March 22, 2007

Today in Jewish History - Nissan 3

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In 1944, the Nazis perpetrated the Children's Action in the Kovno Ghetto. That day and the next, German soldiers conducted house-to-house searches to round up all children under age 12 (and adults over 55) -- and sent them to their deaths at Fort IX. Eventually, the Germans blew up every house with grenades and dynamite, on suspicion that Jews might be in hiding in underground bunkers. They then poured gasoline over much of the former ghetto and incinerated it. Of the 37,000 Jews in Kovno before the Holocaust, less than 10 percent survived. One of the survivors was Rabbi Ephraim Oshri, who later published a stirring collection of rabbinical responsa, detailing his life-and-death decisions during the Holocaust. Also on this date, in 1937, American Jews held a massive anti-Nazi rally in New York City's Madison Square Garden.