I’ve often seen reported on the Net (so it must be true… :rolleyes: ) and other places that when Julius Streicher was hung in 1946, his last words were “Purim Fest 1946!” I’m curious, however, as to how true this actually is. Most of the reports I’ve seen cite Newsweek from October of that year, but I haven’t actually seen a copy of the magazine.
Captain Amazing: As a matter of fact, I happen to be sitting in a nicely-appointed research library as I type.
Indeed, Newsweek does attribute the phrase “Purimfest, 1946” to one Julius Streicher, as he was facing the gallows following his conviction at Nuremburg. He also said things like “Heil Hitler!” and, to the American guard, “The Bolsheviks will hang you one day.”, so he wasn’t anyone’s friend at the occasion. Incidentally, the same article mentions Goebbels’ suicide.
(His last words were reportedly “Adele, my dear wife.” And there was some dispute over whether his neck broke or he briefly strangled to death.)
So, does anyone have an idea of why he’d say that, or, indeed, what the phrase means?
Purim is a Jewish holiday which will be celebrated this coming Sunday (which is what brought this to mind in the first place). The holiday commemorates the story as recounted in the book of Esther. In the story, the Jews are about to be wiped out by a plot hatched by the king’s right-hand man Haman, but in the end are saved by a seemingly odd set of circumstances. Among the occurences in the Purim story are the hanging of Haman’s 10 sons after they were killed in battle [as an aside: hanging (when done) in Judaism was always done post-death, not as a means of execution].
There were 11 defendents who were going to be executed on that October day in 1946 (you see where this is going, don’t you?). However, Goebbels “escaped” by swallowing a cyanide pill the night before the execution; so ten men were hung that day. It could well be that Streicher was well-aware of the story and saw the similarity [10 enemies of the Jews being hung on one day] and made the comment (for whatever reason).
In another one of those odd-if-you-don’t-believe, appropriate-if-you-do-believe coincidences, if you open up an Esther scroll as is used on Purim, you will find that in the verse detailing the names of Haman’s sons, there are three letters that are written smaller than the others. Those three letters are Tuv, Shin and Zayin. Those letters form the numerical value (in Hebrew, numbers are written using letters) of the year 5707, the year that the executions took place.
Haman had a daughter, who died when she fell or jumped from a widow. Goebbels (the “eleventh son”) was rumored to be a cross dresser.
The book of Esther does not have G-d’s name written anywhere in it. According to Jewish tradition, this is because the miracle was not obvious. Rather, G-d’s work was “disguised” in the course of seemingly natural events. Likewise, reference to G-d is disguised and written as “The King.” After the fighting had subsided, Queen Esther makes the following request (Esther 9:13): “If it please the King, let it be granted to the Jews that are in Shushan to do tomorrow in accordance with today’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.” (emphasis added)
The numerical value of those letters you mentioned actually add up to 707. In the Hebrew calendar, the year is commonly written that way. The 5 is assumed (similar to the way the year 1996 would be written as '96). The year 5707 was the 6th time the number 707 had occurred (once every millennium). In the same verse detailing the names of Haman’s sons, there is one letter that is written larger than the others - the letter vav, which has a numerical value of 6.
Was Hermann Goering a cross dresser too because zev_steinhardt was mistaken and it was Goering who committed suicide on the eve of his execution. Goebbels killed himself and his family in the Fuehrer Bunker.
And, yes, if you have to go to such lengths to get your numerology to work then I’m pretty sure it’s a coincidence.
First of all, yes 74westy, I (and Zev) stand corrected. It was Goering who killed himself. And it was Goering who was rumored to be a cross dresser. Zev apparently mistook the two, and I, being familiar with the story, didn’t double check the name.
Secondly, I’m not sure what lengths you’re referring to. The year 5707 is commonly written as (תש"ז) (707) It had occurred 6 times, and this was the 6th time. Simple.
Finally, If you choose to believe it’s a coincidence, that’s ok with me. Fact is, Streicher did yell “Purimfest 1946,” and it wasn’t anywhere near Purim. Fact is, those letters had been written in that weird way for two thousand years, and no one knew why. Fact is, Esther made the peculiar request.
As far as I’m concerned, there are no coincidences. But if you think there are, this is not just a coincidence. It’s a huge, unbelievable, incredible coincidence.
I’m so out of responding to kiruv stuff, so I’m not exactly in the iyun, as LeChayim might say…but awhile back, I found this article helpful. Clarifies some of the facts surrounding this “coincidence/divine miracle.”
But folks can believe what they want. For he who has no questions, there are no answers…or however the old phrase goes.
Nine years to be corrected. That’s got to be some kind of record around here.
Of course, there are also dissimilarities between the two events as well.
The sons of Haman were not killed by hanging. They were already hung after their death. The Nazis, on the other hand, died by hanging.
The Nazis were not all brothers. The sons of Haman, obviously, were.
Of course, I don’t need to point out to you that that only applies to beinonim (people who are neither good nor bad – i.e. your average type person). Do you believe that the Nazi leaders were beinonim?
I see no reason to doubt Streicher was aware of the holiday of Purim.
It is entirely possible, though, that he is merely aware that Haman, entrant n in the Jew Genocide game, was ultimately hanged, and that the coincidence of the total number of sentenced is just that, a coincidence. Unless, of course, God has no coincidents, and those seekers of Sod–the interpretive layer concerned with the secrets–are onto something.
Gulf War I ended on Purim…
Also, the old joke: Streicher once asked a Jew on what day he would die. The Jew thinks and answers sagely, a Jewish holiday.
Streicher: which holiday?
The one on the day you die.
My only cite for this is from among the many stories my dad, who grew up around career soldiers, would retell. According to the story that went around, Streicher* had the hood over his head and the hangman’s knot placed properly behind his ear, when he said something that the executioner didn’t take lightly. The knot was then deftly moved in front of his ear.
After some agony at the end of the rope, another sergeant had to go behind the underside of the gallows that was screened-off by black canvas. It was pretty obvious that he then grabbed Streicher’s ankles and yanked until his neck broke.
*I can’t hear this name in my head without automatically saying “I don’t think I’ll ever be over Macho Grande.”
That’s hilarious! I actually hadn’t noticed the date. I was doing some research on the subject and came across this discussion. Now look what I’ve (re)started. “Of course, I don’t need to point out to you that that only applies to beinonim (people who are neither good nor bad – i.e. your average type person). Do you believe that the Nazi leaders were beinonim?”
Good point. But the fate of the wicked are immediately decreed, not necessarily carried out (plenty of evil people die in the middle of the year).
Nevertheless, Hoshanah Rabah is a significant date for us in terms of G-d’s judgement. Perhaps it was a sign that the verdict upon us - to witness the hanging - was finalized (יוודע בגויים לעינינו - נקמת דם עבדיך השפוך)