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Genealogy Update

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  • SusanneLevitsky@...
    June 10, 2013 Upcoming Meetings: Next Sunday, June 16, 10 a.m. Breaking through Brick Walls Einstein Center, Sacramento Sunday, June 23, 2 p.m.
    Message 1 of 43 , Jun 10, 2013
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      June 10, 2013
       
      Upcoming Meetings:
       
      Next Sunday, June 16, 10 a.m.    "Breaking through Brick Walls"
                                                            Einstein Center, Sacramento
       
      Sunday, June 23, 2 p.m.       "Next Steps in Jewish Family Research," Victoria Fisch
                                                    Davis Library
       
      Sunday, July 21, 10 a.m.     "The WPA:  Sources for Your Genealogy," Gena          
                                                         Philibert-Ortega
                                                   Einstein Center, Sacramento
       
       
      May 19 Meeting Notes
       
      President Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order.  She noted that we have a new venue in Davis, the Yolo County library on E. 14th Street.  Meetings will be held there every fourth Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
       
      On May 21, there will be a tour of the El Dorado County Archives and Museum in Placerville; admission is free.
       
      Victoria presented the JGSS slate of officers for 2013-14:
       
      President -- Victoria Fisch
      Vice Presidents for Programming -- Art Yates and Dave Reingold
      Treasurer -- Bob Wascou
      Recording Secretary/Publicity -- Susanne Levitsky
      The slate was voted upon and approved.
       
      Mort Rumberg was thanked for his many years of finding program speakers -- "It takes two people to replace him,"  Victoria said.
       
      Teven Laxer was welcomed as the new librarian.  He noted that there are some 20 books out on loan that should be returned; he will start contacting the borrowers.
       
      Teven said we have about 300 volumes in the library that are part of the inventory, with maybe another 100 not yet inventoried.
       
      Dave Reingold talked about the upcoming National History Day -- "we're always looking for topics and people to work with students." Those interested can contact Dave at camp_wiseowl@....
       
      The Sacramento Public Library continues to offer a free 45-minute session, "book a genealogist."
      Victoria mentioned that the Western States Jewish History group is putting together a series of online museums-- check out their website for online exhibitions, starting with Los Angeles and San Francisco.
       
      The Boston IAJGS conference in August 4-9; Bob Wascou and Teven Laxer are among those planning to go. Victoria Fisch and Jeremy Frankel have decided to not to go, due to one of the speakers included in the program.
       
      May Program -- Jim Rader on "The New Super DNA Tests"
       
      Jim talked about FamilyTree DNA, which tests different parts of your DNA. Details can be found on FamilyTreeDNA.com.   He says this test does all the search work.
       
      National Geographic sends its test to Family Tree DNA, he says.
       
      Jim says you can search for a surname or can set up a group -- there are more than 6,000 groups out there now.
       
      Bennett Greenspan, founder of Family Tree DNA -- "his reason for starting it was to do his Jewish genealogy research," Jim says.
       
      Family history and DNA will be the focus of several speakers on June 6 at the upcoming Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, which Jim will be attending.  It takes place just two blocks from the Burbank airport.
       
      23andme.com  -- the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin is involved with this site, which plans to test one million people to establish a large database and track diseases.
       
      Some questions to ponder:
       
      When does your ancestry have an ethnicity?
       
      What date did you become a member of a nationality?
       
      Jim says race is a social construct, not a biological one.
       
      You have to break that old notion that you're from Germany.  But where did those ancestors come from?
       
      AncestryDNA -- can go back to your great, great-grandparents.
       
      Each company doesn't have rights to other companies' databases.
       
      Jim showed what he received from three different companies -- FamilyTree DNA, Ancestry DNA and 23andme -- different results for each. 
       
      FamilyTree DNA -- showed he had 87% Western Europe ancestry,12.08% European (Scandinavia, Turkey, Finnish)
      Ancestry DNA -- 67% Central Europe, 38% Scandinavian
      23andmeDNA -- 100% European
      "As we get more and more tests, it gets more and more foggy," Jim says.
       
