Extracts from the Mar 2009 Journal

Failure of a revolution: Germany 1918/19

The passing of Susanne Miller, who died last year at the age of 93, breaks a rare remaining link with the pre-1945 history of German and Austrian Social Democracy. Born Susanne Strasser, the daughter of a Viennese banker of Jewish origin, she had already joined the Socialist camp by the time of the suppression of the Austrian working class by Chancellor Dollfuß in February 1934. After the Anschluss, she went to London, where she secured residence through a marriage of convenience to a Mr Miller, from which she retained only the name. [more...]

Harold Pinter: Words and silences

Harold Pinter, who died on Christmas Eve, was one of the most remarkable literary talents to emerge from Anglo-Jewry and a strong candidate for the title of greatest British playwright of the twentieth century (admittedly in a thin field). His early plays, especially The Caretaker (1960) and The Birthday Party (1958), electrified the British stage with their astonishing ability to render the everyday speech rhythms of lower-class British urban life into poetic and dramatic cadences. Nearly 50 years later, I can still hear in my mind’s ear the intonations with which Donald Pleasence, as the tramp Davies, and Alan Bates, as the unpredictably violent Mick, brought their rambling, apparently incoherent exchanges in The Caretaker to dramatic life at the Duchess Theatre. [more...]

Vienna, March 1938: Prepared for the Anschluss

Anschluss. The annexation of Austria takes place on 12 March 1938. Anxiety, apprehension, hope against hope, intimations of violence and fear. But nothing is definite yet. We are with our neighbours, listening to their radio, tense, wordless, nearing despair. We do not possess a radio of our own. My mother got rid of the only one we ever had because my father continually fiddled with the tuning to find foreign stations. Now we share this Jewish tragedy with our non-Jewish neighbours. [more...]

From illiteracy to remorse (review)

THE READER
starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes
directed by Stephen Daldry
at selected cinemas [more...]

Schnorrers of distinction

Peter Altenberg (1859-1919, born Richard Engländer) had two main weaknesses: he was excessively fond of the fair sex - ranging from ten-year-old schoolgirls to mature prostitutes - and even fonder of money. [more...]

How I missed out on a peerage

I once worked for six months as a song plugger. While it may be the fear haunting every Jewish mother that her budding Rubinstein of a son will end up playing the piano in a brothel, there is a still lower form of musical life: the song plugger. [more...]

Letter from Israel:

A few months ago, a supposedly jocular reference to Jerusalem’s projected Museum of Tolerance in this journal caught my eye. Having been involved in translating some of the material associated with the project, I feel that this is a subject which, in a roundabout way, I am qualified to address. [more...]

Letters to the Editor

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