Friday, April 15, 2016

June Calender writes


Our Earth hides treasures, secrets, history. 
Ive seen catacombs, King Tuts tomb,
A vast cistern near the Topkapi,
A terracotta army still at attention. 
Most caves and some diggings
are too deep and dark for me.

Of Cappadocias 200 underground cities
Kaymakli is the one we were to explore.
Multistory warren, 3000 years old.
People lived like prairie dogs or merkats
Hiding (as if from hawks, hyenas and lions)
from marauding, murdering steppe tribes.
The modest entrance--easily hidden in time
Of danger--to the deep city of Kaymalki,
Narrow, dark, no place I wanted to be
on a sunny spring day after a drive
from the fantastical tufa dwellings
of the day before. My stomach lurched.
My breath came short, I stopped, turned
Said Ill wait outside.

After Otto Schindlers factory,
And another crowded, chaotic cemetery
Like the one in Prague, remembering
More than enough from Yod va Shem,
Auschwitz was not a place I wanted to see.
Alternative: the Wieliczke Salt Mine,
178 miles of tunnels beneath Krakow,
378 wooden steps down, down, deep
down into the 900 year old mine.
A pure, rock salt city with a cathedral
Statues, even chandeliers of salt, where
Pope John Paul II said mass more than once.
Statues in tunnels (salt gnomes digging salt
With salt pickaxes). A café, souvenir shop.
An astonishing subterranean space. Soon
I was eager to escape. I held my breath
in the crowded elevator ascending
a lightless shaft.

 Image result for tunnel images


  1. “King Tut” is the modern nickname for Tutankhamun, an 18th Dynasty pharaoh (possibly ruled ca. 1332-1323 BCE). The 1922 discovery of his tomb in Wādī Abwāb al Mulūk (the Valley of the Gates of the Kings, on the other side of the Nile from Luxor, Egypt) received worldwide press coverage and popular speculation about what caused his death at 19.

    The Yerebatan Sarnıcı ("Sunken Cistern") is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns below Istanbul. It was built in the 6th century by 7,000 slaves to provide water for the the Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica Hagia Sophia and then used by the Topkapı Palace (Topkapı Sarayı the “Seraglio”) for the same purpose. It measures 138 X 64.6 m (453 X 212 ft), and the ceiling is supported by 336 marble columns, each 9 m (30 ft) high, arranged in 12 rows, Before its conversion to a cistern, it was a 3rd-century commercial, legal, and artistic center which was destroyed by fire in 476.

    The “Terracotta Army” (officially, in Chinese, "Soldier-and-horse funerary statues") dating from the late third century BCE was discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well near the tomb mound of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, near Xi'an, Shaanxi province. Surrounding the tomb was a large necropolis complex constructed as a microcosm of his imperial palace. The lifesize warriors stood guard to protect the tomb from the east, where the emperor's conquered states lay. The figures include more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses. Other terracotta figures included officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.

    Tufa is a variety of limestone, formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals from ambient-temperature water bodies.

    The Wieliczka Salt Mine (Kopalnia soli Wieliczka), near Kraków, "the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland," operated from the 13th century until 1996. It is 327 m (1,073 ft) deep and over 287 km (178 mi) long. About 1.2 million tourists visit annually. The mine's attractions include an underground lake 135 metres (443 ft) below the surface, dozens of statues, and four chapels carved out of rock salt by miners. Even the crystals of the chandeliers are made from rock salt that has been dissolved and reconstituted to achieve a clear, glass-like appearance. A wooden staircase with 378 steps provides access to the mine's 3-k (1.9-mi) tour, and an elevator takes visitors back to the surface in only 30 seconds; it holds 36 people (9 per car). Bolesław Wstydliwy (Bolesław V the Chaste), a 13th-century High Duke of Poland, became engaged to Kinga, the devout daughter of king Béla IV of Hungary, as part of the regional effort to establish military alliances against the Mongols. As part of her dowry, she asked her father for a lump of salt. Béla took her to a salt mine in Máramaros, and she threw her engagement ring down one of the shafts. Miraculously, the ring traveled, along with salt deposits, to Wieliczka: When Kinga arrived in Kraków, she asked the miners to dig until they came upon a rock; there they found a lump of salt, and when they split it in two they found her ring. She thus became the patron saint of salt miners, and a salt statue of her was carved in the cathedral in the mine, 101 meters below the surface. Despite their marriage, the devout couple agreed led chaste lives, and when he died in 1279, she sold all her material possessions, gave the money to the poor, and joined the Poor Clares. She was beatified in 1690 and made the chief patroness of Poland and Lithuania five years later. In 1999, she was finally canonized by Pope John Paul II.

