1343 April 19, WACHENHEIM (Germany)
A pre-Easter massacre that soon spread to surrounding communities.
1939 February 9, - June, WAGNER-ROGERS CHILD REFUGEE BILL (USA)
Provoked by the events of Kristallnacht, the bill was proposed by New York Democratic Senator Robert F. Wagner, a German American, and Massachusetts Democratic Representative Edith Nourse Rogers. Its goal was to enable 20,000 German Jewish refugee children to enter the United States over a two-year period. The bill was toppled by the negative attitude of President Roosevelt, coupled with the anti- Semitism of members of Congress (especially Senator Robert Reynolds of North Carolina).
1860 - 1930 WALDEMAR MORDECAI WOLF HAFFKINE (Russia)
Developer of an anti-cholera and bubonic plague vaccine. He was an Orthodox Jew who supported yeshivot in Eastern Europe with his earnings.
1889 - 1974 WALTER LIPPMAN (USA)
Columist and Journalist. Lippman was for several years an assistant to the philosopher George Santayana, a position which undoubtedly influenced his journalistic approach. He won two Pulitzer prizes, one in 1958 and the other in 1962. His daily column was read internationally. His nearly 30 books include The Cold War (1947), The Public Philosophy (1955), and Drift and Mastery (1961).
1922 June 24, WALTER RATHENAU (Germany)
The Jewish German foreign minister was assassinated by anti-Semitic nationalists who blamed Germany's defeat in World War I on the Jews.
1867 - 1922 WALTER RATHENAU (Germany)
German Minister of Reconstruction after World War I and later Foreign Minister. He was assassinated by two members of the fascist Eberhard Brigade who proclaimed: "Only a German shall a German leader be."
1897 - 1972 WALTER WINCHELL (USA)
Columnist and commentator, Winchell is considered one of the architects of modern journalism. He was famous for his sensational disclosures for which he became a byword. Two thirds of American radio listeners and weekly readers (estimated at 35 million people) followed his often harsh commentaries about American political and social life. Winchell was one of the first to warn about the rise of the Nazis in Germany.
1877 - 1959 WANDA LANDOWSKA (Poland-USA)
Internationally renowned harpsichordist and music authority.
1942 January 20, WANNSEE CONFERENCE (Berlin,Germany)
This conference was meant to coordinate the activities of the ministries involved with the Nazi Party and SS agencies in carrying out the "Final Solution". The conference was convened by Heydrich and assisted by Eichmann. Heads of the Gestapo and other government offices worked on the bureaucratic details of the methods and logistics needed in carrying out the "Final Solution". Included in the discussions were plans for the mass sterilization of Jews who had mixed marriages, as well as the most efficient methods of mass killings. Their target was the Jewish population in 34 countries which they put at 11 million.
1947 November 30, WAR OF INDEPENDENCE (Eretz Israel)
This day marks the beginning of the first stage of the Israeli War of Independence as a bus near Lydda (Lod) was attacked and five of its passengers killed. The Arabs proclaimed a general strike and attacked the commercial quarter near the Old City of Jerusalem. This stage, fought mostly against local Arabs with some foreign help, ended May 15, 1948, when the British left the country. The second stage of the war began on May 16, and was fought against regular Arab armies. This ended on July 20, 1949, with the signing of a cease fire agreement with Syria.
470 - 500 WAR OF MAZDAISM VS. ZOROASTIANISM (Persia)
The Mazdaks named after its founder), also known as the Zandiks, were avowed “communists”, who banned marriage and property ownership. The Sassanids looked somewhat in favor of the Mazdaks since it weakened the nobles. The Zoroastrians, who were fire worshippers, defeated Kavad I, a mazdak , but he soon regained power in his own province. Many Jews were killed by both sides.
1944 January 22, WAR REFUGEE BOARD (USA)
Was set up by President Roosevelt and directed by Henry Morgenthau , with John Phele of the Treasury Department as its executive director. The board lobbied for finding a temporary haven for Jewish refugees, the bombing of Auschwitz and the establishment of a war crimes commission which they felt might make Germans think twice since that the war had turned against them. Despite the late hour and the fact that the State Department under Cordell Hull still dragged its feet, they did succeed in a number of important rescue and relief actions. The Joint Distribution Committee raised $15 million,
the Orthodox Vaad Hatzala $1 million, and the WJC around $300,000 for its activities.
