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Extracts from the Dec 2006 Journal

Suez 1956 - a lesson from history

In autumn 1956, just as the Hungarian uprising erupted (see November issue), the crisis that had been triggered when Egypt's President Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal (26 July 1956), was nearing its climax. Anglo-French military intervention against Egypt proved to be a monumental error; it cost Prime Minister Anthony Eden his job and Britain its remaining position in the Middle East, as well as demonstrating with brutal clarity the hollowness of Britain's claim to be a 'world power' any longer. [more...]

Visiting Terezín

On an overcast day last August, I walked to Prague's main coach station to board a bus for Terezín, where my maternal grandparents had been deported in 1942 from Vienna. I never knew my grandparents, Heinrich and Alice Strassberg, and I knew little of Terezín, or Theresienstadt as I called it, beyond the sparse details provided in lieu of death certificates for my grandparents by the Czech authorities after the war. My mother showed me these documents when I was 19, and so I learned that my grandfather had died at Terezín in February 1943, but that my grandmother had survived until May 1944, when she was deported to Auschwitz. After that, the certificates rested deep in a drawer, out of sight and, so we thought, out of mind. [more...]

My Australian misadventure

When I embarked in Genoa at the end of April 1949 I was no longer the innocent teenager who had left Vienna in 1938. I was twenty-nine and a half years old, and by the time I arrived in Sydney I was five weeks older - well on the way to becoming an old maid. Dressed to kill in my New Look Balenciaga suit and hat to match, I caused something of a stir on landing. There were loud mutterings of 'Look at the Frenchie!'. The New Look obviously hadn't yet reached the Antipodes. [more...]

Arts Notes (review)

David Hockney has so many faces you can barely recognise them all. From his double portraits to the playful way he paints water as blue or pink swirls of glinting sunlight, to his sketches, photography and experimental works, the quiet Yorkshireman is perfectly on-message. You can find traces of Picasso, Dali, Vermeer and the Impressionists - even a touch of Francis Bacon - and yet each work, painted with detail, assuredness and a pure innocence, is entirely Hockney. The likeness is swift, abrasive to the point of caricature. He gives you sharp contrasts, light and shadow, brilliant colour and looming darkness, either in the pose or the background. [more...]

A life without bitterness or hatred (review)

ALICE HERZ-SOMMER: 'EIN GARTEN EDEN INMITTEN DER HÖLLE'. DAS JAHRHUNDERTLEBEN
by Melissa Müller and Reinhold Piechocki
Droemer, 2006, 430 pp., 19.90 euros [more...]

Central Office for Holocaust Claims

Austrian restitution website

Austria has created an online database containing information about objects of art and other cultural items likely to have been expropriated following the 1938Anschluss. [more...]

Letters to the Editor

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