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The Uncivil Servant: After the Revolution

IN THE INTENSE NOW AND MAY ’68 IN FRANCE by Mitchell Abidor   WE ARE JUST a few months from the fiftieth anniversary of the events of May ‘68, the great uprising that seemed as if it would topple the French ruling class but which, in the long run, proved that ruling class’s flexibility and strength. […]

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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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Holocaust-Period Films at the 2017 Berlinale

by Tony Wohlfarth THE 2017 BERLIN International Film Festival featured several period films set during the Shoah — remarkable, considering the festival’s location — reminding us how Germany has transformed over the past seventy-two years. Three titles stand out and are reviewed below.   Django THE OPENING FILM at the 2017 Berlinale, Django, is a […]

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The First Country to Recognize Israel

The Soviet Union, despite its official view of Zionism as, in Lenin’s words, “bourgeois nationalism,” became the first country in the world to give legal recognition to Israel on this date in 1948, just three days after the state declared its independence. A year earlier, on May 14, 1947, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko had […]

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February 4: Waitstill and Martha

Waitstill Sharp, a Unitarian minister, and his wife Martha, a social worker, left two young children in the care of friends in the U.S. and sailed for Prague on this date in 1939 to help refugees escape Nazi rule in Czechoslovakia. “They stopped several times en route to Prague,” according to the United States Holocaust […]

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May 21: Lady Luisa, Golf Champion

Luisa Abrahams (born Kramerova), a champion golfer in Czechoslovakia who came to a tournament in England as World War II broke out in 1939 and spent the rest of her life there, was born in Prague on this date in 1910. During the war, she achieved the rank of major in the Czech armed-forces-in-exile while […]

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May 4: Jews and the Hussite Wars

Jan Hus, a Bohemian priest and religious reformer who inspired fifteen-year war of defense (1419-34) against crusaders sent by the Catholic Church, was declared a heretic on this date in 1415. Hus was a key predecessor to the Protestant Reformation and was burned at the stake for it later that year. The Hussites were viewed […]

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December 26: Czechoslovakian Arms for Israel

Six Spitfire warplanes from Czechoslovakia landed in Israel on this date in 1948 as part of Operation Velvetta, which brought 50 such planes (at $23,000 each) from Czechoslovakia via Yugoslavia to aid Israel in its independence war against invading Arab states. Czechoslovakian weaponry, much of it seized from the defeated Germans in World War II, […]

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November 9: Kristallnacht

The Nazis inaugurated the two-day rampage against Jews, Jewish businesses and homes, and synagogues known as Kristallnacht (The Night of the Broken Glass) in Germany, Austria, and the occupied part of Czechoslovakia on this date in 1938. The trigger was the November 7th assassination of Ernst von Rath, a German embassy official stationed in Paris, […]

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June 10: The Jewish Archbishop

Archbishop Theodor Kohn of Olomouc (Olmütz), a province of Czechoslovakia, was forced by Pope Pius X to resign on this date in 1904 because of his Jewish background. Some sources say that Kohn’s grandfather had converted to Catholicism; others say that Kohn himself was born Jewish. He was ordained a priest in 1871, at 26, […]

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