  2. The area of Turkey known as Cappadocia was once known as Hatti, the homeland of the Hittites; then the Mushki (Syro-Cappadocians) ruled the area until their defeat by the Lydian king Croesus in the 6th century; afterwards a local aristocracy maintained autonomy under the Persians, who called it Katpatuka, which possibly meant "the land of beautiful horses" (though the name may also have come from the Luwian term for "Low Country"). The Greeks called the people of the area Leucosyri (“White Syrians”), and Josephus claimed they were descended from Noah’s grandson Meshech. Eventually the Persians divided the area into two satrapies, Pontus and the central and inland portion, called Kappadokía by the Greeks. After Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, a Persian aristocrat seized power as Ariarathes I and extended his domain to the Black Sea. When Alexander died in 323 BCE, his Macedonian generals began to usurp his dynasty’s authority; the regent Perdiccas crucified Ariarathes in 322 BCE and assigned Cappadocia to Eumenes of Cardia, who was captured in 316 BCE by his rival Antigonus. Antigonus starved him for three days and then had him executed when the time came to move camp, giving Ariarathes II, the adopted son of Ariarathes I, the opportunity to recover his authority. In the 2nd century BCE Ariarathes IV Eusebes supported his father-in-law, the Seleucid emperor Antiochus III the Great against Rome and then allied with Rome against Perseus of Macedon, the last of Antigonus’ descendants. The kings henceforward joined the Romans against the Seleucids, to whom they had been from time to time tributary.

  3. Nyasa, the daughter of Pharnaces I of Pontus, married Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator and, after his death, became regent for their youngest son, Ariarathes VI ; she had their five other sons poisoned, only to be herself put to death by the irate citizens. Her nephew Mithridates VI Eupator had Gordius, a Cappadocian nobleman, murder Ariarathes, whose widow, Laodice (the daughter of Mithridates V of Pontus), became rent for their son Ariarathes VII Epiphanes. When Mithridates VI tried to exert control, she fled to Bithunia and married her former son-in-law Nicomedes III, but Mithridates deposed him, In 100 BCE Mithridates had Ariarathes VII assassinated as well and replaced him with Mithridates’s own son Ariarathes IX Philopator (under the regency of Gordias, his tutor), claiming that he was actually a descendant of Ariarathes V. Nicomedes tried to install his own candidate, pretending he was another son of Ariarathes VI. The Roman senate rejected both pretenders, and the Cappadocians installed Ariarathes VIII, the younger brother of Ariarathes VII, but Mithridates merely restored Ariarathes IX. In 95 BCE , Rome ordered the removal of Ariarathes IX. After a short period of direct Pontic rule and another brief restoration of Ariarathes VIII, Rome tried to create a Cappadocian republic, but the nobles crowned Ariobarzanes I Philoromaios instead, who was immediately expelled by Mithridates's ally Tigranes the Great of Armenia, who once again restored Ariarathes IX, nut the Romans deposed him yet again in 89 BCE. Eventually, Rome restored Ariobarzanes (63 BCE), In 36 BCE, Marcus Antonius deposed and executed Ariarathes X Eusebes Philadelpho, the son of Ariobarzanes II and installed Archelaus Philopatris Ktistes. [His paternal grandfather Archelaus, who claimed to be a maternal grandson of Mithridates VI, had been installed by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus as high priest of Bellona, the goddess of war, and priest ruler of the temple state Comana; his son, the new king’s father, also Archelaus, Mithridates’ general and son-in-law, was removed from office in 47 BCE by Gaius Julius Caesar after he had defeated Pompeius. Much later, after Caesar’s assassination, Marcus Antonius had an affair with his widow, the heteara (courtesan) Glaphyra, who had him install her son as king.] When Marcus Antonius was defeated by the furure emperor Caesar Augustus in 30 BCE, Archelaus quickly made peace with the new ruler of Rome, who extended his territory and authority. In 8 BCE he married Marcus Antonius’ granddaughter Pythodorida, the widow of Polemon I of Pontus, thus loosely uniting the two rival kingdoms. However, he alienated Augustus’ stepson and son-in-law Tiberius by favoring the emperor’s grandson and heir Gaius Caesar, who was slain in 4 CE, when Augstus died in 14, he was succeeded by Tiberius Caesar Dīvī Augustī Fīlius Augustus. When Archelaus went to Rome in 17, Tiberius arranged (unsuccessfully) for the Roman senate to condemn him to death, but he died of natural causes or perhaps committed suicide instead. Cappadocia became a Roman province, though it retained considerable autonomy.