1881 December 25, WARSAW (Poland)
Anti-Jewish riots began in Poland. In Warsaw twelve Jews were killed, many others were wounded, and some women were raped. Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed. All of this led to an increase of emigration to the west.
1942 September 12, WARSAW (Poland)
Only 60,000 Jews remained in the the ghetto.
1941 November 10, WARSAW (Poland)
A new regulation called for the death penalty for any Jew leaving the ghetto without permission and for any non-Jew who helped or harbored them.
1943 April 19, WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING (Poland)
On Passover eve, the Germans executed the final phase of the liquidation of the ghetto. The Germans planned for it to take three days. The Jewish armed underground consisted of two main groups: the ZOB, headed by Mordechai Anielewicz, which had no more than 800 fighters and the ZZW, headed by David Appelbaum and Pawel Frenkel, which had no more than 400 fighters. Most of the ZZW was lightly armed and, aside from Revisionists, it also contained some Bund and Agudat Israel (Orthodox) members. A few independent groups also existed which had a few hundred members. Despite pleas to the Polish underground to join, there was no help forthcoming from them. General Juergen Stroop attacked with an initial force of around 5,000 heavily armed troops, yet it took him weeks, even with tanks, artillery and air support, to crush the uprising.
1919 - 1933 WEIMAR REPUBLIC (Germany)
Provided Jews with full equality yet ironically it gave birth to the greatest catastrophe to the Jews since the destruction of the Second Temple. The republic was divided by communists, national socialists, and monarchists all pulling in different directions. The runaway inflation, the defeat of Germany in World War I, and unemployment were all blamed on the Jews. During the republic over 430 anti-Semitic associations and societies were founded, as well as hundreds (700) of anti-Semitic newspapers, magazines and periodicals. By the end of 1920 the Protocols of the Elders of Zion had sold over 120,000 copies.
1287 April 19, WERNER OF OBERWESEL (Germany)
A 16 year old boy was found dead on the shore of the Rhine.Immediately a ritual murder accusation placed the blame on the Jews. Over the next few months forty men, women and children - were killed by riots as they spread down the Rhineland. Werner himself (despite the order of King Rudolf I to burn the corpse) was buried in a chapel in Oberwesel where he was venerated as a saint. Nearby Bacharach, where his body was found, also erected a chapel. Although Pope John XXIII ordered the “holy” day deleted from diocese of Trier in 1963 it still appears in some German Saint Directories. The “Saint Werner’s Chapel” was renovated in 2001.rn
1941 October 16, WERNER SCHARFF (Germany)
A Jewish electrician began his campaign against the Nazi regime. Scharff was active in helping Jews with hiding and changing identity. He was arrested twice and each time succeeded in escaping, even from Theresienstadt. Together with Frieda Wiegal he formed a group called "Union for peace and liberty" which, as the outcome of the war became evident, tried to encourage other Germans to join against the Nazi regime. Scharff was betrayed by an informer. Though tortured he refused to reveal any information and was shot at Sachsenhausen on March 16 1945 - six weeks before the end of the war.
1910 WERNER SOMBART (Germany)
A Christian economist and historian, he published a treatise on the evils of capitalism, which he ascribed to the Jews.
1656 June 14, WEST INDIA COMPANY
Its Directors ordered Peter Stuyvesant to permit the Jews to trade and own real-estate in New Amsterdam.
1789 WESTERN EUROPE
Approximately four hundred thousand Jews lived in Western Europe, three quarters of them in Germany.
1939 May 17, WHITE PAPER (England)
Pressured by Arab Nationalists and landowners and concerned with preserving the British Empire, England decided to favor the Arabs. They issued a declaration limiting Jewish immigration to fifteen thousand per year for the next five years, thus ensuring a permanent Jewish minority. This sealed off the final escape route for European Jewry, resulting in illegal immigration and terrorist action against the British. The document was also known as the MacDonald White Paper, named for the Colonial Secretary. There were 6 white papers regarding the British Mandate issued between 1922 and 1939. Each of these policy position papers took its name from the person responsible for its issue.
1655 December 4, WHITEHALL (England)
The question of the re-admittance of the Jews was brought to a conference of notables. The judges decided that there was no statute which excluded the Jews from the country. Cromwell dissolved the commission, considering it too pro-admittance.
