by The Bray of Fundie
In the wake of Yom HaShoah Rafi G. ran a very fascinating and disturbing post questioning the historicity of the episode of a mass suicide of 93 Bais Yaakov girls to avoid rape by anti-Semites(and being consigned to a brothel). [NY Times Article here.]
Refer to that post and to Mississippi Fred's to see the pros and cons of the issue of historical veracity of the event and its "Holocaust Revisionism" implications.
But what I want to know is; what could the alleged forgers motivation have been? After all, no one questions the existence of the letter sent to New York Rabbonim reporting the episode...only it's authenticity. And so the one who penned the letter is being charged with the crime/sin of forgery, fraud and falsifying history. What incentive did he/she have for committing such a sin/crime?
Hershey quoted an Israeli article purporting to answer the question. Here's my translation:
"It's not that hard to believe that during a historical period more terrifying than we could possibly imagine that the Jewish mind needed to fabricate a fantastic(al) tale of heroism by 93 Jewish girls who chose a martyrs death over dishonor. Among other things the myth intended to address the deep theological crisis that the Holocaust had caused Judaism . The martyrdom of 93 Jewish Women and girls provided a "winning" answer to those who doubted the Jewish faith". (You'll notice that the articles author never provides us with what other motivations are "among other things" )
To which my response is HUH??? How do these 93 martyrs prove or resolve anything? Where's the "winning answer? "What they did was their business, what G-d did or failed to do in the greatest episode of Theodicy ever, is His. Besides, there were/are many cases of DOCUMENTED spiritual resistance and martyrdom during the Holocaust if such cases are needed and/or sufficient to resolve the theological crisis. What's one story more or less going to accomplish? Also what's up with the number 93?
Remember, this letter was penned before the era when one could parlay ones 15 minutes of fame into lucrative "book and movie deals". If the letters writer was, indeed, one of the 93 martyrs, what fame, glory or money could she possibly hope to accrue posthumously?
To sum it up; while many are troubled by the thin historical evidence that seems to argue against this event having actually occurred, I am more troubled by what could have possibly motivated the criminal/sinner to commit such a sin/crime? To me this is a strong argument in favor of saying that the letter is authentic and that the martyrdom did occur.
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