1945 March 15, ANNE FRANK (Bergen Belsen, Germany)
Died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp from typhus, shortly before the liberation. Through her diary, she became singular symbol of the Holocaust for millions of people. She was 15 years old. (see June 12 , 1929)
1942 October 8, ATLAS' PARTISIANS (Poland)
Participated in an attack on a German stronghold in Huta Jaworska. 127 Germans and their supporters were killed.
1937 April 13, AF AL PI (In Spite Of) OPERATIONS (Eretz Israel)
Moshe Galili, a member of Betar who was studying in Italy, succeeded in landing a small boat of German immigrants in Eretz Israel. He continued to work in "illegal immigration" until June 1938, bringing in over 550 people, most of whom were young.
1860 May 17, ALLIANCE ISRAELITE UNIVERSELLE (Kol Yisrael Haverim) (France)
Was launched by a group of French Jews under the direction of Adolphe Cremieux. It was designed to defend Jewish rights and to establish modern Jewish educational facilities throughout the world. The Alliance is considered to be the first modern Jewish organization. It became the prototype of other organizations of its kind. The catalyst for its creation was the Damascus Affair in 1840, the Mortara Case in 1858, and the growing need to protect Jews on an international basis. The Franco-Prussian War diminished its universality and separate organizations were formed in Germany and England.
1944 July 22, ARMEE JUIVE; AJ (Jewish Army) (Toulouse, France)
Informants led French militia to a meeting of the AJ. Ariane Knout, who had been active along with her husband David since 1940, was killed. Ariane, a convert to Judaism, was the daughter of composer Alexander Scriabin and Vyasheslav Molotov's niece. Tommy Bauer, another leader, was wounded and taken by the Gestapo. After three days of torture he died.
1940 July, ARMEE JUIVE; AJ (Jewish Army) (France)
A Jewish underground resistance movement was formed by David Knout and Abraham Polonski. Originally called the Movement des Jeunesses Sionistes (M.J.S.), it eventually metamorphasized into the Organization Juive de Combat (O.J.C.) and carried out almost 2000 actions against the enemy. Many Jews fought in other units as well, often in leading positions. Among them were: Jean-Pierre Levy the founder of the Franc Tireurs, Jacques Bingen, Ze'ev Gustman and Joseph Epstein (Colonel Gilles). Jews constituted almost 15% of the underground although they were less then 1% of the population.
1639 January 23, AUTO DA FE (Lima, Peru)
More than eighty New Christians were burned in this Auto Da Fe, including Francisco Maldonna de Silva (Elia Nazareno), after the Inquisition discovered that they were holding regular Jewish services. De Silva spent 12 years in prison, during which time he managed to write two books using a chicken bone and charcoal. Each book was about 100 pages. He succeeded in putting together a rope out of corn husks, but instead of escaping he used it to visit other prisoners, urging them to believe in Judaism.
1575 January 8, AUTO DA FE AT SEVILLE (Spain)
Many Marranos were among the victims of this Auto da Fe.
1942 December 17, A CONDEMNATION OF GERMAN ATROCITIES
Was finally issued by the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the governments in exile.
1943 August 13, A FREE PALESTINE LEAGUE
Was proposed by Y. Ben Ami in a letter to
Peter Bergson. Its goal was to influence United States policy on the Middle East and to wage a publicity campaign to create public support for an independent Palestine. The result was the formation of the American League for a Free Palestine. Its members included
Ben Hecht, Will Rogers, Jr., Arthur Szyk, and Mrs. Louis Untermeyer. Guy M. Gillette, senator from Iowa, became president of the league in August 1945.
1861 A HEBREW PERIODICAL CALLED "TEBUNAH"
Was started by Israel Lipkin Salanter. It dealt with rabbinical law and religious problems.
351 June, A SERIES OF PERSECUTIONS (Eretz Israel)
And local violence erupted under the corrupt rule of Gallus, brother-in-law of Constantius II. Beginning in Sepphoris under Patricius, it spread to Tiberias, and Lod. Many towns including the above were destroyed, and with them the talmudic academies. This blow resulted in the further weakening of the centers of Jewish learning in Eretz Israel.
1766 - 1850 AARON (ALBERT) ALEXANDRE (Germany-England)
Chess master and author of Encyclopedie des Echecs (1837) which explains all the rules of the game in four languages. In another book entitled Collection des Plus Beux problems d'Echecs he collected over 2000 chess problems and their answers.
1883 - 1944 AARON ABRAHAM KABAK (Russia-Eretz Israel)
An outstanding early Hebrew novelist. Kabak authored many novels and short stories which were very popular. His historical trilogy on Solomon Molcho is considered the first historical novel in Hebrew.
921 AARON BEN MEIR (Eretz Israel)
Leader and sage. He devised a change in the calendar, and as part of his efforts to reinstate Palestinian control over the calendar, he reinstated the tradition of proclaiming the new moon from the Mount of Olives. This caused confusion regarding the date of Passover. Sa'adia Gaon, aware of what a split would do to Jewish unity in the face of the Karaite division, nevertheless wrote a refutation called the "Book of Seasons". The underlying issue was one of supremacy in Halachic rulings - Babylon or Eretz Israel. Sa'adia won and received the Geonate of Sura in recognition.
C. 920 - 989 AARON BEN MOSES BEN ASHER (Tiberias, Eretz Israel)
The last and most renowned of the Massorets and a contemporary of
Sa'adia Gaon. The Massorets were a group of sages who reviewed the Bible and added punctuation and vowels in order to make it more readable so that no mistakes or questions could arise in the future. He is credited with completing the
Masorah, the printing of the Bible with vowels, as well as the ta'amei mikra, the usage of biblical accents and cadence still used today.
1900 - 1990 AARON COPLAND (USA)
Composer and conductor. He used American themes and jazz as the starting point for much of his music, including his famous Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, and Rodeo.
1856 - 1922 AARON DAVID (A.D.) GORDON (Russia-Eretz Israel)
A Hebrew writer and philosopher of the "religion of labor", he was considered to be the ideological pillar of the kibbutz movement. Born in 1856 in Russia, he only came to Eretz Israel at the age of 48. Neither his age or health impeded his drive to work in agriculture. He helped found Kibbutz Degania in 1909. Gordon's philosophy included a call for a return to nature. He believed that the self-improvement of each individual rather than external changes (i.e. Marxism) were the means to change Jewish destiny.
1941 April 10, AARON KOTLER (1891-1962) (USA)
The former head of the Yeshiva in Kletsk, Poland, arrived in San Francisco. Kotler
played an important role in the Vaad Hatzala and in the Orthodox community in general. His talmudic institution, Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, New Jersey became known as one of the foremost institutions of its kind.
1786 October 4, AARON LEVY (1742-1815) (USA)
A land speculator who had made many loans to the Continental Congress, he announced plans for a new town, Aaronsburg, to be built in the Penn Valley. This was the first town to be founded and named after a Jew. Unfortunately, it did not succeed and left him in difficult financial straits.
1186 AARON OF LINCOLN (born c.1123) (England)
The richest man in England died. King Henry II immediately seized his estate when he died worth over 15,000 pounds. Aaron had such vast sums owed to him that the royal officials set up a special branch of the exchequer called the "exchequer of Aaron" (Scaccarium Aaronis) to deal with it. After 16 years they only succeeded in recovering about half of the debts owed him. Some of his debtors included the King of Scotland, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Count of Brittany and many other nobles. It was the forerunner of the system of debt registries for Jewish loans (the archae), in selected cities established by Richard's administration in 1194; these registries enabled the king's men to keep their finger on the pulse of Jewish lending (and allowed easier raising of money from the Jews).
219 ABBA ARIKA (RAV) (175-247) (Babylon)
The word "Rav" means master. He was a student of Judah HaNasi and after his death, he opened the Torah academy at Sura, which became one of the pillars of Babylonian Jewry. At its peak, over 1,200 students studied there. The beginning of the third century saw a rise in Jewish activities and a decline in the supremacy of Israel. The decline was due to the constant despoiling of Israel by the weakened Roman army and the rise of another ruler in Palmyra (ancient city of central Syria), who heavily taxed the inhabitants of Israel, reducing them to poverty. This directly affected support for schools of learning, which soon migrated to quieter, more tolerant, and more affluent shores. Rav was noted for improving moral and intellectual positions through his responsa (ordinances), including a ban on marriage without courtship and forbidding fathers to betroth a daughter without her consent. These responsa came in the form of questions. They became a popular way of maintaining contact with dispersed communities and, in various contexts, they still continue today.
1893 - 1963 ABBA HILLEL SILVER (USA)
Reform rabbi, Jewish leader, orator and prominent Zionist. Silver's pro-Zionist ideas were considered highly unusual at the Hebrew Union College at that time. He served as a congregational rabbi in Cleveland from the age of 24 until his death. Silver was a founder of the United Jewish Appeal (today the United Jewish Communities) and helped organize a German boycott after the take over by the Nazi party. He also was one of the few who openly criticized Roosevelt's anti- Zionist policy even during the war. After the creation of the State of Israel, he was shunted aside by Ben Gurion who resented Silver's position in fundraising and allocations.
1918 - 1988 ABBA KOVNER (Lithuania-Eretz Israel)
Resistance leader and poet. Kovner organized the United Partisan Movement in 1941, maintaining that Jews should not "go like sheep to the slaughter". He fought as a partisan leader until the end of the war. After liberation he was instrumental in establishing Beriha, which smuggled survivors to Eretz Israel and carried out revenge operations against Nazis and their collaborators. In Israel he joined a kibbutz and became a well known poet. He won the Israel prize for literature in 1970. Kovner helped establish the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv and the Moreshet Holocaust Institute.
1941 December 31, - 1942 January 1, ABBA KOVNER (Vilna, Lithuania)
A member of the Hashomer Hatzair Youth Movement, urged young people to join him in establishing a resistance movement. His call "Let's not allow ourselves to be led like sheep to the slaughter" was later echoed in many other ghettos. Most of the people who joined him were young Zionists from HaShomer HaTzair and HaNoar HaTzioni. Kovner remained active in the resistance until after the Soviet liberation when he helped found the Bricha organization. After the war, he settled in Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh where he continued to write, winning the prestigious Israel Prize for Literature in 1970.
750 - 1258 ABBASID DYNASTY (from Abu Abbas) (Persia)
Expanded intellectual horizons and world trade. The Abbasids gained control
from the Umayyads after the assassination of Marwan II in Egypt and moved
the control to Baghdad. Eighty members of Marwan II's family were also
killed at Antipatris near present day Rosh Haayin. Abd ar-Rahman, one of
the surviving members of the Umayyads, reached Cordova and set up his own
Caliphate (see 756). The Abbasids gave more power to the Persians and
Turkish tribes, with Caliphs taking upon themselves absolute authority.
Although, as with the Umayyad Dynasty, the Jewish position depended on the
current ruler, in general, Jews began to play an important role in world
trade and banking.
875 ABBASID DYNASTY (Persia)
Began to lose its power. A descendent of Ali, backed by the pro-Shiite Saffraids sect, set up an emirate in Tabaristan on the Caspian Sea.
338 ABBAYA DIED (Babylon)
Upon his death, Rava (R. Abba bar Joseph) became the acknowledged head of both Sura and Pumbedita academies but stayed at Mahoza. Rava's deep analysis of the Mishna became very popular and is considered by some to be the perfect example of talmudic dissertation and elucidation.
333 ABBAYE APPOINTED HEAD OF PUMPEDITA (Babylon)
Abbaye (278-338) was the nephew of Rabba Bar Nachmani who adopted him when his parents died. Abbaye was admired for his integrity by both Jews and gentiles. His Talmudic debates with Rava (who opened an academy at Mahoza on the Tigris River) became famous and are known as
Havayot (Reflections) deAbbaya veRava. They both encouraged elementary education for children. He wrote many popular sayings underlying his belief in the importance that one be “beloved above and well liked below”.
1181 ABBEY OF ST. EDMUNDS (England)
A dispute broke out between William the Sacristan (Sexton) of the Abbey and his associate Samson. The Jews and the local townspeople sided with William. Unfortunately, it was Samson who came to power the next year as Abbot. In 1190, after the Coronation riots, Samson demanded that the Jews should be placed under his authority rather than the Kings. When they refused, they were expelled under guard.
1948 April 9, ABD AL-QADIR AL-HUSSEINI (Castel - near Jerusalem, Eretz Israel)
The Arab commander of the Palestinian irregular army, was killed in the attack on the Castel fortress, part of Operation
Nachshon, outside Jerusalem. His death dealt a demoralizing blow to Arab troops.
756 - 788 ABD AR-RAHMAN I (Abd Al-Rahman I) (Spain)
An Umayyad caliph, he made Spain independent of Baghdad. His court was open to poets, scientists, and philosophers. At the same time that the influence of Babylon was waning, Spain was becoming the center of Jewish thought. The Umayyad rule in Spain was to last 250 years and provide peace and stability for its inhabitants.
1830 ABOLITION OF THE MORE JUDAICO (France)
The Jewish oath was abolished in France.
1827 ABOLITION OF THE MORE JUDAICO (the Jewish oath) (France)
France becomes one of the first countries (after Holland in 1818) to abolish the oath. The More Judaico was the oath that a Jew had to take when bringing a gentile to court. This degrading oath had been in existence since Emperor Justinian (see 615) and was used throughout most of Europe.
1942 February 12, ABRAHAM ("YAIR") STERN (Tel Aviv, Eretz Israel)
The leader of what later became known as
Lehi (the Stern Group) was shot by the British in his apartment in Tel Aviv.
1637 - 1683 (9 Tishrei 5444) ABRAHAM ABELE GOMBINER (Poland)
Known for his Magen Avraham on Caro's Shulchan Aruch. Gombiner tried to find a compromise between Caro and Isserles wherever they clashed on Halachic decisions, though for the most part he supported Isserles. He also wrote Zayit Ra'anan on the Yalkut Shimoni and other works.
1240 - 1292 ABRAHAM ABULAFIA (Spain)
One of the first kabbalists. He was opposed by Solomon Aderet who felt that he was almost posing as a messianic pretender. Abulafia analyzed the Hebrew alphabet and the letters in God's name, calling it chochmat ha zeruf (science of letter analyzation). As a young man he traveled, searching for the legendary Sambation River.
1743 - 1816 ABRAHAM ALEXANDER (USA)
Revolutionary officer and the first secretary general of the Masonic supreme council in Charleston. He married Ann Sarah Huguenin Irby, one of the first Jewish converts in the United States. Alexander served as a hazzan in the local congregation and even hand-wrote a high holiday prayer book. He also worked as an auditor for the United States customs service.
1129 ABRAHAM BAR HIYYA (d.1136) (Spain)
Philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. Published Meggilat HaMegaleh (Scroll of the Revealer) in which he predicted the fall of Christianity and the coming redemption in 1358. He held a senior position in the court in Barcelona, probably as the chief of police.
1060 - 1136 ABRAHAM BAR HIYYA (Spain)
Spanish philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. Although he wrote in Hebrew (rather than in the common Arabic) many of his scientific books were translated into Latin, including his Hibbur ha-meshicha V'HaTishboret, which gave the area of a circle and helped introduce trigonometry to the west. His book on astronomy, Hokhmat Ha'Hizayon, is a definitive work on astronomy and the calculation of the calendar.
1110 - 1180 ABRAHAM BEN DAVID 'IBN DAUD' (Rabad I) (Spain)
Noted philosopher, physician and historian. He believed in defending Judaism, especially against Karaite thinking, by using reason and rationality and not just faith. Ibn Daud's most well known book is the Sefer HaKabbalah (Book of Tradition), in which he puts forth a historical and philosophical defense of Judaism. He traces the passing of Judaic law and the Torah though the Talmud, beginning with the foundation of Judaism and delving into Spanish Jewish history in great detail. Much of our knowledge of this period is due to his work. He is the source of the medieval story of the "Four Rabbis" (see
945) (R. Moses b. Hanokh, R. Shemariah, R. Hushi'el and one whose name isn't known) who were captured by a Moslem captain and sold into slavery in Spain, Cairo, and Kairouan. When ransomed, they created new centers for the study of Torah in Alexandria, Tunisia and Cordova.
1125 - 1198 ABRAHAM BEN DAVID OF POSQUIURES (France)
Leading French talmudist and director of one of the most influential talmudic schools of his day. Known as the Ravad (there was at least one person known as the Ravad before him), he earned the name Baal Hasagot (the Master of Critiques). He composed commentaries on talmudic texts which had been mostly ignored up to his day, as well as the Mishna, Sefrei and Mekhilta. He wrote extensive and definitive halachic commentaries and criticism on Alfasi and Maimonides, the latter of which is used as an accompanied textual commentary in all additions.
1510 ABRAHAM BEN ELIEZER HALEVI (Spain-Jerusalem)
An apocalyptic Kabbalist (c. 1460-1532) wrote letters proclaiming the year 1524 as the beginning of the arrival of the Messiah. Halevi, who was originally from Spain, spent many years wandering after the expulsion until he settled in Jerusalem in 1514. There Halevi, who was widely respected for his scholarly knowledge, urged people to repent and make themselves ready for the redemption. Among his many treatises on Kabbalah are Mashreh Kitrin (Untyer of Knots) Maamar Perek Chelek on talmudic sources for redemption and a commentary on Nevuat Hayeled (A Child's Prophesy). Halevi's letters unfortunately paved the way for the acceptance of messianic pretenders such as
and Shabbetai Zevi.
1376 ABRAHAM CRESQUES (Majorca)
The famous Majorcan cartographer to Pedro IV of Aragon. He sent a map of the world as a gift to Charles VI of France. He is also credited from creating the famous Catalan atlas. Many of the maps of this era - which were known as Portolanos - charted coastlines and oceans (mostly of the Mediterranean area). Many Jews from the island of Majorca - as well as from Alexandria - have their names signed to these early maps.
1748 - 1820 (4 Tishrei 5581) ABRAHAM DANZIG (Vilna, Lithuania)
Condensed Caro's Shulchan Aruch into an everyday guide. The guide is divided into two sections; Chayei Adam (Life of Man), i.e. prayers and Sabbath based on the Orah Chaim and Chochmat Adam (Wisdom of Man), dealing with dietary laws based on the Yoreh Deah.
1866 - 1959 ABRAHAM FLEXNER (USA)
Educator. Flexner, known as an innovative educator, was commissioned by the Carnegie foundation to study the medical schools in North America. Flexner's report had a major impact on the methodology of medical education and its reform. He later directed the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
1810 - 1874 ABRAHAM GEIGER (Germany)
Author and Bible critic, he helped to inspire the Jewish Reform movement. He was elected Rabbi of Breslau in 1840 and was one of the founders of theJuedisch-Theologisches Seminar in Breslau, the first reform rabbinical seminary in Central Europe. He eventually refused to preach to the Breslau reform congregation, feeling that they had gone too far with their reforms. Geiger viewed Judaism as a religion divorced from national aspirations, so much so that he was against Jewish political solidarity during the Damascus Affair. Although he considered circumcision "barbaric" he was against its elimination in the same way that he was against changing the Shabbat to Sunday. His works include Das Judenthum und seine Geschichte (Judaism and its History) as well as studies on Maimonides, the Karaites, and the influence of Judaism on Islam.
1840 July 12, - 1908 ABRAHAM GOLDFADEN (Russia)
"Father of Modern Jewish Theater". Goldfaden began his career by writing songs and was surprised to find them well received by the public. He composed dozens of songs, over 60 plays, and over 30 operas - all in Yiddish. Some of his plays were translated into Hebrew (Kuni Lemel) and are still produced today. After witnessing local pogroms, he decried assimilation as a solution and became a strong supporter of the Zionist cause. In his last play, Ben Ami, his hero leaves Russia after a pogrom and becomes a pioneer in Eretz Israel.
1756 - 1810 ABRAHAM GOLDSMID (Holland-England)
Financier. He (together with his children) was very active in the Great Synagogue and in trying to achieve full emancipation for British Jewry. They were friends of Lord Nelson and the Duke of Essex (son of King George III).
1158 ABRAHAM IBN EZRA (1089-1164) (England)
Scholar and writer, Ibn Ezra visited England for a series of lectures. During his visit he also wrote his Letter of Shabbat and Yesod Mora, which he dedicated to Joseph ben Jacob of London.
1089 - 1164 (1 Adar 4924) ABRAHAM IBN EZRA (Cordova, Spain)
Poet, mathematician and prolific Biblical commentator. He signaled the end of the classical period in Jewish secular poetry. His commentary on the Pentateuch is based on grammar and philosophical interpretations which strive to give a simple explanation rather then exegesis or homiletic interpretation and is considered the first scientific interpreter of the Bible. An unsuccessful businessman, he wrote of himself: "If I were to take up shroud making, men would stop dying - if I sold candles, the sun would never set."
1865 - 1935 (3 Elul 5635) ABRAHAM ISAAC KOOK (Eretz Israel)
Proponent of a religious national philosophy. Rav Kook was appointed the first Chief Rabbi of Israel. He tried to broaden the outlook of the yeshivot to cope with modern ideas and train spiritual leaders. His mystical leanings helped him embrace even the non-religious pioneers and earned him the respect of the entire Zionist world. Rav Kook set up his own yeshiva, which later became known as Mercaz Harav. He was an outspoken critic of the British Mandatory government and a staunch defender of the Revisionist movement during the infamous Arlozoroff affair, once he became convinced of their innocence. His many works in philosophy and halacha include Iggeret Hareaya, Orot Hateshuva, Shabbat Haaretz, Daat Kohen, and Mishpat Kohen.
