A Guest Post by Rafi G
(originally posted on LII)
I just read an article last night that was shocking to me. I was wondering if anybody else had heard such a thing before.
NRG posted an article about the 93 Beis Yaakov girls who committed suicide rather than let the Nazi soldiers defile them.
The article describes how the incident depicting gevurah, purity and tzniyus came to be known - via a letter that was somehow smuggled out of the ghetto and mailed to rabbonim in NY describing the events and requesting that this group of women/girls be davened for and remembered.
The story has gone on to become famous, as articles, books, poems, liturgical prayers, conferences, etc. have been held focusing on this story.
Holocaust researchers have investigated the story and come to the conclusion that it is a piece of fiction - it never happened.
They base the conclusion on lack of any evidence of it ever happening, along with a number of questions they have been unable to answer that put the whole story in doubt.
Questions such as:
How did the letter get out of a closed room in a closed ghetto and end up by rabbonim in NY?
How did they get hold of so much poison - enough for so many people?
How did none of the survivors from the area know about such a story that happened in such a small ghetto?
Why was the letter written in a Hungarian style of Yiddish, when it supposedly came out of Poland?
Just the sheer number - 93 - puts the whole story in doubt. How could this have happened to such a large group and go unknown?
Even from the side of the nazis it does not make sense - While in private with an individual perhaps a Nazi soldier would have raped her and broken the racial laws, but so many soldiers with such a large group of women? Such things were unheard of.
The conclusion of the researchers is that this is a made up story.
This shocked me. Have you heard of this before? Did it really not happen?
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