1421 March 12, WIENER GEZARAH (Vienna, Austria)
A combination of murder, libel and host desecration charges brought about the destruction of the entire Jewish community. This was done under the auspices of Archduke Albert of Austria and was partly due to the revival of the crusader spirit of the Hussite Wars. Many Jews were forcibly baptized - others took their own lives. Some converted and the rest were forced to leave.
1888 WILHELM II (Germany)
The last German Emperor. He showed a short-lived interest in Herzl. In general, he encouraged the racist authors of his day.
1934 September 5, WILLIAM DUDLEY PELLEY (USA)
Leader of the Silver Legion, the most prominent of the Ku Klux Klan movements, issued his "New Emancipation Proclamation", promising to impose racial quotas "on the political and economical structure".
1879 WILLIAM MARR (Germany)
First used the term anti-Semitism in his slanderous book The Victories of Judaism over Germanism.
1936 - 1938 WILLIAM PELLEY (USA)
American Fascist and leader of the Silver Legion, mailed three and a half tons of anti-Semitic literature within these 2 years. Even after Pearl Harbor he continued to attack Roosevelt, and accused the American government of lying to the people. He was eventually charged and tried for sedition and jailed until 1950.
1088 - 1100 WILLIAM RUFUS (England)
Son of William the Conqueror. He continued his father's friendly policy toward the Jews and allowed converted Jews to return to Judaism, thus incurring the wrath of the Church. He once staged a disputation between Jews and Christians and jokingly remarked: "If the Jews win I will convert." The Christians won, but the Jews were not penalized.
1901 September 28, - 1990 WILLIAM SAMUEL PALEY (USA)
Radio and television pioneer. Paley began his career working in his father's cigar manufacturing plant. In 1920, he bought a failing chain of radio stations and turned it into the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Paley was also one of the first to see the possibilities of television right after WWII.
1836 - 1900 WILLIAM STEINITZ (Prague, Bohemia)
Known as the "Father of Modern Chess". Steinitz began as a brilliant talmudic scholar with an interest in mathematics. He won the world championship in Vienna by defeating Adolph Anderssen in 1866, and held on to the title until 1894 when he in turn was defeated by Emanuel Lasker. Steinitz is credited with developing the theory of chess that is based on science and math.
1943 March 23, WILLIAM TEMPLE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY (England)
In a speech to the House of Lords, called upon the British government to "end its procrastination" and establish a temporary refuge for the Jews. The motion was voted upon and approved - although nothing was done about it.
1866 WILLIAM VAN PRAAGH (1845-1907) (Holland- England)
Began pioneering experiments teaching lip-reading to deaf mutes at the Jews' Deaf and Dumb Home in London.
1237 - 1241 Winter MONGOL (Tartar) INVASION (Germany)
Across Russia, Eastern Europe and parts of Germany Batu (son of Genghis) Khan led what was known as the Golden Horde. In their wake, many communities (Jewish and Christian) were destroyed. This coincided with the beginning of the 6th millennium according to the Jewish calendar which lead to speculation of the arriving of the messiah. In some German communities (Frankfort) the Mongols were thought to be remnants of the Ten Lost Tribes and accused the Jews of helping the invaders.
1384 WISSENBURG, WINDSHEIM, AND NORDLINGEN (Germany)
Guilds revolt against the patricians. The Jews, an old enemy of the guilds, who saw them as competition, shared the fate of the patricians. The Federation of Swabia tried to put down the revolt. In many cities (i.e. Nuremburg), the Jews were forced to buy the protection of the local councils.
1817 WITHIN TWO YEARS OF NAPOLEON'S DEFEAT (Germany, Austria)
Prussia, Austria and the Church (Pope Pious VII) forbade liberal movements. In Werger, the cry "Hep, Hep" (Hierosolyma est Perdita - Jerusalem is destroyed) rang through the streets. In Heidelburg, the criminal rapist of a Jewish girl was freed by a mob.
