Extracts from the Dec 2000 Journal
‘Rich Jews largely control the US media’ writes Jemima Khan (née Goldsmith) in The Guardian. She adds ‘Jews form over half of Clinton’s policy advisers, preventing the US from acting as an honest broker in the Middle East’. [more...]
Two words – each capable of stirring up a separate controversy. [more...]
Gabriele Tergit (1894-1982) emigrated with her husband, the architect Heinrich Julius Reifenberg, from Berlin via Czechoslovakia (1933) and Tel Aviv (1935) to London (1938). She was a near-founder member of Club 1943 and Secretary of the PEN-Centre German Speaking Writers Abroad (1957-81). [more...]
Unintentional prophecy on the part of his father meant that Peter Carter took English lessons from the age of six with an Englishwoman who happened to live in Vienna and without whose intervention he might not have been able to leave Austria in 1938. To begin at the beginning: [more...]
Inhabitants of medieval Europe were accustomed to seeing vast throngs of people move across the countryside. By and large these tended to be pilgrims bound for Canterbury or Santiago de Compostella. Very intermittently they were Crusaders heading towards Palestine. In the year 1212 religious fervour produced a strange hybrid halfway between a crusade and a pilgrimage. This was the Childrens’ Crusade in which fifty thousand hymn-singing children set off from Northern Europe for the Holy Land. They were never seen again: the fortunate ones who survived the rigours of the journey got sold into slavery once they reached the Mediterranean coast. This was the first recorded instance in history of masses of children being used in the service of a particular ideology. [more...]
The first scheduled performance in Israel of Wagner’s music took place after an unsuccessful application by Holocaust survivors failed to persuade a judge to intervene.
Slovak Bishop Jan Vojtassak, who agreed to the deportation of his country’s Jews during World War II, has been proposed for beatification by the Pope. Research carried out by Israeli historians led to their protesting against the nomination.
Serge Klarsfeld, French Nazi hunter, lawyer and Holocaust writer, has been honoured by President Chirac with the rank of Officer in the Legion of Honour. [link]
Jean Medawar & David Pyke, HITLER’S GIFT: SCIENTISTS WHO FLED NAZI GERMANY, Richard Cohen Books, London, 2000. [more...]
Karl Otten, DIE REISE NACH DEUTSCHLAND, (ed )Richard Dove, Peter Lang AG, Berne, 2000. [more...]
Noel Coward, FALLEN ANGELS, Apollo Theatre [more...]
Sir – Marianne Walter asks (November letters) about Eric Hobsbawm’s perfunctory reference to the Holocaust. Hobsbawm is indeed neither a neo-Nazi nor an antisemite. He is, however, ideologically challenged. What pains him about the twentieth century is not mass killings like the Holocaust or the Stalinist terror, but the failure of Communism. [more...]
The written words of AJR Information are brought to life on audiotape by a dedicated band of volunteer readers to make quite certain that visually impaired AJR members do not miss out on the Association’s monthly magazine. The length of the recording has recently been increased from 60 to 90 minutes so that almost the whole of the magazine can be read without omissions or editing. [more...]
The Wiener Library has announced that the 2000 Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History has been awarded jointly to Professor John Horne & Dr Alan Kramer for their book German Atrocities in 1914: Meanings and Memories of War and Dr Mark Roseman for his book The Past in Hiding. Dr M Healy (USA) received the prize for entrants who have yet to publish a major work for his book Vienna Falling: Total War and Everyday Life. [more...]
Speaking on his ‘Experiences as a Jewish Ambassador’, Sir Horace Phillips ranged from his Glasgow boyhood before the war to his last appointment as Professor of International Relations at a Turkish university. Called up in 1939 as a private in the Dorsetshire Regiment, after Dunkirk he was sent to Iraq to guard oilfields and started learning Arabic (“not unlike Hebrew really”). Then in Burma and the Far East, including a spell as a code breaker of Japanese in Sri Lanka, and finishing as a Major on Earl Mountbatten’s staff. With his knowledge of languages, he went into the diplomatic service (“not common but not unknown for a Jewish boy”). Although much of his working life was spent in Muslim countries, he found no real difficulties, Indonesia and Turkey being very tolerant of other religions. His interest in, and care for, people clearly contributed and he seems not to have disappointed his mother’s ambitions for him. [more...]
