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Educators who downplayed lessons of the antisemitism-rise of Nat'l Socialists get a taste of their own medicine

Nazi invaders' systematic round of Jewish Hungarians, 1944
Islamo-Marxists at UCLA replicate National Socialists' asenscion, vilifying Jewish faculty and student.

Mensch International Foundation executive, Stephen Geiger, led a commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the German Nazis' landing in Hungary, on March 19, 1944. The event also acknowledged Rabbi Marvin Hier for his significant impact on the Jewish community as Dean of YULA High Schools and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Hier's Mensch Award brought junior and senior high-school students to learn the lessons of history and today.

Mr. Geiger and the speakers shared personal stories about the Holocaust and expresses concerns over the rising anti-Semitism on college campuses, specifically at Univ. of California at Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.). 

Prof. Michael Berenbaum shared his experiences of receiving awards and introduced Rabbi Hier as the recipient of the Mensch Award.  The speakers addressed the anniversary of the start of the Holocaust in Hungary. Rabbinic leaders and Holocaust survivors share their experiences of tackling anti-Semitism at UCLA and the challenges faced by Jewish faculty and students on campuses.  The speakers express concern over the erasure of symbols related to Israel and the lack of security and apologies from universities in response to disruptions. The importance of community support in fighting against anti-Semitism is emphasized, using the story of Esther from the Purim tale as an analogy. Rabbi Hier is honored for his efforts in fighting against anti-Semitism, and the deputy consul general of Hungary in Los Angeles, Dr. Imola Szabo addressed the event with a mea culpa for her country's apathy (and complicity) in 1944, neglecting to protect her citizens from Nazi deportation and genocide.

On 80th anniversary of Nazi invasion that holocausted Hungary's Jews, educators honored L.A. Rabbi Marvin Hier with teach-in at Yeshiva Univ. High School near Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, all which he founded.

  • 00:00:00 Mr. Geiger pays tribute to the 80th anniversary of the German Nazis' landing in Hungary and shares a recording from a synagogue in Gyor, the town where his father was born and where his grandparents and two sisters were deported to. He expresses gratitude to the musicians, Raymond Domby and Thomas Mochari, for making the recording.

    Rabbi Arye Sufrin, YULA's Head of School, acknowledges Rabbi Marvin Hier for his significant impact on the Los Angeles Jewish community and beyond, and presents him with the Mensch Award. The speaker praises Rabbi Hier's influence on countless students and alumni and wishes him and his wife Malka, good health as they remember the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who were killed during the Holocaust.
  • Rebbitzen Malka and Rabbi Marvin Hier, Steven Geiger, and Dr. Imola Szabo, Hungarian Consulate's Deputy Consul General (Photo: Orly Halevy)

  • 00:05:00 Mr. Geiger screens a film produced by Jewish Hungarian film producer Andrew Solomon about actual incidents that occurred in Budapest during the winter of 1944. His wife's grandmother survived the war by hiding after having an inkling of the impending danger. He notes that the extermination of Jews in Hungary, as well as in Poland and France, was not advertised as part of the planned German invasion in 1944, but rather a surprise and sheer luck for all the few who survived. Mr. Geiger mentions that Hungary was not initially a part of the plan for the systematic extermination of Jews throughout Europe.

  • 00:10:00 Geiger plays a History Hustle documentary video discussing Hungary's involvement in with the Axis powers and the German invasion of Hungary in 1944.

    Holocaust historian, Rabbi Michael Berenbaum shares his experience of receiving a Silver Angel Award and introduces Rabbi Marvin Hier, who is being honored with the Mensch Award. Rabbi
    Berenbaum then shifts the focus to Jewish history and that menschlichkeit represents decency, integrity, authenticity, passion, and compassion. Rabbi Hier is praised for his leadership and impactful work, and his wife, Malka, is also acknowledged for her support.

