I rarely read new books about the Holocaust. Spiking European antisemitism, campus harassment of Jewish students in America, and the stabbings in Israel more than fill my quota for bad Jewish news.
But Dina Gold's new study is an unusual sort of Holocaust book, dealing with the miseries of wartime Berlin but also with her family's lives and troubles over a century-and-a-half—beginning in 19th-century Germany, moving to Mandate Palestine, and ending up in England.
The theme of the story is Gold's struggle to recover a large and valuable office building in the heart of Berlin that had belonged to her grandparents, then to the Third Reich, then to the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), and then to the governmentRead more
Geert Wilders, the big-gesture Dutch politician who has made a career out of outspoken enthusiasms and denunciations in a country which is careful of its speech, has begun to take on water. In the June 2010 election, the Freedom party, which Wilders created five years earlier, was the third-biggest vote-getter. And when the free-market conservative Freedom and Democracy party and Christian Democrats formed a government with Wilders’s support, polls indicated that Wilders’s party was the most popular in the country. Between October and December 2011, its support shriveled by a third.Read more
On December 2, George T. "Joe" Sakato died at the age of 94. Enlisting in the Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Sakato was assigned to the segregated 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a fighting force consisting of second-generation Japanese Americans that saw heavy action in Europe. The 442nd became the most highly decorated unit in the war thanks to soldiers like Joe Sakato.
In 1944, deep in the Vosges Mountains of France, Sakato and his platoon were tasked with finding the 1st Battalion/141st Infantry, what became known as the Lost Battalion. In the midst of a German counterattack, Sakato remembers a fellow soldier making the mistake of standing up and getting shot. He died in Sakato's arms.
At which point Sakato gotRead more
A lame duck President Obama, released next year from any lingering political constraints, will make a likely final official visit to Asia to attend the 42nd G-7 summit of leaders of the world’s leading economies. The summit is scheduled to be held in May 2016 in central Japan, not far from Hiroshima.Read more
Many years ago, I struck up a conversation with a Dutch businessman in a hotel in China. In the course of our discussion, I learned that he had been born in Asia, in the Dutch East Indies, today known as Indonesia. I quickly calculated that he was old enough to have been alive during World War II, so I asked what happened to him?
He told me that he and his parents spent the entire war in a Japanese prison camp.
“What was that like?” I asked.Read more
Friday marks the seventieth anniversary of Victory in Europe, or V-E, Day, when the Allies accepted Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender after six long years of war. No one should have savored that day in 1945 more than Winston Churchill, the wartime British prime minister.Read more
Franklin D. Roosevelt, meeting with his son Elliott at the beginning of the Casablanca conference in January 1943, went out of his way to voice his revulsion at the ugliness of British imperialism by referring to his transit through the tiny British colony of Gambia:
Dirt. Disease. Very high mortality rate. . . . Life expectancy—you’d never guess what it is. Twenty-six years. These people are treated worse than livestock. Their cattle live longer!Read more
At least four National Park Service workers are erecting a barricade around the World War II memorial, John McCormack reports:
4 National Park Service employees maintaining WWII memorial barricade. Guess they don't know CPR. pic.twitter.com/wOXeLbPs44— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) October 2, 2013
In an American sports world where football is king, the notion of baseball as our country’s national pastime is a quaint one, a sort of nostalgic throwback to a bygone era, like westerns in the 1940s or heroic literature in the century after the Crusades.Read more
From December 1941 to August 1945, the United States of America joined the other Allied powers and fought against the Axis powers in Europe and the Pacific, during the greatest and most destructive war in all of human history.Read more
“Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape” is at the National Gallery of Art through August 12. The conceit of the exhibit is that Miró was no sequestered surrealist but an artist readily engaged with politics and society—“an artist of his times,” as a wall caption puts it. Visitors reading that caption might well wonder how Miró could be anything but of his “times,” for they surely were interesting ones.Read more
The great tragedy of Yiddish literature is that, at the very moment when it was blossoming into modernity in all genres, its writers, audience, and cultural matrix were completely destroyed by the double knockout punch of German and Soviet anti-Semitism.Read more
Harry Butcher, an aide to General Eisenhower throughout his time as supreme commander in Europe, and gossipy diarist par excellence, reports the following remarks made by the mild-mannered Kansan on July 10, 1944:Read more
As Washington waits for President Obama’s plan on how to revive the economy and pull us out of our 9 percent unemployment rut, a growing chorus on the left is calling for us to go to war—or at least the economic equivalent of war.Read more
How refreshing it is to see the actual lawmaking process finally proceeding — in the light of day — as the secretive closed-door meetings favored by this White House finally recede! This is how things are supposed to work in our republic.Read more
In recent months, THE WEEKLY STANDARD discussed the military service of Hank Greenberg and Bob Feller during World War II. The latter piece addressed an important issue germane to Feller and other major league players who lost playing time during that conflict: “He might have put up even better numbers, were it not for the war. But then, the same might be said of all of that era’s great stars.”Read more
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