  4. St. Paul made several missions into the area, and the Christians began creating underground cities to hide in until their religion became legal in the Roman Empire (and later during the Muslim conquest). The 4th-century “Cappadocian Fathers” (Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea; his younger brother, bishop Gregory of Nyssa; and a close friend, Gregory of Nazianzus, patriarch of Constantinople) were important figures in the development of Christian theology. After the battle of Manzikert in 1071, Turkish clans under the leadership of the Seljuks began settling in Anatolia, and Cappadocia slowly became a tributary to the Turkish states that were established to its east and west, and by the 12th century the Seljuks established sole dominance over the region, who were replaced by the Beylik of Karaman, who were gradually succeeded by the Osmanli (Ottoman) empire.
    Kaymaklı (formerly Enegup), an underground city in central Anatolia consisting of nearly 100 tunnels, was partially opened to tourists in 1964. Caves in the area may have been built by the Phrygians in the 8th–7th centuries BCE. and were expanded when Christians added chapels. It was connected to Derinkuyu, another underground city, via more tunnels. The cities were used as refuges from invasion and persecution until they were abandoned in 1923 when Turkey expelled the Christian inhabitants of the area, though the tunnels are still used as storage areas, stables, and cellars.

  5. Oskar Schindler joined the Sudeten German Party (Sudetendeutsche Partei) in 1935, when the Czech government demanded it drop its original name, Sudetendeutsche Heimatfront ("Front of Sudeten German Homeland"); it had been founded in 1933, shortly after the government had banned the German National Socialist Workers' Party (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpatei), an offshoot of the Nazi Party that was dedicated to the German annexation of the Sudetenland . By June 1938, the party had over 1.3 million members (over 40% of Czechoslovakia’s ethnic-German population), one of Europe’s largest fascist parties. In 1934, because he needed money due to drinking problems and chronic debt, he also became a spy for the Abwehr ("Defense"), the German military intelligence organization created within the German War Ministry in 1920 “to counter foreign espionage” in defiance of its prohibition by the treaty of Paris of 1919. He was arrested in July 1938, but less than three months later Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy signed the Munich Agreement forcing Czechoslovakia to allow Germany to annex the Sudetenland in order to avert a war. The agreement also mandated that the Czechs release “political prisoners” such as Schindler. He was promoted to second in command of his Abwehr unit and relocated to Ostrava, on the Czech-Polish border, in January 1939. In March, Germany occupied the rest of Czechoslavakia and in September invaded Poland, this beginning both World War II and the Holocaust. The Germans immediately seized Jewish property, including their possessions, places of business, and homes, and stripped Jews of their civil rights. In October Schindler was sent to Kraków on Abwehr business and soon became interested in acquiring an enamelware factory called Rekord, Ltd., owned by a consortium of Jewish businessmen that had filed for bankruptcy earlier that year. With the financial backing of several Jewish investors, he signed an informal lease agreement on the factory in November and formalized it in January. He renamed it Deutsche Emaillewaren-Fabrik (DEF, German Enamelware Factory) and used his connections to obtain contracts to supply the Germany military with enamelware and hired 250 non-Jewish Poles and seven Jews (including Abraham Bankier, who helped him manage the company and later became his chief procurer of black market goods) but soon began hiring more Jews since the occupation authorities mandated wages and set them lower for Jews than for others; by 1944. a thousand of his 1,740 employees were Jewish. He also also helped run Schlomo Wiener, Ltd., a wholesale outfit that sold his enamelware, and leased Prokosziner Glashütte, a glass factory. Schindler developed a lavish lifestyle as a war profiteer.

  6. On 1 August 1940, Governor-General Hans Frank gave the 60-80,000 Kraków Jews two weeks to leave the city unless they had jobs directly related to the war effort; the 15,000 who remained were forced to relocate to the walled Kraków Ghetto, established in the industrial Podgórze district; in the fall of 1941 the Nazis began transporting Jews out of the ghetto; most were sent to Belzec extermination camp. In late 1941, Schindler was arrested on suspicion of black market activities and detained overnight, but his secretary (his mistress) arranged for his release. His second arrest, in 1942, for violating the Race NS Resettlement Act, was the result of his kissing a Jewish girl on the cheek at his birthday party at the factory the previous day; this time he remained in jail five days before his influential Nazi contacts were able to obtain his release. In 1943 the ghetto was liquidated and Jews who were fit for work were sent to the new camp at Płaszów, on the former site of two Jewish cemeteries about 2.5 km (1.6 mi) from the DEF factory (SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth, a sadist who would shoot inmates at random, was in charge at Płaszów); the others were sent to extermination camps. Hundreds more were killed on the streets as they were being cleared out of the ghetto. To save his workers, Schindler, who had been informed of the action, kept them at the factory overnight. The DEF status as a business essential to the war effort, along with bribes and expensive gifts to officials, had allowed him to protect his employees from deportation and death. But, after the liquidation pf the ghetto, despite the escalating costs and risks, he even began to designate wives, children, and disabled people as necessary mechanics and metalworkers. Initially Göth had planned to move all the factories inside the camp gates, but Schindler managed to keep the DEF in place and even to build (at his own expense) a subcamp to house his own workers plus 450 Jews from other nearby factories. They were safe from the threat of random execution, well fed and housed, and even permitted to undertake religious observances. In 1943, Zionist leaders in Budapest arranged for members of the Jewish resistance movement to contact him; he managed to travel to Hungary several times to report on Nazi atrocities and collect money from the Jewish Agency for Israel for the Jewish underground.

