Looming Destruction: Will Jews Ever Learn?

On the eve of the Second World War, Chaim Weizmann, who was to become Israel's first president, wrote the following about the persecutions taking place in Nazi Germany:

It would require the eloquence of a Jeremiah to picture the horrors, the human anguish, of this new Destruction and of a new book of Lamentations to depict the present plight of Israel among the nations.

Several decades earlier, Max Nordau, one of the most noted European philosophers of the 19th century, and supporter of Theodore Herzl, once told the great Zionist leader and Jewish patriot, Vladimir Jabotinsky, that "the Jew learns not by way of reason, but from catastrophes. He won't buy an umbrella merely because he sees clouds in the sky. He waits until he is drenched and catches pneumonia."

This prescient observation foreshadowed the many anti-Jewish pogroms that followed in the bloodiest of all centuries: the twentieth. It also led, inexorably, to the swallowing up of the Jews of Europe by the calamitous German Nazi juggernaut, complete with enforced ghettoes, roving killing squads (the einsatzgruppen), the death camps, the gas chambers, and the starvation and horrors that forever will darken the face of Europe.

Before the Second World War broke out on September 3, 1939, Jabotinsky repeatedly warned the leaders of the Jewish communities what lay in store for them. He begged them to defend themselves and endeavor to send as many people as possible to safety amongst their fellow Jews in British Mandatory Palestine. This was before the British government slammed shut the gates of Mandatory Palestine to the desperate Jews fleeing Nazi genocide.

Both Max Nordau and Theodore Herzl had, many years earlier, warned the Jews that their future lay not in Europe, but in a reborn Jewish state, hopefully arising in the ancestral and biblical homeland, then known as Palestine and suffering under a 400-year-old Turkish Ottoman occupation....

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