1939 November, VAAD HATZALA, OR RESCUE COMMITTEE (New York City, USA)
Was formed by Agudat HaRabbanim, with Rabbi Eliezer Silver as president. They raised more than $5 million, and succeeded in sending 2,000 emergency visas (over 500 were sent to Shanghai.) They used an exemption from the U.S. immigration quotas which allowed entry to ministers or religious students. Although many of their constituents were already helped by the JDC, they claimed that since the rabbis and students constituted the spiritual elite of the Jewish people, they deserved priority.
1941 October, VAAD EZRA V'HATZALAH (Hungary)
The Relief and Rescue Committee was established by Joel Brand, Samuel Springmann, and Rudolf Kasztner. Later, in January 1943, the organization took on a more official role and Otto Komoly became its chairman.. Their goal was to find ways to save Jews (usually though bribes). Under Komoly they also began to organize non-Jewish protests, against Nazi policies in Hungary, especially among the clergy and politicians. Komoly was murdered in 1945 by members of the Hungarian fascist movement, the Arrow Cross.
1391 July 9, VALENCIA (Spain)
The violence, which was begun a month earlier by Ferrand Martinez (see June 6), continued unabated. The community was destroyed and 250 Jews massacred. Many others, including the King's physician, converted to Christianity, while still others found refuge in the houses of their Christian neighbors.
1391 July 16, VALENCIA (Spain)
King Pedro IV ordered that all Jews who had hidden in Christian houses be allowed to return to their homes unmolested. Furthermore, he decreed that synagogues were not to be turned into churches. This did not prevent him from confiscating all the property of those Jews who had either fled or been murdered.
1470 September, VALLIDOLID (Spain)
Marranos were attacked by a mob believing that under Isabella's reign, anti-Jewish riots would be legalized. Don Henry IV of Castile interceded and much damage was averted.
430 VANDALS (a Germanic tribe)
Established a kingdom in North Africa. The Jews there lived peacefully and flourished until the Almohad conquest of the 11th century.
1940 August 3, VARIAN FRY (1907-1967) (USA)
Entered France to run the Emergency Rescue Committee. Fry, an American journalist, found that both the French and the American consulates sabotaged his efforts at every turn. Despite this and daily danger he succeeded during his thirteen months of work to help rescue almost 2000 artists and writers including Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Franz Werfel, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Heinrich Mann. Fry was placed under an FBI investigation and was never permitted to work for the U.S. government. The only recognition he received in his lifetime was the Croix de Chevalier from France in 1967.
1942 December 21, VARIAN FRY (USA)
After his return to the U.S., he tried to warn of the impending disaster for the European Jews in an article in The New Republic entitled "The Massacre of the Jews."
1942 March 14, VATICAN (Italy)
Sent a letter to a Slovak official protesting the deportation of Slovakian Jews. The reply by Foreign Minister Vojtech Tuka assured the Vatican that the Jews were being settled in labor camps and that their conditions were "humane." Eichmann and his lieutenant, Dieter Wisliceny, organized "letters" from those deported, to be sent upon their arrival to Auschwitz. They also organized an "inspection" by Fritz Fiala, a pro-Nazi Slovak editor whose report and pictures (censored directly by Himmler) were published in the Slovak and Romanian press.
1523 June 3, VENICE (Italy)
After four years of effort the final tractate of the entire Babylonian Talmud was printed by Bomberg.
1797 July 10, VENICE (Italy)
Less then two months after the French, under Napoleon, captured the city, the ghetto gates were torn down. A tree of liberty was erected while the local populace danced and celebrated. Then, with the active participation of the newly formed civic guard and some of the local priests, the gates were chopped up and burned. The ghetto was in existence for 281 years and 3 months.
945 VENICE (Italy)
The local senate forbade captains sailing in the east (Syria-Egypt) to allow any Jewish merchants on board. This decree was probably due more to finance then anti-Semitism.
1517 December 21, (27 Kislev 5278) VENICE, THE MIKRAOT GEDOLOT
The first Pentateuch with Biblical commentaries was printed by Daniel Bomberg. It was also the first Bible to be divided into chapters.
1499 March 11, VERONA (Italy)
Jews were banished from the province and their position as the territory bankers was taken over by Christians. The Jews were asked to return after only a short period of time, owing to the usurious interest rates charged by the Christians.
1600 January 16, VERONA (Italy)
The 400 Jews of Verona completed their synagogue after their move into the ghetto. This date was actually celebrated as a "Purim" until the French Revolution, since many felt that the ghetto provided some protection, and since in an unusual move the keys of the ghetto were given to the Jewish leaders.
931 VERONA (Italy)
Ratherius, the Bishop of Verona, upset about the good relations between the city and its Jewish inhabitants, badgered the town elders until they agree to temporarily expel the Jews. Jews had lived in the town since Roman times.
