Categories
Arts

French culture under Nazi occupation

German armoured divisions rolled into Paris on June 14, 1940, inaugurating  Germany’s four-year occupation of France. An armistice, signed eight days later in a forest clearing near Compiegne, where Germany had officially conceded defeat in World War I, carved up France into a patchwork of zones. Despite France’s ignominious capitulation, theatres, cinemas, opera houses, art […]

Categories
Jewish Affairs

Quebec’s Charter Of Values

In unveiling the Charter of Values recently, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois optimistically predicted that it would unite Quebeckers. Much to her distress, it has become a political football, a source of deep division in the province. Judging by a Leger Marketing poll, the charter is supported by only a plurality of Quebeckers, 43% to 42%. […]

Categories
Arts

Watermark Is Visually Stunning

The myriad and inventive ways in which human beings interact with water, the planet’s life-sustaining resource, is the subject of Watermark, which premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Scheduled to open in Toronto on Sept. 27, Watermark, co-directed by Jennifer Baichwall and Edward Burtynsky, is visually stunning. Cinematographer Nicholas de Pencier uses the […]

Categories
Arts

Leon Uris Reconfigured Israel’s Image

Leon Uris, a high school dropout, was 34 when he achieved fame. With the publication of his novel, Exodus, he blazed a path to celebrity. Selling more copies than any other American book since Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, Exodus, published in 1958, was a world-wide sensation, printed in 50 languages. Exodus, transformed into […]

Categories
Jewish Affairs

An Important Milestone

A German official who prosecutes Nazi war crimes has recommended that prosecutors in Germany lay charges against 30 men and women who worked as guards in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, where 1.5 million people, mainly Jews, were ruthlessly killed. “This is really an important milestone in the effort to bring Nazis to justice,” observed Efraim Zuroff, […]

Categories
Middle East

Yom Kippur War Memories

Forty years ago, I saw my first corpse. Or rather corpses. In October of 1973, with the Yom Kippur War raging, I joined an Israeli government press tour of the Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. I was a freelance journalist in Jaffa and jumped at the opportunity to visit […]

Categories
Middle East

The Oslo Accords 20 Years On

Twenty years ago this month, the Arab-Israeli conflict, one of the most protracted and debilitating disputes in the Middle East, finally seemed on the verge of being resolved through peaceful means. On Sept. 13, 1993, Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister of Israel, hesitantly shook hands with his arch nemesis, Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the […]

Categories
Jewish Affairs

Marcel Reich-Ranicki’s “Great Love” Was German Literature

Marcel Reich-Ranicki was an anomaly of the first order, a Polish Jewish Holocaust survivor who launched a stellar career as one of the foremost literary critics in Germany. Reich-Ranicki, who died  in Frankfurt on Sept. 18 at the age of 93, was a man for all seasons. He wrote for Germany’s most influential newspapers,  Die […]

Categories
Middle East

U.S.-Russian Agreement Empowers Assad Regime

It would be foolhardy to cast aspersions on the recent agreement reached by the United States and Russia to dismantle and destroy Syria’s formidable arsenal of chemical weapons. The accord, hammered out by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Sept. 14 and formalized by the United […]

Categories
Arts

Protektor Recreates A Dark Era

Marek Najbrt’s Protektor takes place in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia as the Holocaust in Europe unfolds. Framed by the assassination of Nazi overlord Reinhard Heydrich, this Czech feature film will be screened by the Toronto Jewish Film Society on Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. at the Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Avenue). The […]