1830 - 1919 ABRAHAM JACOBI (Germany)
"Father of Pediatrics". In 1851 he was arrested and charged with treason for belonging to a revolutionary group. Two years later he was released and became a professor of children's diseases at the National Medical College.
1807 - 1867 ABRAHAM MAPU (Slobodka, Lithuania)
First modern Hebrew novelist and one of the leaders of the Haskalah Movement in Eastern Europe. His most famous book was called Ahavat Zion (Love of Zion) which described the longing of the Jewish people for a better life. The book quickly went though 16 editions and was translated into nine languages. Aside from four novels, he also wrote three textbooks, all of which showed his creative talents.
C. 1800 ABRAHAM MORDECAI (USA)
Founded a store and cotton gin on the bluffs near the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers in Alabama. In 1805, the Indians burned it down and cut off his left ear for allegedly cavorting with a chief's squaw. He returned in 1814 to rebuild what was later to become the city of Montgomery.
1864 - 1948 ABRAHAM MORDECHAI ROTHENBURG (Eretz Israel)
Grandson of Isaac Meir (the founder of the Gur Hassidic dynasty and author of Chiddushai Harim). He was one of the foremost leaders of Polish Jewry and founder of the Agudist religious movement. Though he was not a Zionist, he visited Eretz Israel six times. In 1940 he escaped the Nazis and made his way to Eretz Israel.
1815 - 1871 (19 Tevet 5631) ABRAHAM SAMUEL BENJAMIN (The Ktav Sofer) (Hungary)
Rabbi, educator, and Orthodox leader of Hungarian Jewry. He was the son of Moses Sofer and took his father's place upon his death in 1839. His responsa and clarifications on the Torah were published under the title Ktav Sofer.
1853 ABRAHAM SCHREINER (Galicia)
A merchant who discovered the uses of petroleum. He built a distillery which caught fire, leaving him impoverished. He ended up selling liquor to peasants.
1452 - 1515 ABRAHAM ZACUTO (Spain-Portugal-Tunisia)
Astronomer and historian. Around 1474 he wrote his "Great Treatise" HaHibur HaGadol under the patronage of the bishop of Salamanca which was translated into Spanish. His astronomical tables were used by Columbus. After the expulsion of 1492, he went to Portugal where he developed the copper Astrolabe used by Vasco Da Gama. In 1497 he was forced to flee or convert. He left and reached Tunis, where he wrote a history of the Jews from the creation until 1500.
748 ABU ISA (Ispahan, Persia)
Convinced that he was the (Dai) precursor to the Messiah, he formed an army. During the general upheaval against Mervan II by the Abbasids under Abu I Abbas, he attacked Mervan II, the last Umayyad caliph. He advocated abolishing divorce and added four extra daily prayer periods. Although he fell in battle (799), his adherents organized their own sect (Isarits) and lived according to his doctrine - the first new Jewish sect since the fall of Israel. They existed as a separate sect until the tenth century when all mention of them ceased.
700 ABU ISA AL-ISFAHNI (Persia)
Began to preach a national Messianic movement, much to the anger of Caliph Abd al Malik.
1260 ABUL MINA HA-KOHEN AL-ATTAR (Egypt)
Wrote a major Arabic treatise on pharmacology, Practice of the Shop and List of the Important or Management of the Drug Store, which is still used as a reference text in some countries today.
1291 May 18, ACRE (Eretz Israel)
After a two month siege, the fortress fell to the Mameluke (see 1250) Egyptians under Al-Ashraf Khalil(1262-1293). Any inhabitants Christian or Jews who did not succeed in fleeing were killed. To all intents and purposes the Crusades were at an end. The various crusading armies never succeeded in uniting as a cohesive force. They were defeated as much by infighting and separate treaties as by the Fatimid armies.
1947 May 4, ACRE PRISON BREAK
Irgun fighters broke into the British prison fortress at Acre, disguised as British soldiers. Twenty-seven inmates succeeded in escaping: twenty from the Irgun and seven from Lehi). Nine fighters were killed in clashes with the British army. This daring action was later immortalized on film in the movie Exodus. Avshalom Haviv, Yaakov Weiss, and Meir Nakar were seized by the British at the prison and on May 28, they stood on trial for carrying weapons. After a three week trial they were sentenced to death.
1942 July 24, - ADAM CZERNIAKOW (1880-1942) (Warsaw, Poland)
The leader of the Jewish council of Warsaw, the
Judenrat, committed suicide. Czerniakow had held the position for 3 years and kept a diary of over 1,000 pages that chronicled the formation of the ghetto up to the beginning of the forced transports. The Germans had ordered him to provide them with a list of names for deportation. His response was a list of his own name written hundreds of times. The day before his suicide, the Nazi officer in charge of the deportation procedure, Sturmbannfuehrer (major) Hoefle, threatened to shoot his wife if he didn't cooperate. In his suicide note he writes "I am powerless, my heart trembles in sorrow and compassion. I can no longer bear all this."
1817 - 1896 ADAM GIMBEL (USA)
A poor immigrant from Bavaria, he built a retail empire including Saks Fifth Avenue and, of course, Gimbels.
1944 March 16, ADMIRAL MIKLOS HORTHY (Hungary)
Promised Hitler to dismiss the Kallay government which had been making overtures to the Allies and had refused to deport Hungarian Jews.
1943 April 7, ADMIRAL MIKLOS HORTHY (Hungary)
Regent of Hungary met with Ribbentrop and Hitler who demanded that Hungary adopt a more aggressive anti-Jewish policy. Horthy insisted that he could not " beat them to death" to which Hitler replied that they must adopt the same policy as Poland.
1941 March, ADOLPH EICHMANN (Germany)
Was appointed head of the Jewish Affairs section of the Gestapo, also known as Section IVB4. Within a few months, he was in charge of implementation of the "Final Solution" in all of its aspects. In 1944, Eichmann visited Auschwitz and proposed a method for speeding up the killings by twenty percent. Later that same year, Eichmann went personally to Hungary to oversee the deportation efforts.
1796 - 1880 ADOLPH (ISAAC) CREMIEUX (France)
One of the most brilliant Jewish orators and advocates of the Revolution of 1848. On many occasions, he used his influence in the government to help his fellow Jews. He also helped found the Alliance Israelite Universelle. His son, however, converted to Christianity.
1861 ADOLPH FRANK (Germany)
Discovered the use of potash and created the potash industry.
1858 March 12, - 1935 ADOLPH OCHS (USA)
Newspaper publisher. Ochs began working with newspapers at the age of 11. After his success with the Chattanooga Times, he went on to buy the New York Times, which had been losing money, making it one of the major newspapers in the United States. Ochs fought against yellow journalism believing that editorials should be unbiased and advertisements not be deceptive.
1823 AFFAIR OF THE HATS (Tunisia)
The local bey (ruler) ordered all Jews, whether locals or foreigners, to wear a three corner cap. Despite the protests of European countries, the order was only rescinded seven years later when a new bey (Ahmad) came to power
Two thousand Jews were expelled from towns and cities and forced to live in the wilderness.
220 - 470 AGE OF AMORAIM
Expounders of the Mishna (also called the Talmud or the Gemara). The Talmud is comprised of both the Mishna and the commentary of the Amoraim.
This commentary includes both Halacha (law) and Agadah or Hagaddah
(legends). The latter was designed for spiritual and moral education and
consists of parables, fables, folklore and historical anecdotes. Academies were established and served as the focal point of Jewish life, while preparing for religious survival in the Diaspora. The commentary of the Amoraim was written in Aramaic, the common language of the area.
1100 - 1328 AGE OF THE TOSAFISTS (France)
The name given to the descendants of Rashi. They added to, and reconciled his works with seeming contradictions in the Talmud, using many cross references to similar topics in other sections of the Talmud. Various schools studied and compiled these works. Each work was named after the school in which it was compiled, e.g. Tosafot Averu for the school of Moses of Evereux, etc.
1921 AGNES KELETI (Hungary - Israel)
Olympic gymnast. Keleti competed in the 1948, 1952, 1956 Olympics winning 10 medals. She began her career in 1936 but was forced to flee Hungary during the Holocaust. Her father was killed in Auschwitz. In 1956, while in Australia, she defected and moved to Israel where she worked for the Wingate Institute as a physical education instructor and coach for the Israeli gymnastics team. It was reported at age 81, Agnes was still turning cartwheels.
1912 May 28, AGUDAH (AGUDAT ISRAEL - AGUDAS YISROEL)
Was formed as the World Organization of Orthodox Jewry at Kattowitz, Poland. Jacob Rosenheim was its first president. It took three years of negotiation to get the organization off the ground. Its goal was to preserve a traditional community while using the Torah as a basis for all political and communal decisions. In addition to establishing education systems, they set up a labor movement (Poale Agudat Israel) and a supreme Torah authority, the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah. The founders succeeded in combining the German (S.R. Hirsh), the Polish-Lithuanian, and the Hungarian sectors of Orthodox Jewry.
1942 December 22, AHARON LIEBESKIND (Cracow, Poland)
The joint forces of HeHalutz HaLohem and P.P.R (Polish Workers Party) Jewish Units attacked German targets in the capital of the General Government. Liebeskind was Secretary of the religious Zionist Akiva movement and commander of the HeHalutz HaLohem (fighting organization of the Pioneer Jews). In the coordinated attacks, dozens of Germans were either killed or wounded. Liebeskind himself was killed in hand-to-hand combat when the Germans attacked his bunker on December 24, 1942. Before he died he succeeded in killing 2 German officers. He is credited with the line: "The Jewish fighters are fighting for 3 lines [telling about us] in history [books]."
1054 AHIMAAZ BEN PALTIEL (Capua, Italy)
Completed a 200 year chronicle of his family in southern Italy. This work called Migilat Yuchasin (The Scroll of Genealogy) is better known as Migilat Achimaz (The Chronicle of Ahimaaz). The entire chronicle was written in rhymed Hebrew prose with an extensive vocabulary. This work presents a remarkable window into Jewish life at that time. The Chronicle was found by accident in a Spanish library and published in 1895.
1436 January 24, AIX-EN-PROVENCE (France)
A riot ensued after a crowd felt that a Jew who insulted the Virgin Mary received too light a sentence.
1761 - 1837 (13 Tishrei 5598) AKIVA EIGER (Posen, Germany)
Renowned halachic and talmudic scholar, Eiger was one of the leading talmudists in the first half of the nineteenth century and a strong opponent of the Reform movement. His devotion to the sick, at risk to his own life during a cholera epidemic, earned him the recognition of Frederick William III of Prussia.
