BERLIN (JTA) -- Geert Wilders, the rock star of European politics, is riding the crest of a populist tsunami.
As the pro-Israel founder of Holland’s Party of Freedom lets loose recently in Berlin, shouting that Islam is a threat to Germany’s identity, democracy and prosperity, his audience of 500 reacts with an evangelical zeal, offering big-time applause and standing ovations.
“Stand by the side of those who are threatened by Islam, like the State of Israel and its Jewish citizens,” he exhorts the crowd.
The pioneering, nonagenarian Jewish journalist is a perfect documentary subject; fortunately, the film landed the perfect director as well.
Special to the Jewish Week
Ruth Gruber, the subject of a wonderfully economical and crisp documentary, "Ahead of Time," is a magnificent one-of-a-kind figure in 20th-century Jewish history. Gruber is the product of, she recounts with a grin, "a shtetl called Brooklyn. … Everybody there was Jewish." She was a prodigy who entered New York University at 15 and earned a doctorate from the University of Cologne at 20. But the attractions of the academy couldn't compete with the turmoil of worldwide economic depression, the New Deal at home and the rise of Fascism in Europe.
I stepped out of the airport onto the cobblestone road and gazed out onto the traffic crowding around me. People with their luggage running to get a taxi, tourists asking for directions, businessmen on the phone and lots of noise. I closed my eyes and opened them again. Why was I, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, standing in front of Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany?