Berlin: It was a scene dripping with historical irony. On a street in this transformed former capital of Nazi Germany, a German man this week approached Philadelphia Rabbi Jacob Herber, here as part of a delegation of American spiritual leaders, and advised him to remove his kipa, fearing for his safety.
"He said, 'Sir, do you have to wear that,' " Rabbi Herber related. "It's very dangerous here because of Muslims."
"I was surprised," the rabbi said. "The fact that a German is protecting a Jew from a Muslim was unexpected."
Nearly 40 years ago, Rolf Hochhuth’s play “The Deputy” accused Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII of moral cowardice and indifference while millions of Europe’s Jews were being murdered.
The German playwright’s work triggered a worldwide wave of anti-Pius XII criticism, prompting the Vatican — in an unprecedented move — to unlock some of its secret wartime archives in an attempt to refute the charges, arguing he worked behind the scenes to save Jews and did not speak out for fear of a backlash against Catholics and Jews.
Philanthropist Michael Steinhardt was walking on a street in Berlin in the 1990s with Jack Nash, an old friend — and refugee from Nazi Germany — who was returning to his homeland for the first time in five decades.
Mr. Nash related a story of the time when, as a child, he went for a walk on those Berlin streets with his family’s nanny. They inadvertently came across a Nazi parade, he told Steinhardt. “All around, people were standing, giving that one-arm salute,” he described that memory.
Hitler, suffering from laryngitis, mounts a podium in Berlin at the end of World War II to deliver a stirring oration. Out of sight from the masses, a Jewish thespian intones the words that the lip-synching dictator apparently is shouting.
A concentration camp survivor, who had survived his internment by acting as a dog for a sadistic commandant, encounters a Jewish boy who fancies himself to be a dog in a psychiatric hospital after the war. The older survivor adopts canine behavior to bring the boy back to reality.
The Jewish connection to the Olympic Games is as old as the modern Olympics movement. Unfortunately, some of the connections are tragic, like the murder of 11 members of Israel’s team at the Munich Games in 1972.
Last week The Jewish Week looked at some largely unknown parts of Olympic Jewish history. This week, the Olympics and the Holocaust.
In Olympic years, some People of the Book become people of the backstroke, the clean-and-jerk, and the high hurdles.
The Games, Summer and Winter, serve as a showcase for the best athletes, Jewish and non-Jewish. From A (Ruth Abeles) to Z (Eli Zuckerman), names like Mark Spitz and Kerry Strug are in the record books as well as Jewish history texts.
Beginning with 10 medals won by Jewish athletes at the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, Jews have been a steady presence at the international competition.
Friday, October 9th, 2009
I don’t get it, how did Obama get the peace prize and not Chamberlain? At least Chamberlain came home from Munich with a piece of paper.
And don’t dismiss the prize because Arafat won it. Don’t compare Obama’s accomplishments to Arafat’s. That’s not fair to Arafat. At least Arafat had the Oslo Accords to show for himself. (That’s pretty grim, when you compare Obama to Arafat and Arafat comes out more worthy of the prize.)
Under a $5.14 billion settlement reached Tuesday with Germany, Nazi slave laborers are expected to receive a one-time payment of about $10,000 in as early as six months, according to an attorney for many of the Jewish victims.
The settlement was reached after yearlong talks between the German government and German industry, and Jewish groups and victims' lawyers.
Trekking through ice-coated fields in a brutally cold Russian October, Lt. Arthur Wollschlaeger pressed on, as he and his swastika-emblazoned companions conquered the western Russian city of Orel — another victory for the unrelenting German Werhmacht infantry. He had earlier taken part in invasions of Poland, Holland and France — a World War II military career that began when he first entered the Czechoslovakian Sudetenland, in 1938.