Advertisement

The Uncivil Servant: London Alexanderplatz

by Mitchell Abidor   Discussed in this essay: Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin, translated by Michael Hofmann. NYRB Classics, 2018, 458 pages.   ALFRED DOBLIN’S Berlin Alexanderplatz, originally published in 1929,  achieved its greatest fame in the English-speaking world in 1983 when Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s version, made for German TV, was released here. That was also […]

Read More

The Plague and the Jews of Strasbourg

On this date in 1349, the city of Strasbourg, located along today’s French-German border, arrested its Jews and charged them with poisoning wells to cause the Black Death (in reality, bubonic plague), which was sweeping through Europe and ultimately killed between one-third and sixty percent of the continent’s population. The next day, according to Jakob […]

Read More

Recha Freier and Youth Aliyah

Youth Aliyah (originally called the “Committee for the Assistance of Jewish Youth”) opened its office in Berlin on this date in 1933 — the same day that Adolf Hitler took power as chancellor of Germany. “The utter senselessness of Jewish life in the Diaspora stood palpably before my eyes,” wrote Recha Freier, a poet, musician, […]

Read More

The “Pope of the Jews”

Angelo Donati, a Jewish businessman and diplomat from the tiny Republic of San Marino who saved several thousand Jews in the Italian occupation zone in France and became known as the “Pope of the Jews,” died at 75 on this date in 1960. Donati, who hailed from Modena, was general consul of San Marino from 19235 to […]

Read More

Brownshirt Violence and the Nazi Machine

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts by Daniel Siemens. Yale University Press, 2017, 459 pages.   OUR DOMINANT image of the German streets, both during the rise to power of the Nazi Party and while it ruled, is of jack-booted men in brown uniforms beating opponents, threatening Jews, […]

Read More

Fascism: What It Isn’t and How Not To Fight It

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook by Mark Bray. Melville House, 2017, 259 pages.    MARK BRAY’S Antifa can perhaps be considered the definitive statement of the movement that leapt to the front page after the events in Charlottesville. Widely though not deeply researched, Bray’s book clearly lays out the historical […]

Read More

The Uncivil Servant: Protestantism at 500

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in the essay: Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet, by Lyndal Roper. Random House, 2017, 540 pages.   WHEN ON NOVEMBER 7 we observe the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution, which died a slow, ugly death after a life of barely seventy-five years, we should not forget the far greater revolution celebrating its 500th […]

Read More

Caring for Torture Victims

Helen Bamber, founder of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture in 1985, died at 89 on this date in 2014. Born in London in 1925, she worked briefly as a secretary for the National Association of Mental Health, which treated military veterans of World War II, then joined a Jewish effort to help survivors of the […]

Read More

Hitler and the Art of the Deal

HIS RISE TO POWER AS A MASTER MANIPULATOR by Mitchell Abidor Published in the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939, by Volker Ullrich. Alfred A. Knopf, 998 pages, 2016; On Hitler’s Mein Kampf, by Albrecht Koschorke. MIT Press, 78 pages, 2017. IT IS DIFFICULT when reading Volker Ullrich’s brilliant and absorbing […]

Read More