Haarretz Publishes 18 of the Best Holocaust Films Outside of Schindler’s List


Haarretz, published an article that discusses 18 of the best Holocaust movies other than Schindler’s List. On this list is the movie Denial that was made in 2016, which is a British-American drama about the story of the Deborah E. Lipstadt being sued by David Irving on the grounds of libel. The court case Irving v Penguin Books Ltd case dealt with the accusation of Holocaust denial. The movie discusses how Lipstadt had to prove that Irving’s distorted facts were, in fact, Holocaust denial.

This article gives exposure to some lesser known Holocaust films that are not as popular as Schindler’s List but likely still are very important and have a lot of value. Ths film Denial, in particular, is only two years old but looks very interesting and is about a topic that we had touched on in class.



New Holocaust Literature

Image resultHolocaust survivor, professor emerita of Public Health at the University of Michigan and co-founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Project, Irene Butter says that given the recent uptick in antisemitism, she feels a responsibility, now more than ever, to tell her story. Published on April 7th, 2018, her book, Shores Beyond Shores, tells the story of how “she and her family were ordered out of their Amsterdam apartment, loaded into a cattle car, and sent to a holding camp before eventually being transported to Bergen Belsen”. This book is extremely well timed considering the worry that many survivors are beginning to die and the world is beginning to forget. Considering that a recent poll showed 66% of American millennial did not know what Auschwitz is and  22% didn’t know if they had heard of the Holocaust, survivor testimony may be more valuable than ever.

What I find most interesting about Irene’s story is the striking resemblance to Anne Frank’s story. She and her family were taken from the same city and she was even sent to the same camp as Anne. It is interesting to think that despite such similar stories, they have been told in completely different ways. Anne’s name is now known across the globe, and Irene’s story may never have been told had she not undergone a sudden change in thinking.

Iron and Coal: A Multimedia Rock Opera

On May 2nd, The Guardian posted about the first ever rock opera dedicated to the Holocaust. Lyricist and second generation member, Jeremy Schonfeld,  set out to tell his father’s Holocaust story and of his relation to his father’s story. He says that the rock opera just seemed to capture the full range of the emotional landscape. Here we see that even as we become farther removed from the event, people are still finding new ways to memorialize the Holocaust. The rock opera also highlights the shadow that the Holocaust has cast over future generations. Schonfeld’s piece will debut this week  at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, Maryland.

Iron & Coal.

Schonfeld says that he remembers asking his father what he wished the show would contain and he responded that he wished it to have an element of hope. He believed that other than the year he’d spent in a concentration camp, he’d lived a good life. I believe that here, the artist is not responsible for creating a narrative that provides the perfect balance of hope and despair. Here, the  only responsibility is to honor his father. This is not a piece that purports to explain the Holocaust in its entirety, only to explain his father’s experience. Although the same may be true of films such as Schindler’s List, which only examines a small part of the full story, but has come to symbolize the entirety of the Holocaust for the American people.

The Holocaust is to Jews What Slavery is to Blacks

Kanye West performing in Toronto, Canada, July 2015.

(May 2nd, 2018)

In recent days, rapper Kanye West has made news across political lines. After a dramatic shift in ideology, the rapper came out in support of Donald Trump. In the TMZ news room, he remarked that 400 years of enslavement for blacks in America sounds like a choice. For Jews this was a line of thinking that did not feel foreign as some have blamed the Jews for not fighting back in the Holocaust. The “sheep to the slaughter” trope is a topic we have explored extensively in class. In one of the posts here on the blog, we saw how the Holocaust is being invoked in the gun control movement and counter-movement. Some have remarked that if Jews had not handed over their guns, the Holocaust would not have happened.

