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Palestine — The Reality

On the eve of World War II, British journalist J.M.N. Jeffries wrote Palestine — the Reality: The Inside Story of the Balfour Declaration, 1917-1938, a book that reflected his views of the endemic  turmoil in Palestine. A foreign correspondent of The Daily Mail in London, he had covered World War I and the tensions between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, […]

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A Wartime Haven In Jamaica

As improbable as it may sound, the Caribbean island of Jamaica was a wartime haven for European Jewish refugees fleeing fascism and antisemitism. Jamaica, then a British colony, began admitting imperilled Jews in 1938 and continued welcoming them through the early 1940s. This little-known footnote in the annals of the Holocaust could easily have fallen […]

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Yitzhak Rabin — An Incisive Appraisal

The shock of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination on November 4, 1995 has worn off, but his presence is still keenly felt in Israeli politics. Twice prime minister, Rabin paid dearly for his moderate beliefs. Murdered by Yigal Amir, an acolyte of the right-wing national religious camp, Rabin was a taciturn, shy, reflective person who made the […]

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Such A Beautiful Sunny Day

The Holocaust in Poland unfolded in three horrific phases. First, Jews were herded into crowded ghettos and subjected to starvation and disease. Second, in Operation Reinhardt, Jews were annihilated on an industrial scale in German extermination camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor. Third, Jews who had fled into the countryside in the desperate hope of finding […]

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The Weapon Wizards

Israel has come a long way from the tenuous days when it was habitually short of weapons to defend its vulnerable borders. And while Israel is still dependent on the United States, its chief ally, for its supply of state-of-the-art fighter jets, transport planes and helicopters, the Israeli arms industry has grown tremendously in the […]

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Jewish Youth And Identity In Postwar France

As Vichy police and German forces rounded up Jews in France, deporting them to Nazi concentration camps in Poland, thousands of desperate Jewish parents placed their children with non-Jewish families or Christian institutions, hoping they would be reunited with them after the war. Thirty thousand children survived the Nazi occupation. One-third of them, having been hidden, […]

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The Right Wrong Man

It was “the most convoluted, lengthy and bizarre criminal case to arise from the Holocaust,” writes Lawrence Douglas, a professor of law at Amherst College in the United States, in The Right Wrong Man.  Douglas is referring to the trials and tribulations of John Demjanuk, who was directly involved in one of the most high-profile […]

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The First To Be Destroyed

On September 15, 1939, two weeks after Germany’s invasion of Poland, German troops occupied the small town of Kleczew, population 2,996, and proceeded to impose a reign of terror on its 746 Jewish inhabitants. Some two years later, they were systematically murdered in a nearby forest. The Jewish community of Kleczew, as well as Jewish communities in […]

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Shifting Sands: Turmoil In The Middle East

The tumult currently gripping the Arab world is fundamentally rooted in events of a century ago. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire, followed by the political and territorial order that suppplanted it, have been the major causes of the instability that besets the Middle East today. This is the thesis propounded by Avi Shlaim in […]

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Dachau — A Laboratory Of Terror

Dachau was an “academy of violence,” as Christopher Dillon puts it in his chillingly informative book, Dachau & the SS, published by Oxford University Press. The first camp of its kind in Germany, it was a template for the Nazi concentration camp system — “a national school of violence” for the personnel who would go […]