      FamilyTreeDNA Family Finder tests 289 markers; Ancestry DNA 100; National Geographic 200.
      When something is "autosomal" it tests all of your DNA>
       
      FamilyTree DNA's Family Finder Feature tells you who has the same actual DNA that you have, Jim says.  "It definitely goes back three generations."
       
      "The very largest pool is FamilyTree DNA."
       
      Common uses for your DNA findings:
      -- finding adoptee relatives
      -- find fellow sperm donor siblings
       
      Tests 700,000 locations out of three billion.  "You can map your whole chromosome now for $1500," Jim says.
       
      Before, the DNA focus was on STRs; now the focus is on the SNP -- single base pair substitutions--which account for many of the genetic differences between you and others (appearance, diseases, etc.)
       
      Most--no observable differences.
       
      "With the SNPs, we can figure out where you are in the timeline."
       
      Hundreds of video clips on YouTube to check out re DNA,SNPs, etc.
       
      Jim says FamilyTree DNA stores your DNA for 20 years -- "none of the others do that." And your test will always be updated with the latest science.
       
      www.yhrd.org -- if you want to create a map, you put your results in.  Haplotype database.
      Family Tree DNA does Y-DNA STR testing, has the best set-up for surname projects, and the largest genealogical database.
       
      23andme -- does medical risk testing as well, possibly the best for the ethnic admixture.
       
      Ancestry DNA -- only does autosomal DNA now, links to trees on Ancestry, US only.
      "There's no commonality in the tests," Jim says.
       
      Jim noted that if you want to read up on DNA and genealogy, there are about 30 books on Amazon.com, some on forensic genealogy.
       
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
       
       
      From Gary Mokotoff's Avotaynu E-Zine:  May 26
       
      U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to Television
      The U.S. version of the family-history based show  Who Do You Think You Are? is returning to television on July 23 at 9 p.m. It will appear on the TLC network with Ancestry.com remaining as the sponsor. There will be eight one-hour episodes in the new season. The celebrities featured this year include: Christina Applegate, Kelly Clarkson, Cindy Crawford, Chris O’Donnell and Zooey Deschanel.

      New “Forced Labor 1939–1945” Website
      A website “Forced Labor 1939–1945” has interviews with nearly 600 persons from 26 countries who had to perform forced labor during the Nazi period. It is located at https://zwangsarbeit-archiv.de/archiv/en/archive. Some are undoubtedly Jews because 25 of the interviewees live in Israel.

      An interactive map shows sites of biographical relevance to the interviewees: place of birth, deportation, camps, companies and prisons, places of residence after 1945. You check off which of nine categories are relevant to your search and then all locations are highlighted on the map. Clicking on a location identifies which interviews include the location. If you are registered, you can listen to the interview. The most comprehensive search is “Mentioned Places” which includes hundreds of locations.

      To hear the interviews requires registration which is processed by the site’s creators. You then receive a response in e-mail containing login details if your application to register was successful. I registered but never received a response.


      UK National Archives Adds Naturalization Records Online
      The records of thousands of 19th-century immigrants to Britain are now available to search and download online at http://tinyurl.com/UKNaturalisation. The collection, which covers the period 1801 to 1871, includes records relating to more than 7,000 people who applied to become British citizens under the 1844 Naturalisation Act, as well as a small number of papers relating to denization, a form of British citizenship that conferred some but not all the rights of a British subject.

      The records include:
         • All naturalization applications to the Secretary of State, 1844–1871
         • Some naturalizations by private Act of Parliament, 1801–1868
         • Some letters applying for denization, 1801–1940

      The announcement can be found at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/840.htm.

      JewishGen Offering Intermediate-Level Course in New York Research
      Many Jewish family historians have ancestors or collateral relatives with roots in New York City. Starting June 1, JewishGen is offering an intermediate-level course in New York City research. It will focus on the more esoteric documents generated such as naturalization, probate, landsmanshaftn, voter registration, newspapers, and court cases.

