November 30, 2018




Polish Nobel Prize Winner.  Andrzej Viktor "Andrew" Schally was born on November 30, 1926 and is an American endocrinologist. He was born in Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania)  as the son of Gen. Brigadier Kazimierz Schally, who was Chief of the Cabinet of President Ignacy Mościcki of Poland, and Maria (Łącka).  Schally was co-recipient with Roger Guillemin and Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He developed greater understanding concerning the brain's control over the body chemistry. His works also addressed birth control methods and growth hormones. Together with Roger Guillemin he described the neurohormone GnRH that controls FSH and LH.  Schally received an honoris causa Doctors degree from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.  In September 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Schally managed to escape along with Poland's President Ignacy Mościcki, Prime Minister and the members of the cabinet to the neutral Romania, where they were interned.  " I was fortunate to survive the holocaust while living among the Jewish-Polish Community in Roumania. I used to speak Polish, Roumanian, Yiddish, Italian and some German and Russian, but I have almost completely forgotten them, and my French in which I used to excel is also now far from fluent."


Mass Shootings Near Riga. On November 30 and December 8, 1941,  about 25,000 Jews were murdered in or on the way to Rumbula Forest, located near Riga, Latvia. The Rumbula Massacre was the largest mass killing of Jews, next to the Babi Yar massacre in Ukraine, until the Nazi operations of death camps were underway.  Approximately 24,000 of the victims were Latvian Jews from the Riga Ghetto and about 1,000 were German Jews who had been transported to the forest by train.  The perpetrators were the Nazi Einsatzgruppe A,  and local collaborators of the Arajs Kommando who were supported by other Latvian auxiliaries. Friedrich Jeckeln, an SS officer was in charge of the killings,  had previously organized other massacres in the Ukraine. Rudolf Lange, (who would later take part in the Wannsee Conference) also participated in organizing the massacre. Some of the accusations against Latvian Herberts Cukurs are related to the clearing of the Riga Ghetto by the Arajs Kommando.  In 1943, Himmler ordered that the bodies at Rumbula be dug up and burned in an attempt to eliminate evidence of Nazi German atrocities.  He ordered that the work was to be done by a detachment of Jewish slave laborers.  People who were travelling by rail at that time could easily detect the smell of burning corpses.  In 2001,  Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of the Republic of Latvia,  speaking at a 60 year anniversary memorial service, recalled that as a child during WW2, "......We could smell the smoke coming from Rumbula, where corpses were being dug up and burnt to erase the evidence....."


"Schindler's List" premiered on November 30, 1993 in Washington, DC.  The movie, directed and produced by Steven Spielberg,  is based on the courageous efforts by Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, during World War Two who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.   The decision to make the film in black and white was to emphasize the documentary nature of the film .  The only color used in the film was that of a little girl wearing a red coat during the scene depicting the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto.  Later in the film, Schindler sees her dead body, which is only recognizable by the red coat.  Spielberg explained that the scene was meant to symbolize the apathy among the highest government levels in the United States - that they knew very well that the Holocaust was happening but did absolutely nothing to stop it.  Spielberg said,  ".....It was as obvious as a little girl wearing a red coat, walking down the street, and yet nothing was done to bomb the German rail lines. Nothing was being done to slow down ... the annihilation of European Jewry," he said. "So that was my message in letting that scene be in color..."  There is other symbolism in the film, which are also very powerful and moving. Stephen Schiff of The New Yorker called it the best historical drama about the Holocaust, a movie that "will take its place in cultural history and remain there." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described it as Spielberg's best, "brilliantly acted, written, directed, and seen."  While many Jews felt gratitude for such a film to be produced, others felt that the film had shortcomings.  Mr. Imre Kertesz, a Hungarian-Jewish author,  was a Holocaust survivor and stated that it was impossible for anybody to accurately portray what life was like in a Nazi concentration camp, unless they actually experienced it first-hand.  He noted that the final scene of the movie at the graveyard failed to depict the horrible after-effects of the survivors and implied that they came through emotionally unscathed.  (Editors note:  Imre Kertész died on March 31, 2016 at the age of 86, after suffering from Parkinsons disease for several years.  He had been the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature, "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history".  He was the first Hungarian to win the Nobel in Literature. His works dealt with themes of the Holocaust, dictatorship and personal freedom.

No comments:

Post a Comment