Our ancestors lived in Slovakia for centuries. High mountains and long winters made life difficult but it was our home.
We received both secular & religious education At home we received Jewish education but were raised in a democratic spirit of respecting other opinions & views, variety of secular cultures and also different religions & beliefs.
Between 1918 and 1938 our Czechoslovak government was democratic and its laws pursuit mutual tolerance and democracy. We Jews were fully respected citizens having both equal human & legal rights as any other citizens. We lived in peace and relative harmony next to each other. In spite of common anti-Semitism, most people respected each other’s religious faiths & practiced their own traditions and customs without any serious conflicts with the others. For centuries, neither Czech nor Slovak Jews had experienced violent and often deadly pogroms as they had occurred almost regularly in neighboring Poland, Ukraine and Russia.
We all believed in the coming of Messiah. Some expected Him co come first time or return the 2nd time
In early 1938, Czechoslovakia was still safe for us even if many refugees were warning us of approaching danger from anti-Semitic events in neighboring Nazi Germany.
Uncertainty about our future was growing but nobody could answer our worries.
It made us feel shaky like the “Fiddler on the hoof”.
Fear Jews were known as literate and hard working people who were peaceful, unarmed and harmless. Helpless and confused, suddenly they found themselves surrounded by violent gangs directed by the government.
In Slovakia we Jews found ourselves trapped among violent beasts with no easy way to escape
Robbed of our property and jobs, we were starving and constantly exposed to false accusations, humiliation, daily arrests, harassment, looting and threats.
The civilized world abroad abandoned the Jews of Europe and refused to help us. It included the USA State dept., British government & others. We became sad and desperate.
One of many terrible nights of terror filled with violence, broken glass windows, anti-Semitic propaganda and threats.
Deceived Jews were promised to be “resettled”. Self-governed areas “somewhere in the East” waited for them. Frequent deportations were carried out orderly and mostly without major resistance.
Shout or remain silent? Each of us had to make the decision to become either passive & die, revolt & become short-lived heroes or try to survive in order to become witnesses of genocide & preserve it for history & posterity.
Each of the six million Jewish victims had a face and a name. There were 1.5 million children among them.
Kaddish Kaddish is a Jewish prayer to praise G-d to honor memory of the dead. It includes Jewish Martyrs murdered during the 12 years of Nazi rule of Europe and particularly during the Holocaust because they were singled out for annihilation for the only reason to be born into Jewish families or for choosing to become Jewish by conversion. Religious denomination or social status did not make a difference.
In the year of 2006 a large painting of Jeremy Hoffeld depicting deportations of Jews (with a Holocaust survivor Tibor Spitz in front) was exhibited at the group exhibition in Woodstock, NY.
Hebrew text from the Passover Haggadah story reads: “In every generation our enemies wanted to destroy us but God always saved us” …
Today is the International Holocaust Memorial Day Wednesday, January 27, 2010
All shown art pieces and paintings have been created by the artist and witness Tibor Spitz The text was written by Tibor Spitz. Tibor Spitz sent me this valuable material and his consent to make a series of presentations about him as artist and witness of the Holocaust.