Extracts from the Dec 2004 Journal

Harking back to ancient stereotypes (editorial)

The antisemitic stereotype of 'the Jew' - more deeply ingrained on the Continent than here - is a composite of six traits, five of which, by strange coincidence, start with the letter c: cupidity, cowardice, conspiracy, cosmopolitanism and concupiscence (i.e. inordinate sexual appetite). [more...]

Gott moves in mysterious ways

Recently the New Statesman's critic Richard Gott lauded Professor Overton's The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, while objecting to a number of other books comparing the two tyrants. He wrote: 'Somewhere, in the ever-popular "parallel lives" genre, a study of Franklin D Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler surely must exist. One put the Japanese in concentration camps, the other locked up the Jews. One took control over America's traditional sphere in Latin America, while the other moved decisively into Germany's obvious heartland in eastern Europe. So how come these startling parallels have been largely ignored by historians and publishers?' [more...]

Life certificates: a new development

From January 2005 onwards, Austrian members of AJR will be able to have their Lebensbescheinigungen (life certificates) notarised either at the AJR offices in Stanmore or at the AJR Day Centre in West Hampstead. Those unable to come to either of these locations can have their certificates signed at an AJR regional group meeting or during a home visit by an AJR social worker. It will still be possible to go to the Austrian embassy to have certificates signed. [more...]

A change from The Sound of Music

Countries, especially when they have expanded empires, are in the habit of inventing a mission for themselves. France boasted of its mission civilisatrice, while Germany claimed Es wird am deutschen Wesen einst die Welt genesen (The German essence will heal the world). Imperial Britain saw itself as a reincarnation of Rome - cf Palmerston's Civis Romanus sum speech - and Dostoevsky apostrophised Tsarist Russia as the 'Third Jerusalem'. [more...]

Dutch girl's concentration camp love letters

'Freedom from behind barbed wire'

Love letters written in a Dutch concentration camp by an 18-year-old Jewish girl and smuggled to her boyfriend outside have been rediscovered. They describe Helga Deen's last month of imprisonment in the Vught camp in July 1943 during the German occupation of the Netherlands. Their significance has been compared to that of Anne Frank's diary. [more...]

The hinge generation (book review)

After Such Knowledge: Where Memory of the Holocaust Ends and History Begins
by Eva Hoffman
Secker and Warburg 2004, £16.99, 280 pp. [more...]

Letter from Israel

Ilona first entered my world some ten years ago, when she was about 14 years old. She had immigrated to Israel from Russia with her mother and grandmother not long before, and was attending the prestigious Jerusalem Music Academy High School. For lack of means, however, she had been unable to buy the required textbooks and had been told not to return until she had obtained them. [more...]

Central Office for Holocaust Claims

Additional Swiss bank accounts

The court administering the Holocaust Victims Asset Litigation (Swiss Banks Settlement) has announced that an additional list of names of owners of Swiss bank accounts will be published. The updated list will be accessible only on the internet at www.crt-ii.org or www.swissbankclaims.com. [more...]