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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Warsaw’

Coming to Jerusalem: Louis C.K. and his Jewish Root

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

The paternal grandfather of Louis Székely (pronounced se-kei), a.k.a. Louis C.K., Dr. Géza Székely Schweiger, was a Hungarian Jewish surgeon who immigrated with his family to Mexico, where he met C.K.’s paternal grandmother, Rosario Sánchez Morales. Morales was Catholic, and Schweiger agreed to raise their children Catholic, but, according to C.K., his grandfather remained “quietly Jewish.” C.K. is Catholic on his Irish American mother’s side. On August 18 C.K., possibly the most influential American standup comedian living today, will give two back-to-back concerts in Jerusalem’s Payis Arena. According to the show’s promoters, demand has been so great, they added more seats to the arena, with tickets going for as much as $180.

The gifted comic, whose capacity for self-deprecation and intimate exposure is extraordinary, is not focused on Jews and Jewish issues, but he has included enough comments over the years about Jews and things Jewish to reveal an intriguing understanding of both being and observing the most tense minority group in America.

In his 2010 special, “Hilarious,” Louis C.K. noted that the word “Jew” is “the only word that is the polite thing to call a group of people and the slur for the same group. … It’s the same word, just with a little stank on it, and it becomes a terrible thing to call a person.”

One of C.K.’s funniest Jewish-related jokes has him watching Schindler’s List on TV, at the point where the Warsaw Ghetto Jews are marched through the streets, and a little girl yells out at them: “Good bye, Jews!” C.K. is convinced the vignette was real, someone had probably told director Steven Spielberg about it and he decided he wanted it in the movie. And so, knowing how films are made, C.K. is convinced there’s an auditions tape out there, of fifty adorable little girls yelling “Good bye, Jews” at the camera.

At the 2011 Louis C.K. concert Live at the Beacon Theater, the comic opened with a lengthy request that the audience not use their flash cameras during the show, and as he is making these pre-show requests, he adds, “What else… No Jews, I think they said that earlier, but they told me I have to say it. Jews aren’t allowed. If you’re Jewish, this is a good time to leave, If you see someone Jewey looking, please tell an usher and they will…” at which point he turns to a member of the audience, saying, “Sir, come on, let’s go…”

Like all comedy, context here is everything: while the very same lines from French Black anti-Semitic comic Dieudonné M’bala M’bala could land him in jail, no one suspects Louis C.K. of anti-Semitism, despite the obvious edginess of his material. Because C.K. does not single out Jews for his poking, his references to things Jewish are part of a rich tapestry of social and personal references. In fact, one has to dig far and wide to come up with actual Louis C.K. Jewish jokes.

Last Friday night, at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY, C.K. talked about being revolted by his uncircumcised non-Jewish father. Also that night, according to the NY Daily News, C.K. did minority accents which were pretty insulting, about which he commented: “Stereotypes are harmful, but the voices are funny.” And it’s that quality of being an equal opportunity ethnic insulter that permits C.K. to include Jews in his circle of often dark humor.

JNi.Media

Drying Polish River Reveals Ancient Jewish Tombstones

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

(JNi.media) Polish rivers’ water levels have fallen to record lows this summer, revealing the remains of even more of that country’s history of misery and suffering, including Jewish tombstones and long dead Soviet fighter pilots and their plane, AP reported.

“The Vistula River is hiding no end of secrets. They are everywhere,” said Jonny Daniels, head of a Jewish foundation called From the Depths, who’s been examining the shallow parts of the Vistula river—which runs through the capital city of Warsaw—discovering stone fragments adorned with Hebrew lettering.

“From the Depths was set up to bridge the past to the future,” according to Daniels’ website.​ “The past has brought some tremendously dark and difficult times. However, rather than forget these difficult times we must learn from the past in order to shape and build a better future.” The organization’s mission is to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and “to give a name to those who were brutally murdered in the dark days of the Holocaust and to continue the message to the next generations of those who survived.”

Two weeks ago, according to AP, a man who had spotted those fragments of Jewish tombstones took Daniels there. Some have already been taken, but a few fragments are still lying on the riverbed. Daniels is planning to take volunteer students there to search and return as much as they can find to the Brodno cemetery in Warsaw’s Praga district, on the “Jewish” side of the city.

“Jewish history is buried in the Vistula,” Daniels told AP.

The Brondo was the resting place of some 300,000 Jews, but only 3,000 tombstones remain there today. Some of the original stones were taken to be used as building materials or to reinforce the river banks.

JNi.Media

Rivlin: Poland ‘Breeding Ground for Soul of Jewish Nation, Grounds to Largest Jewish Cemetery’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

At an emotional ceremony in Warsaw, Poland today (Tuesday, Oct. 28), Israeli President Reuven Rivlin inaugurated the Museum of the History of Polish Jews together with his counterpart, Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski.

It was at Komorowski’s invitation that Rivlin participated in the opening of the museum, which spans the history of the Jews of Poland throughout one thousand years of the community’s life in the country.

The president also laid a wreath in memory of the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on the street at the entrance to the museum.

“I do not stand here today as an individual, but rather as the representative of an entire nation,” Rivlin said in his speech, “a nation whose collective journey delves deep into the foundations of Jewish and human existence and into the depths of evil.

“As a Jew, even if you were not born in Poland, the very name, Poland, gives rise to a shuddering in your body and a longing in your heart. This country was breeding ground for the soul of the Jewish nation, and unfortunately, also grounds to the largest Jewish cemetery.

