It’s April Fool’s Day

And I’ll repeat last year’s tale of my favorite historical “prank”: Hersh Smolar, Jewish-Communist resistance leader in the Minsk Ghetto, faked his own death on this day 71 years ago to escape the Nazis. This plan would not have worked had the Nazis not been complete morons. This “a bloodstained identity card is good enough for us, we don’t need to see the body” business would not pass muster in a movie or a novel, but it worked flawlessly in real life.

WTG, Master Aryan Race. Snort.

Seventy years ago today

Okay, here’s my contribution to April Fool’s Day: last year’s Executed Today entry. On April 1, 1942, the Nazis wanted a certain gentleman by the name of Hersh Smolar, who was hiding in the Minsk Ghetto. He’d been in charge of the resistance movement within the ghetto and had caused some serious annoyance. So the Nazis wanted to make an example of him and were prepared to kill anyone who stood in the way of their goal.

The Judenrat, however, remembered the Biblical story of Joseph and adapted it to modern times: they made up a passport for Smolar, smeared it with blood and took it to the Gestapo. They said they must have gotten him in a random shooting because the passport had been found on a body at the cemetery — a body that was so mutilated as to be completely unrecognizable, so the Germans needn’t bother looking at it.

And the Germans ACTUALLY BOUGHT THIS. Way to go, superior Aryan race!

Hersh Smolar lived to the ripe age of 88.