  7. As Soviet troops advanced further into Poland in July 1944, the SS began closing the easternmost concentration camps and evacuating remaining prisoners westward to Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen. Göth's personal secretary told Schindler that all factories not directly involved in the war effort, including DEF, were to be closed but suggested that it switch production to anti-tank grenades. Schindler then persuaded Göth to let him to move his factory and his workers to Brünnlitz in the Sudetenland. Göth's secretary then compiled a list of 1,000 of Schindler's workers and 200 from a textile factory to be sent to the new site in October. A train carrying 700 men on Schindler's list was mistakenly sent to Gross-Rosen, where they spent about a week before being re-routed to the factory; 300 women were sent to Auschwitz, where they were in imminent danger of being sent to the gas chambers, but, after several harrowing weeks, Schindler managed to save them with bribes of black market goods, food, and diamonds. He also arranged to have 3,000 Jewish women transferred from Auschwitz to small textile plants in the Sudetenland. In addition to workers, Schindler moved 250 wagon loads of machinery and raw materials to the new factory. The rations provided by the SS were insufficient to feed the workers, so Schindler spent most of his time in Kraków, obtaining food, armaments, and other materials for them. Meanwhile, Göth hd been arrested in September for corruption and other abuses of power, and in October, Schindler was detained a third time as part of the probe. Schindler was held for almost a week, and Göth was never convicted (though he was hanged for war crimes in 1946). When the Armaments Ministry questioned the factory's low output, Schindler bought finished goods on the black market and resold them as his own. In January 1945 a trainload of 250 Jews who had been rejected as workers at a Polish mine arrived at Brünnlitz. The boxcars were frozen shut when they arrived, and 12 people were dead inside, but Schindler’s wife took the survivors into the factory and cared for them in a makeshift hospital until the end of the war; she also continued to acquire extra illegal rations for them and the workers. By the end of the war Schindler had spent his entire fortune on bribes and black market goods.

  8. As a member of the Nazi Party and the Abwehr, Schindler still risked being charged as a war criminal. To keep from being captured by the Soviets, he fled westwards with his wife in a two-seater, with several German soldiers riding on the running boards for awhile; a truck containing one of his mistresses, several Jewish workers, and a load of black market trade goods followed behind, but the Soviets confiscated the vehicles at Budweis. The Schindlers managed to take a train and then walk to the American lines at Lenora, and then to Passau, where an American Jewish officer arranged for them to travel to Switzerland by train. Bankier and others had prepared a statement he could present to the Americans attesting to his role in saving Jewish lives. Virtually destitute, he moved briefly to Regensburg and later Munich, but did not prosper in postwar West Germany, living mainly on assistance from Jewish organizations. In 1948 he presented a claim for over $1,056,000, including the costs of camp construction, bribes, and expenditures for black market goods, including food, to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which paid him $15,000. He used the money to emigrate to Argentina in 1949, where he tried raising chickens and then nutria (small animals raised for fur) but went bankrupt in 1958 and left his long-suffering wife. Back in Germany he ran a cement factory and other unsuccessful business ventures, and again declared bankruptcy in 1963 and suffered a heart attack in 1964. In 1963, Israel named him Righteous Among the Nations, an award bestowed on non-Jews who actively worked to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. For the rest of his life he lived on donations from the people he had saved. Dying in 1974, the 66-year-old Nazi was buried on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.

    Yad Vashem (in Biblical Hebrew, “yād wā-šêm,” a place and a name) is taken from Isaiah 56:5 (“Even unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off") . Located on the western slope of Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem, it is Israel's official memorial to Holocaust victims. Established in 1953, it consists of a 180-dunam (44.5-acre) complex containing the Holocaust History Museum (designed by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie), the Children's Memorial, the Hall of Remembrance, The Museum of Holocaust Art, other memorials, and sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, a research institute containing archives, a library, a publishing house, and an educational center, The International School/Institute for Holocaust Studies. The Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations recognizes those honorees. The Jewish National Fund began considering the notion in 1942, and in 1953, the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, passed the Yad Vashem Law, establishing the Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. It receives more than 1 million visitors a year.


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