web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Alan Dershowitz: Suppressing Ugly Truth for Beautiful Art

Portrait of Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso inside Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Portrait of Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso inside Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

The Metropolitan Museum in New York, in its current exhibit on the collection of Gertrude Stein and her family, has made a decision to suppress the ugly truth about her collaboration with Nazism during the German occupation of France. Anyone walking through this beautiful exhibit of the Stein family’s exquisite tastes in art would learn nothing about Gertrude’s horrendous taste in politics and friends. Stein, a “racial” Jew according to Nazi ideology, managed to survive the Holocaust, while the vast majority of her co-religionists were deported and slaughtered. The exhibit says “remarkably, the two women [Stein and her companion Alice Toklas] survived the war with their possessions intact.” It adds that “Bernard Fay, a close friend…and influential Vichy collaborator is thought to have protected them.” That is an incomplete and distorted account of what actually happened. Stein and Toklas survived the Holocaust for one simple reason: Gertrude Stein was herself a major collaborator with the Vichy regime and a supporter of its pro-Nazi leadership.

According to a new book entitled Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Fay and the Vichy Dilemma, by Barbara Will, Stein publicly proclaimed her admiration for Hitler during the 1930s, proposing him for a Nobel Peace Prize. In the worst days of the Vichy regime, she volunteered to write an introduction to the speeches of General Phillipe Petain, the Nazi puppet leader who deported thousands of Jews, but who she regarded as a great French hero. She wanted his speeches translated into English, with her introduction, so that Americans would see the virtues of the Vichy regime. In that respect she was like other modernist writers, such as Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot who proudly proclaimed their pro-Fascist ideology, but Stein’s support for Fascism was more bizarre because she was Jewish.

Stein’s closest friend, and a man who greatly influenced her turn toward fascism was Bernard Fay, who the Vichy government put in charge of hunting down Masons, Jews and other perceived enemies of the State. Fay was more than a mere collaborator as suggested by the Met exhibit. He was a full blown Nazi operative, responsible for the deaths of many people. After the war, when the horrendous results were known to all, Gertrude wrote in support of Fay when he was placed on trial for his Nazi war crimes. Perhaps an artist should be judged without regard to his or her political affiliations or actions, but the Met exhibit purports to present the story of the Stein collection and of Gertrude’s life in France. It ends with a misleading description of her activities during the war years. It would perhaps be different if this were only an exhibition of the Steins’ art collection rather than a biographical account of her family’s life in France. By withholding from the viewers an important part of the truth, the Met is engaging in a falsification of history.

Why would the Met do that? Presenting a complete picture—large warts and all—and allowing viewers to judge for themselves as to what to make of her collaborations, would be far more interesting and educational.

When museums put on exhibitions, they often tend to glorify those whose work they are exhibiting. Sometimes they fail to convey an accurate historical picture. What the Met is doing is different. By offering a false explanation of how Stein and Toklas “remarkably” survived the Holocaust, while living in a town from which dozens of Jewish children were deported to death camps, the Met has distorted the history of the Holocaust and failed to point a finger of blame at collaborators, such as Stein, who made it possible.

The Met is a great museum. I love to go there. But when I visited the Stein exhibit, I was disappointed. There is still time for the Met to make it right. It should have a statement describing, fully and accurately, Stein’s collaboration. And it should offer for sale at the exhibition shop Barbara Will’s book, exposing Gertrude’s pernicious collaboration, alongside the books currently on sale, all which glorify the Steins.

Before publishing this article, I wrote to the museum inquiring about the omission and proposing some changes. They justified the omission by arguing that the exhibit was primarily about the Steins’ art and not about Gertrude’s politics, but they agreed to sell Barbara Will’s book. They have not yet responded to my request to include in the exhibit itself some information about Gertrude Stein’s ignoble role in the Nazi occupation of France. Unless they do, those who see the exhibit will continue to be misinformed about the ugly truth of a woman with beautiful art.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Alan Dershowitz: Suppressing Ugly Truth for Beautiful Art”

  1. Penny Kanefield says:

    Pollard……………….Time's up……………….

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The White House will free Pollard but bar him from traveling to Israel for five years.
US Won’t Let Pollard Out of Country for Five Years
Latest Indepth Stories

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

“I hold the woman’s place over that of men in every fundamental aspect of public and private life.”

More Articles from Alan M. Dershowitz
obama cartoon hiding nuke from bibi

Burden of proof’s on Obama to demonstrate the deal “prevents” Iran from “obtaining a nuclear weapon”

All Options Are On the Table

Revealing intelligence assessments that suggest Netanyahu is bluffing only encourages the Iranians.

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

“Continuum of Civilianality:” Who is a civilian and who is a combatant is often a matter of degree.

Re-posted with permission from The Gatestone Institute How many times have you heard on television or read in the media that the Gaza Strip is “the most densely populated area in the world”? Repeating this statement, however, does not make it true. There are dense parts of Gaza, especially Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and Khan […]

Qatar’s wealth and Turkey’s size should not preclude us from telling it as it is: Qatar and Turkey are among the worst villains in the Gaza tragedy.

Many American experts—diplomatic, nuclear, political, economic—believe that even the risks to the United States exceed the benefits.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/alan-dershowitz-suppressing-ugly-truth-for-beautiful-art/2012/05/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: