The Jewish Post & News covered the B’nai Brith World Center in Jerusalem and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust's virtual Yom Hashoah event in April, choosing to highlight Joseph and Rebecca Bau.
When Hadasa Bau and Clila Bau Cohen received notice earlier this year that their parents, Josef and Rebecca Bau, were to going to be honoured, along with some other Holocaust survivors, at a ceremony in Jerusalem in April, they burst out in tears.
It was an emotional moment.
“We were very moved,” said the two sisters, who have both lived in Winnipeg at different times over the years, in an email in early July to this reporter from their home in Tel Aviv. “Our parents deserve it so much.”
The B’nai Brith World Center in Jerusalem and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust held a Zoom meeting on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah, Tuesday, April 21, 2020) to extol the heroism of some 20 Jews who endangered themselves during the Holocaust to rescue fellow Jews, said information on the B’nai B’rith International website. Relatives and representatives of the now-deceased rescuers addressed the meeting, and the – a joint project of the World Center and the Committee – was conferred virtually on them. The event was carried live on B’nai Brith’s Facebook page and was primarily be in Hebrew, with some English.
There were a total of 16 rescuers honoured on that day.
A brief biography of each person is included on the website:
Joseph Bau (June 13, 1920-May 24, 2002), a graphic artist who forged documents for the Jewish underground in Krakow, Poland, and later in Oscar Schindler’s factory camp in Brněnec in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia;
Rebecca (Tennenbaum) Bau (1918-1997) was a nurse who served as the manicurist of Amon Goeth, the ruthless Nazi who ruled over the Plaszow concentration camp. She shared secrets she overheard that helped many inmates survive, while also providing them with moral and physical support.
“The Zoom meeting represented a break from the traditional annual ceremony held by the World Center and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) for the past 17 consecutive years in the B’nai Brith Martyrs Forest,” said the BBI website.
“It is the only event dedicated annually to commemorating the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust.
“Since the establishment of the Jewish Rescuers Citation in 2011, 314 heroes have been honored for rescue activities in Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Italy, Holland and Belgium.
One of the most recent recipients of the Jewish Rescuers Citation, Frida Wattenberg, a member of the Jewish underground in Grenoble, France, during the Holocaust, contracted the coronavirus and died in Paris on April 3, just three weeks shy of her 96th birthday. The citation was conferred on Sept. 23, 2019, at the Foundation de Rothschild seniors’ home where she resided. Tsilla Hershco, the author of the most authoritative book to date on the Jewish underground movement in France and a member of the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust, conferred the citation.”
In their email, Hadasa Bau and Clila Bau Cohen said their parents only thought about how to help others, and in the Holocaust they risked their lives in order to save other people. The sisters participated in the Zoom meeting on April 21 by providing more details about their parents.
“They never thought about themselves,” the sisters said.
“Our father, Joseph Bau, managed to finish one year of art school in Krakow before the war broke out. At the end of that year, he was taught Gothic letters. When he and his family were sent to the Ghetto, the Germans looked for someone who knew those letters, so that saved his life. He worked for the German police, the Jewish police and the Jewish underground. He forged documents for the underground, thus saving hundreds of Jews that managed to escape. He was also a spy that conveyed information from the German police to the underground.
“When the underground people told him, ‘Forge a document for yourself and escape...’, he answered, ‘...but if I escape who will save the rest?’
“So, he risked his life and stayed till the end of the war. Our father was very modest and never told us how he saved many lives, even though our parents spoke about the Holocaust daily. During the Holocaust, he led a secret life and this continued in Israel.
“He told his memoirs of the Holocaust in a book he wrote named ‘Shnot Tarzach – Dear God, Have You Ever Gone Hungry?’ that was translated into many languages.”
In 1950 Josef and Rebecca and their three year old daughter, Hadasa, immigrated to Israel.
“After his death, we discovered that he worked for the Mossad and forged documents for spies such as Eli Cohen, also for the team that captured Eichmann and Eichmann himself,” said the sisters.
“We turned the studio that he used as a cover for his activities into the Joseph Bau House Museum. He was a pioneer of animation and one of the first graphic artists. He designed titles for many Israeli movies.”
Rebecca Bau was in the Krakow ghetto, also Plaszow, Auschwitz and Lichtewerden concentration camps.
“She was a fearless woman. All her life she encouraged people and always laughed,” the sisters wrote.
“Rebecca was a nurse and cosmetician who worked in the ghetto hospital until all the patients were murdered. While in the ghetto, she saved many by helping them avoid the transports – among whom were 11 members of the Gietzhalz family.
“She was then transferred from the ghetto to the Plaszow concentration camp and there she saved many by giving them pedicures, because the Germans murdered those who limped.”
“In the concentration camp, she met her husband Joseph. He snuck into her barracks in the woman’s camp dressed as a woman and they secretly got married.”
Their wedding is depicted in the movie “Schindler’s List” directed by Steven Spielberg.
The sisters also noted that their mother replaced her name, which was on Schindler’s list, with that of her husband, “our father,” and she herself was sent to Auschwitz.
“The reason she was on the list was because she had saved the life of Pemper’s mother and he was one of the people making the list,” the sisters wrote in their email.
“In Auschwitz, she saved some girls - even during Mengele’s selection process. All the time we hear more and more things from people who knew our parents, who come to the museum and tell us. This is unbelievable. We are surprised every time anew. They were very different and special people.”
For 25 years, B'nai B'rith International has proudly served as the North American sponsor for the Yom Hashoah program "Unto Every Person There Is A Name."
While much of the coverage has centered on ceremonies in the United States, one very special ceremony took place on the steps of city hall in Montreal, Canada.
