In Denmark, Auschwitz survivors lament the rise of anti-Semitism | PBS NewsHour

January marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, but there is growing concern throughout Europe that anti-Semitism is on the rise. Historically tolerant Denmark, for example, has seen a resurgence of neo-Nazi groups opposed to immigration. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports from Denmark, where he met a Jewish Auschwitz survivor worried about her family amid the hate.

Source: PBS NewsHour


TV: Two Worthwhile Series by Hugo Blick

From left, Eve Best, Tobias Menzies, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Genevieve O’Reilly in “The Honorable Woman.” Robert Viglasky/Sundance TV

Hugo Blick, is an English writer, producer, director and occasional actor. I’m familiar with his writing and directing of two TV series in which two different genocides figure prominently.

‘The Honourable Woman’

The principal character in The Honourable Woman is Nessa Stein an Anglo-Jewish businesswoman ably portrayed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Stein’s mother died in childbirth. Her father was murdered in front of her eyes at a tender age by the PLO. She also lost most of her family in the Holocaust. The scars of these traumas show up in a series filled with intrigue.

I had to watch this eight-part series more than once to get all the details. I enjoyed every minute. And the sets and the atmosphere are wonderful. Although Gyllenhaal is an American, she manages a very convincing British accent.

Gyllenhaal won a Golden Globe Award for her performance, and the series was awarded a Peabody Award in 2015. The The New York Times called Gyllenhaal’s performance remarkable in “playing a principled but conflicted woman whose quicksilver personality alters from hour to hour and flashback to flash-forward.”

‘Black Earth Rising’

Black Earth Rising tackles the Rwandan genocide, a mass slaughter of Tutsi, Twa, and moderate Hutu in Rwanda, which took place between April 7 and July 15, 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War. On the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said that the “failure to act to prevent [this] genocide extracted an enormous human toll, tearing apart families and entire communities.”

In Black Earth Rising, Michaela Coel portrays Kate Ashby, a Rwandan who, as a little girl, was rescued from the 1994 genocide by human rights lawyer Eve Ashby who adopted her and raised her in London. Blick again focuses on an orphan subjected to trauma.

NPR said that despite the flaws of this eight-part series “Coel plays Kate with such incandescent intensity that she keeps us riveted anyway. In fact, the whole series is superbly acted.”

The New York Times was less charitable calling the series an “illustrated lecture.” But I think Blick has accomplished far more than that with a challenging and important topic.

The series is available on Netflix in the United States.


Israeli President: “many Poles stood by and even assisted in the murder of Jews.”

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin speaking to his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda:

We remember that Nazi Germany initiated, planned and implemented the genocide of the Jewish people in Poland and other places and that it takes full responsibility for its actions. And we also remember, with distress, that significant assistance came from across all of Europe, and that also demands the acceptance of responsibility.

See also, Haaretz.


ADL: Holocaust Denial is Antisemitism

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, writing in USA Today:

Let’s be clear: Holocaust denial is nothing more than anti-Semitism. It is an attempt to deny the Jewish people their history, one of many tactics used by bigots in the long-running campaign to delegitimize the Jewish people. Deniers claim the Holocaust never happened or that some much smaller number of Jews did die but primarily from diseases. They also claim that accounts of the Holocaust are merely propaganda generated by Jews for their own benefit. Denialism is often used by some of the world’s foremost anti-Semites — among them David DukeAli Khamenei and Arthur Jones — to foment hate against Jews.


Erna Paris: The way we remember the Holocaust will change

Erna Paris writing in The Globe and Mail:

The core learning future generations must acquire, in addition to the facts of Holocaust history, will be to recognize the impulse to genocide, how and why it starts, the propaganda tools it employs to persuade, and the known consequences of silence and indifference. I think this learning must also include the somewhat rueful acknowledgement that most humans are susceptible to propaganda in various degrees, which is why early-stage vigilance is so crucial.

Erna Paris was born in Toronto in 1938. She is the author of seven works of literary non-fiction and the winner of twelve national and international writing awards for her books, feature writing, and radio documentaries. Her book Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History was chosen as one of “The Hundred Most Important Books Ever Written in Canada” by the Literary Review of Canada.


History: ‘Auschwitz Untold’ on History

This History special depicts the Nazi persecution and extermination of European Jews by combining newly colorized footage from the Holocaust and rare, first person interviews with survivors. Seventy-five years after the liberation, these survivors, who were young children at the time of the Holocaust, reflect on the tragic circumstances that lead to their internment and reveal the ways in which they survived the brutal Nazi campaign. Ultimately, a story of incredible courage, faith, and resilience emerges from the darkness of this horrific chapter in history.

The documentary premieres on January 26, 2020.


Statements on the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Remarks at the the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem on January 23, 2020:

I wish I could say that we Germans have learned from our history once and for all, but I cannot say that when hatred is spreading.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

The crimes committed by the Nazis, their deliberate, planned, and as they said, ‘final solution to the Jewish issue,’ is one of the darkest and most shameful pages of modern world history. But we should not forget that this crime also had accomplices. They were often crueler than their masters. Death factories and concentration camps were served not only by the Nazis, but also by their accomplices in many European countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin 


International Holocaust Remembrance Day – January 27

It would be a dangerous error to think of the Holocaust as simply the result of the insanity of a group of criminal Nazis. On the contrary, the Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of hatred, scapegoating and discrimination targeting the Jews, what we now call anti-Semitism.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

January 27 is designated by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Since 2005, the UN and its member states have held commemoration ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. Since 2010, the UN has designated specific themes for the annual commemorations that focus on topics such as collective experiences and universal human rights.

The date marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and is meant to honor the victims of Nazism. The same resolution also supports the development of educational programs to remember the Holocaust and to prevent further genocide.

The UN’s Holocaust remembrance events for 2020 are listed here. This year’s theme is “75 years after Auschwitz –
Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice.”


Slovenian court voids executed Nazi collaborator’s 1946 treason conviction

JTA: — A court in Slovenia voided the treason conviction of a Nazi collaborator who was executed in Yugoslavia shortly after World War II. The Supreme Court of Slovenia, a European Union member on Italy’s eastern border, nullified the 1946 conviction of Leon Rupnik last week, the director of the Jewish Cultural Center of the capital Ljubljana wrote in a statement.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel criticized the decision to annul the 1946 conviction of Rupnik explaining that he headed the Provisional Government of the Nazi-occupied Province of Ljubljana and played a major role in the arrest and deportation of Jews from Ljubljana in 1943 and 1944.

Robert Waltl, director of the Ljubljana JCC said he was “shocked and deeply concerned to learn about the decision.”

Robert Waltl, Director of Jewish Museum and Synagogue in Ljubljana © David Enzel, 2019


George Sakheim, Interpreter at Nuremberg Trials, Dies at 96

The interrogation of Rudolf Höss, Auschwitz’s murderous commandant, had ended for the day at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg in 1946 when George Sakheim, an interpreter at the Nazi war crimes trials, took some private time to jot down Höss’s most chilling words in a small spiral-bound diary. “If we do not exterminate the Jewish race completely now, then the Jewish race will annihilate the German people,”