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Marcel Marceau

Marcel Marceau, the world’s most beloved mime, was born on this date in 1923 in Strasbourg, France. Born Marcel Mangel, he took the name Marceau (an homage to French Revolutionary general François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers) to hide his Jewish identity following Germany’s occupation of France. Marceau’s father, a kosher butcher, was killed in 1944 in Auschwitz while Marcel and […]

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Six Million Ku Klux Klansmen

by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition, by Linda Gordon. Liveright, 2017, 288 pages.   THE KU KLUX KLAN, America’s best-known racist society, has had three major phases of life since its founding right after the Civil War in 1866. […]

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O My America: Charlie Chaplin Speaks

by Lawrence Bush I GOT IN THE MOOD for Charlie Chaplin tonight, and I watched The Great Dictator for the first time in many years. This prescient 1940 film combines satire, both brilliant and low-brow, with balletic slapstick, sentimental shtik, wonderfully simple stage-settings, and chillingly relevant political insight. The speech that Chaplin delivers at the film’s end […]

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July 8: The Anti-Fascist Committee at the Polo Grounds

More than 47,000 New Yorkers rallied at the Polo Grounds on this date in 1943 in support of the Soviet war effort against Nazi Germany. Soviet actor and director Solomon Mikhoels and poet Itsik Feffer — leaders of the Soviet Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC) — as well as New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Yiddish novelist […]

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February 5: Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin was not Jewish — he was baptized and raised in the Anglican church — but Nazi propaganda in the 1930s said otherwise, identifying him as “Karl Tonstein,” a Jew and a communist. The rumors stuck, especially after Chaplin’s release of The Great Dictator in 1940, and he consistently refused to deny being Jewish, […]

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