Leo Baeck 1


Extracts from the Aug 2004 Journal

A far from negligible one per cent (editorial)

Contemporary Israel has a Jewish population of five million. In the 1930s 50,000 peace-time refugees from Nazi Germany and Austria (that is, one per cent of today's total) came to Palestine. [more...]

Ogling the student body

A trivial story that unfolded earlier in the year on the other side of the Atlantic probably passed many of our readers by. It concerned two Jewish-American celebrities, the fortyish feminist Naomi Wolf and her one-time university teacher, the septuagenarian Harold Bloom. Wolf revealed that 20 years previously Bloom had met her à deux ostensibly to discuss literature, but instead had attempted to grope her, and made her nauseous. [more...]

'Hero' and 'villain' nations

During the current Olympic games events linked to Greek place names resonant with history - such as Marathon - remind us that Ancient Hellas defended democracy against Persian despotism. Ever since, the ancient Greeks, and especially the Athenians under the leadership of Pericles, have been universally regarded as a heroic nation. [more...]

Jazz under the Nazis

How did the legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt survive the Nazi occupation of France when tens of thousands of his compatriots were murdered in Auschwitz? The musicologist and dedicated jazz aficionado Ruth Hazeldine (née Goldstein) recounted to Club '43 the story of Django and his long collaboration with the urbane and long-lived French jazz violinist Stephane Grapelli. She played pre-war recordings illuminating the unique sound and intense rhythms of the three guitars, double bass and violin of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. [more...]

Art notes

Psychiatrists warned that as survivors and refugees from Nazi Germany entered their 70s and 80s, memories of past trauma, withheld as they coped with re-adjustment to new patterns of life, would come flooding back Similarly, the work of many artists from this background was expected to vibrate with dark and portentous images surfacing from the past. [more...]

Sights, sounds and smells of 1920s Berlin

Joseph Roth
Granta, £8.99 [more...]

Letter from Israel

It has become a tradition in Israel to celebrate Independence Day (Yom Ha'Atzmaut) by having a barbecue, either in one's own garden or, if one is not so blessed, by decamping to one of Israel's national parks or beaches. Some prefer to be among crowds of people engaging in a similar pursuit, while others prefer the illusion of seclusion in a small forest clearing. Some people even set up their barbecue equipment on the green verges of roads, which seems a dubious pleasure to me, but chacun à son goût, as we say. [more...]