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MosheFeingold

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Name: Moshe Feingold
Gender: Male
Hometown: NY, NY
Home country: Poland
Current location: Ruidoso, NM
Member since: Sat Mar 22, 2014, 04:43 PM
Number of posts: 2,831

Journal Archives

The New German Anti-Semitism

New York Times
2019-05-21
By: James Angelos

One of Wenzel Michalski’s early recollections of growing up in southern Germany in the 1970s was of his father, Franz, giving him some advice: “Don’t tell anyone that you’re Jewish.” Franz and his mother and his little brother had survived the Holocaust by traveling across swaths of Eastern and Central Europe to hide from the Gestapo, and after the war, his experiences back in Germany suggested that, though the Nazis had been defeated, the anti-Semitism that was intrinsic to their ideology had not. This became clear to Franz when his teachers in Berlin cast stealthily malicious glances at him when Jewish characters — such as Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice” — came up in literature. “Eh, Michalski, this exactly pertains to you,” he recalls one teacher telling him through a clenched smile. Many years later, when he worked as an animal-feed trader in Hamburg, he didn’t tell friends that he was Jewish and held his tongue when he heard them make anti-Semitic comments. And so Franz told his son Wenzel that things would go easier for him if he remained quiet about being Jewish. “The moment you say it, things will become very awkward.”

As a teenager, Wenzel defied his father’s advice and told a close friend. That friend quickly told his mother, and the next time Wenzel saw her, she reacted quite strongly, hugging him and kissing his face: “Wenzel! Oh, my Wenzel!” Now a stocky, bearded 56-year-old, Wenzel recalled the moment to me on a recent Saturday afternoon. He raised the pitch of his voice as he continued to mimic her: “You people! You are the most intelligent! The most sensitive! You are the best pianists in the world! And the best poets!” In his normal voice again, he added, “Then I understood what my father meant.”

Wenzel Michalski is now the director of Human Rights Watch for Germany. He and his wife, Gemma, an outgoing British expat, live in a cavernous apartment building in the west of Berlin. In their kitchen, Gemma told me that after arriving in Germany in 1989, she often got a strangely defensive reaction when she told people she was Jewish; they would tell her they didn’t feel responsible for the Holocaust or would defend their grandparents as not having perpetrated it. And so, to avoid conversations like these, she, too, stayed quiet about being Jewish.

Recently, the Michalskis’ youngest son became the third generation of the family to learn that telling people he is Jewish could cause problems. The boy — whose parents asked that he be called by one of his middle names, Solomon, to protect his privacy — had attended a Jewish primary school in Berlin. But he didn’t want to stay in such a homogeneous school for good, so just before he turned 14, he transferred to a public school that was representative of Germany’s new diversity — a place, as Gemma described it, where he “could have friends with names like Hassan and Ahmed.”

(Excerpted -- very long and good read.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/magazine/anti-semitism-germany.html

This strikes close to home. My great granddaughter (8th grade, going to 9th) recently had a mild spat of teenage antisemitism directed her way by good friends who had been to our home -- mix of Mescalero Apache, Anglo, Hispanic (native New Mexico, not immigrant), and Lebanese (first generation) kids. They were studying the Shoa and lots of crude comments were made -- picture of Hitler held up and asked "Does this scare you?", some swastikas drawn on a book, and the common insult between the kids is to call someone a "Jew". Been going on for a bit; parents finally informed. With one noted exception, with a kid who no longer speaks to her, it has been resolved. Ironically, my grandson (and his father before them) was the trusted family doctor to all of them. He even delivered a few when they could not make it to the larger city hospital.
Posted by MosheFeingold | Wed May 22, 2019, 03:05 PM (1 replies)

LA Judge Rules Against San Diego Jewish Family Over $30M Painting Looted By Nazis

KCAL9 CBS Los Angeles
May 2, 2019 at 11:34 am

A 15-year court battle has seemingly come to an end after an L.A. federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Spanish museum which acquired a $30 million painting looted by the Nazis is the work’s rightful owner, and not the San Diego Jewish family of a woman who surrendered it 80 years ago to escape the Holocaust.Camille Pissarro’s “Rue Saint-Honore: Afternoon, Rain Effect,” which depicts a 19th century Paris street scene, has been housed at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum in Madrid since 1993. Pissarro created the stunning oil-on-canvas work of a rainy Paris street scene from what he saw out the window of a hotel room in 1897. It is valued at around $30 million. In his 34-page ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter found no evidence the museum knew it was looted art when it took possession in 1993.

According to the lawsuit first filed in L.A. federal court in 2005, the Nazis confiscated the painting from Lilly Cassirer, whose Jewish family owned a prominent art gallery in Berlin in the 1930s. Lilly Cassirer was among the last of the family to flee ahead of the Holocaust. As she tried to leave Germany, a Nazi official forced her to surrender the painting in exchange for the exit visa she needed. Her sister, who remained, was later killed in a Nazi death camp. The painting had been sold and resold after Cassirer and her family fled Germany. Swiss industrialist Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza purchased the painting in 1976 from a St. Louis art collector for $300,000. In 1993, Spain bought Thyssen-Bornemisza’s collection for $350 million to hang at his namesake museum, which repeatedly refused to return the painting to the Cassirer family. Thyssen-Bornemisza died in 2002.

Under Spanish law, Walter ruled, the painting is legally the museum’s. However, Walter also criticized Spain, calling its decision to keep the painting “inconsistent” with international agreements that it and other countries have signed “based upon the moral principle that art and cultural property confiscated by the Nazis from Holocaust (Shoah) victims should be returned to them or their heirs.” Walter, who has seen the case returned to court twice by appeals, conducted the non-jury trial in December. A lawyer for Lilly Cassirer’s great-grandson, David Cassirer of San Diego, didn’t say whether the family plans to appeal.

More at:

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2019/05/02/la-judge-rules-against-san-diego-jewish-family-over-30m-painting-looted-by-nazis/
Posted by MosheFeingold | Thu May 2, 2019, 03:43 PM (9 replies)
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