“Here the Jewish town, the shtetl, was born and here it died, converged unto itself in ghettos until it was ultimately murdered by the Nazis.

“Jews fought here as soldiers carrying weapons in the King’s army, decorated heroes of the Polish Army; and here too they marched to their deaths wearing yellow Stars of David, raising the banner of revolt of the Warsaw Ghetto… We can never think of Poland with equanimity. “Even if the Jews were disconnected from Poland it is difficult to impossible to disconnect Poland from the Jews. A history so rich, so full and so painful cannot be erased.

“Jewish history did not begin in Warsaw, and doesn’t end at Auschwitz. Auschwitz is its horrible pit, a horror of humanity, but the Jewish journey does not start there, just as it does not end there.

“The Jewish journey begins in the Land of Israel and it is there that we always strive to return to, against all odds and restrictions.

“There are those who mistakenly think that the State of Israel is compensation for the Holocaust. There is no greater mistake. The State of Israel is not a compensation for the Holocaust. The State of Israel was established in its own right.

“We forever remain aware of the danger,” he added. We build our future with eyes wide open and alert. We do not belittle threats. The Holocaust continues to serve as a warning sign against non-banal evil. Nevertheless, the horrors of the past and the threats of the present will not dictate our lives nor shape the lives of our children, and won’t dim the hope for a creative and prosperous future.

In my country, we have a bright red floor called ‘blood of the Maccabees.’ Legend has it that wherever a freedom fighter for Israel fell, a flower grew, red as his blood. Even in the world of Nazi evil, flowers continued to bloom. Among the ruins and rubble through the evil of hatred, betrayal and destruction, flowers bloomed.

These flowers are the Righteous Among the Nations, human freedom fighters who wrote a chapter on human dignity in the shared history of the nations. In Poland, they say, many such flowers bloomed.

“I cannot conclude without thanking all those who didn’t stand aloof, who saved lives that are worlds unto their own,” the president added, praising the Righteous Among the Nations, gentiles who saved Jews from the Nazi murderers.

“Thank you for your courage. You have a large warm family in Israel: grandparents, parents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who owe you their lives.”

Hana Levi Julian

President Rivlin to Inaugurate Jewish Museum of Warsaw

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

President Reuven Rivlin is set to inaugurate the Jewish Museum of Warsaw next month during his first state visit to Poland.

Rivlin was invited by his counter part, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, with whom he will meet together with other senior state officials.

Rivlin is also scheduled to address Poland’s governing parliament during his visit, in Hebrew.

Israeli high school students travel to Poland every other year to participate in the “March of the Living.” The pilgrimage honors the fallen Jews who were murdered at concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Hana Levi Julian

Polish Righteous Gentile Donates Memorabilia to Jewish Museum

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

A Polish historian and statesman who was imprisoned at Auschwitz and recognized as a Righteous Gentile for saving Jews in World War II has donated a collection of his memorabilia to a museum in Poland.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 91 and a  former member  of the underground “Żegota” Polish Council to Aid Jews during the Holocaust, presented his donations to the new Museum of the History of Polish Jewish in Warsaw at a ceremony on Wednesday.

He also has twice served as Poland’s foreign minister and has held other senior positions and received many international honors.

The museum said the memorabilia include his Righteous among Nations medal, which he received in 1966; a certificate of his planting of a tree in honor of “Żegota” at Yad Vashem; his honorary citizenship of the State of Israel; the Elie Wiesel Award, which he received this year from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington; an original ring made in the Litzmannstadt (Lodz) Ghetto; as well as various books and historical documents from the period of World War II.

“One never knows what will and what will not pay off in life, but one always knows what is worth doing,” he said during the ceremony, recalling his experience in “Żegota.”

JTA

Holocaust Researcher Yisrael Gutman Dies at 90 in Jerusalem

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Warsaw Ghetto survivor and researcher Israel Gutman has died in Jerusalem at the age of 90. He was born in Warsaw, where he was wounded in the Jewish uprising against the Nazis in 1943. He is survived by two daughters and three grandchildren.

Gutman survived three concentration and death camps, including Auschwitz, but his parents and all of his brothers and sisters died or were killed in the Ghetto. He survived the January 1945 death march from Auschwitz to Mauthausen, where he was liberated by U.S. forces.

Gutman moved to Israel after the war and spent the rest of his life researching the Holocaust. He was the chief historian at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and was a professor of history at Hebrew University.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Holocaust Hideout in Warsaw Destroyed by Polish Couple

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

A Polish couple pleaded guilty to the desecration of a historic site for destroying a Holocaust-era Jewish hideout in the Warsaw apartment the couple was renting. The hideout was made into an official historic monument in 1999.

A Holocaust hideout built by a Warsaw ghetto inmate was destroyed by a polish couple who pleaded guilty to the desecration of historical property.

Dariusz P. and Elzbieta P. were indicted after their actions were discovered in 2012. They had removed the wardrobe hideout to make space for a kitchen. The original hiding place was built by Warsaw ghetto inmate Leon Jolson.

He and his wife, who survived the Holocaust, hid their family there from 1942 until September 1944, but his mother died while in hiding, the Associated Press reported.

JNS News Service

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/holocaust-hideout-in-warsaw-destroyed-by-polish-couple/2013/09/12/

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