What is right and what is easy are two different things, specifically when it comes to making difficult decisions. Sometimes, you have to follow what you believe is right, even when it goes against the grain.
Hurowitz did his homework. Each person is given the full workup. Their tales are told in human terms, revealing the person behind the story. Their bravery is one for the ages. They knew that the Nazis were bloodthirsty and barbaric. And yet, they put the lives of others before themselves. For that, they are true heroes and deserve the title Righteous Among the Nations.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
In the Garden of the Righteous: The Heroes Who Risked Their Lives to Save Jews During the Holocaust is available wherever books are sold.
Before the war, Magda was a kindergarten teacher. After she was transported to Auschwitz, she made the bold (or stupid, depending on your pov) to speak up for her fellow prisoners. Instead of sending her to the gas chambers, she was put in charge of the camp’s female “inhabitants”. Magda was forced to walk the daily line of keeping as many alive as she could while making sure that their captors looked the other way. By honing her intelligence and survival skills, she was able to save her life and the lives of many others.
This book is amazing. It speaks to the inner strength that allows us to live with situations that would otherwise kill us. The images from the Holocaust often show my co-religionists meekly going to their deaths. It is stories like Magda’s that prove that there was still a fight to be fought, even under the most difficult of circumstances.
It also proves once more that women can do anything.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
The Nazis Knew My Name: A Remarkable Story of Survival and Courage in Auschwitz is available where books are sold.
One of the mostly unknown aspects of the Nazi propaganda machine was the Lebensborn project. In order to bring about and raise “racially fit” children, unwed mothers of appropriate backgrounds were sent to homes to prepare for when their babies would enter the world. After the birth, the newborns would then be given to other families to raise as their own.
The tale focuses on three women. Gundi is a university student who is both pregnant and a member of the resistance. The father of Hilde’s child is married, a generation ahead of her, and high up in the government. She is only 18 and has fully immersed herself in the regime’s ideals. Irma is a nurse whose job is to take care of the girls and their babies. After dealing with a deeply personal loss, she needs a new opportunity.
Each will soon learn that not everything is as rosy as it seems to be.
Wow. As I got further along, I kept getting flashes of The Handmaid’s Tale. In both worlds, the next generation is not a cherished member of the family. They are commodities to be used to further the government’s agenda.
I loved it. It is engaging, powerful, and instantly pulled me in. It is a reminder of how quickly we can forget our humanity and the journey that we must go on to reclaim it.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely. In fact, it is one of the best books I have read this year.
Cradles of the Reich: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.
When we think of Holocaust movies, they are rarely light and sunny, for a good reason,
The Grey Zone hit theaters in 2001. It told the story of the Sonderkommandos (along with other prisoners) who led a revolt against their captors in Auschwitz. In an effort to stay alive a little longer, they have led their fellow Jews to their deaths. The moral quandary comes when the men discover that a young girl has survived the gas chambers. They do everything in their power to keep her alive and out of view of the Nazis. Starring Mira Sorvino, David Arquette, Steve Buscemi, and Natasha Lyonne, it is a story of fighting for your life and your people in a world in which death is just a hairsbreadth behind you.
This movie is powerful, heartbreaking, and a ride that is a reminder of how inhumane we can be to our fellow human beings. The filmmakers do not shy away from how violent and brutal “life” in the concentration camp was. In doing so, they speak for both the victims and survivors, whose numbers are dwindling fast.
The only thing that throws me off is that many of the actors speak in their own accents instead of the voices that would have been natural for the characters they are playing.
The second is a few years later, in Bergen-Belsen. Up to this point, Hannah, her father, and her baby sister have received “special treatment” due to having passports to pre-Independence Day Israel (known then as Palestine). When she hears that Anne is alive and in the camp, Hannah has to make a choice. She can either do nothing or try to help Anne, knowing that she could possibly be killed in the process.
We all know Anne’s story. This is an angle that adds to her humanity and universality. It also points out (which is unfortunately still necessary), that the Jews were top on the list for extermination and reminds the viewer that Anne was killed because of the faith she was born into.