1886 May 26, - 1950 AL JOLSON (Lithuania-USA)
Entertainer. Jolson, born Asa Yoelson the son of a cantor(hazzan), became one of the big stars of vaudeville and an early film star. He loved to work the audience and
and after singing for three hours with incredible energy, he could still call out: "You ain't heard nothin' yet." Jolson was successful in Broadway musicals and starred in the first full length talking movie The Jazz Singer in (1927) which reflected his own life. He was also the first entertainer to perform overseas for the USO (United Service Organization). He died soon after returning from performing for the troops in Korea. His two signature songs were Swanee and My Mammy.
985 AL MAGDES (Eretz Israel)
A Jerusalem-born Moslem traveler reported that Christians and Jews outnumber Moslems in Jerusalem.
1148 AL MOHADIN (Almohadin) (Spain-Morocco)
Almohadin fanatics succeeded the Almoravides as rulers of Moslem Spain and Morocco. They offered Christians and Jews the choice of conversion or expulsion. Many Jews converted but continued to practice Judaism in secret.
892 AL MUTADID (Persia)
Was appointed Caliph in Baghdad. Netira, a successful Jewish banker, became the most influential person in the Babylonian Jewish community. Though his offices he succeeded in preventing anti-Jewish riots organized by Ibn abi al-Bagl. In the controversy between Sa'adia Gaon and David ben Zaccai he supported the former (see 882).
853 AL-MUTAVALLIL (Persia)
An Abbasid caliph, he issued a yellow badge edict. He also forbade non-Moslems to ride on horses and converted synagogues and churches into mosques.
1852 - 1931 ALBERT ABRAHAM MICHELSON ( Poland - USA)
Physicist known for his work on measuring the speed of light. His theories provided Einstein with the basis for developing his Theory of Relativity.. Michelson was the first (along with Francis G. Pease) to measure the diameter of a star other than the Sun (Betelgeuse). In 1869 he received a special appointment to the naval academy in Annapolis by President U. S. Grant. He received a Nobel Prize in physics in 1907 being the first American to win that prize. His books include The Velocity of Light and Studies in Optics.
1907 ALBERT ABRAHAM MICHELSON (1852-1931) (USA)
Received the Nobel prize for physics. He was the first American scientist and the first American Jew to receive the prize.
1879 March 14, - 1955 ALBERT EINSTEIN (Ulm, Germany-USA)
Discovered the Theory of Relativity and a theory of photo-effect, which helped pave the way for television. He was a leading anti-war activist during World War I and again after World War II. Together with his rise to fame came his awareness of anti-Semitism, and he emigrated to the United States in 1933 after Hitler's rise to power. Einstein was an outspoken advocate of Zionism and visited Eretz Israel in 1922. His theories helped other physicists to develop the atomic bomb. A pacifist by nature, his comment upon hearing the news of Hiroshima was "Oi Vey." In 1952 he was offered the presidency of Israel as successor to Weizmann, but he declined.
1349 September 29, ALBERT II (Austria)
After an attack on the Jews at Krems, he forcibly ended the riots. Austria was thus one of the few places of relative security in Europe.
1439 ALBERT II (Austria, Holy Roman Empire)
Agreed to accept 900 gulden from the city of Augsburg in return for allowing them to expel their Jews. Jews were to be allowed into the town on business and if a war broke out.
1879 ALBERT NEISSER (Germany)
Discovered the bacillus of gonorrhea. Although he was baptized, he employed many Jews and encouraged them in their work.
1209 - 1229 ALBIGENSIAN CRUSADE (France)
Called by Pope Innocent III. The Albigensians, who were named for the city Albi in southern France, were one of a number of heretical Christian sects. Although they rejected Judaism on theological grounds, many also rejected the notion of Jesus as a god and accused the Church of social and economical corruption. Jews fared well in areas under their control, even attaining positions of prominence. The Church - furious that Jews still held public office and angry at the Albigensian's heresy - called for a crusade against the Albigensians. King Philip refused to lead it, but did not prevent Cardinal Bertrand and Simon de Montfort from attacking the South. Prince Raymond VI surrendered at Toulouse on September 22, 1229.
1703 August 28, ALEINU PRAYER BANNED (Brandenberg, Germany)
The Aleinu prayer was prohibited in much of Germany. The Aleinu, composed by Rav, one of the great Talmudists (d. 247), had been part of the ritual prayer for almost 1500 years. It served as a focal point for anti-Jewish attacks. Although the wording "For they bow down to emptiness and vanity and to a God that cannot save" was taken from Isaiah (45:20) and referred to idol worshipers, some Christian leaders claimed it was an attack on Christianity. The prayer was eventually entirely eradicated from the Ashkenazi siddur and only reprinted recently.
834 ALEPPO (Syria)
The Great Synagogue was built. Parts of it, including the original inscriptions, still exist.
1866 ALEXANDER CUZA (Romania)
Was overthrown. Cuza had united Romania for the first time in 1859 and tried to prepare for the emancipation of the Jews. He was succeeded by Ion Bratinau who, together with his brothers, ruled until World War I. The 50 years of their reign was a time of government-led pogroms and harassment of Jews.
1820 March 4, ALEXANDER I (Russia)
Prohibited the employment of Christian servants by Jews.
1881 March 13, ALEXANDER II OF RUSSIA WAS ASSASSINATED
After numerous attempts by a radical revolutionary organization known as Narodnaya Volya (the Peoples' Will), they succeeded in killing the czar, and with him died his half-hearted liberalism. On the same day of his assassination he had signed an order creating two national elected commissions which would work with the council of state. He was succeeded by his son Alexander III.
1882 May 15, ALEXANDER III ISSUED THE MAY LAWS (Russia)
Based on the "findings" of Count Ignatyev's commissions, the May or "Temporary" Laws were issued. Jews were banished from all rural areas and towns of less than ten thousand people, even within the Pale. Strict quotas were placed on the number of Jews allowed into higher education. As formulated by Konstantin Pobedonostev, the Russian statesman and anti-Semite, they were designed to "cause one-third of the Jews to emigrate, one-third to accept baptism, and one-third to starve". These laws remained in quasi-effect until 1914 and provided the impetus for migration to America as well as expanded interest in the settlement of Eretz Israel.
1503 ALEXANDER JAGELLON (Poland)
King of Poland (1501-1506) allowed the Jews to return to Lithuania eight years after he expelled them while serving as grand duke of Lithuania. He also appointed Jacob Pollack as Chief Rabbi (see also 1470).
1822 - 1866 ALEXANDER SALMON (England-Tahiti)
While on a trip to the South Seas, he met and fell in love with the beautiful 20 year old princess of the Teva clan, Marau Taaroa. Although according to law it was illegal to marry a foreigner, Queen Pomare IV (Aimata), by royal decree, made a three day exception, during which time Salmon and the princess were married. Their daughter Joanna, was the last queen of the Island and their son Tati befriended Robert Louis Stevenson. Salmon became a spokesman for the islanders. Marau Taaroa's memoirs were edited by Henry Adams, in 1901.
222 - 235 ALEXANDER SEVERUS (Roman Empire)
Reigned as emperor. His respect for Judaism enabled Judah II (President of the
Sanhedrin - the Jewish Supreme Court located in Eretz Israel), to obtain a revival of Jewish rights, including permission to visit Jerusalem.
1249 ALFONSE OF POITIERS (France)
The brother of Louis IX, he ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Poitou, France. Though his decree remained mostly on paper, it does mark the first local expulsion of Jews. Both brothers did their best to force money from their Jewish subjects.
1466 ALFONSO DE SPINA (Spain)
A Franciscan friar published his Fortalitium Fidel (Fortress of Faith), in which he exceeded the usual anti-Marrano attacks by using past libels. The direct result of this was the birth of the racist concept of Limpieza de Sangre, purity of blood.
1248 ALFONSO OF CASTILE (Spain)
Showed his appreciation for Jewish soldiers' part in the conquering of Seville. Although he was just the crown prince, he granted them land for a "village of the Jews". The Jewish quarter was enlarged and three mosques were given to them for use as synagogues. A large number of Jews served him in the treasury (Meir de Maleq), in astronomy (Judah ben Moses Cohen), and medicine (Abraham and Samuel Levi). A famous Astronomical Table (Alphonsine Tables) was named for him by Isaac ibn Sid, the cantor in Toledo. In spite of this, Alfonso also compiled the "seven sets", a legal work reviewing all the anti-Jewish canons against the Jews. A hundred years later this was used as the basis for anti-Jewish legislation.
1141 ALFONSO VII (Castile, Spain)
In order to encourage a Christian merchant class, he allowed Christians to retain hereditary ownership of their shops. Jews and Moslems were only allowed to be tenants.
1336 February 25, ALFONSO X OF CASTILE (Spain)
Was persuaded by the apostate Alfonso of Valladolid to ban the prayer Alenu, composed by the Amora Abba Arucha (the Tall, or as he was later called, Rav, c. 247, founder of the academy of Sura). Alfonso alleged that Alenu was anti-Christian. As a result, many Jewish communities excised the sentence from the prayer They bend knee to emptiness and pray to a god who will not answer, which has only been printed again in recent years in some prayer books.
1870 - 1940 ALFRED ADLER (Austria)
Psychologist, originally a member of Freud's group. He formulated his own theories on the individual and inferiority.
1898 - 1995 ALFRED EISENSTAEDT (Germany-USA)
Has been called the "father of photojournalism". Starting in Berlin in 1929 he produced candid but incisive documentary photographs and portraits. In 1936, he became one of the original staff photographers of Life Magazine.
1908 ALFRED P. SHULTZ (USA)
Published Race or Mongrel, an anti-Semitic racist book.
1864 January 1, - 1946 ALFRED STIEGLITZ (USA)
Master photographer and the first who had his pictures accepted into museums. He did much to help photography achieve the status of an accepted art. He edited the photography magazine, Camera Work. Among his studies were portraits of his artist wife, Georgia O'Keeffe.
1881 - 1897 ALGERIA
There were anti-Jewish riots throughout most of the country after Jews were granted citizenship.
After a plague which impoverished much of the Jewish community, the local ruler decided that the plague was the fault of the Jews and ordered their expulsion and the confiscation of the synagogues. Only the payment of a huge bribe saved the community from expulsion, but it left them destitute.
1870 October 24, ALGIERS
Under the leadership of Adolphe Cremieux, France granted Algerian Jews French citizenship. Up to this date they could only be naturalized individually. Approximately 35,000 Jews took advantage of this right.
1905 ALIENS IMMIGRATION ACT (England)
Slowed the number of Jews allowed to immigrate.
1824 August 10, ALL FOREIGN JEWS WERE PROHIBITED FROM SETTLING IN RUSSIA
Alexander I, after an initial period of liberalism, reverted to the anti-Jewish position of his predecessors. He began with forbidding Jews to have Christian servants and culminated just before his death with banishing all Jews from larger villages in the Mohilev and Vitbesk districts.
