Holocaust

The Shoah, Then And Now

04/24/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

Even as the Holocaust recedes into the distant past, its effects are as potent as ever. So suggests Rivka Bekerman-Greenberg in her new play, “Eavesdropping on Dreams,” in which a survivor’s toxic trauma is passed along not just to her daughter, but to her granddaughter as well. Produced by the Barefoot Theatre Company, the play is running through mid-May at the Cherry Lane’s Studio Theatre.

Lynn Cohen as Rose, a Holocaust survivor, in Rivka Bekerman-Greenberg “Eavesdropping on Dreams.” Francisco Solorzano

Waiting For The Right Holocaust Angle

Noted young German novelist Daniel Kehlmann is finally tackling Jewishness and the Nazis in a new play.

04/24/2012
Staff Writer

For the past 15 years — which is to say his entire career — the German novelist Daniel Kehlmann, 37, has not written about Jews. In fact, none of his work — from his first novel, published when he was 22 and still in college, to his fifth, titled “Measuring the World” (2006) and Germany’s best-selling novel in more than two decades — even alluded to Nazis or Hitler.

In “Ghosts in Princeton,” Kehlmann, tells the tale of mathematician Kurt Godel, who the Nazis mistakenly believed was Jewish.

Yom Hashoah Thoughts

04/19/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Re-entry from Israel to New York is always a surreal experience for me.  Where I live in central Queens is one of the most densely populated Jewish areas in the United States. There is little Jewish that is lacking here.  Outside of Israel, there are very few, if any, places in the United States where you can get quite as many Israeli products as my greater neighborhood, But after spending ten days in Jerusalem, I am reminded of just how much New York is not Israel.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Holocaust Observances

04/17/2012
Editorial

Yom HaShoah, the day declared by the Knesset six decades ago to serve as the Jewish people’s period of memorial and mourning for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, takes on a more vital aspect of a Day of Remembrance as the years pass. As the survivors of and witnesses to the horrors of the Third Reich’s near-annihilation of the Jewish people pass on, memory serves an increasingly important role.

Righteous Gentile Or Nazi Supporter?

Wartime leader of Ukrainian church sheltered many Jews, but decades-long campaign has not brought Yad Vashem’s highest honor.

04/10/2012
Staff Writer

In the late summer of 1942, 7-year-old Leon Chameides accompanied his father on an hour-long truck ride. As the Nazis tightened their grip over the Ukraine, the two journeyed from a village in the western part of the country where the Chameides family, Jews from Poland, had found refuge with relatives, to Lvov, the major city in that region. After stepping down from the truck, father and son walked to a towering building on Mount Jur, in the center of the city, where they knocked on the door of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church headquarters.

Leon Chameides.

Bob Dylan--and Ron Rosenbuam's--Problem with God

When the Ron Rosenbaum was researching his upcoming biography of Bob Dylan—to be published as part of Yale University Press’s Jewish Lives Series—he came across an obscure quote. In the mid-‘60s Dylan had written an experimental novel almost impossible to read. But being a diligent journalist, Rosenbaum muscled through the novel (“Tarantula”) and found a poem that included these lines: “hitler did not change / history. hitler WAS history.”

That was all he needed to stake a provocative new interpretation of Dylan. 

The (Piano) Keys To Her Survival

Centenarian Alice Herz-Sommer, the subject of two books, credits music with sustaining her at Terezin; other new Holocaust books also highlight women’s experiences.

04/10/2012
Jewish Week Book Critic

At 108, Alice Herz-Sommer is believed to be the oldest living Holocaust survivor. Born in Prague, she watched her mother being deported to Terezin in 1942, and never saw her again. A year later, she was also deported there with her husband and son. By then, Herz-Sommer was an acclaimed pianist, and continued to play in the concentration camp, giving more than a hundred concerts to fellow prisoners and to the Nazis. Her husband was killed in the camp just before liberation.

New and recently translated books depict women's experiences before and during the Holocaust.

Frankfurt Elects First Jewish Mayor Since 1933

03/26/2012

 

The German city of Frankfurt has elected its first Jewish mayor since 1933 and only its second in history.

In elections held Sunday, Peter Feldmann, a 53-year-old economist and political scientist, won with 57 percent of the vote -- surprising even himself, according to news reports. The Social Democrat will succeed Petra Roth of the conservative Christian Democratic Union.

Feldmann, the former head of a home for seniors, takes the helm of a city with some 650,000 inhabitants and Germany's fourth-largest Jewish population.

J'Accuse! Robert Alter on Nathan Englander, a New Literary Feud

When I saw that the new issue of The New Republic had Robert Alter reviewing a new work by Nathan Englander, I instinctively thought it’d be of Englander’s new translation of the Passover Haggadah.  Given that Alter is a widely admired translator of the Hebrew Bible, it was only natural for me to assume as much. 

A Holocaust ‘Myth’ That Can’t Be Washed Away

‘The Soap Myth’ pits a survivor’s memory against the historical record.

03/20/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

One of the most horrifying stories to come out of the Holocaust is the one about the Nazis turning Jews into bars of soap. But is it true? In Jeff Cohen’s new play, “The Soap Myth,” which is now in previews Off Broadway, a Holocaust survivor pits his eyewitness version of the truth against historians and museum curators who insist on documentary evidence. The play asks searching questions about how the Holocaust should be remembered and understood in an age in which survivors are dying out and Holocaust deniers spew their own hateful views.

Greg Mullavey plays Milton Saltzman, a Holocaust survivor on a crusade in Jeff Cohen’s “The Soap Myth.”
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