Timely lessons of the past century


“Official history has always been the history of great murderers, and it is not only today that Cain is killing Abel. But it is only today that Cain is killing Abel in the name of logic and then claiming the ribbon of the Legion of Honor.” (Albert Camus, quotation retrieved in the Bertram Wolfe Collection, Hoover Institution Archives, July 2017)

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A avut, are si va avea dreptate…


A century after the Bolshevik revolution: Raymond Aron was, as Allan Bloom wrote shortly after the philosopher’s death in 1983, “the man who for fifty years . . . had been right about the political alternatives actually available to us. . . . [H]e was right about Hitler, right about Stalin, and right that our Western regimes, with all their flaws, are the best and only hope of mankind.”

Totalitarian brotherhood in action…


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September 17, 1939: Every word in Vyacheslav Molotov’s infamous speech on that day was a shameless, blatant, egregious lie: “Events arising out of the Polish-German War have revealed the internal insolvency and obvious impotence of the Polish state. Polish ruling circles have suffered bankruptcy… Warsaw as the capital of the Polish state no longer exists. No one knows the whereabouts of the Polish Government. The population of Poland have been abandoned by their ill-starred leaders to their fate. The Polish State and its Government have virtually ceased to exist. In view of this state of affairs, treaties concluded between the Soviet Union and Poland have ceased to operate. A situation has arisen in Poland which demands of the Soviet Government special concern for the security of its State. Poland has become a fertile field for any accidental and unexpected contingency that may create a menace for the Soviet Union…Nor can it be demanded of the Soviet Government that it remain indifferent to the fate of its Blood Brothers, the Ukrainians and White Russians inhabiting Poland, who even formerly were nations without rights and who now have been utterly abandoned to their fate. The Soviet Government deems it its sacred duty to extend the hand of assistance to its brother Ukrainians and White Russians inhabiting Poland.” Extracts from Molotov’s broadcast speech on the Soviet invasion of Poland (17 September 1939) Mirovoe Khoziaistvo, 1939, 9, p. 13. In Soviet Documents on Foreign Policy. Volume I: 1917-1941. Jane Tabrisky Degras (ed.) 1953, Oxford University Press. Pages 374-5

The ethics of memory


Born under this sign, I practice the ethics of memory. As Adam Michnik poignantly wrote: “Amnesty, yes; amnesia, no!”

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Image: Magnet from the Polin Museum, Warsaw

Moral clarity: Macron in Oradour


The battle for memory, the battle against historical revisionism, the battle against Holocaust negationists, the battle for dignity against infamy, the battle for liberal values against tribalistic xenophobia, Emmanuel Macron in the martyr-village Oradour-sur-Glane, Friday, April 28, 2017…


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Pentru memorie, impotriva barbariei…


Pietre care vorbesc, pietre care gem: La ceasul vandalizării unor morminte evreiesti, in chiar capitala tarii, un abominabil, scabros si repugnant sacrilegiu, recomand acest articol de o vibrantă actualitate…




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


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


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…


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

 “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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