lady painting


Extracts from the Oct 2008 Journal

Wartime heroines and celluloid heroines

Les Femmes de l’ombre, the original French title of the film Female Agents currently showing in London, invites comparison with Jean-Paul Melville’s 1969 classic L’Armée des ombres (Army of Shadows), one of the finest films about the French Resistance, with a superb performance by Lino Ventura as the principal character and a supporting cast including Simone Signoret and Jean-Pierre Cassel. But where Melville’s film is a gripping, realistic portrayal of the underground struggle of the Resistance against the Gestapo and its accomplices, Female Agents is an implausible piece of hokum in which a team of suitably gorgeous Frenchwomen is recruited in Britain by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to carry out a mission in France on which the success of the D-Day landings may depend. Actually, the film reminded me of the Hollywood war movie The Dirty Dozen (1967, with Lee Marvin), a rousing piece of box-office escapism in which a team of suitably villainous American soldier-convicts is recruited in Britain to carry out a mission on which etc etc. [more...]

German-Jewish refugees on the BBC

August 2008 saw two notable commemorations by the BBC of the German-Jewish refugee experience. On 27 August, BBC TV devoted a programme in the series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ to Jerry Springer, born in North-West London in 1944 to Jewish parents who had fled to Britain from Berlin in 1939. The family stayed in London for ten years before emigrating to the USA. [more...]

The proletariat unleashed: Vienna’s Jews and the comrades

Victor Adler, a Jew, founded the Austrian Social Democratic Party in 1889 and became its first leader. He died in 1918, to be succeeded by Otto Bauer, also a Jew. Indeed, it was Jewish liberal thinking that shaped much of the party’s policies. [more...]

Art notes (review)

‘Hadrian – may his bones rot’ was the Hebrew curse against the Roman emperor during Bar Kochba’s revolt in AD 132. Sixty years after Masada, Hadrian quashed Jewish aspirations for independence in three short years, killing 580,000 people and razing 985 villages. Countless more were starved and suffocated in the caves where they took refuge and whose escape route he blocked. To ensure that Judea would never rise again, Hadrian renamed it Syria-Palestina, deepening the country’s desolation and economic decline. [more...]

Hannele with Schlagobers

The first-night audience greeted one another like the old friends they were and settled back in their chairs. I could hear the hum of anticipation from the other side of the curtain. There were only about 40 of them in the dining room of our house in Hietzing, but they were of the cream - the very Schlagobers - of Vienna. Taking a forbidden peek, I spotted old father Freud, his daughter Anna, Kokoschka, Alban Berg, the violinist Rostal, Adolf Loos, my mother’s aunt Yvette Guilbert, the chanteuse immortalised by Toulouse-Lautrec, Max Reinhardt with a cohort of disciples, and more. They had all been inveigled to watch an amateur performance of Gerhart Hauptmann’s Hanneles Himmelfahrt (Hannele Heavenbound). [more...]

AJR Report

Austrian Remembrance Grant [more...]

Letter from Israel: Creating a dialogue

The Jerusalem Theatre foyer was abuzz with unfamiliar activity when we arrived for our subscription concert with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra a few weeks ago. Tables were being set up with food and soft drinks. Furthermore, unusually large numbers of young people were to be seen in that generally rather staid environment. [more...]

Letters to the Editor

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