Extracts from the Jan 2001 Journal

Earth Odyssey 2001

The world as always is in a state of change

It is an uncontested fact, brought back to mind by the recent TV series Conquistadors, that the discovery of America changed world history forever. As long ago as 1820 Canning talked of the New World redressing the balance of the Old. A century later the US affected the destinies of Europe – for good as well as ill. [more...]

After sixty glorious years

In mid-1941 the war that had been raging for nearly two years changed its character. [more...]

A new potential

A new name, a contemporary design and some change of emphasis in content, is intended to open up opportunities to extend the readership of our magazine to a younger generation. We are confident that the children of refugees, in common with prospective readers within Jewry in general, increasingly will appreciate a monthly potpourri of thoughtful and well-informed commentary on matters of concern touching Britain, Europe and beyond. [link]

From pilpul to palimony

Pilpul is a process of dialectical reasoning much practised in yeshivot. Since it can easily degenerate into over-subtle hairsplitting the rabbinical authorities have long tried to curb its more extreme forms. Without much success – if Heine’s quip der Talmud ist eine jüdische Fechtschule (fencing academy) is to be believed. [more...]

War Crimes Inquiries

In the last decade of the twentieth century, the names of some 400 suspects were investigated by British police officers under the 1991 War Crimes Act. Detectives travelled to Eastern Europe, Israel, Canada, the United States, South Africa and New Zealand in search of information and witnesses. The result of this unprecedented operation was that two people were prosecuted; one was convicted. The 1989 inquiry under Sir Thomas Hetherington and William Chalmers which recommended war crimes legislation, recognised that time would be the chief enemy of a successful prosecution. With elderly suspects and elderly witnesses scattered in many countries, it would be imperative to stage trials as swiftly as possible. Their eminently sensible proposal to miss out the committal hearing in war crimes cases was never implemented. [more...]

Wallenberg’s execution confirmed

Swedish war hero and Budapest diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg, in January 1945 set out to meet the commander of the victorious Soviet army, Marshal Malinovsky, but was arrested by his troops near Debrecen in eastern Hungary. Nothing further was ever heard of him either by neutral Sweden or the western Allies. In 1944 and 1945 he was reputed to have saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from deportation to Auschwitz. Evidence now being revealed from the archives of Stalin’s secret police puts the issue of Wallenberg’s fate beyond any reasonable doubt; he was executed by the Soviet régime in the Lubyanka prison in 1947. [more...]

The unanswerable question

Gitta Sereny, THE GERMAN TRAUMA, Penguin Press, 2000. [more...]

Profile: Sir Claus Moser

An anonymous Georgian house in Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury is home to the British Museum Development Trust. While busy and purposeful, an unpretentious sitting room off the office of its chairman presents an oasis of calm, the perfect venue in which to meet the urbane aesthete and distinguished academic, former civil servant and merchant banker, Sir Claus Moser. [more...]

Jawne – a rather special school

Housed in the grounds of the German school in Richmond, the Jawne exhibition – organised by the headmaster Gerd Köhncke and Irene Corbach – is the brainchild of the late Dieter Corbach, the synod’s representative for Christian-Jewish dialogue in Cologne. Photographs and documentation lovingly detail the life before, and destruction during, National Socialism, of the Jewish school and the attempts to save it. The exhibition will be made available to other English schools as a media resource. [more...]