In response to a headline reading “The Holocaust is to Jews as Slavery is to blacks” , British comedian David Baddiel, who has a Twitter following of 526,000, tweeted “So. Just a heads up, Kanye: that wasn’t a choice, either”. Regardless of the fact that Kayne West has, by some accounts, gone off the deep end, the larger issue is that he is not alone in his line of thought. The conversations surrounding these posts were full of people saying that they would have fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising or revolted in a manner similar to the nation of Haiti. In truth, arguments such as these are intellectually lazy. These arguments do not account for the fact that in both the Holocaust and Slavery, the victims were often in unfamiliar places, among unfamiliar languages, and unarmed.

The Holocaust in American Fashion

(May 2nd, 2018)

I first came across this post on ABC news and followed it back to a longer article by The Times of Israel.  The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor decided that she would start a line of jewelry bearing the numbers tattooed on Holocaust victims. She got the idea when she decided that she wanted to feel like her grandmother was always with her, and thought back to the fact that her grandmother always started her testimony off by showing the tattoo she received in Auschwitz. Because of prohibitions against tattooing in the Jewish tradition, she believed that the correct way to honor her grandmother would be to wear her number on a necklace. Now  she runs a full line of jewelry, in which a portion of the proceeds go towards local(Jacksonville, FL) Holocaust education.

This post is different from most of the material we’ve read in class because it looks at how individuals are memorializing the Holocaust rather than how the nation is or isn’t. The reading that looked at how Jews in America were memorializing focused specifically on how they were doing it in the immediate aftermath of the war. This clothing line allows both survivors and non survivors to memorialize. An interesting aspect is that the line also allows you to order triangles in any of the colors that could have been assigned in the camps. Given the findings of my classmates who studied the appropriation of Holocaust symbols, I definitely see how this could also be misused.


Robin Williams standup for Spielberg during the making of Schindler’s List


Last week an article was published from the Jewish Daily Forward discussing the a relationship between Steven Spielberg and Robin Williams during the making of Schindler’s List. As we have discussed in class, Schindler’s List is the Holocaust movie. Fittingly, I have always been a big fan of Robin Williams, so when I saw this article I knew I had to post about it.

Unsurprisingly, the article on The Forward discusses how the making of Schindler’s was emotionally draining for Steven Spielberg, as I’m sure it was for other involved in the process. The author underscores, “Full immersion in the facts of mass genocide for months or years on end is psychological torture, whatever accolades or payment one may receive for it.”

Robin Williams sought to attempt to ease some emotional tension through the employment of comic release. Spielberg describes:

“He would do 15 minutes of stand-up on the phone. I would laugh hysterically … he’d always hang up on you on the loudest, best laugh you’d give him. Drops the mic, that’s it.”

The author says, “Williams, who Spielberg knew from directing him in the movie “Hook,” was indispensable,” during the process.

I found this article when looking on the Jewish Daily Forward for possible subjects to write blog posts about. 


Jake Tapper on Stephen Miller: “calling him a Nazi is a bit too far”

Last week Jake Tapper was interviewed on Terry Gross’s NPR show Fresh Air. Tapper is the anchor of The Lead, a news talk show on CNN. His interview with Gross highlighted some of his notable experiences on the show, and other ventures outside of primary career, such as the recent publishing of his new novel.

In the interview some of the key talking points included a conversation between Gross and Tapper concerning their recent respective interviews with James Comey, the former head of the FBI. Another main topic of discussion was interviews Tapper had had with members of the Trump administration, including Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller, notably.

Garnering the most attention was Tapper’s interview Stephen Miller from January. Upon Tapper’s question to Miller concerning Trump’s competency over the “stable genius” tweet, prompted a bombastic tyraid from Miller claiming, ‘fake news’ this,‘fake news’ that, anti-Trump agenda, etc. Not swayed by Miller’s bombardment, Tapper eventually cut him off, and, subsequently, Miller had to be escorted off the premises by security.


I listen to this podcast regularly. I was not expecting this particular interview to invoke the Holocaust, but it did. Following this discussion concerning the Miller interview with Gross, Tapper described his prior relationship with Miller as positive. Additionally, Tapper asserted that he had even defend Miller on certain occasions. He described:  

“Yeah. He was a press secretary on Capitol Hill. And until that morning, I had a fine relationship with him. I mean, I have his number. I have his email. I had even defended him a few times on Twitter and places like that when there were things that I thought had gone too far – like calling him a Nazi I think is a bit too far considering that he’s Jewish.”