Torrential rain has fallen continually over large swathes of Britain bringing the most widespread flooding for centuries along our riverbanks and inundating the traditional homes which line the narrow thoroughfares of our historic villages and towns. Ill-conceived building development on the flood plains has reduced their capacity to store water, while the ploughing of grasslands for cereal crops has meant faster run-off and soil erosion.. [more...]
Nineteen Princelet Street resonates with memory. Next door is the house where Spitalfields’ first woman mayor, Miriam Moses, was born. Bits of mosaic lino, still clinging to the dusty floorboards beneath a coloured glass roof, tell the history of the nineteenth century synagogue, built there when Jews fled to Britain from the pogroms of Eastern Europe. The Huguenots, who invented the word refugie occupied this house, which was built in 1719; the Irish, escaping the potato famine, the West Indians, Iranians, Iraqis, Somalis, Afghans, Kurds, Chinese, Bangladeshis, all brought an individual atmosphere to London’s changing East End. Spitalfields, named after the twelfth century Priory of St Mary Spital, whispers with the ghosts of refugees, but it takes children to breathe life into it again. [more...]
Bayreuth. Preparations do not appear to be going smoothly for next year’s Wagner Festival. Mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier has cancelled her appearances and Placido Domingo is quoted as saying that he cannot agree on rehearsal dates with “Herr Wagner not being co-operative.” He will therefore not be at Bayreuth in 2001.
Honours and birthdays. Austrian-born Hollywood legend Billy Wilder (95) has been made an honorary citizen of Vienna; German actor Gert Westphal, who achieved popularity through his readings and recitals, has celebrated his 80th birthday; Vienna’s Burg actress Gusti Wolf, still active at 88, is now the oldest member of the ensemble.
Visions of fashion. Vienna-born Rudi Gernreich, who emigrated to the United States in 1938 and was a revolutionary fashion designer, staged a controversial show at the Künstlerhaus in Graz. It is described as a show of social trends with a glance into the future. [more...]
In September, various news media carried stories about the increase in the number of pensioners living on low incomes – “below the poverty line”. How was this line defined? Some papers (The Independent, The Times) took it as 50% of the mean income of all pensioners, others (Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph) as 60% of the mean income, while Radio 4 on Today said poverty was defined as below 60% of median income. This agrees with the adoption of 60% of median income as the fairest threshold indicator of low incomes by European statisticians. [more...]
On the anniversary of Kristallnacht, Germany’s Chancellor Gerhard Schröder led more than 100,000 people in procession through the streets of Berlin in protest against racism and racist attacks by neo-Nazis in Germany which are reported to have victimised a hundred members of ethnic minorities in the last ten years, at least three having lost their lives in this past year alone. The Chancellor also attended a service at Berlin’s main pre-war synagogue, the New Synagogue, commemorating Germany’s Jewish Holocaust victims [more...]
An unusual sequence of events led to my acquisition of a slim volume of Jewish history, written in 1936 in German. Having had some success in finding old friends through the Berlin magazine Aktuell, I attempted to trace the son of our late Rabbi in the Grunewald Synagogue, Dr Emil Bernard-Cohn. Two replies from the Rabbi’s daughters, now living in Los Angeles and San Francisco, told me that their brother had died in 1994, but one of them kindly sent me a history of the Jewish people called Von Kanaan nach Israel, written by their father prior to his emigration. [more...]
When, in the night of 9 November 1938, the synagogue in Lingen/Ems was set alight by the Nazis, the one-roomed Jewish School escaped that fate because of its proximity to dwellings occupied by non-Jewish families. The school had been used twice weekly for religious instruction although all the Jewish children were educated at the local Volksschule. [more...]
In 1931, when Theodor Elkan, leader of the Jewish Culture Forum, said: “As you see, we are only a small Gemeinde, which lives from its memories”, there were fewer than twenty men and women of the Jewish faith in Hohenems in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg. After the Anschluss in March 1938, all cultural activities of the Jewish community were dissolved by the Nazis. Some Jews escaped. Others, including Theodor Elkan and his wife Helene, were deported to concentration camps and killed. [more...]
