I am only including films I have seen and whose main focus are the Holocaust as compared to the Holocaust being just one historical event in the movie. An example would be Band Of Brothers. This mini-series addresses the Holocaust but is not about the Holocaust.

No Place On Earth  38 Jews survived the Holocaust by living in the gypsum caves of the Ukraine for 511 days until Russia liberated the area.

In Darkness: Based on true events, the film tells a story of Leopold Socha, a sewer worker in the Nazi-occupied Polish city of Lwów (since 1945 Lviv, Ukraine), who used his knowledge of the city’s sewer system to shelter a group of Jews of the Lwów Ghetto during  the occupation of Poland.

Lidice” was not released mainstream in the United States and it is not directly a Holocaust Movie. I am including it because it is such heart-wrenching story,  I can’t believe it has never been done mainstream. It revolves around the assassination of the “Butcher Of Prague, Reinhard Heydrich by Czech partisans and the Nazi retaliation against and massacre of the entire town of Lidice. The movie is hard to find and subtitled but its a must see.

Sarah’s Key addresses the very sensitive and hushed subject of French complicity in the Holocaust. It revolves around the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup, in which French police arrested thousands of Jews in Paris in July 1942.

Julia Jarmond, an American journalist married to a Frenchman, is commissioned to write an article about the notorious Vel d’Hiv round up, which took place in Paris, in 1942. She stumbles upon a family secret which will link her forever to the destiny of a young Jewish girl, Sarah. Julia learns that the apartment she and her husband Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand’s family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before.

Defiance is the story of the Jewish Bielski brothers. succeeded in escaping from the massacre of the German in their village where their parents were killed. They hide in the woods and sooner other runaway Jews join them. They guerrilla resistance created a makeshift village in the woods to shelter and protect more than 1,200 Jews. Five generations later, “20,000 Jewish people are alive because of the work the Bielski brothers.

“The Boy In The Striped Pajamas” and “The Reader”.

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas. Adapted from the book of the same name by John Boyne. A short, faithful adaption to the book. The story is told from the perspective of the child of a Concentration Camp Commandant who befriends a Jewish child imprisoned in the a camp. The child has been shielded by his father from the horror, brutality and the truth of the purpose of the camp. This movie received quite a bit of criticism in portraying an unrealistic view of German ignorance of the Holocaust.

The Reader(2009). Ralph Fiennes reminds us of his brilliant performance in Schindler’s List to once again tackle the Holocaust in a much different light. His character has an affair with his care-taker. Years later, while a law student observing a Nazi war crime trial, he is re-united in a shocking way. She is a defendant charged with war crimes. The Reader has sparked some revisionist sentiment in the Jewish community. The criticism is that film through its central theme attempts to legitimize a notion that ordinary Germans were completely ignorant of The Final Solution until after the war.

Paperclips(2004) An extraordinary documentary that I stumbled across surfing cables channels once night. Whitwell Middlepaperclips School in rural Tennessee is the last place you would think would be a hot bed of Holocaust study. It however is the setting for this documentary about a unique experiment in Holocaust understanding. The students at Whitewell collect six-million paper clips to better understand the extent of Holocaust and share that understanding with Holocaust survivors.

The Diary Of Anne Frank(1959). The 1959 version appears to be Hollywood’s first mainstream attempt to bring the Holocaust to the masses although it did so by sacrificing the depth and emotion of the Holocaust to give the public a Hollywood anne_frank_imageblockbuster movie. The movie itself was a Hollywood hit by the standards of the day. It won three Oscars. An interesting side note is that Audrey Hepburn turned down the role of Anne Frank because she herself lived in occupied Holland and witnessed Nazi atrocities first-hand. To get a feel for early Hollywood treatment of the Holocaust, the Diary of Anne Frank is a must see, but be sure to view the original before viewing the remakes.

Holocaust(1978). A four-part made-for-TV mini-series. That was the first major network big time portrayal of the subject. The series was a monstrous success, drawing a 49 percent market share. So many people watched this mini-series in New York City when first broadcast, that when commercials were on, the local water pressure dropped due to the large number of people using their toilets at once. It won Golden Globe and Emmy awards. It was instrumental in rocketing the career of Meryl Streep. Michael Moriarty is brilliant as an out of work lawyer who enters the Nazi party and advances through brutality and helping implement “The Final Solution.”