      The four-week course has seven text lessons that are downloaded; there are no specific times for the course; students interact with the instructor though a 24/7 forum, in a query and answer format. Phyllis Kramer, JewishGen Vice-president for Education, is the instructor. Tuition is $100 (there are no waivers for this course). Additional information, including a video, is at http://www.JewishGen.org/education.

      JOAN GRIFFIS , Commercial NewsThe Commercial-NewsSun May 19, 2013, 01:00 AM CDT   May 19, 2013
      Noted genealogical author Megan Smolenyak has reported in the Huffington Post that after a bit of a lull in genealogical programming, four genealogy series will premiere on U.S. television in the near future. First one was Christopher Guest and Jim Paddock’s mockumentary series, “Family Tree,” on May 12 on HBO.
       
      The remaining series that are “under production” are “Who Do You Think You Are?” (TLC) and “Finding Your Roots (PBS) — which both focused on celebrity subjects — and Genealogy Roadshow, “an Irish import … with an emphasis on family history mysteries, historical events, and ‘average Joes.’”
       
      Smolenyak’s website, Honoring Our Ancestors, at http://www.honoringourancestors.com, should be bookmarked and visited frequently for helpful advice and other information. For example, a click on the toolbar title “Library” allows one to click on “Internet Research” with links to Smolenyak’s articles from the Huffington Post, Ancestry Daily News, Family Chronicle, and others.
       
      “Celebs” on the toolbar, provides links to interesting articles including President Obama’s roots, Michelle Obama’s roots, and Annie Moore’s roots (the little girl who was the first to step on Ellis Island).
       
      Smolenyak’s generosity is greatly appreciated by the 600 recipients who've received her no-strings-attached genealogical grants since May 2000. Read the stories of the genealogical projects she's supported.  Perhaps a local society could request similar help? (The online application is brief and easy.)
       
      Under the toolbar title, “Submit,” one can click on a link to share with Smolenyak information or stories under the topics Orphan Heirlooms (“treasures” that need to be returned to owners/descendants), Lost Loved Ones’ Stories, and Brick Wall/Mystery Stories. She welcomes such new challenges, and although she “can’t tackle all cases,” her expertise might be just what is needed.
       
      In her latest book she remarks, “It’s high time for all of us to let our roots show.” Start searching.
       
       
      Avotaynu, May 19 edition:
       
      European Holocaust Research Infrastructure Adds New Tool
      A new tool for researchers is now available on the website of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure. It is called “EHRI National Reports” and provides for 47 countries an historical overview of the Holocaust period and what archives in the country have Holocaust-related material. Finally, there are published works cited that provide information about the Holocaust period. A description of the project is at http://www.ehri-project.eu/drupal/national-reports-on-website.


      JewishGen Memorial Plaque Project

      JewishGen wants to grow its Memorial Plaque Project. This is a database primarily of plaques placed on a memorial board on synagogue walls. Also known as “yahrzeit plaques,” they exist to memorialize relatives, usually parents or siblings. On the anniversary of the person’s death (yahrzeit), the plaque is illuminated by two small lights on each side. The name is read to the congregation at the Sabbath service before the yahrzeit. These plaques are of genealogical value because they usually include the name of the deceased, date of death reckoned by both the secular and Jewish calendars and the person’s religious name, which includes the name of the person’s father (above example: Chaim ben [son of] Meir.).

      Information on how to submit data can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Memorial/Submit.htm. The database is at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Memorial.