1370 May 22, ALLEGED HOST DESECRATIONS (Brussels, Belgium)
After killing a local wealthy Jew, the perpetrators tried to cover their tracks by accusing the Jews of Host desecration and escaping in the resulting confusion. A few hundred Jews were killed and the rest were banished from the country. A holiday was declared by the local churches.
1918 July, ALLIED FORCES
Under General Foch they began a counter-offensive against Germany.
1943 September 9, ALLIES INVADE SOUTHERN ITALY
The Germans immediately invaded Italy and reached Rome. Italy was divided into two parts. The Nazis under Otto Wachter placed Mussolini back in the government. Jews were now going to be deported. The Germans also took over all of France, dashing any hopes of rescuing Jews by transferring them through Italy to North Africa. Angelo Donati was forced into hiding as he was wanted by the Gestapo.
1130 - 1269 ALMOHAD (ara. al-Muwahhidun) DYNASTIES (Spain)
A Berber Muslim dynasty which destroyed most of what was left of the Almoravide dynasty by 1147. By 1150 the conquering armies were already in Spain, Algeria and Tunis. Their intolerance led to many Jews fleeing the areas under their control - including the family of Maimonides.
1056 - 1147 ALMORAVIDE DYNASTY (Spain)
A Berber Moslem tribe, they were called to Spain by Abbad III of Seville to help fight against the Christians. They soon turned against the Spanish Moors and annexed Moslem Spain, with the exception of Toledo and Saragossa. The Almoravides were unstable at best. Their rule was generally puritanical, and they showed disdain for the Moslem courts in Spain. Many Jews fled to Christian Spain.
1943 July 2, ALOIS BRUNNER (France)
Described by Eichmann as "one of my best men", took over Drancy, the main transit camp in France. During his 14 months in France, he sent an estimated 25,000 men, women and children to their deaths. Brunner was an assistant to Eichmann and was responsible for the deaths of over 128,000 people including 200 Americans. Brunner also masterminded the deportation of Thessaloniki's 50,000 Jews to death camps. Brunner was one of the most wanted war criminals and succeeded in finding refuge in Syria, which steadily refused to give out any information on him.
1942 December 20, ALPES MARITIMES (Maritime Alps -Italian occupied Vichy France)
The local French Prefect ordered all foreign-born Jews to leave and relocate in German-occupied areas. Encouraged by Angelo Donati (an influential half Jew), the Italian government, especially its generals, countered the order despite the efforts by Ribbentrop and even Himmler. Thus, the Italian zone became a haven of sorts for Jewish refugees up till September 1943 when the Italian zone was overrun by the Germans.
1511 - 1568 AMATUS LUSISTANUS
A Marrano and a famous physician, he had to flee from Portugal to Belgium to Salonika before he found freedom from the Inquisition. His major work, Centuries, a seven volume composition of medical case histories, was published many times.
1885 July 12, - 1920 AMEDEO MODIGLIANI (Livorno, Italy)
Painter and sculptor. One of the first great Jewish artists with a flair for the human (mainly female) body. Most of his paintings are memorable for their long necks and oval faces and earthy tones.
1944 August 20, AMERICAN B-17 FLYING FORTRESSES (Poland)
Bombed a factory five miles east of Auschwitz. That same month (August 14) Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy, wrote to the World Jewish Congress: "Such an operation could be executed only by the diversion of considerable air support...such an effort, even if practical might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans."
1944 July 7, AMERICAN BOMBERS (Poland)
Flew over Auschwitz but did not drop any bombs.
1861 - 1865 AMERICAN CIVIL WAR (USA)
Jews fought heroically on both sides. 10-12,000 Jews fought for the Confederates and 15-20,000 for the Union, including 9 generals, 21 colonels, 40 majors, and 205 captains. The majority, including Isaac Meyer Wise, sided with the North for moral reasons.
1906 February 3, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE
Was formed. It was headed by Judge Mayer Sulzberger, a leader in the fight for liberal immigration laws. Its aims included the protection of civil and religious rights of Jews all over the world. Among its founders were Dr. Cyrus Adler, Louis Marshall and Jacob H. Schiff.
1943 August, AMERICAN JEWISH CONFERENCE (USA)
Led by B'nai B'rith, passed a resolution favoring the establishment of a Jewish State, causing the American Jewish Committee (which was at the time anti-Zionist) to disaffiliate itself. The Conference, which existed until 1949, issued many pro-Zionist statements to government and international organizations. Despite this, little was actually accomplished during the war years.
1914 October 24, AMERICAN JEWISH RELIEF COMMITTEE (USA)
Was established by Jacob H. Schiff, Louis Marshall, and Felix Warburg. It soon combined (November 27) with the Central Relief Committee founded by Orthodox leaders and the People's Relief Committee representing labor into one organization - the American Joint Distribution Committee. It campaigned and distributed funds wherever Jews were in need, especially in Eastern Europe. It is popularly known as the "Joint" or "JDC." During the First World War they spent almost $15,000,000 on relief efforts.
390 AMMENMAR (Babylon)
Re-opened the academy at Nehardea 131 years after its destruction by Odenathus.
838 AMORIUM (Central Byzantine Empire)
Just before its capture by the Arabs, fighting broke out between Jews and Christians. Included in the fights was a Judaizing sect which kept Biblical Law (except circumcision) and had both men and women serving as spiritual leaders. Rumors were spread that the Emperor Michael II (820-829) came from this sect.
869 AMRAM BEN SHESHNA GAON (d. 875) (Babylon)
Gaon of Sura, Completed, at the request of the Spanish community, the first real Siddur (prayer book), which is the basis for the one in use today. The book concentrated more on service regulations than on liturgical text. Until then, although prayers had been recited since early Mishnaic times, there was no official prayer book that contained all the various liturgical texts.
1593 April 22, AMSTERDAM (Holland)
The arrival of the first group of Marranos, which was led by Jacob Tirado. Moses Uri Halevi soon joined them and helped arrange for prayer services.
1596 October 2, AMSTERDAM (Holland)
Yom Kippur services were held for the first time. Neighbors, thinking they were secret Catholics, reported them to the authorities and the leaders were arrested. Once it was explained that they were secret Jews rather than Papists, they were left alone and the leaders released.
1598 August, AMSTERDAM (Holland)
The first Jewish (Marrano) wedding in Amsterdam was celebrated. Both the groom, Duarte Saravina, and the bride, Maria Nunez, were recent refugees. There is a legend which relates that Maria was originally captured by an English ship but freed on the orders of Queen Elizabeth, who noted her beauty and offered to let her remain in England. Maria refused to give up her Jewish beliefs and made her way with the other passengers to Amsterdam.
1598 AMSTERDAM (Holland)
A synagogue was publicly dedicated.
1627 January 12, AMSTERDAM (Holland)
The first Jewish printing press in the Netherlands was set up by Menasseh ben Israel. Its first publication was a prayer book in the Sepharadic tradition.
1636 AMSTERDAM (Holland)
The Ashkenazi community, which had begun to arrive almost 15 years earlier, established their own congregation, appointing Moses B. Jacob Weile of Prague as their rabbi.
1675 August 2, AMSTERDAM (Holland)
The new synagogue "Talmud Torah" was inaugurated with a great ceremony. Amsterdam had over four thousand Jewish families at that time. The synagogue is still in existence today.
1941 February 22, AMSTERDAM (Netherlands)
First initial deportation, in which 389 Jewish hostages were sent to Buchenwald and then the quarrying camp at Mauthausen. This was ostensibly for resistance to the anti-Jewish riots organized by the Nazis. They were later joined by another 230 Amsterdam Jews. By 1942 only eight were alive and by the end of the war only one Jew, Max Nebig, who had managed to survive by volunteering for medical experiments. The actual deportations began in July of 1942 and almost all of them to Auschwitz and Sobibor.
841 AMULO (Lyon, Carolingian Empire)
Successor to Agobard, he wrote to Emperor Charles the Bald demanding that he ratify anti-Jewish measures in the Diet of Epernay. Although he did not succeed directly, his letter and reasons for actively persecuting the Jews were widely circulated and accepted by the Church as part of its doctrine.
767 ANAN BEN DAVID (Babylon)
Founded the Karaite (Bnai Mikra) sect.
He was originally supposed to become the Exilarch, but his younger brother, Hanina, was chosen instead by the incumbent Geonim, Judah the blind and Dudai. Anan left for Eretz Israel where he established a synagogue in Jerusalem. The Karaite sect believed only in literal Biblical translations and not in the Oral law. The Karaites considered themselves mourners of Zion, abstaining from wine and meat, spending much of their time in fasting and prayer, and signing all letters "mourner" (avilai tzion). The Karaite sect divided Judaism into two bitterly opposed camps. Some, including Sa'adia Gaon and Abraham ibn David, wrote treatises refuting and condemning the sect. The Karaites slowly diminished in numbers and influence, with the few remaining mostly living in Lithuania and Volhynia. For the most part they disappeared during the Holocaust. Their greatest opponent - who succeeded in stemming the spread of Karaitism - was Sa'adia ben Joseph (882-942). The power of the Exilarch was weakened as a result of the Anan conflict. From then on the Geonim had the final say on all religious matters.
1556 March, ANCONA (Italy)
Under orders of Paul IV, privileges granted to Jews were revoked. Former Marranos were forced back into Christianity. 23 men and woman were burned for refusing. The Sultan Suleiman complained (March 9th) that his Turkish Jewish subjects had been imprisoned, and that because of this he had lost a substantial amount of money. He demanded that all Turkish Marranos be set free.
1555 April, - June, ANCONA (Italy)
As part of his Counter-Reformation, Pope Paul IV supported the arrest of 51 Marranos. Twenty-five were burned.
Donna Gracia Mendes Nasi tried to organize a boycott of the port of Ancona by Jewish merchants throughout the Ottoman empire but was opposed by some merchants and many rabbis who feared that the Pope would retaliate.
1690 December 29, (1 Tevet 5451) ANCONA (Papal States, Italy)
A major earthquake hit the area with little damage and no loss of life. A local Purim was established, as was the custom to celebrate deliverance from danger.
1858 - 1935 ANDRE-GUSTAV CITROEN (France)
"The Henry Ford of France". After taking over the Mors automobile plant in 1908, he became one of the largest producers of cars.
1462 July 12, ANDREW (Anderl) OF RINN (Austria)
Alleged victim of a ritual murder. He was supposedly bought from his Uncle by four Jewish travelers. The cult of Andrew of Rinn was introduced in 1475, but it became popular only in the 17th century. The local church designed panels describing in detail the "martyrdom" of Anderl at the hands of Jews. Each year there was a procession to his grave. In the 1990's, the bishop of Innsbruck (Bishop Stecher) succeeded in replacing the panels after trying to forbid the cult. There are still people who make the pilgrimage.