Schindler’s List(1993). The Holocaust comes to Generation X with the Steven Spielberg story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist and Nazi party member who started out getting rich off the backs of Jewish slave labor and ended up finding his own humanity. He went on to save thousands of Jews from the gas chamber, risking both his personal wealth and his safety to save as many Jews as possible. He spent his entire fortune to bribe Germans and buy the lives of the Jews who worked for him. He kept them for the most part safe until Germany’s surrender. He ended up penniless. Today, there are more than 6000 descendants of “Schindler Jews” living around the world. The movie is done in and black and white and riveting from beginning to end. The movie itself was a huge critical and box office success winning seven Oscars

Sophie’s Choice(1982). Sophie’s Choice is a brilliant performance by Meryl Streep as a Holocaust survivor with dark secrets in her family’s past. Her performance as Sophie Zawistowska is ranked #3 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time. She won an academy award for her performance. It should be noted that this film was released 11 years prior to Schindler’s list. It contains one of the most heart wrenching moments in movie history when Sophie recounts the night she arrived at Auschwitz with her children, and of how she was forced by a Nazi officer to choose life for one child and death for the other.

Life Is Beautiful(1997). Life Is Beautiful is told from the view of a man who uses the gift of humor to protect his only son from the inhumanity while in a concentration camp. The film is incredible in that it allows you to smile and laugh with Guido right up until the tragic end and not feel sad. This movie won three Academy Awards. While classified as a Holocaust film, this film is also a joyous celebration of the human spirit.

The Pianist(2002). This movie is told from the viewpoint of a very talented piano player played by Adrian Brody. He hides out in the Warsaw Ghetto throughout the Warsaw Ghetto Liquidation and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. When the German occupation begins, he simply wonders when he will be able to return to his music. When the killing begins, he is forced to hide and change his priorities to simply trying to survive. Even though he can no longer play, music is the hope and salvation that keeps him alive.

The Grey Zone(2001). The Grey Zone is gritty, dark and sometimes hard to follow. It is, however, a must-see for all those who want an understanding of the Holocaust beyond the basics. The Grey Zone deals with an issue that is very sensitive to Holocaust survivors. Jews sending other Jews to the gas chamber. These Jews were called “Sonderkommandos“. Sonderkommando members did not participate directly in the killing which was reserved for the guards. While their primary responsibility was disposing of the corpses, they often took a much more active role in getting the inmates ready to enter the gas chambers. These inmates were kept in close groups and had much better living conditions than the average inmate. They were also killed off at regular intervals to prevent any word of the inner workings of the Nazi death apparatus from leaking to the outside world. This movie is about one of several Sonderkommado revolts that took place. It features an outstanding peformance by Harvey Keitel.

Playing for Time. Playing for Time is a made-for-T.V piece that is worth seeing. It ias another movie that gives a perspective on the inner workings of Nazi concentration camps in which some inmates were forced to play music for the others as they marched to the gas chambers or life-death selection process. The purpose was to keep them calm and reduce the chances of revolt.

Europa Europa(1991). A young Jewish boy poses as a German “Aryan” orphan and joins the Hitler Youth in the early days of World War II. An interesting look at the racial, moral and religious identity struggles faced by Jews as they did what they could to prevent their extermination in Nazi Germany.

Music Box(1989).This is one of the few movies dealing with the issues of aging former Nazis and Nazi sympathizers who committed war crimes living in the United States. Jessica Lange and Armin Mueller-Stah give great performances. The movie is based on the true story of John Demjanjuk. While the premise of a daughter representing her father on trial with such high stakes is a stretch, it works well here. Jessica’s emotional opening statement is also unrealistic and inadmissible. The movie is incredibly moving on all levels. You are torn between her father as a loving grandfather and a brutal murderer guilty of terrible war crimes. In an interesting twist of life imitating art, the father of Joe Eszterhas who wrote the screenplay, was accused of writing anti-Semitic propaganda before and during World War II. Like the character in Music Box, his father denied being the person who wrote these materials. Mr. Ezterhas denies knowing anything about his father’s past at the time he wrote the screenplay.


That is my list of Holocaust films that I feel are must sees for anyone wanting to get a good understanding of the subject through Hollywood and also be entertained. Is this a definitive list? Absolutely not. There are numerous other US and foreign mainstream films and documentaries dealing with general and specific issues surrounding the Holocaust.

Please feel free to comment and add your own movies to the list with an explanation of why you feel it is an important film or simply why you enjoyed it. -NEVER FORGET!

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Antisemitism-Why Do I Care?

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Antisemitism-Why Do I Care?

