Blog 336 February 6, 2017
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Got some more priceless items for you! Last week I described some of the recent extraordinary discoveries going on in Israel. Because space is limited, I stopped with more finds to tell you about. You’ll find these additions to be significant.
Before we start, I need to update you about an immediate exchange between US President Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu. Just the same as was the case with the Obama Administration, Trump told Netanyahu to curb settlements in Palestinian territory. The President has a goal of achieving peace in the Middle East and continued expansion by Israel is seen as jeopardizing that possibility of negotiations. (not obtained by any American president). In spite of the campaign rhetoric, political reality apparently has set in!
Last week, I wrote of recently walking through the Tower of David courtyard now under excavation and the recent Hanukkah candle lighting celebration held there. Even though it appeared the dig was complete, veteran archeologist Orna Cohen was in the museum’s archeological gardens when he spotted a metallic object on the ground. When he looked again, Cohen realized it was a small bronze coin. Upon further examination, the coin turned out to be from the time of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes who set in motion the events that are now celebrated on Hanukkah. His draconian decree sparked the Maccabean revolt and the reclamation of the Temple.
The coin was found near the Hasmonen wall built in the days of Jonathan and Simon, brothers of Judah the Maccabee. In those days, the coin was worth probably around 10 agorots. Ballista strones and iron arrowheads were also found that evidenced the battle to overthrow the Seleucids which was the last time Israel was free until the coming of the Romans.
A more recent treasure of a different sort was turned up by archeologists working in the remains of the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor in Poland. In the area where victims were forced to undress and then have their heads shaved, archeologists uncovered a pendant with the words “Mazel Tov” (congratulations) on one side and Heh for Hashem (God) along with three Stars of David embedded. The remains of the building were next to the so-called “Road to Heaven” that Jewish prisoners walked down to their deaths.
The foundation of the Sobibor gas chambers and the original railway platform have been uncovered. In addition, many personal items of victims have turned up.
With the town Frankfurt stamped on the bottom, the pendant was once owned by a child from Frankfurt. This immediately drew attention because it is so similar to the pendant owned by the Holocaust victim Anne Frank, the author of the Diary of Ann Frank. After a search of Yad Vashem’s database on “Transports to Extinction,” it was believed the pendant might have belonged to a girl named Karoline Cohn, born on July 3, 1929 and sent to the Minsk camp on November 11, 1941. Later 2,000 of these Jewish prisoners were sent to the Sobibor death camp. Both Ann Frank and Karoline Cohn were born in Frankfurt.
A coin from 2,100 years ago and a pendant from 1943: Symbols of the on-going struggle for freedom and dignity.
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