If you think Jewish-gentile intermarriage presents a conundrum to the modern Jewish community, then imagine how it perplexed the Nazis, whose whole ideology depended on strictly hierarchical racial/ethnic classifications.
After all, when your entire MO is to exterminate an entire group people, while simultaneously expanding your so-called Master Race, the existence of Aryan-Jewish couples and their “Mischling” offspring is inconvenient to say the least.
Evan Burr Bukey’s “Jews and Intermarriage in Nazi Austria,” of which I’ve just read a review (and can’t wait to get my hands on the book itself), addresses this fascinating topic, looking at the Nazis’ often contradictory, even absurd, policies vis a vis intermarried couples, and at the experiences of the families themselves.
New York magazine's Sept. 11 issue has arrived, and it's a real treat. The whole issue has been turned into an encyclopedia of Sept. 11-related entries, including everything from "freedom fries" to "Abbottabad," and many of them penned by wonderful writers. Mark Lilla's in there, as is Eliza Griswold. I haven't read them all, but one caught my eye in particular: Jim Holt's entry for "Humor."
Within the past year, the Claims Conference has obtained approximately $700 million in pledged funding from the German government for homecare for Holocaust victims through 2014, the result of intensive and prolonged negotiations with one focus: to provide the help that Nazi victims need in order to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible. Having been abandoned by the world in their youth, the Claims Conference has been determined that they shall not also be abandoned in their final years.
If you don't know who Bernard Henri-Levy is, don't worry. There's a new celebrity French intellectual you should know: Elisabeth Badinter. She's an older feminist who recently became a celebrity in France with her trenchant new book attacking other feminists' views. And like BHL, she's Jewish.
Shavuot, which starts tonight, is all about learning. Jews are supposed to stay up all night reading in celebration of God giving Jews the Torah. What makes the holiday rare, though, isn't the reading part--what Jewish holiday doesn't involve that? It's that there's no bad guys in the story. Unlike Passover, we don't commemorate Jews escaping a pharaoh in Egypt, or, as in Hanukkah, a revolt against the Romans. No matzah, no latkes, just books and books and books.
The Cannes Film Festival's board of directors did the right thing in expelling Lars von Trier from the festival today. The decision came only a day after Von Trier, a Danish director who was raised an atheist, though told that his father was Jewish, made outrageous comments about Hitler.
In case you missed it, The New York Times had a nice piece yesterday on the discovery of 1,000 books for a long forgotten academic subfield: the "Science of Judaism." Now dormant, the Science of Judaism was an attempt by German scholars to study Judaism as a kind of lost ancient culture--how scholars today might study, for instance, Greco-Roman culture, or Egyptology.
It must be springtime for Hitler, for this week was chock full of anti-semitic tirades. By now you've probably heard about the most vile bromide, the one by laureled Christain Dior designer John Galliano. In case you missed it, a couple dining next to him in a Paris restaurant caught him in a drunken stupor hurling praise for Hilter and his wish that, if the couple was
The years have not dimmed Frances Irwin’s memory of when the Nazis came to the homes of her parents, grandparents and married brother in Konske, Poland, in 1939. They ordered them to turn over their valuables — their gold, their silver candelabras and menorahs, the “gorgeous, valuable pictures” on their walls and their diamond rings and earrings.
“Even my father’s shtreimel [hat] we had to give because it was fur,” Irwin, 80, of Midwood, Brooklyn, recalls.