      MyHeritage Introduces “Record Detective”
      MyHeritage has added a feature to their record search capability called “Record Detective.”  When you identify a record of interest in their collection of historical records, Record Detective will provide a summary of additional records about the person, or about people related to that person. For the more advanced researcher, the feature would be a disadvantage, because it will make the person aware of records s/he already knows of. For example, locating a person in the 1940 U.S. census might produce a result showing that the person in the 1930 and 1920 censuses. The reaction of the advanced researcher might be that the records are known, yet it might be new information to the beginner.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
       
      From the newsletter of the JGS of Ventura and the Conejo Valley:
       
      First American Jews
      Geni.com has made available Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern’s book, First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies, 1654-1988. It identifies more than 25,000 members of the earliest Jewish immigrants to the U.S. beginning in the colonial days. It's available to be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/bkfr3c7. You may also connect directly to the database by clicking: http://tinyurl.com/acynmo3http://www.jgscv.org
       
      How The USCIS Helped Break Down a Brick Wall
      By Jan Meisels Allen
       
      This is a summary of the 5-minute genealogical hint given at the May 5th meeting. USCIS answered the question: What was Aaron Baker’s original name.
       
      What I Knew:
       
      Aaron Baker was my maternal Aunt Anna’s husband for 57 years—they married in 1922. He was a farmer in Torrington Connecticut, born in Kovno, Lithuania, and according to the 1920 and 1930 censuses he immigrated in 1914 to the United States. He immigrated with his mother Etta. The 1920 census noted his immigration year—1914 and said he had applied for naturalization: PA. At that time he was living in Torrington with his mother Etta.
       
      The 1930 census had him married to my aunt and living with their two sons: Allen and Merrill. It stated he immigrated in 1914 and that he was a naturalized citizen. I could not find his ship’s manifest and I had assumed his original name was Beker or Bekerowitz.
       
      I was going to Boston in late October for an IAJGS board meeting –I thought I would go a day ahead and do some personal genealogy. Knowing that he was naturalized between 1920 and 1930 from the census records, and that he “probably” immigrated in 1914 I contacted the New England Historic and Genealogy Society asking if they had any records that would either show his naturalization or his name change. They replied they did not and referred me to the National Archives North East Region. They also replied that they had nothing they could find.
       
      Superstorm Sandy prevented my original plan to go to Boston a day early—and as neither organization could assist, I contacted Marian Smith at the USCIS and asked if it was worthwhile to make an inquiry to them. Marian let me know that she found his file and it was interesting—the file had 12 documents in it! She also told me his original name was Israel Buruchowitz! I should fill out the USCIS forms and submit the payment to get the records. I went to the JGSCV website http://www.jgscv.org and clicked on “resources”: United States and scrolled down to the USCIS link: http://www.uscis.gov/genealogy and completed the on-line form and payment.
       
      When I received the packet, the cover letter explained that they identified 12 documents but were only enclosing 10 documents in their entirety and two partially as under the Freedom of Information Act others were named and they could not provide their confidential information—such as birthdate, Social Security number etc. These would have pertained to my aunt and their eldest child and as I did not need them I did not pursue the appeal which was offered.
       
      Of most interest was the New Naturalization Lost or Mutilated Form where Aaron attests that “it was burned up by mistake in burning other papers which I thought were no longer needed”. Aaron started his inquiry for a replacement of his naturalization papers several months after the US entered World War II—he probably needed them to prove he was not an alien during the war.
       
      Other documents included in the file and sent to me were: Certificate of Naturalization; Duplicate Naturalization Certificate, a query about different names on the Petition for Naturalization (Israel Buruchowitz) and the Declaration of Intention (Aaron Baker), the name change letter, the new naturalization form when the original is lost or mutilated, and a letter to the Immigration and Naturalization Service dated February 1, 1943 complaining that he had started the reapplication process in February 1942 in their Boston office and followed their suggestions, paid the fee, filled out the forms and told to appear at a local court in April 1942 where he was interviewed and had heard nothing since.
       
      Documentary: No Place on Earth
       
      A documentary film about Jews who hid in a cave in the Ukraine for more than a year during WWII, No Place On Earth is being released in selected cities across the U.S. To see the trailer go to http://tinyurl.com/blrprhf. To see where and when it's being shown, and to request a screening visit http://tinyurl.com/ag2yw2w
       
      WORLD'S OLDEST TORAH SCROLL DISCOVERED IN ITALY
       
      After conducting carbon dating tests, the University of Bologna in Italy announced this week  it has what may be the oldest complete Torah scroll in the world. The scroll had been stored in the university library, but in 1889, was mislabeled by a librarian, who dated it to the 17th century. However, a Hebrew professor recently examined it and realized the script was that of the oriental Babylonian tradition—meaning it was much older than previously thought.
       