I was recently made aware of a guy who tweeted some antisemitic content.  Nothing unique. Happens all the time.  Antisemitism is rampant on Twitter.   I try not to get into individual battles over it. That’s all  I would be doing all day.  This particular  tweet happened to come from a local kid(Dallas) so I decided to take an interest and teach him a lesson about his message.  Most speech is free from goverment interference  and Twitter does not prohibit this type of content but hate speech  does have consequences.  If I can teach one kid the consequences of his hate speech by costing him his job I am ok with that.   A short time later I got a tweet from a local Dallas atty asking me why I cared about the tweet of some random “tool”.  Here is the majority of the exchange.

There are some other exchanges that I have not posted but are in my Twitter stream if you care to look.  I admittedly got defensive and to use her word “rude’ with her.  For that, I apologize to Patricia.  I should have handled it with professionalism and a explanation of how antisemitism spreads.  Too much for 140.  Being anonymously rude was easier and more cleansing on a visceral level.  Even I can succumb to that in social media.

Here is why I care.  The kid may be a “tool” and a “waste of air”.  It’s not my place to say.  We all have value to someone.   The message he is spreading however, is not inconsequential nor harmless even from a random tool.  The message of antisemitism is spread  by “tools” lawyers, doctors, PhD’s and many others.  Millions of “tools” get together and that is how hate goes viral.  Pretty simple concept.  I won’t stay silent.

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Those are reason enough for me to care about the Twitter message of a  random “tool.   Every genocide starts with one “tool”.   Here are some other reasons why I care. About 11 million of them.

Never again.


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Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers

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Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers

Would it surprise anyone to learn that there were upwards of 150, 000 soldiers of partial Jewish descent serving in the German army during World War II?  I had no idea until I attended a lecture by Bryan Mark Rigg discussing his book entitled Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers.  What is even more startling is that Adolf Hitler was aware of this and for a while allowed them to serve.  In most cases these soldiers had no knowledge of the Holocaust killing machine.  From their point of view they were simple German patriots fighting for their country. Many did not even consider themselves Jewish. Some were unaware of their “Jewish blood”.  According to his book, at least 20 soldiers of “Jewish blood” were awarded The Knights Cross.  Included in the ranks were two field marshals and fifteen generals. The most prominently known of these commanders of Jewish descent was General Erhard Milch who had one Jewish parent.  He was deputy to Herman Goring, the head of the Luftwaffe(German Air Force).

When I look back at my own Jewish Immigrant background, the “specter” of Jews fighting for the Nazis in the traditional sense sickens stomach. My ancestry is much like other Jewish immigrants. Both sides of my family immigrated to the Unites States from Czarist Russia in the early 1900’s. They came to escape the brutal exterminating pogroms of the Russian authorities much like the extermination of Jews by the Nazis. Czarist officials not only promoted pogroms to blame Jews for government failures and economic depressions but also to isolate jews and keep them fearful. They forced the “Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion,” a documents used the to justify persecuting Jews ans stil in circulation now in Middle Eastern Countries to “prove” that Jews controlled World Finance. Moreover, the Czars conscripted Jewish youth as young as 12 to serve 25 years in the army. Some Russian Jews immigrated to Poland only to be ultimately persecuted by both the Hitler regime and their very own. German born Jews treated Eastern Jews as inferior calling them “Ghetto Jews”. Jews of this background constituted the majority of the Jews massacred pursuant to “The Final Solution“.

The common public notion is that no one of Jewish descent would have ever been allowed to serve in the Nazi regime and, if discovered, would be immediately deported to a forced labor or extermination/concentration camp. This was not the case. The Nazi racial classification or “Nuremberg Lawswere complex and bizarre as to who was classified as a “Jew”. (see Nazi classification chart) This classification dispute is responsible for some controversy. Some scholars have complained that the title of Rigg’s book is sensational and misleading because it implies that these Nazi soldiers were Jewish when, in fact, many of them would not be classified as Jews under Jewish law (Young men were considered Jewish if their mothers were Jewish.). Many of the soldiers interviewed did not consider themselves Jewish at all and had been baptized into a Christian tradition. I view this as a simplistic criticism since the overall issue of how Hitler bent and twisted the racial laws of his regime to serve his own bizarre purposes in the face of the Nuremberg laws is a fascinating idea that Riggs explains from a unique perspective. Riggs demonstrates the willingness of the Nazis to bend their own laws of racial classification and Jewish persecution and documents Hitler’s extensive , obsessive involvement in deciding which “Jews” received a pass ,which would be discharged, and which would ultimately be deported. Riggs also explores the historical, religious and cultural individual personal conflicts of “The Jewish Identity”.

While most of Jewish descent were ordinary Wehrmacht soldiers, some rose to very high ranking positions of authority in the Nazi Regime. Some either directly or indirectly participated in the Jewish killing machine. Germans of Jewish descent were fighting for a country whose official policy was that they were regarded as second-class citizens and, in most cases, not even human. Germans of Jewish descent were fighting for a country that was deporting their relatives to concentrations camps for eventual extermination. Germans of Jewish descent were fighting for a country who, some say, planned to ultimately exterminate them also when Germany won the war.  How could these “Jews” fight for a country that planned their extinction?  Why did Hitler allow this to take place?  We know it is not due to the common misconception that Hitler was part Jewish.  Scholars universally agree that there is no evidence of this.  Rigg’s thesis certainly goes against everything I believed about my identity as a Jew and what it means to be Jewish.  Does having “Jewish blood” in itself make you Jewish?  While the simple answer seems to be no, it was quite complicated in Nazi Germany.

A fascinating aspect of the lecture and the book is the method by which the Nazis determined who was Jewish and who was not. For racial and military purposes, the Nazi Party classified Jewish people as full Jews, half Jews, and quarter Jews. Each classification was treated differently with regards to whether they could serve in the German military and what rights, if any, they had under German law. As previously mentioned, according to Jewish law, a person is determined to be a Jew if the person’s mother is Jewish.

I would have been a full Jew under Nazi laws. All four of my grandparents on both sides were Jewish. I am also of Russian descent. Not only would I have been prohibited from serving in the German military, I would have in all likelihood been on the first train out to to Auschwitz or some other extermination camp. Jews of Eastern descent or “Ghetto Jews” were also looked down upon and discriminated against by German born Jews as well as the Germans. It was a double whammy. (it was an upper vs lower class type discrimination as compared to the totalitarian discrimination of the Nazis)

Many of those of partial Jewish descent while Jewish by both Jewish law and Nazi racial classification had become so assimilated into the German-Christian society through mixed marriages that they did not consider themselves Jewish. Some were practicing Christians. This was only changed through Hitler’s racial classification system and the Nuremberg Laws which officially made the majority of people of full and partial Jewish descent second-class citizens called “Mischling“, meaning they came from a mixed marriage and had partial Jewish ancestry. Germans of partial Jewish descent who had practiced Christianity all of their lives, were suddenly classified as a “Mischling,” Jews under Hitler’s racial classification laws. They were suddenly stripped of most rights under German law.

Interestingly, the situation was not just a German/Jewish phenomenon. In 1941, Finland joined the war as a “co-belligerent” of Germany. (Finland refused to call itself an ally.) There were 250-300 Finnish-Jews fighting alongside Germany on the eastern front against Russia, and some of the Finnish-Jews were even awarded German battle decorations. Soldiers with Jewish heritage also fought along side the Nazis when Romania was aligned against the Soviet Union as well as for Italy.

There was a huge ideology gap between what occurred in Finland and Nazi Germany. Finland was not under Nazi rule. Finland, from its perspective, was fighting for its independence from Russia rather than to support any anti-Semitic ideology or German persecution. Finland as a nation refused to endorse the Nazi anti-Semitic policies and refused to deport, persecute or discriminate against its Jewish population. It is quite the paradox that despite this policy their fighting alongside Germany certainly helped Germany achieve military goals and indirectly aided in the Jewish persecutions. The Finnish-Jewish soldiers were not blind to what was going on. It caused quite a bit of internal conflict and tension with the German soldiers. This was also not a racial classification issue. Finland did not discriminate against or classify their Jews. In this situation, full, practicing Jews were fighting alongside the Nazis against the Allies, fighting predominately at Leningrad.

The German racial classification system for Jews and the resulting disparate treatment with regards to military service in the Nazi army highlights some of the fundamental issues of Jewish Identify that exist even today. What does it mean to be Jewish? What qualities and beliefs make someone Jewish? If your mother is Jewish you are certainly a Jews by definition of Jewish Law but that may not be how you may look at yourself if you were not raised in the Jewish tradition. Are we as Jews defined by our culture, our religious practices or how other view us? As an example, several years ago I got into a heated argument when a person who was close to me told me in her opinion I was not Jewish because I did not adhere to Jewish religious practices. I was infuriated. It was and is my belief that my bond to Judaism is through culture, common history and suffering. The bond that all Jews share. That is what defines me as a Jew. She could not grasp this concept. This was the dilemma faced by many of the Mischling in Nazi Germany. This is a historical and religious conflict faced by Jews today as mixed marriages have become much more common and accepted in the United States. Jews argue among themselves over this issue. It is a conflict that transcends time.

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