1946 May 1, ANGLO - AMERICAN COMMISSION
On the Jewish refugee problem in Europe
advised to allow the immediate entry of 100,000 Jews into Eretz Israel.
1945 November 13, ANGLO-AMERICAN COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY
Was established by President Truman and British Prime Minster Atlee to look into the problem of Jewish refugees, as well as political, economic, and social conditions in Eretz Israel. The committee consisted of six American and six British members with joint chairing by J. E. Singleton and J. C. Hutcheson. Prior to visiting Eretz Israel, they traveled around Europe visiting DP camps and meeting officials. (See May 1, 1946 for their report.) British Foreign Minister Ernst Bevin came out with a vicious attack on Zionism and announced that Jewish immigration would be reduced.
1946 May 1, ANGLO-AMERICAN COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY
After examining the situation in the DP camps, the committee concluded unanimously that no other country was willing to help Jews who wished to leave Europe. As such, in addition to trying to find other countries willing to take in Jewish refugees, 100,000 certificates for immigration to Eretz Israel was to be issued immediately. Although President Truman endorsed the recommendation, the British again turned him down.
1943 April 19, ANGLO-AMERICAN CONFERENCE ON REFUGEES (Bermuda Conference)
Met. The American delegation was headed by Harold Willis Dodds, and the British delegation was headed by Richard Law. The conference was also attended by Sol Bloom who agreed from the start not to discuss certain issues such as: sending food to the victims, British "Palestine" policy, or negotiation with Axis countries. The conference decided not to adopt any policy for the rescue of European Jewry. Eventually the only practical decision was to set up a refugee camp in North Africa for those refugees already in Spain which, despite all the talk, only took in 630 people. The conference which was publicly supported by Bloom was condemned as a "Mockery" by the Bergson group. Bloom would never forgive them and opposed their every move.
1871 July, ANGLO-JEWISH ASSOCIATION (England)
Was established in London. It was based on the principles of the Alliance Israelite Universelle. It was soon imitated in Germany in the form of the Lifaverein der Dutchen Juden.
1236 July 10, ANJOU (France)
Crusading monks trampled three thousand Jews to death and destroyed the community.
1929 June 12, - 1945 March 15, ANNE FRANK (Amsterdam, Holland)
Anne was born in Frankfurt, but spent most of her life in Holland. Once the deportations began, Anne and her family moved to a hiding place and stayed there from July 9,1942, until they were betrayed in August 4, 1944. She died in the Bergen- Belsen concentration camp from typhus, shortly before the liberation. Anne had hoped to become a writer and succeeded beyond anything she could have imagined when her diary was published in 1947. Since then, over 20 million copies of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, edited by Otto Frank, her father, have been printed and over 50 editions published. A theatrical version, The Diary of Anne Frank, opened on Broadway in 1955 and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, as well as a Tony for Best Play of the Year (1955). A film was later produced in 1959. For many, Anne’s diary is the main exposure to the horrors of the Holocaust.
1942 July 22, ANTI FACIST BLOC (Warsaw, Poland)
Was formed and composed of HaShomer HaTzair, Dror, and Poale Zion movements. The organization had no weapons and was able to do almost nothing when the mass deportations known as the "great liquidation" began the next day. One of its commanders, Yitzchak ("Antek") Zuckerman, together with his wife Zivia Lubetkin, played important roles in the revolt and later in the forests. Both survived the war and were among the founders of Lochmaei Hagettaot.
1938 November 17, ANTI JEWISH LEGISLATION (Italy)
Was passed confiscating Jewish property and banning Jews from all positions in the civil service. All Jews who became citizens after January 1, 1919 were deprived of their citizenship and were commanded to leave Italy no later than March 1939.
1530 ANTI JEWISH RIOTS IN POSEN ( Poland)
After three years of pressure by local merchants and officials, King Sigismund I agreed to ban Jews from having stores in the market place. The official rationale given by the merchants was that the presence of Jews might lead to "great temptations and even to seduction from the path of the “true faith."
1598 ANTI SEMITIC BOOK PUBLISHED (Cracow)
The book by Father Przedas Moiecki entitled "Jewish Bestiality" (Okrucienstwo ZydowsTcie) listed “all” the European ritual murder trials both real and those fabricated by the author. The same year 3 Jews in Lublin were brutally tortured and executed by quartering, when a Christian boy was found in a nearby swamp
472 ANTI- JEWISH RIOTS (Isfahan, Persia)
Although for the most part Jews had lived in peace under Zoroastrian influences, anti-Jewish riots spread through the city after rumors began that the Jews killed two Zoroastrian priests. An estimated half of the Jewish population was killed and their children abducted to be raised in the Zoroastrian religionrnrn
1913 ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE (USA)
Of the B'nai B'rith was formed in Chicago. It soon became one of the leading organizations for protecting Jewish rights in the United States.
1283 - 1287 ANTI-JEWISH RIOTS (Franconia, the Rhine and Bavaria)
These riots convinced many of the wealthier Jewish families in those areas to consider emigrating to Eretz Israel.
608 September, ANTIOCH (Syria)
Upon receiving word of the imminent approach of the Persians, and their promise to the Jews to allow them to return to their homeland, the Jews rioted, killing the Christian Patriarch in revenge for the severe repression they had suffered. This facilitated the entrance of Persian troops.
1618 ANTISEMETIC MIRROR OF THE POLISH CROWN PUBLISHED ( Cracow Poland)
Sebastian Miczynski a professor at the local university, published Zwierciadlo Korony Polskej (The Mirror of the Polish Crown) in which he accused the Jews of everything from murder to witchcraft and urged their expulsion. Its publication led to anti Jewish riots and a ban on the book by King Sigismund III Vasa. Despite the ban new additions were reprinted.
1829 November 16, - 1894 ANTON RUBINSTEIN (Russia)
Renowned Russian pianist and composer. He was a rival of Liszt and a pupil of Chopin. Rubinstein founded the Russian Music Society and became the first head of the St. Petersberg Conservatory. His works included ten symphonies, among them the Ocean Symphony and over 100 vocal pieces containing such operas such as The Demon (1871), The Maccabees (1875), Nero (1879), Sulamith (1883) and Moses (1887). Even today, he is considered one of the greatest pianists of all times.
138 - 161 ANTONINUS PIUS (Roman Empire)
Roman emperor and successor to Hadrian. He repealed most of Hadrian's harsher decrees.
1660 April 13, ANTONIO ENRIQUEZ BASURTO (Spain-Holland)
A captain in the Spanish army, poet and one of Spain's greatest comedy playwrights, he was burned in effigy after fleeing with his son to Amsterdam. When told of his burning effigy, he commented "They are welcome to it."
1526 March 30, ANTWERP (Belgium)
Emperor Charles V, ruler of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, issued a general safe-conduct to the Portuguese "New Christians" and Marranos (though not to professing Jews), allowing them to live and work in Antwerp. Although they still had to live under cover, they were safe from the Inquisition which was not recognized and allowed to work in the Southern "Low Countries," though they were under Spanish rule. Only after the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), when Antwerp passed to Austrian rule, were the Jews able to live there openly. Charles was the grandson of Ferdinand as well as Emperor
1938 November 28, APPEARANCE DECREE (Germany)
Jews were banned from certain districts and the hours of any public appearance were restricted.
1945 December 3, ARAB BOYCOTT
The origin of the Arab Boycott of Israel can be traced to a decision by the Arab league to boycott all Jewish goods produced in Eretz Israel.
1936 April 25, ARAB HIGHER COMMITTEE (Eretz Israel)
Was established under the guidance of the Jerusalem Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Husseini was already notorious for his pivotal role in encouraging the anti-Jewish riots of 1920 and 1929. Despite this, the British had tried to placate him and had appointed him the Mufti of Jerusalem (1921). In 1937 he was finally dismissed by the British, and the Arab Higher Committee was outlawed. Supported by the Axis powers, the Arab Higher Committee encouraged "Nationalistic" raids on Jewish settlements. The leader of these raids was Fawzi Kaukji, a former Iraqi officer who was responsible for the murder of King Abdullah of Jordan (1951).
Jews had formed many warlike tribes. They were renowned, especially in Yathuolb (Medina), Khaiba and Taima, for their advanced knowledge of irrigation. They introduced the date palm, grape vines and the honey bee.
Despite the surrender of its Arab allies, the Jewish Khaibar ( Khaybar) tribe defended themselves. After a bitter battle a deal was negotiated whereby half their produce would go to Mohammed and they would be left in peace. Other Jewish tribes, e.g. Fadattr, Tedma, and Magna, concluded similar deals. The Khaibar community continued at least to the 10th century. One young woman, Safiyya bint Huyayy, whose father (a chief of the tribe) and husband were killed, was captured and taken by Mohammed. She converted and became his wife.
81 ARCH OF TITUS (Rome, Italy)
Which commemorates Titus' conquest of Eretz Israel, was erected by his brother Emperor Domitian. There is a Jewish custom not to walk under the arch which depicts the taking of Jews into captivity as well as the vessels from the Temple.
820 ARCHBISHOP AGOBARD (779-840) (Lyon, Carolingian Empire)
"Proved" in essays that Jews were born slaves and accursed. Agobard forcibly converted Jewish children, offering them or their parents no choice in the matter. This is the first time in France that such an act was recorded. (Until this time Jews were offered the choice of either converting or being expelled or killed - but there was a "choice"). He also urged the sons (especially Lothair) of Charlemagne's successor, Louis the Pious, to revolt. After the revolt (833) he was disposed, but was later reinstated by Louis. Six of his anti-Semitic essays have survived; which are systematically aimed at humiliating and eradicating the Jewish community.
826 ARCHBISHOP AGOBARD (Lyon, Gaul - Carolingian Empire)
Angered by the high positions and security of the Jews, Agobard issued a series of pamphlets to convince King Louis to attack what he called "Jewish insolence" and to invoke the old anti-Jewish decrees of 465, 535 and 538.
1943 October 7, ARCHBISHOP DAMASKINOS (Greece)
Ordered all monasteries to shelter any Jews who approached them. This was in
response to Hoherer SS- und Polizeifuhrer, (HSSPF) (Higher SS and Police
Leader) SS General Jurgen Stroop's order for all Jews to register on
penalty of death.
1240 ARCHBISHOP GAUTIER (France)
Tried to defend the Talmud during a debate, but was overruled by the Church tribunal.
1812 December 4, ARGENTINA
Though the Inquisition would only officially be abolished the following year, President Bernardino Rivadavia (1780-1845) called for freedom of immigration and promised the preservation of Jews' basic human rights.