The term “Nazi” is loosely used in American political discourse for figures on the left and the right. The employment of this term trivializes its meaning as it relates to the Holocaust, and – as Tapper pointed out – employing it as a label for Stephen Miller, who is Jewish – is quite ludicrous.  


CNN Publishes Holocaust Survival Story

Sonia K and her sister were able to survive the Holocaust by raising their hands when they were asked if they were shoemakers. They were assigned to take apart the shoes of the murdered people. Neither of them was a shoemaker but since they were given a work duty they were able to survive long enough until they were rescued.

Sonia states in the video that, “Life is a very precious thing, and you hang onto it as much and as long as you can.”

It is important that stories like this are published and distributed widely so that people can remember survivor stories and still think about them and some point in their busy schedules. As Holocaust memory because more and more distant these stories that go viral are crucial to maintaining a sense of connection and understanding.

The lie that saved Holocaust survivor's life

"Life is a very precious thing, and you hang onto it as much and as long as you can." Here's the story of how Sonia K. and her sister survived the Holocaust. https://cnn.it/2uRilIf

Posted by CNN on Saturday, April 7, 2018

Neo-Nazi Running for Congress has Holocaust Denial Material on Campaign Website

A Neo-Nazi running for Congress in Illinois just won his Republican primary. On his website, he has a section that discusses Holocaust denial titled “Holocaust?”



This section of his website contains literature that claims to refute the existence of the Holocaust with one titled “The ‘Holocaust’ Racket” saying, “This idea that ‘six million jews,’ were killed by the National Socialist, government of Germany, in World War II, is the biggest, blackest, lie in history.”

This outright denial is not common, especially for people running for office in the United States. It is upsetting to know that material like this exists, let alone is on a campaign website of someone running for Congress. This normalization of Holocaust denial is highly disturbing and must be noticed so that people can condemn it.









A Literal Nazi Is Running for Congress in Illinois

A *LITERAL NAZI* is running as a Republican candidate for Congress in Illinois

Posted by NowThis Politics on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Terry Gross interviews author and son of WWII Rabbi

Last week, Terry Gross interviewed the David Kertzer, the pulitzer prize winner and author of The Pope Who Would Be King. Kertzer’s book discusses pope Pius IX  – who was the pope of the Roman Catholic church in the mid-19th century. Pius was pope during a major transition period in the history of Italy and in the Vatican. As Kertzer discusses, he was the last pope who ruled with king-like power over Rome, prior to the establishment of the modern Italian nation-state in the 1870s.

I listen to Fresh Air regularly. It didn’t cross my mind that this story would relate to the Holocaust – but it did.

A significant portion of Kertzer’s book is dedicated to the treatment of Roman Jewish under papal rule, and, as I found out, the Roman Catholic Popes – over the span of centuries – were responsible for confining Jews to overcrowded and diseased-ridden ghettos in Rome. Later, Kertzer discussed his Jewish identity as the impetus for writing about papal history. When Terry Gross asked if he had personal story or experience that prompted his interest in Rome and the papacy, Kertzer explained:

“Well, there is a personal story here. My father was actually a rabbi. And he was a chaplain to the American troops who landed at Anzio in the beginning of 1944 seeking to liberate Rome, which was then in Nazi hands. And he was with the troops that marched into Rome a few months later in June. And a few days after that, he together with the chief rabbi of Rome conducted the first service in the Great Synagogue of Rome after liberation.

“It was an incredibly dramatic scene because thousands of Jews of Rome had been in hiding. Many, of course, had been carted off to Auschwitz to their murder. So those who remained came out of hiding and looking in the synagogue that evening to see who had survived. And so as I grew up and hearing these stories from my father, this certainly influenced both my love for Italy but also my interest in some of this history.”

I listen to Fresh Air with Terry Gross on a regular basis. I found this interview via podcast.