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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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The “Double Genocide” Theory

THE NEW AND OFFICIAL FORM OF HOLOCAUST DENIAL by Dovid Katz from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents Photo at top: A scene from the June 1941 Lietukis Garage Massacre in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania. An eyewitness wrote: “The behavior of the civilians present (women and children) was unbelievable. After each man had been killed they […]

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Aramaic

Judah Jeiteles, the first language scholar to create a Hebrew grammar of Biblical Aramaic, died at 65 in Vienna on this date in 1838. Jeiteles belonged to a notable family of writers, including his brother Baruch, who espoused an Enlightenment Judaism for which he paid hell among the Orthodox establishment in Prague. Aramaic rose to prominence […]

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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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April 15: Max Wertheimer and Gestalt Psychology

Max Wertheimer, who founded the gestalt school of psychology with his students Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler, was born in Prague on this date in 1880. After obtaining his doctorate in philosophy and psychology from the University of Wurzburg (where he did research on the lie detector), he began to study how sensory perception influences […]

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November 26: The Oldest Survivor

Alice Herz-Sommer, a pianist and music teacher who before her death this year at age 110 was the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, was born in Prague on this date in 1903. Her parents ran a cultural salon, and she became acquainted with the likes of Gustav Mahler and Franz Kafka. Herz-Sommer was a widely respected […]

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Ivan Klima’s Memoir: Where Are the Jews?

by Elaine Margolin Discussed in this essay: My Crazy Century by Ivan Klima. Grove Press, November, 2013, 576 pages. Upon first glance, 83-year-old Czech author and former political dissident Ivan Klima seems a bundle of contradictions. He has been known to be both feisty and impish in interviews, but also cynical and introspective and sometimes […]

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May 17: The First Chess Champion

Wilhelm Steinitz, the first undisputed world chess champion (from 1886 to 1894) and the inventor of the positional style of play, was born in the Jewish ghetto of Prague on this date in 1836. Steinitz went professional in the 1860s and defeated most of the world’s leading players at international tournaments held in London. In […]

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November 24: Terezin

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 a presented by the Nazis as a “model” Jewish community, with some visits permitted from the Red Cross and other observers. However, most of the […]

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