The problem is that the drama is a little slow. I understand the reason for the pace, but it could have been picked up a little. By the time we get to the scene in which Anne and Hannah are reunited, I did not feel what I expected to feel.
Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.
My Best Friend Anne Frank is available for streaming on Netflix.
Goldberg responded: “If you’re going to do this, then let’s be truthful about it because the Holocaust isn’t about race.” She added that the Holocaust, which saw an estimated 6 million Jews and 5 million others killed as a result of the Nazis’ racist ideology, was about “man’s inhumanity to man” and said it involved “two White groups of people.”
This morning, she apologized.
In a general sense, Goldberg (who is not Jewish and was given the name of Caryn Elaine Johnson at birth) is right. The Nazis were hyperfocused on race. But they also have one very specific goal: make Europe (and the world by extension), Judenrein. The Jews were a monolith that had to be exterminated. While we cannot ignore that other groups (Roma, LGBTQ, disabled, etc) were on the list, they were not the priority.
As much as I admire Goldberg for her work and her outspokenness on certain subjects, this is a topic in which she knows less than she thinks she does. Had she done some basic research before opening her mouth, this little gaffe may never have happened.
P.P.S Since publishing the initial post, Goldberg was suspended for two weeks. There have been calls in the press for her to be fired. I personally think that firing is not necessary in this case. If she was an out-and-out racist, then firing would be appropriate. But she is ignorant. Ignorance can hopefully be fixed. Believing the lies when you know better is another thing entirely.
America is supposed to be a country where people of every faith, creed and color live in harmony with one another. The key word in this sentence is supposed.
Arthur Jones is running for Senate in Illinois. While he refers to himself as a “white racialist”, anyone else would refer to him as a Nazi.
He is an open anti-Semite, denies the existence of the Holocaust, and has stated in the past that he is of the opinion that African-Americans do not have the same intellectual capacity as Caucasian-Americans.
I’m appalled and offended by the words that are coming out of the mouth of this man. As an American and a human being, I am offended. While only time will tell, I can only hope and pray that the voters in Illinois do what is right and do not vote for Mr. Jones to become their Senator.
In the 1930’s, Leon Lewis appeared to be just another unassuming lawyer from Los Angeles. But in reality, he was the head of a spy ring whose goal was to stop the secret Nazi invasion of America and protect the lives of the city’s Jewish population.
His story unfolds in the non fiction book, Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America, written by Steven J. Ross. Los Angeles was a target not only because it was home base of the entertainment industry, but also for the military sites that were close by. While the law enforcement chose to focus their attention elsewhere, Mr. Lewis and his ring of spies understood how important it was to uncover the truth before it was too late.
While the book is a little slow, it is worth reading until the end. Though the book is non fiction, Mr. Ross found a way to imbue the narrative with tension and danger. It reads like a fictional spy thriller, even with the documented historical facts.
“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein
It is often easier to go along with the crowd rather than make a stand against what you believe is wrong. The question is, when the time comes to make that stand, do you silently go along with the crowd or are you brave enough to make that stand?
In 1930’s Germany, Friedrich Kellner was an ordinary man. Married with one child, he was a mid level government official in a small town. He also vehemently disagreed with everything The Nazis were doing in Germany. While the war raged on and a majority of the German people were easily hypnotized by the Nazis, Mr. Kellner kept a secret diary full of personal insights and news clipping, revealing his disgust and anger for everything that was going 0n around him. His diary and his experience during the war will soon be told in a new memoir, My Opposition: The Diary of Friedrich Kellner – A German against the Third Reich.
Based on the diary found by Robert Scott Kellner, Mr. Kellner’s American grandson, the book is a true testament about how humanity and compassion can still exist, even when dictators rule and citizens are easily swayed to mindlessly follow what government officials are saying and doing. The publishing of the book is also quite timely, especially considering who occupies the Oval Office.
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