It all started with a question, one my parents had been unable to answer for 70 years. What happened to the French doctor they had taken in during the Russian siege of Budapest? He was an escaped prisoner of war. They were just trying to hang on. Together, they hid in a cellar, beneath the feet of German soldiers who had made the home their headquarters.San Francisco Journalist John Temple follows the threads of World War II into the present.
Tonight marks the 75th anniversary of the November Pogroms throughout Germany, known as Kristallnacht. @9Nov38 is live-tweeting the events of the night (in German.)
Poetry in Hell contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish. [more inside]
The day after Kristallnacht, Hitler said: "It was necessary not to make propaganda for violence as such, but to explain certain matters of foreign policy to the German people in such a way, that the inner voice of the people all by itself gradually would call for violence." Towards that end, Goebbels commissioned and closely supervised the production of a propaganda documentary titled Der ewige Jude - "The Eternal Jew". Few if any of the inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto who appear in its footage survived the war. [more inside]
Billy Jenkins was "The Nazi Cowboy." One of the most popular German western stars of the 1930s, Jenkins (real name Erich Rudolf Otto Rosenthal) was a card-carrying member of the Nazi party. Pre-war Germany was crazy for cowboys, with Jenkins starring in pulp fiction books with titles like "Texasfieber" and "Aufruhr in Laredo" that were influenced by the works of Karl May. The only problem? Under Nazi Germany's racial laws, Jenkins was considered half-Jewish.
This Sunday will be Yom HaShoah "Holocaust Martyrs' Remembrance Day" in Israel. A month ago Eric Muller, a law professor at UNC, went to Germany to find what he could about his great uncle Leopold Müller. Today he got something unexpected in the mail. (via)
French Jewish writer Irène Némirovsky's claim to fame rests on Suite Française, a novel that she wrote about the German occupation of France while awaiting death in Auschwitz but which was not published until 2004. Irène may also provoke interest because her early fiction was steeped in anti-semitic stereotypes and serialized in right-wing newspapers. [More Inside]
Everyone by now has heard the story of Oscar Schindler, but he wasn't the only one saving Jews in the dark era of WW II. This story was kept secret for many years, until the last member of the Leitz family died.
Why Does This News Make Me Uneasy? As a Jew whose sister is married to a German and who has happily visited Germany four or five times, the news that Jews are flocking back to Germany should leave me in the best of moods. But it doesn't. Antisemitism is flourishing almost everywhere in Middle Europe - specially in France, Germany and even Britain - often under the guise of Anti-Zionism. Even my synagogue in peaceful Lisbon is today protected by stringent security measures. Is this just an unwillingness to depart from old stereotypes or does it find an echo in other cautious Jews? Specially with Germans. I feel simultaneously ashamed and wary. Someone tell me - and a lot of others - I am wrong. Please. History may not repeat itself - but it sure as hell seems to inspires itself sometimes. And we're all better off, I think, if we confront our demons. If they are demons, that is.