Please look into his eyes, the whole sadness of the world is there…

21/04/2017

He committed suicide in Paris on April 20, Hitler’s birthday. The beginning of “Death Fugue” by Paul Celan (1920 – 1970):

Black milk of morning we drink you at dusktime
we drink you at noontime and dawntime we drink you at night
we drink and drink
we scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie
There’s a man in this house who cultivates snakes and who writes
who writes when it’s nightfall nach Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
he writes it and walks from the house and the stars all start flashing he whistles his
dogs to draw near
whistles his Jews to appear starts us scooping a grave out of sand
he commands us to play for the dance..

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Diavolul in Istorie: Lenin, Hitler si totalitarismul

20/04/2017

Vladimir Ilici Ulianov, devenit Lenin, s-a născut la Simbirsk, in Imperiul Rus, pe 22 aprilie 1870. Adolf Schicklgruber, devenit Hitler, s-a născut la Braunau am Inn, in Imperiul Austro-Ungar, pe 20 aprilie 1889. Fără ei, milioane de oameni nu ar fi fost masacraţi. Tăcerea şi consimţământul, conformismul cel mai obedient şi răbdător, sunt însemnele inconfundabile ale zodiei totalitare. Timp în care diverşi inspectori ai sufletelor, servitorii dictaturilor concentraţionare, se pregătesc să mai adauge vreun cadavru etic pe lunga listă a oribilelor lor cuceriri. Dincolo de atâtea triste abdicări, rămâne însă certitudinea raţiunii ca substrat al speranţei, convingerea că solidaritatea, individuală şi socială, poate învinge noaptea totalitară.

Poate ca nimeni nu a afirmat mai limpede acest lucru decit Hannah Arendt in finalul “Originilor totalitarismului”: „But there remains also the truth that every end in history necessarily contains a new beginning; this beginning is the promise, the only ‚message’ which the end can ever produce. Beginning because it becomes a historical event, is the supreme capacity of man; politically, it is identical with man’s freedom. Initium ut esset homo creatus est—‚that a beginning be made man was created’ said Augustine. This beginning is guaranteed by each new birth; it is indeed every man.” (Ramine totusi adevarul ca fiecare sfirsit in istorie contine in chip necesar un nou inceput; acest inceput este promisiunea, unicul ‚mesaj’ pe care il poate vreodata genera sfirsitul. Inceputul intrucit devine un eveniment istoric, este suprema capacitate a omului; se identifica cu libertatea umana. Initium ut esset homo creatus est­­–,pentru ca inceputul sa se produca a fost creat omul’ a spus-o Augustin. Acest inceput este garantat de fiecare noua nastere; el este de fapt fiecare om”.)

 

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Graveyard, tombs, ashes…

19/04/2017

At the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Polish: Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich), Warsaw, April 2017. POLIN was built on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. The Ghetto Uprising started on April 19, 1943. POLIN is located on a street named after Mordechai Anielewicz, one of the leaders of the Uprising. I visited POLIN together with Beata Czajkowska, Olga Brzezinska, and Marius Stan.

 

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The History of Jewish Honor

19/04/2017
 “The most difficult struggle of all is the one within ourselves. Let us not get accustomed and adjusted to these conditions. The one who adjusts ceases to discriminate between good and evil. He becomes a slave in body and soul. Whatever may happen to you, remember always: Don’t adjust! Revolt against the reality!”. Mordechai Anielewicz was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1919. After finishing secondary school Anielewicz joined the Zionist movement and became a full-time organizer of the movement. When the German Army invaded Poland in September 1939, Anielewicz managed to escape to Romania.

In October 1939, the Schutz Staffeinel (SS) began to deport Jews living in Austria and Czechoslovakia to ghettos in Poland. Transported in locked passenger trains, large numbers died on the journey. Those that survived the journey were told by Adolf Eichmann, the head of the Gestapo’s Department of Jewish Affairs: “There are no apartments and no houses – if you build your homes you will have a roof over your head.”

In Warsaw all 22 entrances to the ghetto were sealed. The German authorities allowed a Jewish Council (Judenrat) of 24 men to form its own police to maintain order in the ghetto. The Judenrat was also responsible for organizing the labour battalions demanded by the German authorities. Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto were so bad that between 1940 and 1942 an estimated 100,000 Jews died of starvation and disease in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Anielewicz returned to Warsaw where he attempted to organize resistance to the Nazi occupation and in November 1942 was elected as chief commander of the Jewish Fighter Organization in the ghetto.