      Subsequent carbon dating confirmed the scroll may have been written more than 850 years ago.
       
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      See you at our meeting next Sunday, June 16th!
       
       
    • SusanneLevitsky@...
      March 9, 2015 In Memory of BobWascou Bob was a longtimemember, mentor and past president of our society and a tireless advocate forthe JGSS and friend to
      Message 43 of 43 , Mar 9 9:18 AM
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        March 9, 2015
         
        In Memory of Bob Wascou
        Bob was a longtime member, mentor and past president of our society and a tireless advocate for the JGSS and friend to members new and old.  In Sacramento he coordinated efforts to photograph each headstone at the Home of Peace cemetery, among other efforts. But he also took a leadership role in Romanian research and more.
        Bob was placed on the JewishGen Wall of Honor for his work as project coordinator for the Kishinev (Moldova) databases and also became the Research Coordinator for ROM-SIG, the Romanian Special Interest Group.  Through his guidance, more than 290,000 items were added to JewishGen's All-Romanian database.
        Rosanne Leeson, co-coordinator of ROM-SIG, has advised us that a special fund has been set up in memory of Bob at JewishGen:
        http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen-erosity/v_projectslist.asp?project_cat=20   The fund will be used to help obtain materials for the SIG in places closest to Bob's heart.
        And we were honored to note that in Bob's obituary his family requested any donations in his memory be made to the JGSS.
        We extend our deepest sympathy to Bob's wife, Linda, and son, Danny, at this difficult time.
        Bob Wascou at far right, at 2010 IAJGS Conference in Los Angeles
         
         
         
        Our Sunday March 15 Meeting, 10 a.m.
        "Anusim -- Crypto Jews on Your Family Tree"
        Join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento for the presentation by Jason Lindo and Susan Aguilar on "Anusim" or "Crypto-Jews” from the Iberian Peninsula, Jews forced to convert to Christianity.  The program will focus on customs and countries of origin, the clues most descendants of Anusim first discover.
        Sephardic Jews have their origins in the Iberian Peninsula, what today is Spain and Portugal. Both countries had a sizeable population of Crypto-Jews.
        Jason will discuss customs in the home, food customs, religious customs and those associated with death. Jason is the descendant of Portuguese Crypto-Jews (Marranos). While raised in the Greek Catholic faith in Hawaii, he grew up in a home that continued many of the customs of his Portuguese family's Crypto-Jewish heritage.  Jason converted to Judaism in 1996 and is an active member of the Congregation B'nai Israel.
        Susan Aguilar of Elk Grove is a doctoral candidate in Jewish History and Culture at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.  Her area of specialization is medieval Iberia.
         
         
        From Gary Mokotoff's Recent Avotaynu E-Zines:

        A Bit of History:
        Convicts to Australia and the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System

        A recent news release by Ancestry.com noting they have records of Australia’s “First Fleet” of convicts sent to colonize the area reminded me that the first article in the first issue of AVOTAYNU, January 1985, was written by the late Chief Rabbi of Australia, Israel Porush (1907–1991), about the history of Australia.

        The British permanent presence in Australia started on January 26, 1788, when a group of 750 convicts landed there to establish a penal colony. Known as the “First Fleet” to Australians, the penal colony was created because the British colonies in North American had recently gained their independence and Great Britain had no place to dump their excess convicts. Rabbi Porush noted that some of the members of the First Fleet were Jewish but “…Most of the Jewish convicts were guilty of petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, shop-lifting and receiving stolen goods…” He then went on to note that many of these Jewish convicts eventually were freed and became prominent citizens in the early history of Australia.

