Terezin, the “Model” Camp

The Terezin concentration camp (Theresienstadt) was established by the Nazis in Czechoslovakia, near Prague, on this date in 1941. Lodged in a fortress built between 1780 and 1790, it was presented by the Nazis as a “model” Jewish community, with some visits permitted from the Red Cross and other observers. However, most of the 80,000 Czech Jews […]

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The Buchenwald Song

Lyricist and librettist Fritz Löhner-Beda (Bedřich Löwy), who was one of Vienna’s most sought-after songmakers in the pre-Nazi period, was born in Bohemia on this date in 1883. Löhner-Beda was a lawyer, a satirist, and an anti-militarist who was arrested and taken to Dachau almost immediately after the Nazi takeover of Austria in April 1938. […]

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March 8: A Leap Into Darkness

Leo Bretholz, who escaped death at the hands of the Nazis numerous times, including from a train en route to Auschwitz, died at 93 on this date in 2014. A resident of Vienna, Bretholz fled from Austria after the Anschluss and swam across the Sauer River from Germany to Luxembourg. Arrested two days later, he […]

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The Descendants of Nazis

by Dusty Sklar WE LEARNED through war-crimes trials at the end of World War II that most officials in Nazi organizations had no sense of shame or remorse about their barbarous deeds. They either denied their crimes altogether, or rationalized whatever moral qualms they may have felt. That was not the case with some of […]

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October 14: Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize

Romanian-born writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this date in 1986 as “one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world,” according to the Nobel Committee. “Wiesel is a messenger to [hu]mankind; his message is […]

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Holocaustic Tones

THE EXPLOITATION OF MUSIC IN NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS by Dusty Sklar MUSIC, SUFFERING AND DEATH are not usually linked in our contemplation. It is not widely remembered, for instance, that Nazi concentration camps often resounded with gorgeous sounds, counterpoint to the ghastly sounds of unimaginable grief… Theresienstadt is the exception. By now, we’re well aware of the […]

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June 1: Zvi Dunski and the Resistance in Sosnowiec

As the Nazi liquidation of the Sosnowiec Ghetto in Poland began on this date in 1943, it was met with an earnest but poorly armed resistance that had been organized by Zvi Dunski, a young Hashomer Hatzair (Socialist Zionist) activist. According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Dunski, born in 1922, “played a central role […]

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Genocide and the Destruction of Nation-States

Timothy Snyder’s Analysis of the Holocaust by Anna Wrobel From the Spring 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, by Timothy Snyder. Tim Duggin Books, 2015, 480 pages. TIMOTHY SNYDER’S Black Earth, like his Bloodlands (2010), plumbs and synthesizes a great trove of primary and […]

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March 24: Partisans in Italy — and a Reprisal

After sixteen partisans of the Italian Communist “Patriotic Action Group” killed 42 SS police in a bombing in central Rome the previous day (the 25th anniversary of the founding of Mussolini’s fascist party), the Nazi occupiers of Italy massacred 335 Italian prisoners in the Ardeatine Caves in Rome, including 57 Jews (the majority of Rome’s […]

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