1942 July, VICHY FRANCE
Pierre Laval, the new premier of Vichy France
(April 1942), agreed to a German request to expel 100,000 Jews from France. Laval conditioned it on limiting it to "foreign born Jews" further stating that neither was he concerned with their children. Within a month, 50,000 foreign born Jews were handed over to the Germans for deportation. Laval was executed for treason October 15, 1945 in France.
1940 July 2, VICHY GOVERNMENT (France)
Was formed. Marshal Pétain headed the government with Pierre Laval as the vice-premier. Laval believed in total collaboration with the Nazi regime.
1940 July 22, VICHY GOVERNMENT (France)
In its first anti-Jewish decree, it revoked the citizenship of naturalized Jews.
1943 January 30, VICHY MINISTER JOSEPH DARNARD (Vichy, France)
Formed the Milice, a militia unit which was officially recognized by the Nazis. His units worked with the Germans to capture Jews for deportation. Darnard was executed for treason in October 1945.
1940 October 3, VICHY REGIME "The Free Zone" (France)
Published the Statut des Juifs which eliminated freedom for French émigré Jews in the Free Zone. This Nazi initiated, but French enacted regulation served as the basis for the denial of all foreign born Jews to French nationality or protection under French law including those who had formally become naturalized citizens (see July 22, 1940). In all, 30,000 in the occupied zone and 25,000 in the Free Zone lost their rights.
1940 October 4, VICHY REGIME "The Free Zone" (France)
The Vichy government agreed to the internment of all foreign-born Jews, who were declared stateless. 25,000 thousand German and Austrian refugees were taken to the Gurs, Les Milles or Rivesaltes concentration camps (all operated by the French) where many of them died from hunger and disease.
1909 VICTOR BRENNER (1871-1924)(Lithuania-USA)
Medalist and sculptor, he engraved the Lincoln penny still used today.
1853 February 10, - 1933 VICTOR MORDECHAI GOLDSCHMIDT, (Germany-Austria)
German mineralogist. Goldschmidt made important studies of crystallography. His books The index of Crystal Forms and the Atlas of Crystal Forms are considered classics of mineralogy.
1942 February 1, VIDKUN QUISLING (Norway)
The head of the pro-Nazi National Union Party (Nasjonal Smaling) was appointed prime minister by Josef Terboven, the Nazi commissioner. Quisling initiated anti-Jewish measures including confiscation of property and the establishing of labor camps. Half of Norway's 1,600 Jews were deported to Auschwitz on October 25, 1942.
1204 VIENNA (Austria)
First record of a synagogue being built there. Vienna's Jews enjoyed more freedom than those in other areas of Austria. Often local princes used their own judgment to give extra privileges to Jews without changing the general character of their status within the nation.
1267 May 12, VIENNA (Austria)
At a special session of the city council it was decided to force all Jews to wear a cone shaped headdress in addition to a badge. This was called the Pileum Cornutum and it became a distinctive attire which is prevalent in many medieval woodcuts illustrating Jews.
1625 VIENNA (Austria)
Jews were forced to move into a ghetto (Leopoldstadt).
1670 February 14, VIENNA (Austria)
Leopold I ordered Jews to be expelled within a few months. Although Leopold was reluctant to lose the large amount of taxes (50,000 Florins) paid by the Jews, he was persuaded to do so by Margaret, the daughter of, Phillip IV, the Spanish Regent and a strong follower of the Jesuits. (see 1630, Samuel Oppenheimer). Margaret blamed the death of her firstborn on the tolerance shown to the Jews.
1670 August 8, VIENNA (Austria)
Leopold I, after evicting the Jews, sold the Jewish quarter for 100,000 florins, which was then renamed Leopoldstadt in his honor. The synagogue and the bet midrash (talmudic study hall) were turned into St. Margaret's Church.
1897 VIENNA (Austria)
Franz Joseph confirmed the election of Karl Lueger as Mayor of Vienna (after refusing to do so three times). Lueger's party, the anti-Semitic Christian Social Party, was the first to come to power using anti-Semitism as a platform.
1939 October 12, VIENNA (AUSTRIA) AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA
First deportation of Jews to Poland.
1566 VILNA (Lithuania)
The Bishop of Vilna "alarmed" at the rate of intermarriage convinced the King (Sigismund II) to ban the wearing of luxurious clothes, gold jewelry or carry a decorative sword. Instead Jews had to wear special clothes which would differentiate them from the Christians, including yellow hats and head coverings.
1841 VILNA (Lithuania)
Mordecai Aaron Guenzburg, together with the Hebrew writer Solomon Salkind, founded the first modern Jewish school in Lithuania. Guenzburg (1795-1846) attacked the Heder system of education. Although considered a Maskil (part of the "enlightenment movement"), he was a traditionalist who believed in the Torah. Guenzburg fought against both what he perceived as Orthodox extremism as well as the German Haskalah Movement. He served as the schools headmaster until his death.
