Monthly Archives: December 2016

Go Watch This Documentary About A Holocaust Survivor’s Violin

[From Forwards]

“Joe’s Violin” (2016), opens with a shot of the titular Joseph Feingold, tuning his violin. He hasn’t played in “8-10 years,” and his fingers look unsteady as he holds the instrument’s neck. After tinkering for a bit, Joseph puts down the violin and asks “how long can you live with memories?”

Joseph, one of the two subjects of the documentary, is a nonagenarian Polish Holocaust survivor living in New York. In 1939, just after the Nazi invasion of Poland, Joseph and his father fled Warsaw for the Soviet controlled eastern portion of the country. Upon arriving in Eastern Poland, the two were arrested by the Soviet police and taken by train to a Siberian labor camp (aside from the destination, Joseph’s account of his deportation sounds almost indistinguishable from the stories of Nazi round-ups). When Joseph and his father fled to eastern Poland, they left behind Joseph’s mother and two brothers – only one of Joseph’s brothers, who was sent to Auschwitz, survived the war.

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German Panel Rules That a Rare Violin Was Looted by Nazis

[From The New York Times]

In its first ruling on a matter involving a musical instrument, a German panel established to mediate disputes over cultural objects looted during the Third Reich has decided that a Nuremberg foundation should compensate the heirs of a man whose prized 18th-century violin is thought to have been confiscated by the Nazis or lost following a forced sale.

In its decision Wednesday, the Limbach Commission said the violin, created in 1706 reportedly by Cremonese violin-maker Giuseppe Guarneri (who is known as ‘filius Andreae’), found that the heirs of Felix Hildesheimer were entitled to a remedy.

Mr. Hildesheimer, a German Jew who had run a music business in Speyer, Germany, purchased the Guarneri from Stuttgart violin dealer Fridolin Hamma in 1938. Unable to escape from Nazi Germany, Mr. Hildesheimer committed suicide in 1939 and his family’s property was confiscated.

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הערט „אוצרות פֿונעם רות רובין אַרכיוו‟ | Hear Treasures from the Ruth Rubin Archive

יאָרצענדליקער לאַנג האָט די אָנגעזעענע ייִדישע ענטנאָמוזיקאָלאָגין רות רובין (1906־2000) אינטערוויוירט ממש טויזנטער ייִדן וואָס זענען אויפֿגעוואַקסן אין דער אַלטער היים, כּדי צו זאַמלען בײַ זיי פֿאָלקסלידער

במשך פֿון לאַנגע יאָרן האָט זי רעקאָרדירט די דאָזיקע אינטערוויוען, אין וועלכע מע זינגט די לידער אויף אַ קול. די רעקאָרדירונגען האָט מען געמאַכט אויף טאַשמעס, וואָס זענען געלעגן אין די „ייִוואָ‟־אַרכיוון אין ניו־יאָרק; אין דער „נאַציאָנאַלער ביבליאָטעק פֿון מדינת־ישׂראל‟, און אַפֿילו אין אָטאַוואַ, קאַנאַדע

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War memorials have failed – we have forgotten the chaos of fascism

[From The Guardian]

“ I believe my Holocaust memorial in Berlin could no longer be built today,” the architect Peter Eisenman has told Die Zeit. Eisenman says that Europe is now “afraid of strangers”, and he fears that the rise of xenophobia and antisemitism in Europe would make it impossible to build monuments like the vast field of grey sepulchres that he designed as Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, inaugurated in 2005 close to the site of Adolf Hitler’s bunker.

He may well be right – yet surely this is the wrong end of the book to start at. The real question is why Holocaust memorials have done so little to prevent the return of Europe’s far-right demons.

In Vienna, as in Berlin, the victims of the Holocaust are remembered by public art. Rachel Whiteread’s Judenplatz Holocaust memorial is a sealed library of closed books, each book suggesting a whole life we cannot recover.

Since its unveiling in 2000, it has become, like Eisenman’s Berlin memorial, a sombre tourist attraction and civic symbol. Yet Austria has just come perilously close to electing a president whose extreme-right Freedom party has Nazi roots and espouses xenophobia. Norbert Hofer was defeated – good – but how can anyone at all be drawn to far-right politics in a Europe that remembers its history? If memorials like those created by Whiteread and Eisenman have any value, it should surely be to make race hate an utterly marginal force, and far-right extremism the smallest of minorities. Instead, in its new guise of “populism”, the anti-liberal right is running rampant.

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