Extracts from the Dec 2012 Journal
The article and letter by Susanne Medas that appeared in our August 2012 issue prompted a number of responses that raised the important but sensitive question of relations between Anglo-Jewry and the Jewish refugees from Hitler who fled to Britain after 1933. Whereas many refugees retain grateful memories of support and friendship from Anglo-Jewish organisations and individual British Jews, others, like Edith Holden (October 2012, Letters), harbour a continuing sense of grievance at what they see as the lack of assistance proffered to them and their families by Anglo-Jewish organisations. These two opposing points of view reflect a deeper division within the refugee community about its relations with Anglo-Jewry, going back to the reception afforded to the refugees in the 1930s and 1940s by the Jewish community in Britain. [more...]
This is the ghastly story of how millions of ethnic Germans were forcibly expelled from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania after the Second World War – a story that is very well documented in Germany but virtually unknown outside that country. I came across it on reading the review of this book by Max Hastings in the Sunday Times and was appalled by some claims he made: 15 million expelled, with at least half a million dead, in conditions ‘entirely comparable with recent Jewish experience at Nazi hands, save that the victims were not gassed.’ Further, ‘former Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz had been reactivated for almost equally ghastly purposes.’ The review was accompanied by a photograph bearing the caption ‘Desperate children evacuated from Berlin by the British in 1946 look for their families.’ There seemed something phoney about both the caption and the picture, which showed a group of well-dressed and well-fed children, not in the least desperate, accompanied by three adult women, one of them smiling, and with the soldier’s uniform looking anything but British! I determined to discover the truth by reading the book. The photograph was not in it …. [more...]
I heard about the book Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer a couple of years ago but didn’t take too much notice. After all, the fact that Israel is a hotbed of innovation, high-tech industry and networking is nothing new to me. I see it all around me among my friends and family, read about it in the newspapers, and have even worked on translating and editing economic reports of it. When I recently toured Jerusalem Venture Partners, a venture capital firm set up in order to attract young high-tech entrepreneurs to Jerusalem and support their endeavours, the book was mentioned, especially since one of its founders, Erel Margalit, is cited extensively in it. [more...]
Sir - Hatred of the once all-conquering, arrogant Germans was, of course, justified. A Dutch friend born at the end of the war told me about the after-effects of the utter desolation, starvation and famine besetting the Netherlands at that time. (There were no Jews left, with the possible exception of a few who had been hidden.)
This, of course, applied to many occupied countries. ‘There’s no such person as a good German!’ was the saying. It took some courage to say you came from Germany, even as a Jew. The attitude of some members of Anglo-Jewry towards Continentals survives even to this day.
It is unfortunate that in many instances the brutalities endured by the ethnic Germans affected many innocent people, including defenceless children. Wasn’t it always thus?
Many years ago I accompanied my husband to the German embassy for his annual Lebensbestätigung (life certificate). A woman started talking to us in a certain German dialect, complaining how long she was having to wait for her German passport. Luckily we had no problem and were soon on our way. But just as we were leaving, a gentleman in orthodox Jewish garb entered. I saw the woman look at him with utter disdain. Then I heard ‘Zyklon gas once again!’ My husband missed it as did everyone else. Outside I told him what she had said and he explained that she was Volksdeutsch - with all that implied.