Helen Thomas’ legacy

Regarding Editor Ellen Futterman’s July 24 “News & Schmooze” column on Helen Thomas: I am a physician and a Holocaust survivor. Nine members of my family were killed in Auschwitz. I, too, have heard the infamous video of Helen Thomas where she states the Jews of Israel should go “home” to Poland, Germany or America. 

I cannot be so magnanimous and forgiving about Ms. Thomas. It was not a comment “out of context,” it was not “a misunderstanding.” I believe she was speaking out of the heart. 

As White House correspondent for a lifetime, she would have to be unbelievably ignorant of the history of the European Jeans to make such a naïve statement. 

The survivors of the Holocaust didn’t only lose their families — they also lost their homes. When my brother and I returned “home,” we were kicked out with the words, “This is not your house anymore, go away, or I call the police!” This was in Hungary. In Poland, survivors were locked in a church and the church was put on fire. Germany didn’t accept Jews. And America? When the Holocaust started, German Jews hired a boat and tried to escape to the United States, but were not permitted to land. They had to return to Germany, where they were eventually killed. 

After liberation there was the only country where they could go: Israel. They arrived to a desert where they created a blossoming paradise. They started new families for the one they had lost, built new homes, new schools, new hospitals. They were attacked several times by their neighbors, but this time they were able to defend their homes and win against their enemies. No, Ms. Thomas, they will not be chased out of their homes and they will not be pushed into cattle carts ever again.

Judita Hruza, Webster Groves, Mo.