        In rereading the article, when I came to its end, I noticed it was immediately followed by an article written by me titled “Proposal for a Jewish Soundex Code.” This article was read by Randy Daitch, another Jewish genealogist, who at that time was also contemplating the inadequacies of the conventional Russell Soundex System for German and Eastern European surnames. The two of us collaborated and the result was the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System, which today is the default search option for most of the databases on JewishGen.

        The Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System also is used by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) as its standard soundex system for retrieving case histories and is the standard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. It is used to search the Ellis Island database of 24 million immigrants at the “
        Stephen P. Morse Searching the Ellis Island Database in One Step” site.


        Israel State Archives to Digitize and Place Its Records Online
        Yaacov Lozowick, Chief Archivist at the Israel State Archives, is in the process of fulfilling a dream. His dream is to digitize the documents held by the Israel State Archives and place the records on the Internet (if privacy considerations do not apply). This is the year we can anticipate results. Lozowick indicates that the first record group to be available later this year will be either the 80,000 files of requests for citizenship during the British Mandate period, or the 800,000 files of Israel's first census in 1948. He notes that the paper document collection at the archives is so huge, it might take 25 years to complete the project.

        FDA Eases Access to DNA Screening for Inherited Diseases
        In 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the DNA service 23andme from claiming they offered health-related information stating “...you are marketing the 23andMe Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Service (PGS) without marketing clearance or approval in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act).”
        Now the FDA has reevaluated the situation and says they are easing access to DNA tests used to screen people for devastating genetic disorders that can be passed on to their children. The Associated Press states, “This announcement offers a path forward for the Google-backed genetic testing firm 23andMe, which previously clashed with regulators over its direct-to-consumer technology.”

        The Winter issue of
        AVOTAYNU describes how a woman used the 23andme service before the ban, which lead to the discovery that she had a genetic propensity for breast cancer (BRCA2 gene). An MRI proved she had the early stage of the disease.


        GenealogyIndexer Adds Automated Hebrew, Yiddish Transliteration System
        Logan Kleinwaks has hundred of scanned directories at his website,
        http://genealogyindexer.org. It includes, to date, 129 yizkor books, most of which are written in Yiddish and Hebrew. To search these books previously required that you use Hebrew/Yiddish characters to search the site. Kleinwaks has now added a new way to search Hebrew and Yiddish sources.

        There now is an option for automated transliteration, so the search term can be typed in Latin letters and the system will find matches in Hebrew and Yiddish. To enable this option, change the pull-down menu, "Add Latin -> Cyrillic," to "Add Latin -> Cyrillic + Hebrew" or "Only Latin -> Hebrew." The transliteration only works with single-word search terms and the Regular Match option (not D-M Soundex or OCR-Adjusted). It is limited by the accuracy of the OCR software used to convert scanned documents to (Hebrew, Yiddish) text.
        .



