The Uncivil Servant: German Cinema in Nazi Times

by Mitchell Abidor   OCCASIONALLY DERIDED for being too broad and hasty in its estimation of individual films, Siegfried Kracauer’s 1947 study, From Caligari to Hitler, nevertheless stands as a classic of film criticism. Its old-fashioned, Old-World vision of German cinema from its beginnings until the arrival in power of Hitler, and its focus on the unity […]

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The Rosenbergs Go On Trial

The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg began on this date in 1951. Charged with conspiracy to commit atomic espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, they would become the first civilians executed as spies in U.S. history — on June 19, 1953. Opposition to their sentence became an international cause, with Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert […]

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In Memoriam: Julius Lester

by Bennett Muraskin   JULIUS LESTER  (January 29, 1939-January 18, 2018) embodied the historic Black-Jewish bond in America, as well as Black-Jewish tensions, in his work as a prolific writer, folk musician, folklorist, and public intellectual — and in the very fabric of his identity. The son of a Black minister, he grew up in the upper South, graduated  […]

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The Third Crusade

On this day in 1189, King Philip of France, Emperor Frederick I of the Holy Roman Empire, and King Henry II of England — soon to be succeeded by his son, Richard the Lionheart — began assembling armies for the Third Crusade. Their goal, backed by Pope Gregory VIII, was to reconquer Palestine from Saladin, the Muslim […]

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Antisemitic Faculty: What Is To Be Done?

by Steven Lubet   WHAT SHOULD BE done when a respected professor is discovered circulating vile antisemitic images on social media and endorsing profoundly anti-Jewish conspiracy theories? Should the administration impose sanctions? How should the broader academic community react?  These questions have arisen in recent years on campuses across the country, most recently in the cases […]

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Spy vs. Spy: Anti-Nazi Undercover Work in L.A.

by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots against Hollywood and America, by Steven J. Ross. Bloomsbury Books, 2017, 432 pages.   ADOLF HITLER’S determination to wipe out the planet’s Jews was aimed at America as well, according to Steven J. Ross, professor of history at the University of […]

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Argentina’s “Tragic Week”

The first pogrom in the Americas took place during the Semana Trágica (“Tragic Week”) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which began on this date in 1919 when the army violently attacked metalworkers who had been on strike for decent working conditions. A general strike began two days later. Rightwing paramilitary groups began to hunt down union leaders, anarchists, […]

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Samplings from the New York Jewish Film Festival

by Mitchell Abidor   THE ALWAYS INTERESTING New York Jewish Film Festival will be running from January 10 to January 23 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Information on screenings can be found at nyjff.org. What follows is just a sample of the riches on view. The Romanian director Radu Jude is one of the […]

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Dreyfus Found Guilty

On this date in 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus of the French military was found guilty of having sold French military secrets to Germany. The verdict was based on antisemitic innuendo and paltry evidence. Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment and spent two years in solitary confinement on Devil’s Island off the South American coast. Although evidence […]

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