January 19, 2019

Letters to the editor: Teaching the Holocaust and Donald Sterling

When Is Too Early?

When I was 10 years old, I began asking questions about what I was seeing and reading in Life Magazine — the atom bomb explosions in two Japanese cities, the soldiers’ discovery of the concentration camps where millions of people had been exterminated (“Teaching the Holocaust in Kindergarten?” May 2). Life Magazine was a treasure trove of pictures and texts as I awakened to the horrors of the outside world. When I read and saw the atom bomb’s massive destruction, I remember thinking, “The world has changed and will never return to itself.”

And when I saw the bony, pestilence-ridden, dying and dead souls in the pictures of Buchenwald and Auschwitz, and learned they were mostly Jewish people like me, I could not grasp why God had allowed such horrors. When Life Magazine showed pictures of regular lynchings of Negro people, I despaired for my country. Still, I think it is profoundly important for young children to be exposed to reality of the world, so they can make better decisions for the future.

I benefitted by the knowledge, though it scarred me, indeed, yet it also prepared me for the unjustness of the world, and that created in me the drive and confidence to fight for a better world. 

Myrna Specktor via jewishjournal.com

My earliest memories, which predate the Holocaust, include seeing my mother poring over the obituaries in the newspapers and letting out a groan every time she found that a Jew had passed away. It stayed with me, and I don’t believe it stayed with me in a good way. 
I am grateful that I was old enough to begin to understand what was happening in Europe to Jews before and during World War II. It also affected me greatly, but it had to be less traumatic than if I were to have had this terrible “intelligence” placed on my lap as a young child. I think that it would have had shocking results that would have affected me negatively throughout my life. It is hard enough to live through the memory of the Holocaust as an adult Jew.

Jerry Blaz via jewishjournal.com

Remembering Victims and Heroes

[A recent issue of the] Jewish Journal contained nine articles and one full-page ad about Yom HaShoah. Implicitly, and explicitly in one op-ed article, you emphasized the value of memory (“Yom HaShoah: The Value of Memory,” April 25). But a significant lapse allowed an aspect of the commemoration to be forgotten. The full name of the remembrance, Yom HaShoah V’Hagevurah, went unmentioned. Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Memorial Day is an occasion not only to remember the victims, but to honor the thousands of heroes who [actively resisted]Nazi madness, in fighting units and in uprisings in the ghettos and concentration camps.

Memory is valuable. By honoring those who fought back, we remember to teach the value of resisting oppression.

Jeffrey Kaye via e-mail

Ends Justify the Means?

Donald Tokowitz/Sterling is a scumbag and a bad representation of what a Jew should be (“The Fall of Donald Tokowitz,” May 2). He is in the paper with ads showing his face giving to various causes, not for the right reasons. Yet I find it ironic that his “girlfriend” is part black and he’s making racist remarks. Could it be he was jealous of her seeing others? And his private conversation being taped, I know I wouldn’t like that. 

I agree with the commissioner, love the intelligent way he handled it, yet it feels like maybe the old jerk of a billionaire was set up.

Steve Wold via jewishjournal.com

Donald’s Dirty Dollars

Would any other people be held to this standard? I think not (“Sterling Supported Jewish Orgs That Now Recoil at His Comments,” May 2). Did President Obama return a $1,000,000 donation from Bill Maher, after Maher called Sara Palin the “C word?” He did not. Where was the outrage? Of course we know that Sterling’s comments were despicable. This should be about decency and sensitivity, but it unfortunately is not.

Rafael Guber via jewishjournal.com

I don’t think they have to give back anything. They accepted the money in great faith and tried to use it for the right thing. Though the two aren’t comparable, if I accepted money from someone who turned out to be a drug dealer but I used the money to build a youth center, I [would] know in my heart I tried to do the right thing with it even if the source turned out to be a killing SOB.

DeSean Blackwell via jewishjournal.com


A statement from the pro-Israel group StandWithUs was misattributed in an article about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (“Ineffective Economically,” May 2). It was from Roz Rothstein, StandWithUs CEO