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From Sofia To Jaffa

My first sustained exposure to Jaffa, a quaint and somewhat rundown neighborhood of Tel Aviv, occurred toward the end of 1971, shortly after I met my wife-to-be, Etti, a student at Tel Aviv University finishing an MA degree in English literature. We met at the British Council Reading Room in one of the university’s libraries. […]

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A Pole In Palestine

Polish journalist Ksawery Pruszynski visited Mandate Palestine in 1933 at the suggestion of his Jewish friend, Mojzesz Pomeranz, a Zionist who would settle in Tel Aviv toward the end of that decade. Pruszynski, a conservative Pole from an aristocratic family hailing from what is now Ukraine, met Pomeranz when they were both studying law at […]

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Jews And Crime In Medieval Europe

Jews, having been accused of killing Christ, were generally perceived as criminals and murderers in medieval and early modern Europe. Prejudiced Christians claimed they engaged in ritual murder and sought to defraud and impoverish their non-Jewish neighbors. “While these accusations were, for the most part, unfounded, in other cases the accusations were not altogether baseless,” […]

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Norway — Hitler’s Northern Utopia

On April 12, 1934, an exceptionally beautiful spring day, Adolf Hitler arrived in Norway aboard the Deutschland, a new pocket battleship, on a brief and unpublicized vacation. It was his first trip abroad since becoming Germany’s chancellor a year earlier. He was accompanied by Admiral Erich Raeder, the commander of the German navy, and Werner […]

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Soviet Jewish Partisans Fought German Troops

Lamentably, many Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust offered little or no resistance. Yet a relatively significant number joined partisan bands and fought back ferociously. Their fighting spirit impressed even some Nazis. After the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto was finally crushed by SS General Jurgen Stroop, Germany’s propaganda minister, […]

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At Wit’s End: The Deadly Discourse Of The Jewish Joke

The often ironic, self-mocking Jewish joke has been endlessly exploited by two diametrically different forces in modern Germany. ¬†Jews have used it as a release mechanism to lighten the heavy burden of rejection and discrimination. Antisemites have resorted to it to belittle and defame Jews. This dichotomy is examined and analyzed by Louis Kaplan — […]

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A House In The Mountains

Thousands of Italian women joined the anti-fascist resistance between September 1943, when Italy surrendered and joined the Allies, and April 1945, when Italy was finally liberated from the fascist regime and the German occupation. During this tumultuous 19-month period, Italian partisans fought not only the Germans, but clashed with Benito Mussolini’s Nazi-supported fascist government in […]

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The Jewish Metropolis

Since the end of the 19th century, more Jews have lived in NewYork than in any other city. And for a time in the mid-20th century, Jews comprised one-third of its population, surpassing the number of Jews residing in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The city’s status as a Jewish center is such that, in […]

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The Nazi’s Granddaughter

As she lay dying in Chicago in 2ooo, Dalia Maria Kucenas, a rag doll of her former self, implored her daughter, Silvia Foti, to finish one last task she had begun. “You have to write the book,” she said shortly before succumbing to cancer at the age of 60. Kucenas, the recipient of a PhD […]

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Saudi Arabia In Transition

Saudi Arabia, the only country created by and named after a family, the Al Sauds, emerged as a unified state only in 1932, but since then it has established itself as one of the most important nations in the Middle East. As David Rundell writes in Vision Or Mirage: Saudi Arabia At The Crossroads (I.B. […]