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The Uncivil Servant: Ten Million Books

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: The Book Thieves by Anders Rydell. Viking, 2017, 352 pages. THE NAZI WAR on knowledge and ideas is well-known and documented, and its image has been eternally fixed: the burning of books on May 10, 1933, a scene that opens Anders Rydell’s informative and well-written The Book Thieves. Less […]

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Partisans in the Brody Ghetto

Liquidation of the ghetto of Brody, Poland (now Ukraine) was completed on this date in 1943. Some 3,000 Jews of a pre-war population of 9,000 (nearly 70 percent of the town’s total population) were deported to their deaths in Madjanek. In the preceding months, a resistance group of young people led by Samuel Weiler had […]

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Barring Kurt Waldheim

Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department permanently barred Austria’s President Kurt Waldheim, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, from entering the U.S. on this date in 1987. Waldheim was accused of having been a Nazi intelligence officer during World War II, stationed within spitting distance of the Jasenovac concentration camp, which was known as “the Auschwitz […]

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Resistance in Skalat, Ukraine

Following the Nazi murder of some 750 Jews from the town of Skalat in the Tarnapol district of Ukraine on this date in 1943, a resistance group was organized under the leadership of a young man named Michael Glanz. The group collected weapons but was still unprepared for the next Nazi Aktion, on May 9, […]

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March 26: Max Ophuls

Filmmaker Max Ophuls (Oppenheimer), who made films in Germany (1931–1933), France (1933–1940 and 1950–1957), and the United States (1947–1950), died at the age of 54 on this date in 1957. An early refugee from Nazism following the 1933 Reichstag fire, Ophuls became a French citizen in 1938, then made his way to the U.S. in […]

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Walking the (Jewish) Walk in Austria

by Michael Zweig Discussed in this essay: Salzburg and the Jews: A Historical Walking Guide by Stan Nadel, edited by Will Deming (Wipf and Stock, 2009, 146 pages with illustrations, map, and index). WHEN MY PARENTS left Vienna after the Anschluss in 1938, carrying their one-year old son (my older brother) in their arms, they […]

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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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Our Red Rosa

ROSA LUXEMBURG’S JEWISH LIFE AND COMPLICATED LEGACY by Helen Engelhardt from the Summer 2016 issue of Jewish Currents “If they expect us to murder our French or other foreign brothers, then let us tell them — under no circumstances!” A SHORT, frail woman with a clumsy limp had taken the stage at Fechenheim, a district […]

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March 2: Denise Bloch, in the French Underground

Denise Bloch, 28, a Parisian Jew who had been active in the French Resistance in Lyon as a courier and wireless operator for two years (codenames Ambroise and Crinoline), was flown by the British Special Operations Executive into Central France on this date in 1944 to work undercover with Robert Benoist, her fellow passenger, to […]

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