Miami Holocaust Memorial

Miami Holocaust Memorial

While on break in Miami for Passover, I visited the Holocaust Memorial and the emotional, and gut-wrenching sculpture by Kenneth Treister. I also had the honor of meeting survivor Henry F., who is 94 and going strong!

Murderers Among Us

Murderers Among Us

Scene from Wolfgang Staudte's 1946 film, Murderers Among Us

The above scene is from Wolfgang Staudte's 1946 film, Murderers Among Us, which was produced by the state-owned film studio of the GDR (East Germany), DEFA. The film was initially rejected by the British, French, and American studios due to its political nature, but the Soviets viewed film as a primary means of re-educating the German populace after twelve years of Nazi rule and made it the first of the films produced by DEFA.

The White Rose

The White Rose

Wednesay, Richard Hurowitz published a fantastic op-ed in the New York Times featuring a group of young German idealists who called themselves “The White Rose”:

Seventy-five years ago Thursday, a group of young German idealists, students who had dared to speak out against the Nazis, were executed by the regime they had defied. Like a flickering flame in the darkness, the White Rose, as its members called themselves, is an inspiring group that never lost its courage — and a frightening reminder of how rare such heroes are.… We are far from the darkness of fascism, but we do ourselves a service by remembering the sad but noble story of these beautiful souls on the anniversary of their tragic sacrifice.
— Richard Hurwitz, The New York Times

German Jews in America

German Jews in America

Happy to share notes from another fantastic article from the Jewish Voice From Germany - “Live and prosper”:

European approaches with distinctly American modes. In the United States, emigre scholars and artists were once again outsiders. They had German accents and upbringings. They were new immigrants in a new land. They were often uncomfortable in their new settings, and they sometimes encountered prejudice or bias in America as well. Nevertheless, they managed to become active participants in American cultural and intellectual life. Their insider/outsider status helped to fuel their creativity and achievements, often blending European approaches and new American priorities.
— William H. Weitzer

Notes on Rafael Seligmann's Countering Populism

Notes on Rafael Seligmann's Countering Populism

Sharing some notes on the “Countering Populism” article by Rafael Seligmann in Jewish Voice From Germany. Read the full article by clicking here.

A Specter Called Populism:

Observing politics worldwide, some similarities emerge. These include the strategy of playing on the population’s fears and, where fears do not or hardly exist, of sowing them anew and even deepening them. This way, the psychological reflex of being curious about the unknown while exercising caution is reduced to simple fear. The native population is fed negative images of the putative threats emanating from minorities, migrants, and other states and told they are existential threats. Taboos are placed on the willingness to stand by one’s fellows. The commandment of compassion in all monotheistic religions is replaced by exclusion.
— Rafael Seligmann

Idealistic Philosophies:

Populism claims to be the authentic representation of the majority’s interests. The concerns of the minority are dismissed or even condemned as a threat to the majority. Populists claim to know the majority’s putative national, religious, economic and social interests. They determine the “enemy” and say how to fight it most effectively. … The transformation of perfidy and crime into beneficence is an invention of early fascism that the Nazis readily copied. Benito Mussolini, the “duce” of Italy’s fascists, was a fan of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who was given to “philosophizing with a hammer.” Nietzsche aspired to the ideal of a “superman”. That was no racial or biological attribute, however. It was a call for intellectual integrity and moral rectitude. … Hitler and the Nazi‘s took up the fascist prescription and added a quasi-biological dimension, morphing it into a ‘master race.’ … Trump, Orbán, and Gauland are not Nazis. Yet the method of making the majority interest they themselves devised look valuable in the service of society, together with its ruthless implementation at the expense of minorities, is taken straight out of the fascist playbook of tactical manipulation. … Emotions are stirred far more readily by nationalist slogans and the alleged threat of foreign immigrants.
— Rafael Seligmann