Even for the ultra-Orthodox, the Holocaust and Nazism are tossed blithely into political discourse. Is nothing sacred?
An Israeli protest over the weekend by ultra-Orthodox Jews who dressed their children to look like inmates at a Nazi concentration camp highlights the sometimes peculiar role the Holocaust plays there in political discourse and even in everyday exchanges.
The spectacle at a Jerusalem square Saturday night, staged by the most extreme of the ultra-Orthodox community’s myriad factions, featured mostly adults but also several dozen kids in striped uniforms and yellow stars, evoking the Holocaust’s most iconic images. The demonstrators were protesting an effort by secular Israelis to roll back gender segregation on some bus lines and in certain neighborhoods—a dispute that has surged in recent weeks.
Politicians from across the spectrum voiced outrage, as did Jewish groups in Israel and abroad, describing the display as an ugly trivialization of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were murdered by Nazis and their sympathizers.
Please watch the video. It’s a reminder of why we must never forget history.
INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY is January 27
For more than six decades, Sol Finkelstein didn’t know his father’s fate.
In 1945, just days before liberation at Mauthausen concentration camp, Sol and his father were separated, and Sol never saw him again.
Sol’s son Joseph recently contacted our Museum in hopes of finding more information about his grandfather. Our staff discovered the date and place of his death, and Sol’s family was able to visit his grave in Austria.
After learning that Sol had no photos of his father, our staff searched further and found an identification card with a picture of Sol’s father. For the first time since he was a teenager Sol saw his father’s face—a moment he graciously allowed us to capture on film.
Convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk wants a federal judge to reconsider a decision denying his bid to regain his U.S. citizenship.
U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster rejected the retired autoworker’s citizenship claim just over two weeks ago, saying Demjanjuk lied about where he was during World War II.
Demjanjuk’s attorney asked the judge Thursday to reconsider the citizenship request, saying he had not seen all the newly discovered documents that could help his cause.
BY PAUL R. PILLAR
I served in the CIA for 28 years and I can tell you: America’s screw-ups come from bad leaders, not lousy spies.
"Hidebound Intelligence Agencies Refuse to Change."
You’d be surprised. Criticism of U.S. intelligence agencies — at least the non-paranoid kind — tends to portray them as stodgy bureaucracies that use their broad mandate for secrecy to shield themselves from the oversight that would make them do their jobs better. But the great majority of effective intelligence reforms have come from inside, not outside.
The organizational charts of the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies have undergone frequent and sometimes drastic revision, a recognition of the need to adapt to the rapidly changing world the agencies monitor and analyze. The CIA merged its analytic units covering East and West Germany in expectation of German reunification well before German unity was achieved in 1990. Other measures, such as developing greater foreign-language ability or training analysts in more sophisticated techniques, have been the focus of concentrated attention inside the agencies for years. The most effective, and probably most revolutionary, change in the intelligence community’s work on terrorism was the creation of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center in 1986 — a successful experiment that broke bureaucratic crockery, gathering previously separated collectors, analysts, and other specialists together to work side by side.
Attention science fiction fans! If you happen to be in the Toronto area Twitch will soon be taking you on a guided tour through the Cold War era scifi offerings of the Eastern Bloc with a lengthy retrospective of rarely seen titles at the TIFF Bell Lightbox beginning January 19th.
Andrei Tarkovsky’s classics Solaris and Stalker get three screenings each - both on 35mm - along with single screenings of diverse host of rarely - if ever - seen titles from Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany, Russia, and Estonia. It’s an incredibly diverse lineup of films ranging from philosophical scifi to open propaganda to swinging adventure, bearded ladies, comic books come to life and a vampire car.
Michele ApSimon remembers the day in sixth grade when she brought Darth Vader to her Ottawa school — in person.
"I went to Alta Vista Public School, and he agreed to come as my show and tell," ApSimon said of the time sword master Bob Anderson made her the coolest kid in school.
"They were absolutely stunned. I was the hero for the week. It was my 15 minutes of fame."
Anderson, the stuntman who wielded Darth Vader’s light sabres in the original Star Wars films — part of a lengthy career in film and television — died New Year’s Day in hospital in England, the British Academy of Fencing confirmed. He was 89.
In the wake of his passing, Anderson was remembered fondly Monday for the roughly two decades he spent living not in a galaxy far away, but right here in Canada, in the Ottawa area and elsewhere in Ontario.
"He was a great guy," Michele ApSimon’s father, former Canadian Fencing Association executive John ApSimon, recalled Monday. "He loved Canada."
I find it interesting that Coppola refers to Hitchcock on both pages of Mario Puzo’s novel. I’ve never considered Hitchcock’s influence on The Godfather but Coppola was obviously thinking of him when prepping for the film.
The alternate cast list is also interesting. I can see Martin Sheen in the role of Michael Corleone, but Dustin Hoffman? James Caan was great as Sonny but I can definitely see John Saxon in the role. Saxon could have played Tom Hagen as well.
This image from 1943 shows Jews escorted from the Warsaw Ghetto by German soldiers (Keystone)
Switzerland said it had finally finished the process of rehabilitating more than a hundred people punished during WWII for having helped Jews escape Nazi persecution.
But only one of the 137 people vindicated by the report actually lived to see their name cleared.
"All these people are today dead," Alexandre Schneebeli, the secretary of the Swiss parliament’s rehabilitation commission, told AFP.