Between 22nd July and 3rd October 1942, 310,322 Jews were deported from the Warsaw ghetto to extermination camps. Information got back to the ghetto what was happening to those people and it was decided to resist any further attempts at deportation. In January 1943, Heinrich Himmler gave instructions for Warsaw to be “Jew free” by Hitler’s birthday on 20th April.

Anielewicz now played a prominent role in organizing resistance in Warsaw. On 19th April 1943, the Waffen SS entered the ghetto. Although though only had two machine-guns, fifteen rifles and 500 pistols, the Jews opened fire on the soldiers. They also attacked them with grenades and petrol bombs. The Germans took heavy casualties on the first day and the Warsaw military commander, Brigadier-General Jürgen Stroop, ordered his men to retreat. He then gave instructions for all the buildings in the ghetto to be set on fire.

As people fled from the fires they were rounded up and deported to the extermination camp at Treblinka. The ghetto fighters continued the battle from the cellars and attics of Warsaw. On 8th May the Germans began using poison gas on the insurgents in the last fortified bunker. About a hundred men and women escaped into the sewers but the rest were killed by the gas, including Mordechai Anielewicz. See More

 

 

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Please buy some cigarettes: Holocaust Remembrance Day

27/01/2017

 

Come buy some cigarettes!

The night is cold, and all around is dark;

A boy stands there and looks around;

Only a wall protects him from the rain.

In his hand is a little tray,

And his eyes beckon everyone who goes by.

I no longer have the strength left

To walk about the streets;

I’m hungry, disheveled and wet from the rain.

I shlep around from the day’s beginning;

Nobody wants to do business with me.

They all laugh and make fun of me

Come buy some cigarettes!

They’re dry, the rain did not get to them.

They’re real cheap, it’s true;

Buy them and have pity on me;

Save me from hunger…


S-a stins din viata un marturisitor: In memoriam Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)

03/07/2016

Motto: “Eu cred că orice exilat trebuie să se identifice cu Elie Wiesel.”–Ioan Petru Culianu

A stiut ce inseamna agonia, durerea, jalea. Si-a pierdut familia in Holocaust. A supravietuit pentru a depune marturie. A stiut ca garantiile civilizatiei moderne sunt mereu amenintate de barbarie. A inteles ca barbaria poate lua chipul progresului tehnologic. Nu a nutrit iluzii despre niciuna dintre intruchiparile totalitarismului. A scris un roman despre noaptea poetilor asasinati in urma simulacrului de proces impotriva Comitetului Evreiesc Antifascist organizat de Stalin si clica sa. A facut din apararea memoriei o datorie existentiala. In 2003, Elie Wiesel a prezidat Comisia Internationala privind Holocaustul din Romania. Institutul aflat in subordinea premierului Romaniei care se ocupa de originile, dinamica si efectele Holocaustului din Romania ii poarta numele.

Venea din mica burghezie a evreimii transilvane. O categorie sociala si etnica anihilata de nazism. La Sighet, am vizitat acum cativa ani Casa Memoriala “Elie Wiesel”. Este la doi pasi de Muzeul Memorial al Victimelor Comunismului. Locuri de memorie pe o harta insangerata. Aparator al tuturor prigonitlor, un umanist dintr-o specie tot mai rara, Elie Wiesel a primit Premiul Nobel pentru Pace. L-a binemeritat. Sa-i fie memoria eterna! Omenirea ii va fi de-a pururi indatorata…


Totalitarismul sub lupa: Hannah Arendt si Sigmund Neumann

21/06/2016

On his FB page, political scientist Marius Stan publishes a picture with two major students of totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt and Sigmund Neumann, accompanied by an excellent commentary: “Neumann’s groundbreaking book “Permanent Revolution: The Total State in a World War” (1942) deals with the structural framework which distinguishes modern dictatorship from the 19th century state. He was among the first scholars to discuss the role and the figure of the political lieutenant (or, in his own words, “the forgotten man”). SN was fully committed to the comparative study of politics (His credo: “To know thyself, compare thyself to others.”)  Nowadays, the city of Dresden, this powerful symbol of destruction and war, has the privilege to host two important institutions: Hannah Arendt Institute for the Research on Totalitarianism & Sigmund Neumann Institute for the Research on Freedom and Democracy. Neumann tackled the concept of “totalitarianism” quite early (“always on a march that never ends, incessantly at war with a world that it can not possess,” therefore its character of “permanent revolution”), Arendt added a much needed philosophical touch and turned it into a key-concept for the modern political science…”

Hannah Arendt and Sigmund Neumann, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.