Origins of the Israeli National Anthem: Background information when reading By Blood

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By Blood

A Novel

By Ellen Ullman

By Blood
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  • Hardcover: Feb 2012,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Dec 2012,
    384 pages.

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Beyond the Book:
Origins of the Israeli National Anthem

Shortly before the Second World War ended and the horrors of the Holocaust slowly came to a close, Jews from all over Europe were housed in "displaced persons" camps. These camps gave refuge to Jews who no longer had a place to call home - not Poland, not Austria, not Germany, and not even the new home state created for them, Israel.

One such camp, Bergen-Belsen, was originally established in 1940 as a POW camp, but in April 1943 was converted into a concentration camp by the SS Economic-Administration Main Office. On April 15, 1945, British forces liberated Bergen-Belsen and "British occupation authorities established a displaced persons camp that housed more than 12,000 survivors."

Just a few days after liberation, a BBC reporter visited the camp on a Friday - the Jewish Sabbath. His report, heard in the video below, is soul-stirring and captures a particular momentous incident that took place that day at the camp.

As Ellen Ullman describes in By Blood, despite the ...

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