Remember the Women’s Holocaust
Posted Thu, Apr 15, 2010

This past week, Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. A traditional and moving ceremony was held in Toronto. Two thousand people were in attendance. It is difficult to understand the evil behind the Nazi death machine, and the ideology which authorized the execution in the name of racial cleansing. The indications were abundant, the evidence set in the stories of survivors as well as their bodies and souls, in documents and photos from the valley of death which documented the genocide. All of these are not enough for their ideological successors who continue to deny the Holocaust.
It is not surprising that the premier Holocaust denier is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His grounds for Holocaust denial are not academic and he is not really interested in a historical discourse about the Second World War. Iran’s motives are different than Nazi Germany’s, but the goal is similar. The political ambitions of the Iranian President are driven by a passionate, deep religious faith. He continues to speak of “the likely destruction of Israel” as a messianic concept code which is surging in him and in his mentor Ayatollah Yazdi, the most radical of the ayatollahs who advocates political and military activism to advance the global Islamic revolution led by Iran.
Ahmadinejad’s determination to develop nuclear weapons can also be interpreted as a sign of messianic redemption. He and his associates see their dealing with international pressures who seek to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear technology, as one way to prepare the ground for the appearance of the Mahdi. In the era of “salvation”, according to Ahmadinejad’s Islamic philosophy, all heretics will be sentenced to death by Muslims. The warnings against the rebirth of a modern version of Nazi Germany in an Islamic form are not the fruit of imagination or a false alarm. Israel is the immediate target of Ahmadinejad. The free world, democracy and liberal values are the real enemy of Ahmadinejad.
Historically, the practice of dealing with the Holocaust focused less on the suffering of Jewish women. This issue was the focus of the Yom Hashoah ceremony in Toronto this year. In Israel a group of women set up an organization by the name Sodot (Secrets), whose goal is to document sexual abuse of women and children during the Holocaust. The organization has called out to Holocaust survivors to document their personal stories, as well as the stories of Holocaust survivors who have passed away and witness accounts of these horrors. The organization’s founders claim that it is unacceptable to silence the female voice in the Holocaust on the grounds that documentation of sexual abuse embarrasses the victim and violates the dignity of those who perished. The evidence collected will be used for the establishment of a monument in memory of women Holocaust victims.
The Sodot crew – Roni, Vital, and Efrat – may be contacted by phone at 972-52-5727776 or by e-mail at Shalom Toronto newspaper and Shalom Life, the website for the Toronto Jewish community ( have also taken on this important historical task. They will translate at no cost the testimonies by women survivors of the Holocaust and will publish them for posterity.

Jonathan Dahoh-Halevi
Fellow and senior researcher at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs , head of research of the Orient Research Group Ltd., investigative journalist and an activist in the Jewish and Israeli communities.

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