1933 March 20, VILNA (Lithuania)
At the initiative of the Jews of Vilna, an anti-Nazi boycott began. It eventually spread all over Poland and to many countries in Europe. Yet within 6 months Poland itself signed a non-aggression treaty with Hitler which called for the cessation of all boycott activities.
1943 March 14, VILNA (Lithuania)
Under the direction of poet Abraham Sutzkever and the Yiddish Scientific Institute
(YIVO), local high school students organized an exhibition and festival commemoration of Yehoash -Solomon Bloomgarden (1872-1927), the Yiddish poet and Bible translator.
1943 September 1, VILNA UPRISING (Lithuania)
After the disaster of July and the death of Yitzhak Wittenberg, many of those in the underground decided to flee the city. The German entry into the ghetto was a surprise and there was no time to organize. Forty fighters led by Yechiel Scheinbaum fought until they were all killed. Around 200 more left the ghetto and joined the partisans. A second Aktion on September 23 marked the end of the ghetto.
1096 VISHEHRAD (near Prague) (Bohemia)
500 Jews, together with 1000 soldiers of the Duke, defeated the attacking Crusaders, thus escaping the fate of other Jewish communities.
1880 October 5, - 1939 VLADIMIR JABOTINSKY (Odessa,Ukraine-Eretz Israel)
Founder of the New Zionist Organization (1935), the Haganah (1920), the Jewish Legion (1917), Betar (Brit Trumpeldor) (1923), Revisionist Party (1925), and the Irgun (1937). Until he joined the World Zionist Organization, Jabotinsky was considered by Tolstoy and Pushkin to be one of Russia's most promising writers. He was soon recognized as a distinguished statesman, linguist (he wrote in over seven languages, translating Poe and Dante into Hebrew) and orator par excellence. In 1935 he split with the World Zionist Organization, accusing them of procrastinating and developing defeatist policies. He believed in 90% immigration and 10% politics, as well as the use of Hebrew only as a state language (the Establishment considered him unrealistic). In the 1930's he organized an aviation and navy school in Europe, while at the same time calling for the complete evacuation of Eastern Europe. One of the last of the hundreds of pamphlets he wrote was entitled The Eleventh Hour (1939) and it called for the immediate resettlement of 600,000 Polish Jews. He was branded an alarmist. He died of a heart attack while visiting Camp Betar in Hunter, New York.
1879 - 1923 VLADIMIR MEDEM (Russia)
A Russian Bundist. He advocated the treatment of the Jews as a nationality (like the Poles) based on socialism. Though he was baptized in infancy, he returned to Judaism and was one of the founders of the Bund.
950 VLADIMIR OF KIEV (Russia)
Held a debate similar to that held by the Khazars to determine the religion of his kingdom. His decision to convert to Christianity may have been partly to the fact that the Jews lacked political clout. Although Jews had lived in Kiev from probably its actual founding in the 8th century they were not of a significant number. Hilaria, the first native Metropolitan (bishop) feared Jewish influence and wrote a special treatise "Mosaic Law and Truth of Jesus".
989 VLADIMIR THE GREAT (Russia)
Adopted Christianity. Legend has it that he called upon representatives of the three religions to explain their religions - and chose Christianity.
1943 December 13, VLADIMIRETS-VOLYN (Ukraine)
As the SS began its extermination of the local population of Vladimiretz-Volyn, they were attacked by 30 armed Jews. A number of the SS officers were killed as well as half of the attacking force. The remainder fled to the forests to join the partisans. The Voroshilov Detachment and (Anton) Brynsky's partisan battalion were made up mostly of Jews who played an important role fighting against Ukrainian Nationalists and Germans, and later helping the Russians as they advanced.
1934 August, VON HINDENBERG (Germany)
Died, leaving Hitler as Germany's sole leader.
1906 August, VON WASSERMAN (1866-1925) (Germany)
Instituted the Wasserman test for the diagnosis of syphilis.
1902 VYACHESLAV VON PLEHVE (Russia)
A German bureaucrat who became the Russian Minister of Interior. During that same year he suppressed a peasant's revolt.
1904 July 15, VYACHESLAV VON PLEHVE (Russia)
The Russian Minister of Interior, was assassinated. Von Plehve was responsible for the Kishinev massacres in which forty-seven Jews were killed, ninety-two severely wounded or crippled, and five hundred slightly wounded. His assassin was a member of the socialist revolutionary movement which had also suffered because of his policies. Czar Nicholas was frightened into making a few concessions. Unfortunately, he did not make enough to meet public demand.