Extracts from the Apr 2007 Journal
Researching my article on Herbert Sulzbach for our March issue, I was amazed at the extent to which the history of German prisoners-of-war in Britain has fallen into oblivion. Today, nobody seems to know that there were some 400,000 German PoWs in Britain in 1946, dispersed all over the country in some 1,500 camp units. I even discovered a mini-camp in Brondesbury Park, London NW6, about two miles from where I live, where prisoners from Wilton Park in Buckinghamshire, selected to broadcast on the BBC, were lodged in London. Yet the record of the British in re-educating the PoWs in their charge was thoroughly creditable. The official German history of German PoWs in the Second World War explicitly acknowledges that Britain surpassed all other custodian powers in teaching PoWs to respect democratic values and humane standards of behaviour. [more...]
An exhibition devoted to H.G. Adler, writer on and historian of the Holocaust, is currently showing at the Maughan Library, King’s College London (in the former Public Records Office building, Chancery Lane, until 20 April). The title, ‘I Will Bear Witness’: H.G. Adler and the Holocaust, describes it very aptly. [more...]
There is a debate going on just now about multiculturalism and its discontents. Can Christians and Muslims co-exist harmoniously under the same laws? How many Poles does it take to change an English light bulb? Can Arsenal still call itself an English football club without an Englishman in sight? And where do the Jews fit into all this? [more...]
Visit many a German town, and you could easily overlook Stolpersteine - stumblestones - small brass plaques in the pavement outside house entrances. They are only 10 cm square. You have to bend down to read the dedication etched into the shiny surface: ‘Here lived …’, followed by the person’s name, dates of birth and deportation and, where known, place of death.
Restoring the individual’s identity and place in the world is the inspiration of Cologne artist Gunter Demnig. In 1996 he laid his first Stolpersteine for people who have no grave. The majority are for Jews, but other Nazi victims are also commemorated - homosexuals, the disabled, Roma and political opponents of the Third Reich. [more...]
Henry Sanders has been dubbed the last German Expressionist. Born Helmuth Salomon in Dresden 1918, Sanders came to Britain in 1933 and studied at Hornsey College of Art. Interned and sent to Canada when war broke out, he would sit on the camp’s washroom floor, sketching furiously in charcoal. His tender yet dynamic animal studies recall the strong, pared-down line of an artist faced with the urgency of the moment.
Just when we thought we had enough enemies on the outside, up pop new ones from within! A respectable professor of history produces a book claiming that maybe the medieval blood libels were true and Jews did indeed kill Christian children and use their blood in baking matza. This theory is based on the incontrovertible fact that some Jews confessed under torture. Well, that proves it then … [more...]
The Netherlands art restitution: a reminder [more...]