Tag Archives: Nazi Germany

Fahrenheit 11/9 Movie Review

The ideal of the American democracy has been alive and well for 242 years. The question is, does the reality match the ideal?

Filmmaker Michael Moore asks this question in the new documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9. The film starts off recounting the 2016 Presidential election and takes a hard-hitting look at the current state of American politics. Referencing Nazi Germany, the water crisis in Flint and the school shooting at Parkland earlier this year, Mr. Moore shows how broken the system truly is.

Above all, Mr. Moore points out two important facts that hover throughout the narrative of the film. The first is that despite the spotlight being on you know who, he does solely place the blame on the Republicans. Democrats also have used the political system for their own needs as opposed to the needs of the voting public.

The second (and more important point) that Mr. Moore makes is to vote. Far too many Americans did not vote for either candidate during the 2016 Presidential Election, feeling put off, angry or frustrated. We can only ask in hindsight what the results of the election might have been if every American had voted in November of 2016.

The overall message that I got from the film is clear: we can fix this broken system. We can live up to the Democratic ideals put forth by our Founding Fathers. But that requires stepping up the political plate and there are far too many in this country who are not doing that.

I absolutely recommend it.

Fahrenheit 11/9 is presently in theaters. 

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Those Who Save Us Book Review

For some of us, the past is the past. Who we were and the choices that we made at that point in our lives is no longer of consequence. That is, until the past rears is head back into our lives.

In Jenna Blum’s 2004 novel, Those Who Save us, Anna Schlemmer emigrated to America from Germany just after World War II with her American soldier husband and young daughter. Fifty years later, her husband is dead and Anna is determined to let the past remain in the past. But her now grown daughter, Trudy, is a professor of German history and curious about her mother’s past. Finding an old photograph of herself and her mother with a German officer, Trudy is determined to find out the secrets that her mother has been hiding for half a century.

This book is remarkable. While normally I would say that a slow narrative does not bode well for finishing a novel,  the slow burn towards the end of the story is well worth the emotional payoff that ends the novel. Adding to the suspense is the sometimes tenuous relationship between middle-aged Trudy and senior Anna.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Enemies in Love: A German POW, a Black Nurse, and an Unlikely Romance Book Review

It has been said that the heart wants what the heart wants. Even if that goes against the political and cultural norms of the day.

In Enemies in Love: A German POW, a Black Nurse, and an Unlikely Romance, by Alexis Clark, Elinor Powell and Frederick Albert met in a way that only comes from war.

Elinor Powell was an African-American nurse who was raised in the Northeast and had her first bitter taste of Jim Crow when she was stationed in Arizona during World War II. Frederick Albert was a German POW who was captured by the Allies in Italy and sent to the POW camp in Arizona where Elinor was stationed. While Frederick outwardly acted as any youth of that time period would act, he internally did not subscribe to the beliefs of Nazi Germany.

It was love at first night for Frederick. Elinor took a little longer, but she too was soon in love. In another time and place, no one would have thought twice about their relationship. But the fact was that she was African-American and he was a German soldier who was a wartime captive. It wasn’t the ideal start to a relationship, but somehow, their relationship and their marriage lasted.

I loved this book. It was not just the story of love against all odds, but it was the story of a real marriage with all of the ups and downs that marriage brings.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

 

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Thoughts On Last Night’s Syria Strike

Last night it was announced that US, UK and France successfully hit its targets in Syria. The airstrike was in response to the chemical attack on the citizens of Douma last weekend.

While the airstrike does it’s job in sending a message to the Syrian regime, there is a component missing that is ignored at least by the current administration: the Syrian refugees who are being prevented from entering the United States. So far this year, only 11 Syrian refugees have been allowed to enter the country.

Since you know who took office last year, the parallels to Nazi Germany have been spoken of frequently.

In May of 1930, the St. Louis sailed from Hamburg to Havana. Most of the passengers were Jews, looking for sanctuary from the destruction and prejudice they were experiencing in Europe.

To make a long story short, the ship was stuck in limbo. Only a handful of the passengers were allowed to disembark in Cuba. America refused to open her doors to those who were still on board. As a result, the ship has to return to Europe. While some of the allied countries took a few passengers, the rest were sent back to Germany. 254 of the passengers were killed in the Holocaust.

While I cannot disagree that we need to protect our borders, we need to open our country up to those who are suffering the most. Military strikes send a message, but so does opening the door and welcoming a people who have lost nearly everything.

But then again, this administration, like the one that turned away the St. Louis seems not to care.

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Thoughts On Poland’s New Holocaust Law

Of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, 3 million of them were Polish.

Recently, Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda announced that he would sign the new law that makes it illegal to blame the country from the loss of life and destruction caused by Nazi Germany during World War II. It goes without saying that the law acquits the Polish nation of any guilt that they are part of the reasons that 3 million Polish Jews and 1.9 Poles who were not Jewish were murdered.

I am a Jewish woman of Eastern European descent. Poland is in my blood and my bones. My mother’s maternal grandparent’s emigrated from Poland during the early part of the 20th century. They left family behind who were murdered simply because they were Jewish.

It’s an irrefutable fact that Poland suffered under the Nazi invasion. It is also an irrefutable fact that many non-Jewish Poles tried to help their Jewish neighbors, knowing full well that they were putting their lives and the lives of their families on the line. However, there were also many Poles who either silently supported the Nazis by saying nothing or stepped up and did the Nazis dirty work for them.

As an American, I cannot dictate how another country’s leadership chooses to govern. However, this particular law does not feel right and feels like it spits on the graves of millions of innocents who were killed merely for being who they are.

 

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Is Barack Obama The Neville Chamberlain Of Our Era?

The world of the 1930’s was not an easy one to live in. The Great Depression had caused the economy around the world to collapse. Millions were out of work. The Great War, in which an entire generation of men were killed, was still on minds of those who lived through it.

In Germany, the Nazi Party was in power. The song, Deutschland über alles was heard throughout the country. It would soon be heard throughout Europe.

War was in the air, again.

Hoping to appease the Germans and prevent another war, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain offered the Czechoslovakian area known as the Sudetenland to the Nazis as a peace offering. Instead of appeasing the Germans and preventing war, it opened the floodgates to World War II.

Very recently, President Obama has been insisting that the nuclear deal with Iran is mutually beneficial.

I disagree. Instead of making deals with Iran and hoping that they will keep their end of the bargain, we should be drawing a hard and fast line. That line states that they disarm and hand over all nuclear weapons.

But President Obama knows better or at least, he thinks he does. I just worry if he will finally change his mind when nuclear bombs, courtesy of Iran, hit cities like Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Rome, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and finally, his hometown of Chicago.

Is Barack Obama the Neville Chamberlain of our era? Unequivocally, yes.

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The Book Thief Review

It’s not difficult to find books and movies about Nazi Germany. A good majority of these stories focus on the victims of the Nazis.  A few take a different standpoint, telling the stories of the ordinary Germans who, whether they liked it or not, were forced to live under Nazi rule. 

Markus Zusak’s book, The Book Thief  is about an ordinary young lady and her life during World War II. Liesel Meminger’s brother has recently died. Taken from her mother, she is given to Hans and Rosa Hubermann to raise as their foster daughter. 

She soon learns to read and begins stealing books.  Her foster parents are hiding a Jewish man.  While externally following those around her, her internal growth and beliefs are contrary is what is being taught around her.

I haven’t seen the movie, but I enjoyed this book. It is a little slow, but when it gets going, it’s really good. 

 

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