August 20

History events
1493 — (7nd of Elul, 5253) Maranos of the Basque Provinces ordered to leave the Jewish streets and to live among Christians
1684 — (20nd of Elul, 5444) A riotous mob attacked the ghetto of Buda ….. (that’s the half of Budapest that is on the right bank of the Danube, which was joined with Pest on the left bank in 1873). During the war between Venice and Turkey, the Jews were accused of praying for the Turks in their attack on Budapest. In actuality, it was the 9th of Av and all the Jews were in the synagogue mourning the destruction of the temple. Soon after, the attack on the Jewish ghetto began. When the gates were opened to allow for an emissary to the duke to leave, the crowd of attackers rushed in. As soon as the authorities heard about the disturbances, an order to forcibly curb them was given. That day of the order became a day of thanksgiving. In gratitude to G-d for being spared serious injury, the Jews celebrated Buda Purim on the 10th of Elul. This date became known as Purim Buda – Buda as in Budapest
1920 — (6nd of Elul, 5680) Israel publishes its first medical journal «Ha-Refuah»
1929 — (14th of Av, 5689) Haganah leaders proposed to provide defense for 600 Jews of the Old Yishuv in Hebron, or to help them evacuate. However, the leaders of the Hebron community declined these offers, insisting that they trusted the A’yan (Arab notables) to protect them
1933 — (28th of Av, 5693) The Keren Hayesod (Palestine Foundation Fund) announced that ….. it has reclaimed 300,000 dunams of land (75,000 acres) in the Emek since 1923, and that 10,000 people are settled on it; that it has collected in the past two years £400,077; of which the United States contributed one-third (£133,545); during the 12 years of its existence, the Fund has raised £4,821,510 of which the United States contributed one-half (£2,409,392)
1941 — (26th of Av, 5701) Several Jews were pulled from their homes in Sabac by the Germans, then brought into the street and shot. The Germans made other Jews come carry the dead bodies through the town, and then hang them from electricity poles. This attacked was the beginning of a series of attacks which lasted for 2 months and resulted in several thousands of Jewish murders
1944 — (1nd of Elul, 5704) The United States Army Air Force bombs Auschwitz III ….. (oil and rubber plant), three miles from Auschwitz I (main camp) and five miles from Birkenau, the Auschwitz death camp. 127 bombers escorted by 100 fighters (who face only 19 German planes) drop more than 1300 500-pound bombs. Only one bomber is shot down. This puts the lie to the claim that allied airpower could not have knocked out the rails leading to the death camps or to the crematorium. This had been the plea of many Jewish leaders. The facts of the matter are that allied leaders were not willing to risk planes or men to save Jews. On the morning of August 20, 1944, a group 127 US B-17 bombers, called Flying Fortresses, approached Auschwitz. They were escorted by 100 P-51 Mustang fighter planes. Most of the Mustangs were piloted by Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd Fighter Group. The attacking force dropped more than 1,000 500-pound bombs on German oil factories less than five miles from the gas chambers. Despite German anti-aircraft fire and a squadron of German fighter planes, none of the Mustangs was hit and only one of the US planes was shot down. All of the units reported successfully hitting their targets. On the ground below, Jewish slave laborers, including 15 year-old Elie Wiesel, cheered the bombing. In his best-selling memoir, Night, Wiesel described their reaction: «We were not afraid. And yet, if a bomb had fallen on the blocks [the prisoners’ barracks], it alone would have claimed hundreds of victims on the spot. But we were no longer afraid of death; at any rate, not of that death. Every bomb that exploded filled us with joy and gave us new confidence in life. The raid lasted over an hour. If it could only have lasted ten times ten hours!» But it did not. Even though there were additional US bombing raids on German industrial sites in the Auschwitz region in the weeks and month to follow, the gas chambers and crematoria were never targeted. The Roosevelt administration knew about the mass murder going on in Auschwitz, and even possessed diagrams of the camp that were prepared by two escapees. But when Jewish organizations asked the Roosevelt administration to order the bombing of the camp and the railways leading to it, the requests were rejected. US officials claimed such raids were «impracticable» because they would require «considerable diversion» of planes needed for the war effort. But the Tuskegee veterans know that claim was false. They were right there in the skies above Auschwitz. No «diversion» was necessary to drop a few bombs on the mass-murder machinery or the railways leading into the camp. Sadly, those orders were never given. The decision to refrain from bombing Auschwitz was part of a broader policy by the Roosevelt administration to refrain from taking action to rescue Jews
1952 — (29th of Av, 5712) Work started on a number of concrete dams, expected to hold back the rainwater accumulating in the Negev wadis during the winter. This was part of the Zionist dream to make the Negev green
1993 — (3nd of Elul, 5753) After rounds of secret negotiations in Norway, the Oslo Peace Accords were signed. A more public signing ceremony would take place in Washington in September of 1993
2007 — (6nd of Elul, 5767) A database with millions of documents from more than 50 concentration camps and prisons — which include books recording Jewish deaths, transportation lists and medical reports — was handed over to Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority and Washington’s Holocaust Memorial Museum

1875 — (19th of Av, 5635) Birthdate of Shaul Tchernichovsky a Russian-born Hebrew poet considered one of the great Hebrew poets
1917 — (2nd of Elul, 5677) Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer, known as Adolph von Baeyer, the first Jew to ever receive the Nobel Prize, passed away today
1952 — (28th of Av, 5712) Yitzhak Sadeh, the founder of the Palmach and a hero of the War of Independence passed away at the age of 62.