1813 March 24, ARGENTINA
The Inquisition was officially abolished. Two months later, the Assembly passed regulations allowing freedom to practice religion in one's home.
1944 January 26, ARGENTINA
Finally broke off diplomatic relations with Germany. The 100 Argentinean citizens detained by the Nazis were deported to Bergen-Belsen. Until that time, German officials had approached Luis H. Irigoyen, the secretary of the Argentine Embassy in Berlin, regarding their repatriation. Irigoyen had refused, stating that their documents were probably false.
1484 April 8, ARLES (France)
Local farmers, led by the town's monks, attacked the Jewish section of the town. A number of people were killed and 50 men were forced to accept Christianity.
508 ARLES (Gaul)
Was attacked by the Franks and Burgundians. Jews played a significant role in its defense.
1942 July 22, ARMED RESISTANCE IN NESVIZ (Belarus)
A small town in former Russian territory with less then 6,000 Jews prior to the war. Four thousand had been killed on October 30, 1941 after which the head of the Judenrat, Magalif, began to work with the underground. When the final Aktion came, all those left attacked the Germans with knives, hatchets, sticks, and home made incendiary devices. They then set the ghetto in fire. Only 25 Jews succeeded in reaching the forest and joining the partisan units. Over 40 Germans were either killed or wounded. Many similar incidents occurred in small ghettos in this region, such as Kletsk (on the same day), where 400 people broke out of the ghetto.
1832 - 1924 ARMIN VAMBERY (Hungary)
Linguist and Oriental traveler. In order to travel thoughout Persia, Armenia and Turkestan he took the name Rashid Effendi, assumed and successfully maintained the guise of a Sunni dervish, and traveled to places which no westerner had ever visited before. His book "Travels in Central Asia" became very popular. Vambery was a strong supporter of British expansionism and also served as foreign consultant to the Sultan of Turkey. In that position, although not a Zionist, he introduced Theodore Herzl to the Sultan in 1901.
1338 May 17, ARMLEDER (Alsace)
Under the bishop of Strasburg the lords of Alsace decided to pursue John Zimberlin (Armleder) and his main followers. In 1339 Rudolph of Andlau, an Alsatian knight, granted him amnesty as long as his attacks would cease for the next ten years.
1945 January 16, ARMY LIBERATED BUDAPEST (Hungary)
From the time the Arrow Cross party took power until the Russian liberation, over 90,000 Hungarian Jews lost their lives.
1882 - 1928 ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN "The Brain" (USA)
Gambler and criminal mastermind known as The Czar of the Underworld, Rothstein began his career as a traveling salesman. He was accredited with being the designer of the synthesis between big business and organized crime. Rothstein had his hands in everything, including allegedly fixing the outcome of the 1919 World Series. He was also the archetype for the underworld boss. His students were a Who's Who of crime, including Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano. Rothstein was killed over a gambling debt, but although he was dying, he refused to name his murderer.
1874 September 13, - 1951 ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (Austria-USA)
Composer and developer of the Atonal System, which was badly received at first. His works include Guirrelieder and Five Orchestral Pieces. Though born into an Orthodox family in Vienna, he was influenced by Mahler and converted to Christianity in 1898. In response to the anti-Semitic atmosphere in Germany he returned to Judaism in 1933 in a formal religious ceremony and soon after left for the United States. While in the States, he was active in helping German Jewish refugees. Schoenberg also became a staunch Zionist and, if not for his health, would have taken the position of Director of the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.
1945 May 9, ARRIVED IN BRUNNLITZ (Czechoslovakia)
Oscar Schindler and his wife Emilie bid an emotional good bye from the 1,200 Schindlerjuden (Schindler's Jews) he managed to save. In addition to the 1,100 Jews he saved from Plaszow, he and his wife also rescued two cattle cars of half frozen Jews who had been left to die. Schindler, although personally a controversial figure, attained the admiration of Jews and non-Jews all over the world. His comment, when asked about his actions was: "I could've got more, if I'd just..." He died October 9, 1974 and upon his request was buried on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
1917 November 2, ARTHUR BALFOUR
British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, he sent Lord Rothschild a letter declaring the British government's sympathy and support for the Zionist cause. Cloaked in ambiguity, the meaning of the declaration was to be long debated; the Arabs insisted on an independent Arab state in Syria and Eretz Israel, the French on keeping to the Sykes-Picot Treaty. In spite of this, Britain felt that a Jewish state would: 1) provide a base between India and the Suez, 2) promote Jewish financial support in America for the British war effort , 3) create British support by the Jews in the Central Powers and 4) convince Russian Jews to keep fighting in the war
1905 - 1983 ARTHUR KOESTLER (Hungary-USA)
Author and journalist. Koestler studied engineering and joined the Zionist movement, even working for a short time for the Revisionist party. His book, Thieves of the Night, documents the Arab-Jewish conflict, while Promise and Fulfillment: Palestine, 1917-49 surveys the era of the Mandate and the creation of the State. Koestler flirted with communism but left the party after Stalin's purges and wrote probably his most famous work, Darkness at Noon.
1915 October 17, - 2005 ARTHUR MILLER (USA)
A playwright. His great plays include Death of a Salesman, A View from the Bridge, Incident at Vichy and The Crucible (which was an attack on McCarthyism). He was also accused of being a communist and was cited for contempt during the McCarthy era.
1887 January 28, - 1982 ARTHUR RUBINSTEIN (Poland-USA)
One of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Rubinstein performed at an early age with Joseph Joachim in Berlin. In his early years, he was famous for his interpretations of Chopin. After settling in the United States, he toured extensively giving up to 150 concerts a year. Rubinstein had a strong connection with Israel and Judaism; refusing to play in Germany after WWII and supporting Israel at every chance. The Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition was established in Israel in 1974. He played into his eighties and wrote two autobiographies, My Young Years and My Many Years.
1876 - 1943 ARTHUR RUPPIN (Eretz Israel)
Zionist, sociologist and father of modern Jewish demography. He founded
what was later known as the Israel Land Development Authority (ILDC) which
was dedicated to expanding settlement and agriculture.
He also helped design new urban quarters in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Kfar Ruppin in the Beit Shean Valley was named after him.
1894 June 3, - 1951 ARTHUR SZYK (Poland-USA)
A war cartoonist, he was also famous for his traditional and modern Jewish and secular characters using a technique of miniaturization. He became associated with Jabotinsky's Revisionists and the Irgun underground organization.
1942 June 25, ARTUR SAMUEL ZYGELEBOYM (London, England)
And his compatriot, Dr. Ignacy Schwartzbart, arrived in London and released the most comprehensive account of confirmed massacres to date. Known as the Bund Report, it gave detailed information according to date and location. The report estimated that 700,000 Jews had already been murdered and concluded that the Germans planned to "annihilate" all the Jews in Europe. The Boston Globe published the information the next day, making it the first American newspaper to carry the report.
1882 - 1961 ARTUR SCHNEBEL (Austria-USA)
Pianist and modern composer, he came to the United States from Austria in 1938. His interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, and Shubert earned him world renown.
1936 December 26, ARTURO TOSCANINI (Tel Aviv, Eretz Israel)
Conducted the first concert of the Palestine Orchestra, which later became known as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
C. 1744 - 1813 (27 Tishrei 5574) ARYE LEIB HELLER (Galicia)
Talmudic scholar and rabbi. Heller is known for three works which serve are keystones of pilpulistic learning and are still popular today: Ketzot Hachoshen, Avnei Miluim and the Shev Shmaitza.
1695 - 1785 (25 Tamuz 5545) ARYEH LEIB (Loeb) BEN ASHER GUNZBERG (Germany)
Rabbi and talmudist. He believed in using the exacting pilpulist method of study in order to stimulate the minds of his students. Aryeh Leib wrote a number of works, including his famous Sha'agat Aryeh which is concerned with Jewish law (Halacha). Though very poor, he did not hesitate to stand up for an issue he believed in. As a result, he lost his job as a rabbi in Metz when he tried to get the synagogue to change one of its customs. Among his students were Raphael Hakohen and Hayim Volozhiner.
1886 - 1969 (9 Nissan 5729) ARYEH LEVIN ("Father of the Prisoners") (Eretz Israel)
Known as Reb Aryeh, he was ordained by Rabbis Chaim Berlin and Samuel Salant. He devoted himself to volunteer work at the leper hospital and the prison in Jerusalem, as well as working in a yeshiva. He considered visiting and helping those jailed by the British Mandatory Government his special mission. Reb Aryeh consistently refused all honors, choosing to live in near poverty in the Mishkenot section of Jerusalem.
1250 - 1329 (9 Cheshvan 5090) ASHER BEN JEHIEL (Toledo, Spain)
A German refugee and great talmudic commentator, known as Rabbenu Asher or the "Rosh". He fought against the over-philosophizing of his day. His school attracted students from Europe and Russia. His works included Diskei Rosh, discussions, over 1000 responsa, a commentary of the Mishna Zerayim and Tehorot, and notes on some talmudic tractates. He encouraged his pupil, Isaac ben Joseph, to write Yesod Olam (Foundation of the World), a scientific work on astronomy and the calendar.
1856 August 5, - 1927 ASHER GINSBERG (Ahad Ha'am - "one of the people") (Russia-Eretz Israel)
Essayist, philosopher, and founder of Cultural Zionism as opposed to Herzlian Zionism (which advocated diplomacy and mass immigration). He viewed Eretz Israel as a "spiritual center" to be slowly built through cultural and historical devotion rather than settlement activity. He was editor of the Hebrew periodical Hasheloach until 1903.
1547 November 22, ASOLO (Italy)
One of the few pogroms recorded in Italy. Ten Jews in a town of thirty were killed, and their houses robbed with no apparent motives.
1780 January 7, ASSEMBLY OF RHODE ISLAND (USA)
Cancelled the "rights and property" of three members of the Hart family for supporting the British. Isaac Hart was murdered for the same "offence." Although many Jews were supporters of the revolution, others were supporters of the Tory cause. Some like Isaac Touro (father of Judah) decided to find refuge in Jamaica and other parts of the British Empire.
1657 April 20, ASSER LEVY (New Amsterdam, North American Colonies)
After a battle of almost two years Asser Levy, one of the original 23 settlers, was allowed to serve on guard duty ("watch and ward"). Levy, who was the ritual slaughterer of the town, opened his slaughterhouse on what is now Wall Street. He also petitioned to be allowed the rights as a Burgher or freeperson of the town, which he received (albeit reluctantly and as a "second class" Burgher) from the burgomasters of New Amsterdam.
