Unique and Powerful Story of Survival Serves as Inspiration for a New Tour!

Writer and tour leader

I am pleased to announce and invite you to participate in Jerulita’s new 11-day Jewish heritage and World War II history and folklore tour of Poland and Germany based on and inspired by the internationally published book Monsters and Miracles: Horror, Heroes and the Holocaust. The book gives fascinating insights into how the Holocaust happened and the rise of antisemitism today. The tour, August 25-September 4, 2024, is timed to coincide with the 85thanniversary of the Nazi’s September 1, 1939, invasion of Poland. I, along with the book’s author Ira Wesley Kitmacher, will present on this topic on Qesher on April 16, 2024, 3:00-4:00pm EST. 

  

Kitmacher frames the story through the cinematic lens of a horror and superhero story. He describes the innocents—the Jews and other Nazi victims, living lives in which family and faith mattered most, going about their simple everyday lives. He describes the antagonists—the Nazi monsters seeking blood and to wipe out the Jews and other “undesirables.” He also describes the American and other protagonists who heroically fought the evil Nazis, rescued, and saved the innocents. Kitmacher serves as the co-lead for the tour.

 

A key to understanding the Holocaust is exploring how prejudice against Jews and others began and continued. How could millions of people be evicted from their homes, separated from families, forced into slave labor, deprived of food, tortured, and murdered? These are the key issues Kitmacher explores.

 

Kitmacher delivers a thought-provoking and hard-hitting historical experience. He explores literature and cinematic sources relating to the cultural attitudes behind the atrocities of the Holocaust and that tie to the parties’ beliefs in the supernatural. Examples include Germany’s 1915 The Golem and 1922 Nosferatu, both movies with antisemitic overtones that foretold the Holocaust. He also reflects on other folklore, horror, and superhero stories (created by American cartoonists wishing to spur the U.S. to fight the Nazis–including Captain America, Superman, and others).  

lodz-radegast-station-memorial
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The author tells how the Holocaust was steeped in European folklore, antisemitism, monsters, and miracles. He explores how Germans were raised on prejudiced folklore (including by the Brothers Grimm) and the belief in monsters that gave them a false belief in their superiority. These ideas created a lens where the Germans scapegoated the Jews, blaming them for losing World War I and their economic collapse. Hitler rose to power due, in part, to the influence of historical folklore with its villains (the Jews and others) and heroes (the Germans). When looking at the Holocaust through this lens, Kitmacher explains how:

 

 “Many Germans became brutal bullies, Poland was overrun, and European Jews were victimized.”

 

The author also warns of current rising hate and antisemitism, and how if left unchecked—the horror that was the Holocaust could happen again. We must stay alert and resolute, so history does not repeat itself.  

Kitmacher’s father, Al, escaped death in the Holocaust through a series of miracles connected to his faith. While he lost his entire family to the Nazis, he survived against all odds. The story also reflects on how former Polish friends, who had lived peacefully with Jewish people for hundreds of years, betrayed them by turning them over to the Nazis.


The author also tells the story of his mother Pearl, born in the U.S. and propelled to make a difference, who joined the U.S. Navy WAVES against the cultural norms of the time. Love would come her way when Al immigrated to America several years later.

Readers of the book, and tour goers will be caught up in this story that inspires us to want to know more about the roots of the Holocaust–for the gain of historical knowledge and to arm ourselves so this can never happen again.


People sometimes wonder why the Jews didn’t do more to resist the Nazis. Kitmacher points out this is partly based on the Golden Rule of the Jewish faith, the Nazi oppression that had already depleted their strength, and Hitler’s deep deceit. The book and tour will help us find our own answers on how monsters and miracles could co-exist, and how evil – left unchecked – could and can succeed.


Life after the war for Holocaust survivors was anything but normal as people searched for loved ones through the ruins. Emigration to the U.S. and other countries took years, and survivors spent time as “displaced persons” waiting in what were (in many cases) former Nazi death camps. Postwar antisemitism was still rampant which made returning home dangerous.

Monsters and Miracles is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.  It is also a story of hope, in which good is stronger than evil and eventually wins. 


We hope you join us for this unique and thought-provoking tour!

Brendenburg gate - Berlin
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