  • 00:15:00 Holocaust survivor Marvin Hier shares a personal story about his brother-in-law, Merlin, during the Nazi period in Hungary. Merlin's mother was taken away, pleading for him to save her young children. Merlin, believing a doctor would never harm the children, approached one named Joseph Mengele, who immediately gassed them. Hier reflects on the idea that destiny sometimes calls upon the unexpected to do the right thing. He shares his own experience of taking his son to Israel as his moment to make a difference. Hier expresses shock over Jonathan Glazer's acceptance speech for his Holocaust film at the Academy Awards, where he failed to acknowledge the atrocities committed by the honored film's subject, Mengele.

  • 00:20:00  Marvin Hier, the recipient of the Mensch Award, expresses his strong disapproval of filmmaker Jonathan Glazer's statements accepting an Academy Award for directing "Zone of Interest" (which dramatizes the lives of Auschwitz Death Camp operators) selected as Best Foreign Language Film. Rabbi Hier condemns Mr. Glazer for exploiting his Holocaust familiarity to infer Israel's, instead of Hamas' inhumanity for the Gaza War.

    Rabbi Hier is dismayed by the lack of reaction from the audience and believes that Glazer missed an opportunity to use his platform to stand in solidarity with the Jews and condemn Hamas. Hier also recalls the devastating consequences of the world's failure to respond to the Holocaust and warns of the dangers of not taking action against peoples, like Islamists, who seek domination and destruction of Western civilizations. The Mensch Award ceremony concludes with Hier expressing gratitude to those in attendance and acknowledging the importance of fighting for freedom every day.

  • 00:25:00 UCLA Professor Emeritus Judea Pearl shares his experiences and concerns regarding the rising anti-Semitism on college campuses, specifically at UCLA where he has spent 55 years. He recounts an incident where a music instructor switched the analysis of Wonder Woman's music score due to the Israeli actor's nationality, making students uncomfortable. He describes this as part of a larger campaign to erase the presence of Israel and Zionism from academia, treating it as toxic and nuclear waste material. He calls it a concerted effort and a crusade, and expresses his concern for future college students who may face similar situations
  • 00:30:00 U.C.L.A. Emeritus Professor Judea Pearl discusses several instances of disruptions and threats on university campuses that led to the cancellation or disruption of events related to Israel or Israeli speakers. The first example involves students feeling uncomfortable and the instructor bending to the pressure of avoiding potential accusations of Islamophobia. The second example involves threats of disruption leading to the cancellation of an event featuring former Israeli Premier Tsipi Livni. The third example involves a real disruption of a lecture by an Israeli attorney named Ron bar Yehoshofat, where the university did not apologize or discipline the organization responsible.

    The last example involves a UCLA Medical School professor who took a trip to Israel and had her photograph discovered by a student in her class, leading to potential consequences. Throughout these examples, Dr. Pearl expresses concern over the erasure of symbols related to Israel and the lack of security and apologies from universities in response to disruptions.

  • 00:35:00 Dr. Pearl discusses an incident at a university where students and a professor expressed concerns about fairness in grading due to the professor's perceived bias against Israel. The speaker then delves into the history of the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which started over 20 years ago with the objective of defaming Israel. The movement produced numerous resolutions calling for boycotts, but most were rejected by the students and administration. However, even when resolutions were rejected, the purpose was to accuse Israel of wrongdoing and create an atmosphere that Israel had done something wrong. The speaker then explains that the mindset of students and the professor had changed, leading to the situation witnessed today. The students, who are capable of proving mathematical theorems, believe that Israel is a villain and is committing genocide in Gaza. The speaker expresses concern over the students' ability to convince themselves of false narratives and the dangerous implications of this mindset.

  • 00:41:18  Dr. Kira Stein, founder and Chair of the Jewish Faculty Resilience Group at U.C.L.A. expresses her concerns about the anti-Semitic climate at UCLA and the threats against Israel. She shares her feelings as a member of the faculty and a mother of Jewish college students. Dr. Stein draws a parallel between the historical challenges faced by Jews and the current situation at UCLA, where the Iranian regime's threats against Israel and anti-Semitic demonstrations have left the community in emotional shock. Despite the grim circumstances, Dr. Stein finds purpose and meaning in taking action to address the issue and fostering resilience and unity among the Jewish community.