Organised by the history teacher of the Realgymnasium Schottenbastei (formerly the Realschule Schottenbastei), a memorial tribute in the form of a plaque has been unveiled at this Vienna school. The plaque commemorates the 436 Jewish pupils who, between 1933 and 1938, attended, or were assigned to, the school until finally expelled on 1 July 1938. Of the 62 former pupils in various parts of the world who responded to an invitation to attend the memorial event, eight former pupils did so, including two from the UK. [more...]
A new series about the Holocaust is being shown on German television (ZDF). To be screened at peak time, the series’ historical advisers include Yehuda Bauer, Christopher Browning and Eberhard Jäckel; Simon Wiesenthal is the ‘patron’. [more...]
I arrived in Israel a few days after Ariel Sharon’s fateful visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. According to reports in the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz his visit had been agreed with the Palestinian authorities, but whatever the original motivation of either Mr Sharon or Mr Arafat, the latter chose to use the visit to exploit the Western media. [more...]
(final part) [more...]
Britain will mark Holocaust Memorial Day for the first time on 27 January 2001. A national ceremony will take place in central London on the evening of Saturday 27 January (after Shabbath) which is expected to set the tone for other more local activities throughout the country. It is expected that a member of the Royal Family will attend as will leading political, religious and communal personalities. A limited number of invitations will be issued by the Home office. The AJR will forward names and addresses of those requesting an invitation (please mark envelope HMD). The ceremony will be broadcast on television. [link]
(final part) [more...]
Vienna is an arch-conservative city in matters of art as Mozart, Mahler, Klimt and others found out to their cost. Even so, a century ago the Sezession group of painters coined the slogan Der Zeit ihre Kunst (every age has an art appropriate to it) which one cannot quarrel with. The Romanesque harked back across the barbarian void to Roman civilisation. The Gothic age built heavenward-soaring structures which articulated Faith. The Renaissance shifted the focus from the linear to the circular – the circle being seen as the symbol of perfection. Futurism claimed to be the art form of the machine age. And what is the art appropriate to the Age of Genocide? Certainly nothing literal or figurative along the lines of Alfred Hrdlicka’s ‘Monument to the Victims of War and Fascism’ at the Albertina in Vienna. Here the sculpture of the pavement-scrubbing Jew has been known to serve as a seat for sightseers to rest their feet on and munch sandwiches. [more...]
Bundestag pleaJews in Germany were urged by Germany MPs not to leave the country because of the recent spate of antisemitic attacks. Politicians pledged to make Germany’s Jews feel safe and wanted.
Out of 220,000 German companies approached for a contribution to the slave labour fund finalised earlier in the year, only 4,200 have agreed to make a payment. Unless the target figure of £3.3 billion is reached, the pledge for immunity against litigation in the US courts may be withdrawn.
Disappearing compensation funds
Funds intended for slave labour survivors may have been embezzled or misapplied after transfer to the Ukrainian and Russian authorities for distribution. Count Otto von Lambsdorff, appointed to negotiate the fund, has ordered an audit.
Slovakian Jewish claimsProceedings have been issued against Germany by Slovakia’s Jewish community following Slovakia’s exclusion from the recently concluded slave and forced labour agreement. The Jewish Chronicle reports that their claim for £2.75 million largely represents assets confiscated from Jews by the Nazi Slovak state.
Catholic church pays outOne thousand slave labour survivors, exploited by Germany’s Roman Catholic Church during WWII, are to receive payments of £1,500 each, reports The Daily Telegraph. The money will come from the Church’s own compensation fund.
A memorial to Norway’s deported Jews has been unveiled as part of the Norwegian Government’s reparations programme. Sited near the harbour of departure, the memorial has been designed by the British sculptor Anthony Gormley.
‘Japanese Schindler’ honouredChiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat posted in Lithuania in 1940, has been posthumously honoured on the 100th anniversary of his birth. A plaque has been unveiled commemorating Sugihara’s issuing of transit permits to Japan for Jewish families fleeing Poland, saving 10,000 lives.