Feb. 7, 1569- The "holy office of the Inquisition" established in South America.
Feb. 7,1569- Jews of the Papal States (except for Rome and Ancona) were expelled by the pope.
Feb. 8, 1940- First major Ghetto in Poland established by the Nazis in Lodz. All Jews (200,000+) were forced to move into the Baluty ghetto. The area of "Balut" was the poorest and most densely populated area of the city. The ghetto was enclosed like a huge prison, and the residents had absolutely no contact with anyone in the outside world. Food was scarce and an enormous number of Jews died of hunger. At the end of 5704 - 1944, the ghetto was evacuated and its inhabitants were sent to Auschwitz.
Feb. 1, 2003- The Space Shuttle Columbia, returning from its STS-107 mission, broke up upon re-entry, 16 minutes before its scheduled landing. All seven crew members perished, including Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, a combat pilot in the Israeli Air Force.
Prior to his departing to space on Space Shuttle Columbia, where his mission included the manning of a multispectral camera for recording desert aerosol, he arranged to take along Kosher food, a Kiddush cup and a small Torah scroll that had survived Bergen-Belsen. He also brought along a mezuzah adorned with barbed wire -- symbolizing the Nazi concentration camps -- in tribute to his mother who survived Auschwitz and his grandfather who was murdered there. On board the Shuttle, Ramon welcomed the Shabbat with the first intergalactic Kiddush. As he passed over Yerushalayim, he recited "Shema Yisrael," the age-old declaration of Jewish faith.
During his 16 days in space, Ramon defied gravity by lifting his country from the morass of terror, by making Jews feel connected and proud.