        Guarding Denmark’s Jewish Heritage

        http://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/02/27/opinion/27lidegaard/27lidegaard-articleLarge.jpg
        A memorial service on Feb. 16 in Copenhagen for the victims of attacks on a synagogue and an event promoting freedom of expression. Credit Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
        COPENHAGEN — The attack on Copenhagen’s synagogue earlier this month that left a volunteer Jewish watchman dead is a tragedy for a society that, for more than two centuries, has insisted that there is no tension between being Jewish and being Danish. It was precisely this sense of national solidarity across religious lines that helped save Denmark’s Jews from the Nazis during World War II.
        And that’s why it rubbed many Danes the wrong way when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Danish Jews to “come home” to Israel after the attack. Even if Denmark’s Jews clearly face a new threat, this time from a small group of extremist Muslim Danes, Mr. Netanyahu seemed to be belittling the social unity that is so treasured by most Danes and denying both Denmark’s proven ability to protect its Jewish population — something that Danes are very proud of — and Danish Jews’ affinity for their country.
        Denmark is a very unusual case in the troubled history of Europe and its Jews. Two hundred years ago, many European thinkers argued that there was an insurmountable contradiction between being patriotic and being Jewish. Much of Europe’s subsequent anti-Semitism was rooted in this idea.
        But in Denmark, Jews were welcomed and in 1814 obtained a charter assuring them access to employment while submitting them to civil law. With the Danish Constitution in 1849, Jews became citizens with full and equal rights. Although prejudice and a hint of anti-Semitism existed, there was no basis for the ideological anti-Semitism that flourished in Europe in the 1930s. Indeed, in 1939 the Danish Parliament passed laws against it.
        With the German occupation of Denmark in 1940, the nation’s relationship with its Jewish minority was put to a fateful test. The Danish government ruled the country under German “protection,” and in many areas caved in to German interests. Still, the government insisted that there was no “Jewish problem,” and declined repeated German requests to single out the Jews. King Christian X told the prime minister that if the Germans obliged the Danish Jews to wear the Star of David, then “we must all wear yellow stars.” The remark led to the myth that the king wore the yellow star during his daily ride around occupied Copenhagen.
        Resistance to the idea of discriminating against the Danish Jews became a patriotic symbol. When the government resigned in August 1943, and thus could no longer grant the Jews protection, the Nazi occupiers moved against the 7,000 Danish Jews. A raid was organized on Oct. 1, 1943, but few were captured. The vast majority of Jews were warned in advance — when Hitler’s own representatives tipped off leading politicians, who then spread the word within the Jewish community. Even leading Nazis feared the raid would provoke an uprising in the Danish population and in total less than 500 Jews were deported. The rest sought refuge and with the help of their countrymen managed to escape to safety in neutral Sweden.
        The rescue was perceived as an act of patriotism and as a quiet rebellion against the occupation and its terror. After the war, most Jews returned to Denmark, where they generally found their property and apartments untouched and often cared for by neighbors and friends. Of the 500 who were deported to Theresienstadt, approximately 90 percent were rescued and brought back to Denmark in a dramatic last-minute operation just before the collapse of the Third Reich.
        The fact that the vast majority of Danish Jews were spared the horrors of the Holocaust has become a national rallying point and a central part of modern Denmark’s national self-understanding.
        The targeting of Jews today is particularly troubling because, with immigration, mainly from Muslim-majority countries, rising in recent decades, prominent members of the Jewish community have been among the foremost advocates of integrating these new Danes deeply into society. While right-wing parties have grown in popularity here, Danish Jewish leaders have emphasized the dangers of exclusion, prejudice and intolerance.
        While anti-Semitism isn’t widespread in Denmark, there are a number of radicalized second- and third-generation immigrants who project the Israeli-Palestinian conflict onto local Jews, and see any Jew as a representative of Israel. This creates a latent threat of violence against Jews — as was so sadly demonstrated earlier this month.
        Most interesting is the number (or lack of numbers) of comments to this article. Apparently concern for and/or fighting antisemitism,...
         
        Other groups have been targeted as well. Newspapers and cartoonists have been forced to beef up security due to direct threats and failed attempts to attack them. Indeed, the first deadly attack this month was on a seminar about the freedom of expression. Still, handling this threat presents the Jewish minority and the rest of Danish society with a particular dilemma.
        For two centuries, Denmark’s strategy of not treating Jews differently has been highly successful. Yet the threat from violent extremists is now undeniable, and no one can guarantee that a similar attack won’t happen again.
        But how do we provide for special protection when nobody wants the Jewish minority to be seen as special? How can we protect not only the security of Jews and Jewish institutions, but also their traditional position as a well-integrated part of Danish society?
        The key is to address directly the extremism and the radicalization leading to threats against Jews, cartoonists and others targeted by violent extremists without erecting walls and barriers.
        In the short run, protection measures will be necessary, but in the end it’s about avoiding escalation and safeguarding Denmark’s open and safe society, and the idea that religious minorities shouldn’t be treated any differently than any other citizens. That’s a much harder challenge — and a more important one.
        Bo Lidegaard is editor in chief of the Danish daily Politiken and the author of “Countrymen: The Untold Story of How Denmark’s Jews Escaped the Nazis.”
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        See you at next Sunday's meeting, March 15, 10 a.m.
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