  • 00:45:00 Dr. Stein shares her experience of tackling anti-Semitism at UCLA by starting a support group for Jewish faculty and staff, which later transformed into an activist coalition of over 120 members. She expresses sadness over the significant deterioration of the situation at UCLA, where anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist activities have intensified. The group, nicknamed JFRG, has elicited threats - ranging from graffiti and harassment to explicit threats, creating a hostile atmosphere for Jewish students and faculty. Anti-Semitic content has penetrated academic contexts, with hateful stereotypes being propagated during lectures and academic gatherings. Students for Justice in Palestine, a known anti-Semitic organization, has established chapters at UCLA, and Jewish students and faculty have encountered aggressive activists wearing masks and CFAS to intimidate them. Recent incidents include a speech by an Israeli diplomat being moved from in-person to Zoom due to threats, and protests featuring chants calling for the annihilation of Jews and Israel. Anti-Semitic activists have also spread unfounded accusations and stereotypes, similar to those used against Jews during times of plague.

  • 00:50:00  The speakers discuss the rising anti-Semitism at UCLA and the Jewish community's response. They describe the toxic environment on campus, with social media posts accusing Israel of harvesting Palestinian body parts. The decline in Jewish attendance at UCLA and the lack of action from the Jewish faculty leadership group have made Jews feel marginalized and unprotected. The speakers call for standing up against anti-Semitism and advocating for Zionism, and they have taken steps to educate students and staff about Jewish history and culture. They have also collaborated with organizations and produced a documentary to counteract anti-Semitic atrocity denial. However, they find the UCLA administration's response to anti-Semitism to be tepid, and they are struggling to keep pace with the rapid escalation of incidents without sufficient support. The speakers express concern about the situation and the thin capacity of Jewish community organizations to respond promptly. They also mention the growth and influence of their organization, JFrog, as a grassroots volunteer body.

  • 00:55:00 Dr. Stein emphasizes the importance of community support in fighting against anti-Semitism on college campuses. The speaker uses the story of Esther from the Purim tale as an analogy, encouraging the Jewish community to stand together and make a difference in the face of adversity. The speaker also acknowledges the challenges faced by Jewish faculty and students on campuses and calls on the broader Jewish community to provide necessary support. Marvin Hier is honored at the event for his efforts in fighting against anti-Semitism. The deputy consul general of Hungary in Los Angeles, Imola Sabo, also speaks at the event and expresses her difficulty in being the last speaker due to everyone being hungry.

01:00:00 - 01:05:00

Dr. Imola Szabo, a Deputy Consul General in the the Hungarian Consulate in Los Angeles, underscores the significance of remembering the Hungarian Holocaust, which began in 1944 and resulted in the deaths of six million European Jews. This tragedy is not only a Jewish issue but a universal lesson about the violation of human existence and the betrayal of the Creator. She acknowledges the Hungarian government's responsibility for failing to protect its citizens - and the active role of its administration in the deportation of Hungarian Jews. This event serves as a commemoration and a rededication to engage, stand up for the vulnerable, and prevent future atrocities. Dr. Szabo also reflects on the Danube River's history and the tragic events that occurred when many Hungarian citizens were pushed into the river and shot or drowned. She quotes a famous Hungarian poem about the Danube and emphasizes the importance of remembering the past and creating peace through remembrance.

  • 01:05:00  For Hungarians, it is a national tragedy as many victims and perpetrators were Hungarian citizens. The Hungarian government acknowledges its responsibility for failing to protect its citizens and the active participation of its administration in the deportation of Hungarian Jews. Ms. Szabo calls for facing the past, remembering the victims, and learning from history to prevent such atrocities from happening again.

    Mr. Geiger proposes  the Hungarian diplomat consider a program to take every Hungarian  high school student to visit Holocaust sites in Hungary as part of their educational system.




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