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Boleslaw Prus And Polish Jews

Bolesław Prus, a central figure in Polish literature and journalism in the second half of the 19th century and the first years of the last century, was drawn into the complexity of the “Jewish question” in Congress Poland, or the Kingdom of Poland. In his essays and novels, he addressed this issue fleetingly or in […]

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Israel’s Moment

For a relatively brief moment after World War II, the Zionist movement and the newly-formed state of Israel enjoyed the unanimous support of the Soviet Union, its East European allies and the United States. This short-lived interregnum was a unique period when, as Jeffrey Herf observes in his superb book, Israel’s Moment: International Support for and Opposition […]

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Reaching For the Heights

Israel and Syria, the bitterest of enemies, have been locked in a state of war for more than seven decades now, notwithstanding several diplomatic attempts by the United States and Turkey in recent years to broker a peace agreement. The last such effort, initiated by the U.S., took place secretly from April 2009 to March […]

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Searching For Peace

Ehud Olmert was Israel’s prime minister for a relatively short time during a consequential era in its turbulent history. A hawk who reinvented himself into a dove on key security issues, he was in office from 2006 to 2009. His predecessor was Ariel Sharon. His successor was Benjamin Netanyahu. During these eventful years, Israel fought […]

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The Cigar Factory Of Isay Rottenberg

What was life like for a Jewish businessman in Adolf Hitler’s Germany? Hella Rottenberg and Sandra Rottenberg provide the answer in their intriguing book, The Cigar Factory of Isay Rottenberg: The Hidden History Of A Jewish Entrepreneur in Nazi Germany, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. The man they have chosen to profile is none […]

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Belonging And Betrayal

European Jews on a fairly considerable scale drifted into the visual arts world as collectors and dealers in the 19th century and became, against all odds, arbiters of taste. Once regarded as outsiders on the margins of high culture, they were suddenly thrust into positions of prestige and influence. Charles Dellheim, a professor of history […]

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Hitler’s American Gamble

The five momentous days from December 7 to December 11, 1941 were game changers, starting with Japan’s surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor and ending with Germany’s reckless and self-defeating declaration of war against the United States. These events transformed World War II into a truly international conflict, write Brendan Simms […]

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The Betrayal Of Anne Frank

Who betrayed the celebrated Dutch Jewish diarist Anne Frank? That’s the burning question Canadian historian Rosemary Sullivan addresses in her deeply-researched, probing book, The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation (HarperCollins). Anne and her family, along with four other Jews fleeing Nazi genocidal tyranny, lived in a claustrophobic attic in Amsterdam’s Jordaan district during […]

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Madam: The Biography Of Polly Adler

When Pearl (Polly) Adler disembarked at Ellis Island in 1913, she was among 13,588 “unaccompanied Jewish girls” from Eastern Europe who had landed in New York City in that year, according to the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society. On the day she left her home in Yanow — a sleepy and changeless village of […]

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The Pogroms of 1918-1921

When World War I ended in 1918, a wave of antisemitic violence erupted in about 500 cities, towns and villages in territory contested by Ukrainians, Russians and Poles. During the course of this blood-soaked era, which coincided with the outbreak of a civil war in the newly-created Soviet Union, almost two-thirds of all Jewish homes […]