Littell: The Crucifixion of the Jews

Littell: The Crucifixion of the Jews

Franklin H. Littell's The Crucifixion of the Jews: The Failure of Christians to Understand the Jewish Experience was a deeply compelling read that I couldn't put down until completion! A couple of quick quotes from my reading:

“…the dehumanization of other human persons is only acceptable to those who have themselves lost human features.”

“What defeated us, ultimately, was Jewry's indestructible optimism, our eternal faith in the goodness of man - or rather, in the limits of his degradation… we paid a terrible price for our hope…”

Notes on Children of Job

Notes on Children of Job

I recently finished Alan L. Berger's book, Children of Job, in which I found new inspiration for the Mischlinge Exposé, and found myself hoping for a tikkun (fixing/rectification) for the world.

“The second generation is the most meaningful aspect of our work. Their role in a way is even more difficult than ours. They are responsible for a world they didn't create. They who did not go through the experience most transmit it.” —Elie Wiesel (Introduction)

Alan L. Berger: Children of Job

“The second generation witnesses also seek to achieve tikkun of the self whereby they bear witness in a manner that is healing.”

“The only post – Holocaust theology that matters is one that recognizes the importance of compassion.”

“For second – generation witnesses, it is the desire to know their parents lives better that serves as a vehicle for understanding the impact of the holocaust on their own existence.”

“The paradox here is that the second generation wants to belong to the Jewish people, where is the survivor rages at his suffering caused by belonging.”

“The second – generation witness has a moral obligation to attest with precision to the facts of the Holocaust and to the event's continuing impact. This is one reason that members of the second-generation immerse themselves in books about the Shoah and why they do not substitute their imagination for their parents' memory.”

“By writing the story of their parents' survival and it's impact on their own lives, these second – generation witnesses hope to share the message of common human vulnerability, thereby helping to prevent Holocaust modes of thought from operating in the world.”

Mahler Defending Schoenberg

Mahler Defending Schoenberg

“Mahler was in the auditorium for the first performance of Schoenberg' Schamber Symphony (Op. 9) in 1907. There were rowdy scenes after the performance, with people clapping, hissing and yelling. Mahler himself clapped, but the man next to him hissed for all he was worth. ‘How dare you hiss when I'm clapping?’ Mahler asked him imperiously. ‘I hissed your filthy symphony, too!’ came the answer. ‘You look as though you would!’ countered Mahler, and the two men would have come to blows if the police had not intervened.

“Thirty years later in Vienna I [Otto Klemperer] conducted a full orchestral setting of the work, arranged by Schoenberg him self. It was a great success.”

On Mahler's Interpretative Tradition

On Mahler's Interpretative Tradition

“There  is now a ‘Mahlerian’ interpretative tradition, but a regrettable number of conductors employ it quite incorrectly. As Mahler once remarked to me, his retouchings were meant for him alone, and he bore full responsibility for them. Today, The Universal-Edition scores of the four Schumann symphonies are sold to the world at large with his amendments incorporated. 

“The retouching of Beethoven, Schumann and others was an essential feature of Mahler's interpretation of their works. I cannot go all the way with him on this point. He retouched in the spirit of his age. I believe it was unnecessary, and that one can bring out the full content of such music without retouching. I believe, too, that if we heard a Beethoven sonata played by Franz Liszt today we should be shocked by his arbitrary treatment of it. And yet both things, Mahler's retouching and Liszt's interpretations, were entirely necessary—in their day. Mozart's retouching of Handel's Messiah should similarly be construed in the spirit of the age. He added the new-found clarinet and transcribed the harpsichord part for clarinets and bassoon.

“During the rehearsals for his Eighth Symphony, Mahler quarrelled with the leader of the Munich Philharmonic (I think that was the name of the orchestra) because he wanted an absolutely first-class violinist who was familiar with his style. He sent for Arnold Rosé, who naturally took over the leader's place. At that, the rest of the orchestra rose and quitted the platform with one accord, leaving Mahler and Rosé alone. They did not return until Mahler had agreed that their leader should play in all future rehearsals and performances. This happened in 1910, when we still had monarchies and some respect for authority still remained. What would Mahler say today?”

—Page 26-27, Minor Recollections by Otto Klemperer

Affinity Konar's “Mischling”

Affinity Konar's “Mischling”

After being immersed in non-fiction during my years of research for The Mischlinge Exposé, Affinity Konar's novel has been a welcome respite.

“As we'd grown, that word mischling—we heard it more and more, and its use in our presence had inspired Zayde to give us the Classification of Living Things. Never mind this Nuremberg abomination, he'd say. He'd tell us to ignore this talk of mixed breeds, corssed genetics, of quarter-Jews and kindred, these absurd, hateful tests that tried to divide our people down to the last drop of blood and marriage and place of worship. When you hear that word, he'd say, dwell on the variation of all living things. Sustain yourself, in awe of this.”