Extracts from the Feb 2010 Journal
Now that the flurry of media activity provoked by the twentieth anniversary of the reunification of Germany in November 1989 has subsided, one can try to situate that event within a wider European context. Of course, there are readers of the AJR Journal who, for very understandable reasons, can never be reconciled to Germany and the Germans and who regard Germany as the land of the eternal enemy. Others will regard any enlargement of Germany with fear and suspicion, in view of its record of aggressive and ultimately criminal expansionism during the period 1871-1945. [more...]
Last night I dreamt I was ten again, on the Farm, with its rolling fields, walking up the 200 yards from the road that skirts the Irish Sea. In the dim skies above floated the whole of the Belfast Jewish community. To the fore was Maurice Solomon, the treasurer, Leo Scop, the chairman of the Refugee Committee, and the president, Barney Hurwitz. Rev Fundaminsky was also there in the clouds, attempting to restart my knowledge of Hebrew. They were trying to see how we refugees from Nazi Germany and Austria were faring on the Farm in Millisle, County Down, Northern Ireland. [more...]
Recent issues of the AJR Journal have contained a number of references to the Kitchener Camp. An article by Anthony Grenville in the May 2009 issue outlined the history of the Camp and last month a Sandwich resident, Hilda Keen, shared her memories of it. [more...]
You may consider today’s artistic celebrities – whether in film or installation art – to be the masters of warts-and-all realism, but their early-seventeenth-century Spanish ancestors have the edge. ‘The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture, 1600-1700’, at the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing, suggests the link between high art and religion left no holds barred in terms of blood and pain in order to evoke compassion and spiritual identity. To see this at work, look no further than the religious artists of the Spanish Golden Age.
The exhibition includes masterpieces by Diego Velazquez and Francisco de Zurbaran plus works by Gregorio Fernandez, whose Spanish polychrome wooden sculptures were so horrifically lifelike that they could shock and stimulate their viewers into intense religious fervour. It was a highly popular technique with many seventeenth-century artists, including Pedro de Mena and Juan Martínez Montañés. [more...]
Last September, I was one of 40 second-generation family members accompanying the 22 ‘Kinder’ who were recreating their 1939 journeys from Prague to London on board the ‘Winton Train’. Among them were my mother, Josephine Knight, and my aunt, Alice Masters. [more...]
No, not the conductor Otto Klemperer, but his cousin Viktor, Professor of Romance Languages at Dresden University. Most of Viktor’s extended family had left Germany for the US well before 1939, but Viktor had no children, was married to a non-Jew, had fought in the German army in the First World War, and considered himself a true German patriot. Besides, he and his wife had just built themselves a house. In addition, oddly enough for someone who was an expert in eighteenth-century European literature, he did not feel his command of English was sufficient to enable him to earn a living in the USA or England, and he did not wish to become a burden on his relatives or the Jewish community. [more...]