Read an excerpt of the story printed in The Suburban, and click through to the full story below:
B’nai Brith Canada held its annual ceremony on the steps of Montreal city hall Monday to remember the individual victims of the Holocaust.
Dignitaries, led by Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, read the names of the victims. Six candles representing the six million Jews killed by the Nazis were lit by St. Laurent councillor Maurice Cohen and Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand; Côte St. Luc councillors Dida Berku and Mitchell Brownstein; Hampstead mayor William Steinberg and wife Doris; Côte des Neiges/NDG mayor Russell Copeman and councillor Lionel Perez, and Pierrefonds-Roxboro mayor Jim Beis; Outremont councillor Mindy Pollak; and D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum.
They, and Project Montréal leader Richard Bergeron, also read names.
Harvey Levine, Quebec regional director of B’nai Brith Canada, said the purpose of the ceremony is to make sure the victims of the Holocaust are never forgotten.
“We also recall all of the non-Jewish victims of the Nazis,” he added. “B’nai Brith commemorates ‘unto every person there is a name’ in the hope it will strengthen the memory and the bond between past and present intended to combat ignorance, indifference and denial of the Holocaust, and to unite the community to fight anti-Semitism and racism.”
On Yom Hashoah, hundreds gathered at the B'nai B'rith Martyrs' Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza in Jerusalem for a ceremony of remembrance. This year's focus was on rescue activities of Jonas Eckstein (1902-1971) who was an active member of the Jewish community and saved countless Jews from the atrocities of the Holocaust.
The gallery below is courtesy of B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem:
On Yom Hashoah, thousands of college students from hundreds of chapters of Alpha Epsilon Pi joined in the day of remembrance with recitations of the names of Holocaust victims and silent walks around campus.
These observances, created by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, honor more victims each year, as the project collects more names.
B’nai B’rith International observed Holocaust Remembrance Day with its annual program “Unto Every Person There is a Name,” now in its 25th year. B’nai B’rith is the official North American sponsor of the program under the auspices of Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust Museum and research center in Jerusalem.
The gallery below is courtesy of B'nai B'rith Austin, AEPi at UT and Texas Hillel, who held their 24-hour ceremony at the foot of the iconic University of Texas Tower.
While attendance at these ceremonies on college campuses has grown dramatically in recent years, there are also adult communities that still participate in the Yom Hashoah recitation of names.
From the Detroit area chapter of B'nai B'rith International, a gallery from the Yom Hashoah ceremonies:
B'nai B'rith International World Center in Jerusalem was featured on Shalom TV Daily News for the commemoration ceremony on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day/Yom Hashoah.
The event took place at the B'nai B'rith Martyrs' Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza, and memorializes the Holocaust rescue activities of Jonas Eckstein (1902-1971), who was an active member of the Jewish community.
The story begins at the 1:28 mark in the video:
On Yom Hashoah, college students from across the nation honored those lost in the Holocaust with name recitations and silent walks around campus.
One such event occurred at Northern Illinois University, where a silent walk was chronicled by the student-led paper, The Northern Star. An excerpt of the article can be found below.
For the past seven springs, B'nai B'rith International and AEPi have come together to bring Yom Hashoah programming to campuses nationwide. The initiative brings together AEPi’s “We Walk to Remember” with B'nai B'rith International’s “Unto Every Person There is a Name.”
Click here to learn more about B'nai B'rith's efforts on the Day of Remembrance.
Students honored Yom Ha’Shoah and remembered the Holocaust through a silent walk Monday.
The event was organized by the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity partnered with Hillel, a Jewish student group, and other volunteers in remembrance of victims of the Holocaust.
Participants wore signs that said “Never Forget” and walked in silence with a police escort. They carried fliers they handed out to students during the afternoon walk.
Chad Harris, Alpha Epsilon Pi president and junior business management major, said the silence of the 12 participants was meant to reflect the somber mood of the event.
“Any chance we get to honor the fallen Holocaust victims, we do,” Harris said.
On the latest edition of Radio JAI, Eduardo Kohn, B'nai B'rith director of Latin American Affairs, discusses several important issues facing the continent's Jewish population.
Topics include: Yom Hashoah commemoration, ongoing anti-Semitism in Europe, the clear and present danger of anti-Semitism in Latin America and the danger that those who deny the Holocaust are those who are ready to commit genocide against the Jewish people.
Listen to the full podcast:
En 1944, alrededor de 400.000 judíos húngaros fueron deportados y asesinados por los nazis, pero con una importante colaboración de la población civil, cuyos descendientes son militantes del partido nazi húngaro (Jobbik). Esto ya había pasado en Francia en 1942, cuando los nazis habían llevado a los judíos al velódromo, en donde los hacinaron, y a los que sobrevivieron los enviaron a un tren hacia el exterminio.
Primo Levy consideraba que era posible "liquidar" a toda la humanidad, y argumentaba que una de las características del régimen nazi era la deshumanización del prisionero. Para este autor, los que actualmente consideran que el Holocuasto no existió "es porque quieren volver a hacerlo."
The following notice appeared in the St. Louis Jewish Light. For more information on the Yom Hashoah programs near you, check our full listing.
On Monday, April 28, B’nai B’rith will hold an “Unto Every Person there is a Name” observance in the lobby of the Jewish Federation building in front of the Holocaust Museum, 12 Millstone Campus Drive, from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. as part of the community’s Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Memorial Day events.
Volunteers are sought to recite the names of those lost during the Holocaust, joining others from around the world marking similar observances.
Individuals or groups are welcome to join the St. Louis Holocaust Survivors and Descendants group and students from area schools in the reading of the names.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Diane Maier at 314-442-3190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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