1940 June 26, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE BRECKINRIDGE LONG (USA)
Six months after he entered his position as head of the Visa Division, he sent a memo to State Department officials with practical ideas for hampering the granting of U.S. visas. Long was a close friend of Roosevelt, and under orders to block any special efforts to help Jews, he succeeded in cutting those granted visas by half. Long (and many others) believed that any special help for the Jews would detract from the war effort. His policy was to "delay and effectively stop immigration." Long was helped by reports from Laurence Steinhardt, U.S. attorney and diplomat, who considered Jewish refugees undesirable. Ironically this same Steinhardt, later ambassador to Turkey, was effective in trying to save the remnant of Hungarian Jews through the War Refugee Board.
1943 September 20, ATHENS (Greece)
Rabbi Eliyahu Barzilai was ordered by Eichmann's deputy, Wisliceny, to provide him with a list of all Athenian Jews. Instead, Barzilai warned them all to flee and did so himself.
1945 October 10, ATLIT (Eretz-Israel)
In a daring raid, the Palmach freed 208 "illegal" immigrants from the internment camp set up by the British.
1349 January, - August, ATROCITIES (Germany)
Spread from city to city up the Rhine; cities included Strasbourg, Worms and Cologne.
1944 April 4, AUCHWITZ WAS PHOTOGRAPHED (Poland)
By Allied airplanes flying overhead. The Allies still refused to bomb the camp or the railroad tracks leading to the camp.
1871 AUGUST ROHLING (Austria)
Arch anti-Semite, he published his Talmud Jude in which he claimed Jews were encouraged to cheat and attack Christians. It was often quoted in the ritual murder trial in Tiza-Eszlar (1882). He was the author of other anti-Semitic literature and was largely responsible for the outbreak of blood libels at the end of the century. In 1883 Rohling lost a libel suit against a Viennese Rabbi who accused him of not having the ability to even read the Talmud. Though Rohling was dismissed from his position at the University, his book continued to gain widespread popularity.
1942 March, - 1945 January 17, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
The largest concentration and death camp began to take in Jews. Auschwitz was divided into three camps. Auschwitz I held both Jews and non-Jews. Auschwitz II, better know as Birkenau, was the main extermination camp. Auschwitz III was used for Jewish slave labor. Over 1,000,000 Jews were exterminated in Auschwitz.
1944 July 24, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
The largest number of executions in the history of the camp took place with 46,000 victims.
1944 October 30, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
Last use of gas chambers.
1940 April 27, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
Under Himmler's orders, work began on Auschwitz. The first and smallest camp was used for German criminals. Later it was used for Polish prisoners as well. It only began taking in massive numbers of Jews in March 1942. Auschwitz was to become the main killing center for European Jewry. In May, its first commandant, Rudolf Hoess, was appointed. He eventually constructed the camp at Birkenau and developed an assembly line system for murder. At its peak, Auschwitz was able to "process" 10,000 people in 24 hours. Hoess was later captured by the British and hung on April 16, 1947 on the one-person gallows outside the entrance to the gas chamber.
1941 September 3, AUSCHWITZ (Poland)
The first test use of hydrogen cyanide, better known as Zyklon-B gas. The gas was produced in pellets by two companies: Dessauerworks and Kaliworks. The stabilizer for Zyklon-B was made by I.G. Farben. The gas was so lethal that 7.5 gm was enough to kill a 75 kilo person.
1945 January 18, AUSCHWITZ EVACUATED (Poland)
As the Russians approached, Germans began to evacuate Auschwitz. Some 66,000 prisoners were forced on a death march of which over 15,000 died. When the Russians arrived on January 26, they found only 7,000 survivors, many of whom died in the following days.
1942 March 26, AUSCHWITZ, POLAND
The first Jewish transport arrived under the command of Rudolf Hoess, containing 1000 Jews from Slovakia and 1000 women from Ravensbruk. According to a conservative estimate, from March 1942 until the liberation on January 27, 1945 over 750,000 Jews were gassed within its gates. Hoess himself estimated it at 1,135,000.
1781 October 21, AUSTRIA
Joseph II rescinded the law forcing Jews to wear a distinctive badge. The regulation had been in effect since 1267, more than 600 years.
1846 August 18, AUSTRIA
The Jewish Oath was abolished in Austria. Originally established by Charlemagne, a Jew taking an oath in a Christian court against a Christian was forced to stand on the skin of a dead animal, or be surrounded by thorns and call down the curses of Korach or Naaman if he were not telling the truth. In Romania it was only repealed in the 20th century.
1849 March 4, AUSTRIA
Abolished discrimination on the basis of religion in the new constitution ("Octroyierte Verfassung")
Expelled seventy-three thousand out of the hundred thousand Galician Jewish refugees. The remainder were either too sick or too old to leave.
Deans of all Austrian universities decided to deny Jews positions in higher education.
1934 July 25, AUSTRIA
Nazis attempted to overthrow the Austrian government. Chancellor Dollfus was assassinated, but the putsch failed and Kurt von Schuschnigg was appointed chancellor. He in turn tried his best to curtail Nazi influence in Austria.
1130 AUSTRIA (St. Stephan)
The earliest recorded date on a Jewish tombstone in Austria.
1867 December 21, AUSTRIAN AUSGLEICH (Constitution)
The term Ausgleich referred to the compromise between Austria and Hungary
allowing for a dual monarchy. As part of the agreement, Hungary had to agree to enact the civil reforms already in place in Austria. These reforms became the Magna Carta for minority races in the Austrian Empire.
It included the right to hold office as well as freedom of occupation,
settlement, and religion. The original constitution, which was issued in
1610, had been annulled a few years later.
1244 June 1, AUSTRIAN DUKE FREDERICK II (The Quarrelsome)
The last Babenburg duke. He issued a charter to the Jews granting them freedom from interference in their synagogues and cemeteries, and protection from the kidnapping of their children. Many later charters were based on it, including those in Poland, Hungary, Bohemia and Moravia. It assured freedom of movement within the ducal territories, and the obligation to pay the same tolls as their Christian neighbors.
1486 February 12, AUTO DA FE AT TOLEDO (Spain)
The first in that city and one of the most lenient Auto da Fes anywhere. The Jews were forced to recant, fined 1/5 of their property and permanently forbidden to wear decent clothes or hold office.
1486 December 10, AUTO DA FE AT TOLEDO (Spain)
This time more than 900 people were persecuted and humiliated at the Auto da Fe. Though many suffered on the forced penitential marches, no one was actually killed.
1941 August 16, AUXILIARY BISHOP VINCENTAS BRIZGYS (Lithuania)
Filling in for the ailing archbishop, forbade the Lithuanian clergy to help the Jews in any way.
1444 AVIGNON (France)
A partnership was formed between a gentile goldsmith named Procop and a member of the Jewish community named Davin to form a "publishing house". This was ten years before Gutenberg. Unfortunately, there are no known manuscripts from their partnership, which soon dissolved.
1757 February 18, AVIGNON (France)
A local townsman, walking through the ghetto on a dark night, stumbled and fell into a well near the synagogue. Fortunately, he was not hurt. The day was declared a local holiday for generations. The rationale for this was that had the townsman drowned so close to the synagogue, the Jewish community would have been accused of complicity in his death.
1878 - 1953 (15 Cheshvan 5714) AVRAHAM YESHAYAHU KARELITZ (Chazon Ish) (Vilna, Eretz Israel)
Talmudist, halachist, and author of more than 40 books. Most of his works deal with the application of Halacha (Jewish Law) to modern life in a Jewish state. Despite the fact that he never held an official position, his influence on Halacha in modern society is well-nigh incalculable. After immigrating to Israel he devoted himself to the establishment of yeshivot, and was also instrumental in the founding of a city dedicated to strict Orthodoxy - Bnei Brak.
1947 May 28, AVSHALOM HAVIV, YAAKOV WEISS AND MEIR NAKAR
Stood trial for carrying weapons. The trial lasted nearly three weeks, with the final judgment of the death penalty.
1947 July 29, AVSHALOM HAVIV, YAAKOV WEISS AND MEIR NAKAR (Eretz Israel)
Were hanged. They were the last three Jews to be executed by the British. In retaliation the Irgun hanged two sergeants. British soldiers then began shooting in Tel Aviv, killing five and wounding twenty.
1905 - 1982 AYN RAND (USA)
Russian-American novelist and philosopher. She is remembered best for her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Rand believed in the basis of action being rational self-interest and that it is one's moral responsibility to find self-fulfillment, and one's most worthy activity is productive achievement.
1514 - 1578 AZARIAH DE ROSSI (Ferrara, Italy)
Scholar and author of Me'or Enayyim (Light of the Eyes), a book on Jewish history (see 1575). A descendant of one of the first Jewish families in Italy (Min Ha'Adumim), he introduced the scientific method of comparing sources to Jewish study. De Rossi earned the ire of many when he proved that Jossiphon was actually written in the medieval times and was not reliable as a historical work.
1575 AZARIAH DE ROSSI (Italy)
Published his Me'or Einayim (Enlightenment to the Eyes). Written after surviving a strong earthquake in Ferrara, it was the first Jewish historical work to base itself on secular as well as Jewish sources, quoting over 100 secular authorities. De Rossi examined talmudic legends with a critical eye and believed that they were not written necessarily as an absolute historical truth. He delved deeply into the chronology of events, comparing Jewish and secular sources. Needless to say his book was controversial. It was severely criticized by Joseph Caro and Judah Loew b. Bezalel of Prague, among others, who believed in the unqualified truth of the talmudic legends. This led to a banning of the book which lasted more then 100 years.
1579 - 1647 (1 Adar 5407) AZARIAH FIGO (PICHO) (Italy)
Scholar and Preacher. Figo served in the community of Venice, where he fought against the secular trend of the Italian renaissance. His Binah le-Ittim is a collection of his sermons for the holidays and fast days, which was published over 50 times. His talmudic commentary Gidulei Terumah was composed after the banning of the Talmud when it was difficult to come by copies of the Talmud.
1514 June 14, AZEMMOUR (Morocco)
A Portuguese-run free city which offered privileges to Jews fleeing from Portugal.
1820 - 1899 (5 Av 5659) AZRIEL HILDESHEIMER (Germany)
Rabbi, educator, and leader of Orthodox Jewry. Hildesheimer was one of the few Orthodox rabbis to have both a secular and religious education. After studying Semitics, philosophy, and history he received his doctorate in 1846 from the University of Halle. He served as a Rabbi in Eisenstadt where he was criticized for establishing a school which also taught secular subjects. Though a strong opponent of the Reform movement, Hildesheimer tried to find common ground between the Reform and Orthodox movements in Hungary but eventually gave up in frustration. Moving to Berlin he became Rabbi of congregation Adass Jisroel and founded the first rabbinical seminary in Germany where he implemented the philosophies of his friend, Samson Rafael Hirsch. Hildesheimer was an active supporter of Jewish life in Eretz Israel and helped improve educational standards there as well as establishing an orphanage in 1879. He was the author of numerous responsa as well as a new edition of Halachot Gedolot, a halachic code belonging to the Geonic period.