1943 July 16, WITTENBERG DAY (Vilna, Lithuania)
Ended with Yitzhak Wittenberg, head of the FPO (the various political organizations in the ghetto created a unified fighting organization, F.P.O. (Fareynigte Partizaner Organizatsye), surrendering in the Vilna Ghetto. A week earlier, Wittenberg had been fingered by two members of the Vilna Communist Committee (outside the ghetto) as their Jewish contact. Wittenberg was taken into custody, probably by Jacob Gens, the head of the Judenrat, and Salek Dessler, the head of the Ghetto police, but succeeded in getting away. The Germans then demanded that he be turned over to them or they would destroy the ghetto. After a long and tragic debate, the FPO decided that he should give himself up. He was dead the next day, dooming the future of the ghetto resistance to failure. Many underground leaders, including Josef Glazman, decided to leave the ghetto and join the partisan in the forests.
1920 July 11, WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization)
Was founded in London. Rebecca Sieff was nominated as the first president of WIZO. Its activities include professional and vocational training for women, education of children and youth, shelters for battered women, as well as help for new immigrants. WIZO is recognized by the UN as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) It is also a member of the World Zionist Organization and of the World Jewish Congress.
1338 August 19, WOLFSBERG (Austria)
Host desecration riots. The Jews were accused of stealing the Eucharist, making it bleed, and trying to burn it. Over 70 Jews were burned at the stake and the community was destroyed, never to be revived.
1891 August 28, WOODBINE (New Jersey, USA)
Was established as an agricultural community with funding from Baron de Hirsch and his Baron de Hirsch Fund. The fund was dedicated to promoting rural Jewish communities in the United States and joined with the ICA (Jewish Colonial Association) in 1900. An agriculture school was established there in 1894. It became quickly apparent that it would be almost impossible to make a living only through agriculture, and light industry was also brought in. Other communities were established in New Jersey, including Vineland, Toms River, and Farmingdale, as well as many others throughout the USA. All were part of the efforts to absorb new Jewish immigrants in rural areas, as well as teach them the language and a trade.
1892 WORKMEN'S CIRCLE (Arbeiter Bing) (USA)
Was formed in the United States as a Jewish labor organization. It ran its own schools, social activities, and cemetery (burial) organization.
1936 August 8, WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS
Was convened in Geneva with 280 delegates from 32 countries. The World Jewish Congress' goal was to "assure the survival, and to foster the unity of the Jewish people". It was founded by Stephen Wise and Nahum Goldmann. Although they organized a boycott of German goods, they felt that a more direct approach would prompt the Nazis "to even harsher policies".
1349 March 1, (10 Adar I 5109) WORMS (GERMANY)
Riots broke out in the town. Many Jews fled to Heidelberg, others in desperation set fire to their homes or were murdered. An estimated 420 people died that day. Their property was seized by the town.
1034 WORMS (Germany)
A Byzantine-style synagogue was built by Jacob ben David and his wife Rachel. It is one of the oldest synagogues still standing today.
1074 WORMS (Germany)
In reward for their support in his fight with the Pope, Henry IV granted the Jewish merchants of that city reductions on tolls.
1090 WORMS (Germany)
The Emperor confirmed the right of Jews to live anywhere in the city, although many preferred to live in their own quarter.
1096 May 25, WORMS (Germany)
Simcha bar Isaac Hakohen pretended to submit to baptism. As he entered the church he attacked the priest. He was "torn to bits" by the crowd.
1157 WORMS (Germany)
Frederick Barbarossa renewed in perpetuity the privileges granted the Jews by Henry IV.
1201 February 11, WORMS (Germany)
Jews took up arms to fight alongside the city's non-Jewish residents against an attack. At that time Jews were still permitted to bear arms in various cities in Germany, although this privilege would soon be abolished.
1616 January 19, WORMS (Germany)
Under orders of the Bishop of Speyer and with the backing of Frederick's troops, the Jews were re-admitted to the city.
1689 WORMS (Germany)
Louis XIV's troops set the Judengasse on fire.
1096 May 18, WORMS MASSACRE (Germany)
The survivors hid in the Bishop's palace for one week, after which they were either murdered or forcibly baptized.
1147 February 24, WURZBURG (Germany)
Unlike other communities which fled to local castles for protection, the Jews decided to remain where they were. Twenty-two men, women and children including the rabbi, Isaac ben Elyakim, were murdered after a rumor began that a Christian corpse was found in the river which could perform miracles. Of course the Jews were accused of killing the person. After the riot, the survivors fled to the local castle.